This post comes to us from Tim of MilwaukeeCitizenPress -YouTube channel. Tim was arrested a few months back and his arrest video was featured here on CopBlock as well as on Carlos Miller’s photographyisnotacrime.com.
Today was my second scheduled trial date. My original trial date was scheduled for 9-4-12 but my arresting “officer” Jason Kotarak filed an adjournment about 12 days prior despite nearly 4 months to clear his calendar. I had taken the day off work and assumed I’d be able to present my defense. Apparently the court waited until the actual date of my trial to mail me the notification as it was postmarked for the day of my trial.
The following are excerpts from my “Journal” taken during my experience at Milwaukee Municipal Court 11-12-12.
12:30pm I entered the courthouse through Mr. (officer) Mares’ security checkpoint. He got me through swiftly and treated me with the utmost respect as he always has. It’s obvious that Mr. Mares is a genuine individual and I have the utmost respect for him.
12:35 I check in with one of the receptionists who works in a large glass cage. She presses the intercom button and yells, “Next in line!” I reply, while making eye contact with her, “Next in line PLEASE!” She checks me into the system.
12:40 I take the elevator up one floor and speak with an individual by the name of “Racliff” (above video) or something similar. He states he cannot tell me if Jason Kotarak will attend court and objects to me video-recording.
12:45 I engage in conversation with several citizens waiting at the city attorney’s office. Apparently, the city attorney is at lunch from 12pm to 1pm. I’d like to expose the city attorney to the Department of Justice memo regarding filming police. Too many people waiting. Will address another day.
1:12 I walk to branch one door and wait for the bailiff to unlock the door to the courtroom. One female officer standing with her back to the courtroom wall texting.
1:17 Texting female officer no longer scrutinizing me and the camera and audio recorder hanging around my neck.
1:25 Baliff unlocks the deadlock on the courtroom doors and walks in. Female texting officer stays outside as do I.
1:27 I walk into the courtroom and am surprised to see judge Valerie Hill sitting on the bench. I walk in and sit on the left side of the courtroom immediately behind the police corral.
1:29 2 cops sitting in the cop corral. Both fully armed. One looks like my friend of 20 years who’s name is Dirk. Thinking, “Tommy (my lawyer friend) wish you were here bro!”
1:35 (Thinking) Jason Kotarak…no show! Scheduled trial time was 1:30pm. Can’t wait to speak with Sheryl from the police and fire commission about this.
1:39 Jason Kotarak (my arresting officer) shows up late. He walks in fully armed with what appears to be some sort of flak jacket. He is chomping his gum at a rapid pace.
1:40 Jason Kotarak sits down in the bench at the front of the room past the “police only fence.” I attempt to make eye contact and am satisfied that he showed up. He appears to be sending a text message despite the ban on electronic devices.
1:45ish Peter Block, the city attorney, calls me up to his desk. Peter Block is maybe 5’5 and heavy set. He cites my previous plea offer of $75 and I again decline. I tell him that Jason Kotarak lied on the police report. He states he’s seen my YouTube video. I ask him if he thinks he can convict me of the loitering charge and he says he thinks he can.
1:46ish-2:20ish Peter Block handles several cases besides mine. All electronic devices are barred from the courtroom. Peter Block has approximately 8 private conversations with (officer) Jason Kotarak during the next 20 minutes. One of the conversations occurred when Peter Block motioned for Jason Kotarak to come outside the courtroom into the desolate hallway. After many minutes they both returned to the courtroom.
2:07ish Judge Valerie Hill verbally reprimands the prosecutor, Peter Block, and a “defendant” for discussing a case too loudly. I was as close to them as she was and I didn’t hear a thing. Myself and the some others in the gallery are astounded by her crassness.
2:15ish My name is called. I approach prepared to present my defense. Judge Valerie Hill states that the state wants to dismiss my case. She says the witness seen for 10 seconds or so in the video is not available. I attempt to tell her that I object. She declines my objection. I ask if this is a dismissal with prejudice. She states it is not and that the charges may be brought against me for 2 years from the date of my arrest. I request to appeal the dismissal and and ask to reopen the case. She laughs at me.
Jason Kotarak walks up within 3 feet of me while in open court and attempts to confirm the address on my ticket. I look at the Judge and she looks down. I ask why he needs to know my current address and he immediately leaves. I feel extremely intimidated.
I turn on my camera looking for comment from him outside the court and he is gone.
2:40ish I return home and report Jason Kotarak’s behavior to the Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission. I also report his actions and an update on my situation to my local police department (Deputy Chief Dennis Angle.) I have been keeping my local department apprised of my situation since I was threatened with arrest by Erwin Estacio of MPD internal affairs. I contacted “Milwaukee police misconduct” FBI hotline and spoke with a very cordial individual.
Civil trial coming soon.
Milwaukee Cop Charges Videographer With Loitering…FAIL (Video) is a post from Cop Block - Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights