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Old 11-16-2018, 08:12 AM   #481
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KSP trooper accused of punching man remains on duty, but investigation remains hidden

http://www.wdrb.com/story/39491542/ksp-trooper-accused-of-punching-civilian-remains-on-duty-but-details-of-investigation-stay-hidden

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Kentucky State Police trooper accused of punching road construction workers is still on the job and facing a federal lawsuit, but state police won’t release details about its investigation of the incident.

The workers say Trooper Anthony Harrison drove too fast toward their work zone near Fort Knox late one night in September 2017, adding that he stopped his personal car abruptly, confronted the workers and started arguing.

They also said Harrison lunged for one of their phones and punched one of them. Four of the workers then pinned him on the pavement until police arrived. Much of the incident was caught on cellphone video.

Two of the workers said Harrison was angry about not seeing the crew and their equipment in a closed-off and marked traffic lane. He was off-duty at the time.

Harrison was not charged with a traffic violation or a crime. Instead, after an internal investigation, Harrison was suspended without pay for four days. He’s since transferred to Bowling Green, where he remains a state trooper.

Earlier this month, WDRB News obtained a memo closing the internal investigation that stated charges of “conduct unbecoming” were substantiated.

In spite of a request under the Kentucky Open Records Act from WDRB News last month for the full internal investigation, KSP only provided the disposition of the investigation and no other details.

“Full IA investigations are not available for release per open records,” KSP Spokesman Josh Lawson said. “The complaint and the final disposition is what is provided.”

Other agencies, such as Louisville Metro Police, do provide full investigative files after the disposition of the investigation.

Harrison is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by three of the workers involved in the incident. The lawsuit alleges that Harrison punched workers multiple times.

An attorney for Harrison could not be reached for comment.

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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Old 11-21-2018, 12:32 PM   #482
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U.S. Marshals: Cuyahoga County deprives inmates of food, water and Constitutional Rights amid string of seven deaths

https://www.cleveland.com/expo/news/erry-2018/11/9b3d3f3cc89150/us-marshals-cuyahoga-county-de.html

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County fails to provide jail inmates with the basic necessities they to need live. It withholds food and water and doesn’t provide medical and mental health care for inmates, according to a blistering report released Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals.

The report says that the inmates’ constitutional rights are routinely violated.

The report offers a clear picture of a jail rife with deplorable conditions, described by marshals' investigators as inhumane.

The jail investigation comes after the deaths of seven inmates between June 10 and Oct. 2. Cleveland.com learned of the seventh death during some two months of investigating the jail. Three of those inmates committed suicide. Fifty-five other inmates tried to take their own lives within the past year, the marshals found.

The county doesn’t investigate what led to the deaths, the report says.

Among the findings in the 52-page report made public Wednesday:

· Warden Eric Ivey withholds food as punishment and inmates aren’t fed properly.

· Jail staff shut off water to toilets and sinks.

· Pregnant women are forced to sleep on mats on the floor.

· Vermin infest the kitchen.

· Inmates sometimes are denied toilet paper and toothbrushes.

· Officers decked out in paramilitary gear routinely threaten inmates until they fear for their lives, going so far as to call some prisoners snitches in front of other prisoners.

· Medical staff lack proper licenses to provide treatment.

· Inmates with mental illness are denied care, even while they’re in isolation.

· Children are housed with adults.

· Inmates spend long stretches of time locked in their cells, sometimes up to 27 hours at a time, once for 12 days in a row.

The problems are so egregious that the U.S. marshals say the county won’t be able to fix them in a timely manner.

The marshals’ team that performed the review consisted of U.S. marshals from Washington and Cleveland, and FBI agents who investigate civil rights violations and economic fraud.

“They need to have a strong leader to implement all of these changes,” U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said of the jail. “They need a strong leader with corrections experience to make it up to standard with other jails. I have full confidence in the sheriff that he’s going to find someone who is able to do that.”

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish asked for the marshals' review. His top jail official, Ken Mills, resigned last week ahead of the release of Wednesday’s report.

In an interview Wednesday, Budish said he based his previous conclusions about jail safety and conditions on state inspections that never raised the breadth of the issues raised after the marshals' investigation. Budish and Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said they were stunned by the marshals' findings.

The report was made public just days after the former jail director Ken Mills tendered his resignation shortly after the U.S. marshals’ presented its preliminary findings to county officials.

Budish said that fixing the problems in the jail is now his top priority, but both he and the sheriff acknowledged that significant changes in leadership at almost every level is needed.

“We need to make sure that our prisoners and our staff is safe in the jail. That is number one,” Budish said.

The list of findings by the marshals is long, and at times, overwhelming. Cleveland.com is providing the full list so that the public, which foots the bills for the jail, can understand the magnitude of the problems.

Former Jail Director Ken Mills, who resigned last week ahead of a scathing U.S. Marshal report about the conditions of the county jail, talks April 5 about the opening of the Bedford Heights Jail. (Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com)
County doesn’t investigate jail deaths

After seven county inmates died this year, Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said the Sheriff’s Department would investigate what led to the deaths. That never happened, the report says.

The county never performed post-mortem reviews and provided the marshals with insufficient and unclear answers about the recent deaths, including two that remain unexplained today. The county doesn’t review its own policies, procedures or any other possible contributing factors to the deaths.

There are no debriefing reports or mortality reviews, no required documentation, minutes of debriefing, medical summaries, timelines of incarceration, notifications, or autopsy reports in the county’s case files in the medical unit, all in violation of county policy.

The warden kept no files regarding the deaths.

The marshals also found that after every inmate death, someone took the housing unit’s logs, which document routine information, emergencies, and unusual incidents. Someone removed the logs and replaced them with a new one. Those new logs never mentioned why it was necessary to start new logs.

The marshals also had issues uncovering any information about inmates and said their records are stored in various locations throughout the jail, making them difficult to find. The jail has no central place for all inmate records.

Jail officials, along with Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, far right, at an April 5 ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bedford Heights Jail.
Inmates with medical and mental illness don’t get treated

The jail’s most vulnerable inmates, those with chronic and mental illnesses, are denied consistent and proper treatment. Some nurses and medical staff don’t have the necessary qualifications to administer health care.

Medical files provided to the marshals were surprisingly deficient. Of 10 nurses hired in October, no records were available for review. Of the files provided, four medical staff members had expired professional licenses; one nurse had no license on file; one medical staff member was not certified to perform CPR and two had only partial CPR certifications; a medical technical assistant had no diploma, and a nurse and nurse practitioner had board actions against them with no documentation of their disposition.

Inmates with serious mental-health needs, developmental disabilities, physical impairments, or inmates who are frail or elderly don’t get specialized treatment that takes into account their conditions.

Some inmates with mental illnesses who are placed in isolation don’t receive the mental health care they need, and never receive mental-health treatment for the entire time they’re in isolation. They don’t have access to therapeutic activities either inside their cell or outside their cell.

There’s no documentation of mental-health providers making face-to-face contact with isolated inmates, which violates federal guidelines.

Cleanliness and sanitation in mental-health-care unit is “minimally acceptable.”

Medical staff doesn’t maintain lists of patients who need medical care for chronic health issues. Treatment schedules for those conditions aren’t tracked on a patient-by-patient basis.

There’s a quarterly meeting that identifies problems with health care in the jail, but when a recent meeting found that there were problems administering medicine to inmates, nothing was done about it.

Jail staff “pass” on training about administering medication. The method used to track missed medications involves a numerical code without a description of what that code means.

Medical and mental-health appraisals aren’t conducted within the required 14 days after an inmate’s arrival at the jail. The people that Cleveland police arrest and take to the jail never get an initial medical screening . Medical staff are only made aware of those inmates’ health concerns when they become urgent, such as a “diabetic inmate who has not had his/her insulin for four days, or others who become symptomatic due to not having hypertensive or psychotropic medications.”

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish speaks before the swearing in of Carole Rendon as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. Joshua Gunter, Cleveland.com
‘Men in Black’ threaten inmates, use excessive force

The Special Response Team, a specialized unit in the jail decked out in riot gear, frequently threatened, harassed and intimidated inmates, sometimes withholding basic necessities as a way to control inmate behavior.

Marshals interviewed 100 inmates who described this team as the “Men in Black” because of their paramilitary uniforms. The marshals also viewed the response team's body cameras to reach their conclusions.

The marshals described a chilling scene where members of the specialized team escorted inmates to interviews with the U.S marshals’ investigators, and officers threatened and intimidated the prisoners and called them “snitches.”

The intimidation was so pervasive that guards bullied inmates in full view of the marshals' investigators. The behavior concerned investigators, prompting them to request that 10 inmates get released from the jail “for fear of SRT members retaliation, and the legitimate fear of detainee/inmate safety.”

The inmates interviewed described the Men in Black as routinely abusive. They placed inmates in isolation or segregation and refused to give them blankets when they were cold. They withheld hygiene products such as toothpaste and toilet paper, forcing inmates to use old towels, rags or clothing.

In one case, a response team officer told an inmate that toilet paper is only handed out on Wednesdays and handed him a paper towel.

The team used excessive force on inmates during cell extractions.

The officers verbally abused the inmates with explicit language and used “prejudice and unofficial authority to dictate and control” inmates.

Child inmates are held in the same areas as adult inmates while assigned to isolation or segregation. This is in violation of federal jail standards.

While child inmates charged as adults are held in the main county jail, they aren’t supposed to mix in with the general adult jail population for their safety.

Those children don’t receive the extra nutrition or exercise they need for development, and don’t receive programs that are educational or aimed at brain development.

They are subjected to the same extreme lockdowns as adults. That means they often don’t have access to hygiene, recreation and time outside of their cells.

A video that a judge ordered Cuyahoga County to release to cleveland.com shows a jail supervisor taking a naked and mentally ill female inmate to the ground and spraying her face with pepper foam.
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Old 11-24-2018, 09:18 AM   #483
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Default Another "good guy" with a gun shot dead

REVEALED: Black military man, 21, shot dead by cops in Alabama mall shooting did NOT fire gun as police reveal the gunman is still loose

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6423265/New-video-shows-Alabama-mall-shooters-body-shot-dead-cops-gunning-children.html

- Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., the son of a Birmingham cop and a member of the US Army, was shot dead by officers on Thanksgiving Day
- Police were called over reports of an active shooter at the Riverchase Galleria
- A fight broke out and the gunman pulled out a gun and shot an 18-year-old boy twice, also hitting a 12-year-old girl with a stray bullet
- Cops have now confirmed that while Bradford was involved in the altercation, that he was not the gunman
- It's not clear if Bradford was trying to break up the fight or was involved from the beginning
- Authorities are now warning the real shooter is still on the loose
- Officer involved in the fatal shooting has been placed on administrative leave
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:51 AM   #484
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4 Police Officers Indicted On Federal Civil Rights Charges For Protest Abuses

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/st-louis-police-charged-stockley-protest-crackdown_us_5c005835e4b0d04f48b2516a?tql

Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal civil rights charges Thursday in connection with their actions during an unconstitutional crackdown on a protest last year.

A federal grand jury indicted St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, on felony charges that included deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiracy to obstruct justice, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice.

Police officers chanted the streets were “our streets” during the crackdown on protests after a judge found former officer Jason Stockley, who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011, not guilty.

The indictment alleges that at least three of the defendants “expressed disdain for the Stockley protesters and excitement about using unjustified force against them and going undetected while doing so.” It features text messages between three of the defendants in which they joked about using force against protesters demonstrating against the Stockley verdict.

“let’s whoop some ass,” Myers wrote.

“it’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart,” wrote Boone. “We really need these fuckers to start acting up so we can have some fun.”

Boone later wrote that it was a “blast beating people that deserve it” and bragged about chanting “OUR STREETS” with other cops after they locked “fools up on prison busses.”

All four defendants were part of the St. Louis Police Department’s Civil Disobedience Team, which led the police response to protests following the verdict against their former colleague.

The victim listed in the indictment is a fellow St. Louis police officer who was acting in an undercover capacity during the protests. The defendants, the indictment says, used unreasonable force against their colleague, a 22-year veteran of the force referred to as “L.H.” The officers allegedly lied about their conduct against the undercover officer, who was wearing a shirt that revealed his waistband so officers would not think he was armed.

Officer Bailey Colletta, who was in a romantic relationship with Officer Randy Hays, allegedly lied to the FBI about what she knew about the takedown of the undercover officer. She claimed he was “brought to the ground very gently” when she knew he was forcefully slammed to the ground.

A federal judge said last year that officers “exercised their discretion in an arbitrary and retaliatory fashion to punish protesters for voicing criticism of police.” Former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Mike Faulk, who was arrested and violently assaulted by police while reporting on the protest, filed a lawsuit over police actions earlier this year.
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Old 12-03-2018, 11:01 AM   #485
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Grandma mistakenly booked into all-male Florida jail, staff thought she was transgender

https://www.wfla.com/1632904360

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - A woman is suing employees of a Florida jail after they allegedly forced her to spend several hours in a cell surrounded by dozens of men, because they suspected she was transgender.

The Miami Herald reports 55-year-old Fior Pichardo de Veloz had come to Miami from the Dominican Republic to witness the birth of her grandchild in 2013, when she was arrested at the airport on an outstanding drug charge. Her arrest report listed her as female and Pichardo de Veloz was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and processed as a woman. She was even strip searched.

Due to her history of high blood pressure, Pichardo de Veloz was examined by a nurse as a precaution. The nurse saw she had been taking hormone pills and questioned her about her gender.

Despite Pichardo de Veloz's denial of being a man, the nurse added a note to her file that read: "Transgender, male parts, female tendencies."

The nurse notified a doctor, who reclassified Pichardo de Veloz as male without an examination, according to an appeals court opinion.

Pichardo was transferred to the Metro West Detention Center, an all-male jail, and shared a cell with about 40 men, who jeered at her yelling "Mami! Mami!", according to the newspaper. She was there for 10 hours and said she was terrified to go to the bathroom and "urinated on herself instead."

Jail workers eventually realized their mistake once family members went to the facility where she was originally processed and asked why she was moved.

