And that might be the only disciplinary action Officer David Kelley faces after he gunned down Arfee, a 2-year-old pup, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Author: Shane Dixon Kavanaugh
An Idaho cop who gunned down an adorable dog, claiming he was a vicious pit bull, still has his badge and a weapon but is earning a little less cash on the beat each week.
Coeur d’Alene Police Officer David Kelley had his hourly pay slashed by $3.15 to $31.02 on Oct. 1, nearly three months after the veteran cop shot and killed Arfee, a 2-year-old black Lab, while investigating a suspicious vehicle.
The seemingly senseless slaying received national attention and prompted protests and two official reviews of the incident—each finding that Kelley violated his department’s deadly force policies. But as calls for Kelley’s resignation intensified over the summer, the department remained silent on what disciplinary action, if any, the officer would face. “The dog was aggressively barking and growling and its mouth was within inches of my face,” Officer David Kelley recalled before shooting Arfee, a 2-year-old black Lab, in the chest. “I had the split second thought that this dog is going to bite me."
The 10 percent pay cut appears to be the full extent of Kelley’s punishment and was revealed only after the Coeur d’Alene Press, the area’s daily newspaper, filed a freedom of information request. When the paper asked Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White about the wage reduction, the top cop was characteristically dismissive.
“Are you still beating that dead horse?” White told the Press, before saying he was prohibited from discussing employee discipline.
The incident happened on July 9, when the officer and his partner had walked up to a van belonging to Arfee’s owner after a caller reported a suspicious vehicle in the area. Kelley approached the van, which matched the caller’s description, with his gun drawn. Inside was the dog, which at the sight of the officer tried to stick his head out a cracked window.
“The dog was aggressively barking and growling, and its mouth was within inches of my face,” Kelley recalled in a police report. “I had the split second thought that this dog is going to bite me.”
Spooked, Kelley fired a single shot into the poor pup’s chest. Mortally wounded, Arfee scampered to the back of the van and died. Unable to locate Arfee’s owner, Craig Jones, the officers then removed the dog’s body from the vehicle.
Jones would later return from a having coffee to find his window shot out, a note on his windshield and a bunch of blood in his van. But there was no Arfee, who was mistakenly identified as a pit bull by authorities in the following weeks. “It crushes me know the way he died,” Jones later told KXLY. “It’s a savage thing.”
As outrage grew and more than 2,000 people joined a Facebook group called Justice for Arfee to demand accountability for the incident, White remained conciliatory.
“This event has shaken confidence in our police department,” he said in September. “But the relationship between our community and our department will ultimately be strengthened as a direct result of how we respond to the situation.”
That’s yet to happen.
On Tuesday, attorneys for Jones filed a $350,000 lawsuit against the city of Coeur d’Alene.
Megan Trimble |
Charges were filed against Harrisburg police officer Todd R. Chance Tuesday, according to online court records.
Chance faces charges of Stalking - repeatedly commit acts to cause fear and Harassment - communication repeatedly in another manner related to a Aug. 27 offense date, according to the records.
The charges were filed through Magisterial District Judge LaVon A. Postelle's office.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico Jr. is expected to speak at the Radisson in Camp Hill on the police officer's arrest, according to a news release from Marsico.
By Ed Gallek
EAST CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -
We've learned two police officers involved in an East Cleveland shooting lost their jobs there, but both have found new jobs elsewhere and are carrying weapons again.
Back in 2012, two East Cleveland officers fired 11 shots into a car during a traffic stop. They said the driver backed into their car twice.
The East Cleveland mayor allowed Brandon Smith to resign.
But the mayor fired Matthew Ferrell. In a termination letter, the mayor called the gunfire “clearly excessive,” and said there appeared to be “a total disregard for the safety of others.”
Yet, we've confirmed Smith is now in the Cleveland Police Academy. He is becoming an officer in Cleveland even as that department is under review by the feds for use of force.
Ferrell is now working as a security officer carrying a gun for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, protecting the regional sewer system.
The head of the system, Julius Ciaccia, says he's aware of the East Cleveland shooting. He told us, Ferrell “divulged it on his own.” He thought it was “worth taking a chance” on him, and he's been a “good employee.”
Ciaccia and the lawyer for Smith point out state investigators did not find excessive force was used in East Cleveland. But the driver in that case just won a civil lawsuit over it.
As for Cleveland Police, we've been trying to get a response. We're still waiting.
Citing a hardship, Mobile police officer charged with manslaughter wants judge to lift bond conditions
By Thyrie Bland |
BAY MINETTE, Alabama -- A former Mobile police officer who was arrested on a manslaughter charge last month wants a judge to lift three conditions of her release on bond because they are creating a hardship for her, according to a court motion.
Vicky Johnston, 53, of Satsuma, was indicted in August in the July 5 death of of Linda Rutherford, 65, of Calera. Johnston was driving a Ford Mustang in the 500 block of East Boulevard in Gulf Shores when it hit Rutherford, who was trying to walk across the road, according to an accident report.
Johnston was released from the Baldwin County Corrections Center on Sept. 18 on a $50,000 bond. The conditions of Johnston's release require her to wear GPS and alcohol monitors and undergo random drug testing.
She has to pay for the cost of the monitoring and the drug testing.
Johnston, who was a Mobile police officer for 21 years, retired after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006, according to the motion.
Johnston has undergone surgery twice this year because of cataracts, the motion states.
Johnston has limited financial means and spends much of her income -- Social Security and a partial pension -- on her medical needs, according to the motion.
"The requirement of these unnecessary conditions of the defendant's bond has already created a substantial financial hardship upon the defendant," the motion states.
Johnston's criminal case is assigned to Baldwin County Circuit Court Judge Langford Floyd. Floyd has not ruled on the motion.
City council will consider legislation today to have the board of control pay $50,000 to the city’s insurance company to settle a federal police brutality lawsuit.
The settlement pays $69,000 to Alexander Henderson of Youngstown with “no admission of liability” by the city, said Law Director Martin Hume. The city would pay $50,000 to HCC Public Risk Claim Service, the city’s insurance company, for its deductible with HCC paying the remaining $19,000 to Henderson.
The city denies the allegations in the federal lawsuit, Hume said.
The suit was filed Feb. 13 stemming from an incident nearly two years prior.
The lawsuit contends that on Feb. 17, 2012, Rodney W. Lewis Sr., then a Youngstown police officer, “physically and savagely assault[ed]” Henderson “causing permanent and severe injuries to the face, head and/or ears.”
The two were in an elevator at the police station with Henderson, a prisoner in the Mahoning County jail appearing in city municipal court, in handcuffs and ankle shackles at the time.
The two exchanged words in the elevator with Lewis telling internal affairs at the time that he hit Henderson after the man spit on him.
When the elevator opened, the lawsuit states Lewis grabbed Henderson’s ankle chains “forcibly” pulling his feet out from under him, causing him to hit his face, head and other body parts on the floor, and then the officer dragged Henderson across the floor and into a holding cell.
While Hume said Tuesday the city denies the allegations, police officials determined at the time that Lewis hit Henderson, dragged him by his ankle shackles causing Henderson to fall face first on the floor and dragged him across the floor, then-Police Chief Rod Foley told The Vindicator in a March 17, 2012, article.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
BANGOR, Maine — A Clinton couple has sued a police officer, his department and the town in U.S. District Court alleging that Randy Henry was falsely arrested last year for setting off a firework on his own property.
The disorderly conduct charge lodged against him in March 2013 was dismissed when the Kennebec County district attorney’s office declined to prosecute Henry, 48, according to the complaint.
Henry and his wife, Debora A. Henry, 47, are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Clinton Town Manager Warren D. Hatch on Tuesday declined to comment on the case because neither the town, the Clinton Police Department nor Officer Scott Francis has been served with the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 30.
“The Henrys wanted to bring this suit because Officer Francis trespassed on their property, assaulted Randy when he arrested him, used vulgar language in front of family members and put Randy in jail for unlawful reasons,” Eugene Sullivan, the Bangor attorney who represents the couple, said Tuesday.
The events outlined in the complaint that led to Randy Henry being jailed overnight at the Kennebec County Jail began the evening of March 13, 2013, when Debora Henry, her mother and sister were at the Henry home on Mutton Lane, which is located half a mile from the nearest neighbor, baking for a baby shower for the Henrys’ daughter.
Henry and her sister “decided that they would celebrate the event by firing off a .357-caliber handgun four times (each took two shots) in her own backyard,” the complaint said. After the shots were fired, the women resumed cooking, while Randy Henry slept because his work shift at Bath Iron Works began at 3:45 a.m.
Shortly after the shots were fired, Francis arrived at the house between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and told the women a noise complaint by a neighbor had been made, the complaint said. The officer allegedly spoke to the women “in a loud and raised voice and came across in a threatening manner.”
After Francis left, Debora Henry woke her husband to tell him what had happened and that the neighbors, who have a history of making noise complaints, had called the police again, according to the complaint. Upset about the police “being called to the residence for no reason, [Randy Henry] set off an M-80 firework on his property” between 15 and 20 minutes after Francis had left.
M-80 fireworks are banned by federal law in the United States, according to information posted on the website for the state fire marshal’s office. No more than 50 milligrams of powder may be used in fireworks sold to the public. Henry was not charged with possessing or using illegal fireworks.
When the officer returned after a second noise complaint was made to police, Francis “forced his way into the home without a warrant,” the complaint said. The officer immediately grabbed Henry’s arm and moved him from the kitchen outside to the police cruiser where he allegedly pushed Henry against the cruiser door, then, placed him under arrest.
Henry was held at the Kennebec County Jail from about 8:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. March 14, 2013, when his wife posted bail, the complaint said.
The lawsuit claims that Henry never should have been arrested because the Maine Prosecutors’ Association “had advised each law enforcement agency, including Clinton [Police Department], that it is not a violation of the unreasonable noise provisions of the disorderly conduct statute to light fireworks within the limits established as reasonable by the Maine Legislature,” which includes the Henrys’ property.
| By M.L. JOHNSON
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has fired an officer who he said instigated a fight with a mentally ill man that eventually led the officer to shoot the man 14 times, killing him.
Officer Christopher Manney, 38, was dismissed nearly six months after 31-year-old Dontre Hamilton's death. Activists have compared the shooting to that of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old shot by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Hamilton was sleeping in a downtown park when Manney responded to a call for a welfare check and began a patdown. Flynn said Wednesday that Hamilton resisted and the two exchanged punches and strikes before Hamilton hit Manney on the neck with Manney's baton. Manney then shot Hamilton.
Flynn said that while Manney correctly identified Hamilton as someone who was emotionally disturbed, he ignored his training and police policy and treated him as a criminal.
"You don't go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill," Flynn said during a news conference announcing the firing.
Hamilton's family has said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia but was not violent, and they doubt he struck Manney. They called Wednesday for police to release photographs documenting the officer's injuries. They also said that while the firing was "a victory," they would continue to lead and participate in marches in an effort to persuade the district attorney to bring criminal charges.
"Yes, he was fired, but he took a man's life," Hamilton's mother, Maria, said during a separate news conference.
His brother, Nate Hamilton, said the family remains hurt and their grief would not ease until they feel justice is done.
"Dontre did not attack this man, he did not have to shoot Dontre at all," the brother said.
The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation investigated Hamilton's death under a state law that requires an outside investigator to review all officer-involved deaths. The Milwaukee County district attorney's office has asked an unnamed investigator to do a second review, and an attorney for Hamilton's family said he was told the FBI is looking into it as well.
Milwaukee County Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern, who is weighing potential charges, had no comment Wednesday, his assistant Maureen Perez said.
Flynn said his decision was based on an internal affairs investigation. He sidestepped questions about whether Manney should face criminal charges. He said he found "errors of judgment, but no malice" in Manney's handling of the confrontation.
"There's got to be a way for us to hold ourselves accountable absent putting cops in jail for making mistakes," he said.
About 400 officers, or less than one-fourth of the department, have received the full, recommended 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Team training considered the model for dealing with people who are emotionally distressed. Flynn said that starting next year, all officers will receive at least 16 hours of training.
The Milwaukee Police Association condemned the firing.
"The decision to terminate this officer is cowardice and certainly unfounded and unsupported by fact," President Mike Crivello said in a statement.
By Jonathan Wolfe, Tue, October 07, 2014
An Illinois mother is furious after police shot her dog right in front of her children last week. Mother Gina Marie Stone says her two young children were outside with the dog when it was shot.
“When I was putting my daughter’s clothes away, I heard a noise,” she told NBC Chicago.
Her children, ages four and five, came in screaming about what they just saw.
“The kids came in running like ‘The cops shot Rayleigh, they killed Rayleigh,’” she recalled.
Rayleigh survived the shooting, but Stone’s grievance with the Berkley, Illinois, police department isn’t over. She doesn’t understand why officers felt the need to shoot her dog, especially in front of her kids. One neighbor who witnessed the event doesn’t understand why police shot with kids around, either.
“What startled me even more is that these babies were right there by the cops,” Wanda Williams said.
Berkley police Sgt. Justin Patti says officers went to the neighborhood in response to an aggressive dog report.
“It was reported by one of the callers that called our station that [the children] were using conduit pipe sticks, chasing after the dog and hitting it,” Patti told NBC Chicago. “The dog actually became aggressive towards the officer, lunged at him, got within close proximity and the officer had to protect himself.”
Stone feels particularly insulted by the department’s decision to cite her after shooting her dog. After Stone rushed Rayleigh to the veterinary hospital, she was informed by police that she was being ticketed for having a “vicious dog at large without tags.”
BY DEANNA BOYD
FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth police deputy chief who fatally shot a German shepherd after the dog reportedly mauled his cat to death was arrested Monday on a warrant accusing him of cruelty to an animal.
Deputy Chief Kenneth Flynn, who was off duty when he shot the dog named Bentley, surrendered at the Tarrant County Jail Monday night and was immediately released on a $1,000 bond.
A woman present during the dog’s shooting said she’s upset that Fort Worth officers who initially responded to her 911 call didn’t make a police report.
The woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, said the investigation into the deputy chief’s conduct did not begin until after she called back three hours after the shooting and asked dispatchers for a report number, only to learn that the officers had not made one.
“I want to understand why they didn’t file that report,” the woman said in a recent interview with the Star-Telegram. “Were they intimidated by this man’s rank?”
The shooting occurred on the evening of Sept. 29 in the 1300 block of Oak Grove Road East, not far from Flynn’s home.
Monday night, Robert Rogers, Flynn’s attorney, said: “Deputy Chief Flynn has protected and served this community for over 30 years. His actions against a dangerous dog that had just mauled his pet cat were completely legal in Texas. This arrest reeks of politics, not a well thought out application of Texas law.”
But Bentley’s owner, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Bryan, said Monday night that Bentley was a 2-year-old who was never aggressive to humans. He said Bentley and his 9-year-old pit bull, B.B., escaped from his enclosed back yard after a roommate let them out Monday morning, not realizing that the gate had accidentally been left unlatched.
“He was not vicious or dangerous. He was a puppy,” Bryan said. “He would be more likely to run up and lick you and run away than do anything else. He was just a big teddy bear.”
Fort Worth police officials confirmed last week that Flynn, who has been with the department since 1984, had been stripped of his gun and badge and placed on desk duty while under investigation for shooting the dog.
On Monday, Cpl. Tracey Knight, a police spokeswomen, said Flynn, 61, has now been placed on “detached duty,” meaning he is also not allowed to go into the office and must check in daily with a supervising assistant chief.
Police officials would not comment Monday on whether the three officers are also under investigation for not initially filing a police report on the shooting, nor would the officials release the officers’ identities.
“This continues to be an open investigation,” Knight said. “All aspects of this incident will be thoroughly investigated by Internal Affairs detectives.”
Cruelty to an animal is a state-jail felony punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $10,000 fine.
The witness’ account
The woman said she was driving home from work shortly before 6 p.m. Sept. 29 when she noticed a brown and white pit bull roaming on the south side of Oak Grove East.
The woman said she turned around her car, stopped and put her flashers on, to see if she could coax the pit bull toward her.
By that time, a black SUV with a side spotlight pulled into a nearby driveway and the driver got out.
She said the man started waving her off.
“I don’t know who this guy is,” she said. “He said, ‘I’m going to shoot the dog. He killed my cat,’ ” she recalled. “I realized all of a sudden that he’s talking about the dog that is closer to him ... a black German shepherd.”
The woman said the man then pulled out a gun, which scared her, but also prompted her to try to talk him out of his plan.
“Look, sir, I have dogs and cats. I know it’s horrible thing to go through. I would be upset too,” she said, retelling her conversation.
She said the man got back inside his SUV, called her a “stupid” or “dumb b----,” then backed up to drive away.
“The dog is trying to get away,” she said. “The dog is not trying to attack anybody. He’s trying to get away. He’s trying to go home.”
The woman, who had turned back to the pit bull, heard four or five gunshots.
“He was down the road about three-tenths of a mile when he fired the shots,” she said. “There were no other vehicles around.”
The woman said she called 911, describing the fleeing SUV and the man with a gun to dispatchers. She then drove to the house closest to where the SUV had stopped, where she talked to another woman who had witnessed the shooting.
The witness told her the German shepherd had run off but believed it had been hit “because it yelped.”
“You’re not supposed to shoot an animal unless it’s on your property and it’s endangering you or your animal,” the woman said. “He was hunting [this dog] down. They were not on his property. He was not being rational.”
A surprising discovery
The woman said three Fort Worth officers and a Tarrant County sheriff’s deputy responded to her 911 call, interviewed both women, then took off in search of the black SUV.
The deputy returned a few minutes later to tell the women that Fort Worth police would be handling the case because they had jurisdiction, she said.
“He said the officers has made contact with the man. He works for Fort Worth PD … He said the dog killed his cat and he did nothing wrong,” the woman said. “I said, ‘He fired shots, sir. This is the city limits. He was not on his property.’ ”
About 9 p.m., concerned that she had not heard from any Fort Worth officers, the woman said she called 911 again and asked dispatchers for the report number in regard to the shooting.
Dispatchers located her earlier call to 911 but told the woman that no police report had been made.
“I said, ‘Sir, shots were fired by this man,’ ” the woman said.
Surprised that no report had been made, the woman said she expressed her concerns to a dispatch supervisor.
By midnight, a Fort Worth lieutenant had left a message on the woman’s cellphone, asking for her to return the call. They talked about 4 a.m. and later that morning, investigators came to the woman’s house, interviewing her and asking her to pick the shooter out of photo line-up.
“If I had not followed up, none of this would have happened,” the woman said.
Pit bull returned
Bryan, a college student, said he immediately began searching for his dogs after returning home Monday afternoon and finding them missing.
“I went to six different dog pounds and animal control locations looking for them but they weren’t there,” Bryan said. “I looked all through Fort Worth, Crowley and Burleson.”
The woman said she later learned that the German shepherd was found dead in the area the day after the shooting, and its body was picked up by animal control. She said she kept the pit bull at her house, posting signs in the neighborhood in an attempt to find her owner.
On Wednesday, she got a phone call from Bryan.
“I was actually on my way out the door to search some more when one my roommates had called and said that he saw a sign that said ‘found brown and white pit bull,’ ” Bryan said. “I called the number.”
The woman informed him that the pit bull was safe at her house. She said she then delivered the bad news about his German shepherd.
“I said, I am sorry to tell you, but he’s been shot dead by an off-duty officer,” she said.
Bryan said Bentley had killed only small possums in the past.
“The neighborhood kids used to ride him around like a pony,” Bryan said. “I’ve never seen him growl or bare his teeth at anything.”
He said he doesn’t know whether Bentley attacked and killed Flynn’s cat.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t there,” Bryan said. “All I know is if I did what he did, I would be in jail right now.
“If the dog was in his yard and actually killed his cat, then maybe he would have had the right to shoot it,” Bryan said.
“But the fact that he chased him down in his truck and shot him and drove away and didn’t report it, that makes it a completely different thing.”
An Oklahoma City police officer accused of several sex crimes could get out of jail on Thursday.
Daniel Holtzclaw is facing 26 counts of sex crimes involving 10 women reportedly while on the job.
He's set to appear before a judge regarding his bail.
This after it was raised an additional $109,000 earlier in October.
Holtzclaw was also accused of breaking the conditions of his bond.
When he allegedly went to a non-emergency eye doctor without permission.
Holtzclaw was arrested in August on accusations of rape, oral sodomy and other charges.
According to the charges, the crimes started in February and continued through July.
Holtzclaw has said he is not guilty and his family is fighting to maintain his innocence.
By MONICA PAIS
MIAMI (CN) - A Miami-Dade County couple was roughed up and arrested in front of their son's preschool, after officers angrily mistook them for someone else, a lawsuit claims.
In their county circuit court complaint, Lourdes Alvarez-Mena and her husband, Darren Todd Mena, say there was nothing unusual about the scene outside the Pre-Tech Academy in Miami on the afternoon of August 20, 2012.
A line of cars sat idling outside the school, and after Darren Mena pulled into the first available slot, his wife went inside to retrieve their three year old son.
At this point, the couple says, the defendant detectives, Miguel Garcia and Evelyn Gaus, decided to park their care in a location obstructing the parent pick-up line "for the sole purpose of socializing with an individual unrelated to any school function."
The care the detectives were sitting in was unmarked, and neither was wearing a uniform.
"Apparently someone in line, not Darren Todd Mena and Lourdes Alvarez-Mena, honked their horn in a single appropriate manner to alert Detectives Guas and Garcia, of the obstruction and the delay they were causing," the couple says.
When the detectives failed to move out the way of parents attempting to leave the front of the school, Mena says he pulled out of the pick-up line and into a contiguous handicap-designated parking space.
"Detective Garcia then exited his vehicle and approached Plaintiff Darren Todd Mena's vehicle in a profane and aggressive manner," the plaintiffs say.
They say Garcia demanded that Mena produce his license, registration and handicap certificate, and after he did, Garcia then proceeded to forcible pull Mena out of the car.
"Please imploring Detective Garcia to explain his behavior were met with the statement, 'I don't give a f---, I'm going to arrest you,'" the couple says.
Garcia is alleged to have thrown Mena to the ground, cuffed him and placed him under arrest.
In was precisely at this moment that Lourdes Alvarez-Mena says she existed the school with their son.
According to Alvarez-Mena, she rushed to scene and asked what was going on. She says Detective Gaus responded by telling her to "shut the f--- up" and by pushing her against the car.
The couple says the next thing they knew, Alvarez-Mena was being thrown to the ground and cuffed next to her husband.
The couple says they were arrested without cause, and that the criminal charges filed against them by the detectives were thrown out.
The Menas say they've suffered greatly as a result of being "brought into public scandal with great humiliation" and that they've experience mental anguish as a result of the damage done their reputations.
They seek unspecified compensatory damages and court costs on claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, battery, and loss of consortium.
The couple is represented by Robert Rossana and Michael Seth Cohen of Coral Gables, Fla.
Canada was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries and was charged with a DUI.
Spartanburg Co. (WLTX) A Spartanburg police officer was arrested for DUI Friday afternoon after being involved in a traffic accident, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Lance Cpl. Bill Ryme with the Highway Parol says that around 11:35 a.m. on Friday, Derrick Canada, 36, was driving his 2010 Chevy Impala patrol car on SC 56 when he attempted to make a turn on SC295 and lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. He was wearing a seatbelt.
Canada was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries and was charged with a DUI.
According to WSPA, police say he was on duty at the time of the accident and he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Highway Patrol.
BY JOE MALINCONICO
PATERSON - City officials have agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit in which a resident says a police officer assaulted him in January 2010.
The lawsuit says Tyree Glover was walking down an unspecified street when the officer, Dustin Bradley, yelled at him and then shoved his head against a parked vehicle for no reason.
Bradley was working on a off-duty police-assigned security job in uniform at the time of the incident, according to legal papers. The suit says Bradley then conducted a search of Glover that was intrusive and humiliating.
The lawsuit alleged that Bradley targeted Glover because the resident is black. But the complaint provides no details backing up that claim.
City officials declined to comment on the case. The council approved the $50,000 settlement last month.
Bradley was one of the police officers laid off because of budget cuts in 2011.
In 2012, Bradley was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with a fight in Morris County, during which he allegedly fired his gun into the air, according to news reports.
By Greg Yee, Press-Telegram
LONG BEACH >> A federal jury ordered the city to pay a local couple $175,000, agreeing that police made an arrest without probable cause and used excessive force during an incident on July 4, 2011.
The jury said Jay Bradley Holms should be paid $150,000 in damages, finding that Officer Eric Fritz used excessive force, and that Officer Jeremy Chavez arrested him without probable cause. Julie Holms, his wife, was awarded $25,000 due to emotional distress caused by Fritz, the jury found.
The jury did not find any liability for John Gibbs, a third Long Beach officer named in the lawsuit, and did not agree that the officers acted with malice.
Long Beach deputy city attorney Howard Russell said he and his office are reviewing options to appeal the jury’s findings.
“We appreciate the jury’s service, but we are disappointed in their verdict,” Russell said. “We dispute the characterization (of Fritz’ and Chavez’ actions). We contend that the officers acted reasonably in response to Mr. Holms’ actions.”
The incident began during a 4th of July celebration. Jay Holms was playing dominoes in a neighbor’s backyard when police pulled up and arrested his son, a minor, according to the civil complaint and David Haas, the Holms’ attorney.
Julie Holms walked to the front of the home on E. 6th Street between Cherry and Rose avenues and began speaking with the officers, he said.
Russell and Haas, however, disagree about what happened next.
Russell said Holms did not speak to the officers, but rather walked up to the police car and reached inside, prompting Chavez and Fritz to try and get him away from their squad vehicle. Holms, he said, refused to comply with the officers’ commands and repeatedly tried to push them off of him.
The officers had no choice but to punch Holms and use a baton to try and subdue him, the deputy city attorney said.
.Haas said Chavez suddenly began to punch Jay Holms after he came outside; Fritz then beat him with a baton, knocking him unconscious.
Holms suffered a broken arm, multiple bruises and cuts during the incident, according to the lawsuit.
In a video provided to the Press-Telegram by Haas, a number of neighbors can be seen gathered around the officers and Holms, who is lying face down on the pavement with his arms handcuffed behind his back. Many of the witnesses are screaming and upset.
Julie Holms can be heard telling Fritz and Chavez that she is a registered nurse and that her husband needed medical treatment.
Gibbs, who arrived at the scene as a backup police officer, can be heard telling the crowd, “Happy Fourth of July ... Happy Fourth,” before he and Fritz pull Holms up by his broken arm.
Holms was later charged with resisting, obstructing or delaying a police officer, according to information provided by Haas. A criminal court jury found him not guilty of that charge on March 8, 2012.
No charges were filed against the son, Haas said.
Brett Kelman, The Desert
Palm Springs council is weighing a proposed settlement with a resident who was accidentally shot by police last year. (Photo: Desert Sun file photo)
The Palm Springs City Council will vote Wednesday on a proposed settlement with a resident who was accidentally shot by police last year.
On the evening of Jan. 9, 2013, Benjamin Meza, 49, was walking his dog across South Camino Real. Down the street, three Palm Springs police officers were firing at a fleeing burglary suspect. Most of their bullets didn't hit anyone, but one of them continued along the darkened neighborhood street, and struck Meza in the leg.
Meza filed a lawsuit in county court one year later. Two months after that, the lawsuit was moved to federal court.
The terms of the proposed settlement are unknown. The proposal was submitted to a federal judge two weeks ago and the City Council is expected to vote on the proposal during closed session. City attorneys will "recommend" the settlement, according to court documents.
The police officers who fired their guns were Chad Nordman, Troy Castillo and Nick Barth. They were identified by the police department in June after The Desert Sun filed a public records request. It is unclear which officer fired the bullet that hit Meza.
The shots were fired during the attempted apprehension of Juan Villanueva Lopez Jr., a suspect in a series of burglaries.
The officers had staked out Lopez's car, which was parked outside of an apartment building. When Lopez and another man exited the building and climbed in the vehicle, the officers circled with their guns drawn, demanding the two men surrender.
One man climbed out of the car, but Lopez refused. The officer zapped him with a stun gun, but he clung to the wheel and punched the gas. The car lurched backwards, knocking three officers to the ground, then sped forward, the driver's side door hanging open, the headlights off.
The officers opened fire as the car sped away. Lopez was caught hours later after a standoff in Cathedral City. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to assaulting police officers with a deadly weapon.
The Palm Springs Police Department — like most police departments — has a policy that discourages shooting at a moving vehicle, which the policy states is "rarely effective." Officers are only supposed to fire at a vehicle if it is heading toward them and there is no way to get out of the way, or if there is another threat of deadly force, like a gun pointed out the window, directed at the officers or others.
Despite this policy, officers fired on the fleeing car. Steve Abraham, a nearby resident, was watching the news at home when he heard gunshots down the street.
Abraham rushed outside to investigate. Meza was bleeding on the curb in front of his house. A police officer was tending to his wound.
"If all they were doing was staking out a burglary suspect ... I don't know why guns had to be involved at all," Abraham said in a prior interview with The Desert Sun. "I don't want people shooting ... down my street. Somebody that you care about might be standing in the way."
The police department has admitted that Meza was inadvertently shot by an officer, but argued in court that the officer's behavior had not risen to the level of battery or negligence.
Doug Holland, an attorney for the city of Palm Springs, said Thursday the settlement was proposed by a mediator in the case and confirmed it will be recommended to the council. Holland said he could not reveal the terms of the settlement.
Meza's attorney, Dale Galipo, could not be reached for comment.
The council vote on this shooting settlement will come less than a week after a major decision in another Palm Springs police shooting. On Thursday, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office announced that it would not file charges against two officers who shot and killed a High Desert Marine two months before Meza was hit by the stray bullet.
Cpl. Allan DeVillena II was killed on Nov. 11, 2012 — the birthday of the Marine Corps. Nordman and another officer, Mike Heron, shot a drunken DeVillena as he attempted to drive out of the parking garage in downtown Palm Springs. Police have said that DeVillena struck one of the officers with his car, prompting them to open fire, but at least one witness has disputed this story.
The DeVillena shooting is the subject of a second lawsuit, also filed in federal court. The City County will be briefed on that lawsuit on Wednesday also.
Arms, Australia, Court, Crime, Human rights, Law, Police, Politics, UK, USA, Violence
Institutions paid for by the public must always be held to account, especially when we entrust public servants like the police with a responsibility to ensure that the most vulnerable in society are protected. Sadly, the opposite is often the case.
We seem to see an increasing number of examples when the weakest and most vulnerable in society are finding themselves victimized and criminalized at the hands of the police who as members of the public should be accountable for their actions the same way as anyone else. Globally however - from the poorest communities to the most “developed” - this is not the case and police has become the militarized arm of the state.
But there's an interesting reaction you often get when criticizing the police through the lens of reform and calling for accountability, a knee jerk reaction which reveals the extent to which people are often blindly conditioned to accept certain authority figures without ever questioning them. Often they question you for questioning the police.
Perhaps, this goes some way in explaining why in many cases, including in the UK for example, police officers themselves never seem to face the long arm of the law when a death in custody occurs. A culture exists which allows those who are supposed to implement justice, to avoid facing justice when they themselves break the law.
To deny that any tool of the state can potentially be used as a means of rich and powerful intereststo keep people subjugated is to indulge in such denial.
It’s interesting that it’s usually people who have no direct knowledge, or indeed no direct experience with police brutality, who deny there is a problem.
Police brutality is a global problem. But when the highest levels of power are filled with corruption, should this really come as a surprise?
Is it any wonder, that when cases of police brutality hit the headlines, we almost never see a serving officer convicted? It's a rarity at least.
Through social and alternative media people are now able to see the problem of global police brutality in a much wider sense, seeing for themselves how many communities often find themselves brutalized and repressed at the hands of the police and in some places, pretty worryingly, an increasingly militarized police force.
The issue of deaths in custodyoften disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities, and again this is a global problem, a hangover from colonialism, which arguably although the frontiers have shifted, never left remained.
Poor and disenfranchised communities being brutalized at the behest of the powerful is nothing new and not exclusive to any one country. And it’s not limited as many seem to think to poor or under developed nations.
Indeed, police brutalityis prevalent all over the world including the USA, the UKand Australia, and I mention these initially, as many are often surprised when they begin to understand the nature of police brutality in so-called developed nations like these.
And excessive police violence is not limited to simply deaths in custody or brutality at the hands of the police in general.
As we saw over the past few years, in the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010, and this summer in Brazil, the police were employed to “cleanse” certain neighborhoods which were impoverished anyway, to make way for the big corporations which stood to make profits from the World Cup. People's homes being destroyed, with people being violently beaten became common scenes, but evidently those cases were not widespread enough to bring it to a halt.
Undoubtedly, many factors must surely contribute to what is a widespread issue.
And it’s also worth bearing in mind that the increasing number of prisons which are becoming privatized too might play a role in increased police brutality.
According to theOffice for National Statistics levels of crime in the UK are decreasing. But the phenomena of privatized prisons, prisons for profit, has created a climate where it now pays to keeps prisons filled. The police like all public servants already have challenging and difficult roles. But boardrooms and corporations wielding influence over services is never a good thing, and even more so when it affects the lives of ordinary people on the ground.
I'm sure that decent police officers like the public would agree that improving and reforming the police is important and ultimately beneficial for us all.
What is clear, however, is that those among the police who have clearly and obviously brutalized people must end up facing justice themselves. There have been many questions raised about the effectiveness of the justice system in general in ensuring that police do not receive special treatment when they commit a crime. This is the case in the US, and is also now being acknowledged in the UK.
Also in the UK it's been acknowledged that different groups operating within the police, as might also the case within thejudiciary, might cause a conflict of interest and prevent justice from being done.
In the UK, with the tragic case of Azelle Rodney, the officer charged with his murder will go to trial next year. Many are skeptical and don't believe the officer will be jailed. But if Anthony Long, the officer in question were to face jail, it might set a new precedent for the future. Maybe.
Police brutality will continue until an effective and robust legal system, free from corruption, ensures that anyone who commits a violent act is subject to the law. When officers start to face justice like everyone else and we see custodial sentences handed out to those in the police who have committed violent acts, maybe it will begin to send a message to other police officers that they themselves will face justice if they break the law.
There's probably no easy answer in addressing such a widespread issue like police brutality, but raising awareness of the issue is at least a start. Often many in the media fail to talk about the issue in a meaningful context in which the public relate too and it is often left to artists to bring such problems to the forefront of people's attention.
Rapper and activist Logic speaking about deaths in custody and global police brutality recently said "This is one of many issues that need addressing globally. Until the people unite against these injustices we will always be losing this battle. A public servant is also a member of the public and should therefore be treated like one."
Richard Sudan for RT
Richard Sudan is a writer, political campaigner, and poet. He tweets@richardsudan
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.