By Jay Dillon
An Ardmore family says a police officer in the city shot and killed their pit bull after it escaped from their yard last week. Police say the dog was aggressive and a nuisance and had to be euthanized.
The family says their pit bull, "Cali", was shot and killed by an Ardmore Police officer and an animal control officer last week. FOX 25 filed an open records request with the city for details relating the incident.
On March 19, Ardmore police say they were called to a home in the 400 block of 15th Ave. NW in Ardmore around 9:30 AM to a report of a pit bull in the area. According to the report, the caller told police the dog consistently ran loose in the area.
Officer Brice Woolly wrote in his report that the dog was not aggressive towards the officers but was against animal control and several residents in the area. Police say a USPS delivery driver said he was confronted by a dog matching "Cali's" description in January and she would not allow him to get out of his mail truck. A neighbor approached the driver and said she knew the dog and took her home.
The officer said the dog was wearing a collar but didn't have any tags. Animal control officers told police they had tried to catch the dog multiple times and tried to discover who the dog belonged to but were unable to do so.
The police report states because of that reason, it was determined the dog would be euthanized.
Officer Woolly reported that he used his assigned shotgun and fired one shot into the dog. He said the dog was still breathing but was down when he instructed an animal control officer to fire a .22 caliber into the dog.
About ten minutes after the dog was put down, a female walked up and asked if the officers had her dog. She described it to them and they said they had the dog but it was put down because it "had been a continuing nuisance and [they] were unable to determine who owned the dog."
Just after 2:00 PM on March 19, the dog's owner came to the police department to talk with a supervisor. According to the police report, she said that her neighbor watched the incident happen.
On Friday, police called the neighbor to discuss what happened when the dog was shot. The neighbor said while he didn't see the shot, he heard it and the officer's reaction.
The neighbor said after Officer Woolly shot the dog, he told the animal control officer "Did you see the way it's collar flew up into the air when I blew it's head off? It was awesome!" He said Woolly then bragged about another dog he shot with his handgun a few days before.
The neighbor then asked the officers if they shot his dog in his fence too. The animal control officer said they shot that dog because it barked at the mailman, according to the neighbor.
When he went back into his house, he heard another shot. He said he then walked back outside as the two officers carried the dog away. He said he heard Officer Woolly tell the animal control officer "we are just going to write this up in the report as the dog tried to attack me and you and others in the neighborhood." The neighbor told police it sounded as if he was coaching the animal control officer on what to say so the stories match up.
The other shooting
FOX 25 filed a separate open records request with the city for Officer Woolly's referenced incident.
On Friday, March 14, Officer Woolly filed another report that states he shot a pit bull that residents had said was aggressive towards children. The animal control officer said they had received several calls about the dog in recent weeks.
The dog's owner was cited several times but refused to show up for city court and would not sign complaints about the dog being aggressive and loose. Officer Wolly wrote that it was decided the dog would be put down because the owner would not catch it or take responsibility for it.
He said he shot the dog twice with his service pistol but it didn't kill the animal. He said he pulled the trigger two more times before the dog was put down.
The owner of that dog was never located.
Since the March 19 incident, a Facebook page called "Justice for Cali" was started with more than 2,000 likes and growing. A petition on Change.org was also started that says it wants the officer to be relieved of his duties. So far, there are more than 16,000 signatures on the petition.
A courier for the USPS and the animal control officer both gave police written statements about the dog, indicating that it was violent and aggressive towards them.
Ardmore Police says the case has been closed.
Repeating a scene from 13 years ago, several hundred Arizona fans and Tucson police clashed in the streets late Saturday following the University of Arizona basketball team’s loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament. But unlike 13 years ago, much of the scene was caught by smartphones, which included the startling image of what appears to be a police officer tackling a woman without much provocation.
While the above video does not provide much context, the woman who shot the video, said the officer struck with no reason.
“These girls had been trying to get to their car. The girl is on her phone not paying attention and this cop came out of nowhere and just leveled her,” Phoebe Landolt told the Arizona Daily Star. “After that everyone just started yelling and she started crying.”
Police say they are aware of the video and it is being reviewed.
Authorities said 15 people were arrested after fans hurled beer bottles and firecrackers at officers, who then used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. No officers were hurt, but three people who were arrested had minor injuries in the unrest that lasted more than an hour, police said. Meanwhile, officials at the University of Arizona vowed to punish any students who participated in the fracas.
The clash began after crowds leaving bars and restaurants near campus filled University Boulevard after the game, Tucson police Sgt. Pete Dugan said. He said officers fired pepper spray, pepper canisters and pepper balls to try to get people to leave the business-lined thoroughfare. Earlier Saturday, Arizona lost 64-63 to Wisconsin in the West Region final in Anaheim, Calif.
“We’ve been training for this event for several months now,” Dugan said. “It got a little rowdy and it got a little violent, but no businesses suffered any damage.”
The melee resembled what happened in 2001, when police arrested 17 people after Arizona lost to Duke in the championship game. But in that clash, a student lost an eye after he was struck by a beanbag filled with lead birdshot fired by Tucson police and around 22 businesses suffered some damage.
In a statement, Dean of Students Kendal Washington White called Saturday’s disturbance “disappointing” and said it was not reflective of the culture of the University of Arizona or Tucson.
“Our basketball team had a great season, and they exhibited exceptional class at every turn,” White said. “They do not deserve the bad actions of these others.”
White said all students who are found to have violated the school’s code of conduct “will be held accountable.”
Police brought in cruisers and a unit of officers with batons, helmets and face masks to block the street when people started tossing beer bottles, cans and firecrackers, hitting police vehicles and endangering officers.
Most of those arrested were cited and released, and one person was booked into jail, Dugan said.
A witness, David Kitaeff, told The Associated Press that the incident started innocently with people taking photos, but then “people got in cops’ faces.” He said fans were throwing drink cans at officers, whom he saw marching down University Boulevard
Michigan man sues cops over 'false arrest' for carrying gun, which caused him to miss Christmas with family
John David McMorris was walking down a road in Flint when a police officer pulled over to question him. McMorris revealed he had a license to openly carry his .40-caliber pistol, but not one to conceal it, which resulted in him being arrested. Now he is suing police for $25,000 over the arrest, which caused him to miss Christmas with his family.
BY LEE MORAN
A Michigan man is suing cops over claims he was wrongly arrested and locked up on Christmas Eve for carrying his legal gun.
John David McMorris, 21, alleges he was walking down the road at 11:30 p.m. in Flint when a police officer suddenly pulled over his squad car to question him.
McMorris raised his arms in the air to show he was openly carrying his legally owned .40-caliber pistol, but the cop said that when he drove by earlier, he didn't see the weapon.
As McMorris has a license to openly carry a gun, but not one to conceal it, he was cuffed and taken to jail, reports MLive.
Despite video showing him apologizing and explaining that his jacket must have been covering it up, McMorris was forced to spend Christmas Day away from his family in a cell.
Released the following morning, he was told no charges would be filed.
McMorris is now suing the police department for $25,000 in damages for false arrest, civil rights violations and malicious prosecution.
WRONGFUL TERMINATION CLAIMED BY DEPUTY WITH HISTORY OF CRUISER
By Don Lehman
QUEENSBURY -- The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has fired a patrol officer for having too many on-duty car accidents, and the officer responded recently by filing a lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully terminated.
Scott Phillips was involved in eight crashes since 2009, six of them deemed “preventable” by the Sheriff’s Office.
Phillips was fired March 7 after a disciplinary hearing that ended with a hearing officer recommending he should be suspended for two months.
Sheriff Bud York opted to fire him instead, arguing that his “poor judgment” when driving a police vehicle endangered the public.
“The record is abundantly clear that Officer Phillips lacks the skills and ability to use good judgment when responding to emergency calls and non-emergency use of patrol vehicles,” York wrote in his termination notice.
That notice was filed as part of a lawsuit that Phillips filed against the county in state Supreme Court on March 22.
Phillips is seeking his job back in the lawsuit, which came after York decided the punishment recommended by hearing officer William Sprague, a former State Police major, was not severe enough.
Phillips, a patrol officer since 2008, has been involved in eight crashes with patrol cars since 2009, six of them deemed “preventable” by the department. The two that were deemed “unpreventable” involved deer.
No one was injured in any of them. The last occurred on Route 9N in Diamond Point, resulting in a patrol car being destroyed and $15,000 in damage to a homeowner’s stone wall.
That crash came less than three months after Phillips was disciplined for a spate of accidents in the preceding 30 months that resulted in damage to police vehicles. An Oct. 30, 2011, crash on Route 9 in Chester resulted in another patrol car being destroyed.
The Sheriff’s Office concluded he was traveling about 80 mph and did not try to brake before his patrol car went off Route 9N on the night of last Dec. 7. He told superior officers he swerved to avoid two deer.
Phillips told police he was trying to locate a suspected drunken driver who had been reported to dispatchers by a driver who was following the offending vehicle, and that he was in an “emergency” response. The Sheriff’s Office concluded the situation was not an emergency.
Officers have broad discretion as to when they conclude they are responding to an emergency.
In his termination letter, York wrote that it was a “very difficult decision” to fire the officer, but he had a duty to protect the public. He said he could not comment on the matter Monday.
Sprague, however, wrote that he did not feel termination was warranted, pointing to Phillips’ otherwise unblemished disciplinary record and good record of service with the department outside of the driving issues.
He pointed to a statement by sheriff’s Maj. James LaFarr that called Phillips a “good police officer.”
“In short, he is the type of candidate law enforcement agencies seek to attract and employ,” Sprague wrote.
He questioned whether Phillips has night vision problems, in light of the accidents all happening after dark.
Warren County supervisors discussed the lawsuit in executive decision Monday, but no action was taken.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Breen, president of the Warren County Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents sheriff’s road patrol officers, referred comment to James Tuttle, the lawyer handling the lawsuit.
Tuttle said the union questioned why the department was choosing to fire Phillips when officers who committed more serious transgressions were not fired. Examples were cited of a sergeant who showed up for a shift after drinking alcohol and another arrested for domestic issues, both who were not fired.
“He’s the only officer only to be terminated for property damage accidents,” Tuttle said.
The lawsuit will be decided by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court.
By Dave Rogers Staff Writer
NEWBURY — A former Newbury police officer’s attempt to have rape and indecent assault convictions tossed failed earlier this month after the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled against him.
In 2005, Lt. Gary Clifford, then of Salisbury and once the department’s lead sexual assault officer, was convicted of two counts of rape of a child and four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and sentenced to 5 to 7 years in prison. He was also sentenced to lifetime parole upon his release from prison, must undergo sex offender treatment, have no contact with the family and register as a sex offender.
A jury found Clifford guilty of repeatedly assaulting a 9-year-old girl, starting in 2001 and continuing until 2003, inside his Salisbury home. Four days after the abuse ended, the victim disclosed the ongoing incidents to her baby sitter and, thereafter, to her mother. The mother took the victim to the state police barracks in Newbury, and the defendant was later indicted on the charges. Prosecutors had argued for a 12- to 15-year sentence. The victim was not related to Clifford, but the two did know each other.
Almost immediately following his conviction, Clifford and his lawyers filed multiple appeals including a motion for a required finding of not guilty after discharge of the jury or, in the alternative, a motion for a new trial. Thereafter, the defendant filed a second motion for a new trial that was denied by the judge.
He also filed a motion to dismiss the convictions due to delay in the appeal. That motion was also denied. The defendant filed timely appeals from the denial of those motions and the appeals had been consolidated for hearing in court.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the judge erred in admitting opinion testimony of the prosecutor’s medical expert and that his trial lawyer rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to sufficiently argue against admitting the testimony without a hearing first.
His appeal also argued that portions of the prosecutor’s closing argument were improper; that he failed to receive a fair trial because one juror was asleep during portions of the trial; that outside noise prevented the jury from hearing all of the trial testimony; and that a delay in obtaining the trial transcripts and appellate record denied him the right to a timely appeal.
In its decision, the appeals court rejected every motion, saying prosecutors had properly conducted their case including the calling of a medical expert and its closing argument.
“We also reject the defendant’s claim for a new trial based on his remaining claims of improper argument by the prosecutor — namely, arguing facts not in evidence, and use of improper metaphors — because the challenged remarks were either within the bounds of proper argument, cured by the judge in his closing jury instructions or could not have prejudiced the defendant,” the court’s decision reads.
In terms of dismissing the convictions based on a juror falling asleep and outside noise interference, the appeals court said neither claim had merit. The trial judge personally observed that the allegedly sleeping juror was in fact awake; and although defense counsel informed the judge at different times that he had trouble hearing the victim testify, when so informed, the judge instructed the victim to speak louder.
“There is no evidence in the record that the judge’s response to the problem failed to cure it. Rather, it appears that counsel was diligent in informing the judge that he could not hear the witness, and the judge responded accordingly,” the decision reads.