Archive for September, 2012

Police Accountability Report: Episode 63 – LRN.fm

Sunday, September 30th, 2012


This week, a couple of stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.

Yes, Gang Colors Do Serve Some Useful Purposes
http://c4ss.org/content/13134

Virtual House Arrest Ordered for Minors in East St. Louis
http://www.copblock.org/21559/virtual-house-arrest-ordered-for-minors-in-east-st-louis/

Officer Assaults and Arrests 9-Year-Old Boy With Autism in Public School Classroom
http://www.copblock.org/21538/officer-assaults-and-arrests-9-year-old-boy-with-autism-in-public-school-classroom/

That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.

CopBlock Podcast logo 320x71 Police Accountability Report: Episode 63   LRN.fm

Police Accountability Report: Episode 63 – LRN.fm is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Your Move, Creep: Researchers Building RoboCop Policeman

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Tim Hornyak at C|Net writes:

Florida International University is trying to build a remote-operated law enforcement robot that will be controlled by disabled police officers. Would you like a bot on the beat?

You’ve double-parked your car to pick something up when a robot rolls up and threatens to give you a ticket. You might laugh, but the thing’s talking with a human voice.

Researchers at Florida International University’sDiscovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being controlled by disabled police officers and military vets. In a sense, they would be hybrid man-machine cops, like RoboCop.

Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Robins has given $20,000 to the lab and borrowed two robots valued at nearly $500,000 from the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) to realize his vision of bringing some of the thousands of disabled cops and soldiers in the U.S. back to the workforce.

They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. The cybercops would have to be rugged enough to work outdoors, but what would they look like?

“The big design hurdle we face is, strangely enough, the exact same hurdle police officers face with the public every day,” Robins says.

“The telebot has to look intimidating and authoritative enough so that people obey its commands — because of course it’s not the telebot telling you what to do, it’s the disabled police officer controlling the telebot who’s telling you what to do.

“On the flip side, it has to be approachable enough so that a lost 3-year-old feels comfortable coming up to the telebot and asking for help finding her mother. That’s a challenging design problem, and one which I’m sure will take many iterations before we get it perfectly right.”

Students and professors at the Discovery Lab have been working with the two-wheeled, military-grade IHMC robots built under a $2 million DARPA initiative. The patrol bot prototype, which will have two-way video and audio, will be based on them. Robins is also trying to get NASA to help out with its Robonaut tech.

Remote-controlled robots are already used in military, medical, and business applications, and the lab believes law enforcement is a natural next step. The legal implications related to police behavior, however, would likely be a major hurdle to deployment. For instance, would roving robots be seen as glorified security cams on wheels, or more like substitutes for human officers?

I’ll bet the patrol bots get deluged with one-liner requests: “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

What do you think about this?

Your Move, Creep: Researchers Building RoboCop Policeman is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Monroe County, NY District Attorney Sandra Doorley Should be Ashamed of Herself, Defending Ryan Hartley, a Dirty, Lying Rochester, NY Cop, while Criticizing an Honorable Judge Doug Randall, for Doing the Right Thing!

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

By Davy V.

She remained quiet and refused to bring charges against Rochester, NY Police officer Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch when they not only lied, and falsified police reports in relation to a July 2011 traffic stop, but they also committed perjury bt lying to a Monroe County, NY grand jury.

Now, Monroe County, NY District Attorney Sandra Doorley is speaking out, and unbelievably defending RPD officer Ryan Hartley even though Hartley has been found to be a liar by two seperate Monroe County Judges.

In July of 2011, officers Hartley and Osipovitch pulled over Rochester resident Jeramie Barideaux’s car for what they said was Barideaux not coming to a complete stop at an intersection.

A City of Rochester surveillance camera would later prove that both officers lied, as the video shows Jeramie Barideaux’s vehicle come to a full and complete stop at the intersction of Conkey Avenue and Avenue D.

After illegally stopping and searching Barideaux’s vehicle, RPD officers Hartley and Osipovitch claimed they found drugs and a weapon in the car.

On December 19, 2011 Monroe County, NY Court Judge Daniel Doyle dismissed all charges against Barideaux after seeing the video.

But not before RPD officers Hartley and Osipovitch, lied, falsified police reports and affidavits, and commited perjury when they testified in front of a grand jury.

And not before Jeramie Barideaux spent four months incarcerated.

In his decision to dismiss the charges, Judge Doyle said “It was an unreasonable stop… based on the review of the video, there’s no ambiguity at all that a car being operated by Jeramie Barideaux did come to a completete stop before the police stopped the vehicle.”

Despite clear video evidence that Rochester, NY Police officer Ryan Hartley lied, falsified police reports and then committed perjury in front of a grand jury, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley refused to bring charges against officer Hartley.

But just over a year after lying and committing perjury, RPD officer Ryan Hartley did it again.

On August 9, 2012 Monroe County, NY Judge Doug Randall issued an order accusing Rochester Police officer Ryan Hartley of not only lying, but also of breaking into a man’s home and conducting a “warrantless” and “unconstitutional” search.

On March 14, 2012, around 8 p.m., Rochester Police officers Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch illegally broke into Christopher Charles McNair’s home on Roxborough Rd. where they claimed to have found drugs and cash.

McNair would later be indicted on charges which included criminial posession of a controlled substance 1st degree; a Class A felony that carries a possible twenty year prison sentence.

However, that charge, and most of the charges in the indictment were dismissed by Judge Randall, who, during a hearing to decide what evidence would be admissibile at trial, several times “called into question” Rochester Police officer Ryan Hartley’s testimony on the witness stand.

Randall’s order, issued on August 9, 2012, lays out RPD officer Ryan Hartley’s as well as other witness testimony, showing that RPD officers obtained a warrant to enter McNair’s home around 11 p.m., but only after McNair was in custody after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

The problem is, that evidence from ADT home alarm records contradict RPD officer Ryan Hartley’s testimony that he and other officers entered the home only after they obtained the warrant.

ADT notified 911 communications center that someone had entered the home around 8 p.m.

Subsequent motion sensors were triggered following that.

Also, two of McNair’s neighbors, who live across the street testified that they saw police officers with flashlights inside McNair’s home around 8 p.m.

RPD officer Ryan Hartley reportedly secured a perimeter around McNair’s home and testified in court that he made entry into the home only after the search warrant was obtained.

Hartley also testified that his interest in McNair’s home was a result of a tip from a “concerned citizen,” who was later identified as a confidential informant.

Judge Randall’s decision reads, “Said informant could not in any way be considered a ‘concerned citizen’ as characterized by officer Hartley.”

At one point, Randall’s decision states, “Officer Hartley’s testimony stating that no on entered the residence at 375 Roxborough Road until he returned with a signed search warrant is sufficiently discredited by the testimony of the confidential informant, Maggie Bell (neighbor), Nakeya Bell (neighbor), Stephen Fischer and the timing of the 911 calls, the motion sensor alarm, the ADT Security alarm notifications, and the CAD (911/police) reports related to what occurred inside the residence at 375 Roxborough Road on March 14, 2012.”

According to Randall’s decision, RPD officer Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch both were involved in drafting the search warrant.

RPD officer Rob Osipovitch was also involved in the warrantless break in and search of McNair’s home.

Judge Randall’s decision comes about a month after RPD officers Hartley and Osipovitch were named in a lawsuit filed by Jeramie Barideaux’s attorney.

On December 19, 2011, the same day that Judge Doyle dismissed charges against Jeramie Barideaux, Monroe County, NY Public Defender Tim Donaher sent an email to the city of Rochester, alerting city officials to RPD officers Ryan Hartley and Rob Osipovitch.

In Donaher’s email he writes, “I believe that there is reasonable cause to believe that the officers (RPD Ofc. Osipovitch and Ofc. Hartley) falsified their police reports and maybe perjured themselves at GJ.” (Grand Jury)

Donaher’s email continues, “I do not make these accusations lightly, but given the video evidence I cannot reconcile what is contained in the police reports with what the video evidence shows. Either two officers falsely claimed to see something they did not see (and relied instead upon the false report of another officer), or all three officers lied in their reports as to what actually occurred.”

