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After NAACP meeting, next steps critical in New London Ct.

The "town hall" meeting hosted by the NAACP Tuesday provided more evidence that a U.S. Justice Department review is necessary to determine whether recent police misconduct is indicative of broader problems in the department.

Most alarming is the case of Lance Goode. The black city resident has produced video from a patrol car camera that appears to show the planting of drugs by an officer to justify Mr. Goode's arrest. The officer suspected of planting the evidence, Roger Newton, has resigned and a state police investigation into his conduct and that of city police continues.

Connecticut NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said at the meeting that his organization has received numerous allegations of prejudicial and unfair treatment "involving the same officers." A couple of African-American speakers recounted their own run-ins with police, claiming they felt targeted for no legitimate reason. At the meeting, the NAACP collected complaint forms from citizens, information they plan to turn over to Justice officials.

New London is a diverse and, by most appearances, tolerant community. The city just elected an openly gay man as its first strong mayor under a charter change. Yet the allegations of police misconduct and the perplexing dismissal of a black firefighter just a couple of days before he was set to permanently join the department, a department with a long history of being dominated by white men, is damaging the city's image and dividing the community.

Federal law enforcement authorities have the ability to determine if disregard for civil rights is systemic.

Meanwhile, with the election of Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, the police department is undergoing a big shake-up. Police Chief Margaret Ackley will be putting her own team in place. She needs to get the reputation of her department turned around, and fast.


As for the case of Alfred Mayo - poised to become the first African-American hired by the New London Fire Department in more than three decades, only to be dismissed two days before graduating from the Connecticut Fire Academy - we suggest a fresh look. In so doing, we borrow from an idea proposed by one of the forum speakers, Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations).

We embrace Mr. Dhaouadi's proposal that Mayor Finizio appoint an ad hoc panel to independently assess the Mayo case and report to him. We would suggest perhaps a three-person board with a representative from the NAACP, a firefighting official from a department outside the city and a human resources professional, also with no city government ties. This panel could assess the documentation, talk to the fire chief, academy officials, Mr. Mayo and other pertinent individuals.

The panel could either affirm that Mr. Mayo was not a good candidate for firefighter or determine that he met the qualifications and his dismissal was unjustified. In any event, it would give the mayor an independent assessment and, depending on the outcome, perhaps avoid a lawsuit.

Nothing we have seen in the public domain appears to justify Mr. Mayo's dismissal. The decision came from long-time Fire Chief Ron Samul, who retires next year, and the mayor backed it. Mayor Finizio said he ran his decision by his chief administrative officer, Jane Glover, and Councilor Wade Hyslop, both prominent members of the city's African-American community, and they supported it. But neither Mayor Finizio, nor Ms. Glover, nor Councilor Hyslop spoke at the NAACP meeting to defend the decision. (The mayor told us organizers did not invite him to speak).

It was apparent at the meeting that Mayor Finizio's handling of the Mayo matter has damaged his credibility in the city's minority community. He needs to either reverse this decision or provide more justification for sticking by it. In either case, an independent assessment could be helpful. But the administration needs to act quickly. Things will become far more complicated and expensive if Mr. Mayo sues.

We also await from the administration an announcement of specific strategies for bringing racial and gender diversity to the city's fire department.

And we support state Rep. Ernest Hewett's pledge at Tuesday's meeting to conduct a legislative hearing into the Connecticut Fire Academy to try to determine whether attitudes there contribute to the lack of diversity on some city fire departments in the state. Rep. Hewett, a Democrat from New London, is a member of the Labor and Public Employees Committee.

New names, old pains on Mpls. police review panel

Article by: MATT McKINNEY and RANDY FURST , Star Tribune staff writers

Updated: February 20, 2012 - 9:43 PM

Its ranks depleted, its investigative staff overwhelmed and its recommendations routinely ignored, the Minneapolis Civilian Police Review Authority entered this year far weaker than what it was once envisioned to be -- a vigorous investigator of complaints against the police.

The city agency's bylaws call for 11 members, but as of Jan. 1 it had just two with unexpired terms. Its one working investigator has open, unresolved complaints stretching back to 2009. The authority has seen so many of its recommendations rejected by Police Chief Tim Dolan -- he dismissed all but 17 of the 129 cases the authority recommended for action -- that its departing board chairman questions why the 20-year-old authority continues to hear cases.

"I can certainly understand why a lot of complainants who come to the CRA walk away with frustration," said Austin Zuege, another authority board member who's stepping down.

That could be about to change. Or not. A fresh slate of eight new members has been named and will soon take up positions on the panel. And a months-in-the-making plan to reinvigorate the authority will be unveiled this month, according to Velma Korbel, director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department.

Korbel, despite criticisms of the board, said she wouldn't call the current situation a problem.

"We do occasionally look at the process to make it more efficient, more responsive to the customer," she said.

She refused to discuss specifics of the upcoming changes, as did the staff of Mayor R.T. Rybak, who released this statement: "We as a city are committed to strong oversight of police officer conduct, with meaningful civilian involvement when there are serious allegations of misconduct. The Civil Rights Department, the City Attorney and the Police Department are collaborating on business improvements to ensure that the oversight system is thorough and accountable, as well as to help make it more efficient, which will serve everyone in Minneapolis better."

The turmoil at the authority comes at a time when payouts for police misconduct allegations reached $4.7 million last year, second-highest total on record. Still, the chief defended his record on police discipline, saying it speaks for itself.

"I believe discipline needs to be fair," said Dolan. "I've always tried to do that even though my record would show that I've been the sternest chief since the CRA has been around."

Changes coming

Over police opposition, the City Council in 1990 created the Civilian Police Review Authority (commonly referred to as the CRA) after several incidents of questionable police conduct, including a 1989 North Side drug raid in which a police stun grenade ignited a fire that killed an elderly couple.

The authority provided an alternative for those who had complaints of police misconduct but didn't trust the department's internal investigators to handle the complaint fairly. Almost from the beginning, however, its effectiveness was called into question because it lacked subpoena power, a sufficient number of investigators and was prohibited from revealing much of its work to the public.

A report commissioned by the city's civil rights director in 2006 found that citizen monitoring had been "completely nullified" by the police department, which sent CRA reports to its internal affairs unit for more work.

The authority's functions have been revisited over the years, most recently in 2006, when a City Hall task force recommended forcing the police chief to abide by its disciplinary recommendations. The City Council never took up the proposal, however, and ultimate discretion on disciplinary matters remained with the chief.

Still, when the council appointed Dolan as chief in 2006, it mandated that he work toward imposing discipline whenever the CRA recommended it and do better than his predecessor, Bill McManus. In his first year, Dolan issued discipline in half the recommended cases. But by 2008, he imposed discipline in none of the five cases where the CRA recommended it.

Last year, the authority issued a harsh critique of Dolan's record on discipline: "The MPD under Chief Dolan has not made discipline of officer misconduct a priority, and the CRA Board has no confidence that Chief Dolan and the MPD command staff will issue discipline on sustained allegations of misconduct going forward." It was signed by the six remaining members of the CRA board.

Dolan's viewpoint

In his defense, Dolan argued that the general trend within the department has been toward more transparency and fewer complaints, thanks to the conduct of the officers, the proliferation of squad-car cameras and changes to use-of-force tactics.

"Right now is the first time in my memory that we don't have huge tensions with some community out there," he said. "That says a lot."

Kenneth Brown, 2008-09 chairman of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, says Dolan does not believe in citizen scrutiny of police. He says Rybak is partly to blame for failing to appoint enough board members.

"The police chief and the mayor don't believe they have to be accountable to the citizens of this city who are put in office," Brown said.

The CRA has two investigators, one of whom is on leave. Last year the board also hired a part-time investigator to vet incoming complaints. Don Bellfield, outgoing board chairman, would prefer four investigators.

Some cases languish for years. The CRA is still reviewing cases from 2009, and Korbel acknowledges, "I don't know that anyone would be satisfied with that amount of time."

The board, which divides into sub-panels of three to conduct hearings on cases, is also understaffed. While it should have 11 members, there are only six board members listed on its website, four of whom had their terms expire at the end of 2011. They remain on the board until new appointments are made.

Eight people have been named to fill some of the empty seats on the board. One of them is Lorna Pettis, who said she didn't know much about the history of the authority. She said she's had mixed experiences with Minneapolis police. She praised them for a murder investigation last year that involved a relative, but she criticized two officers who refused to follow up after several people barged into her stepdaughter's house and punched her.

"There are quite a few good police officers," she said. "There are some bad."

Bills would rein in police review board

The Minneapolis police union has gone to the Capitol to try to limit the power of an already troubled civilian oversight board that investigates police misconduct.
Bills introduced in the House and Senate at the instigation of the Minneapolis Police Federation would prohibit the city's Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA) from issuing a "finding of fact" that misconduct took place, limiting its role to a recommendation about the "merits of a complaint" against a police officer.
The authority's outgoing chairman says the bills are an attempt to dismantle the board, something the bills' supporters deny.
By city ordinance, the authority cannot impose discipline, but the ordinance gives it power to issue findings of fact in cases of alleged police misconduct. The CRA forwards its findings to Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan, who cannot conduct his own investigation or revise the findings. He must decide whether to impose discipline based on the CRA's findings.
The bills come at a time that city officials, including some in the police department, have been working behind the scenes to make changes to the authority, which sees most of its recommendations for discipline rejected. Dolan has declined to impose discipline in 112 of the 129 cases where the authority recommended it since 2009.
Asked why the police federation did not take the proposal to the City Council, John Delmonico, the group's president, said, "We have worked with the city to do two or three revamps of the Civilian Review Authority. It has fallen on deaf ears."
He said that while he supports civilian review, the authority's investigations are "inadequate and incomplete" and even if the chief does not impose discipline, the finding of fact remains on an officers' record. The findings, if not sustained by the chief, are not public, but Delmonico said they get disclosed in court cases anyway.
He said the chief, not a civilian authority, should issue findings of fact.
Don Bellfield, outgoing CRA board chairman, said the bills "would essentially dismantle the CRA." "The federation thinks, for some reason, that citizens, regular civilians, shouldn't have anything to do with the police department."
Council member Cam Gordon, who favors civilian oversight of police, criticized the bills. "Confidence and trust in the police force is something the residents really value," he said, "And an effective civilian review authority has the potential to help with that, and, in the end, will make it easier for the police to do a better job." He added "it's not appropriate for the Legislature to determine what kind of oversight we want to have for our police department."
But Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, a former police chief and one of the bill's co-authors, said, "Minneapolis shouldn't be any different from anywhere else in the state."
"Basically civilian review boards very rarely know anything about police tactics or use of force and, in my 36 years of law enforcement, I would much rather trust a police supervisor somewhere in the chain of command than I would a civilian review board. I think there is much more of a chance of bias coming in from the civilian review board than I think there is bias coming from the police profession." He said by law, police chiefs must take and investigate complaints, and if they don't issue findings, they can lose their licenses.

City police officer quits after misconduct alleged

MANSFIELD — A 16-year veteran of the Mansfield Police Department resigned earlier this month amid an internal investigation.

David Minard had been with the department since May 1996.

“We received some information in the latter part of 2011 alleging misconduct involving Officer Minard,” police Chief Dino Sgambellone said. “I ordered an inquiry into the matter, which resulted in certain facts being discovered that were cause for great concern.”

Sgambellone declined to elaborate.

“Although I take his choice of conduct very seriously, I don’t feel it would be fair to him to go into detail of these allegations prior to any determination of misconduct by the prosecutor,” the chief said. “I can assure the public that the issue has been thoroughly investigated.”

The case has been sent to the prosecutor’s office. Minard has not been charged.

News Journal efforts to contact Minard were unsuccessful because a telephone number was not available.

Richland County First Assistant Prosecutor Brent Robinson declined to comment.

Sgambellone said the most disturbing aspect of the case was “an improper relationship that (Minard) developed.” The chief confronted Minard with the information Feb. 8.

“He was brought in and advised of various elements of the case, at which time he voluntarily submitted his resignation from the Mansfield Police Department,”
Sgambellone said. “I gave him the option of discussing the issue with legal counsel and the union, which he declined and subsequently resigned.”

Since June 2010, Minard had been a K-9 officer, partnered with Tyson, a German shepherd. Sgambellone said the dog is being housed with another officer.

“I am in the process of evaluating whether we can retrain the dog with another handler,” he said.

2 Springfield cops defend actions of Jeffrey Asher in police brutality trial

CHICOPEE – Two Springfield police officers who were part of the November 2009 traffic stop of Melvin Jones III took the stand Thursday and said former officer Jeffrey M. Asher used the correct amount of force on Jones.

The prosecution in the police brutality trial of Asher, a former Springfield patrolman, finished its case early Thursday and the defense case began in Chicopee District Court.

Asher is charged with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the November 27, 2009, traffic stop of Jones on Rifle Street in Springfield. He was fired by Police Commissioner William J. Fitchett but was approved by the state for disability retirement.

An amateur video of the arrest made public by The Republican and MassLive.com appears to show Jones, who is black, being held down by two officers while struck repeatedly by Asher with a large flashlight.

The first two defense witnesses were Springfield Police officers Michael Sedergren and Theodore Truiolo.

Sedergren had unsuccessfully applied for a criminal complaint charging Tyrisha Greene, the woman who videoed the incident, with illegal wiretapping.

Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet had suspended Lt. John Bobianski and Sedergren without pay 45 days and officer Truiolo for 15 days after an investigation of the Jones incident.

On the stand Thursday, Sedergren said he yelled for fellow officers to hit Jones because he was sure Jones was reaching to take his gun out of his holster.

At that time, Sedergren said, he had an arm around Jones' neck and was holding his head down as Jones was bent over the hood of a police Ford Taurus.

Sedergren said he never saw Jones go for his firearm, but he felt Jones grab for it.

“I yelled for Officer Asher to strike the subject.” Sedergren testified.

He said he told Asher, “He’s got my f—-ing gun. Smash him.” Asher started hitting him.

“I honestly thought he was going to be able to get that firearm out of the holster,” Sedergren said.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Dunphy Farris asked Sedergren how he thought Jones could reach for his firearm, given the position he had Jones in over the hood and given the fact that Truiolo was on his right holding on to Jones.

Sedergren continued to say he was sure Jones was going for his gun.

Truiolo testified he never looked to see if Jones was going for Sedergren’s gun as the two officers held onto Jones on the hood of the Taurus.

Truiolo said he has been told if officers have a flashlight they can use it rather than drop a flashlight and get a police baton.

He said a flashlight is “a tool of opportunity.”

In several instances Truiolo said he did not remember certain things in the incident but knows they are shown on the video.

At one point he asked Dunphy Farris if she wanted him to answer a question “from my memory or from the video.”

The jury saw the video Wednesday and will have access to it when they deliberate.

Prosecution Rests in Jeffrey Asher Police Brutality Trial

CHICOPEE, Mass.) (WGGB)– The prosecution rested its case on Tuesday in the Jeffrey Asher police brutality trial.

Asher is charged with assault and battery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in connection with the arrest of Melvin Jones of Springfield on November 27, 2009.

The last witness for the prosecution was Dr. Larry Litscher, an opthamologist, who was shown pictures of Melvin Jones face after being hit by officer Asher,”The side of the face was deformed because of swelling and bruising, the eyelid was extensively swollen, bulging such that it could not easily be opened,” says Dr. Litscher.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Dunphy Farris says Jeffrey Asher used excessive force that night striking Jones 17 times with a flashlight.

But Defense Attorney Joseph Monahan says Asher did what he had to do when he heard another officer say Jones was grabbing for that officer’s gun.

The officer who made that statement is Michael Sedergren.

He was the first witness the defense called to the stand, ” I felt the firearm was going to dislodge from the holster and be used against us, and I didn’t want that to happen,” says Sedergren.

That’s when Sedergren yelled out,” I said he’s got my f—gun, smash him,” says Sedergren.

Officer Sedergren says Jeffrey Asher hit Jones three times, in the head, shoulder, and upper arm .

Then he says about 10 seconds later Asher inflicted another round of blows on Jones after another officer said Jones was reaching for an area on his sweatpants where Sedergren thought Jones might have had a weapon. Sedergren says he became suspicious of that area when first observing Jones after the car in which he was a passenger was stopped and what Jones did when being frisked by police, “The fact that officer Truiolo initially had made his way up his right leg, and once he hit that area, that’s when Mr. Jones took off running, I didn’t know what it was, in my mind, I assumed it was a weapon, I yelled for officer Asher to strike him again and he did just that,” says Sedergren.

Officer Sedergren says police found narcotics in Jones right pocket.

Under cross examination from Prosecutor Elizabeth Dunphy Farris, Sedergren said he never saw Jones grab his gun.

He said he felt that Jones right arm was on his firearm.

Testimony in the case resumes Friday morning in Chicopee District Court.

Judge acquits 10 arrested during Occupy Philadelphia demonstration against police brutality

PHILADELPHIA — A municipal judge has acquitted 10 people who were arrested during an Occupy Philadelphia demonstration outside police headquarters.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (http://bit.ly/yRKvS3 ) the protesters were found not guilty Thursday on charges of obstructing a highway.
The group had been part of a nationwide demonstration against police brutality on Oct. 22. Philadelphia police diverted traffic around their headquarters as protesters occupied a street overnight and ignored requests to disperse. They were arrested peacefully on Oct. 23.
Krasner says 45 more people await trial on arrests resulting from Occupy activities.
Defense attorney Larry Krasner says the law recognizes that exercising free speech may cause inconvenience, including slowing down traffic.
A spokesperson for district attorney's office declined comment.
Krasner says 45 more people await trial on arrests resulting from Occupy activities.

Attorneys: Autopsy Shows Police Brutality Caused North Chicago Man’s Death

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (CBS) – It’s been months since a 45-year-old man died one week after North Chicago police officers allegedly beat him during an arrest, but Lake County authorities have yet to issue an autopsy report.

Darrin Hanna’s family has sued the city of North Chicago, claiming six officers beat him and repeatedly shocked him with a stun gun when they arrested him over a domestic dispute. Their suit claims officers beat and shocked him for 20 minutes, even though he did not resist arrest.

As part of their lawsuit, attorneys commissioned an independent autopsy to prove their claims that Hanna died as a result of police brutality.

On Wednesday, they shared those autopsy results with CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman.

As it relates to the death it’s very clear. I mean, there is no question that the physical beating by these police officers caused Darrin Hanna’s death,” said attorney Kevin O’Connor. “If the city is looking for the smoking gun, it’s certainly one of many rounds of ammunition they can have in order to take further action against these officers.”

Attorneys said Hanna was beaten and shocked with a stun gun at the hands of North Chicago police officers. Pictures from his hospital bed show severe swelling from his injuries.

The report released Wednesday details some of his injuries, including multiple external contusions and acute spleen damage. It also mentions Hanna’s sickle cell disease.

“The trauma related to the beating caused that event to become triggered. It’s commonly known that sickle cell can be brought on by trauma, and as a result of the trauma, he had multi-system organ failure and died,” O’Connor said.

Hanna family attorneys said they hope the findings they sought on their own put their call for justice on a fast track.

“The goal here is to root out these bad officers, to change this department, to change the supervision over the department,” O’Connor said.

It’s been months since the officers in question responded to the domestic dispute that resulted in the encounter with Hanna.

Illinois State Police have been handling the investigation, but have not announced any findings.

North Chicago’s city attorney said they need to be fair and thorough in their handling of the case, but he also said, during the investigation, six of their cops are on desk duty, straining the department.

“This is causing a great deal of consternation in the community. People are upset. The mayor wants answers. We all want answers,” attorney Chuck Smith said.

But Hanna’s family is tired of hearing the case is under investigation.

One reason they’re turning their autopsy over to the state’s attorney, attorney Muriel Collison said, is “the coroner hasn’t released a report. The coroner’s supposed to be doing an independent investigation. He won’t return the family’s calls, he won’t return our calls, he won’t return anybody’s calls.”

She said they’ve been told the coroner’s report was completed weeks ago, but the coroner’s office is refusing to turn it over.

The Lake County Coroner’s office did not respond to CBS 2’s calls for comment, either. Illinois State Police said their investigation should be wrapping up soon.

Hanna family attorneys said they believe if North Chicago police officers had been properly disciplined for previous allegations of excessive force, Hanna would still be alive today.

Residents call for citizen review board after police ticket scandal

LAWRENCE - Lawrence police officials are remaining tight-lipped about an internal investigation involving allegations of misconduct by two officers. Now, some believe a citizen review board might help prevent future problems.

Last week, 6News was the first to report on the story. Since that time, the city has refused to release the names of two officers placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. This week, some are wondering if citizens should be involved in overseeing police conduct.

Back in 2006, hen Lawrence Mayor Mike Rundle was pushing for a citizens review board for the Lawrence Police Department. But the idea never really caught on. Some are questioning once again if such a group is necessary.

On Thursday, city officials announced an anonymous tip came in last year that police officers were accepting KU basketball tickets in exchange for dismissing speeding tickets. The investigation was turned over to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office, who found no crime was committed.

But the officers may have violated department policy pertaining to gratuity. If the officers did break any rules, they could lose their jobs.

The city says it will not disclose names of the officers or their employment status. That's where a citizens review board might increase accountability. Five years ago, Topeka police instituted a law enforcement partnership panel and a citizens advisory board. Although they don't help with discipline or internal investigations, they do have a say in policy. "It does help build trust with citizens," says Captain Jerry Stanley. "The key part is the makeup of the board. You have to show that you're inviting people of every community in Topeka on the board, so it's not just business owners or people from one particular part of town."

Man Claims School Cop Went Wild


(CN) - A U.S. citizen claims a policeman beat and kicked him, shouting, "You are an illegal alien!" during a minor traffic stop, and that other officers hogtied, choked and beat him in jail for asking why he had been arrested.
Hansraj Jathanna sued the Spring Branch Independent School District, the school district's Police Department and "Officer Collum," in Harris County Court.
Jathanna says he passed a car that had stopped in traffic on Feb. 11, 2011, and Officer Collum pulled him over.
"Plaintiff immediately and safely stopped his vehicle, stopping at the closest place to stop and park. Plaintiff rolled down his window and waited for the officer," the complaint states. "The officer operating the police car was defendant Collum of the Spring Branch ISD Police Department.
"Officer Collum approached plaintiff and yelled 'Have you been drinking?' Plaintiff replied 'No.'
"Officer Collum then yelled at plaintiff to get out of his car. In addition, the officer ordered plaintiff to face his vehicle and put his hands behind his back. To both orders, plaintiff complied.
"Officer Collum continued to stand behind plaintiff and to yell at him. One of the things Officer Collum shouted was: 'You are an illegal alien.'
"Plaintiff responded to Officer Collum that he was a United States citizen.
"It was at this point that Officer Collum told plaintiff that he was under arrest."
Jathanna says he asked Collum why he was being arrested, as Collum had not issued him a ticket or told him that he had broken any law.
"Officer Collum asked plaintiff if he wanted to resist arrest," the complaint states.
"Plaintiff thought this odd, but responded that he was not resisting arrest."
In fact, Jathanna said, he had complied with all of Collum's orders. But he says, "Officer Collum continued to yell at plaintiff, asking plaintiff if he wanted to resist arrest.
"At some point, Officer Collum forcefully pushed and slammed plaintiff onto the concrete sidewalk, injuring plaintiff's face, temple, nose and knees.
"Officer Collum continued the unlawful and unauthorized use of force and proceeded to jump and punch plaintiff on his back, then kicked him in his right rib area and then, with more indignity and humiliation, sat on him.
"Officer Collum then handcuffed plaintiff and left him lying face down on the pavement while Officer Collum called for backup on his radio.
"Several police vehicles arrived at the scene and four Spring Branch ISD police officers stood around plaintiff, in a tight circle, where he continued to lay face down on the ground/pavement.
"Plaintiff was subsequently taken to the Spring Branch ISD Police station, where the officers photographed and finger printed him. All the while, plaintiff was not given any traffic citation."
Jathanna says the police eventually told him he was being charged with "Interference with Public Duties."
Jathanna says that "after the passage of hours" at the Spring Branch ISD Police station, he became "upset and agitated and began knocking on his cell door."
The complaint continues: "At this point, four ISD police officers burst into his cell, pushed plaintiff's face down onto the floor, and put him in a choke hold. All the while, a second officer stood on him placing his boot on his back. A third officer tied plaintiff's hands behind his back with plastic straps. A fourth officer bound his feet together with plastic straps. This was all done for plaintiff's knocking on his cell door and wanting to know why he was arrested and wanting to make a phone call to call his wife.
"The four officers apparently recognized that they had injured him. An ambulance was called for him.
"Plaintiff, untrusting to the police at this point (though injured) refused any treatment from the ambulance attendant because he did not know whom to trust at that point.
"From plaintiff's treatment in his cell, he suffered cuts to his wrists and feet from the force used and the plastic straps cutting into his flesh. Plaintiff, for a period of 3 months, did not have any sensation in his left hand because the strap was bound so tightly it affected tissue, veins and nerves in his left wrist and hand." (Parentheses in original.)
Jathanna says he was transferred to the Harris County Jail later that night, and the next morning he was taken before a magistrate judge, who informed him that he had been charged with the two misdemeanor offenses of "interference with public duties and resisting arrest."
Jathanna bonded out of jail on Feb. 12.
"To complain of his treatment, Friday, February 18, 2011, plaintiff contacted the Community Relations Department at Spring Branch ISD's Administration Office and reported that he had been beaten up by their police," the complaint states.
"Plaintiff's information was taken and he was advised that someone from their office would contact him.
"After no one contacted plaintiff, he called them back Friday, February 25 and told an employee that he would come to their office in the afternoon to find out how to make a 'proper complaint' about the incident."
For this, he says, he was arrested again - and he never even filed the complaint.
"On February 25, 2011, 1:30 p.m., plaintiff arrived at the administration office," the complaint states.
"Plaintiff was kept waiting in the lobby for about 20 minutes - without incident.
"Plaintiff decided to leave and as he drove out of the office parking lot, he was unlawfully detained, and then arrested by being surrounded by four Spring Branch ISD police cars.
"Spring Branch ISD Police Chief Brawner approached plaintiff along with another officer. After he identified himself and stated that he was aware that plaintiff had been contacting the Spring Branch ISD Office. Chief Brawner proceeded to issue him with a warrant prohibiting him from entering Spring Branch ISD Administration for two years.
"On May 9, 2011, both charges were dismissed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office ... based on the fact that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the charges
Jathanna says he notified Spring Branch ISD about his claims on Aug. 9, 2011.
"The response from defendants was that the officers followed proper procedure and had done nothing wrong. In truth, Spring Branch Independent School District, and Spring Branch Independent School District's Police Department ratified the conduct and actions of all officers," Jathanna says.
Jathanna seeks damages for civil rights violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, pain and suffering and negligence.
He is represented by Jimmie Brown Jr. of Missouri City.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Officer Arrested for Drunk Driving

An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper was arrested last week for driving 102 mph while highly intoxicated, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Mount Gilead Post Commander Lt. Toby Smith arrested trooper Tiffany Wilson after she drove at high rates of speed along Interstate 71 in Morrow County. Wilson was off-duty in her personal vehicle at the time of her arrest.
Here are some facts about the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrest:
* Wilson's blood-alcohol test results revealed she had 0.16 percent of alcohol in her system, twice the legal limit. Wilson has been employed as a state highway patrol officer since 2000.
* A Lancaster Gazette report notes Wilson was arrested at 12:30 a.m. After her arrest, Wilson, 39, was ordered to surrender her badge, weapon and patrol credentials, according to agency spokeswoman Lt. Anne Ralston.
* The Gazette reports Wilson was arraigned in Mount Gilead Municipal Court and released pending a hearing date. Ralston refused to comment on the speeding and drunk driving incident due to the pending criminal investigation. The spokeswoman said she had no details about Wilson's activities prior to getting behind the wheel the evening of the arrest.
* 10TV reports that a male witness called 911 and followed the vehicle driven by Wilson for approximately 10 minutes. The witness asked 10TV to remain anonymous. He stated the driver was drunk and he was unable to keep up with the vehicle because it was going nearly 80 mph. The witness also reported the trooper's vehicle swerved into the roadway median several times.
* Wilson is on personal leave and will be placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation, according to the Gazette. Possible disciplinary action will depend on the outcome of the law enforcement agency's investigation results.
* Wilson was not held in jail overnight, according to 10TV. She was cited and allowed to return to her home. There were no aggravating or extenuating circumstances attributing to the roadway incident, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol spokeswoman's statements to 10TV. Wilson was not available for comment.
* NBC4 reports Wilson was released to a sober driver. Ralston said Wilson was not jailed because she is from the area and this was her first offense. Ralston contends other drivers would likely be treated in the same manner given they had a similar record and local address. Wilson has a clean disciplinary record.
* The trooper will face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison if convicted.

Minocqua cop faces charges

MINOCQUA -- A Minocqua police officer is facing charges of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct/domestic abuse.

Officer Mark Ferencevich was arrested after the Minocqua Police Department was called to his home at 3:40 a.m. Saturday, according to a Minocqua Police Department news release. Ferencevich now is on administrative leave pending the result of an ongoing investigation.

Police Chief Andrew Gee said he could not speak about the details of the case. The case has been turned over to the Oneida County district's attorney's office.

Another Drunk Cop

Union City police officer, president of the Police Officers Association, Michael David Ward, 43, was arrested Feb. 8 in Pleasanton.

 Union City police officer Michael David Ward, who serves as the president of the local Police Officers Association, was arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence.

According to the Fremont Argus, Ward, 43, was arrested at about 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 8 in Pleasanton after a CHP officer spotted him using a cell phone while driving a Toyota pickup truck on Bernal Avenue.

The officer stopped Ward, conducted a field sobriety test and determined that he was intoxicated, the report said.

The Argus also reports that Ward was the subject of a 2006 federal civil rights lawsuit in which Ward was accused of wrongfully attacking and arrested a Berkeley man. The lawsuit was settled out of court later that year.

As president of the Police Officers Association, Ward participated in a number of community events, including fundraisers for the New Haven Unified School District and the Special Olympics Torch Run, among others.

With his arrest, Ward, a 22-year police veteran, becomes the third Tri-City area police officer arrested for drunk driving this month.

Fremont police officer Paul Singleton, 47, was arrested Feb. 3 on Interstate 680 in Fremont on suspicion of driving under the influence. Brendon Johnson, also a Fremont police officer, was arrested early Saturday morning on Interstate 580 in Livermore.

Seething anger in New York over police 'immunity' in shootings

NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) - Ramarley raham, 19, was the latest victim of police violence in The Bronx. An undercover narcotics officer shot the youth at point-blank range in the bathroom of his home early this month in front of his grandmother and six-year-old brother. Police allegedly held the grandmother for seven hours after the shooting.

The officer involved in the shooting and his supervisor were stripped of their service revolvers, badges and placed on administrative duty. These acts haven’t dulled a seething anger found in neighborhood demonstrations and in other parts of the city. New York Police Dept. handling of the shooting, with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelley changing the official version of the shooting several times, has only increased frustration and rage. The commissioner first told the press the young victim had a gun, but the story changed quickly because no gun was found.

Police now say a street narcotics unit near a convenience store radioed after seeing the butt of a gun in the youth’s waistband. The accused police officer allegedly kicked in the door without a warrant, in pursuit of the teenager. The commissioner admitted to the New York Daily News there had not been a struggle between Mr. Graham and the officer as earlier reported.

The police are sticking to the story that young Graham was attempting to flush marijuana down the toilet.

The community is demanding justice, and asking for a special prosecutor, saying they have lost faith in Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s willingness to indict police officers for murdering youth, said anti-police brutality activist Juanita Young.

“There is a pattern of killings and abuse against the people who have been holding back, but now are speaking out,” Ms. Young added.

Ms. Young told The Final Call she understands “firsthand” the anguish of having a child killed by a police officer’s bullet and then having the police department treat you with disdain. Her son Malcolm Ferguson, 23, died in March 2000, killed by a bullet fired at point blank range by an undercover narcotics officer in the stairwell of a building.

Police said there was a scuffle and the officer’s gun discharged but Ms. Young said her son was shot in the back of the head, launching her 12-year participation in the anti-police brutality movement.

“People want to get involved in a real movement to change the paradigm of police immunity,” she said. “One of the things people are talking about is a political movement, the need to take these issues to the ballot box. And I believe if there was an election tomorrow District Attorney Johnson would be voted out.”

Black and Latino residents in The Bronx are all too familiar with the issue of police immunity. In 1984, a Bronx grandmother in her 60s, Eleanor Bumpers, died after a police officer discharged a shotgun, sending a hail of bullets into her chest. The reason the officers were at her Housing Authority apartment was to allegedly collect $387 in back rent. Ms. Bumpers hearing people crashing through her front door, grabbed a knife, according to the police, and lunged toward the officers. NYPD said she was mentally ill.

No officers were punished for her death.

In February 1999, a young Muslim immigrant from Guinea, Amadou Diallo, lost his life in the vestibule of his Bronx building. He was killed in a hail of 41-shots because four White plainclothes officers believed Mr. Diallo’s wallet was a gun. After a trial, the officers were found not guilty.

Timur Person, 19, was killed on a Bronx street in 2006 by officers. Witnesses said he had his arms up, but four bullets were pumped into his body. No officers have been indicted in Mr. Person’s death.

“There’s a critical need for dialogue for more oversight and policy review of ‘Use of Force’ policies within the state of New York,” said Damon Jones, the New York representative for Blacks in Law Enforcement in America. In a press statement, Mr. Jones said his organization believes “there is no coincidence that these police shootings only happen to people of color, or in economically disadvantaged communities.”

Attorney Bonita Zelman agrees that a systemic pattern of racism exists and the veteran civil rights lawyer wants to see a more proactive stance in the communities affected. “More Blacks and Latinos are needed on the juries that try police officers,” she said. A December 2011 report by the New York State Office of Court Administration admitted Blacks and Latinos “are underrepresented around the state where they make up a sizable portion of the population.”

The Civilian Complaint Review Board also needs to be replaced as a mechanism for holding police officers accountable, Atty. Zelman added.

Because there is no accountability, 204 people have been killed by police in New York since the death of Amadou Diallo in 1999, said Ms. Young.

“Juanita is correct about the number, and there may be more but police departments are not truly forthcoming with that data,” commented Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a co-founder of the Oct. 22 Coalition Against Police Brutality and the Criminalization of a Generation, which compiles and publishes numbers for police shooting data nationally.

Mr. Dix felt the same spirit Ms. Young felt among young people attending recent demonstrations. “Youth are using language like ‘the NYPD is killing us,’ and they are contextualizing this with genocide,” Mr. Dix said. “I am telling the people that the police are out in front protecting and doing the bidding of the capitalist system that targets Blacks and Latinos for extinction.”

“I say that the people who are out in the street looking for a solution, need to get behind the RCP, and make real changes by getting rid of this system in totality,” Mr. Dix told The Final Call.

Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad of Harlem’s Muhammad Mosque No. 7 told The Final Call he has been focusing on the value of the Millions More Movement in countering the cycle of police violence. The purpose of the Millions More Movement is to unite, organize the Black community and develop a comprehensive plan to solve problems. We will follow this case to pursue justice, said Student Minister Muhammad.

The Fairfax County Police Officer Jeffrey Hand Award for Creative Income Production. Fairfax County Police. Police Brutality

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