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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Police Misconduct NewsWatch for 02-17-09

Local News

Seattle Officer In Charge Of Inauguration Delegation Arrested for DUI Before Trip to DC
The Seattle Police officer in charge of the contingent of officers sent to Barack Obama's inauguration was allowed to represent Seattle even after he was arrested for driving while drunk. Now, rank and file officers in the SPD are saying it's an example of preferential treatment given to high ranking officers by Chief Kerlikowske as he prepares to be Obama's drug czar.

Per the Seattle PI which quotes the WSP report and court documents:
"A trooper heading south on I-5 spotted a black 2003 Land Rover drifting out of its lane just before 2 a.m. on Nov. 23. The vehicle crossed traffic into the adjacent lane at least three times without signaling, straddling two lanes for more than 10 seconds at a time.

When (Lt. Donnie) Lowe rolled down his window, his eyes were bloodshot and his breath smelled of alcohol. His pants were unbuckled and unbuttoned, exposing his underwear. A passenger, who isn't identified was also in the vehicle.

"The defendant stated he was coming from a club and he had gone to the bathroom before he left," the trooper wrote in her report.

The trooper also noticed a glass of dark-colored liquid in the middle console. Lowe told the trooper the glass contained "just pop," police reports say. The trooper sniffed the glass and smelled what she observed to be hard alcohol.

After field sobriety tests in which Lowe swayed heavily, the trooper asked him to turn around so she could handcuff him. Her report says, "He stated that was not a good thing. I asked the defendant why, and he stated he worked for the Seattle Police Department," court documents say."
This isn't the lieutenant's first problem in the SPD though. One incident resulted in his being reassigned to the department's Homeland Security Bureau when he was investigated for allegedly using his status as an officer to gain entry to a holding cell where his own son was being kept and then striking him. He was also the subject of an unflattering Seattle PI article on how officers use obstruction charges as leverage a year ago.

Spokane City Officers Arrest Spokane County Officer
Spokane Police Officers in Spokane Washington arrested a Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy after receiving a call about a suspicious man lurking around a woman's back yard...

The officers say they didn't know he was a deputy as the man refused to identify himself and became violent when he refused officer's demands to submit to a search for any weapons he might have been carrying. They later discovered he was a deputy when he was taken to jail on charges of obstruction and resisting arrest.

Federal Way Judge Accused Of Retaliation
A Federal Way Washington judge, Michael Morgan, is in the center of controversy after a municipal court supervisor filed a civil suit asserting that she had been fired in January for reporting concerns about Judge Michael Morgan's mental state after she alleged that he threatened to hurt himself or others when he was feeling pressure due to a reprimanded by the Commission on Judicial Conduct for making threatening comments to court employees, making sexual comments to his staff, and swearing at a police chief in December.

National News

"But Look At His Face, We Fucked Him Up!"
Sergio Robles spent two years waiting for the truth to come out, that he had never assaulted the police officers who had pepper-sprayed and beaten him so badly that they were afraid to leave him in a holding cell because they thought he was going to die.

But, in dashcam video taken from one cruiser, the truth was there but was withheld from his defense lawyers for over a year. After it was released, a jury found him innocent of all charges and now the Santa Fe police department is the subject of a civil suit over the beating and subsequent jailing of Sergio Robles.

From the KHOU Channel 11 report:
"In the video, one officer grabs Robles' arm and slams him into the hood of a patrol car.

Robles is then taken to the ground where the officers begin throwing punches. One officer hit him in the face. The other punched him in the stomach and ribs.

He was then maced and handcuffed.

There was more video and audio as Robles was being booked in jail and the officers were bragging about what they'd done.

"It was on man. He's back there right now. He's in the booking area," said one officer. "We can't even put him in a cell. We're afraid he'll die."

"But look at his face," said another officer on the tape. "We [expletive] him up."

Robles says he felt certain he was going to die that night...

Readers, I want you to imagine laying there in agony on a cold concrete police station floor, hardly able to breathe, unable to get up, bleeding everywhere with your arms painfully handcuffed behind your back while officers walking by do nothing for you but laugh at you and make sadistic twisted jokes about you.

Can you imagine how terrifying that is? To think you're about to die and that the last sounds you will ever hear are the sadistic laughs of those who you were supposed to believe were there to protect you?

Trust me... whatever fear you were able to imagine, it's worse than that to live it. I know, I've lived it... and the fear of police an experience like that creates never goes away.

I hope Robles wins his case, what happened to him should not happen to anyone anywhere, let alone here in the US.

New Orleans Officers Who Shot Adolph Grimes Had History Of Complaints
As mentioned previously, Oscar Grant wasn't the only person shot by police under questionable circumstances as we rung in the new year. Several of the New Orleans police officers who shot Adolph Grimes 14 times, 9 of those shots in the back, early on New Years Day are also facing several other allegations of misconduct, including allegations over one other incident that occurred just before they opened fire on Grimes while he was parked outside of his grandmother's house.

The officers, apparently part of an elite police unit consisting of narcotics officers and others, were patrolling in plain clothes and dressed as tourists when they shot Grimes, who has no criminal record. The attorney for the officer's union declared that the high number of complaints against the officers involved in the shooting is a testament to how good a job they've been doing and how professional they are.

Second Trial Against Dymond Milburn Results In Mistrial, Prosecutors Give Up
Apparently there is an update in the case of Dymond Milburn, the 12 year old African American girl who was roughed up by undercover Galveston police officers who claim they mistook her for a white prostitute reportedly in the area and then prosecuted for allegedly assaulting the officers who grabbed her in her own yard and then covered her mouth when she began to scream.

A second jury trial has resulted in a mistrial after the jury in that trial was deadlocked when 5 of the 6 jurors refused to hand down a guilty verdict for allegations that the honors student assaulted officers when they jumped her and arrested in her yard.

Prosecutors say they will not attempt to put her on trial for a third time saying that they doubt they will get a different result. During the trial the prosecutors attempted to suggest that Dymond's injuries, that included bruise marks on her neck, similar to choking marks, and head trauma was caused by a tree she attempted to grab while the unidentified officers tried to drag her away from her yard.

The defense claimed that her injuries were the result of officers bludgeoning her and choking her when they jumped her in her own yard. Oddly, she wasn't arrested for allegedly assaulting officers that night, but weeks later while she was in class at school... supposedly after it became clear a civil suit was in the works. That civil suit is still pending.

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