And now, Monroe County, NY District Attorney Sandra Doorley has the nerve to not only defend RPD officer Ryan Hartley, a liar, but Doorley has the nerve to slam Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall, who did the right thing?

Sandra Doorley should be ashamed of herself.

First, for doing absolutely nothing the first time RPD officer Ryan Hartley lied and committed perjury, something that the average citizen, having committed perjury, would be charged.

And secondly, for having the audacity to actually defend a lying cop, and at the same time criticize an honorable judge who did his job?

I applaud Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall.

I wish more Judges would do what he did.

Shame on you Sandra Doorley.

Do the job you were elected to do.

Remember?

No one is above the law.

Not even a police officer.

Stop playing politics.

 

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/davyvara

Monroe County, NY District Attorney Sandra Doorley Should be Ashamed of Herself, Defending Ryan Hartley, a Dirty, Lying Rochester, NY Cop, while Criticizing an Honorable Judge Doug Randall, for Doing the Right Thing! is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Rochester, NY Police officers Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Richard Doran, Don’t Care about the Law, and Look at the Community they Work In, as a War Zone, and the Citizens as the Enemies

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

By Davy V.

When it comes to the law, Rochester, NY Police officers Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Richard Doran, not only have no regard for it, but clearly think, and act as if they are above it.

Whether it’s racing up the wrong way on one-way residential streets with no lights or siren on where young children play, or thinking they can re-write New York State law when it comes to stopping and searching innocent citizens, RPD officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran are not only a danger to the Rochester community, but also a liability to the City of Rochester, NY.

Recently, during a trial of a man who was beaten by RPD officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran, as well as others, some very disturbing details emerged about how these officers, not only look at, but treat residents of the PSA-23 section of Rochester’s east side which they patrol.

For example, New York State law clearly states that a police officer can not just stop a person on the street, put their hands on that person and search them.

The officer must have reasonable belief that a crime is either being committed, has been committed or will be committed, in order to stop a person and search them.

Well, let’s just say that RPD officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran, don’t follow that law.

The three of them stop whomever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want.

Flanagan, Hasper and Doran stick together and work the same car beat.

I spent last week covering the trial of Jose Lugo, a Rochester man on trial in Monroe County, NY Court, charged with harassment and assaulting officer Doran.

Lugo, 25, has lived on Flower St., a residential one-way street which runs off North Clinton Ave. on Rochester’s east side, with his parents since he was 5 years old.

His grandparents live on Flower St.

His friends live on Flower St.

And that’s where he was on April 2, 2012 when RPD officers Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Richard Doran, raced up Flower St. driving the wrong way, and stopped Lugo, who was walking with two friends.

RPD officer Flanigan, Hasper and Doran, got out of their cars, and immediately grabbed Lugo, brought him over to an RPD cruiser and began to search him.

When Lugo questioned why he was being stopped, they immediately threw him to the ground, where they punched and kicked him, and tasered him at least three times, including two “drive stuns” which is when a taser is applied directly to the skin.

When neighbors on Flower St., including Lugo’s aunt, Annette Velazquez, a Rochester City School district employee, who was visting her elderly parents, pleaded with officers to stop beating Lugo, RPD officers turned on them.

RPD officer Benjamin Mitchell shoved Annette Velazquez several times as he yelled to her, “Get in the house!”

When Annette Velazquez told Mitchell that she was going to call Rochester, NY Police Chief James Sheppard, whom she knows personally from having worked with him when Sheppard was the director of security for the Rochester City School district, officer Mitchell confiscated her phone, pepper-sprayed her and placed her under arrest.

Velazquez wasn’t the only one pepper-sprayed or arrested.

In fact, a pregnant woman and an elderly woman were also pepper-sprayed.

Officers also took the pregnant woman’s phone and arrested her as well.

In an attempt to cover up their unlawful actions, including not only beating Lugo, but confiscating people’s cell phones, pepper-spraying and arresting them, the officers charged Lugo with assaulting officer Richard Doran.

