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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”

The secret diary of Gerry Hyland: Hey...what about the shooting of John Geer?

The secret diary of Gerry Hyland: Hey...what about the shooting of John Geer?

Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust: Come out from under the desk and find out what hap...

Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust: Come out from under the desk and find out what hap...

The secret diary of Gerry Hyland: Hey...what about the shooting of John Geer? Come ...

The secret diary of Gerry Hyland: Hey...what about the shooting of John Geer? Come ...

In Lawsuit, SPD Learns the Cost of Disrespect

by Rick Anderson  Tue., Nov 26 2013 at 09:35AM

Seattle Police officer Ben Kelly and convicted felon Charles Shateek Smith had apparently never met until a night in January 2009, when Kelly sized up Smith to be a “fucking asshole.” When the cop confronted the 28-year-old for impeding traffic while ambling across Rainier Avenue South, then patted him down for weapons, he found two: a pellet gun that looked like a handgun, and a loaded revolver—a “little fuckin’ 22,” in Kelly’s words. As a six-time felon, Smith was illegally armed.

A judge would later rule that Kelly’s search was illegal, and suppressed the gun as evidence. Smith, facing up to 15 years in prison for being an armed offender, was released.

But as some cops and citizens might see it, it was street justice. Kelly got a convicted robber and burglar off the streets, and Smith was held eight months behind bars awaiting the court’s decision. As some might have suspected, he went on to re-offend, convicted six months later of breaking into the apartment of his baby mama and choking her. He’s now doing 10 years in prison.

Kelly went on to earn accolades from his fellow cops that year for shooting and killing fugitive Maurice Clemmons two days after he slew four Lakewood police officers. Kelly was honored nationally and locally, becoming SPD’s Officer of the Year.

But today Kelly’s faulty jaywalk arrest of Smith has cost taxpayers thousands in legal fees and a $15,000 settlement won by Smith, who filed a lawsuit from his prison cell. He claimed the cop’s disrespectful attitude and wrongful search led Smith to lose his job and family.

In the civil case officially concluded last week, U.S. Judge Richard Jones thought the felon had a point. “Officer Kelly violated the Fourth Amendment when he first arrested Mr. Smith, and violated it again when he searched Mr. Smith incident to that arrest,” Jones said. He thus was not immune to a lawsuit, and “the only question remaining for trial is the amount of Mr. Smith’s damages.”

The city bargained that down to $5,000 for Smith’s attorneys and $10,000 for Smith, to be held in a trust until his 2020 release. News about the settlement sparked considerable comment last week, and most seemed to line up with Cop of the Year Kelly. OK, he swore a lot. But he nabbed an armed felon. “Civil rights my ass!” said one commenter.

News stories left out some details, however, such as what exactly Kelly said to Smith as he rolled up and singled out the suspect from a crowd of jaywalkers. “Come here!” he barked, and when Smith didn’t immediately oblige, Kelly exited his car and exclaimed: “Fucking asshole! When I tell you to fucking get over here, get the fuck over here. I’m going to be fucking cool with you and then what the fuck? He starts walking away from me. What the hell are you doing?”

Hunter Abell, Smith’s attorney, saw this as “yet another instance of SPD engaging in egregiously unconstitutional behavior towards minorities,” his client being black and the cop white. Thankfully, he said, “this case did not result in Mr. Smith being killed or seriously injured,” a reference to, among others, the fatal police shooting of Native American John Williams, tragically shot down by SPD Officer Ian Birk in 2010 seconds after the woodcarver was told to drop his knife.

In a deposition, Kelly insisted the shakedown was justified because he arrested Smith for “pedestrian interference” with traffic, a misdemeanor. But, ruled Jones, “The evidence, taken in the light most favorable to Officer Kelly . . . permits only one reasonable conclusion: Mr. Smith was no different than the typical jaywalker.”

Kelly had also claimed he saw Smith “completely stop [and] stare down” a driver, forcing his car to halt. But under questioning, he admitted to being 40 to 50 feet away at the time.

Jones did give the cop a break, saying Smith could recover damages for the arrest but not for the long jailing afterwards. But Jones also wanted to say something about the cost of disrespect.

“What Mr. Smith was doing, apparently, was violating Officer Kelly’s personal rule against not responding in three seconds or fewer to police commands. What Officer Kelly was doing was engendering disrespect for law enforcement and, by extension, the criminal justice system.”

A community judges its police by their conduct, Jones noted, and “When an officer verbally abuses a suspect for no reason whatsoever, he discredits everyone in the system.” Yes, cops on the street sometimes have to use abusive language. But “the circumstances that confronted Officer Kelly do not remotely qualify. . . .

“His conduct promotes disrespect and disdain for every police officer, even those who treat suspects with respect, integrity, and professionalism. The court is not in the habit of addressing conduct that does not bear on the liability of the parties before it, but it would be a disservice to the justice system to permit Officer Kelly’s conduct to pass without mention.”


Journalist and author Rick Anderson writes about crime, money, and politics, which tend to be the same thing.

Arcola cop gets three years for shakedowns

TUSCOLA — A former Arcola police officer who was shaking down Spanish-speaking Douglas County residents for cash has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Douglas County Judge Mike Carroll on Tuesday sentenced Rogelio Javier Gutierrez, 34, of Humboldt, for official misconduct and intimidation.

The charges stemmed from conduct that Gutierrez admitted committing while he was an Arcola officer in 2011 and 2012. He also served as police chief in Humboldt.
Gutierrez resigned both positions around the middle of 2012.
Douglas County State’s Attorney Kevin Nolan said the conduct for which Gutierrez was sentenced involved an April 2011 incident in which he told an Arcola man that his name would be placed on a list of people who didn’t have an appropriate driver’s license unless he gave Gutierrez $500. The man handed over cash intended for his daughter’s birthday party and presents.
The other incident happened in February 2012 when Gutierrez pulled over a car on Illinois 133 and told the occupants, in fluent Spanish, that their license plate tag was expired. When the wife protested, Gutierrez then declared that the husband’s license was not valid and he would need to post $300 “bail” or face being arrested and having their car impounded.
The couple from Terre Haute, Ind., had no cash because they spent it on new clothes for their children at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Tuscola but an adult male friend with them paid the money. Back home, the wife told the principal at the school where she was working as a janitor what had happened and that woman encouraged her to cooperate with Douglas County authorities. State police then began investigating Gutierrez in early 2012.
Gutierrez was arrested in March 2012. He had been free on bond but was ordered to begin his prison sentence immediately. He was also ordered to pay about $3,900 in restitution.
Nolan asked for a 10-year prison sentence for Gutierrez on the intimidation convictions, the more serious of the offenses, and presented written statements from other alleged victims for Carroll to consider.
"We have statements and police reports documenting 10 more folks. My gut says there are more but people are still afraid to stick they heads up because they are afraid they will be hauled away by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” Nolan said.
Gutierrez was represented by Champaign attorney Mark Lipton, who asked for probation or periodic imprisonment for his client.
Gutierrez works as a personal trainer in the Arcola area.

Nassau Cop Sentenced to Conditional Discharge in Menacing

A Nassau County Police officer convicted of pointing his gun at the head of a Farmingdale bartender has been sentenced to a conditional discharge.

Richard Hefferon, 48, who was convicted of third-degree menacing, a misdemeanor, for the 2011 incident, was sentenced Tuesday to a conditional discharge that includes 150 hours of community service, continued therapy with quarterly reports to the courts, and a $500 fine.

This sentence, handed down by Judge Rhonda Erin Fischer, follows about two years of court- and NCDA-monitored therapy. Hefferon also received an order of protection barring him from having a weapon while not on-duty, the Nassau District Attorney's office said.

Hefferon was off-duty when the incident occurred at about 5:50 a.m. on April 26, 2011, Hefferon had several drinks at the South Main Street Pub in Farmingdale when he aimed a loaded police-issued weapon at bartender Charlie Ball's head. The incident was captured on security cameras in the bar, authorities said.

He was arrested in June, 2011 and could have faced up to a year in jail.

“I turn my back and I turned back around and the the next thing I know, he’s got this gun out and pointed right at me,” Ball said at the time. “It could have gone a different way."
Hefferon then a 17-year veteran of the Nassau County Police Department, was immediately placed on restricted duty after the incident and his weapons were confiscated, authorities said.