Pichardo de Veloz was removed from her holding cell and given a new examination. During that exam, Pichardo de Veloz claimed several male officers laughed at her and someone took a photo.

Once her gender was confirmed, she was moved back to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Pichardo de Veloz sued the county and jail staff for negligence and "cruel and unusual punishment," but the case was thrown out by a judge who said the jail staffers were protected from a trial for negligence.

In November, the newspaper reports an appeals court ruled the conduct of the nurse and doctor amounts to “deliberate indifference."

"Every reasonable prison officer and medical personnel would have known that wrongfully misclassifying a biological female as a male inmate and placing that female in the male population of a detention facility was unlawful," Judge Frank Hull wrote in an unanimous opinion.
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Old 12-05-2018, 04:20 PM   #486
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Police allegedly kicked this drag queen to death. Now they’ve been charged.

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/12/police-allegedly-kicked-drag-queen-death-now-theyve-charged/?fbclid=IwAR0zwpV2QhQhvF9VJiv2D_IGW0LTXrvdcNdjDwgR WM80-cJuqais49PmiT8

Four police officers have been charged with inflicting fatal bodily harm in connection to the death of LGBTQ activist and drag queen Zak Kostopoulos.

Video of Kostopoulos’s death surfaced in September, as he tried to get out of a locked jewelry store in Athens and was beaten by the store owner and a bystander.

Police arrived and handcuffed Kostopoulos who was on the ground and bleeding, and witnesses said that police officers and other bystanders kicked him.

He was taken away in a stretcher but died before reaching the hospital.

Related: Two men were thrown into the sea in a brutal hate crime during Pride

Before the video surfaced, the police officers said that Kostopoulos was a drug addict who was trying to rob the jewelry store. The video showed otherwise, and the store owner was arrested after the video went viral.

The autopsy showed that Kostopoulos died of cardiac arrest as a result of the brutal beating. The toxicology report found no drugs or alcohol in his body.

In court on Monday, the police officers were charged with inflicting fatal bodily harm because they caused the victim injuries that led to his death.

The police officers deny the charges, and they have until December 12 to prepare their defense statements.

Kostopoulos’s family said through their lawyer that they want the charges changed to intentional murder and that they’re planning to sue the police department.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:49 AM   #487
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Default Not allowed to sit on the floor?

Mom screams ‘I’m begging you’ as police yank her baby in arrest tug of war, video shows

https://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article222893525.html

Jacqueline Jenkins says she’s still coming to grips with a jarring video that shows police officers tugging away at her daughter’s baby.

“I was devastated to see something like that happen to my daughter and grandson,” Jenkins told WABC. “And how this officer (was) yanking on my grandson to get him out of my daughter’s arms.”

The video shows 23-year-old Jazmine Headley screaming on the floor of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) center in Brooklyn, New York, as multiple police officers try to pry away her 1-year-old son, according to The New York Post.

A spokeswoman for the New York Police Department says it is looking into the “troubling” video, The New York Daily News reported. Headley has an outstanding warrant for her arrest in New Jersey as well, police say, according to NBC New York.

Police say it happened around 1 p.m. on Friday, when officers arrived to the SNAP center because Headley was obstructing a hallway and acting in a “disorderly” manner, The New York Post reported.

Nyashia Ferguson, who goes by Monae Sinclair on Facebook, captured what happened next on video and shared it online, NBC reported.

Ferguson, who recorded on her cellphone, said Headley sat on the floor because there were no seats available — and then things grew hectic, according to CBS New York.

“The security guard, I guess she came over and told her she couldn’t sit there,” Ferguson told CBS New York. “So she’s like, ‘Where am I going to sit?’ (The security guard) was like, ‘I guess you’re going to just have to stand.’

“She said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna stand with my son,’” Ferguson recalled, according to CBS New York. “She was like, ‘What is the crime? What did I do wrong?’ And then it just escalated.”

Staff at the SNAP center called police, who say Headley refused to leave once they arrived, according to CBS New York.

Video shows the 23-year-old screaming, “They’re hurting my son!” and “I’m begging you” on the floor of the SNAP center as a team of police officers yank at her baby boy.

“Oh my God! Look what they’re doing to her!” one person is heard yelling the background.

“She’s got a f------ baby in her hand,” another person shouts as the officers continue to tug at the child and Headley maintains her grip.

A crowd gathers around the chaotic scene, which ends with Headley exiting the building in handcuffs, the video shows. At one point, an officer takes out a stun gun to try to control the onlookers.

Headley was charged with criminal trespassing, acting in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, reported The New York Post.

She is set to remain in jail until Thursday, when she has a court hearing, according to WABC. Her child is now in the custody of another family member, police say, according to The New York Daily News.

Ferguson’s video has been viewed more than 200,000 times since Friday — and shared nearly 7,000 times.

It caught the attention of Corey Johnson, speaker of the New York City Council, who tweeted that the video is “unacceptable, appalling and heart breaking.”

There are 3 NYPD officers and a sgt. shown ripping a baby out of the hands of a mother in an ACS office. This was the best plan they could come up with? No threat to anyone, no emergency, just brutal disregard for the well-being of mother and child.

New York Attorney General-elect Letitia James told CBS New York that “no mother should have to experience the trauma and humiliation we all witnessed in this video.”

“Being poor is not a crime,” James told the outlet. “The actions of the NYPD in this video are appalling and contemptible.”

In her interview with WABC, Ferguson lamented that the situation didn’t end in a more peaceful way.

“I was just so disgusted and scared,” she told WABC. “I thought the cops supposed to help you — they just straight up came and attacked the lady.”
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:16 PM   #488
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She Says Rikers Guards Raped Her, Then Warned: ‘This Never Happened’

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/nyregion/rikers-rape-guards-federal-lawsuit.html

Two correction officers and their supervisor walked the woman from an intake area to an isolated room in an abandoned area of the Rikers Island jail. There, according to a lawsuit, she was stripped of her clothing, handcuffed to a toilet fixture and sexually assaulted for several hours.

The woman said her attackers included a correction captain and two officers, who raped her and penetrated her with a flashlight. They forced her to perform oral sex and rub one officer’s genitals. She was also compelled to drink soapy liquid, she said, and the officers pepper-sprayed her genitals.

The next day, she said, a correction officer took her from the isolated area to a housing unit in the jail and warned: “This never happened. If it is being heard upstairs, things are going to be worse.”

The disturbing account of a brutal sexual assault in 2013 at the Rose M. Singer Center — the jail that houses women on Rikers Island — was detailed in a federal civil rights lawsuit the woman filed against the city initially under seal in 2015.

Advocates for prisoners say sexual harassment and assault have long been a problem at the women’s lockup, which is known by the initials R.M.S.C. Sexual assault complaints there are double the national average for correctional facilities but are seldom substantiated, a report found.

The woman, identified in court papers only as Jane Doe, claims that the city’s Department of Correction is to blame because it does not properly investigate complaints. The suit argues the city violated her constitutional rights by allowing a culture of sexual violence against inmates to persist, and in her case failed to supervise a correction captain who was already under investigation for sexual assault. The woman did not file a complaint with the Department of Correction regarding the alleged attack.

The lawsuit remained under seal while the Bronx district attorney’s office investigated the allegations. The office concluded its investigation in late 2015 without making an arrest. No one was charged, and the case was unsealed, but some documents remain sealed or redacted. Patrice O’Shaughnessy, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, declined to comment about the investigation.

In September, a federal judge allowed the case to move forward, ruling there was evidence the city was doing too little to investigate sexual assault allegations at the jail and discipline its staff, according to a court order made public late last month. The judge granted the woman anonymity in court papers because of the nature of the crime.

“The court concludes that a reasonable juror could find that the city exhibited deliberate indifference in its investigation and discipline practices and that this deliberate indifference caused Doe to be sexually assaulted at R.M.S.C.,” wrote Judge Alison J. Nathan of United States District Court in Manhattan.

The judge added that there was “significant evidence” of “a policy of deliberate indifference to the physical and sexual assault of inmates at R.M.S.C.” She also said in her decision that the failure to investigate and discipline people for sexual misconduct had led to more incidents.

A number of similar complaints have landed in the courts. Last year, the city agreed to pay about $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit by two women who claimed they had been repeatedly raped and sexually abused by a correction officer at Rikers.

The Department of Correction said it has taken steps to address sexual violence. It has a division trained to respond to sexual assault allegations that works with the police’s special victims unit. Eight new investigators have been hired and four more will join the agency by January.

The department also has a 24-hour hotline where inmates can report sexual assault, and an electronic screening tool to identify people at risk of sexual assault and to place them in safer housing.

A spokesman for the City Law Department, Nick Paolucci, declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit but said the city takes sexual assault allegations seriously.

“At this stage, the court has not determined the credibility of the plaintiff’s claims, but has ruled that a jury must decide whether the allegations are true,” he said.

The correction captain accused in the assault did not respond to requests for comment. The president of his union, Patrick Ferraiuolo of the Correction Captains’ Association, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, would not comment, a spokesman said.

The lawsuit said that the captain was in charge of processing new arrivals and had been accused of sexually assaulting another inmate in 2012. Correction department investigators found that allegation unsubstantiated and removed it from his record, the complaint said.

The captain was also cited by a warden for using excessive force in another case. The warden, however, did not change the captain’s assignment, and the captain retired in 2015. Judge Nathan wrote that the city was on notice that the captain “had a propensity to seriously abuse or sexually assault female inmates.”

Another correction officer named in the lawsuit no longer works in an inmate housing area.

The plaintiff, who was twice detained on Rikers Island, claims that the first sexual assault occurred in October 2013 after she was jailed on a shoplifting charge. She was released that month, but then was jailed again in January 2014 on a charge of credit card fraud, and was again assaulted, her lawyers said in court papers.

“The evidence that was before the court and that we have amassed suggests to us that this conduct was systemic,” said Alan S. Futerfas, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff.

A report by a former warden, Timothy Ryan, included in the lawsuit said that inmates housed at R.M.S.C. report sexual assault at a level more than double the national average for correctional facilities, but those allegations were rarely substantiated. He concluded that the department’s investigators jumped to “quick conclusions that the assaults could not have occurred exactly as described and thus did not occur at all.”

The Board of Correction also analyzed a sample of 42 investigation reports related to sexual abuse complaints in city jails from January 2010 to December 2017. In an audit released in September, it found significant problems in the investigations, including failure to complete key interviews, review video and testimonial evidence, establish a crime scene and complete investigations in a timely manner.

Mitchell Abramson, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, said the number of sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been substantiated has increased in recent years, reaching 19 this year, up from two in 2015. Of the 44 sexual abuse and harassment complaints substantiated since 2015, 13 include allegations against correction staff, he said.

“It is important litigation like this continues,” said Ellen Resnick, another lawyer representing the woman. “It’s a valuable mechanism to bring public attention to the city’s oversight of Rikers and to compel much-needed reform.”
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:43 AM   #489
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Florida Man Spent 41 Days in Jail for Heroin — But it was Actually Detergent

https://fox40.com/2019/01/30/florida-man-spent-41-days-in-jail-for-heroin-but-it-was-actually-detergent/?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_con tent=5c52cf5e04d3015c71101766&utm_medium=trueAnthe m&utm_source=twitter

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Matt Crull, 29, spent 41 days in jail wrongly accused, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. He was locked up over Christmas and New Year’s. But he and 10 others are out now, and the deputy is fired, according to WPTV.

Crull had a white powdery substance that was found in the driver’s side door, wrapped in plastic with a hair tie around it. Crull says it was Tide laundry detergent. Deputy Steven O’Leary said it was heroin — a lot of heroin.

“I just looked at him baffled and confused because I had no idea as to where 92 grams of heroin came from inside my van,” Crull said.

Crull says he bought his Astro van about three weeks prior for $1,400, so maybe the last owner had left it behind. But the street price of 92 grams, according to American Addiction Centers, could cost more than $18,000.

“He wasn’t fit and just to be a cop,” Crull said.

Crull was parked at a Jensen Beach KFC restaurant, asleep the van on Dec. 5. He admits he had taken a sip of a Budweiser that was in the cupholder.

First paramedics arrived, and then deputies, including O’Leary.

Crull has been in trouble with the law before, but he says nothing like this.

“In the past, when I have gone to jail, it’s been something where I knew I wasn’t going to be there forever. It’s a lot different than going to jail and the charge of trafficking of heroin carries a penalty of 25 years in prison,” Crull said.

He was one of 11 people freed from jail because whatever drug O’Leary said it was turned out to be something legal.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder distancing his department from O’Leary Monday.

“No matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, just based on the law of possibilities there’s always a possibility that one bad apple will slip through,” Snyder said.

“I think that’s just their play that they’re doing to keep their name clear,” Crull said.

All the charges for all 11 people have been dropped.

Crull said he wasn’t sure if he was going to sue.
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:30 AM   #490
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Opa-locka police corporal caught on camera failing to stop at scene of fatal crash

https://www.local10.com/news/local-10-investigates/opa-locka-police-corporal-caught-on-camera-failing-to-stop-at-scene-of-fatal-crash

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. - Local 10 News has obtained never publicly seen video of what happened the night of a fiery fatal crash in northwest Miami-Dade County in 2017.

In the video, Opa-locka police Cpl. Wuihudson Francois was seen driving away from the crash seconds after impact without rendering any help.

Francis' Buick burst into flames a minute after his car came to rest in front of a transmission shop on Northwest 103rd Street.

"My brother was in the car burning alive," Raymond Francis, Kemar Francis' brother, who is a firefighter in North Carolina, told Local 10 News. "This all could have been avoided."

Authorities said a silver Acura driven by Lanard Gilbert, 21, ran the light at Northwest 103rd Street and 22nd Avenue and slammed into Kemar Francis' car.

Gilbert was apparently trying to get away from Francois, who was pursuing him before the crash occurred.

Francois had spotted Gilbert driving erratically in Opa-locka and followed him out of the city, which is against Opa-locka Police Department rules.

"After the crash, this officer did the exact opposite of what he should have done," attorney Ben Murphey, who has been hired by Kemar Francis' family, told Local 10 News.

Surveillance video from a transmission shop shows Francois' Opa-locka police SUV making a left turn onto Northwest 103rd Street 18 seconds after the massive impact.

He is seen in the video driving away from the crash, like nothing happened.

"It's impossible not for him to see that accident. Why did he turn left?" Raymond Francis said.

"Civilians knew something was wrong. They stopped to help and this police officer didn't? You can't not know," Murphey added.

Kemar Francis' brother said the officer should have stopped and pulled his brother out before the fire erupted.

"Kemar had smoke in his lungs, so we know he was alive when that car was burning," Murphey said. "The police vehicles are equipped with a fire extinguisher."

An eyewitness told a Miami-Dade police officer who arrived at the scene that she was shocked the officer didn't stop.

"We went over there to try to help, but the police didn't try to come over here and help," the witness said.

Video shows the Opa-locka police officer returning to the scene of the crash several minutes later.

Francois told an Internal Affairs investigator that another driver flagged him down to tell him about the crash, but in a deposition he told a different story.

In the deposition, Francois said he was on his way back to the city when the crash call was dispatched out, so he turned around.

Miami-Dade police officers who showed up at the scene raised an eyebrow when Opa-locka officers wanted to leave the scene.

On bodycam video obtained by Local 10 News, a Miami-Dade police officer says, "Opa-locka is about to clear. They ain't tryin' to get none of this."

"Yeah. They started it. They the one chasing him," another Miami-Dade police officer said.

"According to them, they ain't. You know how that go," the first officer responded.

According to the results of an Internal Affairs investigation, Francois violated the Opa-locka Police Department's chase policy.

The policy states officers cannot pursue traffic violators, misdemeanor subjects or people committing property crime under any circumstance.

Franciois was 32 blocks outside his jurisdiction. He did not call his superior, had no emergency lights on, had no sirens on and did not tell Miami-Dade police he was following a possible stolen car that entered their jurisdiction.

Opa-locka police Chief James Dobson first recommended that Francois be terminated.

The chief then changed his recommendation to a demotion.

There is no explanation in Francois' personnel file as to why the chief changed his position.

Dobson won't comment due to pending litigation.

Francois is now part of the Opa-locka Police Department's traffic unit.

Opa-locka police Cpl. Wuihudson Francois did not answer any of Local 10 News Investigative Reporter Jeff Weinsier's questions.

He refused to talk to Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier, who confronted him outside the Opa-Locka Police Department.

"I think he fled because he realized that he had caused a horrific crash," Murphey said.

"I would ask him, 'Why did he leave the scene? Was your job more important than my brother's life?'" Raymond Francis said.

Francois told an I.A. investigator that he was not chasing the car and never heard or saw the crash.

He claimed he made the left turn because he thought the driver of the Acura did the same.

"While the loss of life in this case is unfortunate, we believe that Officer Francois acted appropriately based on the totality of events, and expect that he will be exonerated of any and all wrongdoing after all of the evidence is heard," Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association attorney Anastasios Kamoutsas said.

Because of pending litigation, no one from the city of Opa-locka would talk to Local 10 News about the incident.

"Their position is that we see no liability on our part whatsoever," Murphey said.

This is not the first time Francois has been the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation.

In 2001, Francois failed to property handcuff and secure an arrestee in the back of his patrol car.

That suspect was able to loosen his handcuffs, get into the front seat of Francois' patrol car and take off.

The suspect led police on a high-speed chase until he crashed and the patrol car burst into flames.

As for the incident in which Kemar Francis was killed, Gilbert was charged with eluding police, vehicular homicide and possession of a firearm.

His trial is still pending.
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Old 02-06-2019, 01:12 PM   #491
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EXCLUSIVE: Body cam video shows alleged Hamden police misconduct

https://www-wtnh-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.wtnh.com/amp/news/news-8-exclusive/exclusive-body-cam-video-shows-alleged-hamden-police-misconduct/1757596319?usqp=mq331AQCCAE%3D&amp_js_v=0.1#aoh=15 494565521506&amp_ct=1549456621132&referrer=https%3 A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampsh are=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wtnh.com%2Fnews%2Fnews-8-exclusive%2Fexclusive-body-cam-video-shows-alleged-hamden-police-misconduct%2F1757596319

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) - Last February, Hamden police Officer Andrew Lipford tried to pull over a BMW for a red light violation when the driver allegedly took off. Cops say Victor Medina led them on a chase, ending in the man's driveway where Ofc. Lipford threatened to shoot him.

"If you do something that you're not told you're gonna get shot!" yelled Lipford.

Attorney Frank Cirillo represents Medina. "That is shocking to hear and it seems dangerous," Cirillo said.

But it's what the sergeant on scene says to Medina's passenger, which was caught on body cam that has local Hispanic groups outraged.

"Three letters: I-C-E."

"Using that as an intimidation tactic is a disservice to the community that the police department claims to protect and serve," said Jesús Morales Sanchez of the group Unidad Latina en Acción.

The apparent reference to Immigration and Customs Enforcement came after police repeatedly accused the passenger of faking his inability to speak English. Morales Sanchez said the officers' conduct in the video is unacceptable.

"That just takes away a lot of trust from the police," Morales Sanchez told us.

Civil rights expert, Attorney John Williams, reviewed the body cam video for News 8 and found multiple constitutional violations. Williams indicated two specific concerns, including the level of force used on the driver and the alleged unlawful search of the man's trunk.

Acting Hamden police Chief John Cappiello said he first learned of the video from News 8's Mario Boone. The chief released a statement saying, "I only looked at what you pointed out to us in the video and the two specific areas are concerning to me. I am initiating an internal investigation into this incident," referring to the shooting threat and ICE comment.

"I'm relieved that the chief is now taking a look at this case. I think they would be foolish to take this lightly," Attorney Cirillo said.

Medina was charged with multiple traffic violations, including DUI. The passenger was released without charges.

On Wednesday morning, Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng issued the following statement in reaction to News 8's exclusive story:

"Actions taken by some involved were disgraceful, and certainly not representative of Hamden's values.

I do not expect, and will not tolerate, these types of actions by any of our law enforcement personnel. Acting Chief Cappiello has launched an immediate internal investigation into this incident, and I will work closely with the Chief and the Hamden Police Commission to ensure that that the investigation is as thorough as the situation demands and deserves.

Appropriate action will be taken. As many know, I am a strong supporter of our local law enforcement and respect so many of our public safety men and women that work tirelessly for our community every day. Certain actions taken and words spoken in the video shown today have no business being part of Hamden law enforcement. Period.

Connecticut law clearly dictates our State's legal policy, which every local law enforcement agency must follow related to detaining an individual based on their immigration status. It makes detaining unlawful, with few and very specific exceptions, such as a violent criminal actions or known gang activity. Our local Police follow this policy; we follow it because it is law, because it increases the safety of all our residents and because it reflect our values."
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:47 AM   #492
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Video of BSO deputy calling a black father ‘boy’ amid foul language sparks complaint

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article225998300.html

The actions of a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy with a history of making false arrests drew a complaint from the Broward Public Defender’s Office after bodycam video from a July 2017 incident emerged last month.

Deputy James Cady confronts Allen Floyd, an African-American father calmly holding his infant, angrily drops f-bombs and calls Floyd “boy” before appearing to grab Floyd by the throat.

Floyd wasn’t under investigation for any crime. Nor was he being belligerent towards Cady in the video from July 25, 2017.

Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein made the latter point in a Jan. 30 letter to newly appointed Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony.

“Deputy Cady’s verbal assault coupled with him choking an otherwise cooperative bystander can only be characterized as unlawful touching,” Finkelstein wrote. “In addition, Deputy Cady’s use of the term “boy” is offensive, condescending and demeaning. It carries racial connotations when used while addressing an adult black male.”

In the official report on the incident, Cady’s presence isn’t even noted, although the video shows he played a key role.

Tony’s response letter said, “Thank you for bringing this matter that occurred in July 2017 to my attention. A cursory search of our system shows that no complaint was made prior to receiving your letter.

“Our Division of Internal Affairs will provide you with a response upon conducting a thorough examination.”

The public defender’s office discovered the video in preparing to defend Johnnymae Dardy, according to the Sun Sentinel. The probable cause affidavit by BSO Deputy Debbra Bridgman said Dardy had been watching Floyd’s baby at the Red Carpet Inn in Dania, where she had a room; the Sun Sentinel said BSO had been called to the motel about Dardy.

The bodycam video picks up with Cady asking Floyd, who is holding his child and sitting on a curb, if he has a separate room at the motel. Then, Cady demands, three times, to see Floyd’s identification. Floyd shows Cady pictures on his phone, apparently to show he’s the child’s father, a gesture Cady disdains.

Finally, after Floyd shakes his head at Cady, Cady says, “OK, fine, I’m going to take her to jail because she’s got a warrant and I’m going to call child services on this kid!” When Floyd starts to say something, Cady says, “Quit f----- with me, boy! You hear me? Get your ID! Now!”

Bridgman’s voice chimes in, “ID!”

Dardy, who had been in the BSO cruiser, appears and Cady says, “Get your ass back in the car! I’m tired of you f----- playing games!”

As Cady angrily repeats his demand for Floyd’s identification, Floyd asks, “Why are you being so hostile?”

Cady answers, “Because you’re giving me s--- and I’m tired of it!”

Eventually Cady says, “I want to know who this baby is going with!” and Floyd replies, “He’s going with me, Allen Floyd.”

Floyd rises from the curb, still holding his child in his left arm. Cady steps toward him. Floyd turns to walk away and says, “Stop calling me ‘boy!’ ”

Cady grabs Floyd by the right arm while Bridgman grabs Floyd’s child from his left arm. Then, the video shows Cady’s left hand holding small papers that, along with Floyd’s torso, partially block the bodycam while his right hand is up in Floyd’s throat area.

When a fuller view is available again, Floyd’s saying, “I ain’t doin’ nothin’!” with his arms spread wide. Bridgman is holding the baby.

The probable cause affidavit doesn’t mention that Cady was among the deputies there. Nor, when later describing Dardy trying to grab the baby from Bridgman’s arms, does it mention how Bridgman came to be holding the child.

Gordon Weekes, executive chief assistant public defender, said that if a person answers a law enforcement officer with his name, as Floyd did several times, he’s identified himself. From that point, officers have many ways to verify identity.

Cady’s personnel file includes previous Internal Affairs investigations for conduct unbecoming an employee (result: unfounded) and use of force (result: exonerated) from a June 2003 investigation; and taking suitable action (result: not sustained) and conduct unbecoming an employee (result: not sustained) from a June 2010 investigation. Despite the result of each investigation, the final recommendation was for a one-day suspension.

The second investigation coincides with the first of two federal lawsuits with Cady as defendant, lawsuits that cost Broward County almost $680,000.

A federal lawsuit for wrongful arrest filed against Cady by Weston resident William Pineiro resulted in Pineiro being awarded $250,000 in total damages, $75,635 in attorney’s fees and $4,183.27 in court costs and interest. Pineiro had been at a party thrown by a Dania Beach couple whose federal lawsuit for false arrest against deputies Cady, Justin Lambert, Randy Villata and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel (as their supervisor) was settled for $350,000.

The complaint described Cady saying, “Shut the f--- up!” when Pineiro said, “Excuse me, officer. That is my truck” as Cady ticketed it. Later, after the couple was arrested and the husband Tasered, Pineiro asked Cady why they were being arrested. The complaint says Cady answered with a curse, (“What the f---, you want to be arrested, too?”), a running tackle and the arrest of Pineiro for obstruction of justice.
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Old 02-26-2019, 11:48 AM   #493
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Two Miami-Dade cops charged after video catches sergeant slapping a handcuffed teen

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article226772714.html

The home surveillance video was jarring: A Miami-Dade police sergeant suddenly slapping a handcuffed teenager in the face as he is about to be led away to a patrol car.

Prosecutors have now charged the sergeant — and another officer who is suspected of trying to destroy the video surveillance system that captured the slap.

Miami-Dade Sgt. Manuel Regueirowas charged Tuesday with misdemeanor battery, prosecutors announced. Officer Alexander Gonzalez was also charged with a count of third-degree felony tampering with evidence, and misdemeanor petty theft.

“It’s infuriating. This is happening at a time when police and community relations are already stressed,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the Miami Herald.

Prosecutors plan to detail the case at an afternoon news conference.

The teen was Bryan Crespo, then 18, who was being investigated in March of 2018 for allegedly dealing in stolen airbags.

Miami-Dade police raided his Allapattah home, which had a surveillance camera rolling inside his living room. The footage shows Crespo, shirtless and cuffed, being led away when he was slapped by Regueiro.

Miami-Dade internal-affairs investigators uncovered additional footage, from a home across the street, that appears to show Officer Gonzalez stealing an object covered up in a pillowcase. Investigators believe the item was a battery pack he believed was the recording unit.

A Miami-Dade police lieutenant involved in the case has also been suspended with pay pending an internal affairs investigation. Another officer seen in the video, Jennifer Alvarez, was relieved of duty on Tuesday as investigators probe her role in the incident.

When the footage first emerged last year, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said: “The actions depicted in the video are extremely disturbing and in no way represent the core values of our agency.”

Crespo’s attorneys have said they plan on filing a lawsuit against the officer.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:17 AM   #494
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GEORGIA WOMAN ENDURED ARREST, MILLION-DOLLAR BOND, AND MONTHS OF JAIL OVER ‘METH’ THAT WAS ACTUALLY COTTON CANDY

https://theappeal.org/georgia-woman-endured-arrest-million-dollar-bond-months-of-jail-over-meth-that-was-actually-cotton-candy/?fbclid=IwAR11DFeFpbz8ovgj4B_WGksdfy_NVPsOytV-H3y3TVfYN9xO3KqZ926hkAc

On Dec. 31, 2016, sheriff’s deputies in Monroe County, Georgia, pulled over David Maynard Morris Jr. His girlfriend at the time, Dasha Fincher, sat next to him in the passenger seat. The deputies told the pair that they initiated the stop because the vehicle’s window tint was too dark. They then said the tint was not in violation of the law but asked to search the car regardless.

Morris consented to the search. Among the trash on the passenger-side floorboard, deputies found what they described as a “blue crystal like substance” inside an open plastic bag. The deputies removed the substance from the bag, sniffed it, and analyzed it with a narcotics field test called Nark II. Fincher insisted that the substance was simply cotton candy—but moments later the test produced a positive result for methamphetamine. She was charged with methamphetamine trafficking as well as possession with intent to distribute the drug. “I was shocked,” Fincher told The Appeal. “I really thought I’d get down to the jail and they’d just have to turn around and let me go.”

On Jan. 11, 2017, Fincher appeared for her first bond hearing where the judge ordered a $1 million cash bond based on the arresting officer’s testimony even though the deputy who had conducted the test, Cody Maples, acknowledged in court that he had no training in drug recognition. Fincher was unable to pay the seven-figure bond and remained incarcerated pending a more sophisticated test of the substance by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). On March 15, 2017, a Monroe County grand jury returned an indictment against Fincher for trafficking methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. But just days later, on March 22, she was cleared in the case: The GBI issued a report finding that there were no controlled substances in the blue material. It was, as Fincher maintained all along, cotton candy.

But the conclusion in Fincher’s case did not erase the injustice she suffered: She sat in the Monroe County jail for three months and endured profound trauma while incarcerated. She also joined a long list of people who have been wrongfully incarcerated because of the Nark II tests which have returned false positives for everyday substances such as vitamins, breath mints, and headache powder. Manufactured by forensic kit maker Sirchie, the roadside drug tests were responsible for at least 145 false positives in Georgia in 2017, an investigation by Atlanta’s Fox affiliate found. Nark II produced the highest number of false positives—64—in methamphetamine tests, according to the Fox investigation. “That to me tells me there’s something wrong with this product,” Fincher’s attorney, James Freeman, told The Appeal.

On Nov. 15, Freeman filed a civil rights lawsuit on Fincher’s behalf in a Georgia federal court against the deputies, Monroe County, and Sirchie, claiming that she was wrongfully arrested and jailed, and maliciously prosecuted. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit from Micka Martin, a Georgia woman who says a sergeant struck, punched, and kicked her while she was handcuffed in a booking area at the jail in 2016. The sheriff’s office referred questions from The Appeal about the training that officers receive to the county attorney, who did not immediately respond. Neither Deputy Maples or Sirchie responded to a request for comment.

Fincher also claims in her lawsuit to have suffered emotional distress from her case. The day before her January 2017 bond hearing, Fincher’s daughter-in-law gave birth to twin boys. Later, Fincher’s son visited her at the Monroe County jail to introduce her to her grandsons. During the visit, officers arrested him for a failure to appear bench warrant; a frustrated Fincher then broke her hand on a concrete wall. The next day, it was determined that no warrant existed for her son, and he was freed. A doctor, meanwhile, told Fincher that her injured hand could only be fitted with a brace because of severe swelling. She was advised to return in a week for a full cast, but the jail never transported her for the follow-up visit, according to her lawsuit.

In another incident, Fincher alleges that she was taken to the emergency room for a cyst on her ovaries but was not permitted by jail officials to follow up with a gynecologist as recommended. According to her lawsuit, a female jailer told her to “get over it” because she’d had an ovarian cyst before. Fincher’s daughter also suffered a miscarriage, and she was unable to support her because she was behind bars.

Heather Harris, an expert in forensic analytical chemistry who has consulted with public defenders in Georgia on Nark II tests, told The Appeal that in Fincher’s case the blue food dye was most likely responsible for the false positive result. The reagent in the Nark II test is designed to color react with secondary amines in methamphetamine; a dark blue color indicates a positive result. Harris adds that the tests include a warning that their results must be confirmed by an independent laboratory but that law enforcement has repeatedly relied on the tests to jail people. “It’s not a confirmatory test,” Harris said, “so the problem is the human beings who are misusing the results of the test.”

The March 22, 2017, GBI report that exonerated Fincher didn’t result in her immediate release: She wasn’t freed until April 4, and prosecutors from the Towaliga Judicial Circuit did not nolle prosse (decline to prosecute) the case until April 18. Freeman, her attorney, said he’s not sure why there was such a long period between the lab results and her release but expects an answer to emerge during discovery in the lawsuit. “The very idea that when they pull out this big loose bag, that this is somehow this mass quantity of methamphetamine these great drug dealers are carrying around is just ludicrous,” he said. “Common sense went out the window on this arrest.”

Fincher said she hopes that her lawsuit will result in stricter policies for officers who use roadside drug tests. But most of all, she wants Monroe County to apologize to her. “They just didn’t care,” she said.
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:17 AM   #495
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8 Colorado Cops Detain Black Man At Gunpoint For Picking Up Trash On His Lawn: ‘This Is My House’

https://thegailygrind.com/2019/03/06/8-colorado-cops-detain-black-man-at-gunpoint-for-picking-up-trash-on-his-lawn-this-is-my-house/?fbclid=IwAR0qltxF_OKDEmVNmObLeEPNpGD1dKltNC8wMIcj 67xCmIVVoun_8rSz-Cw

Boulder police on Monday launched an internal investigation after video surfaced of multiple officers confronting and detaining a black man at gunpoint who was picking up trash at his own house.

Boulder police said one of their officers approached a man sitting in a partially enclosed patio area behind a “private property” sign in the 2300 block of Arapahoe Avenue at 8:30 a.m. Friday and asked him if he was allowed to be there, reports The Denver Post.

The man reportedly informed the officer that he lived and worked in the building, and handed the officer his school identification card, but the officer instead detained the man while he “investigated further.”

The Denver Post reports:

The officer then made a request over the radio for additional assistance to respond, saying the man was uncooperative and unwilling to put down a blunt object. Several other officers, including a supervisor, responded. Police found the object the man was holding is a device used to pick up trash.

Police found the object the man was holding is a device used to pick up trash, and officers left the area.

A roommate began recording the encounter and later shared the video online. The 16-minute video shows his roommate trying to explain that he lives in the building and that he did not have a weapon.

“You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me, because I’m picking up trash,” the man can be heard saying. “I don’t have a weapon! This is a bucket, this is a clamp.”

“I’m not sitting down and you can’t make me,” the man says as additional officers arrived on the scene. “This is my property, this is my house — I live here.”

The person recording the video can be heard saying eight officers responded to the scene, some with their guns drawn or their hands on their weapons.

During Tuesday’s Boulder City Council meeting, audience members held aloft trash grabbers and clacked them as Police Chief Greg Testa briefed council members about the incident.

“This is an extremely concerning issue, and one that we are taking very seriously,” Testa read from a prepared statement.

Testa noted that an internal affairs investigation is ongoing, and the initial responding officer is on administrative leave. The probe is expected to take 60 to 90 days, reports Daily Camera.
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PARTY GUESTS SUING OVER MASS ARREST FOR LESS THAN AN OUNCE OF MARIJUANA

https://theappeal.org/party-guests-suing-over-mass-arrest-for-less-than-an-ounce-of-marijuana/?fbclid=IwAR1Uxf2FNHzznol2A3-xiCCUtbPrIVzvkSeyxIALEm6Yrggj9nKT2dRUGMo

On Dec. 31, 2017, Nija Guider finished her waitressing shift and headed to a friend’s 21st birthday party in Cartersville, Georgia. She had been at the party for less than an hour when, suddenly, the police arrived. Without a warrant or permission, they entered the house and detained everyone inside. Guider and more than 60 other guests’ wrists were zip-tied.

“Boom, we were all going to jail,” Guider, then 21, recalled.

Each guest was charged with possessing less than an ounce of marijuana that had been found in the home. Some spent days in jail, held under harsh conditions, Guider and other party guests allege. The district attorney’s office would eventually drop charges against everyone. But many of those swept up at the party say the arrest cost them jobs and hurt their reputations.

While Guider was still in jail, her mugshot and those of others arrested were posted on the Bartow County jail website, in violation of Georgia state law, according to their attorneys. By the afternoon of Dec. 31, their mugshots were on the news, underneath headlines about a Cartersville drug bust.

“Everybody was treated inhumanely and talked to like they should expect this,” said Atteeyah Hollie, senior staff attorney at Southern Center for Human Rights.

Now Hollie and her colleagues, along with attorneys from The Merchant Law Firm PC, are helping the arrestees fight back. Today, they filed suit against the city of Cartersville, as well as members of the Cartersville Police Department, Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, and Bartow County sheriff’s office, alleging that the search and mass arrest violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini told The Appeal in an email that because the incident may involve litigation, he could not comment. The Cartersville chief of police and Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force did not respond to requests for comment. Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap declined to release information without a public records request. That request is now pending.

Sun Choy, who is representing the city, said over email that he could not give an interview “in light of the anticipated litigation.” However, he added, “I am comfortable in saying that we believe that any plaintiff will have to overcome some significant legal hurdles if he/she pursues a claim.”

In addition to recovering financial damages for their clients, the plaintiffs’ attorneys hope to draw attention to the department’s warrantless search practices, which they consider unconstitutional. Nationwide, unlawful searches disproportionately impact people of color, heightening concerns over their use. In this case, according to jail records, more than 50 of those arrested were Black.

‘Exigent circumstances’
Here’s the police account: At about 2 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2017, Cartersville Police Officer Joshua Coker was responding to a report of gunfire in the area when he drove down Cain Drive. Even with his car windows rolled up, he smelled marijuana, according to his testimony at a subsequent hearing.

He then saw four men in front of the home where Guider and others had gathered. Coker requested two other officers in the area join him.

The officers asked the men what was occurring inside; they explained it was a party. The officers then entered the home and announced everyone was being detained, according to police testimony. The majority of the guests were in their late teens or early 20s, according to booking reports.

“I had exigent circumstances to go inside and clear the residence … and make sure of no destruction of evidence prior to the Drug Task Force arriving,” testified Coker.

The exigent circumstance, he said, was that he smelled marijuana. He further explained that it is police department policy to enter a home without a warrant if marijuana is smelled inside or outside the home, “clear the residence for any occupants,” and contact the Drug Task Force, which was formed in 2008 to combat drugs and violent crime in Bartow County.

But, the partygoers and their attorneys say the police response was degrading and unconstitutional. While detained in the house, some of the guests were forbidden from using the bathroom while others, including Guider, were permitted to go only with the door open, according to the complaint. A search warrant for the home was signed at 4:19 a.m., about two hours after the police arrived.

Each guest was then searched—no drugs were found during the pat-downs—put into Bartow County sheriff’s vans, and taken to the county jail, where they sat in the jail garage for “upwards of an hour,” according to the complaint. One person who was denied permission to use the bathroom was told to “just piss on yourself,” the complaint alleges; he urinated on himself inside the van.

When people spoke up about their mistreatment, they were threatened with Tasers, or sent to “isolation cells” for roughly five to seven hours, according to the complaint.

Once inside the jail, they were held for one to three days in crowded cells that felt unheated, and some lacked sleeping pads or blankets, according to the complaint. Each person was strip-searched, including some as young as 17 years old. Some people with medical conditions were denied care, according to the suit.

“One person who experiences seizures informed a jail nurse of her condition but did not receive her anti-seizure medication until the third day of her detention,” the complaint reads. “A pregnant woman was denied prenatal pills and received no care when she vomited repeatedly in a holding cell garbage can.”

When people spoke up about their mistreatment, they were threatened with Tasers, or sent to “isolation cells” for roughly five to seven hours, according to the complaint. The isolation cells did not have beds or blankets.

“Some wrapped toilet paper around their arms, torsos, and feet because they were so cold,” the complaint alleges. “Others exercised to stay warm.”

Sheriff Millsap declined to address these allegations.

Police recovered less than an ounce of marijuana from inside the home, according to the complaint. Outside, they found two plastic bags that allegedly contained cocaine and marijuana, according to police field reports. One person was charged with possession of those bags, but the charge was later dropped after a judge ruled the search was unconstitutional.

‘Scar on their records’
For Guider, the arrest and jail time ruined what was meant to be the start of an auspicious new year. A mother to a 1-year-old, she had struggled with postpartum depression and finding stable housing. But on the cusp of 2018, she felt hopeful. She had a new home and a new job at a Mexican restaurant.

“I was able to buy all my son’s Christmas [presents] and then some on my own for the first time,” said Guider.

She said she was not allowed to make any phone calls while incarcerated. According to the complaint, many of the arrestees were denied phone access.

“I didn’t get to speak to my mom at all when I was in jail,” said Guider. “I just was sending messages through my friends that were bonded out.”

On Jan. 2, 2018, Guider was released on a $1,000 bond. But her new job was already lost. She said her employer told her she was fired because, “Y’all on the news.” Two and a half months later, she found another job. While she was unemployed, she went to food pantries to feed her son, according to the complaint.

“Each of our clients has had their life turned into a nightmare in a lot of ways,” said Gerry Weber, one of the attorneys. “They’ve got this scar on their records that will never disappear.”

Several plaintiffs faced professional repercussions as a result of the wrongful arrest, according to the complaint. One person had to take a drug test when he returned to work to keep his job. A military recruit’s enlistment date was delayed. A high school senior who hoped to attend college on a basketball scholarship was no longer allowed to play on his school’s team.

Robert (not his real name) lost his new job at a window supply company. The position could pay up to $60,000 a year—about $40,000 more than his previous job. While incarcerated, he missed three days of work, according to the complaint.

After he was released, he said he was fired after his employer saw his mugshot.

“That could have been a really good opportunity to make a lot of money,” said Robert, now 23. “I have a son and a girlfriend that I’m trying to marry, so I was looking forward to advancing up in the company.”

It took him more than a month to find another job.

“I just had to start over,” said Robert, who is now a truck driver. “Find a new career.”

Guider hopes the case holds the city and county responsible for what she considered a devastating ordeal. “It’s a different type of hurt when you get arrested for something you didn’t do,” said Guider. “On top of that [you’re taking] losses because of something you didn’t do.”
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