Like Lugo’s attorney, Monroe County Public defender Sonya Zoughlin told the jury, “They (RPD officers) had to come up with an excuse why someone looks like that.”

Zoughlin made those comments in her closing arguments Friday afternoon in Monroe County Court Judge Doug Randall’s courtroom, as she showed the jury of 12 and two alternates, photos of a beaten, bloodied Lugo.

But aside from those photos which show Lugo with a badly swollen-shut left eye, as well as multiple bruises and contusions, including prong marks from the taser, perhaps most disturbing was the revealing look at how RPD officers Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Ricard Doran operate, and what they think of the residents in the communities they patrol.

On cross examination by Zoughlin, Flanagan, Hasper and Doran, who admitted they “work together”, and are “always on Flower St. together”, all had trouble acknowledging New York State law, when it comes to stops and searches.

Again, in Lugo’s case, he was walking down the street, heading to a nearby store with two friends, when officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran raced up the wrong way of a one-way street and grabbed Lugo as soon as they stepped out of their cars, despite the fact that in their own testimony, all three officers said Lugo never ran away, he was simply walking.

Under direct examination from District Attorney Michael Harrigan, in another attempt to justify their illegal actions, all three officers said that Lugo and his friends were near a known drug house, and may have been trespassing, even though as police officers, they know the law, which states that in order to know if an individual is trespassing or not, the officer has to know who the owner of the property is, in order to know if that individual may have permission to be on that property.

When asked by Lugo’s attorney, if they knew who owned the property, each officer replied they did not.

Therefore, there was no way that RPD officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran could have known if in fact Lugo, or anyone else for that matter, was trespassing.

Officer Kevin Flanagan testified that if someone walking on the sidewalk, steps off the sidewalk and so much as steps on dirt or grass in front of a property, to him that’s trespassing.

Under cross examination by Zoughlin, the three officers would not admit that despite there being an old, abandoned home where marijuana is sold, Flower St. is in fact, a residential street where most of the residents are honest, working families with young children, as well as some elderly folks.

One of those elderly Flower St. residents is Ana Davila, who took the stand for the defense Friday afternoon.

Davila said that as she normally does, she was in her front yard minutes before she saw Lugo walking past her house, then immediately saw several police cars stop, officers get out, and start beating Lugo.

District Attorney Michael Harrigan later grilled Davila asking her why does she like to go outside and does she normally go in her front yard, like there’s something wrong with that.

I mean last time I checked, this is America, correct?

People do have the right to go outside of their homes right?

On the stand, officers Flanagan, Hasper and Doran spoke and looked more like soldiers sent to fight enemies in a war zone, than police officers who have taken an oath to serve and protect.

That war zone being Rochester’s east side, or as they refer to it, PSA 23, an area where the majority of the residents are Latino and African-American.

On the stand, each officer’s face lit up when describing their “fighting” and “combat training” they each took at the police academy, along with the many “holds” and “moves” such as “three point landings” and “knee strikes” they use on people.

At one point, all three officers admitted to doing several “knee strikes” on an already handcuffed, already on the ground, Jose Lugo.

When asked by the defense what a “knee strike” was, officer Flangan said “It’s when you drive your knee into a person’s torso, hard, just like kicking a soccer ball.”

At another point, Zoughlin asked officer Hasper “Officer, you punched Jose Lugo in his face correct?”

Hasper replied, “I performed a distractionary jab.”

To which Zoughlin again asked, “You punched Jose Lugo in his face correct?”

And again Hasper replied, “I performed a distractionary jab.”

RPD officer Joel Hasper refused to admit that what he calls a “distractionary jab”, is a punch to the face of an innocent young man.

A young man who was not doing anything wrong.

Throughout the trial, it was clear, that all three RPD officers have a certain disgust towards the people who live in the North Clinton Ave./Flower Street area they patrol.

And that right there, is the problem.

The City of Rochester and the Rochester, NY Police department have placed these officers, mostly white, most who do not even reside in the city, in mostly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, which they consider “war zones.”

