This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

The content below was originally posted to StopTheDrugWar.org on February 26, 2014 by Phillip Smith

_______________________

A drug court probation officer parties down with one of his clients, a Georgia cop goes to prison for ripping off a drug dealer, and so does a Philadelphia cop. Keep an eye on Philly. The stench is really rising there.

In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia narcotics officer pleaded guilty Monday to attempted robbery and firearms charges for stealing $15,000 from a Southwest Philly drug dealer after planting cocaine in his car. Jeffrey Walker, a 24-year veteran of the department, also agreed to testify against his former colleagues in a widening federal probe of corruption in the dope squad, and his lawyer said his crimes paled in comparison with those of other implicated officers.

In Atlanta, a former Clayton County police officer was sentenced last Friday to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring with a drug dealer to do a fake traffic stop on a car so they could steal the cocaine inside. Dwayne Penn copped to one count of conspiracy to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine.

In Springfield, Illinois, the former head probation officer for the Adams County drug court was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail and 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to turning his home into a “drug house.” John Grotts was arrested in April 2012 after a search of his home turned up meth and a female drug court probationer, who was also arrested.

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Cops Fake Illegal Drug Checkpoints to Detain and Search Drivers who React to the Sign

Monday, January 27th, 2014

This article was originally posted at TheFreeThoughtProject.com.

In Mayfield Heights, Ohio, checkpoints to search for drugs are illegal, so the crony cops have decided to try another way to violate the people’s freedom from unreasonable search; fake drug checkpoints.

According to Cleveland.com, police gathered in the express lanes of Interstate 271 after placing signs along the freeway warning motorists that a drug checkpoint lay ahead.

There was no checkpoint, only police waiting for motorists to react suspiciously after seeing the signs. A Mayfield Heights assistant prosecutor says it’s a lawful and legitimate tactic in his city’s war on drugs.

“We should be applauded for doing this,” Dominic Vitantonio said. “It’s a good thing.”

Lying, abusing, and twisting the so-called law, should “be applauded”? Welcome to the prison nation, slave.

James Hardiman, the Legal Director of Ohio’s ACLU, said, “Mayfield Heights police may believe they have concocted a scheme that allows them to circumvent the Constitution, but they are mistaken.”

He continued, “Americans have a fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and courts have been clear that random drug checkpoints like Mayfield Heights’ are illegal.”

Cops Fake Illegal Drug Checkpoints to Detain and Search Drivers who React to the Sign is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

This week, we have a trio of jail guards gone bad, as well as another cop with a pain pill problem and sticky fingers. That’s a bad combination. Let’s get to it:

In Miami, a Miami-Dade jail officer was arrested last Friday on charges he smuggled drugs and cell phones into the Miami-Dade County Jail. Officer Lavar Lewis, 27, also known as “The Love Doctor,” went down after a 19-month investigation into persistent smuggling at the jail. At least three other jail guards are under investigation in the ongoing probe. Lewis, a day shift officer since his hire in November 2008, has been suspended since September 2013. He was charged with unlawful compensation and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a jail and was being held Friday night at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.

 

In Honolulu, a Halawa prison guard was arrested Monday on charges he was smuggling methamphetamine into the prison. James Sanders III was indicted by a federal grand jury after an FBI investigation. The indictment accuses him of distributing at least five grams on one occasion and at least 50 grams on another. He is charged with two counts each of distributing methamphetamine, conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and bribery. He’s out on bond already, but forbidden from working in any prison.

In Baltimore, a jail guard was sentenced last Wednesday to 3 ½ years in prison for her role in a vast drug-smuggling operation at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Adrena Rice is one of nine jail guards who have pleaded guilty in the conspiracy. She admitted to smuggling contraband including marijuana and prescription pills into the lock-up. She had copped to one count of racketeering conspiracy.

In Price, Utah, a former Carbon County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail for stealing drugs out of the evidence room. Christopher Howard Basso, 38, must also undergo substance abuse treatment and limit himself to one doctor and one pharmacy. Basso was put on leave in January 2013 after failing two drug tests, but suspicious colleagues noticed he was continuing to enter the sheriff’s office without permission and set up a surveillance camera that caught him breaking into the evidence room. In a plea bargain, the 13-year veteran copped to possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, and trespassing.

 

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

DEA Cop Joins Marijuana Industry

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

I wholeheartedly believe that most – like 90% – of the issues facing policing today (like double standards and lack of accountability to name two) will continue because the only real solution is to change the way the institution of protection is funded. Currently, that’s via taxation and, sadly, people believe they have to pay their taxes, or do so out of fear of being jailed for not paying taxes.

Below is a story that highlights how I believe we can actually change the profession of ‘protecting and serving.’ I’ve long stated that nothing will change with police until you provide those who currently work within the system an alternative. It was one of the points I was trying to get across during my “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit this past weekend.

In the story below, former DEA agent Patrick Moen states he quit his job with the DEA to work with a marijuana investment firm.  Hopefully this provides some of the LEO’s out there a little motivation to take their skills directly to those who need them. It seems Patrick is much happier helping people protect their property instead of being a part of an endless cycle that perpetuates endless violence.

Story from RT.com:

The chief of operations at the United States Drug Enforcement Agency said only last week that increased efforts as of late to legalize marijuana across the country is scaring his fellow officials at the DEA. Others, however, have a much different take.

Just last Wednesday, the DEA’s James L. Capra told members of the Senate that the emerging pro-pot trend is “reckless,” “irresponsible” and “scares us.”

Former DEA agent Patrick Moen isn’t in the same boat. After over a decade of working with the federal government to put away drug dealers, Moen recently abandoned his job at the DEA in order to pursue a career with Privateer Holdings, a Seattle, Washington-based investment firm that specializes in the budding marijuana industry.

Since 2010, Privateer has been putting money into the hands of start-ups that are looking to work their way up in the legal weed business. Moen just recently left the DEA after more than 10 years, and since November has been Privateer’s managing director of compliance and their senior counsel.

“I saw this as an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team that’s helping to create this industry,”Moen, 36, told Reuters“I don’t really feel like it’s the other side.”

Maybe Moen’s right, but there’s no doubt it’s something at least a little different for the long-time cop. According to his LinkedIn profile, he spent five-and-a-half years working as a law enforcement officer around Buffalo, New York, and then signed on for what became a decade as a DEA under the Department of Justice starting in 2003. Before calling it quits, he had managed to hold high-positioned jobs in both Washington and Oregon supervising teams of drug enforcement agents.

“Over the course of years I realized that the targeting of marijuana was not an effective use of resources. There was no ‘aha’ moment. It was a steady evolution involving discussions with friends and colleagues,”he told the Seattle Times last month.

Then, Moen told the paper, “the general dysfunction of the federal government” helped him consider new career options.

Read More….

Here’s another guy (video below) who’s taking orders from customers and not politicians. I think more LEO’s will come around as the government goes further into debt, continues to put officers in more dangerous situations and as people in general lose faith in the system.

DEA Cop Joins Marijuana Industry is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Kelly Thomas Verdict Was Just and Proper

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

If you are an Average American, that is. If you are a halfway decent human being, you might be crying in despair at humanity, or cursing God/Allah/Yahweh/Vishnu. But if you are the Average American, you will sleep fine tonight, like you have always slept, in the face of countless acts of police brutality – including plunder, robbery, rape, child abuse, and even murder.

Kelly Thomas was a schizophrenic and homeless man living in Fullerton, CA. In July of 2011, he was approached by police for questioning in connection with vehicle vandalism while in downtown Fullerton. Police escalated the situation (as they are prone to do). Some 6 officers were involved in this encounter with a homeless man, who had at that point committed no theft, violence, or any other crime. Mr. Thomas was subject to a brutal beating, during which Officer Manuel Ramos put on latex gloves, balled his fists, and said to Mr. Thomas, “You see these fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up.” Another officer principally involved in the beating was Jay Cicinelli. Mr. Thomas died from his injuries at a hospital several days later.

The incident, including Ramos’ blatant threat, was captured on video. Mr. Thomas can be seen on video being beaten and pleading for his life. He says “Dad, help me… They’re killing me,” repeatedly. He says, “Sir, please… okay…okay…” repeatedly. He says “Help me…help me god…” repeatedly. He also apologizes, but was murdered by police nevertheless. (More here.)

