Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 05:57 PM
By Sean PiccoliPolice officers serving warrants and searching homes are shooting and killing household dogs at an alarming rate across the country, but are rarely prosecuted or even investigated for a violent act that leaves pet owners devastated, a lawyer told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
"It's even worse than, 'We're doing our job.' It's 'We don't care,' " New York criminal defense attorney Richard Bruce Rosenthal told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. "They see it as just an animal, just as a piece of property."
A spate of recent dog killings by officers has drawn attention to how local law enforcement agencies handle the presence of domesticated pets in the course of their duties.
In Baltimore, a city police officer is facing charges for slitting the throat of a Shar-Pei that had bitten somebody but was restrained when the officer allegedly killed it, the Daily Mail reports.
Colorado passed a "Dog Protection Act" in 2013 to help reduce fatal animal shootings by police, the Huffington Post reports.
But Rosenthal said that by and large when a search warrant is issued, "Most police departments have no procedure in place — and no plans — to deal with the possibility of dogs being present, other than to kill them."
Rosenthal also said dogs are becoming casualties of an increasingly militarized, fear-based approach to policing.
"When I was much younger, there was a very different view of police," said Rosenthal.
"The police were someone you went to for help when there was a problem. You didn't fear the police. Nowadays, one needs to be afraid of the police, and it's a horrible, horrible way for this country to become."
Rosenthal acknowledged that some dogs are trained by their owners to be vicious. But he said police are shooting dogs as a first resort, even when they pose little or no threat, or when a dog — feeling threatened itself — acts protectively.
"Our law does recognize that a dog has a right to be safe and to be secure in his property," said Rosenthal. "When a police officer — or anyone, for that matter — trespasses, to then suggest that they're justified in killing the dog because the dog was not all warm and cuddly and friendly really stretches the point."
Rosenthal said the killings will stop "only when more and more of the families that have been abused this way start suing and the courts start issuing large judgments against municipalities."
A longtime Gaffney Police Department officer has been suspended after he was charged Friday with aggravated criminal domestic violence and pointing a firearm.
Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller said deputies were called to the McKowns Mountain Road home of Johnny Miller, a Gaffney police officer, Friday afternoon. Mueller said Miller's wife told deputies he had gotten up about 9:30 a.m. and wasn't feeling well. Miller, 55, was “acting bizarre” from about 9:30 a.m. until noon and discharged a firearm several times into the floor of the home, Mueller said, reading from an incident report.
At some point, Miller pointed the firearm at the woman and a 14-year-old inside the home, Mueller said.
Deputies found several shell casings on the floor of the home, Mueller said.
Miller was charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and pointing and presenting a firearm. It isn't clear whether the firearm used was Miller's service weapon.
Gaffney City Administrator James Taylor said Miller has been has been suspended by the city “pending further information and review.”
Miller was released Friday night on $30,000 bond from the Cherokee County Detention Center.
by Elizabeth Findell
WESLACO — Eleven police officers stood in solidarity at the Weslaco Municipal Court Monday afternoon as they watched a judge charge one of their own.
Cpl. Alvino Flores, 34, turned himself in Monday morning after an arrest warrant was issued last week, accusing him of abusing his off-the-clock job as an apartment security officer.
But the peers supporting him believed the charges were a bogus side effect of ongoing battles between the department’s majority police union and its recently-appointed interim chief.
The arrest stems from two incidents that occurred last year at the Weslaco Hills apartment complex, a low-income housing complex where Flores is allowed to live for free in exchange for providing off-duty security services.
Criminal complaints accuse Flores of using that position to improperly break open a door to an apartment in July 2013 and allow an abusive boyfriend of the tenet to enter and take items from the apartment.
“Flores allowed Mr. Enrique, the suspect, to enter the apartment and take what he wanted,” the complaint reads. “Mrs. Del Angel stated she was afraid of her boyfriend so she locked the front door… She was shocked when Off-Duty/Courtesy Officer Flores broke the door down.”
The complaint acknowledges that the manager of the apartment complex had told Flores to break the door and that another on-duty Weslaco police officer was present and allowed the action to take place.
A second incident occurred in November, when Flores began looking into an unspecified crime that occurred at the apartments. After reporting it to the Police Department, Flores began questioning a teenage boy named Nathon Carrion, according to the complaint.
The complaint says Carrion’s mother let Flores into their apartment, where he began going through the boy’s clothing, looking for evidence. It then accuses Flores of tackling Carrion to the ground and sitting on him, causing his mother to call the police.
The criminal complaint gives no indication of what may have caused Flores to tackle Carrion.
Monday, Weslaco Municipal Judge Carlos Garza charged Flores with two counts of abuse of official capacity, assault, criminal mischief and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors. The judge gave Flores a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and his attorney, David Willis, transported him personally to the Hidalgo County jail.
The municipal court initially refused to give copies of the criminal complaints to reporters, claiming they needed to file formal requests for public information. But, because municipal court records are, by law, not subject to the Public Information Act — because they are court records and need to be available immediately — The Monitor requested that the city attorney intervene.
Flores declined to comment to the media, at his attorney’s advice, but told the judge he didn’t want to be treated any differently than anyone else arrested.
POLITICS AT PLAY?
Willis told reporters that Flores, a 14-year officer at the department, was innocent and called his arrest “a travesty” and a waste of money.
“Prior to the interim Chief Sergio Ramirez becoming interim chief, he has never been the subject of an internal affairs investigation or ever had a crime charged against him,” Willis said. “Since Sergio Ramirez has become interim chief, he has been the subject of internal affairs investigations and he has just here read five charges against him.”
Flores is the former president of the Weslaco Municipal Police Union, whose members have claimed they’ve been the target of retaliation since Ramirez was appointed in May.
The union, a branch of the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), filed grievances claiming its members were demoted while members of the Weslaco Law Enforcement Association, a branch of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) were promoted.
Most recently, sixteen TMPA members filed a federal lawsuit Friday, claiming the chief violated their First Amendment rights to freedom of association by targeting them for demotions and internal affairs investigations.
Several of the incidents relayed in the lawsuit involved Flores, but he is not a plaintiff, most likely because his arrest warrant had already been issued at the time the lawsuit was filed.
The lawsuit notes that Flores was the only person formally reprimanded for a recognition event for the department’s former chaplain that resulted in an internal affairs investigation. It also says he received permission for his off-duty work at Weslaco Hills apartments, but that Ramirez issued an order last month terminating such agreements, which affected only Flores and two other officers, all TMPA members.
Ramirez did not return phone calls Friday or Monday to discuss the issues with the union, or to answer why charges were filed against Flores so long after the incidents occurred.
The city confirmed that Flores has applied for the permanent chief of police position.
By Margaret Harding
Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday approved a $115,000 settlement with a woman who accused a city officer of false arrest in a lawsuit.
Christine Condarcure, 50, of North Apollo sued Officer Anthony Scarpine, alleging that he was wrong to arrest her on charges of witness intimidation and simple assault outside of her son's preliminary hearing in May 2010. She spent five days in the Allegheny County Jail accused of hitting a witness, but video surveillance showed that she only brushed against the witness, according to the lawsuit.
“It's not just about the money, it's about the fact that citizens' constitutional rights are being violated by persons whom we have entrusted to enforce the law,” said attorney Tim O'Brien, who represented Condarcure.
The city could pay more than $500,000 this year to resolve lawsuits involving officers. Two jury awards this year against city officers totaled $224,016. A lawyer for a woman who accused an officer of sexually assaulting her in December 2011 said she has agreed to a $35,000 settlement with the city. The city has approved an $11,000 payment to a man who said he was injured when a police car hit him in 2007, and is considering a $145,000 settlement with a woman who was injured in a 2012 crash with an officer.
O'Brien said the types of complaints against police officers his office has received lately remind him of those that were made before a federal lawsuit against the bureau led to a consent decree in 1997 that put the police department under federal oversight for five years.
He said since the consent decree expired, he has seen a yearly rise in the complaints of police abuse.
Bryan Campbell, an attorney for the Pittsburgh police union, said he doesn't think the department is in the same place it was before the consent decree.
“The training today is a lot more extensive than it was, and the city keeps very, very close supervision over what the officers do,” Campbell said. “I think nobody today could bring a suit to show the city has patterns, practices or policies that would lead officers to think they could violate civil rights.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IIn a sleepy bayou community where the police department has a reputation of having little tolerance for people exceeding the speed limit, one of the department's own has been forced to resign.
"It's a shame that the people they should be looking up to is actually doing the crime," said Chad Cheramie, a resident of Golden Meadow.
A spokesman for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office said 37-year-old Ashley Pollard was arrested Monday for making methamphetamine. And people in Golden Meadow were stunned.
"You try to get the kids off of drugs and you have the police officers doing what the kids are not supposed to do," said Cheramie.
Ashley Pollard's was not the only mug shot taken in connection with the case. His girlfriend, Anna King, 31, and his younger brother Courtney Pollard, 33, were also arrested.
Each was booked with one count of creation/operation of a clandestine laboratory for the unlawful manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance, according to the sheriff's office.
Pontiac – — A Royal Oak man who spent seven years in prison on charges of child sex assault, a crime he did not commit, is suing the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Oakland Circuit Court.
Jacob Trakhtenberg, 77, was charged and convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2005 after a 53-minute bench trial where his court-appointed attorney, Deborah McKelvey, made no opening statement nor did she call one witness on his behalf before then-Judge Debra Tyner.
The prosecution’s chief witness, who initiated the complaint, was Trakhtenberg’s ex-wife.
The Michigan Supreme Court later ruled Trakhtenberg had ineffective counsel, overturned his conviction and ruled he could sue McKelvey for violating his civil rights.
Trakhtenberg did sue, and subsequently accepted a $505,000 out-of-court agreement from McKelvey, who specified the settlement was not an admission of guilt. McKelvey, who has declined comment to reporters, is still subject to an attorney grievance complaint.
“We feel this (lawsuit) is necessary because but for a faulty investigation that did not follow normal protocol with a suspected juvenile sex victim, he never would have been arrested or charged in the first place,” said John Elliott, Trakhtenberg’s new attorney.
The 25-page complaint lists the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Michael Bouchard and Detective Terry Cashman as responsible for him being wrongfully charged.
The lawsuit charges that the detective planted suggested questions with the child’s mother and interviewed the child at home instead of a neutral site, which is standard procedure.
Trakhtenberg had always maintained that — on request and with the knowledge of the mother — he had applied an ointment to the child’s vagina with his finger to treat a medical problem. That action was falsely fashioned into inappropriate touching, according to the complaint.
Bouchard said Wednesday he had not been served with the complaint, and was not aware of all the legal issues but said they will be reviewed by county attorneys.
Trakhtenberg, a Russian immigrant who came to the U.S. with $15 in his pockets, became a Chrysler engineer, built a $1.2 million home in Orion Township and then lost it all because of the false charges, Elliott said.
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Another New Orleans police officer is facing battery charges, this time after they allegedly got in a fight with the wife of a high-ranking NOPD commander.
Officer Nyketi Addison, who worked in the investigative bureau, was reassigned July 3, and an internal investigation was launched immediately after the incident a day before, according to the NOPD’s public affairs division.
According to court documents, Addison was cited for fighting with the wife of a high-ranking NOPD supervisor, Fifth Police District Commander Chris Goodly.
Addison’s attorney, Donovan Livaccari, of the Fraternal Order of Police, said she did not start the fight.
“Officer Addison is a victim in this incident,” he said. “I certainly hope that the Public Integrity Bureau treats other victims better than they treated Officer Addison. Normally, victims don’t get charged with a crime unless they actually committed one.”
Karen Goodly also faces simple battery, according to court records.
Addison is the third NOPD officer to face a battery charge this month.
Officer Christopher Carter faces one count of domestic abuse battery, and another count of domestic abuse battery involving strangulation.
Detective Robert Hurst faces simple battery steaming from allegations of domestic abuse. He was charged with attempted second degree murder, but that charge was dropped a week later
BY JULIE SHAW, Daily News Staff Writer email@example.com, 215-854-2592
POSTED: JULY 25, 2014
THE AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union and others yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against the city and two cops on behalf of a Temple University student who they say was unlawfully arrested last year when he photographed a group of cops gathered outside a North Philly house.
The complaint follows previous cases in which cops allegedly assaulted or arrested other civilians who tried to film police actions in public and a September 2011 memorandum by Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey that instructed officers to allow themselves to be recorded.
"Observing police officers' behavior in public is activity protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the lawsuit filed yesterday begins.
"It is not a crime. Nevertheless . . . Philadelphia police officers, due to serious deficits in training, supervision, and discipline, have routinely punished civilians who observe or record police activity by filing false criminal charges against them."
The suit centers on plaintiff Richard Fields, a Temple undergrad, who was walking on 18th Street near Berks about 11 p.m. Sept. 13 when he saw about 20 cops across the street.
The lawsuit alleges the following account:
Some cops were leading people out of a house, where there appeared to have been a party. Fields took a photo with his iPhone. Officer Joseph Sisca approached him, asked, "Do you like taking pictures of grown men?" and ordered him to leave. The student said he was on public property and was not interfering with the investigation.
Sisca again ordered him to leave and bumped Fields with his chest. Fields still refused to leave. The cop then handcuffed Fields and took his property, including his iPhone, which Sisca threw onto a concrete stoop, cracking the phone's screen.
The cop then put Fields in a police van and detained him for about 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward, the cop handed Fields a summary offense, alleging he had obstructed the highway.
The suit also contends that Sisca and another unknown officer searched the phone, trying to find photos or recordings of the cops.
At an Oct. 31 Municipal Court summary trial, prosecutors withdrew the charge against Fields.
Assistant City Solicitor John Coyle did not return a voice message left yesterday by the Daily News.
Officer charged in Feb. 24 shooting
ORLANDO, Fla. -
An Orlando police officer turned himself in to Seminole County jail on Thursday after being charged in a shooting while on duty.
Orlando police said officer David Johnston has been charged with shooting into an occupied conveyance and discharging a firearm in public in the Feb. 24 incident.
Police said they were searching for a man accused in an assault and located him in the parking garage of the City View Apartments in downtown Orlando. Officers said the suspect tried to run them over when they tried to arrest him, so three officers, including Johnston opened fire.
The suspect was not injured.
The shooting sparked an investigation by OPD, which then presented the investigation findings to the state attorney's office.
After a decision by the grand jury, the state attorney's office obtained a warrant for Johnston's arrest on Thursday, according to police.
Johnston turned himself into Seminole County jail and has since posted bond.
An internal investigation will also be completed, police said.
Johnston has been with OPD since Dec. 9, 2012. He is currently on paid alternative duty.
Several Portland police resigned while under investigation, bureau's quarterly discipline report shows
Portland Police Bureau's July report on police misconduct cases heard before its Police Review Board shows several officers resigned while facing discipline, including a captain. (The Oregonian/File)
By Maxine Bernstein | firstname.lastname@example.org
Several Portland police bureau members resigned in the face of discipline in the last year, according to the bureau's latest quarterly report on internal Police Review Board hearings.
Capt. Ed Hamann resigned as he was under investigation for unwanted sexual contact with a female officer while off-duty in 1997. The 1997 encounter was witnessed by other off-duty Portland officers, who were questioned as part of the internal inquiry.
The matter arose more than a decade later after a female officer questioned Hamann's assignment to lead the bureau's Family Services Division last summer, in light of her complaint about Hamann's inappropriate behavior 16 years earlier.
"There is no statute of limitations written into the directives, which is why it was thoroughly investigated through the PRB (police review board) process,'' the bureau's summary said.
The Police Review Board found that although the incident occurred nearly two decades ago, the officer's behavior "was not only a violation of policy but runs counter to the professional culture of the PPB.'' Several voting members called Hamann's actions "reprehensible.''
The matter came before the board after Hamann already had resigned. The board said it would recommend "significant discipline'' if Hamann was still employed. If he had been investigated and disciplined at the time of the incident, he'd likely face either a demotion, significant suspension or possibly termination, the board said.
The bureau does not identify the officers involved in the disciplinary actions, but in cases that its familiar with, The Oregonian will name the officers.
In other cases summarized:
-Officer Jason Lobaugh resigned following multiple internal affairs investigations. He got into an argument over the phone with his ex-wife's husband, and called him a coward. Lobaugh then proposed meeting the ex-wife's husband at a Fred Meyer to fight. They met at a Fred Meyer, and the officer confronted the ex-wife's husband and taunted him to hit him. The husband declined and left. The Police Review Board found the officer was unprofessional and said he had directly violated Cmdr. Donna Henderson's expressed orders in a written memo from November 2012. The board also found the officer's actions were part of an "extensive pattern'' of sustained misconduct, not an isolated incident. In a separate inquiry, the board also found Lobaugh had inappropriately talked to a juror while he was a witness in a case at trial, saying something like, "' I wanna let you know, the detective on this case is outstanding.' ''
-An officer resigned while under investigation for not being truthful about having other employment while he was on an educational leave of absence. The board would have recommended the officer be terminated if he hadn't resigned, the bureau summary said.
-The board unanimously recommended the firing of an officer who it found had been untruthful to a sergeant about when she submitted a burglary report. The officer also claimed to have been treated for memory loss at the time, but the documentation of the medical ailment did not support that assertion, the board found. The same officer had gone to a call in a remote part of the city and approached an uncooperative suspect without waiting for a back-up officer, and was assaulted. The chief instead gave the officer an 80-hour suspension without pay, finding on his own that the untruthfulness allegation had been unproven.
-The board unanimously recommended the firing of an officer who inappropriately deployed a Taser when a suspect already was under control, injuring both the suspect and another officer. The board found the officer used the Taser "out of nowhere,'' and its use was inappropriate. The chief, instead, gave the officer an 80-hour suspension without pay with a last-chance agreement, meaning if the officers messes up again, the officer will be discharged.
-An officer, following his or her fourth preventable accident on duty, resigned before facing discipline.
-Lt. Jeff Miller, a 25-year bureau employee, was found to have been doing a "considerable amount of'' personal business on his bureau computer while on duty. Another lieutenant competing for a captain's promotion reported the alleged misconduct. Miller made an effort to find out who reported his actions and confronted his colleague as an internal affairs inquiry was pending, according to the bureau's summary. Miller was given a letter of reprimand.
By Norman Miller, Daily News Staff
Police launched an investigation Tuesday into allegations an officer brutalized a handcuffed man high on drugs early Monday morning by slamming the man’s head face down into the pavement, then quickly confiscated the cellphone of a witness who was trying to shoot video of the arrest, authorities said.
The MetroWest Daily News reported that Police Chief Kenneth Ferguson said a formal investigation has begun into the allegations made by Harmony Lane resident Richard Porter, who said an unknown officer severely beat Jonel Reyes, 20, of Framingham, on Monday at 1:30 a.m.
"We take these allegations very seriously," said Ferguson. "We have an allegation of police misconduct and we are investigating this."
Porter said he witnessed the beating and went inside to get his cellphone.
He had started recording the aftermath, when an officer grabbed him and "slammed" him into a cruiser. The officer Porter said was slamming Reyes’ head into the ground told the other officer to take his phone.
"They gave me a choice. They said we’ll either put you under arrest and we’ll get a warrant for the phone or you can just give us the phone," said Porter. "After the fact, after they confiscated the phone, a sergeant came over and he’s swearing at me. He got in my face and said, ‘Instead of videotaping us, why didn’t you go over there and help him.’ "
The incident began on Monday, when police went to Harmony Lane for a report of a man having a bad reaction to drugs, police spokesman Lt. Stephen Cronin said. Officers encountered Reyes, who was naked and exhibiting behavior like someone who had taken bath salts, a drug that can cause hallucinations and violent outbursts.
Cronin said officers began struggling with Reyes, who fought them as they tried to take him into protective custody. During the struggle, officers sprayed him twice with pepper spray and fought with him to get him handcuffed. Reyes was taken to the MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham to be treated, Cronin said.
Reyes was not arrested at the time, but police said they will charge him with assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Reyes had been arrested Sunday in Framingham on a Westborough District Court warrant that charged him with driving without a license.
But Porter said the incident was a lot more than what police had initially said.
He said he was in his home when he heard an officer yell "get on the ground, get on the ground," so he went outside to see what happened.
Porter saw Reyes, whom he had seen around the neighborhood several times.
Porter said at one point, Reyes was on the ground, handcuffed and a female officer was sitting on his leg while another officer was kneeling on Reyes’ shoulders and neck.
"The cop on the shoulders and neck grabbed his head and banged his (Reyes') face into the pavement," said Porter. "I screamed over to the cop, ‘You don’t have to bang his head. You already have him subdued, leave him alone.’ He kept doing it. Granted, he (Reyes) was on acid, but to push his face into the ground and try to knock him out was way overboard."
Porter said he went inside to get his phone and one officer came and took it away.
Reyes remained hospitalized at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham as of Monday. A hospital spokeswoman said he was in stable condition.
Ferguson said Porter came to the Framingham Police Department on Tuesday to be interviewed as part of the investigation. He said Porter met with a sergeant, who is a supervisor. The chief said that is the first step in a police misconduct allegation investigation. The investigation could later be referred to a superior officer.
Porter said police returned his cellphone on Tuesday. He said there was no video on it, but he said he couldn’t be sure he had recorded anything Monday. He said he was happy police are taking the allegations seriously.
"The interview went really well," said Porter. "I felt they already knew the officers. I felt like I got a fair shake and I feel like they’re taking it seriously."
Cop Arrests Man for Filming 'Private Cars' From Public Sidewalk
A Covina police officer named KENNETH COUNT who arrested a Pomona man filming a reported domestic dispute call and then detaining him for six hours is under administrative investigation by his superiors.
In 2007, KENNETH COUNTS Counts was injured in an off-duty motorcycle accident. In this case, COUNTS was driving his personal motorcycle to work about 5:30 a.m. in the carpool lane of the westbound Foothill (210) Freeway in San Dimas when the crash occurred. Police refuse to release a record of the case.
Cop Arrests Man for Filming 'Private Cars' From Public Sidewalk
By Michael Allen, Wed, July 23, 2014
A YouTube user with the handle “Damon Enz” was arrested by a police officer in Covina, California, on June 30 for filming “private cars” from a public sidewalk.
Enz posted a video of the incident on YouTube yesterday, which shows a police officer asking what he is filming.
“I’m on a public sidewalk, sir,” Enz tells the police officer, who responds, “You’re videotaping private cars."
The police officer refuses to speak his own name, but says his name is on his uniform, which reads, "N. Counts,” notes RawStory.com.
The officer then tells Enz that he's conducting an investigation involving the cars. The officer requests Enz's I.D. multiple times, but Enz repeatedly tells the officer that he doesn't have any identification on him. Enz gives his first name, but nothing else.
"Honestly, I’m going to detain you if you don’t answer my questions because I’m conducting a criminal investigation,” states the officer. “I have lawful authority to detain you.”
The police officer then pats down and handcuffs Enz, whose video camera falls on the grass.
“You are obstructing my investigation, you are under arrest,” states the police officer.
According to PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, Enz's mom came outside, picked up the video camera and kept recording the scene.
Oddly, she was not arrested or detained for doing exactly what her son did.
Enz was locked up in jail for six hours, but the charges were dropped, even though the police officer repeatedly claimed that he was following procedure and Enz had broken the law.
U.S. courts have ruled that citizens may film law enforcement as long as they do not obstruct an investigation, noted RT.com.
By Jason Henry, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
William David Robin, 23, of Pomona, is about to be taken down by Covina police Officer Ken Counts on June 30, 2014, in a video that Robin himself filmed. Robin was filming the scene of a reported domestic dispute call on East Tudor Street wen the incident occurred. (Video image via YouTube)
A Covina polce officer who arrested a Pomona man filming a reported domestic dispute call and then detaining him for six hours is under administrative investigation by his superiors.
In a YouTube video released Tuesday under the user name Damon Enz, a man later identified as William David Robin, 23, of Pomona, captured his arrest by Officer Ken Counts on June 30 in the 1900 block of E. Tudor St.
Robin alleges he was slammed face-first into a police cruiser after his camera shut off and that the tight handcuffs bruised his wrists. He has not filed a claim against the city or even spoken to a lawyer, but he indicated he intends to sue the department for his treatment.
“At first, it was just (to) show people straight up that they can film the police and not be scared of them,” Robin said. “(Counts) made the whole video, he was the star. He made himself look bad, I was just relaying the message.
Robin was arrested for obstructing police business and providing false identification, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute him when police forwarded the charges, according to Sgt. Rob Bobkiewicz. Robin was released at 12:15 a.m. on July 1, roughly six hours after his arrest the previous evening, according to a booking document.
Raney declined to comment on the specifics of the administrative investigation of Counts, but he noted that the officer underwent training about a citizen’s right to film in public spaces multiple times before and after the incident. Counts remains on duty.
Robin, who was in the neighborhood with his mother to return a moving truck, said he was required to pay his landlord for an extra day when he did not finish moving out because of the arrest.
In the video, Robin crosses the street toward officers while using an expletive about police and films a smashed window on a street-parked car before an officer identified as Counts by his name tag walks over to him and asks for his identification. The officer accuses Robin, who is on the sidewalk, of “video taping private cars” and asks if he is involved in their investigation into a report of domestic violence.
“When he comes up me, his intent was to harm me — an unarmed man,” Robin said. “He had his hand on his service weapon, ready to shoot.”
Robin provides the name “David” and offers to give his license number, but he refuses to give the officer his last name. During a patdown, Robin’s camera is knocked to the ground, but it continues to record audio from their interaction.
Robin is heard getting handcuffed and Counts tells him to sit on the ground. When he refuses, Counts can be heard saying “If you don’t sit down, I will sit you down.” In the video, Counts acknowledges Robin’s right to film, but tells him he is “too late” when Robin tries to identify himself after being placed under arrest.
Robin said Counts tried to get him to admit to being involved in the domestic incident after he was placed in the police car.
As of Friday, the video had more than 5,000 views.
Civil Liberties attorney Paul L. Hoffman said courts have increasingly sided with people filming police and that the First Amendment gives a person the right to do so, as long as they don’t affect the police department’s investigation.
“If you stand too close, or you get in the way with what police are doing, that’s not permissible,” Hoffman said. “If you’re out of the police’s way and filming what they do, you have the right to do it.”
An officer needs to have “reasonable belief” that a person committed a crime to conduct a patdown or to detain someone.
“Police officers don’t like being filmed and when people are filming then sometimes police officers will violate people’s rights by engaging in phony pat downs and phony detainments,” he said.
PURVIS, Mississippi -- A former law enforcement officer already jailed on a forcible rape charge has now been arrested on two counts of attempted capital murder.
Lamar County District Attorney Hal Kittrell said Averal Burnett allegedly gave money to a former inmate at Pearl River County Jail to kill two people who were tied to the rape case.
Kittrell told The Hattiesburg American the case evolved after the former inmate allegedly tipped off Picayune Police Department to the scheme.
Burnett, 47, had been denied bond on June 16 on the rape charge.
Kittrell said because Burnett had once worked in Lamar County, he was moved to Pearl River County.
Burnett would be tried on the rape charge in Lamar County and for attempted capital murder in Pearl River County.
"They are two separate and distinct cases," Kittrell said.
Burnett could face up to life in the prison on the rape charge. The attempted capital murder charge could carry up to a life sentence if decided by jury. If it went to a judge, the sentence would range from no less than 20 years up to "one day less than life."
Kittrell said Burnett had 22 years in law enforcement, the majority with Hattiesburg Police Department and less than a year with Lamar County Sheriff Department