Where these officers look at, treat, and consider the residents of those neighborhoods as the enemy.

Where these officers, who think they are above the law, profile, harass and abuse Latinos and African-Americans, on a daily basis.

These officers’ rogue and illegal conduct goes unchecked and undisciplined by their superiors, including RPD Chief James Sheppard, who although he would never admit it, he as well as other members of the RPD’s top brass, not only encourage, but actually instruct officers to behave in this manner.

Then, Chief Sheppard has the nerve to put up billboards throughout the city with slogans such as “We’ve Got Your Back.” and “On The Same Team.”, while he gets in front a few television cameras, desperately asking for the community to respect and trust his officers, and his department.

One would think that the City of Rochester, NY, under the leadership of Mayor Thomas Richards, not only a former attorney, but the former Corporation Counsel for the City of Rochester, would take a zero-tolerance stance against these rogue, corrupt, unlawful police officers such as Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Richard Doran, who are not only a danger to innocent Rochester citizens, but are also a finacial liability to the City of Rochester, and get rid of them.

Officers who break the law, drive up the wrong way on one-way streets, unlawfully stop and search innocent people, beat them, pepper-spray concerned neighbors while confiscating their cell phones, then arrest them in order to cover up their illegal actions.

Follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/davyvara

Rochester, NY Police officers Kevin Flanagan, Joel Hasper and Richard Doran, Don’t Care about the Law, and Look at the Community they Work In, as a War Zone, and the Citizens as the Enemies is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Have You Connected with a Local Cop Block Group?

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Want to make a difference? Get involved. Connect and collaborate with like-minded people in your area, through CopBlock.org/Groups.

If there’s not-yet a group in your area then start one. Plant a flag. Others will join you to help grow your impact.

Thanks to Nate Cox, founder of Virginia Cop Block, for both giving this overview and for agreeing to be a point-person for those who have questions when starting a group in their own area (Nate can be reached at: vacopblock@gmail.com).

Each Cop Block group or offshoot is unique. The direction it takes is contingent on its members and supporters. Some groups frequently hit the street to do Copblocking or outreach. Others share relevant content from their area, sometimes with a bit of their own analysis. The important thing is to do something that you’re both passionate about that’s moving the conversation about police accountability in the right direction (i.e. that badges don’t grant extra rights).

As they say, talk is cheap. Action is where it’s at. Failure to act now against double-standards will make it even more-difficult in the future.

CopBlock.org/Groups

 

From our About page:

Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goal of police accountability.

We highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges by pointing to and supporting those harmed. By documenting police actions whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources then putting direct pressure on the individuals responsible (ideally while recording and then later sharing), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact.

CopBlock.org is a resource for the education of individual rights through the dissemination of different viewpoints and tactics that seek to curtail the all-too-common rights-violations and unaccountability that today exists.

We do not “hate cops.” We believe that no one – not even those with badges – has extra rights. The failure to realize and act on that is to our detriment. By focusing the disinfecting light of transparency on public officials we safeguard not just our rights but those of future generations.

Have You Connected with a Local Cop Block Group? is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Texas Cops Destroy Video Evidence of Colleague Killing Unarmed Man

Friday, September 28th, 2012

RT reports:

A Texas cop is on restricted duty after killing an unarmed man, while other officers are on the hook for trying to destroy documentary evidence of the event.

A police officer in Texas shot an unarmed man before colleagues confiscated and deleted video and mobile phone evidence of the event, which is now under criminal investigation.

The victim, Michael Vincent Allen, was chased by police in the Mesquite area of Dallas, Texas for 30 minutes at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour in a pursuit that involved police forces from multiple counties.

Allen eventually pulled into a cul-de-sac, when cops say he tried to ram his way past two patrol cars that had boxed in his pickup truck.

The officer who fired the shots, Patrick Tuter, said that it was at this point that he feared for his life, leaving him with no choice but to open fire on Allen.

Allen was shot 41 times, which means Tuter had to have reloaded his gun at least once.

Mitchell Wallace, who saw the altercation from his house, was asleep when the gunshots began, but quickly woke up in time to see Allen’s female passenger, who miraculously was uninjured, being pulled from the truck and a police dog jumping into the cab, which then bit Allen in the neck and jaw before dragging him to the pavement.

Police then flipped Allen onto his front and checked his pulse, the witness said.

Autopsy results have yet to show whether it was the bullets or the German Shepherd that killed him.

Wallace took pictures and shot video of what he saw of the incident on his mobile phone, which was confiscated by police at the scene and returned three days later with the pictures deleted.

Mesquite police are now conducting a criminal investigation into Officer Tuter’s actions, and will determine whether or not he broke the law. Police are also conducting an internal investigation into the destruction of photographic evidence.

Texas law states that police need a court order to confiscate a camera unless it was used to commit a crime.

It was reported in the Dallas Morning News that local journalist Avi Adelman believes the confiscation and destruction of Wallace’s photographic evidence were illegal, and violated Wallace’s First and Fourth Amendment rights (which provides for freedom of speech and the press, and prohibits searches or seizures without a warrant, respectively).

According to Adelman, it’s not the first time Texas police have acted outside the law with regards to photographic and video evidence.

In this latest incident, a dashboard camera from a squad car proved that Officer Tuter’s statement that he acted in self-defense when rammed by Allen was a lie.

The camera revealed that Tuter himself had crashed his patrol car into Allen’s truck before opening fire.

Mesquite city councilor Rick Williams issued a statement to the Dallas Morning News, saying, “Some of the allegations regarding this incident do raise questions that need to be carefully examined.”

Texas Cops Destroy Video Evidence of Colleague Killing Unarmed Man is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Scenes from a Militarized America

Friday, September 28th, 2012

From the Facebook page of the Kennebec County, Maine Sheriff’s Office.

Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Augusta Police Department have been working collaboratively by combining resources such as our Special Response Team. This pic was taken recently by staff at the Kennebec Journal as the two teams trained together for tactical approaches and tactical entries. Lookin’ sharp, guys!

Lunch Links

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Medical Examiner Revises Suspect’s Death Ruling to Homicide

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Gina Barton of the Journal Sentinel writes:

The Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office has revised its ruling on the death of Derek Williams, who died in Milwaukee police custody in July 2011, from natural to homicide, according to the district attorney’s office.

The decision came after the Journal Sentinel alerted an assistant medical examiner to newly released records – including a video of a suffocating Williams pleading for help from the back of a squad car – and also made him aware of a national expert who said Williams, 22, did not die naturally of sickle cell crisis.

In making his initial determination of natural death more than a year ago, Assistant Medical Examiner Christopher Poulos did not review all of the police reports or a squad video recently obtained by the newspaper. The video shows a handcuffed Williams, his eyes rolled back, gasping for breath and begging for help in the back seat of a Milwaukee police car as officers ignore his pleas. The police reports include key details about Williams’ arrest that the medical examiner didn’t know.

As a result of the new ruling, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm is reopening his investigation into whether criminal charges are warranted against any of the officers involved.

Chisholm, the Police Department and the Fire and Police Commission previously had cleared the officers of wrongdoing, largely based on the medical examiner’s earlier ruling of natural death.

“We’re going to revisit it. Absolutely,” Chisholm said. “The medical examiners are our experts in these cases. Without any question, we place a tremendous amount of weight in their determination. Any time they revisit one of their determinations, we really take that seriously.”

Chisholm emphasized, however, that the revised finding does not mean a crime was committed. Homicide in medical examiners’ parlance means “death at the hands of another.” In contrast, the crime of homicide requires prosecutors to prove intent to kill, reckless disregard for life or negligent disregard for life while operating a firearm or a vehicle.

In a statement, Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn said he did not expect any officers to be criminally charged as a result of the new ruling.

“This second report contains no information that was not in the first report, nor does it present any new objective facts,” the statement says.

In the video, which the paper initially requested last November, Williams struggles to breathe for seven minutes, 45 seconds, then slumps over, unconscious.

An officer then checks his pulse, props him up in the seat and walks to a nearby supervisor’s car. Finding no one there, the officer returns and starts CPR as a different officer calls for medical assistance. Police and paramedics continue CPR for more than 45 minutes before Williams is declared dead.

Along with Chisholm, Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission Executive Director Michael Tobin and internal affairs Lt. Alfonso Morales viewed the video months ago and determined officers had done nothing wrong, despite department rules requiring police to call for help immediately “if medical treatment becomes necessary.”

The Police Department’s Standard Operating Procedures go on to state: “It cannot be overemphasized that members shall continually monitor and remain cognizant of the condition of a person in custody, especially when he/she is in restraints. The arrestee may encounter immediate or delayed physical reactions that may be triggered by the change in physical or environmental factors. Therefore, caution and awareness on the part of the officer is constantly required.”

Flynn agreed with Morales’ conclusion that the officers did not violate department rules or the law.

Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz would not answer questions Friday. Via email, she noted that the department has instituted new training on recognizing and responding to medical distress, including sickle cell crisis, in prisoners.

Tobin said he would review the matter in light of the medical examiner’s revised findings.

Neither the two officers who arrested Williams nor the two officers who took turns sitting in the squad car while Williams was in back responded to email requests for interviews.

Poulos re-examined Williams’ case after the Journal Sentinel informed him that Werner U. Spitz, a forensic pathologist and one of the nation’s leading experts on death investigation, believed the death was a homicide.

Spitz reviewed the case at the newspaper’s request Poulos said in March that he used Spitz’s work on sickle cell crisis as a resource in determining how Williams died.

“Is this a natural death? No. This is not a natural death,” Spitz told the Journal Sentinel.

Spitz said that while sickle cell crisis likely occurred, it was caused by an officer applying pressure to Williams’ back – and perhaps his neck – while he was facedown on the ground.

“This officer didn’t have the intention of killing him, but that doesn’t mean this kind of restraint should be performed,” Spitz said.

Spitz is co-author of the book “Medicolegal Investigation of Death,” considered the medical examiners’ bible. In addition to evaluating Poulos’ autopsy, he reviewed the video and police reports, which were released to the newspaper under a state open records law request.

The newspaper first requested the public records in November 2011. The department released the police reports in June and the video last week.

Williams’ loved ones wanted the video to be turned over to the newspaper and made available for the public to see, according to attorney Jonathan Safran, who represents Williams’ long-term girlfriend – with whom he had three young children – and Williams’ father.

The two are very upset that officers said Williams was breathing just fine and playing games, according to Safran.

“(Williams’ girlfriend and father) believe that it was obvious that he could not breathe, and they think it is important for others to see and hear the video and draw their own conclusions,” Safran said. “They are devastated by the depiction of what happened to Derek.”

The video does not show Williams being arrested or placed in the squad car.

Continue reading…

Medical Examiner Revises Suspect’s Death Ruling to Homicide is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

2nd Annual Chalk the Police!

Friday, September 28th, 2012

If you saw someone using non-toxic children’s chalk on a sidewalk or other public area would you put them in a cage and demand from them their money?

That’s what some folks wearing badges have done this past year. No joke! Let those bullies know you don’t condone their aggressive actions through a peaceful, non-permanent* mechanism – chalk.

The 2nd Annual Chalk the Police: National Day of Action and Chalking Contest! is an opportunity to share your thoughts with those who dub themselves “the authorities”, as well as anyone who walks, runs, bikes, or drives by. And this year, the best entry into each of three categories – Best Location, Best Mural/Chalk Art Design, and Best Chalk Saying/Slogan – will receive $66 worth of Cop Block swag. The best mural/design will also get some high-quality Eternity Art chalk.

For details, and to connect with folks in your area to stage an event or to create an event of your own, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/events/224724060987844/

and/or

http://www.copblock.org/20820/2nd-annual-chalk-the-police-national-day-of-action-chalking-contest-monday-october-1st-2012/

*expect for the exchange of ideas, which can be life-changing.

 

2nd Annual Chalk the Police! is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights