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"I don't like this book because it don't got know pictures" Chief Rhorerer

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”
“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

Former Cop, Convicted Embezzler Arrested on DUI Charge

A former Bartow County Sheriff's Office captain who has spent a year in federal prison found himself Saturday on the wrong side of the law, again.

Brenton James Garmon, now 41, pleaded guilty in May 2008 to embezzling more than $80,000 of funds seized by BCSO's Narcotics unit, which he headed from about 2004 to 2007, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Garmon, then 36, who used some of the money to stop foreclosure proceedings on his home, was sentenced to serve a year and a month in federal prison.

He was released in May 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and was to be supervised for the following three years. The current Aquafil employee also was ordered to repay $80,493.78 to the sheriff's office.

In an unrelated incident, a sheriff's deputy Saturday about 12:30 a.m. spotted the blue 1994 Ford Ranger driven by Garmon. He allegedly failed to stop for a stop sign at Peeples Valley and Cass-White roads, and was pulled over.

Garmon allegedly smelled of alcohol, and said he had been drinking since 10 a.m. Friday, consuming about six beers, and had just drank a beer shortly before leaving his home, according to the BCSO report, above.

A breath test for the presence of alcohol performed on Garmon registered 0.98. He was arrested and charged with DUI and failure to obey a stop sign, and has since bonded out of jail

After testifying, convicted Miami cop called ‘coward’ at federal trial of fellow officer

As he walked out of a Miami federal courtroom, Nathaniel Dauphin, a convicted cop who testified over the past two days against a fellow officer, heard someone yell an insult: “Coward.’’
The heckler was one of a dozen family members there to support defendant, Vital Frederick, who is standing trail on charges of pocketing dirty money.
“One of those ass----s just called me a coward,” complained Dauphin, an FBI cooperating witness, after spending Monday afternoon on the witness stand.
By midday Tuesday, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore got wind of what had happened and warned that he would “excuse anyone from the court who harasses or intimidates this witness.”
“Everyone is on notice,” Moore declared, with the jury absent.
Dauphin, who joined the Miami force in 1993, has become a divisive figure since he agreed last year to help the FBI expose corruption in the North District station in Liberty City.
Dauphin had led a group of officers suspected of providing off-the-books protection for a sports-gambling racket that operated out of the Player’s Choice Barber Shop, 6301 NW Sixth Ave. Dressed in their dark blue uniforms, they stood out so much that one gambler told investigators he thought the place was being run by the Miami Police Department, according to court records. It was shut down in March of last year.
But long before pleading guilty to an extortion charge alleging he received $5,000, Dauphin agreed to wear a wire for the FBI in a sting operation targeting other suspected bad cops.
Among his targets: Frederick, 27, who joined the force in 2008.
Last year, Dauphin persuaded Frederick to provide protection for a check-cashing store at the corner of Northwest 79th Street and Seventh Avenue.
Dauphin, who recorded their conversations, told Frederick that a courier would be carrying $40,000 or $50,000 in “stolen or fraudulent checks,” according to an affidavit, written by FBI special agent Donald Morin. Frederick agreed to protect him from possible robbers.
On four occasions while under FBI surveillance, Frederick escorted the courier driving a black Camaro to and from the check-cashing store. He was paid $200 each time, for a total of $800, in August and September of last year, the affidavit said.
Before one exchange played in court, Dauphin said: “I got that cash for you.” Frederick’s response: “All right, cool.”
Dauphin, who in June was sentenced to one year and two months in prison but has not yet served any time, maintained his composure during direct examination by prosecutor Robin Waugh.
But the government’s key witness grew irritated under cross-examination by Frederick’s defense attorney, Stuart Adelstein. He accused him of initiating almost all of his phone calls with Frederick at the direction of the FBI, calling the undercover operation a “fake” crime because it was a “sting.”
Then, Adelstein accused Dauphin of violating his oath as a police officer and committing one crime after another when he provided protection for the Liberty City sports-gambling ring.
He also accused Dauphin of only trying to save his neck when he agreed to cooperate with the FBI and give up the names of other officers involved in the sports-protection racket, including his girl friend, Carol Vargas, who was relieved of duty this year.
“I was interested in cooperating with them for the sake of my family,” Dauphin testified.
The FBI’s sting operation didn’t end with Dauphin. The FBI quickly found a replacement, persuading another Miami cop accused of stealing people’s identities from a police database to work undercover in a new sting operation.
That replacement was Malinsky Bazile, 28. He also joined the force in 2008 and had known Frederick from high school.
Wired up just like Dauphin, Bazile asked his friend, Frederick, if he would be interested in supplying the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of people for a tax-refund scam, according to an FBI affidavit and other court records. Last October, Bazile paid his colleague $600 in cash for turning over two lists with 52 IDs taken from a police database with drivers’ licenses and other personal information.
Meanwhile, Bazile’s own trial started in Fort Lauderdale federal court Tuesday. He’s charged with stealing 1,000 identities from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles database for tax-refund fraud.

Group protests killing of dog

The Millcreek Township man last week accused township police of unjustifiably shooting and killing his 1 1/2-year-old dog on Sept. 20 after Vitarelli said it accidentally escaped from his residence on West 22nd St.
Vitarelli was among about 30 people who protested for two hours Thursday afternoon in front of the township's police station at the Millcreek Municipal Building, 3608 W. 26th St.
"The police senselessly shot my dog,'' Vitarelli said. "My dog was friendly.''
Millcreek police have said the dog's shooting was justified because the dog was aggressive and was terrorizing neighbors. Police were called to the 2400 block of Loveland Avenue, not far from Vitarelli's residence, at about noon on Sept. 20.
Police and an animal enforcement officer noticed the dog hanging from a tree, with its jaws clenched on a branch.
Police said they had to put down the animal after it charged a few people, including the animal enforcement officer.
Terri Randall, of Albion, held a small placard that showed a photo of Vitarelli's dog clamping its jaws on a branch and hanging from a tree. The placard read, "I Like To Play In Trees. Please Don't Shoot Me.''

"Instead of killing on instinct, maybe use a tranquilizer or a Taser,'' he said.

Former Peoria Cop Sentenced

The second of two Peoria Police officers, indicted last year for their role in the investigation of an accident, was sentenced Friday. Former Patrol Sergeant Richard Glover, who pleaded guilty to attempted obstruction of justice was given two years probation. He and former Vice officer John Couve were each charged in connection with the probe of a July 2012 accident. Police reports show an unmarked car, assigned to Couve, was involved in a crash on North Hale, causing a large power outage. Glover was the first officer to respond and wrote the accident report which allegedly claimed the vehicle had been stolen. Couve retired earlier this year and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Deptford cop indicted for murder, charged with shooting friend in head

WOODBURY — TheDeptford Townshippolice officer accused of fatally shooting a friend in the head in January was indicted on murder and weapons charges Wednesday, an attorney representing the victim’s family said.
The officer, 29-year-old James Stuart, allegedly shot 27-year-old David Compton of Woodbury inside Stuart’s township home while he was off duty around 5 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2013.
Compton died Jan. 11 from his injuries, and Stuart was charged with first-degree murder. As of February, he was suspended from the police force without pay, pending the outcome of the case.
On the morning of the incident, Stuart had initially called a non-emergency township police line to report it. That led to a delay in dispatching medical responders, as dispatchers wondered whether Stuart was only "messing around."
Such pranks by police, the dispatchers mentioned, were not unheard of during early morning hours, and they called a sergeant on duty to verify that the call was real.
Stuart was initially charged with aggravated assault and jailed  on $10,000 bail. He posted bail and was released, but was jailed again on $250,000 bail after Compton’s death and the upgraded murder charge.
Audio of Police Officer James Stuart emergency call during Jan. 5, 2013 shooting.The audio of Police Officer James Stuart emergency call during Jan. 5, 2013 shooting with court-ordered redactions.
Daniel Gee, the Marlton-based attorney representing Compton’s family, said Stuart again posted bail and was released.
In addition to murder, Stuart was indicted Wednesday on charges of aggravated manslaughter and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office announced.
He will be scheduled for a pre-arraignment conference, during which he'll receive a copy of the charges against him and investigative reports on the shooting.
Gee released a statement from the victim’s family concerning the indictment. It reads as follows:
We were pleased to learn that a Grand Jury in Gloucester County returned an indictment for murder and weapons possession against James Stuart.
This only reaffirms our belief that Mr. Stuart wrongfully took David’s life during the early morning hours of Jan. 5, 2013. We anxiously await the day when this entire case is presented in court so that everyone will learn the complete truth of the circumstances surrounding David’s death.
We continue to be haunted by the realization that, no matter what happens during Mr. Stuart’s trial, our David is gone forever. No jury verdict can change that.
We can only hope that the upcoming legal proceeding can begin to bring our family some form of closure.
We would like to thank the investigators and attorneys in the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office for the hard work, caring and compassion that they have displayed during this investigation.

Queens stop-and-frisk subject first to sue NYC for false arrest post-ruling

Citing Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's decision, Allen Moye, 54, alleges the NYPD profiled him and arrested him on bogus charges in Harlem as he waited for a friend on a street corner in September 2010.
A legally blind black man busted three years ago in Harlem became the first stop-and-frisk target to sue the city for false arrest since a federal court ruling against the practice.
Allen Moye, 54, alleged the NYPD arrested him on bogus charges as he waited for a friend on a street corner in September 2010.
“It was racial profiling, what they did,” Moye said Thursday. “... It’s a different Jim Crow. They try to put everybody behind bars to do their work.”
His lawsuit specifically cites Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's decision as indicative of the NYPD’s disregard for the rights of minorities.
The department’s “unconstitutional policies of profiling minorities may be inferred by the Aug. 12, 2013 decision ... finding that the NYPD had violated the rights of thousands of citizens with respect to the application of its stop and frisk policy,” the suit said.
In her ruling, Scheindlin found that city cops were making “unconstitutional stops and conducting unconstitutional frisks” that targeted young black and Hispanic men.
Queens resident Moye, in his Manhattan lawsuit, said that he was profiled by police and taken into custody after complaining about the NYPD’s search
Allen Moye faced charges related to credit card forgery, but all the counts were dismissed five months later.
Moye, who wears glasses and occasionally uses a cane to get around, was waiting for a friend around 4 p.m. on W. 118th St. when police approached him.
The officers “snatched his identification from him,” the lawsuit said. “When Allen complained, the police spoke rudely to him and placed him under arrest.”
The lawsuit alleged that Moye’s arms were wrenched behind his back before he was handcuffed and held in a police van for several hours.
“They treated me like I was from another planet, like I just landed in a space ship,” Moye said. “They said they didn’t care about the Fourth Amendment.
“The one cop was crazy. If this had happened at night, I would have been killed.”
Moye, the father of seven sons, said he and his offspring were all previous targets of NYPD stop-and-frisk “just for being black walking.”
Moye faced charges related to credit card forgery, but all the counts were dismissed five months later.

The NYPD “intentionally conspired to fabricate evidence against him, including omitting and manipulating evidence ... fabricating evidence and concealing exculpatory evidence,” his lawsuit said.

APD officer suspended after wrong-way chase over 90 mph

AUSTIN -- An Austin police officer has been placed on suspension after violating department policy on high speed chases.

According to the APD disciplinary memo, Officer Arevalo was traveling over 90 miles per hour during a “continued pursuit of a suspect.”

The memo also says Arevalo was traveling the wrong way down South Lamar Blvd. during the chase.

The memo points out policy saying a pursuit should end when the “present risks of continuing the pursuit reasonably appear to outweigh the risks resulting from the subject’s escape.”

The policy also states that “Officers and supervisors must objectively and continually weigh the seriousness of the offense against the potential danger to motorists, themselves, and the public when electing to continue a pursuit.”

Arevalo’s suspension will begin October 1 and continues through October 4.

Elite Denver officer suspended on suspicion of drug use

A member of an elite team of Denver police officers has been suspended while the department investigates allegations that he used cocaine.
Officer Brian Niven, a member of a Special Crime Attack Team based out of the District 1 station on the northwest side, has been suspended with pay, a department spokesman said.
Police officials would not discuss the case while an internal affairs investigation is pending, but sources said it involves allegations that Niven, a seven-year veteran of the force, used illegal narcotics. He was required to take a drug test before he was suspended.
The district has two so-called SCAT teams, whose officers are handpicked by their commander to proactively fight crime in a neighborhood's trouble spots. They are not responsible for answering 911 calls, which often lets them respond directly to the neighborhood complaints they receive at community meetings and from their commander.
Complaints of narcotics activity are often the teams' focus.
Another member of one of the district's teams, Jay Whittenburg, began serving a 90-day unpaid suspension last week after he admitted to investigators that he sent sexually explicit text messages to a woman from his department-issued cellphone while on duty. He is appealing that discipline.
The cases are isolated and unrelated, Cmdr. Paul Pazen said. It was too early to comment on the Niven case, he said.
Generally speaking, he said, commanders choose SCAT officers based on their past experience and performance. They come before an interview panel and are also judged based on input from their supervisors, Pazen said.
"They have to maintain at a high level or they are removed," Pazen said.
Niven and Whittenburg both have received past accolades from the department. Niven has been named patrolman of the year, and Whittenburg has been the recipient of several internal honors.

Neither Niven nor an attorney representing him could immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Victim says police did nothing after child rape reported

CLACKAMAS COUNTY – A child rape victim claims she told Gladstone police what an accused murderer did to her as a 12-year-old girl and that nothing was done.

Jason Jaynes appeared in court Thursday accused of abusing three victims years ago.

One of those victims spoke to KATU on Thursday night on the condition of anonymity. She was adamant that investigators uncovered paperwork that backs up her allegations.

They first contacted her eight months ago while looking into the murder of a Gladstone salon owner. But she said those homicide detectives were the first law enforcement officers to ask her about the sex abuse since her father first went to police more than 15 years ago.

"Two months ago, they sent me a copy of the original police report that was filed when I was a minor," she said.

It was a paper trail, she said, that should have led Gladstone police directly to Jaynes more than a decade ago. An indictment unsealed Thursday alleges Jaynes abused her and two other minor girls.

The woman who spoke to KATU News said homicide detectives uncovered the paperwork, looking at Jaynes, along with Jaynes' mother, Susan Campbell, and former Gladstone police Officer Lynn Benton as suspects in the 2011 murder of Gladstone salon owner Deborah Higbee-Benton.

"There was an original police report that was filed when I was 12 or 13 years old from my father contacting Gladstone police and trying to get Jason Jaynes prosecuted for statutory rape," the woman who spoke to KATU News said.

But that report went nowhere, and the rape victim wants to know why.

"I'm a mother now. I'm the mother to a 10-year-old," she said. "It's sick. "I found out a lot of information throughout this investigation about things that were done."

She couldn't talk about those details and couldn't share her copy of the original Gladstone police report because she intends to sue police for what happened.

Meanwhile, she's waiting for Jaynes' trial for murder.

"I have nothing to say in trying to defend that man at all," she said.

She said she doesn't know how she'd characterize him.

"Somebody says that possibly he's a victim himself. Something went wrong somewhere with that man," she said. "I think that there's a lot more to be found that's out there," including more victims.

A spokesman for the Gladstone police said Thursday night that he didn't know about the indictment against Jaynes that was unsealed earlier in the day and couldn't comment on the allegations from that sex abuse victim that police apparently failed to act on her father's child sex abuse report.

It was serious enough that the victim said that since her family lived near Jaynes her father put her into foster care just to get her away from Jaynes.

Detroit police officer, Oakland County businesswoman charged with fraud in consumer credit scam

An Oakland County businesswoman and a Detroit police officer were charged Thursday for their roles in an elaborate fraud scheme involving fake police reports claiming identity theft to help people clean up their credit problems, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.
Officer Tamboura Jackson, 40, of Clinton Township, and Lisa Curtis, 34, of Macomb Township, were arraigned in 52-1 District Court in Novi on felony racketeering and bribery charges, Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a news release. They were each released on a $10,000 bond.
In the news release, Schuette said his office will not tolerate bribery of misconduct by public officials.
“We will fight public corruption aggressively, wherever it is found, to restore the people’s trust and protect public safety,” Schuette said in the release.
According to the release, the scheme involved dozens of people looking to improve their consumer credit scores.
The case originated from an investigation conducted by the FBI-led Detroit Area Public Corruption Task Force working with the Michigan Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit.
Here’s how prosecutors allege the scheme worked:
From May 2009 through September 2009, Curtis -- owner of Waterford Township-based Bright Star Consulting LLC -- told dozens of her clients that she could improve their credit scores for a fee ranging from $200 to $1,000.
After Curtis received her fee from consumers, she and Jackson allegedly conducted a scheme to file false police reports claiming identity theft related to certain credit card transactions. She allegedly paid Jackson bribes ranging from $50 to $200 for creating the phony documents.
Curtis allegedly would provide Jackson her clients’ information including a fake story claiming identity theft. Jackson allegedly would then create and submit false police reports, which were filed without the clients’ knowledge or consent.
Curtis would then send the false police reports to the national credit reporting agency Experian, along with a fabricated letter from her clients asking for the reported incidents of “identity theft” be removed from their credit history. Officials said the fraudulent letter scam worked and several of the clients saw their credit scores improve as much as 100 points.
Jackson is also accused of using the scheme to improve his own credit rating by creating a false police report signed by another officer, without the officer’s knowledge or consent. He allegedly accessed the Detroit Police Department’s crime reporting system using the other officer’s log-in information to file a false police report.
Jackson, who is suspended from the department without pay, and Curtis surrendered to authorities on Thursday.
Court documents show they are charged with conducting a criminal enterprise-racketeering, a 20-year felony; uttering and publishing, a 14-year felony; and forgery, a 14-year felony. Also, Jackson is charged with public officer accepting a bribe, while Curtis is charged with bribery of a public officer, both 10-year felonies.
A preliminary exam is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 28 in Novi’s district court.

When Schuette took office in 2011, he launched the public integrity unit in the Attorney General’s Office. Since then, his office has filed 256 charges against 51 defendants. Thirty-four defendants have been sentenced following their convictions.

Greenfield police officer charged with misconduct for incident at station

A Greenfield police officer was charged Thursday on suspicion of flinging a female prisoner into a holding cell and addressing her with an expletive, according to a criminal complaint.
Officer Thomas P. Roszak, 30, was charged with misdemeanor misconduct in public office/acting in excess of lawful authority in connection with the incident July 27 at the police station, 5300 W. Layton Ave.
According to the complaint, the woman was taken to the station after being arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and fleeing a police officer.
Roszak removed the woman from a holding cell for booking, but when he ordered her to return to the cell she placed her hands on his chest and addressed him with a vulgarity.
Roszak then lifted the woman by the torso, carried her across a hallway and flung her into the cell, where she bounced off a steel stool fixed to the floor before landing on the floor, according to the complaint.
The officer then called her an expletive and closed the door to the cell without checking her condition.
The woman suffered visible bruises across her body, and surveillance cameras captured audio and video of the incident, the complaint says.
After the incident, Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt placed Roszak on paid administrative leave.

"The information alleged in the criminal complaint clearly does not conform to our high standards of professionalism and our expectations for officer conduct," Wentlandt said in a statement Thursday.

Police shooting of dog under review

A Tracy Police Department review board is looking into the fatal shooting of a dog by a Tracy police officer on Sept. 15.

Officer Michael Richards shot the dog, a pit bull mix, while responding to a home alarm in south Tracy.

Caitlin Cotton said she returned to the home she shares with her boyfriend, Bradley Martin, and his mother at 2236 Stalsburg Drive a few minutes after 3 a.m. Sept. 15. She had forgotten her key and entered through a window, which set off an alarm.

Richards responded to an alarm report from security firm ADT at 4:23 a.m., after attending to other higher-priority calls, and knocked on the front door.

“I opened the door because I thought it was my boyfriend coming home,” Cotton said. “My dog ran on the front porch, was barking at him.”

Richards heard the dog behind the door and said loudly, “Get your dog,” before the door opened, according to the officer’s official description of the events obtained by the Press. Richards backed away from the door and into the front yard.

“He didn’t state who he was. Didn’t tell me he was police,” Cotton said. “I saw the gun pointed at me when I opened the door.”

Richards wrote that he felt threatened by the white pit bull mix, named Johnny Blaze, and fired three shots at the dog. One of the bullets hit the dog in the chest. The dog then ran across the street and died.

Neighbors who did not wish to be identified for privacy concerns said they heard gunshots and Cotton screaming.

“I was very upset,” Cotton said. “I was screaming. I kept saying, ‘You shot my dog. I hate you. I’m going to sue you all.’ I just kept saying stuff like that.”

Richards called his supervisor, Sgt. Dean Hicks, to the home, which is standard procedure when an officer has fired his weapon, according to Tracy police spokesman Lt. Mark Duxbury.

Hicks wrote in the official report that Cotton and Martin, who returned home after the shooting, were so upset “that it was going to be futile” to explain what happened. Hicks ordered Richards, and another officer who showed up, to leave.

“I think the sergeant made a good call to leave the scene at the time, due to the fact that there was threats being made by some of the parties on scene toward the officer’s safety,” Duxbury said. “Instead of having to take legal action, which he could have done based on the comments made, he decided the best thing to do was defuse the situation.”

The officers left behind the shell casings ejected from Richards’ gun when he fired at the dog.

Hicks returned to Stalsburg Drive with another Tracy police sergeant and four other officers at 9 p.m. that same day — roughly 16 hours later — to interview neighbors about what they heard and saw.

“The sergeant that was supervising the investigation (Hicks) came back on duty that evening and coordinated the additional follow-up,” Duxbury said.

Duxbury said the shooting is now the subject of a firearm review board. The board is led by a representative of the special operations division and includes representatives from the patrol division and firearms training section and a patrol supervisor.

The process will be completed by the end of October, according to Duxbury, who said Richards remains on full duty.

Duxbury said the dog owners had not filed an official complaint with the department as of Monday, Sept. 23.

Allegations of Police Brutality Lead to Meeting in Dover

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Dover city leaders met Monday with people from the African-American community. It's a discussion that was the result of allegations of police brutality.
Last week friends and family of Antonio Barlow marched through Dover to protest the way Barlow says he was treated during an arrested September 11. He says police tazed and then beat him.
Dover PD has disputed his story. The department says surveillance video proves its version of events - that there was no brutality. But Chief Jim Hosfelt has refused to release that video.
People who came to Monday's meeting say Dover PD is responsible for many more instances of misconduct than just the one Barlow alleges.
The department doesn't agree with that assertion either.
More than a dozen people from Dover's African-American community came to the meeting, among them Antonio Barlow and his family, including his sister Deatres.
"It helped me out a lot to know - though I was getting mad at first - that they're trying to work with us," she said. "I just want to see some things done and some things changed."
It was certainly a tense meeting at times. The disagreement between the Barlows and the police over the events of the night of September 11 continued. Deatres says that was frustrating.
Discussion went far past that incident to some involving people around the table.     
"There's a pattern here," said Eshed Alston. "Nobody is talking about the pattern. That's what I'm here for - to let you know there's a pattern. This is not the first instance of this taking place."
Tension in the room ebbed and flowed. But eventually there was some agreement that a task force might be useful to address concerns on both sides. 
Chief Hosfelt says the key is to keep talking.
"I think we'll be better off if we do this on a routine basis, not just when somebody thinks something is controversial or is a hot-button issue with the public."
He says the community has to buy into whatever comes of this, like a task force or commission.
"I'd like to explore those a little more," said Bishop GE Gordon, from My Brethren Ministries. "I'd like to see us doing more in our community to the stop the trend, the tide of illegal activities."
And there's still a lot of skepticism if that task force could have any real impact.
"I don't know if it will, to be honest with you," said Hosfelt.
"I have a wait and see attitude," Alston said. "The city makes a lot of promises they haven't kept in the past."
"We just have to start working with each other, have some kind of understanding," said Deatres.

As for the situation with Antonio Barlow, he still faces a number of charges. And there continues to be talk of potential legal action in the other direction - against Dover PD - for the alleged brutality.

Police brutality in the iPhone era

Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Carolyn DeLaurentis nursed a tall boy of Rockstar as she prepared to confront a problem too big for an energy drink to solve. In her closing argument, she would have to convince a jury that 31-year-old Askia Sabur assaulted Police Officer Donyule Williams on Sept. 3, 2010. But in her way was a devastating obstacle: a graphic, two-minute-and-29-second video showing Williams’ partner, Officer Jimmy Leocal, repeatedly beating Sabur about his head and body as he writhed on a West Philly sidewalk. It has been viewed nearly 150,000 times on YouTube.
“We are not asking you today to agree with everything you saw on that video,” DeLaurentis told the jury. “Don’t get distracted,” she implored them. 
It was a lot to ask. After all, Sabur appeared to have been beaten severely and was left with a fractured arm and deep head wounds that would require six staples to close. Yet he had been charged with aggravated assault, disarming a law-enforcement officer, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest.
In the end, the jury deliberated for less than one hour on Feb. 19, concluding so quickly they had to wait for defense attorney Larry Krasner to rush back from lunch. It was a good sign: Sabur was acquitted on all counts. It was the second-fastest verdict of Krasner’s career. 
It was also, Krasner says, a sign of a sea change in Philly neighborhoods, where abuse at the hands of police is often considered a regular fact of life and the idea that justice will prevail is not the general assumption. 
“Next to DNA, the democratization of gathering of evidence by means of the universal camera … the cell phone … is an enormous development in terms of the potential for real justice,” Krasner tells City Paper. 
Cameraphone videos and photos have in recent years transformed the capacity for civilian oversight of law enforcement, from overthrown Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek’s attack on demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to campus police’s nonchalant pepper-spraying of Occupy Wall Street protesters at the University of California, Davis. Material produced by citizen journalists has become a staple of mainstream reporting, and has even created iconic pop-culture moments like the Davis pepper-spray meme and the 2007 video of a student imploring University of Florida police: “Don’t tase me, bro!”  That clip has been viewed a phenomenal 6.7 million times. More than anything, the videos confirm previously denied realities and stoke outrage. In 2009, cameraphones captured transit officer Johannes Mehserle shooting Oscar Grant to death on an Oakland subway platform. Riots broke out after Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but acquitted of second-degree murder. 
And here in Philadelphia, such videos seem to be emerging at an accelerating rate. Indeed, less than a week before Sabur’s trial concluded, District Attorney Seth Williams’ office rested another case of alleged police brutality gone viral on YouTube. This time, however, the DA made the rare decision to actually prosecute the cop, Lt. Jonathan Josey, who was seen punching Aida Guzman in the face at a Fairhill street party following last September’s Puerto Rican Day Parade. The video was uploaded a day later and viewed more than 200,000 times. Within a week, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced Josey’s firing and the DA dropped disorderly conduct charges against Guzman. Mayor Michael Nutter, who has long resisted reforming Police Department disciplinary processes, said he was “horrified.” But Municipal Court Judge Patrick Dugan, who happens to be married to a Philly cop, ultimately acquitted Josey. 
National Fraternal Order of Police executive director Jim Pasco has warned USA Today that “the proliferation of cheap video equipment … has had a chilling effect on some officers, who are now afraid to act for fear of retribution by video.” It’s unclear if this is the case, since officers continue to commit abuses in public view. Indeed, police in Philly and elsewhere have been known to arrest citizen videographers and destroy cameras. And they still make allegations against brutality victims that are sometimes flatly contradicted by what’s caught on camera.
  “Now, the story that might never have surfaced if someone hadn’t picked up his home video camera.” It was 1991, and ABC News anchor Peter Jennings was talking about what would become one of the decade’s biggest stories: Rodney King. 
On March 3, a white man named George Holliday heard sirens and stepped out on his apartment balcony, where he saw a group of Los Angeles police officers beating King, who was hit more than 50 times after leading police on a high-speed chase. Doctors were surprised he survived. The next day, Holliday delivered a tape of the incident, made on his Sony Handycam, to local television station KTLA, which played it on that evening’s news. On March 5, CNN aired it for a national audience. It’s since been called the first viral video.
“This is history,” King’s attorney, Milton Grimes, later told CNN. “We finally caught the Loch Ness monster with a camcorder.”
Citing the video’s intensive media coverage, a judge moved the trial to suburban Simi Valley. On April 29, 1992, a jury that included no blacks acquitted three LAPD officers and declared a mistrial after deadlocking on charges against a fourth. The contradiction between verdict and video sparked the Los Angeles riots, which ultimately left 55 people dead. A federal civil-rights suit later secured convictions against two officers and prompted an effort to reform the LA police.
Public outrage had also followed televised recordings of officers turning dogs and high-pressure firehoses against civil-rights demonstrators in 1963 Birmingham, Ala., and the Chicago “police riot” against anti-war protesters in 1968. But the 1983 debut of the Sony Betamovie, the world’s first camcorder, marked something new. By decade’s end, camcorders had become ubiquitous, and Americans were beginning to record every detail of their lives. America’s Funniest Home Videos, which premiered in 1989, was inundated with as many as 2,000 tapes per day. It was only a matter of time before a camcorder-wielding American turned his attention from his living room to the street. 
According to Pew, 87 percent of adult Americans own cell phones, and 44 percent of them use phones to record video. The percentage using phones to make video has more than doubled since 2007. 
And YouTube and social media have democratized the distribution of video, just as the camcorder and, subsequently, the cameraphone revolutionized their recording. YouTube offers viewers a veritable mixtape of police brutality, including recordings from squad-car-mounted video cameras and fixed security cameras, like the one that captured Fullerton, Calif., police beating a homeless man to death in 2011. The footage can also, of course, help exonerate officers facing false accusations.
“Film doesn’t lie,” says University of California, Los Angeles, law professor Joanna C. Schwartz. “It really levels the playing field in various respects to have this image that cannot be cross-examined.”
But in Philly, the impact of such video on policing has been uneven. 
In 2009, the Daily News’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series “Tainted Justice” found evidence that a rogue narcotics squad was robbing bodegas; reporters reviewed one store’s surveillance footage showing police attempting to disable a security camera. The officers, some of whom were also accused of sexual assault and fabricating evidence, remain on the force. In 2008, a Fox 29 helicopter videotaped Philadelphia police dragging three shooting suspects from a car and beating them. A grand jury decided against pressing charges, and an arbitrator overturned the firing and discipline of involved officers. The NAACP blamed then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham for sabotaging the prosecution.
And in Sabur’s case, despite what the video shows, the DA declined to charge Leocal or Williams. Instead, they charged Sabur — even though Internal Affairs, which often fails to sustain allegations against officers, found that Leocal had used excessive force. Later, the DA complained that the “video is only a portion of the incident, is inflammatory and is prejudicial,” and successfully requested that anything regarding the “investigation and any potential discipline of Officer Jimmy Leocal” be excluded from Sabur’s trial. Krasner had argued to the contrary: Leocal’s history — five other Internal Affairs excessive-force complaints, including one where his wife  accused him of grabbing her by the throat and threatening her life — was pertinent. Leocal’s partner, Williams, also had five such complaints.
Sabur spent the last two years in jail waiting to clear his name. In the meantime, Krasner says the case bounced around a District Attorney’s Office that insisted on trying Sabur but where no prosecutor wanted to take on such a weak case. 
The video was uploaded to YouTube two days after his beating, and was followed by protests, extensive media coverage and a City Council hearing on police brutality. But most views, according to YouTube data, came soon after the video was posted. Busy reporters moved on. Sabur is now free and has filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the city. The video will no doubt be played again for that trial, if the city doesn’t settle first (the administration, the DA and police would not comment on that case). Philadelphia taxpayers paid nearly $8 million in 2012 to settle claims lodged by alleged victims of police abuse. 

The video begins with Askia Sabur and Officer Donyule Williams falling to the ground: Williams on his back, Sabur face down, and Officer Leocal on top of the pile wielding his ASP, a telescoping steel baton.
Leocal then administers three blows with his ASP around Sabur’s head. The loud cracks can be clearly heard above the crowd’s screams. “Yo, he down man, God!” the videographer yells. As Williams gets up, Leocal pulls his gun and wildly staggers in a circle, pointing his Glock 9 millimeter toward the gathering crowd and barking. “Get the fuck off the [or my] corner.”
Sabur, hunched over, staggers to his feet. A female officer and Williams hold him by the back of his shirt and then Leocal turns, grabs the shirt, and strikes Sabur’s lowered head twice.
“They trying to do, kill him?” a man asks. One man keeps yelling, “Askia, stop. Stop fighting, Askia.” DeLaurentis said this indicated Sabur had attacked the police earlier, off camera. What is on camera is this: Sabur holds his hands to his front, clearly not eager to be cuffed. But he never strikes police or makes threatening motions.
Leocal moves behind Sabur. Two officers grab Sabur’s arms and Leocal swings, hitting him in the back. He then places Sabur in a headlock.
“Yo, come up here, O.G. They fuckin’ Askia up, dawg!” a man yells.
Leocal hits Sabur across the side, and then once more around his head. As Sabur squirms on the ground, Leocol grabs Sabur by the neck. Sabur looks wildly at the crowd. “I ain’t do nothing wrong.” 
Leocal then strikes Sabur again in the back as he sits on the sidewalk, his left arm in Officer Williams’ hand. The video ends as more officers arrive. Someone yells, “He’s not fighting, he’s not even fighting.”

It was the Friday of Labor Day weekend, and 95 degrees. According to Sabur’s cousin Shawn Merritt, Sabur rode up on a small BMX bike as Merritt was heading into a Chinese takeout with his girlfriend and daughter. The two men had not seen each other in a while. They stood chatting on the corner, catching up.
“When the cops pull up, they roll the window down and said, ‘Get the fuck off my corner,’” Merritt testified.
Merritt then got “a little smart.” He was waiting for food, he said, and it was hot inside. “Well, it’s hot at 55th and Pine,” the driver, Williams, responded, referring to 18th District headquarters. “I was a little upset, and I said, ‘Fuck that,’” Merritt recalled. Leocal and Williams exited their car and pushed the two men against the restaurant window. Merritt handed over his ID, and Sabur, reaching for his, asked the officers, “What did I do?”
“The police officer,” testified Merritt, “never gave him an answer.” Williams cuffed Sabur’s left wrist and tried to bring his right hand around his back. Sabur pulled back. He had an old shoulder injury from baseball. Leocal left Merritt and ran over. They grabbed Sabur by his neck and body and threw him against the squad car, and then onto the ground. Sabur then got up, and was thrown against the store window. 
Leocal, whom Merritt described as “the short one” with “poppy little eyes,” then “pulled the ASP out” and “took the first strike. … Once the officer took the first strike, he never stopped.”
Inside the restaurant, Merritt’s baby began to scream. Sabur, he testified, never hit back. “He never had the chance.”
The police account was different: Williams accused Sabur of taking his baton and hitting him with it and punching him, all before the video begins. This occurred, they said, as Williams tried to place Sabur in cuffs. But they had trouble explaining what legal basis they had to cuff him in the first place. Initially, the officers reported  they were going to arrest Sabur for “disorderly conduct.” At trial, they said that they only planned to detain him for “obstructing a highway” and write him a ticket, claiming his BMX was blocking the sidewalk. 
Williams says he did not intend to take Sabur to the ground, but his knee gave out on uneven pavement. Was Williams sure, asked Krasner, that Leocal hadn’t pulled Sabur to the ground, and Williams with him? “He didn’t pull me to the ground.” 
This is where the video begins, and Krasner played it four more times.
“He appeared to touch him,” Williams conceded.
On the stand, Williams also testified that he felt his holster jostled. Krasner pointed out that Sabur’s alleged “tug” at Williams’ gun was likewise not visible on tape, nor was any indication of Sabur hitting an officer.
Notably, the police did not initially report that Sabur took Williams’ ASP and grabbed for his gun. They only made the serious allegation once the YouTube video had gone viral. 
“It’s not just about what’s on the video,” Krasner told the jury.  “It’s about the way the police story changed after they knew there was a video.”

A second clip picks up where the first one ends, inconspicuously posted to YouTube as “Video from My Phone.” It shows a woman named Kimla Robinson taping on her phone, which Leocal then allegedly destroyed before arresting her.
“There is another missing video,” Krasner argued in court. “And it is missing as a result of police conduct.” 
Prosecutors had tried to suppress the second clip in a pretrial motion, calling it “so prejudicial and inflammatory that the introduction and presentation to the jury eliminates any potential for a fair trial.” But the judge had ruled it could be introduced to rebut Leocal if he denied trying to destroy any cameras. Leocal did deny it, and the video, alongside a photograph of a broken red Samsung, was introduced as evidence.
DeLaurentis fruitlessly protested that she didn’t “want this case to turn into anything about Kim Robinson,” who, as it happens, is also suing the city.
After a recess, Leocal re-entered the courtroom smiling. The jury took their seats. Krasner cued the tape, and brought the courtroom back to West Philadelphia, 2010. Sabur had been arrested, and Robinson passed by. “I’ve got a camera,” she said. “I took a picture.” Leocal then rushed at the cameraman, as he walked backward. “Yo, don’t touch my camera,” he protested. On video, Leocal walks away as the man yells, “He a little beside himself right now. He got a lot of blood on him.” A few seconds later, Leocal grabs Robinson. “He doin’ it again!” the cameraman yells. “He goin’ crazy!”
Leocal testified that his “hand incidentally hit the [man’s] camera” as he tried to secure the scene. If he had wanted to take the camera, he added, “all I had to do was take it.” Krasner offered another explanation: Leocal is rather short, and the cameraman raised his phone high above his head as the officer harassed him.
As for Robinson, Leocal did not even recall if he had arrested her. He testified, “If I did” break the camera, “it wasn’t intentional.” He smirked. “I don’t remember destroying anybody’s phone.” 
Merritt says his memory is clearer. “She was just recording,” Merritt testified of “Miss Kim,” a woman he sometimes bummed cigarettes from outside the laundromat. But Leocal tried to take her camera and cuffed her. He then “choke[d] her by her neck and threw her in the car.”

DeLaurentis did find one potentially redeeming moment in an otherwise damning video: Williams, after he tumbles to the ground with Sabur, is heard yelling what sounds like, “He fuckin’ bit me!” But the nature of that alleged bite, like other pieces of the officers’ story, changed over time — after the video went viral.
The night of the incident, Williams claimed Sabur bit him on his left side. But police did not photograph the alleged bite as they did other minor cuts and scrapes. Williams repeated this story at a preliminary hearing on Nov. 17, 2012, and to an Internal Affairs investigator on Jan. 13, 2011. But at trial the story changed: The bite was on his right side.   
The details had evolved in a convenient if increasingly improbable manner: It would have required a bit of contortion for Sabur to reach for the gun holstered on Williams’ right hip while simultaneously biting him on his left. A bite to Williams’ right side would put Sabur’s hands more believably in the vicinity of Williams’ gun. It was, Krasner argued, a sloppy cover-up designed to justify the beating after the fact.
Sabur has had an unpleasant history with police. He had pleaded no contest to a 2002 Montgomery County burglary charge. The 2010 arrest, then, constituted an automatic “technical” probation violation. Sabur was placed under house arrest and then jailed after testing positive for marijuana use, according to his lawyer. 
In the past, Sabur says, cops have spit on and hit him without provocation. “There was a lot of people out there, but I don’t think people had videocameras on their phone,” he says, recalling one such incident. “It was 2004.”
In 2010, Sabur saw people recording, but had no clue it was on YouTube until friends told him.“I was kind of relieved that I had some evidence,” he tells CP. Not that a public beating was the type of fame the West Philly artist desired. “I didn’t want to get on television that way. … I felt embarrassed.” But, he adds, “If there wasn’t a video, I wouldn’t be here today.” 
He remains scared of police.
Nearly two months after Sabur’s arrest and beating, his cousin Tanya Yates was arrested at his grandfather’s house after police alleged they saw a shooting suspect run into her house, according to a separate lawsuit Yates has filed against the city. She and other family members were dressed in pink, having just returned from a breast-cancer fundraiser. Yates and her mom said police couldn’t enter without a warrant, and they allegedly returned to choke and hit her with batons. They allegedly threatened the 80-year-old grandfather with a beating. Yates contends that officers mentioned Sabur during her arrest.

Leocal is not the only cop who does not like being taped.
In September 2011, Commis-sioner Charles Ramsey issued a memorandum instructing officers to “not interfere with any member of the general public or individuals temporarily detained … photographing, videotaping or audibly recording police personnel.” This was nine months after police arrested Temple University journalism student Christopher Montgomery while he used his iPhone to videotape an arrest. An officer erased the video, according to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed in federal court in January, accusing police of systematically harassing and arresting civilians documenting police misconduct.
Rights groups nationwide have filed lawsuits to protect civilian videographers. Most have won, but not all. 
In Philadelphia, Municipal Court Judge Kenneth Powell Jr. initially convicted Montgomery of disorderly conduct, telling him to “go tape people walking under the clothespin statue if you want to get a journalism award, but not cops.” His ruling was overturned on appeal.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Hadiyah Charles, who was arrested while filming three black youth undergoing a “stop and frisk” in Brooklyn in 2012. That same year, the city of Boston paid $170,000 to Simon Glik, arrested and charged with violating the state’s wiretap law for recording an arrest on his cell phone. Glik was acquitted, but “wiretap laws” prohibiting surreptitious recordings have been used to thwart citizen videographers in other states. In Glik’s case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals found that “though not unqualified, a citizen’s right to film government officials, including law-enforcement officers, in the discharge of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment.” But the court ruled there are limits to that liberty, such as recording covertly or taping during an “inherently dangerous” traffic stop.
The U.S. Supreme Court has found that the First Amendment protects a wide range of activities, including the right of nonjournalists to gather news. But while appeals-court judges often side with citizen videographers, the matter is not settled — and could remain that way until the Supreme Court rules. And there may not yet be sufficient conflict among appellate courts to compel the Supreme Court to take up the matter, says Jeff Hermes, director of the Harvard Law School Digital Media Law Project.
Last November, the high court declined to review a Seventh Circuit ruling against an Illinois law that made recording police a felony. Notably, Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, one of the nation’s most prominent conservative jurists, dissented. During oral arguments, he fretted that “once all this stuff can be recorded, there’s going to be a lot more of this snooping around by reporters and bloggers.”
“Is that a bad thing, your honor?” the ACLU lawyer asked.
“Yes, it is a bad thing. There is such a thing as privacy.” 
Posner’s logic is confusing, as many rights to privacy are considered shed once someone steps onto a public street. But his dissent echoed the district court ruling his colleagues overturned, which found that “there is nothing in the Constitution whichguarantees the right to record a public event.” The Fourth Circuit also ruled against an established right, though inconclusively so, while the Eleventh Circuit has recognized such a right. 
The Third Circuit, whose jurisdiction includes Philly, ruled in Kelly v. Borough of Carlisle that “the right to videotape police officers during traffic stops was not clearly established” at the time of the arrest in the case before them. But it has not yet answered whether there is such a right. The ACLU lawsuit on behalf of Christopher Montgomery cites numerous other incidents that took place in Philly both before and after Ramsey’s memorandum. It could ultimately give the Third Circuit another shot to firmly establish the right to record cops.

“When George Holliday recorded the beating of Rodney King, he taught us that ordinary people can use ordinary resources to fight police misconduct,” Pennsylvania ACLU executive director Reggie Shuford said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed. “It is essential that we preserve the right — and the tools — for holding our public officials accountable for their behavior.”

PRINCETON: Bruschi gets oversight of Police Department

   Civilian oversight of the Princeton Police Department was put in the hands of the town administrator, Mayor Liz Lempert and three other council members decided Monday.
   By a 4-3 vote, they were able to adopt an ordinance that assigns the responsibility of being the “appropriate authority” to municipal government’s top employee, now Robert W. Bruschi. The ordinance, criticized for what opponents said was contradictory language, also reserves the right for the governing body to weigh in on major police issues.
   The question about who within the government should have oversight — a non-elected staff member or the politicians — had vexed the council. Princeton officials were split into two camps based on strong views that they aired at their meeting Monday.
   Critics of the ordinance argued that officials ought not to be delegating, especially given the troubled histories with the old borough and township police departments.
   Councilwoman Jo S. Butler, later joining Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon in opposing the ordinance, called the measure “poorly constructed” and one that tries to be all things to all people. She noted how on one hand, the ordinance gives the mayor and council the responsibility to adopt police rules and regulations, even though state law reserves that to the appropriate authority.
   Town attorney Edwin W. Schmierer said nothing in state law prohibits the town administrator from “delegating” some of those responsibilities to the mayor and the council.
   Later, addressing a concern that Mayor Lempert had raised about not wanting to politicize the department, Ms. Butler called that notion a “vague” and “hyped-up threat.”
   Councilman Lance Liverman, however, did not understand the “fear” that some had about moving forward with the ordinance. Likewise, Councilwoman Heather H. Howard said she favored the measure to provide a “responsible, professional” oversight of the department.
   Representatives of the police department were at the meeting, but they did not comment about the decision.At the moment, the town is without a police chief given the retirement of Chief David J. Dudeck as of Sept. 1. As part of their work, officials will have to decide how best to structure the leadership of the department. One idea that has gained traction is to have a civilian administrator.
   The town has a consultant, the Rogers Group, to review the department.

Sallisaw police officer on unpaid leave

SALLISAW, Okla. (AP) - A Sallisaw police officer is on unpaid leave while the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation looks into complaints against him.
Police Chief Shaloa Edwards told the Times Record (http://bit.ly/1bQBrgJ) that Lt. John Weber is suspended without pay.
Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart says his department received a complaint Wednesday and turned the investigation over to the OSBI because of his department's relationship of working with Sallisaw police.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown confirmed the agency is investigating allegations of misconduct by a Sallisaw officer - but declined to provide details.

What is Justice When Your Dog Has Been Shot By Cops?

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Industry groups are taking up opposite sites of the fight in the appeal of a case that resulted in an award of $620,000 to a family whose dog was shot by a sheriff’s deputy.
In 2010, two deputies arrived at the home of Roger and Sandi Jenkins in search of the couple’s son. According to the Washington Post, Roger said, “Let me put the dogs away and you can come in,” which made the officers suspicious that the son was sneaking out the back, so one went around the side of the house. There, he met up with the family’s chocolate lab, Brandi.
The deputy went for his gun and shot Brandi, even though she stopped barking and never got within three feet of him. The whole thing was caught on a dashboard camera:
Brandi, survived the incident, but will require lifelong medical care. To make matters worse here, when the Jenkins took her to the vet, the deputies went into their home without a warrant or their consent.
The family sued, and the jury found that their constitutional rights had been violated and returned a $620,000 verdict in their favor, including $200,000 for emotional distress.
The sheriff’s office appealed the case this summer in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, at which time they found themselves with some unlikely allies. Nine national and local groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers’ Association and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, among others, had recently filed their own brief in support of tossing the award for emotional distress.
Their argument is that awards for emotional distress will result in higher costs when it comes to pet-related services, such as veterinary care. In this particular case they argued that “there is no basis for creating emotion-based liability in pet litigation, regardless of the nature of the claim.” This also isn’t the first time some of these groups have come out against awards for “non-ecomonic” damages in wrongful death cases.
While the law only recognizes companion animals as “property,” there have been a number of cases that reflect our changing attitudes towards them. For those of us who view our pets as furry members of the family, losing one in a wrongful death case is much more complicated than recovering their “economic” or “market” value. Whether it’s a case of veterinary malpractice, a lost pet who gets picked up and accidentally euthanized or a pet who is intentionally injured or killed, money can never make it right. The courts need to acknowledge their sentimental value and the fact that most people don’t view them like an inanimate object that can simply be replaced.
Now industry groups are fighting over whether the settlement should be upheld. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a brief supporting the family and the award. The organization doesn’t believe the outcome will affect costs in the future and argues that these organizations, who all profit off of our bonds with animals, are hypocritically trying to limit damages to their value as property.
“When those who harm animals are held accountable for the full extent of the injuries they cause, it sends a clear message that our society and our legal system is starting to take the lives of animals seriously. When pet industry groups like AKC and AVMA oppose non-economic damages, they are standing in the way of progress for animals,” stated the organization.

In the case of police officers shooting dogs, which is happening far too frequently, awards like this might help them think twice before unnecessarily using lethal force.