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East Ridge Police Officer Suspended Following Hit & Run Crash

An East Ridge Police officer is suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office. East Ridge Police Captain Tim Mullinax tells NewsChannel 9 officer Sean Merriman is suspended with pay.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office officials say they are investigating a hit-and-run crash that happened on Blue Spruce Road after midnight Friday morning. A Chevy S-10 truck parked on the side of the road was hit during the wee hours on Blue Spruce Road by another vehicle (photo above). That vehicle, an SUV, reportedly either belongs to or was assigned to officer Merriman.

Officers say drunk Dallas cop arrested after shooting at car

DALLAS — Dallas police Officer Rafael Mendoza has been arrested for the second time in nine months.

Mendoza, 34, now faces charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated assault after he opened fire on traffic along Interstate 30 in Mesquite early Sunday morning.

Mesquite police said drivers spotted Mendoza holding a gun out of his car window while he drove eastbound on the highway near Big Town Boulevard around 2:40 a.m. Sunday.

Police said Mendoza fired at least once, hitting the trunk of a passing car.

A statement by Mesquite police said Mendoza was drunk, and that officers also found a “small amount” of marijuana in his car.

Mendoza, who was hired by the Dallas force in 2008, was also arrested in July 2011 on family violence charges for knocking a woman to the ground and handcuffing her.

Dallas police arrested Mendoza at his apartment on San Jacinto Boulevard and charged him with domestic assault and unlawful restraint. Police reports said Mendoza and the woman were arguing about an ex-girlfriend. The report said he then shoved the woman to the ground and put "flex cuffs" on her while telling her, "You are going to the pen for 10-15 years."

Neighbor David Leon remembered seeing the scuffle from his apartment window.

"He was just grabbing her, and she was screaming and stuff," Leon told WFAA, adding that he was "like grabbing her by the arm and shaking her."

Mendoza left the woman in the parking lot for about an hour before removing the plastic handcuffs, according to police documents.

WFAA was unable to get in contact with the woman.

At the time of the 2011 incident, Mendoza was placed on administrative leave, but it's unclear what happened to the internal investigation or the criminal charges. Dallas police would not clarify on Sunday, although it confirmed that he was currently an officer with the department when he was again arrested in Mesquite.

Mendoza remains at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center in Dallas on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, driving while intoxicated, and possession of marijuana under two ounces.

Despite ruling, judge sees more delays in police neglect case

Lawyers want to keep Christina Eilman's family from speaking to media

The trial judge in the case of a mentally ill woman who is suing the Chicago Police Department said today a recent court ruling allowing the case to go forward may actually lead to more delays.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall's frustration at last week's ruling was obvious as she set a trial date for January 2013, months later than she had hoped and nearly seven years after the attack that left Christina Eilman permanently injured.

The family of the California woman has blamed the city's legal maneuvering for dragging out the lawsuit, which seeks as much as $100 million for the devastating injuries Eilman suffered after police released her into one of Chicago's highest-crime neighborhoods. She was sexually assaulted and fell from the seventh-floor window of a public housing building.

After more than 18 months of silence, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Thursday that the family's lawsuit could proceed, a legal opinion that likened police conduct to throwing Eilman in a lion's den.

But while the appeals court ruled that two police officers were out of the case and left six in, it told Kendall to reconsider the status of two other officers. She said that opens the door for more legal wrangling over the officers left in limbo.

The city’s position is that those two officers should also be excused.

The judge today also rejected the city's request for a written gag order preventing Eilman's family or lawyer from talking to the media in the wake of a statement from the family blasting the city. She encouraged both sides to sort out an informal agreement, similar to a no-talk arrangement reached in 2010.

City lawyers filed a motion Friday asking Kendall to enter a formal gag order after emailing Eilman's lawyer to accuse the family of violating the previous, informal agreement among the parties.

The family's attorney, Jeffrey Singer, responded that the January 2010 agreement was made in anticipation of a jury trial that was scheduled to start soon in the case, and "all bets were off" once the city filed a last-minute appeal that Kendall warned might simply be a stall tactic, according to a portion of the email exchange that the city attached to its motion Friday.

Although Singer has not himself commented publicly since the agreement, in the interim his clients have made public statements at least twice, including Thursday's written release. However, Singer told city attorney Matthew Hurd in the email that his clients have had no obligation to remain quiet since the city moved to delay the case.

"You guys chose to do this and essentially assured no imminent trial. In my view, all bets were off once the trial date was vacated — over two years ago. That was your decision — not mine," Singer wrote in an email Friday to Hurd.

City officials had wanted the judge to clarify whether her informal agreement of should be interpreted as a gag order. "The fact that it was issued orally doesn't make it any less an order," Roderick Drew, spokesman for the city Law Department, said Sunday.

In the court filing, Hurd noted that the statement by Eilman's parents appeared in a front-page story in Friday's Tribune. The motion also referenced part of a transcript from the hearing in January 2010 when Kendall asked the parties to enter into "a gentleman's and ladies' agreement" to no longer speak to the news media as the parties prepared to pick a jury.

At the time, the city had filed a motion to delay the trial because of publicity. Kendall said she didn't think a delay, or a formal gag order, were necessary but that they would need to question the jury pool "to know whether the jury's read these articles, and the articles are front-page articles with a lot of detail."

The details of the Eilman case shocked many and raised further questions about police oversight at a time when the department was already dealing with multiple misconduct scandals.

Eilman suffered what experts have described as a bipolar breakdown while she was in Chicago in May 2006 and was arrested at
Midway Airport. Police took her from the airport to the nearby Chicago Lawn police station. They contacted her parents, who informed officers that her behavior was due to mental illness.

Instead of following department policy requiring a hospital evaluation for mentally ill people in custody, officers booked her and transported her seven miles to a lockup facility in one of the city's highest-crime neighborhoods. The next night, they released her without any direction, and she wandered the neighborhood before being lured into a public housing high-rise.

Eilman's catastrophic injuries included a severe brain injury with permanent damage. Now 27, she lives in California with her parents and is dependent on state aid for her around-the-clock care.

Introducing the Fairfax County Police Officer Robert M. Bauer I'll lie and keep my job award

Prince George’s officer suspended during probe

A Prince George’s County police officer has been suspended while internal affairs investigators probe his relationship with a woman arrested on drug possession charges in D.C. Friday night, authorities said.

The officer has not been charged with any crimes, but Prince George’s internal affairs investigators are probing whether he had any involvement in the drug case, said Sgt. Sonya Rorls, a Prince George’s County police spokesman. She said the man was in a vehicle with a woman that D.C. police pulled over about 8 p.m. Friday in the 5300 block of Fitch Street SE.

Rorls identified the officer as Stephen Kingman. He is assigned to District 1 and is still on probationary status, Rorls said. He recently joined the department

Rorls said D.C. police contacted the officer’s supervisor after they made the arrest, as is the protocol in cases involving police officers from other agencies. She said she could not provide more details about the drug case because it was being handled by D.C. police.

A D.C. police spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday night.

JPD officer suspended over car in cemetery

A Jackson police officer has been suspended pending investigation of a complaint that he repeatedly parked his patrol car in a cemetery while off duty. A supervisor found the officer there talking with a woman in her car, officials said on Friday.

Jackson police officer Ken Stone has been suspended for 10 days, pending investigation of the complaint filed against him. He could not be reached for comment.

Capt. Thom Corley with the police department said Stone was suspended after the department received complaints from people who live in the area of Ridgecrest Cemetery that a marked police unit was repeatedly seen in the cemetery for a period of time and that the residents were concerned.

“They provided us with the vehicle number. And a captain went out there to check up on it,” Corley said.

“Ken Stone was off duty when located, but he was in uniform in a marked vehicle,” Corley said. “The captain drafted a statement of charges including violation of policy and violation of conduct.”

Stone is charged with violating a department policy in regards to vehicles that are signed over to employees who have take-home privileges.

“With take-home vehicles, you are to drive back and forth to work and that’s all,” Corley said.

The car had been spotted in the cemetery for at least a couple of weeks. The captain discovered the incident on April 11, Corley said.

Chief Gill Kendrick held a hearing on those departmental charges Monday and administered the 10-day suspension Thursday, Corley said. Stone’s vehicle privileges are restricted for at least 90 days.

When the captain located the marked white Chevy Impala in the cemetery, it was empty, Corley said. Stone was in another car with a woman who is not an employee of the police department, he said. “They were in her private vehicle talking,” he said.

Stone, who has been with the department almost 15 years, is assigned to the traffic division.

Ontario officer suspended on drug-trafficking charges

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont.—A constable with the Niagara Regional Police Service has been suspended with pay as a result of drug trafficking charges he faces in Federal Court in Buffalo, agency officials announced Friday.

Geoffrey Purdie, a 13-year veteran of the police service, faces an unscheduled court session in federal court in Buffalo for his April 5 arrest by the Border Enforcement Security Task Force of U.S. Homeland Security in Buffalo. Purdie is accused of trafficking in anabolic steroids and similar drugs.

Following his arrest, Purdie was released from custody but ordered to return to the United States for still-unscheduled proceedings in the drug case.

Suspended Frederick police officer says he drank, took sleeping pill before crash

FREDERICK, Md. — A Frederick police officer charged with driving under the influence told authorities he took a sleeping pill and drank hard liquor before getting behind the wheel.

That's according to an incident report obtained by The Frederick News-Post (http://bit.ly/IjfVC1 ).

A sheriff's deputy says in the report he detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from the officer, Robert Pierce, and that the officer's eyes appeared glassy and bloodshot.

Pierce was suspended after his arrest last month. Authorities say he struck a guardrail and didn't report the crash. He was charged with driving under the influence and other offenses.

His attorney tells the newspaper the incident report doesn't tell the whole story and that there are circumstances he hopes will exonerate his client.

Prostitution Inquiry Is Latest Scandal for State Police

Prostitution Inquiry Is Latest Scandal for State Police

Its revelation this week that it had suspended three troopers amid a prostitution investigation produced the most recent suggestion of tarnish.

“It’s very disheartening for the rank and file to go through that, especially since the last couple years we have been splashed across the news pages quite a bit,” Thomas H. Mungeer, president of the Police Benevolent Association of the New York State Troopers, said.

In the most recent case, Trooper Titus Taggart, an 18-year veteran assigned to Buffalo, is at the center of an internal investigation and has been suspended without pay. He is “alleged to have organized parties that may have involved the promotion of prostitution, while off-duty,” the agency said in a statement. Two troopers from the Rochester area, Jeremy C. Smith, 34, and Michael L. Petritz, 33, were also suspended without pay for alleged misconduct, but were not accused of being involved in organizing the parties.

People with knowledge of the investigation, who insisted on anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said that Trooper Taggart, 41, moonlighted as a party promoter and that the participants in his parties included exotic dancers from Canada, some of whom may have engaged in prostitution. The State Police, prompted by a tip, had been investigating Trooper Taggart since December.

The Times Union of Albany, which first reported the suspensions, posted a number of photos from Mr. Taggart’s Facebook page on its Web site, including a picture of him posing out of uniform with a large bottle of expensive liquor.

State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, an Erie County Republican who is a former county sheriff and State Police captain, said: “It’s certainly disappointing that the negative actions of an individual adversely affect an entire agency — one that is among the most professional in the nation. But to the State Police’s credit, they’re not avoiding an investigation; they’re fully engaged.”

Trooper Taggart could not be reached for comment. His father, Art Taggart, was once a colonel in the State Police and a top aide to former Superintendent Thomas A. Constantine.

“The father is a real decent, very religious guy, very dignified man. He’s got to be crushed,” Mr. Constantine said, adding that he did not know Trooper Taggart. He said the latest case was markedly different from others that produced scandals at the agency.

“This isn’t systemic behavior at a very high level — it’s troopers with very limited policy responsibility,” he said. “It’s individual wrongdoing.”

Most of the other recent State Police scandals have revolved around the leadership and its intersection with the governor’s office, which has direct control of the agency.

During the administration of Gov. George E. Pataki, a top commander, Daniel Wiese, had troopers performing unusual assignments, including investigating a break-in at Mr. Pataki’s campaign headquarters and guarding the baseball star Darryl Strawberry when he was hospitalized, according to a report prepared by Andrew M. Cuomo, who was then attorney general and is now the governor. Mr. Wiese left the State Police to join the state Power Authority, but kept his shield and gun and maintained considerable sway over the agency.

During the administration of Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a scandal erupted when the State Police prepared documents detailing the travels of the governor’s political rival, Joseph L. Bruno, who was then the State Senate majority leader. And, after news broke that Mr. Spitzer had patronized prostitutes, questions were also raised about what his security detail had known of his behavior.

Shortly after Gov. David A. Paterson took office in 2008, he claimed there was a rogue political unit within the State Police, and asked Mr. Cuomo to investigate. But Mr. Paterson’s administration became embroiled in its own scandal after his State Police security detail contacted a woman who reported that one of the governor’s senior advisers had assaulted her. The woman, Sherr-una Booker, said at a court proceeding that she felt harassed.

After Mr. Cuomo became governor, he brought in a new superintendent from outside the agency, Joseph A. D’Amico, who had been his chief investigator in the attorney general’s office and a deputy chief in the New York City Police Department.

Senator Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat and a former New York City police officer, gave Mr. D’Amico high marks.

“I think he has a zero tolerance level for something like this,” Mr. Adams said. “Sometimes you hear someone say they’re conducting an investigation and it goes nowhere, but you’re not going to hear that from him.”

But Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner, a Democrat from Manhattan, said he believed that the State Police needed more independent oversight. He has introduced legislation that would set up a civilian complaint review board to oversee all police and peace officers who work for the state, including troopers. “Every time a police force is unaccountable to a third independent party,” he said, “it’s a recipe for corruption.”

Mayor says he can't talk about disabled girl's lawsuit against police

Mayor says he can't talk about disabled girl's lawsuit against police

A day after a federal court likened the Chicago Police Department’s handling of a mentally ill woman to throwing her in a lions den, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he wants to talk about the issue but can’t until Christina Eilman's lawsuit is closed.

The federal appellate court on Thursday rejected an appeal by the city that led to a two-year delay in the case. The lawsuit was filed nearly six years ago, in the months after the then-21-year-old former UCLA student was gravely and permanently injured in an assault that occurred after police arrested her at Midway Airport and released her 7 miles away in one of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

Emanuel’s office has been forced to pay an increasing amount of attention to the financial cost of police misconduct lawsuits, mostly for cases that originated under the administration of former Mayor Richard Daley. Emanuel said he can’t fully address the issue with regard to the Eilman case because of the pending litigation.

"There's a review to that, and I can't comment on it given it is both -- any comment on that process right now, while that's at trial. At the end of that, I want to speak to the general question” raised in a reporter’s questions Friday.

In stark language that legal experts said was constitutionally sound but possibly offensive, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Eilman's family can proceed with a lawsuit claiming Police Department negligence placed her in danger that led to her sexual assault and catastrophic injury.

The three-judge panel ended more than 18 months of silence on the issue and rejected the city's attempt to stop the case. The lawsuit has had so many delays, the reputed gang member convicted of attacking Eilman before she plummeted from a seventh-floor window was paroled from prison Wednesday.

The city's appeal had asked the court to dismiss the case against 10 police officers, arguing the police had no responsibility to take care of Eilman, who had been arrested after creating a disturbance at Midway Airport in May 2006.

Rather than dwell on the question of police responsibility for providing medical care, the judges said there was evidence of a clearer constitutional violation, that officers had taken Eilman from a relatively safe place — Midway Airport — and ultimately left her in a dangerous place seven miles away, at 51st Street and Wentworth Avenue.

In reciting the narrative of what happened that night, Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook suggested the police showed little regard for the danger they were putting Eilman in when they released her.

"She was lost, unable to appreciate her danger, and dressed in a manner to attract attention," Easterbrook wrote, noting she was wearing a cutoff top and short shorts. He added "she is white and well off while the local population is predominantly black and not affluent, causing her to stand out as a person unfamiliar with the environment and thus a potential target for crime."

After she wandered away from the police station, Eilman was lured into the last standing high-rise of the Robert Taylor Homes, where she was assaulted before plummeting from a seventh-floor window. She suffered massive trauma, including a severe brain injury, shattered pelvis and numerous broken bones. She now lives with her parents near Sacramento and requires around-the-clock care.

Legal experts said the ruling is consistent with well-established federal law.

"Contrary to what most people think, the police don't have a constitutional duty to protect people from harm. But they do have a duty to not put people in harm's way, in other words not to make things worse, and that's what the court found here," said Craig Futterman, a law professor at the University of Chicago Law School, who has led both litigation against the Police Department as well as research into the department's oversight practices.

"It's a jury call. But there is a constitutional duty, and that's been established for a long time."

David Franklin, a constitutional law scholar at DePaul University College of Law, agreed that the court's ruling pointed out an often misconstrued point about the Constitution.

"Where the police crossed the line from merely not providing help to actively doing harm was by dropping her off near the Robert Taylor Homes wearing skimpy clothes and without her cellphone," Franklin said. "Even though it was a private individual who physically injured her, the police can be held constitutionally liable for leaving her much worse off than they found her."

Franklin also noted that some may find the court's language troubling.

In the opinion, Easterbrook also referenced an earlier 7th Circuit opinion noting that throwing someone into a "snake pit" would violate their rights.

"As for the court's potentially offensive analogy between Taylor Homes and a 'lions' den' or a 'snake pit,' well, I suppose that's why federal judges have life tenure."

Lawyer says suspended Des Moines officer may have sleep disorder

Suspended Des Moines police officer Brandon Singleton is now under medical treatment aimed at diagnosing a possible sleep disorder that the officer’s family believes to be the cause of two recent crashes of patrol vehicles, Singleton’s defense attorney told The Des Moines Register today.

Lawyer F. Montgomery Brown said unspecified medical experts are attempting to diagnose whether Singleton has narcolepsy or some stress-related problem brought on by a pending divorce or post-traumatic stress from the officer’s 2004 Army service in Korea.

Either way, “the family is confident that that is what we can attribute these car accidents to” and that drug use was not involved, Brown said.

Singleton, 28, was arrested on misdemeanor charges Tuesday after methamphetamine and marijuana were found in his patrol car. The discovery came after Singleton crashed his police cruiser on the city’s east side and then drove away, police said. Singleton allegedly misled co-workers about the details of the accident, prompting officers to search his patrol car when he asked for help changing two tires.

At the time, Singleton was under investigation for an April 18 crash involving a patrol car; trial also is scheduled in May in a lawsuit related to a different 2010 crash. Singleton, who has been with the department since 2007, now is on paid administrative leave.

Brown, in his interview with The Register today, denied that Singleton had been using drugs while on duty. Police on Tuesday found the drugs in a duffel bag in the backseat of the car, the lawyer said.

Brown declined to comment on how the drugs came to be in Singleton’s patrol car, but he denied they belonged to the officer. Singleton has pleaded “not guilty” to the possession charges, Brown said.

“There’s a complicated back story,” Brown said.

Brown said he understands there has been “one or more” instances over the past year of Singleton falling asleep inappropriately, including “nodding off while writing reports.”

WebMD defines narcolepsy as “a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.”

According to the website, “Narcolepsy usually begins between the ages of 15 and 25, but it can become apparent at any age.”

Brown said Singleton eventually could be transferred to a sleep disorder clinic, depending on the results of the ongoing medical review.

Jackson police officer suspended due to internal investigation

Jackson police officer Ken Stone has been suspended for 10 days, pending an investigation of a complaint filed against him.

Capt. Thom Corley with the police department said Stone was suspended after the department received complaints from people who live in the area of Ridgecrest Cemetery that a marked police unit was repeatedly seen in the cemetery for a period of time and were concerned.

“They provided us with the vehicle number. And a captain went out there to check up on it,” Corley said.

“Ken Stone was off-duty when located but he was in uniform in a marked vehicle. The captain drafted a statement of charges including violation of policy and violation of conduct.”

Stone is charged with violating a department policy in regards to vehicles that are signed over to employees who have take-home privileges.

“With take-home vehicles you are to drive back and forth to work and that’s all,” Corley said.

The car had been spotted in the cemetery for at least a couple of weeks. The captain discovered the incident on April 11, Corley said.

On Monday, Chief Gill Kendrick held a hearing on those charges and administered the 10-day suspension on Thursday, Corley said. Stone’s vehicle privileges are restricted for at least 90 days.

When the captain located the marked white Chevy Impala, it was empty, Corley said. Stone was in another car with a woman who is not an employee with the police department, he said.

“They were in her private vehicle talking,” he said.

Stone, who has been with the department for almost 15 years, is assigned to the traffic division.

Allegations of Police Brutality

Allegations of Police Brutality Under Investigation in Clarksdale

CLARKSDALE, MS (abc24.com) - A Mississippi cop is under investigation after a man claims he was the victim of police brutality.

It happened last week in Clarksdale. The encounter sent Queston Skipper to the emergency room and on a quest for justice. The victim filed assault charges against the cop on April 25. He says the officer should be kicked off the force so what happened to him doesn't happen to anyone else.

His face marred beyond recognition, a bruised and battered Queston Skipper claims the abuse came from Clarksdale Police Officer Jerry Rodgers

“I have stitches inside my mouth, my lip was busted open, I got stitches in my nose and a big blood clot in my eye,” Skipper said.

Skipper says Rodgers arrested him as he tried to go into a club. “He threw me into the car face first while in handcuffs and I hit the ground.”

His vision blurry, his face bleeding, Skipper says he tried to get up.

“He swiped me down all three times; I tried to come up three times and he swiped me down from behind,” Skipper said.

“This officer has had no complaints against him and has a spotless record with the Clarksdale Police Department,” said Clarksdale City Attorney, Curtis Botchert.

Botchert says Skipper has had several misdemeanor convictions, which include simple assault, domestic violence and drug possession. He says Clarksdale Police has a different take on what happened that night.

“It's an incident when they were closing a club down and Mr. Skipper tried to go back in that club and was arrested, and obviously a struggle ensued and he sustained some injuries.”

“I don't know how he was resisting when he was in handcuffs before he was ever injured,” said Ellis Pittman, Skipper's lawyer. He says they're filing a civil suit against the officer.

Officer Rodgers is currently on paid administrative leave pending an FBI investigation.

“I just want some justice so it won't happen to no one else,” Skipper said.

That FBI investigation could take more than a year. In the meantime, a circuit court judge will schedule a hearing to determine if the assault charges against the Clarksdale cop will stick.

North Chicago fires one officer, suspends another in death of man in custody

North Chicago fires one officer, suspends another in death of man in custody

North Chicago fired one police officer and suspended another today for their roles in the violent arrest of a man who died a week after he was taken into custody.

Officials immediately dismissed Officer Brandon Yost and suspended Officer Arthur Strong for 30 days without pay. Four other officers and one sergeant involved in the arrest who had been temporarily placed on desk duty were returned to regular duties without penalty.

The action comes in the case of Darrin "Dagwood" Hanna, 45, who was arrested Nov. 6 in his North Chicago apartment, where police said he slapped and tried to drown his pregnant girlfriend. He died in a hospital of multiple factors, according to the Lake County Coroner, including physical restraint and Taser shocks, as well as chronic cocaine abuse, hypertension, kidney disease and sickle cell disease.

His death prompted a public uproar, which led to an investigation by Illinois State Police. The Lake County State's Attorney's office concluded officers committed no crime, saying they acted "reasonably and appropriately" to subdue a large man police said rushed them with clenched fists yelling, "Shoot me."

Yost was fired for repeatedly punching Hanna in the face, which was unnecessary force, and for an unspecified falsification of reports on the incident, interim Chief James Jackson said. Strong's reported use of force, kneeling on the back of Hanna's legs, was considered acceptable, but he was disciplined for falsifying a report by indicating Hanna was swinging a flashlight.

Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr. and Jackson made the announcement at a news conference at North Chicago City Hall, where a crowd of protesters led by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson greeted the news angrily. People in the crowd yelled "cover up" and chanted, "murderers."

"These six officers should be fired and charged with murder," Jackson said.

TheU.S. Department of Justiceis conducting a preliminary inquiry into the case, which is a step short of a full investigation.

Reginald Edwards Sues Chicago Police Claiming He Was Beaten, Knocked Out Of Wheelchair

A disabled Chicago man is suing the police department, claiming officers failed to provide a reason for his arrest and then used excessive force to take him into custody, causing injuries that required him to be hospitalized.

Reginald Edwards, who is confined to an electronically-controlled wheelchair, says he was recharging the device at a doughnut shop when a clerk demanded he leave and called police, WGN reports.

When police arrived, Edwards claims he was pushed out of the shop by two officers, who struck him in the face and loaded onto a city bus to Central District Police Headquarters, the Chicago Tribune reports. During booking, Edwards says officers threatened him with a felony charge if he didn't "wipe the blood off his face" and conceal his injuries from their supervisor.

When he refused to comply, the lawsuit claims the officers shook Edwards so violently he was knocked from his wheelchair, ripping out his catheter and causing other injuries that required immediate medical attention, CBS Chicago reports. Edwards was taken to Mercy Hospital for treatment.

The Chicago Police Department says they have not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. Edwards stands charged of battery and resisting arrest.

Latest Portland police brutality tab: $250K

The City Council yesterday approved payment of that amount to the guy who was Tased five times when the cops mistook him for a tagger. This was the case in which the city attorney tried to use the plaintiff's kung fu movie collection as evidence against him. The jury awarded him $206,000; the rest is attorney's fees.

Activists Protest Suspects’ Deaths In Police Confrontations

CHICAGO (CBS) — There was a volatile protest at City Hall Thursday morning over alleged police brutality.

Demonstrators stood outside the mayor’s office to protest police brutality, though most of the alleged cases they cited happened in the suburbs, CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

“What do we have to do for justice? Why do we have to march for justice? Why do we have to get angry for justice? Do we have to riot? Do we have to tear things down?” Aaron Watts said.

These people should not have been executed by police,” said Mark Clemons, of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

The black community, they said, is under siege by violent officers.

But every weekend in Chicago, there are multiple shootings in African American neighborhoods, and most of the gunmen are not the police. So, Williams asked this question: “What is a greater threat to the black community, criminals and gang members on the street or Chicago police officers?”

That sparked an angry and emotional response from one of the news conference participants, who called it a “stupid” question.

David Lowery of the NAACP tried to answer it and said, “It’s not a stupid question.”

“The greater damage to the community is black officers and white officers who continue to kill our children because they have the position of power,” he said.

One of the protest organizers later said it was understandable that the woman had an emotional reaction to Jim’s question.

Her sister was killed last month when off-duty Chicago detective exchanged gunfire with an alleged offender. Police admit she was an innocent bystander.

‘Police brutality in US has reached its all-time high’

US police are investigating the suspicious death of a black university advisor who died after being arrested for allegedly acting irrationally.

Police in Maryland shackled Patrick Raphael Toney on Friday and sent him to hospital with a hood over his head. They said Toney was acting strangely near his parked car at an intersection when he was arrested.

On the way to hospital, the academic stopped breathing but medics managed to revive him. On Wednesday, the hospital notified police that Toney had died.

He had been arrested on April 12 on child abuse charges and released on bail just hours before he was arrested on Friday.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Randy Short, who is with the Baltimore Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), to further talk over the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: I like to get your take on the specific case of Mr. Tony, specifically before we get into the entire issue of racially-motivated police abuse in the United States.

Short: In defense of a man who is not alive to speak for himself, I actually knew Patrick Tony; I worked for Bowie University for exactly one year and everybody loved this man.

I found him to be wonderful to work with, a collegial kind caring person that students and the faculty alike loved.

So I am saddened and wounded that this has happened and feel that the families and the students all need prayer and support to deal with this shocking activity that has occurred.

Having said that, to me, we have not seen full evidence that the police, in my view, did not do some things that could have contributed to him dying.

For instance, they are saying that he acted irrationally while there is a thing called a dash cam. That needs to be produced so we can see what happened during the arrest.

There has been a pattern across the country of police either hiding or not showing what the dash cam records.

We do not know how he was restrained; we do not know their ways that you can touch someone or restrain them that could cause injury.

This happened to a friend of mine who is also a professor who was attacked by police at Delaware State University; they dislocated his shoulder in such a way that she would not notice that.

So I am not convinced that there was not excessive use of force in restraining the man. As well, if you perceive someone is having a psychological problem, why did not they immediately get some psychological support? They have to have the capacity to do that.

Press TV: Dr. Short, this case obviously comes in the back of the much spoken case of Trayvon Martin and many other cases in the United States.

How are things looking right now for African-Americans in the United Sates and other minorities as well?

Short: Well, I am going to focus on my own people and simply say that we tend to be indices for how everyone else is treated.

Police brutality is at an all time high. I was at a conference in Chicago for the international human rights association of American minorities to have a talk with lawyers and academics for how we can go to the United Nations to begin to bring up police departments and in fact, this government on its human rights violations against the African-Americans.

To give an example of how bad it is, the former mayor of Chicago, Mayor Daley has to give testimony in the upcoming weeks because he was part of covering up a system of torture, abuse and cruelty to hundreds of blacks in the city of Chicago where they had an electrical device that they would attach to people’ sexual parts and ran electricity through them to force them to confess to crimes that they did not commit.

There are still people in jail. I mean, this is a mayor of a city; this is a person who literally controls in the most important states politically in the country in on allowing this kind of gross human rights violation where they had a thing called a ‘Negro Box’, where they would crank electricity into people used cattle prod on peoples’ scrotums.

This is the second or third largest city in the country allowing these things to happen where as many as 30 men are still in jail, if not more, and hundreds of people were tortured and it took the UN’s intervention for people to even acknowledge that there were a group of rogue, brutal, fascistic cops in Chicago and detectives that were torturing, beating and framing people for crimes and everyone knew no one would do anything about it. I do not think it is Chicago; I think it is a nation and not show, we are 40, 50, 60 million people.

We are a national minority group that does not have control over its own destiny; the legal system works against us; the economic system works against us and in reality, it is time for us to talk about a new constitution in America that we make our amendments for how the society is better versus judge waiting for people to stop doing what they are going to do anyway.

In reality, it is like an abused child going to an abusing parent and asking them to stop abusing; that is the situation that African-Americans face.

Press TV: With an African-American now as the president of the United States are things looking bright for the future of African-Americans as well as other minorities?

Short: No, first of all, he is not an African-American. I keep repeating that. That would be the same as me calling an Azeri, with an African parent, a Farsi in Iran.

I mean, does it show that we lack self-determination that anyone that comes to this country that happens to be black is somehow the same thing as me?

His family was not in this country, at least not the black people in this country; 400, 500 years ago like my family was.

This is obnoxious and it is outrageous that these people who dominate us tell us who we are.

There is nothing worse you can do to people than to deny them their identity, to tell them who is in their group.

Things are worse for African-Americans whether he wins or loses because the system is set up to oppress us.

We do not have self-determination; we are not in control of our destiny; we are brought here and enslaved.

Slavery was a process and we have been kept down and it does not matter who the president is if this system remains unchanged.

Officer under investigation for police brutality

WMC-TV) - The sign posted outside a club in Clarksdale says it all, "Come in peace or leave with police." But a Mississippi cop is now under investigation after Queston Skipper claims he was the victim of police brutality.

Skipper's face is bruised and battered. He has since filed assault charges against Clarksdale police officer Jerry Rodgers.

Skipper says he was assaulted after Rodgers arrested him. The city attorney, Curtis Boschert, says he was trying to enter the club after he had been told to go home.

Skipper's attorney, Ellis Pittman, is trying to understand how her client's face became bruised when police have several other ways to stop someone at their disposal.

"My hands are behind my back and they're cuffed," Pittman goes on. "You got a taxer, pepper spray, all these other things, but I end up with my face all torn to pieces."

Boschert says just because someone is handcuffed, does not mean they cannot resist arrest.

Unlike Skipper, who has several misdemeanors on his record, including assault convictions, the officer being accused of brutality, Rodgers, has a clean record and no complaints against him.

"I've read the affidavits and things that were filed and there is nothing that says Queston attempted to attack this officer," said Pittman.

Officer Rodgers is currently on paid administrative leave pending an FBI investigation.

Trooper here 1 of 3 eyed in probe of prostitution

Three State Thruway troopers have been suspended without pay pending the results of an internal investigation into allegations that prostitutes were transported from Canada into Western New York.

Trooper Titus Taggart, 41, of Amherst, allegedly operated a business hosting parties that included food, drinks and "loose girls," according to information obtained by The Buffalo News.

The two other troopers were suspended for allegedly engaging in misconduct, but were not involved in organizing the parties, the State Police said. Jeremy C. Smith, 34, a 10-year trooper, and Michael L. Petritz, 33, an eight-year veteran of the force, both are assigned to the Thruway detail in Henrietta.

Taggart, an 18-year veteran of the State Police, is the son of retired State Police Col. Arthur L. Taggart, who was a special assistant to former State Police Superintendent Thomas Constantine, also from the Buffalo area.

"Due to the nature of an internal investigation, details or circumstances are not released," said State Police spokesman Sgt. Kern Swoboda in Albany, who confirmed that Taggart has been suspended.

The State Police, in a rare public airing of details about an internal investigation, confirmed that the probe began four months ago.

The agency, in a three-paragraph statement, said Taggart, who serves with Troop T on the State Thruway, was suspended without pay effective Thursday.

"Trooper Taggart is alleged to have organized parties that may have involved the promotion of prostitution, while off duty," the agency said. "There has not been an arrest in this investigation, which is ongoing."

In addition to the internal probe, federal authorities reportedly were looking into the case because the allegations involved prostitutes crossing the border, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Taggart has been the main focus of the State Police probe, which has been going on for weeks and involves other troopers, the sources told The News.

Several sources likened the allegations in this case to the Saints and Sinners scandal in which some area law enforcement officials helped organize and provide security for a 1999 party at the former Sensation'Z nightclub in Buffalo, where there were reports of prostitution, gambling and other illicit activities taking place.

On Taggart's Facebook page, he has a cartoonlike image of a scantily clad woman in a police cap and high-heeled boots holding a gun in front of a backdrop of a heart with the word "love" in tiny letters appearing hundreds of times.

At the bottom of the graphic is the word "Busted!" and yellow crime scene tape crossing over the heart.

There are dozens of photos of Taggart on his page. Some of them are with family members -- including one in his gray trooper uniform with an elderly woman -- and others with much younger females.

Taggart's base salary, according to payroll records at the State Comptroller's Office, is $84,739, which does not include any overtime. The records show Taggart was assigned to Albany from 1998 -- which is as far back as immediately available computerized records go -- until August 2010, when he was transferred to the Buffalo area.

Taggart's payroll records also show a three-day suspension in March 2002, with no further details about that entry. The State Police declined to comment.

Taggart's career also has some highlights.

In 2004, he responded to a call at the Williamsville toll barrier for a motorist with insufficient funds and found, after investigation, that the suspect, Bernard J. Poulin, then 16, was wanted for allegedly killing a family member in his New Hampshire hometown.

Thomas Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said he has only heard talk that this recent investigation involves some sort of prostitution ring.

"It's an off-duty concern from what I understand," Mungeer said.

In such off-duty matters, he noted, 99 percent of the time the PBA does not get involved in providing the trooper with lawyers or other assistance.

Troopers have survived through controversies in recent years, Mungeer said.

In 2011, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brought in a respected former New York City police official to run the agency, which had seen its share of negative headlines over the years and regular turnaround in leadership at the top of the agency.

The agency got a black eye when word surfaced in 2010 that members of then-Gov. David Paterson's security detail had contacted a woman who had accused a former top adviser to Paterson in a domestic assault case.

During Gov. Eliot Spitzer's administration, the State Police became embroiled in "troopergate," which involved troopers monitoring the state travels of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.

"Whenever the State Police gets put in a bad light in something like this or anything else -- of course we take it to heart. We all love being troopers. We want to keep the image of the State Police up," Mungeer said.

But he cautioned, "We have to wait to see wherever these allegations lead."

When asked about the investigation Thursday in Albany, Cuomo said he had no knowledge of the matter and could not comment.

News Staff Reporters T.J. Pignataro and Maki Becker contributed to this report.