If an ordinary person had put on gloves, and said “These fists are going to fuck you up,” then proceeded to beat a person to death, a first-degree murder charge and conviction would be swiftly in order. In the case of hallowed police officers, charges were filed only after extensive public outcry, and even then, the most severe charge was that of second-degree murder against Ramos. Cicinelli and Ramos went on trial, and were acquitted on January 14, 2014, of all charges – including excessive force (more here and here). Of course, inherent in that conclusion by the jury is the unspoken declaration that in America, it is not excessive to beat a helpless and mentally ill detainee to death for merely being accused of suspicious activity.

This ruthless beating and murder would certainly seem horrendous to a human being of integrity, but of course, the Average American is not a human being of integrity. The Average American has, for decades, cheered on the various acts of police violence against students, disabled old men, children, among other completely innocent parties. The cops were doing their job – to hell with it if some innocent person was murdered in the process. The cops are heroes – so be it if they have to kill a child or two to “keep us safe.”

A less loathsome breed of the Average American insists that the poor victim should not have been beaten to death, but that some lesser form of force ought to have been employed to obtain compliance. Equally innate in this sentiment is the idea that people who have committed no theft, violence, or crime, nevertheless should obey a cop’s every command. Freedom is not of the utmost concern, justice is not of the utmost concern, safety is not of the utmost concern; blind obedience is. This morally degenerate standard exists for almost no one in society, save police.

The rationale behind the defense of Cicinelli and Ramos was that Mr. Thomas died not at their hands, but due to asphyxiation and heart problems arising from complications of alleged drug use. Keep in mind that when ordinary mortals commit crimes, it is a well-established legal principle that they take their victims as they find them. If an ordinary man punches another man in the face, and the victim unexpectedly dies because he happened to have a thin skull, no court would exempt the aggressor from the crime on the basis that the victim died from complications arising from a thin skull due to drug use or any other reason – the aggressor would be held to account regardless. However, have the aggressor don a uniform and a badge, and the story becomes quite different. His act of violence is treated almost like an act of nature, and everything else but his holy act is to blame – the victim’s mental illness, his resistance to abject humiliation and physical torture, his pre-existing conditions, etc. Such is the double standard the Average American allows the policeman.

The Average American has long been comfortable with double standards for cops – both legal and cultural. Cops can murder, rape, and pillage with impunity, both from a legal and moral standpoint. When they murder, rape, and pillage – it is for the sake of public safety and order. Thus, they are protected from legal consequences, as well as moral judgment.

The kind of worship the Average American lavishes upon police is similar to that of deification; police essentially can do no wrong. If they murder a petty criminal, it’s justified because he was a criminal. If they murder an innocent person, it was a mere “mistake,” and justified because police were “doing their job.” The only other entity accorded such moral leniency in the face of repeated, intentional, malicious violence, is God. Indeed, the mentality Americans have toward police is virtually indistinguishable from that of, “God works in mysterious ways.”

Because in America, a cop is likened to God, the Average American cares not that police lionization and immunity has resulted in the “Land of the Free” having the highest incarceration rate, both per capita and in sheer numbers, in the entire world. For the same reason, the Average American actually thinks it’s quite wonderful that their infallible demi-gods have steadily acquired weapons they should not possibly ever need for domestic purposes, including drones, tanks, and grenade launchers, while ordinary citizens are increasingly restricted and regulated in firearms ownership. As it should be, perhaps – who are lowly mortals to question the motivation of gods?

If you are the Average American, you are perfectly comfortable with this verdict because you, Average American, defend the system at all costs. In the past, people may have suggested to you the absurd proposition that justice and policing ought not be a coerced institution of monopoly by government, and should be conducted on a voluntary basis. You laughed at this “idealistic” nonsense, insisting that voluntary policing and freedom of choice in justice systems would surely lead to chaos and violence. As if police murdering people in the street with impunity isn’t chaos and violence. As if your precious government system of policing and “justice” isn’t simply a permanent monopoly of systemic violence that by definition perpetuates, and even encourages chaos and violence.

But this is no matter, because “the system isn’t perfect, but it’s the best there is. God bless democracy, freedom, and civility.” The police must murder to save lives. They must use violence to prevent violence. They must break the law in order to enforce it. Freedom isn’t free. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

 

Kelly Thomas Verdict Was Just and Proper is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Another “Isolated” Example of a Body Cavity Search

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Public Offender shared this post via CopBlock.org’s submit page.

A 54 year old woman had her vagina and rectum probed but no illicit substances were found. Undaunted, the heroic U.S. Customs and Border Protection took her to a hospital in El Paso to get to know her a little better. She was handcuffed, given a laxative, and evacuated her bowels in front of the officers (talk about scatalogy!). Her abdomen was then x-rayed and a speculum was used to plumb the depths of her nether regions. No illicit materials were found but the officers had a great time!

Of course, actions like these are absolutely necessary to keep us safe and free, right?

From ElPasoTimes.com:

A New Mexico woman claims in a federal lawsuit that she underwent a brutal and inhumane six-hour full-body cavity search by federal officers that included anal and vaginal probes that made her feel like an “animal.”

The woman, a Lovington, N.M. resident, also is suing University Medical Center, where she was forced to have an observed bowel movement, was X-rayed, had a speculum exam, vaginal exam and had a CT scan.

The suit claims the hospital “violated her” and then gave her the $5,000 bill.

The lawsuit names the El Paso County Hospital District’s Board of Managers, University Medical Center, Drs. Michael Parsa and Christopher Cabanillas, two unknown supervising U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and two other CBP officers only identified by their last names of Portillo and Herrera as defendants. The doctors and the agents could not be reached for comment.

The 54-year-old woman, who is not identified in the suit, is asking for an unspecified amount of money and to end the policy that gives federal agents and officers the authority to stick their fingers and objects up people’s cavities when they search for drugs.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court in El Paso on behalf of the woman who was stopped as she crossed at the Bridge of the Americas a year ago. Despite the six-hour search at the port and then later at UMC, no drugs were found.

The woman is identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the woman was first frisked and strip-searched at the port of entry, where officers stuck their fingers inside her rectum and vagina. When that search came up negative, she was taken to University Medical Center.

“These extreme and illegal searches deeply traumatized our client,” ACLU of New Mexico Legal Director Laura Schauer Ives said in the news release. “The fact that our government treated an innocent 54-year-old woman with such brutality and inhumanity should outrage all Americans. We must ensure that government agents never put another person through a nightmare like this ever again.”

Read more…

-Public Offender

*Note that the woman was sent a hospital bill for $5,000.

Another “Isolated” Example of a Body Cavity Search is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Cops 258 – Constitution 0 (Videos in Link)

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stopped and questions 258 times over 4 years while working…at the private property on which you work? Apparently, according to TheRoot.com, one guy can tell you how it feels…

 Well, that’s what Miami Gardens, Fla., store owner Alex Saleh is trying to figure out. One of the employees at his store, 207 Quickstop, Earl Sampson, has been stopped and questioned 258 times, searched more than 100 times and arrested and tossed in jail countless times, the Miami Herald reports.

According to Saleh, Sampson, other employees and even his customers have been repeatedly stopped and frisked by Miami Gardens police, sometimes as often as three times a day.

Most of them, the Herald reports, are like Sampson. In two words: poor and black.

Saleh couldn’t take the constant harassment anymore and ended up installing 15 video cameras in his store—not to protect himself from criminals, but from the police.

What these videos reveal is shocking, the Herald reports. Read more and view videos…

 

Cops 258 – Constitution 0 (Videos in Link) is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Driver Arrested in Ohio for Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

This article was originally posted on Reason.com by Scott Shackford. The stories just get crazier by the day.

Norman Gurley, 30, is facing drug-related charges in Lorain County, Ohio, despite the fact that state troopers did not actually find any drugs in his possession.

Ohio passed a law in 2012 making it a felony to alter a vehicle to add a secret compartment with the “intent” of using it to conceal drugs for trafficking.

