on sale now at amazon

on sale now at amazon
"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”

Trial opens Monday for ex-NOPD officer charged with killing Henry Glover after Hurricane Katrina

Prosecutors celebrated when a jury in 2010 convicted three New Orleans police officers for their roles in the post-Hurricane Katrina killing of Henry Glover and the ensuing elaborate cover-up, which included burning his body in an attempt to mask what investigators said was a bad shot by a rookie cop.
Then-U.S. Attorney Jim Letten called the jury's verdict "a positive moment for the city." New Orleans' top FBI agent at the time said the convictions were one of his proudest accomplishments.
But two years later, an appeals court found fundamental flaws with the proceedings, setting the stage for a new trial that opens Monday (Dec. 2) in the same federal courthouse where two families torn by post-Katrina chaos will return to hear the horrific details one more time.
David Warren, a father of five who was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison, will again try to convince a jury that he was in fear for his life when he fired his personal assault rifle, and that he didn't know the bullet struck Glover, a 31-year-old father of four from Algiers.
This time, the officers who stood trial for falsifying reports, burning Glover's body and abandoning it in a torched car found atop the Algiers levee will not be present. Evidence used against them was unfairly prejudicial to Warren, the appeals court ruled.
So Warren will stand trial alone.
"The new trial will be about Mr. Warren's conduct in connection with the alleged shooting," Warren's defense attorney Rick Simmons said Friday. "We argued to exclude a number of these things that he wasn't responsible for ... so hopefully the jury will see only his actions."
Without the backdrop of a cover-up so grisly it remains one of the most egregious instances of police misconduct in New Orleans history, will prosecutors be able to once again secure a conviction? Legal experts disagree.
Glover's killing was one of several instances of grave police misconduct in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, including the killing of two unarmed civilians and the wounding of four others on the Danziger Bridge. Federal prosecutors secured civil rights convictions after pursuing the cases for several years. But they've suffered setbacks, including court orders granting new trials for five of the Danziger Bridge defendants, and for Warren and another officer in the Glover case.
On Sept. 2, 2005, Warren was standing guard at a detective bureau on Gen. de Gaulle Drive in Algiers when Glover and another man, Bernard Calloway, drove up to the parking lot in what Warren believed to be a stolen truck to raid a shopping cart full of stolen goods. 
Earlier that afternoon, Warren had fired a warning shot with the same weapon toward another man he thought seemed suspicious. During testimony at the 2010 trial, Warren admitted that firing the warning shots was a violation of NOPD rules.
When Glover and Calloway came around, Warren said he feared for his safety after the two men ignored his command to get back and charged toward a gate surrounding the strip mall. Warren said he saw an object in Glover's hand before he fired. Warren also said he thought he saw Glover reach toward his waistband, possibly to retrieve a weapon.
Warren was on a second-floor balcony and fired off a round. He has maintained that he thought he missed Glover. But Warren's partner for the day, officer Linda Howard, testified that Warren hit his target and was made well aware of it in the immediate aftermath. Prosecutors say Glover was unarmed and posed no threat.

Warren said the man ran away, and that he didn't even learn Glover's name until months later.
After fleeing the strip mall, Glover collapsed in the street. Calloway and Glover's brother, Edward King, who came running from down the block to help, flagged down a passing driver named William Tanner, who gave the men a ride. Tanner drove to Habans Elementary School just a half-mile away from the strip mall, where the NOPD had set up an emergency compound. There was no time to get Glover to a hospital.
Henry Glover murder trailEdna Glover holds a picture of her slain son Henry Glover as she and other supporters gather outside federal court in March 2011 after sentences were handed down to two former NOPD officers. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive)
When the men arrived at Habans, officers of the SWAT team, including officer Greg McRae and Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, encountered them. Calloway, King and Tanner said they wound up beaten and in handcuffs, while Glover remained in the back of the car. At some point, McRae hopped into the driver's seat and drove away with Glover in the back seat.
McRae drove the car over the levee and down a ramp, tossed a road flare into it, closed the door and walked back up the levee toward Scheuermann, according to trial testimony. Seeing the flare dying out, he walked back and fired a shot into the rear windshield, prompting a full-blown blaze. McRae testified that he later told Scheuermann, he "wasn't going to let it rot."
Glover's remains weren't identified for seven months. In 2008, federal authorities stepped in to investigate.

A three-month trial started in December 2010. It wasn't a clean sweep for prosecutors. But some of the most serious charges stuck.
The jury believed Warren was responsible for Glover's death and for depriving him of his civil rights. Jurors also agreed that McRae burned the body and car, and that Lt. Travis McCabe falsified police reports about the events and lied to federal investigators.
Scheuermann was acquitted on charges of obstruction of justice and violating the civil rights of two of Glover's companions, whom he was accused of beating after they brought the injured man to the school. Former Lt. Robert Italiano, who was the supervisor of the 4th District detective bureau, was acquitted of charges that he participated in the cover-up.
"There shouldn't be any trial," Glover said. "They went to court already, and [Warren] already admitted to shooting Henry, so what is this really about? The facts don't change. He owned up to it, it's in the court record. Why do we need to go down this road again? Why are we living through this nightmare again?"
In a unanimous ruling in 2012, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Warren was unfairly tried with the others. Warren's defense attorneys tried to separate his case ahead of the 2010 trial, but U.S. District Judge Lance Africk refused.
The judges ruled that Warren's defense was tainted because he was forced to share an indictment and a courtroom with those responsible for burning Glover's body, abandoning Tanner's car and producing falsified incident reports.
"The most compelling prejudice, in our mind, resulted from the evidence, testimony and photographs presented in connection with the government's case against McRae for the burning of Glover's body, all of which had an effect of associating Warren with the burning of Glover's body and cover-up," the 60-page appeals court ruling says.
This time, the defense is hoping to keep the most disturbing pieces of evidence of the post-shooting police misconduct out of the courtroom.
Warren's attorneys Simmons and Julian Murray have asked the judge to exclude anything related to beatings at Habans, Tanner's car and false police reports. And they also asked the judge to ban prosecutors from showing jurors any photos of Glover's burned body, which the appeals court ruling refers to as a "bag of bones."
The defense also is attempting to suppress evidence regarding Warren's National Rifle Association membership and affinity for firearms. During the first trial, prosecutors portrayed Warren as a gun enthusiast who rarely missed a shot, in order to discredit Warren's claim that he missed Glover.
Africk is expected to rule on those questions during trial.
"This is a much harder case for the government than the one they tried before," said former federal prosecutor Shawn Clarke, who is now a defense attorney based in Houston. "The prosecution clearly wanted to place the shooting in the context of the other ghoulish misconduct, and they're not going to be able to do that this time around. By contrast, the defense wants to place it in the context of a police officer in an almost unprecedented condition of civil disorder having to make, if not a split-second decision, certainly a decision under less than optimal circumstances.
"An after-the-fact cover-up can't help but taint the antecedent conduct," Ciolino said. "The jury that will hear Mr. Warren's case this time will evaluate his conduct standing alone rather than standing in the shadow of a malignant cover-up.
"He has a real chance of acquittal -- a rarity for a Camp Street defendant."
One likely defense strategy will be attempting to discredit key government witness Howard, the officer who was at the strip mall and gave eyewitness testimony. She told authorities Warren intentionally fired and struck Glover that day.
But she also has given several different accounts of that day's events. The first time she spoke to investigators, Howard maintained that she didn't see Warren shoot anybody.
Howard has said she was traumatized by the storm and its aftermath, and at the time of one of her interviews, was heavily medicated after suffering an allergy attack. Howard has said her memory of the event began to slowly come back to her, likening it to a flashback in a movie.
"A witness like Howard needs to be corroborated by something like crime scene evidence, and they don't have that," said Clarke, the former prosecutor. "The defense wants Linda Howard to be a major player in this. It is likely the defense wants the case to be all about her. It's a challenge for the prosecution to win a homicide case, which is what this is essentially, with one eyewitness with questionable veracity."
However, former federal prosecutor and Tulane Law School professor Tania Tetlow said many trials involving a killing don't have strong physical evidence readily available and instead rely on eyewitness testimony.
"They would not have indicted him if they did not believe that evidence could stand alone and prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt," Tetlow said. "Most of the time there is no physical evidence. The jury's job will be, as it is in most cases, if they believe the eyewitness."
The Warren family is hoping testimony about their devoted father, whom they describe on a website as a God-fearing man who was successful in business before he became a police officer, will help sway a jury. A string of friends, family and supporters, along with his wife Kathy Warren and their children will be among the witnesses who plan to testify to "David's good character," the site says. 
The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.

Officer in Burlington shooting previously sued over police brutality claim

The Burlington police officer who fatally shot a mentally unstable man outside his family’s New North End home this month after investigators say the man threatened him with a shovel was a defendant in a lawsuit that alleged police brutality.
Documents on file at U.S. District Court in Burlington show that Cpl. Ethan Thibault and a second officer, Cpl. David Clements, were sued for unlawful trespass, battery and false imprisonment in connection with their handling of a Nov. 29, 2005, report of a man and woman fighting.
The city of Burlington agreed to settle the case in early 2010 for an undisclosed amount of money, according to court records and to an interview with one of the attorneys in the case.
“The amount of the settlement was confidential, but I can tell you my clients were well pleased with the resolution,” Steven Adler, the St. Johnsbury attorney for the plaintiffs, said Friday.
Attempts to reach the plaintiffs, Kevin J. Cobbs, 29, and Marlana M. Fichtner, 34, were unsuccessful.
Thibault did not respond to a request for comment.
Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling, in response to an inquiry by the Burlington Free Press, reviewed the 2005 case Friday and said it appeared that Thibault was not responsible for the portion of the lawsuit that alleged excessive force.
“That component was not relative to Cpl. Thibault’s actions,” Schirling said. He said neither Thibault nor Clements were found to have violated police procedures and were not disciplined.
Thibault is under investigation by Burlington police and by the Vermont State Police over his decision to fire four shots at Wayne J. Brunette outside his Randy Lane home Nov. 6. Brunette was pronounced dead 40 minutes later at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
Thibault and another officer had gone to the home after police received a call from Brunette’s parents, who said Brunette was destroying property and acting irrationally.
According to police records, Brunette was shot within 2 minutes and 31 seconds after Thibault and the other officer, Cpl. Brent Navari, arrived on the scene. The authorities have said Brunette was wielding a long-handled spade-type shovel.
In an affidavit from the 2005 incident authored by Thibault, he said he and Cpl. Clements went to a King Street apartment after a caller told the police about seeing a man strike a woman in the apartment and then close the apartment’s window shades.
Cobbs, a sometime amateur boxer, refused to tell the arriving officers who he was, the affidavit stated. Cobbs also told the officers to leave the apartment and, when they refused to do so, became belligerent and tried to strike Thibault.
“Cobbs swung his arms in a punching motion and struck me in the nose,” Thibault wrote in the affidavit. “I then attempted to strike back to defend myself and regain control of Cobbs.”
At one point, Cobbs and Clements fell to the floor during the scuffle as Clements tried to get Cobbs in a neck restraint. Cobbs then tried to kick Thibault, who wrote that he “struck Cobbs in the face with a front punch to defend Officer Clements and myself.”
Fichtner meanwhile tried repeatedly to get between Cobbs and the two officers throughout the episode, the affidavit stated.
Cobbs and Fichtner were arrested and charged, but their cases were dismissed after Judge Michael Kupersmith ruled in 2006 that the officers lacked the legal authority to be in the apartment the pair occupied.
“It was quickly apparent that there was no emergency and no need for their assistance,” Kupersmith wrote in a 27-page decision. “The court concludes that the officers’ warrantless entry into the defendants’ home was unlawful.”
Kupersmith said he was dismissing all charges against the couple because “it seems unreasonable to punish someone who impedes a police officer or resists or hinders an arrest without using unreasonable force, when the person accurately perceives that the police entry into the home is unlawful.”

The lawsuit
The lawsuit by Cobbs and Fichtner against the two offices followed. It was filed initially at Chittenden Superior Court and later was transferred to federal court.
Thibault was dropped as a defendant in the lawsuit in September 2009 when federal Judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled that the lawyers for the plaintiffs had missed a court-imposed deadline for serving the policeman with notice of the lawsuit.
Murtha ruled that the lawyers wrongly claimed they couldn’t serve Thibault with court papers by the deadline because he was serving with the Vermont Air National Guard in Iraq. Thibault was actually on duty at the Burlington Police Department at the time, Murtha wrote.
Records on file at Vermont Superior Court in Burlington show that, in 2007, Cobbs was convicted of three counts of domestic assault involving a confrontation with Fichtner at a South Burlngton apartment.
Cobbs was sentenced to 4-12 months in jail, all suspended, and was placed on probation.


Albuquerque set to settle police brutality suit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The lawyer for man who filed a police brutality lawsuit against Albuquerque police after his jaw was broken in an encounter with officers says the city has agreed to settle the case by paying him $60,000.
Attorney Ryan Villa says an officer kicked his client after he surrendered at the end of a foot chase. Charles Gomez had been stopped by police in May 2011 and was about to be taken into custody for DWI when he took off running.
Villa tells KRQE-TV (http://bit.ly/1fMei15) that Gomez gave up when officer Justin Montgomery found him hiding behind a dumpster but the officer kicked him in the face.
A city official confirmed a settlement has been reach but said it has not been finalized and could not confirm the amount.

San Antonio police officer charged with sexual assault now accused of civil rights violation

SAN ANTONIO –  A San Antonio police officer charged with sexual assault in the alleged rape of a woman in his patrol car while on duty also faces a federal civil rights charge in that case.
Jail records show 40-year-old Officer Jackie Len Neal was booked Wednesday night and freed Thursday on $10,000 bond. The charge involves improper sexual activity with a person in custody.
Neal was arrested Nov. 23 on a sexual assault charge the day after a 19-year-old woman said she was raped during a traffic stop. Neal was freed on bond following that charge. Online jail records don't list an attorney for Neal, who's been on paid administrative leave since the initial charge was filed.

Police Chief William McManus says there's no such thing as consensual sex while on duty.

El Monte Police officer accidentally shoots own leg

By Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

EL MONTE - An El Monte police officer is recuperating Friday after he accidentally shot himself in the leg two nights ago during the capture of a suspect, police said.
A pursuit ended at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday in the 11100 block of Brockway Street when the suspect ran from the vehicle.
One of the pursuing officers accidentally shot himself once in the leg during the apprehension of the suspect, according to Sgt. Roger Cobian in a statement,
Cobian described the injury as non life-threatening and said the officer is recovering and doing well.
The shooting is under investigation.
Police said the suspect was arrested.

The statement doesn’t name the officer or suspect, didn’t explain why the chase started and how the officer shot himself.

Charlotte City Council expected to overhaul police review board

JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com

City councilmen David Howard (left) and Warren Cooksey (right) listen to a presentation on the Citizens Review Board in August. JEFF WILLHELM - jwillhelm@charlotteobserver.com
The City Council is poised to approve an ordinance that would overhaul the Citizens Review Board, nine months after an Observer investigation showed the police oversight board has never sided with citizens.
The city manager’s office is recommending approval, and a grassroots organization that has lobbied the council for reform is planning a victory party afterward.
“We’re thrilled,” said Matt Newton, one of the organizers for CRB Reform Now. “Certainly, the ordinance itself can be improved upon, but as far as the essential tools to raise an effective board, they will be there. In our minds, it’s a huge victory for the city.”
The 11-member volunteer board hears complaints from people dissatisfied with disciplinary decisions following Internal Affairs investigations by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. City Council established the board 16 years ago to restore public confidence in the department after three unarmed African-Americans were killed by white officers.
Since the board was created, citizens have appealed 79 cases to the board, and almost all of them have been dismissed without receiving a full hearing.
Under the new recommendations, citizens would no longer face unusually strict criteria to get full hearings. They would no longer have to prove that a “preponderance of the evidence” shows the police chief abused his discretion. With the changes, they would have to prove only “the greater weight of evidence” indicates “the chief of police clearly erred.”
In April, then-Mayor Anthony Foxx asked a city task force to meet with police, the Charlotte School of Law and citizens to consider re-crafting the ordinance that affects the Citizens Review Board. The months-long process yielded a statute that doesn’t go as far as some advocates for change wanted. The board, for example, will not have independent subpoena or investigative powers.

But the city’s Community Relations Committee will have access to the department’s investigative file when the Citizens Review Board hears a complaint

Fired Belding cop's past problems with department detailed in personnel file

BELDING, MI - The personnel file for a longtime Belding Police officer fired after an off-duty fight outside a Kent County bar shows the recent termination wasn't the city's first attempt to end his employment.
Jason Cooper was fired in October after a fight earlier that month outside Grattan Irish Pub, 11817 Old Belding Road NE. Police Chief Dale Nelson conducted an internal investigation into Cooper's conduct and determined Cooper's actions brought shame to himself and the force, demanding his dismissal, according to documents obtained by MLive and The Grand Rapids Press under the Freedom of Information Act.
A Kent County Sheriff's Department investigation showed a man began to call Cooper racial slurs, leading to a fight involving Cooper and up to six others outside the bar. A witness told Belding Police that Cooper initially walked away from a seemingly heated conversation with a man, but later ran across the parking lot and grabbed the man by his shirt after he directed a slur at Cooper, records show.
Ashley Geldersma, a Clarksville resident who was pregnant at the time, said she was hit in the side during the melee and alleged the punch came from Cooper's direction. She filed a complaint with the sheriff's department. Cooper told a deputy he didn't strike her.
Cooper earlier this year was absolved of any wrongdoing after he shot and killed Bernard "Bud" Rowley, of Sidney. The Ionia County prosecutor concluded Cooper had acted in self-defense after Rowley in January shot at Cooper and a Michigan State Police trooper during a traffic altercation. That incident is not reflected in Cooper's personnel file.
City records show Cooper was hired by the department in 1998. In 2000, he was terminated for an unjustified police pursuit and allegedly providing false statements during an investigation into the transport of a suspect. He returned to the job after federal arbitration but was suspended for 90 days without pay, documents show.
In this year's firing, Nelson wrote in Cooper's disciplinary record that the officer portrayed conduct "unbecoming of a law enforcement officer" by allowing himself to lose control and physically attack someone after ethnic slurs were made toward him outside Grattan Irish Pub.
"Your failure to avert the assault when you should, showed a continued lack of control and unprofessional response," Nelson wrote. "Your actions have brought discredit to yourself and the Belding Police Department."
Cooper allegedly didn't report the incident to Nelson despite "ample" opportunities during two work shifts following the incident, which Nelson said was Cooper's effort to conceal his off-duty behavior, records show.
A Kent County Sheriff's deputy told Nelson that Cooper spoke about the incident but declined to divulge possible witnesses, write a statement or allow photographs of his injuries. Cooper argued he didn't feel he needed to take those steps because he was told the case "was not going anywhere," documents state.
Cooper's personnel file shows high performance rankings in recent years but also details past problems, the majority of which occurred in 1999 and 2000.
In 2000, the then-city manager and police chief wrote that Cooper compromised the safety of others when he pursued a truck that ran a stop sign. Two teenage girls sat in the bed of the truck, which Cooper chased down a two-track road at night, traveling at high speeds beyond city limits, documents state. The pursuit caused $2,000 damage to the patrol vehicle.
Cooper was also accused of providing evasive statements regarding the pursuit and another incident in which he allegedly transported an arrest subject in his vehicle without handcuffing the person.
Officials in 1999 said Cooper failed to complete daily log and incident reports for numerous incidents such as assault and battery, a missing child and a suspected drunken driver. Cooper in a written reply to the then-chief wrote "I don't make up sh-- to make my log look good, like some. You can tell by my mileage that I don't sit on my a--. I drive around to find things, but sometimes you just can't."
City officials also claimed Cooper falsified his application for employment by failing to list that he was released from the Ionia County Sheriff's Department, his most recent employer prior to the Belding Police Department, during a probationary period in the late 1990s.

City Manager Meg Mullendore in mid-November denied grievances filed after Cooper's recent termination.