Picture taken outside of the US Federal Courthouse in Seattle Washington
US Department Of Justice Looking Into Video-Taped Beating of 15-Year-Old Girl In King County
Karl Mansoor at Blue Must Be True reports that justice officials are looking into the videotaped beating of 15-year-old Malika Calhoun by King County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Schene. A spokesperson from the local division of the DOJ told reporters that they first saw the story when the rest of us did on Friday and, that after talking about it over the weekend, they decided to maybe look into the matter... even though they were apparently made aware of the case back in December when charges against Schene were being considered by King County prosecutors...
Given their strange response in this case, their handling of the case against King County Sheriff Deputy Brian Bonnar (which the DOJ lost), and their tepid response to constitutional rights violations in the King County Jail... I'm not inspired with much confidence by this announcement.
Officials Refuse To Investigate Threats Made Against Local Blogger
Tacoma Washington officials have refused to look into complaints that a West Palm Beach Florida police officer sent threats to a Tacoma-area blogger who covers cases and advocates for victims of Officer-Involved Domestic Violence.
So far, FBI, DOJ, West Palm Beach Florida, and Tacoma Washington officials have all refused to investigate the allegations that several different sites reported on late last year, this site included.
Local Crime Victim Starts Blog About Crime Victims Program Issues
An area man has started a blog about his difficulties getting help from the State of Washington's Crime Victim Program which is supposed to help victims of crime who have lost their jobs and need medical care due to crimes they have suffered.
The man, Ric Castellanos, attempted to stop a fleeing shoplifter at a local Fred Meyers after the shoplifter tackled a worker he knew, only to be run over by the shoplifter's get-away vehicle, a large SUV.
He suffered several injuries from the incident, including PTSD and other permanent injuries that require medication and therapy... all of which he cannot afford since the injuries also make it so he can't keep a job.
For trying to do the right thing, he's been rewarded with having to sleep in a shed and suffer his injuries without any assistance from the state program that was supposedly designed to help people just like him.
PEW Research on US Corrections System Released (PDF Download)
PEW's research indicates that 1 in 31 adults in the US are under some sort of correctional control, whether it's probation, parole, jail, or prison. Further tipping the scales, 1 out of every 18 men and 1 in 11 blacks are reportedly in the system. Last year's report cited that a bit more that 1 in 100 Americans were confined in the corrections system.
Washington State does a bit worse that average, ranking 17th in the US with 1 in 30 of it's citizens in the system. Washington state spent $917,000,000 last year on it's prison system, or about 6.3% of it's general fund.
The report suggests that corrections budgets should be the easiest to slash by turning more towards alternatives to jail and prison and doing more preventative and anti-recidivism efforts instead of building more prisons and jails... which is the goal of an effort underway in Seattle with the I-100 initiative.
Here are two more stories that make us wonder what should we really tell our children about trusting police officers?
Oregon Officer Pleads Guilty To Sexually Abusing Young Child
A Turner Reserve Police officer in Oregon has plead guilty to sexually abusing a girl, now 13, over a period of five years. Brian Livingston plead guilty to charges of unlawful sex with a minor, sexual abuse, and official misconduct in a Marion County Circuit Court and now awaits sentencing.
The reserve officer worked in a department of 3 FT officers and 6 reserve officers and only resigned recently after being on leave since August of 2008 when the allegations were first reported.
Florida Officer Arrested On Charges Of Sexually Abusing Minors
Arcadia Florida police officer Kenneth Bennett was arrested on eight counts of unlawful sexual acts with minors, two counts of official misconduct, and three counts of contributing to delinquency of minors.
The charges stem from an investigation by Florida's Department of Law Enforcement in November of 2008 that revealed the officer had sex with minors, provided them with alcohol and drugs, and altered police department documents.
The officer resigned in the middle of an internal investigation over the allegations and is currently in jail.
Hartwell Georgia Man Speaks About The Police Beating That Cost Him An Eye
Hartwell GA man who lost an eye during a brutal police assault claims the whole thing started when an officer asked for his ID, the officers claim that he was beaten because he verbally threatened the officers.
So, at worst, this man was beaten so badly that he lost his eye just because of something he said, not anything he did. Sound reasonable to you?
New Orleans Attorney's Lawsuit Over Mistreatment During Katrina Dismissed
New Orleans attorney Ashton O'Dwyer was an eccentric lawyer by all accounts. He had a penchant for angering government officials, especially Supreme Court Justice Kitty Kimball who, during the aftermath of Katrina, declared that "Somebody has to shut that guy up; he's giving us all a bad name."
Sure enough, for his boisterous ways that included declaring his home an independent nation and calling his opponents in court "scumbags" and "corrupt" he was taken from his car, in his driveway, to a temporary holding area called "Camp Greyhound" and locked in a metal cage where officers repeatedly fired beanbag rounds at him and peppersprayed him for 16 hours... and then released him without charges.
The injuries he documented appeared to back up his case when he filed a civil rights case against the state and the officials he says were complicit in having those officer abduct him and torture him that night, but a judge disagreed and dismissed his case.
This Is How It Usually Goes...
Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Lazaro Mesa was accused of stomping on a bar patron's head repeatedly while bouncers held him down until the man lost conciousness. Photographs of his injuries taken at the hospital even showed a footprint shapped abrasion on his face... but officer Mesa never filed a use of force report, which meant he claimed he never used force to arrest Anthony Monaco that night.
The Sheriff's department, located in southern Florida, fired Mesa after conducting an investigation that concluded that he falsified reports to cover up his use of excessive force that night...
But an arbitrator has overruled that disciplinary action at the behest of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association and has ordered the department to reinstate him and give him restitution for back pay, benefits, and seniority by saying that the department failed to show just cause in firing him.
Surprised? Well, this is how it usually goes even when police departments do try to fire problematic officers... just like I've told you here.
An Anatomy of How Police Frame Suspects?
Kenneth Hudson was convicted of stabbing Shanna Van Dyn Hoven to death in Outagamie County Wisconsin, but now a new trial may be in the works because of disturbing evidence that police and prosecutors may have conspired to frame Hudson.
Allegations made in Hudson's motion for a new trial include:
- That blood found on Hudson's leg, torso, and hands were found to be animal blood when tested at the state's crime lab, not human blood.
- That prosecutors claimed Hudson had the victim's blood on his hands but no blood was found on the driver's side of his car.
- That two vials of the victim's blood were taken during an autopsy, but only one was turned over to the crime lab and that, on the same day as the autopsy, the knife was taken out of evidence by a police officer.
- That officers claim Hudson tossed the "blood soaked knife" on the floor of his truck, but no blood was found where officers claim the knife was tossed or found on the truck cab floor and that officers made no mention of a knife in the truck in their initial reports.
- That officers said Hudson didn't assert his right to a lawyer even though audio of his interrogation shows he repeatedly demanded one.