Gurley is the first actual person arrested under the law. WKYC in Northeast Ohio covered the arrest, with no notable journalistic skepticism whatsoever:

They pulled over the driver for speeding, but then troopers noticed several wires running to the back of the car.

Those wires then led them directly to a hidden compartment.

Around 5 p.m. on Tuesday state troopers made the arrest under the law, which is meant to combat criminals who modify the inside of their car, allowing them to store drugs or weapons inside secret compartments, which can often only be accessed electronically.

They just noticed some wires, did they? Just while in the process of handing Gurley a speeding ticket, they noticed the wires?

They did not, however, find any drugs, which means they’re arresting Gurley for the crime of an empty space:

Troopers arrested 30-year-old Norman Gurley, who didn’t even have any drugs on him, but it didn’t matter, because in Ohio, just driving a “trap” car is now a felony.

“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” says Combs.

But because of this law, one more “trap car” is now off Northeast Ohio roads.

“We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

Combs’ claim is not challenged by the news station at all.

The law says it’s only a crime if the hidden compartment is added with the “intent” to conceal drugs, but it also outlaws anybody who has been convicted of felony aggravated drug trafficking laws from operating any vehicle with hidden compartments. The ACLU of Ohio warned against the new legislation:

The ACLU of Ohio believes SB 305 is an unnecessary and unproductive expansion of law. Drug trafficking is already prohibited under Ohio law, so there is no use for shifting the focus to the container. Further by focusing on the container itself, this bill criminalizes a person with prior felony drug trafficking convictions simply for driving a car with a hidden compartment, regardless of whether or not drugs or even drug residue are present.

Given this is the first arrest, you have to wonder how the courts might view a law making it a felony to alter a person’s own property for reasons that have nothing to do with actual public safety. Maybe we’ll see.

As for the car itself, the Institute for Justice’s 2010 “Policing for Profit”report calculated that law enforcement officials in the state have collected more than $80 million in shared proceeds from asset forfeiture funds. Oh, and the hidden compartment law exempts vehicles being operated by law enforcement officers, so if state troopers can come up with an excuse to use the ride they just grabbed, they may be able to keep it for themselves.

Driver Arrested in Ohio for Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

Boy Suffers Horriffic Facial Injuries After “Falling”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

 

According to HuffPost:

Marissa Sargeant admits her 14-year-old son did a bad thing when he allegedly shoplifted, but she doesn’t think he deserved to be roughed up by cops during his arrest.

The arrest happened last Tuesday when the boy — whose name has not been released — allegedly shoplifted goods from a Walmart in Tullytown, Pa., with two adult relatives.

She doesn’t deny the charges, but said the arresting officers beat the teen so bad, he has a broken nose and two swollen eyes.

“What he did was wrong. He was coerced by a 19-year-old. He does know better,” she said, according to the New York Daily News. “The picture speaks a thousand words.”

Note that the article quotes District Attorney David Heckler:

“Heckler told Philly.com that his office may interview eyewitnesses and possibly review footage of the incident taken on a police dashboard camera before proceeding further.”

Read More…

According to the county website, the number to reach Heckler’s office is 215-348-6344.

 

 

Boy Suffers Horriffic Facial Injuries After “Falling” is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights

South Africa: Drug Prohibition Always Fails

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Over the past month in Cape Town, South Africa, countless people have referenced the prevalence of violence, the impact of gangsterism, and their own distrust of police employees, but very few have mentioned drug policy* as the lynchpin between the three. Yet if one is serious about bringing-about a better reality here on the ground, it is a conversation that must be had.

Merely dictating that a good or service in demand is prohibited will not cease its supply but will drive it underground, which is sure to be accompanied by a host of negative unintended consequences. Violence, to control distribution or to settle disputes, is perhaps the most visible. Corruption, of those tasked with enforcing the proclaimed prohibition, is commonplace.

Also, unless there are two classes of people (masters and slaves) it’s important to recognize that such claims – a stranger acting as if s/he and their friends have the right to tell you how you can allocate your scarce resources and what you can do with your own body – are without merit.

Quite simply, prohibition doesn’t work.

RESOURCES USED IN VIDEO ABOVE

THE POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY TOUR

South Africa: Drug Prohibition Always Fails is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights