This is clearly racism and over criminalization! The officer ignored several other white people eating and drinking on the platform! Mr. Foster is likely to sue, and rightly so! See numerous articles on my website about racism, and READ this too:
Excerpts from the Article:
A police officer detained and cited a man eating a sandwich on a San Francisco train platform, a confrontation captured on a viral video.
In the video posted on social media, the Bay Area Rapid Transit policeman told the man, later identified as Steve Foster, that eating on the platform is against state law. The officer keeps his hand on Foster’s backpack while Foster angrily addresses the camera and the officer.
Foster insisted he was doing nothing wrong and refused to give his name. The November 4 incident escalated and Foster was handcuffed when a second officer arrived at the train platform. “I’m definitely upset, mad, a little frustrated, angry about it,” Foster told CNN affiliate KGO.
BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said Monday that an officer issued a citation to Foster but did not arrest him. “The court will determine level of fine he should pay,” she said.
“Eating in the paid area is banned and there are multiple signs inside every station saying as much,” the statement said. “As a transportation system our concern with eating is related to the cleanliness of our stations and system. This was not the case in the incident at Pleasant Hill station on Monday. ”
“The officer asked the rider not to eat while passing by on another call,” the statement continued. “It should have ended there, but it didn’t. When the officer walked by again and still saw him eating, he moved forward with the process of issuing him a citation. The individual refused to provide identification, cursed at and made homophobic slurs at the officer who remained calm through out the entire engagement.
Several BART riders upset with the incident held an “eat-in” on the platform in protest. “I hope they start focusing on stuff that actually matters like people shooting up dope, hopping the BART, people getting stabbed,” Foster told KGO.
Just read so many of the articles on my website, field just a few of the calls I get every week, to realize the sad truth of My Little Statue, below!
Raise some hell about it. Here is How: READ Practical Tip – Get Empowered! How YOU Can Create a Powerful, Effective Force for Reform of our Criminal Justice System
These Machines Can Put You in Jail. Don’t Trust Them. Alcohol breath tests, a linchpin of the criminal justice system, are often unreliable, a Times investigation found.
This excellent article was sent to me by my good friend and great lawyer, Stephen Hampton, Esq*. It really is pretty scary! As if we don’t have enough innocent people in prison already – somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 (nobody knows the actual number) – here is cause for more! 🙁
This article is as exhaustive (Because these articles go to my newsletter, and this is so long,I have had to omit much of it) as it is illuminating. IF YOU ARE A PROSECUTOR OR A DEFENSE LAWYER, YOU SHOULD – MUST – READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE! It discusses various types of machines/devices and their problems. IT’S A SHOCKER!
I handled at least 1,000 DUI cases, tried over 100, and never had this problem, because I made sure the machines had been properly calibrated, and the exact ones described here did not yet exist.
Grady and Hampton LLC
6 North Bradford Street
Dover, DE 19904
For DUI cases in Delaware, contact my friend and excellent Defense Attorney,
John Garey, Esq.:
48 The Green, Dover, DE 19901
You can’t do better than John!
Excerpts from the Article:
A million Americans a year are arrested for drunken driving, and most stops begin the same way: flashing blue lights in the rearview mirror, then a battery of tests that might include standing on one foot or reciting the alphabet.
What matters most, though, happens next. By the side of the road or at the police station, the drivers blow into a miniature science lab that estimates the concentration of alcohol in their blood. If the level is 0.08 or higher, they are all but certain to be convicted of a crime.
But those tests — a bedrock of the criminal justice system — are often unreliable, a New York Times investigation found. The devices, found in virtually every police station in America, generate skewed results with alarming frequency, even though they are marketed as precise to the third decimal place.
Judges in Massachusetts and New Jersey have thrown out more than 30,000 breath tests in the past 12 months alone, largely because of human errors and lax governmental oversight. Across the country, thousands of other tests also have been invalidated in recent years.
The machines are sensitive scientific instruments, and in many cases they haven’t been properly calibrated, yielding results that were at times 40 percent too high. Maintaining machines is up to police departments that sometimes have shoddy standards and lack expertise. In some cities, lab officials have used stale or home-brewed chemical solutions that warped results. In Massachusetts, officers used a machine with rats nesting inside.
There are more than a million drunken driving arrests in America each year, but the devices the police use to test drivers’ breath may not even work.
Technical experts have found serious programming mistakes in the machines’ software. States have picked devices that their own experts didn’t trust and have disabled safeguards meant to ensure the tests’ accuracy.
The Times interviewed more than 100 lawyers, scientists, executives and police officers and reviewed tens of thousands of pages of court records, corporate filings, confidential emails and contracts. Together, they reveal the depth of a nationwide problem that has attracted only sporadic attention.
A county judge in Pennsylvania called it “extremely questionable” whether any of his state’s breath tests could withstand serious scrutiny. In response, local prosecutors stopped using them. In Florida, a panel of judges described their state’s instrument as a “magic black box” with “significant and continued anomalies.”
Even some industry veterans say the machines should not be de facto arbiters of guilt. “The tests were never meant to be used that way,” said John Fusco, who ran National Patent Analytical Systems, a maker of breath-testing devices. Yet the tests have become all but unavoidable. Every state punishes drivers who refuse to take one when ordered by a police officer.
The consequences of the legal system’s reliance on these tests are far-reaching. People are wrongfully convicted based on dubious evidence. Hundreds were never notified that their cases were built on faulty tests. And when flaws are discovered, the solution has been to discard the results — letting potentially dangerous drivers off the hook.
… Massachusetts was forced to throw out their breath tests — along with more than 36,000 others — in one of the largest exclusions of forensic evidence in American history.
In most of the country, the threshold for illegal drunkenness is 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The only way to measure that directly is to draw blood, which requires a warrant. Breath tests are simpler.
Testing machines can go for $10,000 or more, and some two dozen companies sell them in the United States. The biggest contracts, with state police crime labs, are worth millions.
The report said the Alcotest 9510 was “not a sophisticated scientific measurement instrument” and “does not adhere to even basic standards of measurement.” It described a calculation error that Mr. Walker and Mr. Momot believed could round up some results. And it found that certain safeguards had been disabled.
The decision caused paralysis. Prosecutors froze thousands of cases until the review was finished.
The software experts and scientists who inspected the Alcotest 9510 machines found troubling mistakes, according to their reports to the court. In some circumstances — when the devices’ two testing methods produced substantially different results, for example — the machines were supposed to generate error messages and terminate the test. Instead, the devices printed a result. (Dräger blamed an error by its computer programmers, which it said has now been fixed.)
But the machines weren’t the only problem. The Massachusetts forensic lab, which for years had been plagued by scandals over faked drug test results and tampered evidence, lacked a written procedure to set up and test machines, the lab’s technical director testified. The justice hearing the case, Robert A. Brennan, said the lab could not prove that it had followed a “scientifically sound methodology,” and in 2017 he threw out all of its breath test results from 2012 through 2014. That was only the beginning. Lawyers soon discovered that the lab had hidden records of hundreds of failed calibrations. The discovery provoked a state investigation that blasted the lab’s leadership for “serious errors of judgment.” Justice Brennan later expanded his previous order: No tests from the lab were admissible until it was accredited by a national board that oversees forensic labs. Eight years of tests — more than 36,000, according to defense lawyers — were suddenly off-limits.
Nearly 29,000 of the invalidated tests in Massachusetts were already used to convict drivers, state records show. This month, the state will begin informing those defendants that they can seek a new trial, and lawyers are bracing for a flood of requests. So are lawyers in New Jersey, where more than 13,000 people were found guilty based on breath tests from machines that hadn’t been properly set up. Between those two states, at least 42,000 convictions are at risk. Thousands of other defendants have already been acquitted in cases that prosecutors believe they would have won if they had been able to use their most powerful piece of evidence.
And recognition of the tests’ problems is spreading. In Minnesota, a judge ruled last year that the state’s machines appeared to be rounding up results, falsely nudging some defendants over the legal limit. (A spokeswoman for the state’s testing program said the judge misunderstood the technology.)
And in courts around the country — including one last year in Queens County, N.Y. — judges continue to toss out individual cases when questions arise about the tests’ accuracy.
“If we are going to put people in jail and punish people, take their liberties away, take their licenses away, we have an obligation to be accurate,” said Joseph Bernard, the defense lawyer who helped Mr. Mottor get a new trial and is representing dozens of others in Massachusetts.
But there is a cost. Throwing out tens of thousands of faulty breath tests will inevitably let some dangerous drivers back on the road.
“Let’s not fool each other,” Mr. Bernard said. “I am not going to sit here and tell you that situation and that dynamic isn’t going to happen. Of course it’s going to happen. The question is, whose fault is it?”
The Whole Story:
DEFENDING THE CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNIT IN ST. LOUIS – Of last year’s exonerations, 107 involved official misconduct, 111 included perjury or false accusations, and 31 were based at least in part on mistaken eyewitness identifications. – kra
Yes, the system is so fucked up that more than 40 prosecutors offices now have conviction integrity units! Many more, at the city, county and state levels, SHOULD have them.
Excerpts from the Article:
In the past 30 years, exonerations have freed people who have collectively spent over 20,000 years in prison due to wrongful convictions. Since 1989, more than 2,400 people have been exonerated. This year alone, there have been 80 exonerations so far.
Wrongful convictions are only one of many problems in our criminal legal system, and a single-minded focus on innocence can obscure that. But wrongful convictions are the most vivid examples of a comfort with injustice and error on the part of too many prosecutors and police officers. In its report on exonerations in 2018, the National Registry for Exonerations found that 68 of 151 exonerees had been wrongfully convicted in homicides. On average, exonerees had spent over 10 years in prison. One man, Richard Philips, had spent over 45 years in prison in Michigan before he was exonerated last year. Of last year’s exonerations, 107 involved official misconduct, 111 included perjury or false accusations, and 31 were based at least in part on mistaken eyewitness identifications.
The 2018 report highlights the work of “professional exonerators”—innocence organizations and conviction integrity units (CIUs)—in identifying these injustices. Innocence organizations took part in a record 86 exonerations last year; CIUs helped secure 58 exonerations; and the two types of organizations collaborated on a record 45 exonerations in 2018.
More than 40 prosecutors offices now have conviction integrity units. The mere establishment of the units, however, means very little. As Josie Duffy Rice pointed out in The Appeal last year, some CIUs, officially open for years, have been given next to no resources and have little to show for their work. But the guiding principles for effective units are now well-established and some offices have produced important results. In Detroit, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office opened a Conviction Integrity Unit in 2018 and as of April had produced six exonerations, including that of Richard Philips. In Chicago, the CIU at the Cook County state’s attorney’s office was responsible for 31 exonerations, most of them linked to a single scandal.
Cook County and Wayne County made a disproportionate contribution to the number of exonerations last year and their effect is far from representative. But the problem of wrongful convictions is pervasive, and prosecutors have a responsibility to reverse them.
That is why, in an amicus brief filed last week in the case of Lamar Johnson, 43 elected prosecutors from around the country supported the work of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her office’s conviction integrity unit. Johnson was sentenced to life without parole in a 1984 killing. He has maintained his innocence throughout his time in prison. In 2008, the Midwest Innocence Project began working on his case. Last year, the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office received a federal grant to open a conviction integrity unit that would work with the project. Last month, the unit issued a report on Johnson’s case, and prosecutors filed a motion asking that Johnson’s conviction for first-degree murder be vacated and that he be granted a new trial.
In the Washington Post last month, Meaghan Flynn wrote of the state’s theory against Johnson that it “stretched the physical limits of the human body,” requiring that Johnson make it to and from the scene of the murder, three miles from where the state conceded he was before and after, in the space of five minutes. The reality, according to the conviction integrity unit, is that the conviction was obtained because of what Flynn describes as “a staggering amount of misconduct on the part of homicide detectives and prosecutors.”
“The conviction against Lamar Johnson was obtained through perjured testimony, suppression of exculpatory and material impeachment evidence of secret payments to the sole eyewitness, and undisclosed Brady material related to a jailhouse informant with a history of incentivized cooperation with the State. The violation of Johnson’s constitutional rights enabled the State of Missouri to obtain a conviction and sentence of life without the possibility of parole against Johnson despite overwhelming evidence of innocence. The undisclosed secret payments to the sole eyewitness in a case that was undeniably thin fatally undermines the reliability of the verdict. Based on the record now known and the professional, ethical, and constitutional duties of a prosecutor to seek justice, the Circuit Attorney moves this Court to grant her motion for a new trial.”
But the prosecutor’s motion met with immediate pushback. The judge in the case appears to have decided to appoint the state attorney general’s office as co-counsel in the case, citing a conflict of interest for Gardner’s office. In their brief, Gardner’s fellow elected prosecutors dismantle this argument and defend the work of CIUs: “A CIU provides prosecutors with an organized framework not only to remedy injustices, but also to investigate and address misconduct uncovered in regard to prior prosecutors. … Presuming that a conflict arises whenever the Circuit Attorney seeks to remedy past prosecutorial misconduct—as the Court appears to have concluded here—would erode the essence and functioning of CIUs.”
Gardner, St. Louis’s first Black chief prosecutor, has been operating in an intensely hostile political climate, including opposition from the police union that has only intensified over her decision to place officers with credibility problems on a no-call list.
In their amicus brief, the elected prosecutors point out that Gardner’s election was a vote for criminal justice reform. Her discretion in handling criminal cases “carries with it the mandate of the citizens of the City of St. Louis. Indeed, in seeking office, the current Circuit Attorney ran on a platform of criminal justice reform.”
This article was sent to me by my good friend and great lawyer, Steve Hampton*. He is one of too few with the skills and the will needed to sue prison officials and other prison workers, like the so-called “health care” workers!
This case is yet another example of injustice. Cops destroyed a house to catch a fleeing criminal. The case hinged on the interpretation of the word “taking” in the statutes. I think the court erred here. It even could have gone so far as to say that the demolition of the homeowner’s property was a de facto eminent domain case, because it was the taking of private property for a public purpose – public safety!
Hell, they have made a far worse and more ridiculous decision regarding eminent domain! READ the case of Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), which was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London
*Steve can be reached at: Stephen Hampton
Grady and Hampton LLC
6 North Bradford Street
Dover, DE 19904
Excerpts from the Article:
The owners of a home that was destroyed by police pursuing a fleeing suspect are not entitled to compensation under the takings clause, a federal appeals court has ruled. The Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in an opinion that does not constitute binding precedent in other cases.
The court held that the officers acted under the state’s police power rather than the power of eminent domain, so any damage to the home fell outside the scope of the takings clause.
The incident occurred in June 2015 in Greenwood Village, Colorado. An armed shoplifting suspect fleeing police holed up inside a home where John Lech was living with his girlfriend and her 9-year-old son. The boy was home at the time, but he escaped after the suspect entered.
Police negotiated with the suspect for about five hours after he fired a shot that struck a police car. When the negotiations failed, police fired several rounds of gas into the home, breached the front doors with an armored vehicle, sent in a robot and used explosives to create points of entry to the home.
A tactical team tried to enter the home but the suspect, Robert Seacat, fired at the officers. Police once again employed the armored vehicle to open multiple holes in the home. This time, the tactical team was able to arrest Seacat.
The home had to be demolished. The city of Greenwood Village offered to help with temporary living expenses while the home was rebuilt but refused to provide any other compensation.
Lech and his parents, the homeowners, were the lawsuit plaintiffs in the suit against Greenwood Village and several of its officers. They alleged violation of their constitutional rights stemming from destruction of the home and refusal to compensate them.
The Lechs argued that the takings clause should apply because it was designed to bar government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens that in fairness should be borne by government.
They also argued that precedent distinguishing the power of eminent domain and police power should not apply to cases of innocent owners whose property is destroyed. The appeals court rejected the arguments.
The court said the innocent owner argument “is not without support,” but it was joining the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in holding that there was no taking.
Lech’s father, Leo Lech, told the Washington Post he may ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.
“It just goes to show that they can blow up your house, throw you out on the streets and say, ‘See you later. Deal with it,’ ” he told the Post. “What happened to us should never happen in this country, ever.”
Lech said it cost nearly $400,000 to rebuild the home and, “This has ruined our lives.”
Ken Paxton – MAJOR TEXAS ASSHOLE – Blocks Payment to Formerly Incarcerated Man Declared Innocent Declared innocent, Alfred Dewayne Brown has appealed for compensation due to unjust imprisonment
“MAJOR TEXAS ASSHOLE”?! How dare I say that?! Seriously, that is exactly what this guy is! How could anyone with a conscience not make suck a statement?!
Texas Attorney General Ken “Still Under Indictment” Paxton doesn’t only spend his energy trying to overturn “Obamacare,” obstruct reproductive rights, restrict voting access, or delay his own trial on charges of securities fraud. He also has time to block an exonerated man from receiving compensation for years of unjust imprisonment.
That’s the latest wrinkle in the case of Houstonian Alfred Dewayne Brown, who spent more than 12 years in prison for a murder that prosecutors and courts have since agreed he did not commit. When Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar prepared to release a compensatory payment to Brown – as he is required to do under the 2009 Tim Cole Act – Paxton intervened to block the payment, although the A.G. has no authority in the matter. Nevertheless, an official in the comptroller’s office responded to Paxton’s intervention and withheld the payment.
Alfred Dewayne Brown
In 2005, Brown was convicted of the 2003 murder of Houston police officer Charles Clark in a botched robbery. Brown maintained his innocence, and the conviction was overturned in 2015 (after 12 years in prison, nine on death row) when evidence was discovered confirming his alibi – evidence that had apparently been concealed by the prosecutor. Subsequently, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg assigned a special prosecutor, John Raley, to review the case. Raley confirmed the exoneration, and earlier this year, a state district judge declared Brown “actually innocent” – the legal standard to allow Brown to receive compensation for his unjust imprisonment.
As in most instances, the case of a murdered police officer remains controversial, and the Houston police union and even Chief Art Acevedo (formerly of Austin) have loudly objected to the exoneration and compensation. But Brown has met the legal standard for innocence, and under state law is required to receive $2 million in compensation for his lost years – and the attorney general has no role in the matter.
Nevertheless, Paxton wrote privately to Hegar to object, questioning the court’s innocence ruling while also suggesting that since the case had been closed earlier, the court no longer has jurisdiction – absurdly circular logic, but sufficient for a comptroller staffer to use as a reason to refuse to authorize the payment. In a letter to Brown’s attorney, Neal Manne, administrator Leonard Higgins (apparently not himself a lawyer) wrote that “it is not clear that the district court had jurisdiction” to dismiss the charges against Brown, refused to authorize payment, and, after a re-application, affirmed that refusal.
Manne has since been joined in Brown’s appeal of the comptroller’s rejection by former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson (a Republican, now in private practice in Austin). In a Sept. 30 writ of mandamus submitted to the Supreme Court, Brown’s attorneys point out that under state law, the comptroller’s role in a compensation case is “purely ministerial” – without discretion – and confined to confirming that all the relevant documents have been submitted by a claimant. They also point out that in at least two similar cases (following dismissals by a district court), compensation was duly awarded.
Due to a prosecutorial “failing,” the attorneys write, “An innocent man lost more than a decade of freedom. Now, despite a statutory promise of recompense, Brown has been deprived of a remedy others in his same circumstance have received.” The writ notes that the comptroller’s refusal was “impenetrable” – until it was revealed that Paxton, without authority, “had intervened and urged [the comptroller] to deny the application based largely on his belief, contrary to that of the prosecutor and the criminal district court, that Brown was guilty. But guilt or innocence is decided by the criminal justice system … [and] that system has declared him actually innocent. Respondent [the comptroller] … does not have the power to supersede that judicial conclusion.”
The defense attorneys had not been informed of Paxton’s private letter to Hegar – Houston Chronicle reporter Keri Blakinger acquired a copy and reported on its contents on Sept. 9 (“Texas AG Paxton intervened in Alfred Brown case to oppose compensation for wrongfully convicted former death-row prisoner”). In an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court, Baylor Law professor Ron Beal called Paxton’s letter unauthorized under the law, and the comptroller’s failure to provide the letter to the defense “a gross act of arbitrary and capricious action.”
Raley’s report to D.A. Ogg, confirming Brown’s innocence, includes ample evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, notably transcripts of the grand jury proceedings during which prosecutor Dan Rizzo and the jury foreman – a Houston police officer – repeatedly threatened Brown’s girlfriend, Ericka Dockery, with jail and the loss of her children if she refused to retract her testimony confirming Brown’s alibi. She did so only after Rizzo jailed her for seven weeks, accusing her of perjury. In his report, Raley wrote, “It is impossible to examine the conviction of Alfred Dewayne Brown without confronting prosecutorial misconduct.”
Despite Paxton’s extrajudicial meddling, even former Gov. Rick Perry has called attention to prosecutorial abuse in the Brown case (“Black Lives Matter – And So Does Black Liberty,” Forbes, July 27, 2016). In a 2016 speech, he recounted how prosecutors had both hidden exculpatory evidence and extorted false testimony from Dockery. “[Brown’s] life was almost ruined,” said Perry, “because of an overzealous prosecutor who concealed exonerating evidence.” In June, special prosecutor Raley filed a grievance (still pending) with the Texas State Bar against prosecutor Rizzo (since retired). Citing Rizzo’s concealment of exculpatory evidence and his abuse of witnesses, Raley wrote, “Rizzo’s unethical and illegal actions resulted in an innocent man being sent to death row.”
The harm done by this wrongdoing is broad. Guilty criminals may go unpunished, as well as innocent ones punished. I can only wonder how many more terrible, awful cops there are nationwide. I remind you again of the subtle but serious harm: the people distrust the police, and therefore do not cooperate to try to solve/reduce crimes!
The good news is that some officers have been convicted, and the Federal investigations continue. Thank God Ms. Mosby is doing the right thing.
City Solicitor Andre Davis has said he’s concerned that many defendants could file lawsuits against the city. Ya think?! They should!
Excerpts from the Article:
Baltimore’s top prosecutor has begun asking judges to throw out nearly 800 convictions that she said were tainted by officers linked to a corruption scandal.
The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s review found 790 criminal cases handled by 25 city officers whom she says she has reason to distrust. Mosby updated the number of officers being scrutinized on Friday, saying it could fluctuate as her office investigates.
Eight members of the Gun Trace Task Force were convicted of racketeering crimes and sentenced to prison. Many of the other 17 officers cited by Mosby’s office were named in testimony during the federal trial, though not necessarily charged with crimes. Mosby’s office hasn’t disclosed all of their names because of ongoing federal investigations.
The newspaper said three of the additional officers remain on the force, including a detective and two sergeants, citing confirmation from a department spokesman. One of the three has been suspended.
Mosby said in an email to the newspaper that “our legal and ethical obligation in the pursuit of justice leaves us no other recourse but to ‘right the wrongs’ of unjust convictions associated with corrupt police officers.”
Of the eight Baltimore officers sentenced to prison for racketeering charges, six accepted plea deals and two were convicted. Officers admitted to stealing money from people, lying in police paperwork and claiming unearned overtime pay. Officers found guilty also testified about potential wrongdoing by additional police officers who haven’t been charged.
Prosecutors spent more than a year reviewing thousands of arrests by the task force and identified the 790, most of which are older cases in which the defendants have already been released.
With expanded authorities under a new state law, Mosby’s staff will file 200 cases a week, with judges holding daily hearings to consider erasing bad convictions. “It is still very early in the process, and we are hopeful for the swift vacatur of all of the many tainted convictions,” said Melissa Rothstein, spokeswoman for the Baltimore public defender’s office.
City Solicitor Andre Davis has said he’s concerned that many defendants could file lawsuits against the city.
2 former NYPD detectives plead guilty to charges they had sex with suspect in police van – This judge must GO! Can you say: “Good morning, your Honorable Asshole”?! – kra
The sentencing judge should be thrown off the bench! Bad cops are a disgrace to the majority of cops who serve us. NAIL THESE JACKASSES AND THE JUDGE!
Sex in a situation like this is never “consensual”! The Feds should prosecute, but will Barr do it? I doubt it.
Excerpts from the Article:
Richard Hall and Eddie Martins pleaded guilty on Thursday to two counts of third-degree felony bribe-receiving and nine counts of misdemeanor official misconduct during an unscheduled hearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Justice Danny Chun agreed to accept their guilty pleas in exchange for five years of probation over the prosecutor’s request for one to three years in prison.
Chun slammed the two detectives and the female suspect for engaging in “criminal activities.”
Jury selection in the trial for the former officers was slated to begin on Sept. 9. Had they gone to trial and been convicted, they would have faced up to seven years in prison.
Hall, 34, and Martins, 39, were initially indicted on felony rape and other charges, but prosecutors dropped the charges in March and presented their case to a new grand jury, which indicted them on bribery and official misconduct charges.
When the prosecutors dismissed all the violent felony charges, they had “clearly shown to this Court that the violent felonies could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Chun. “The credibility of the victim, or the complainant, in this case was seriously, seriously questionable, at best. Also, by putting that complainant in the Grand Jury, that witness most likely obtained immunity except for potential perjury charges.”
Both officers resigned from the NYPD shortly after they were indicted in November 2017.
Martins’ attorney, Mark Bederow, told ABC News that the rape charges were only brought by the prosecutors due to the pressures of the #MeToo movement. “We repeatedly told them of the evidence that she was lying, which was their own evidence,” said Bederow. “They rolled their eyes at us for over a year and a half. The prosecutors botched the investigation and tried to please the public outcry and that’s not what prosecutors are supposed to do.”
In September 2017, Hall and Martins were assigned to the NYPD’s Brooklyn South Narcotics unit when they arrested an 18-year-old drug suspect. The pair admitted to Chun on Thursday that they took turns having sex with her in the back of the police van as they drove through Bay Ridge and Coney Island in exchange for releasing her, and that they did not report the arrest to their superiors.
“As a result of this disturbing incident, New York passed a law to prohibit police officers from having sex with people in their custody, closing a loophole that had allowed officers to claim the sex was consensual,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a statement. “We could not apply the new law retroactively, and serious credibility issues in this case precluded us from proceeding on additional charges, yet we remained committed to holding these defendants accountable.”
Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano objected to the probationary sentencing offered by the judge. Chun felt it was “appropriate” to give the prosecutors a reason for his decision, which was based on the history of the case.
Chun said the felony bribe-receiving charges would have made sense if this was an undercover sting operation, adding that he only foresaw a jury convicting Hall and Martins of the misdemeanor misconduct charges.
The victim of the sexual assault revealed herself under the pseudonym “Anna Chambers” and has a pending $50 million civil rights lawsuit against the city and her assailants.
“This is outrageous that they can rape my client and not serve any jail time,” Chambers’ civil attorney, Michael David, told WABC over the phone. David said he intends to seek federal civil rights charges against the former officers.
People like these out of control sadists need to be prosecuted and imprisoned! Fools like this give all of the good cops a bad reputation. It is nothing short of OUTRAGEOUS that prosecutors don’t prosecute these criminals in law enforcement uniforms.
Excerpts from the Article:
On July 27, 2017, Johnny Wheatcroft was a passenger in a silver Ford Taurus when a pair of Glendale police officers pulled in front them in a Motel 6 parking lot. The stop was for an alleged turn signal violation.
Minutes later, Wheatcroft was handcuffed lying face down on the hot asphalt on a 108-degree day. He’d already been tased 10 times, with one officer kneeling on his back as another, Officer Matt Schneider, kicked him in the groin and pulled down his athletic shorts to tase him a final time in his testicles, according to a federal lawsuit and body camera footage obtained by ABC15.
The scene was witnessed by his 11- and 6-year-old sons.
“I have never seen anything like this before… This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
Multiple independent law enforcement experts, who agreed to review the incident, said the officers’ conduct was unlawful, potentially criminal, and one of the most cruel and troubling cases of police misconduct they’ve ever seen.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Noble, an attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, Calif., who’s testified in hundreds of cases including Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. “ It reminds me of a case in New York where an individual was sadistically taking a broom handle and shoving it up (the suspect’s) anus. This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
“That’s not even borderline,” said Williams, an expert witness who testified in the Philip Brailsford case on behalf of the prosecution. “That’s inhumane.”
Schneider was suspended for 30 hours and remains an active officer on the force, records show.
The experts said it was appalling that Officer Schneider, who has won multiple awards from the police chief and has represented Glendale twice on the TV show Cops, was not terminated. They also believe Glendale should have referred the case for outside criminal investigation and prosecution.
“If he intentionally struck a passenger in the testicles, and then intentionally tased him in or near the genitals, I’m surprised he hasn’t been prosecuted,” said Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who’s now an attorney and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. “It raises half a dozen red flags that suggest the need for a thorough review, including a review to determine if the officer committed any crimes.”
On February 8, the Glendale Police Department released the following statement: In addition to the statement, Glendale PD released 30 seconds of surveillance video showing the incident: The release is full of omissions and information that does not match up with the departments own records.
But the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona by attorneys Marc Victor and Jody Broaddus, alleges that the officers violated the constitutional rights of Wheatcroft and his wife, Anya Chapman, and engaged in the “excessive use of force and torture.”
Wheatcroft and Chapman, who were arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, spent months in jail after the incident because they couldn’t afford bail. Chapman agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to get home to her children, her attorneys said.
The charges against Wheatcroft were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the body camera video.
Wheatcroft, who’s currently in prison on an unrelated burglary charge stemming from a copper wire theft, was not available for comment.
For independent analysis, ABC15 spoke with three former law enforcement officers, who testify as expert witnesses in police use-of-force cases across the country: Williams, Noble, and Stoughton.
NOBLE: The controlling officer is not going to the driver’s side and investigating the turn signal. He’s focused on the passenger, which tells me that maybe this is not why we’re here. They’re not really interested in his turn signal violation.
TIME: 0:55 – 2:05
Schneider asks Wheatcroft multiple times for identification. He responds by asking why that’s necessary since he wasn’t driving the car. The officer tells him, “If you’re a passenger in a vehicle, you need to have ID.” And if Wheatcroft doesn’t provide it, Schneider says, “I can take you down to the station and we can fingerprint you.”
NOBLE: So the passenger, he’s asking very reasonable questions: ‘Why are you asking for ID?’ And the officer tells him, ‘If you’re a passenger in the vehicle, you have to give ID.’ That’s misstatement of the law. He doesn’t have to give ID…It’s not true. It’s not accurate. (Then the officer says) ‘I can take you down to the station and fingerprint you.’ Well no, you can’t. You can’t. That’s using his authority in an improper way by claiming he can arrest or detain him to fingerprint him when he’s done nothing wrong.
TIME: 2:05 – 2:55
Schneider then opens the car door and grabs Wheatcroft’s right arm. By grabbing his arm, it prevents the seatbelt from sliding off completely. The officer then pulls his Taser and applies it to Wheatcroft’s arm. Wheatcroft says, “Stop please. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Shnieder replies, “Here’s the deal, you tense up and I’m going to, listen to me. Listen to me. Relax your arm.” Wheatcroft asks, “What did I do wrong? What did I do wrong?”
WILLIAMS: I didn’t see any resisting. I saw questions being asked. See (the officer’s) starting out wrong. You’re starting out wrong. See what he’s doing is escalating the situation for no reason at all.
NOBLE: Look at the passenger, there’s nothing threatening there. He hasn’t made any threats. All he’s done is ask some questions…We’re at a point, where this gentlemen, to a reasonable officer, has not done anything wrong. What has he done to allow an officer to physically touch him at this point? So to use force, you have to have a lawful detention or lawful arrest, why are we here. We are here for a turn signal violation and he’s not the driver.
TIME: 2:55 – 3:20
Schneider then puts his Taser away and uses his other hand to grab Wheatcroft’s elbow and put him into a plain compliance hold. The seatbelt wraps around Wheatcroft’s head and legs as officers try to pull him from the vehicle.
WILLIAMS: There’s no need to twist his arm. No need for that…He’s still strapped in the vehicle. What is he going to do? How is he going to get out…You ask him not to do this, ask him not to do that. He can’t do anything because he’s strapped into the seatbelt.
NOBLE: He’s put him in a rear wrist lock with the seatbelt over his shoulder. If I did that to you right now, you would similarly bend forward. And if you were not flexible, it would be painful. It should be no surprise to this officer, that he is pulling some resistance back. Because he is putting him in a position of pain. This is a pain compliance move. He’s twisting his wrist, he’s putting his left hand on his elbow forcing forward where the seatbelt is restraining him.
TIME: 3:20 – 4:10
With Wheatcroft tangled in the seatbelt, another officer tases him multiple times in the left side by using what’s called a “drive stun.” Officer Schneider then steps back and fires his taser at Wheatcroft who’s on the ground between the car door and the vehicle, with the seatbelt wrapped around his legs. The officers then drive stun Wheatcroft several more times. He’s placed in handcuffs.
WILLIAMS: He’s being drive stunned there and he’s still strapped into the seatbelt. All of that physical initiation by the officers should not have been. He can’t comply because you’re not allowing him to comply…What you see here is textbook wrong — at every angle.
NOBLE: He was just sitting there, and they’re tasing him again. (Reporter: So there’s no reason for that? It’s about pain, just to make him hurt?) Absolutely. That’s exactly what that is for. It’s about pain. This is about causing this man pain. There is no legitimate law enforcement purpose for that Taser.
TIME: 4:10 – 4:50
During the previous portion, officers claim Anya Chapman hit Officer Lindsey in the head with a plastic bag of items. You hear Schneider say, “Mark is hurt.” The officers then try to drag Wheatcroft away from the vehicle, but his legs are still stuck in the seatbelt. The 11-year-old boy in the car moves into the front seat to finally free Wheatcroft from the belt. Schneider commands the boy to go to the front of vehicle, causing him to burst out in tears and scream.
NOBLE: He’s trying to let officers know, ‘I’m trying to comply. I’m stuck I can’t do what you want me to do.’ A child, a small child, who just released his legs, who in effect helped the officers, (Schneider) starts giving orders as if he’s a suspect. And you see the boy, who just did something good, just tried to help the officer, being confronted.
WILLIAMS: The young kid there had more common sense than the officers…The officers should have done that themselves.
TIME: 4:50 – 6:00
Wheatcroft is laying face down on the asphalt, handcuffed, with an officer kneeling on his back. Officer Schneider then turns, accuses Wheatcroft of kicking, and then kicks Wheatcroft in the groin twice. Schneider then takes his left hand, pulls down Wheatcroft’s athletic shorts below his buttocks, and tases him in the testicles, according to Wheatcroft’s lawsuit. Shortly later, Schneider recharges his Taser and this time places it on Wheatcroft’s penis while he’s laying on his side, saying “You want it again? Shut your mouth. I’m done (expletive) around with you.”
WILLIAMS: That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane…There’s no reason to tase him period when he’s handcuffed at all. They’ve got four, five officers around there. All of that tasing should have been done; well there shouldn’t have been tasing to begin with.
NOBLE: This is not an accident...This has the appearance of an intentional act. There’s absolutely no legitimate law enforcement purpose. This is beyond the pale. This is unconscionable.
TIME: 6:00 – END
A handful of officers pull Wheatcroft to his feet and pull Taser probes from his skin. He yells in pain, Schneider tells him, “Shut up…You shouldn’t have been stupid then… Quit acting like a big baby.” Wheatcroft was tased 11 times, according to his attorneys. He was placed in a police vehicle and booked into jail for two counts of aggravated assault. He did not receive medical treatment. Experts said he should have.
NOBLE: This was bad from the beginning, and it only got worse.
WILLIAMS: They started wrong and they ended wrong. There is no justification for what they did.
Sanders’ criminal justice plan aims to cut prison population in half – REAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM WHICH WILL WORK – kra
tRump loves to say that he has enacted prison reform, but that is wildly misleading. The changes he has made are miniscule. Bernie gets it! 🙂 He has some damn good advisers on this issue, and they have been reading my posts! 🙂 THIS is what is needed to:
1.Save taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
2.Greatly improve our prisons.
What Bernie plans is fair, long overdue, and it will work!
Excerpts from the Article:
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is proposing a criminal justice overhaul that aims to cut the nation’s prison population in half, end mandatory minimum sentencing, ban private prisons and legalize marijuana. He says the current system does not fairly treat people of color, addicts or the mentally ill.
“We have a system that imprisons and destroys the lives of millions of people,” Sanders told The Associated Press before the planned released of his proposal Sunday. “It’s racist in disproportionately affecting the African American and Latino communities, and it’s a system that needs fundamental change.”
Sanders was promoting the plan during a weekend of campaigning in South Carolina, where the majority of the Democratic electorate is African American. The Vermont senator, who won the support of some younger black Democrats during the 2016 primary, has stepped up his references to racial disparities, particularly during stops in the South and urban areas.
Before about 300 at a town hall in Columbia on Sunday afternoon, Sanders conducted a conversation on the plan with several state lawmakers who have endorsed him. Also part of the discussion was Donald Gilliard, Sanders’ South Carolina deputy political director, who was at one time sentenced to life in federal prison for a nonviolent drug crime.
“Sometimes you don’t even believe what you’re hearing here,” Sanders said Sunday, of the problems he sees in the criminal justice system.
As president, Sanders said he would abolish mandatory minimum sentencing and reinstate a federal parole system, end the “three strikes law” and expand the use of alternative sentencing, including community supervision and halfway houses. The goal is to reduce the prison population by one-half.
“A very significant number of people who are behind bars today are dealing with one form or another of illness,” Sanders said. “These should be treated as health issues, not from a criminal perspective.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness , 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails annually.
Taking aim at what his proposal calls “for-profit prison profiteering,” Sanders would ban private prisons, make prison phone calls and other inmate communications free, and audit prison commissaries for price gouging and fees.
The plan would legalize marijuana and expunge previous marijuana convictions, and end a cash bail system that Sanders says keeps hundreds of thousands who have not been convicted of a crime languishing in jail because they cannot afford bail.
“Can you believe that, in the year 2019, 400,000 people are in jail awaiting a trial because they are poor?” Sanders said. “That is a moral outrage, it is a legal outrage.”
According to the Prison Policy Initiative , more than 460,000 people are being held in local jails around the country while they await trial, with a median bail amount of $10,000 for felony offenses.
Sanders wants to improve relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. To do that, he proposes to end federal programs that provide military equipment to local police forces, establish federal standards for the use of body cameras, provide bias training and require that the Justice Department review all officer-involved shootings. “You have a lot of resentment in minority communities all over this country, who see police forces not as an asset but as an invading force,” Sanders said.
On capital punishment, Sanders’ plan formalizes his call to end the federal death penalty and urges states to eliminate the punishment as well.
“When we talk about violence in society and trying to lower the levels of violence, it is not appropriate that the state itself is part of capital punishment,” Sanders said.
Sanders said that over the long term, his plan will save the public money because of reductions to overall incarceration costs.
“It will cost money but it will pay for itself many, many times over,” Sanders said. “Locking people up is very, very expensive.”