Posts Tagged ‘Court Settlements’

WATCH: Texas Cop Still on the Job after Three Excessive Force Incidents Result in Settlements

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

A Texas cop remains on the job after the department he works for settled the third excessive force lawsuit against him Thursday.
Austin police officer Eric Copeland was sued three times for using excessive force between April of 2011 to April of 2015.
Austin City Council members approved the latest $150,000 settlement November 9 for unnecessarily tasering Adrian Aguado, 20, after removing him from handcuffs and telling him to exit the police cruiser.
Video from inside the patrol car shows Copeland tasering Aguado immediately as he slowly exits the vehicle.
He also tells Aguado he seemed “slow” and can be heard asking if he takes any medication for “mental retardation.”
Instead of firing Copeland after yet another excessive force lawsuit, former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo suspended him for 90 days, allowing him back on the job and ultimately enabling him to commit another act of excessive force in the future.
Copeland was also sued in 2012 after fatally shooting 37-year-old Ahmede Bradly during a traffic stop.
Bradley fled in his vehicle, then on foot, before Copeland “intentionally struck Bradley in the face, head and body at a time when Bradley had not assaulted Copeland,” according to a lawsuit filed by Bradley’s family.
He then shot Bradley, who was unarmed, three times in the chest, killing him.
A judge awarded Bradley’s surviving family members $1,000,000 for that incident, according to KXAN.
In 2011, Eric Copeland and another Austin cop, Russell Rose, used excessive force against Carlos Chacon after Chacon called 911 to report suspicious activity at a Motel 6.
Chacon was surprised when he approached officers to assist with their investigation and found himself on the other end of the officers’ guns while still on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.
“Their guns were drawn, pointed at me. They were shouting at me. They were cursing at me. I was trying to

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Utah Nurse Violently Arrested for Refusing Blood Draw on Unconscious Patient Receives $500,000 Settlement

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Salt Lake City has agreed to pay nurse Alex Wubbels a $500,000 settlement just two weeks after the detective who arrested her for refusing to allow a blood draw on her unconscious patient filed an appeal to get his job back, claiming had it not been for a camera he would still have a job.
Now Wubbels plans to use a portion of the settlement to help other police abuse victims obtain access to body cam footage.
Her attorney, Karra Porter, says her law firm, Christensen and Jensen, is committed to providing free services to people seeking to obtain the body cam footage from police who’ve abused them.
“Any person in the State of Utah who wishes to obtain body cam footage of an incident involving them will be able to do so, no charge to them. Our law firm, Christensen & Jensen, will provide any legal services necessary to accomplish that,” Porter said, according to Fox 13 Now.
“Thanks to Alex, there will be more transparency.”

 “We’re hoping the discussion about body cameras continues,” Porter added.
Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne forcefully arrested Wubbels on July 26 when she refused to allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient, citing hospital policy.
Body cam footage of the incident showed detective Payne manhandling the screaming nurse after she refused.
Since the victim was not responsible for the crash, Payne was presumably sent to retrieve blood with the hope of finding a substance in the victim’s system to relieve the Salt Lake City Police Department of liability from a lawsuit after pursuing the driver who caused the crash.
Wubbels’ patient was later identified as a reserve police officer from Idaho, who later died from his injuries.
The University of Utah Hospital has since barred police from interacting with nurses at the hospital.
Payne, who is also a part-time paramedic, threatened to

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Florida Man Receives $37,500 Settlement after Cops Mistook Doughnut Glaze for Meth

Monday, October 16th, 2017

A Florida man received a $37,500 settlement after police arrested him, mistaking Krispy Kreme doughnut glaze in his car for meth.
A series of roadside drug tests yielded positive results for the street drug, landing him in jail for ten hours.
But another test determined it was only glaze from a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
Dan Rushing, 65, was arrested in December 2015 following a traffic stop after Orlando cop Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins observed flakes on his floorboard, which she first suspected was crack, then crystal meth.
Rushing insisted to officers it was sugar from Krispy Kreme doughnuts he’d eaten.
‘I kept telling them, “That’s … glaze from a doughnut… They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, “No, it’s meth, crystal meth,”, he told the Orlando Sentinel.
But the field test’s positive result landed Rushing in jail for 10 hours before he was able to post his $2,500 bond after being charged with possession of a methamphetamine as well as possession of a firearm.
It took a second, more thorough, test conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to show the flakes on his floorboard was sugar – not meth.
In Riggs-Hopkins arrest report, she wrote he noticed a “rock like substance” on the floorboard of Rushing’s car and, through several years of experience in law enforcement recognized the substance as some sort of narcotic.
“I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she explained in her arrest report.
Rushing, who sued the field test manufacturer along with the department and city, said officer Riggs-Hopkins should have waited for the FDLE tested the substance before she arrested him.
She received a written reprimand for arresting Rushing, but the Orlando Police Department found no evidence she acted in bad faith, according to the

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Maryland Jury Awards $1.26 Million to Family after Cop Wrongly Shot their Dog

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

A Maryland jury awarded a family $1.26 million Tuesday after deciding a cop wrongly shot and killed their dog, Vernon, on February 1, 2014 – the largest award in American history for such a case.
“The verdict sends a strong message to the police about community expectations,” attorney Carl J. Hansel said after the verdict, according to the Capital Gazette.
“The duty to serve and protect extends to our animal family members as well.”
However, the Anne Arundel County Police Department had already determined the shooting was justified, claiming the dog was aggressive, which made the cop fear for his safety.
But the evidence proved otherwise, which is why the jury ruled against the officer.
Hansel called the shooting of Michael Reeves’ dog by Anne Arundel County cop Rodney Price “senseless, unnecessary and unconstitutional.”
During the three-day trial, officer Price admitted the dog did not bite or injure him before he fired two shots, one entering the dog’s sternum and another shot through his side when the dog’s body was perpendicular to Price’s gun.
Hansel stated a necropsy performed after the shooting contradicted Price’s testimony regarding how the shooting occurred.
Price, a one-year veteran, was investigating a burglary at the time, canvassing the neighborhood looking for witnesses around 4 p.m., when a male Chesapeake Bay retriever “confronted” the officer in Reeve’s front yard,  according to police.
Vern barked and ran towards Price.
Price then fired two shots at Vernon, killing the dog.
Vernon
Officer Price visited the Reeve’s family a few days after the shooting to explain what happened.
Former Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis, met with the Reeves family,  promised a full investigation into the shooting and offered his condolences.
The internal investigation exonerated officer Price, finding the dog was aggressive.
During the trial, the jury was asked specifically if the dog attacked Price.
The jury determined Price was not attacked by the

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WATCH: Minneapolis Cop Charged for Kicking Man in Face and Lying About It

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

These days it is not uncommon for cops to get arrested for assault.
But Officer Christopher Reiter, 36, of the Minneapolis Police Department took things way too far when he kicked Mohamed Osman while he was already down on the ground.
Osman suffered severe brain injuries, brain bleeding and ended up with fractures in his face, including sinus fractures in his nose.
Because of the injuries, Osman is unable to work.
The on-duty assault occurred in Spring 2016, but Reiter was not arrested until March 15, 2017 after he and fellow officers lied about what had taken place that night – only for a surveillance video to expose their lies.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
In reports they filed after the incident, Domek wrote that as he approached Osman, he ordered him to get on the ground. Domek then wrote that he moved toward Osman “in an effort to push him to the ground to get him in handcuff position. While doing so, I felt resistance from the male, causing me to believe that he was going to attempt to fight as he had just been involved in a violent assault.”
In his report, Reiter said when the other officers ordered Osman out of the vehicle, “I could see [Osman] pushing off the ground.
“I made a split second decision and kicked [Osman] in the face one time with the top flat part of my boot.”
Reiter is charged with third-degree assault, but prosecutors plan to raise the charge to first-degree assault. The Minneapolis Police Department fired Reiter in Janurary 2017.
It all started in May 2016 when officers responded to a domestic violence call involving Osman and his girlfriend. The two were having dinner and an argument ensued about Osman’s wife.
Osman then hit his girlfriend several times and she called police. When police arrived to the couple’s apartment, they

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Florida Cops Keep Innocent Man in Jail for Eight Months, Resulting in $150,000 Settlement

Monday, January 9th, 2017

The Fort Lauderdale police department got it wrong when they arrested the wrong man thinking he was a burglary suspect.
But the Florida police department still kept him in jail for eight months for the crime he did not commit.
Dmitry Lyubimov was not released until authorities finally acknowledged that they lacked physical and DNA evidence.
Now the city has reached a wrongful arrest settlement of $150,000 with the 26-year-old man.
Lyubimov was minding his own business on the streets of Fort Lauderdale when he was arrested by police in July 2011, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Police claimed Lyubimov matched the description of the real suspect, Justin White. Both are pictured above with Lyubimov on the left.
A 911 call was made because White was walking on someone’s property with a gun. Officers Jesus Gonzalez and Felicia Barnwell responded to the scene and tried to stop White, who then fled on a stolen scooter.
White ditched his scooter, then hopped over a fence, leaving only his hat behind.
As the officers searched the streets for him, they came across Lyubimov, who was dressed in similar attire, mistaking him for White, and arresting him.
Lyubimov denied the allegations. And his phone records even showed that he was on the phone with his girlfriend during the police chase.
But authorities did not buy it.
“So with cops still chasing me I am dialing my girlfriend and talking to her for 25 min instead of thinking how to escape police,” he wrote while in jail in 2011.
“It don’t make no sense. I am just frustrated with all this. It all is like a bad dream or [something]. OK, hopefully it will end soon,”
The scooter that the real suspect had left behind was tested for fingerprints days after the incident, but they did not match Lyubimov’s fingerprints.
It was not until seven months after Lyubimov’s arrest that

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WATCH: NYPD Settles Lawsuit in Teenage Brutality Case Where Witness was Pepper Sprayed for Recording

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

NYPD cops brutally beat 19-year-old Jateik Reed for resisting arrest and carrying drugs in 2012. Drugs were never found and the case was dismissed in court. Reed then filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city.
Now New York City has settled the lawsuit with Reed, who is now 24, for the amount of $614,500, his lawyers announced earlier this month.
Reed’s mother and two young brothers were also plaintiffs in the suit. The settlement was approved in July 2016, but the checks were now issued until December, NBC reports.
It all started in January 2012 when New York City police officers from the 42nd Precinct conducted a stop-and-frisk on Reed because they suspected him of possessing cocaine and marijuana.
But Reed began to tussle with officers, attempting to escape.
Using batons, the officers beat Reed while slamming him to the sidewalk. The officers then begin to punch, kick and hit the victim, screaming, “Put your hands behind your back!”
Detective Robert Jaquez then pepper sprayed a witness recording the melee, ordering him to “Move back!” For his reckless tough guy antics, the court made Detective Jaquez pay $500 toward the settlement.
All of the officers involved were disciplined by the NYPD. So much as to the fact that all officers involved in the beat down were stripped of their badges and guns during the initial point of the investigation.
Also, Sergeant Alfonsina Delacruz, who is one of the officers involved in the beating, was court ordered to contribute $5,000 to the settlement.
Why?
Well, once Reed was detained and in handcuffs, the female sergeant calmly approached Reed and kicked him for no apparent reason while he was down on the ground defenseless and imposing no threat as you can see in the second video below.
Also on the day of the incident, Reed’s mother, friend and two young brothers went to police headquarters for answers, but

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WATCH: San Diego Cops Allow Police Dog to Maul Naked Man, Resulting in $385,000 Settlement

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

California cops who sicced a police dog on a naked man tripping on LSD, allowing the dog to maul him for more than 40 seconds while officers held him down, claimed they had no way of knowing if he was unarmed despite body cam video showing he had nowhere to hide a weapon in his nakedness.
But the city of San Diego opted to pay David Aceves a $385,000 settlement last week anyway, apparently realizing no jury in the world would buy that argument.
Aceves, 26, was hospitalized for more than two weeks as a result of the mauling after a large piece of skin was torn from the underlying tissue on his calf causing what doctors call a “large degloving injury.”
The incident took place on August 15, 2015 when San Diego police were responding to calls about a naked man screaming and running through a canyon.
An excessive force lawsuit filed in April 2016 that doesn’t name the individual cops involved, states police encountered Aceves at around 8:30 a.m. walking through a canyon park in La Jolla, disoriented from being under the influence of LSD after a hard night of partying, which Aceves admits is true.
Officers give commands telling him to walk up the hillside toward them.
Aceves complies with their initial wishes, but replies “no” after they order him to turn around.
That’s when a K-9 officer sics a police dog on him.
The dog’s attack takes Aceves to the ground and four officers quickly pin him to the ground, but allow the dog to continue mauling his leg for about 45-seconds while other cops work to cuff him even though Aceves had already been subdued, lying flat on his stomach.
The dog thrashes its head like a shark as its teeth rip through Aceves’ skin.
Blood can be seen dripping from its mouth when officers finally

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WATCH: San Diego Cops Allow Police Dog to Maul Naked Man, Resulting in $385,000 Settlement

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

California cops who sicced a police dog on a naked man tripping on LSD, allowing the dog to maul him for more than 40 seconds while officers held him down, claimed they had no way of knowing if he was unarmed despite body cam video showing he had nowhere to hide a weapon in his nakedness.
But the city of San Diego opted to pay David Aceves a $385,000 settlement last week anyway, apparently realizing no jury in the world would buy that argument.
Aceves, 26, was hospitalized for more than two weeks as a result of the mauling after a large piece of skin was torn from the underlying tissue on his calf causing what doctors call a “large degloving injury.”
The incident took place on August 15, 2015 when San Diego police were responding to calls about a naked man screaming and running through a canyon.
An excessive force lawsuit filed in April 2016 that doesn’t name the individual cops involved, states police encountered Aceves at around 8:30 a.m. walking through a canyon park in La Jolla, disoriented from being under the influence of LSD after a hard night of partying, which Aceves admits is true.
Officers give commands telling him to walk up the hillside toward them.
Aceves complies with their initial wishes, but replies “no” after they order him to turn around.
That’s when a K-9 officer sics a police dog on him.
The dog’s attack takes Aceves to the ground and four officers quickly pin him to the ground, but allow the dog to continue mauling his leg for about 45-seconds while other cops work to cuff him even though Aceves had already been subdued, lying flat on his stomach.
The dog thrashes its head like a shark as its teeth rip through Aceves’ skin.
Blood can be seen dripping from its mouth when officers finally

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WATCH: San Diego Cops Allow Police Dog to Maul Naked Man, Resulting in $385,000 Settlement

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

California cops who sicced a police dog on a naked man tripping on LSD, allowing the dog to maul him for more than 40 seconds while officers held him down, claimed they had no way of knowing if he was unarmed despite body cam video showing he had nowhere to hide a weapon in his nakedness.
But the city of San Diego opted to pay David Aceves a $385,000 settlement last week anyway, apparently realizing no jury in the world would buy that argument.
Aceves, 26, was hospitalized for more than two weeks as a result of the mauling after a large piece of skin was torn from the underlying tissue on his calf causing what doctors call a “large degloving injury.”
The incident took place on August 15, 2015 when San Diego police were responding to calls about a naked man screaming and running through a canyon.
An excessive force lawsuit filed in April 2016 that doesn’t name the individual cops involved, states police encountered Aceves at around 8:30 a.m. walking through a canyon park in La Jolla, disoriented from being under the influence of LSD after a hard night of partying, which Aceves admits is true.
Officers give commands telling him to walk up the hillside toward them.
Aceves complies with their initial wishes, but replies “no” after they order him to turn around.
That’s when a K-9 officer sics a police dog on him.
The dog’s attack takes Aceves to the ground and four officers quickly pin him to the ground, but allow the dog to continue mauling his leg for about 45-seconds while other cops work to cuff him even though Aceves had already been subdued, lying flat on his stomach.
The dog thrashes its head like a shark as its teeth rip through Aceves’ skin.
Blood can be seen dripping from its mouth when officers finally

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Chicago Pays $3 Million Settlement for Police Shooting Death of Teen Holding iPhone Case Mistaken for Gun

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Chicago will pay a $3 million settlement to the family of a teenager shot and killed while fleeing police on a busy street, claiming he had a black object in his hand that made them fear for their lives.
The black object turned out to be an iPhone case.
And surveillance cameras do not show Cedric Chatman, 17, pointing the object at officers as he fled as police initially reported, although the videos are grainy.
Nevertheless, Chicago police office Kevin Fry was found to have been justified in the shooting. But only after an investigator from the city’s  Independent Police Review Authority was fired last year after finding the shooting unjustified.
The incident took place in January 2013 but video of the shooting was not released until January 2016 after a lengthy court battle.
Cedrick Chatman
It all started when Fry and his partner, Lou Touth, tried to pull over a Dodge Charger they suspected had been carjacked, prompting its driver, Chatman, to take off running.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
The tragedy unfolded on the afternoon of Jan. 7, 2013, after Chatman and two friends allegedly beat and robbed a man driving a silver Dodge Charger before Chatman alone took off in the victim’s car.
Toth and Fry recognized the car on 75th Street, records show, and Toth pulled the officers’ unmarked squad car next to and slightly ahead of the Charger at 75th and Jeffery. Then, the officers, wearing plainclothes but in clearly marked police vests, jumped out of their car with guns drawn.
Toth ran around the front of the Charger, while Fry ran around the rear, records show. But Chatman appeared to reach down and grab something, opened the door of the Charger and fled southeast across 75th. He ran between two parked cars and then west on the sidewalk. Toth was initially on his heels but fell behind,

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Missouri Pays $9 Million Settlement to Family of Brandon Ellingson, Man who Drowned while Handcuffed in Custody of Police

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The family of a man who fell off a police boat while handcuffed and allowed to drown by the Missouri state trooper operating the boat will receive a $9 million settlement, attorneys announced Thursday.
And there is still a chance the cop will be convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Brandon Ellingson, a 20-year-old college student from Iowa who had been arrested for boating while intoxicated.
Missouri Highway Patrol officer Anthony Piercy is scheduled for a hearing Monday for his upcoming trial.
The only reason the case came this far is because of another Missouri Highway Patrol officer   named Randy Henry, who blew the whistle, only to face retaliation from his superiors. The sergeant was forced into retirement last year, ending a 29-year career.
According to the Kansas City Star:
A spokesman for the patrol released a statement to The Star Thursday morning.
“The mission of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is to serve and protect all people, and any loss of life is a tragedy,” said Capt. John Hotz. “With this case now settled through the court system, the patrol will have no additional comment on this matter.”
The Missouri attorney general’s office, which represented the agency and troopers, did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Ellingson family — his parents and older sister Jennifer — filed the lawsuit in federal court on Dec. 5, 2014, two days before Brandon would have turned 21. The suit initially named the patrol and several top commanders and troopers, as well as Piercy, who stopped Ellingson on May 31, 2014 for boating while intoxicated.
Piercy’s actions and inactions that day caused Ellingson’s death, according to the lawsuit. The state and patrol were also responsible, the suit alleged, because of a lack of training for troopers after the 2011 merger of the Missouri Water Patrol into the Highway Patrol.
As

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Santa Ana Pays $100,000 Settlement for Dispensary Raid where Cops Dismantled Cameras and Consumed Cannabis

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

They were so sure of themselves, these California cops who raided a marijuana dispensary last year, terrorizing customers while wearing masks, forcing them to the floor at gunpoint, then disabling surveillance cameras inside the shop to ensure their crime went unnoticed.
But the Santa Ana cops failed to remove a hidden camera, which caught them eating marijuana-laced snacks while mocking a handicapped woman.
And as a result, the city of Santa Ana just had to pay a $100,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the May 27, 2015 raid.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
The suit alleged that Mayor Miguel Pulido and other city employees favored certain dispensaries over others. It said the city put up a ballot proposal, Measure BB, for the November 2014 election, soliciting payments from collectives with the promise of winning a spot in an eventual marijuana permit lottery.
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Sky High Holistic did not win a spot in the lottery and its patients allege that because Pulido and other city employees had financial ties with competing dispensaries, they used their positions to close down the competition.
Pulido denied the allegations and said the city hired a firm to conduct the lottery.
Earlier this year, three police officers were charged with misdemeanor petty theft and one with vandalism for allegedly stealing snacks and damaging surveillance cameras. They are no longer employed by the city’s police department.
The three cops who are no longer on the force are Brandon Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo. They were fired, according to San Francisco Gate.
They have pleaded not guilty to vandalism and theft charges. They are due back in court next month.
Matthew Pappas, the attorney for the Sky High Holistic dispensary, said he is still trying to get the city to return more than $7,000 in

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WATCH: Georgia Jailers Ignored Inmate’s Suicide Attempts for Eight Hours Before he was Found Dead in Cell

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Georgia inmate Yoel Robton first wrapped the blanket he’d tied into makeshift noose around his bedpost around noon, spending the next eight hours placing it around his neck in apparent suicide attempts.
Not a single guard at the Doraville Detention Center noticed until it was too late.
Now an insurance company for the city will ante up $2 million for the mentally ill  man’s suicide after settling a lawsuit with his mother.
Records show jailers failed to check on her son every 20 minutes as city policy required and they failed to give him medication prescribed for depression even after his family brought it to them, leaving him to kill himself on August 17, 2014.
Surveillance video shows Debra Robton’s son mulled over how to kill himself for eight hours before hanging himself from the top bunk in his jail cell.
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Yoel Robton’s with his girlfriend Heather; Chasity Altman, Heather’s daughter; and Heather’s stepmother, Jackie
“It makes me very angry, very, very angry, and so sad,” Debra Robton, Yoel’s mother told WSB-TV in Atlanta.
She still hasn’t watched the video of her son’s death.
“It did not have to happen. It should not have happened,” she said. “He was just a very loving, loving kind soul.”
Video shows Yoel Robton contemplated suicide for eight hours before hanging himself with a makeshift noose in his jail cell.
Recorded footage from Robton’s cell shows him slipping a makeshift noose over his head several times and sitting on the floor to test it, pacing and appearing anxious.
Jailers who claim they checked their video monitors did not notice the noose tied to his bed or his depressive behavior.
Time went on.
At about 5 p.m., video shows a jailer delivered food to Yoel’s cell; but he did not notice the noose tied to his bedpost.
At about 8:30 p.m., Yoel Robton hung himself with his blanket from the bed in his jail cell.
Jailers responded 18 minutes later.
Robton died in the hospital

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Florida Police Settles Horrific Dog Mauling Lawsuit involving Cop who later Killed Woman in Training Exercise

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

For the price of $70,000, Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel can claim he did nothing wrong by allowing his dog to attack and maul a man for riding his bicycle at night without lights.
Not that he will pay a dime of that settlement.  And not that it will absolve him of shooting and killing a 73-year-old woman during a citizens academy training exercise in which he was supposed to be using blanks.
That second incident would never have occurred if he had been fired for the dog mauling incident, but Coel is an award-winning officer, which apparently gives him protective status.
Attorney Scott Weinberg, who represented the victim in the dog mauling case, had tried his best to warn the police chief and city council that they had a loose cannon on their hands, but they failed to heed his advice.
The dog mauling incident took place on October 30, 2015 when Coel spotted Richard Schumacher riding his bicycle through the sleepy Southwestern Florida town without lights.
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Sensing Schumacher was placing himself in danger, Coel ordered him to stop or he would send his attack dog.
But Schumacher kept peddling, so Coel sped up behind him and pulled him over on a quiet residential street.
Coel ordered Schumacher to get on his knees, then on his face, to ensure officer safety because you never know about those guys riding their bikes without lights.
“Get on your knees, do it now,” Coel orders as his dog, Spirit, can be heard barking from the backseat.
But Schumacher was being stubborn, remaining standing for more than a minute with his hands in the air, at times flipping the cop off, before he eventually got down on one knee.
“Get down on your face,” Coel then orders. “Get down on your chest.”

Richard

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Florida Police Settles Horrific Dog Mauling Lawsuit involving Cop who later Killed Woman in Training Exercise

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

For the price of $70,000, Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel can claim he did nothing wrong by allowing his dog to attack and maul a man for riding his bicycle at night without lights.
Not that he will pay a dime of that settlement.  And not that it will absolve him of shooting and killing a 73-year-old woman during a citizens academy training exercise in which he was supposed to be using blanks.
That second incident would never have occurred if he had been fired for the dog mauling incident, but Coel is an award-winning officer, which apparently gives him protective status.
Attorney Scott Weinberg, who represented the victim in the dog mauling case, had tried his best to warn the police chief and city council that they had a loose cannon on their hands, but they failed to heed his advice.
The dog mauling incident took place on October 30, 2015 when Coel spotted Richard Schumacher riding his bicycle through the sleepy Southwestern Florida town without lights.
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Sensing Schumacher was placing himself in danger, Coel ordered him to stop or he would send his attack dog.
But Schumacher kept peddling, so Coel sped up behind him and pulled him over on a quiet residential street.
Coel ordered Schumacher to get on his knees, then on his face, to ensure officer safety because you never know about those guys riding their bikes without lights.
“Get on your knees, do it now,” Coel orders as his dog, Spirit, can be heard barking from the backseat.
But Schumacher was being stubborn, remaining standing for more than a minute with his hands in the air, at times flipping the cop off, before he eventually got down on one knee.
“Get down on your face,” Coel then orders. “Get down on your chest.”

Richard

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Florida Police Settles Horrific Dog Mauling Lawsuit involving Cop who later Killed Woman in Training Exercise

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

For the price of $70,000, Punta Gorda police officer Lee Coel can claim he did nothing wrong by allowing his dog to attack and maul a man for riding his bicycle at night without lights.
Not that he will pay a dime of that settlement.  And not that it will absolve him of shooting and killing a 73-year-old woman during a citizens academy training exercise in which he was supposed to be using blanks.
That second incident would never have occurred if he had been fired for the dog mauling incident, but Coel is an award-winning officer, which apparently gives him protective status.
Attorney Scott Weinberg, who represented the victim in the dog mauling case, had tried his best to warn the police chief and city council that they had a loose cannon on their hands, but they failed to heed his advice.
The dog mauling incident took place on October 30, 2015 when Coel spotted Richard Schumacher riding his bicycle through the sleepy Southwestern Florida town without lights.
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Sensing Schumacher was placing himself in danger, Coel ordered him to stop or he would send his attack dog.
But Schumacher kept peddling, so Coel sped up behind him and pulled him over on a quiet residential street.
Coel ordered Schumacher to get on his knees, then on his face, to ensure officer safety because you never know about those guys riding their bikes without lights.
“Get on your knees, do it now,” Coel orders as his dog, Spirit, can be heard barking from the backseat.
But Schumacher was being stubborn, remaining standing for more than a minute with his hands in the air, at times flipping the cop off, before he eventually got down on one knee.
“Get down on your face,” Coel then orders. “Get down on your chest.”

Richard

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Award-Winning California Deputy Still on Force After Beating 3 Citizens with Flashlights, Resulting in 3 Settlements

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

An award-winning California deputy who has been sued three times in six years for beating citizens with his flashlight remains on the force, even after the latest lawsuit against him settled for $200,000 on Tuesday.
Of course, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department never admitted to any wrongdoing in any of the settlements involving deputy Paul “Scotte” Pfeifer.
But two of three incidents were caught on video, showing us there was plenty of wrongdoing on his part.
So it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again with his flashlight.
Tuesday’s lawsuit stems from an incident in December 2015 when a homeless man named John Reyes asked the deputy to move his vehicle, which was blocking his path as he was walking with a bag of groceries, forcing him to have to walk onto the street.
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The deputy refused to move the car and Reyes cursed at him.
That prompted Pfeifer to pepper spray, taser and then repeatedly beat him with his flashlight as he held Reyes’ face on the street with his boot.
A witness captured the beating on video, but sheriff officials told the local media that the video did not capture the first part of the beating that showed Reyes not complying with whatever orders he was issuing.
But the video shows Reyes trying to comply, but being unable to do so because of the boot on his face and the multiple flashlight strikes against his body.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
“It is disappointing and almost unbelievable that the Sheriff’s Department continues to maintain that Pfeifer did nothing wrong,” said Reyes’ attorney, Stewart Katz. “The department is clearly incapable of honestly evaluating the conduct of its personnel.
“As for Mr. Reyes, the proceeds of the settlement allowed him to clear his family support obligations and buy

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Ohio City Council Approves “Error in Judgement” Settlement for Cop who Shot Girl While Trying to Kill her Dog

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

“It hit her pretty much square in the middle of her leg and went through and broke the bone. She had to have a plate and screws to help pin the bone in place,”  Brad Ellis, Ava’s dad told ABC6.
The City Council of Columbus Ohio approved a $780,000 pending settlement that we reported about last week in a case where a cop was trying to kill the family dog as it retreated into its home, but the bullet wound up going through, 4-year-old Ava Ellis’ leg, shattering her bone, ricocheting and then lodged in the cabinet in the families’ kitchen.
Ava, who is 6-years-old now, has been through several surgeries since being shot and has had to miss most of her first grade year.
Ava Ellis stil has nightmares after being shot by Columbus cop Jonathan Thomas who was trying to kill her dog. But her parents hope she’s grows out of it.
Michael Wright, attorney for Ava Ellis family, said the $780,000 settlement approved by the city holds police accountable for their “error in judgment.”
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But the Ellis’ still think officer Thomas should be held accountable, but he is appealing the disciplinary action taken against him by his department and is still on the police force, saying he shot at the dog in self-defense.
But officer Thomas is the only one who remembers it that way.
Several witnesses there that say the 40-pound family said the dog had came out to bark, but was retreating into the house when he shot, missing it and hitting Ava instead.
No criminal charges were filed against him, even though instead of rendering aid and making sure Ava was OK, officer Jonathan Thomas then walked down the driveway, got in his patrol car and left the scene without administering aid or making sure an ambulance was on the way.
On June 19 2015, officer

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Texas Authorities Pay Sandra Bland’s Family $1.9 Million Settlement in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

The Texas Department of Public Safety and Waller County have reached a financial settlement with Sandra Bland’s family to pay $1.9 million dollars to end their wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit in federal court.
Sandra Bland was wrongfully arrested by Texas trooper Brian Encinia and booked on a 3rd degree felony charge of assaulting the officer, when there was no probable cause for an actual arrest in the first place, an arrest which was caught on camera by a citizen journalist.
Three days later the 28-year old Bland was found dead in her cell.
Her family demanded that preventative measures at the Waller County Jail be implemented where she died, according to NBC:
In addition to settling the civil suit, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to install automated sensors to assure accurate and timely cell checks at the jail and staff an on-duty nurse around-the-clock, attorney Cannon Lambert told NBC News.
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Waller County will pay $1.8 million of the cash settlement and Texas DPS will pay the rest.
As contemporaneous reports about Sandra Bland’s shocking death in jail explored, there were numerous possible causes of death related to her personal medical history and the medication Keppra which she used to control epilepsy. National medical experts agreed that it was impossible to determine if her death was suicide related to chemical withdrawal from the medication which could cause sudden unexplained death from epilepsy (SUDEP) and clinically heighten the risk of suicide. Medical experts noted that Bland could’ve easily had a concussion from the violent arrest, which would’ve made all of the above problems worse.
Inescapably, the combined behavior of Texas DPS and Waller County’s jailers definitely caused Bland’s untimely death.
Due to public pressure, the Texas state police released the trooper’s dash cam video of

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Los Angeles to Pay $2.5 Million Settlement to Children of Mentally Ill Woman Killed in LAPD Custody

Saturday, October 17th, 2015

Battling drug addiction and mental illness, Alesia Thomas dropped her two children off at a Los Angeles police station in July 2012, telling them to walk inside and ask for help because she was no longer able to support them.
The two children, ages 12 and 3, wandered into the building at 2 a.m., surprising an officer who was on-duty, telling him that their mother did not want them anymore and that they had not eaten for two days.
LAPD tracked Thomas down to her home and arrested her for child abandonment; cuffing her hands and shackling her legs; beating, punching and kicking her while shoving her into the back of a police car as Thomas pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
The 35-year-old woman never made it out alive.
And the cop who beat her, Mary O’Callaghan, is now in prison, serving a 16-month sentence for assault because even though the cause of Thomas’ death was “undetermined,” video footage from that night clearly shows the cop abusing her authority.
And the two kids she abandoned in a moment of helplessness and desperation?
They are in line to receive a $2.5 million settlement approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council, so hopefully they won’t be missing anymore meals.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
The video captured by two patrol car cameras, which was played during O’Callaghan’s criminal trial this summer, showed the veteran officer telling Thomas to “knock it off” as she flailed inside the patrol car. The officer, using profanity, threatened to break her arms and “punt” her in the groin.
The officer then jabbed at Thomas’ throat with an open hand. Later, O’Callaghan repeatedly jammed her boot into the woman’s crotch.
Throughout the recording, Thomas breathes heavily and repeatedly says, “I can’t.”
“I can’t move,” Thomas said at one point. “I can’t breathe.”
O’Callaghan was also captured on video laughing and smoking

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Wisconsin Police Arrested Man For Facebook Comments, Lawsuit Settlement Costs $43 Per Resident

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Speaking freely on social media is not a crime.
Posting angry Facebook comments on police departments’ official pages isn’t a crime either, it’s protected by the 1st Amendment.
A $35,000 legal settlement will cost residents of Wisconsin’s Village of Arena each $43 per man woman and child.
Because Wisconsin police violated a man’s First Amendment rights to post comments on their public Facebook page – which isn’t customized anymore, but still accepts review and comments.
The Arena Police Department arrested 23 year old Thomas G. Smith three years ago for Disorderly Conduct and other charges because of two FB comments.
It was a callous act of censorship.
One must now wonder what Village of Arena needs protection from, more than protection from it’s own police officers as Popehat postulated, and the Arena Police K9 officer and dog unit. The enclave 800 residents would fit neatly into a single suburban subdivision. The town is 35 miles away from Madison and 8 miles away from its next slightly bigger neighboring town.
Smith probably never expected all of the attention over one Facebook comment about an incident where the mostly white town’s officers arrested several african-american men.
But he didn’t know how thin skinned Wisconsin police can be when you make accusatory remarks.
Mr. Smith was arrested for saying this: “Fuck this fucking cops they ant shit but fucking racist basturds an fucking all of y’all who is racist.” and this (italicized text indicates Smith’s words and spelling as in original) too, “Fuck them nigers bitchs wat you got on us not a dam thing so fuck off dicks.”
As a 2014 article in Huffington post noted, even saying “fucking asshole” in a hushed tone to a police officer’s face even falls under the realm of protected 1st amendment free speech.
After the arrest and subsequent prosecution, an Iowa County Wisconsin Judge and jury initially convicted Smith of using “fighting words” which is Disorderly Conduct over the internet, and

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New Mexico Cops Settle “Fuck” Lawsuit for $25,000, Taxpayers Will Pay

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

New Mexico cops falsely arrested a grown adult citizen in public for saying “fuck”, now Farmington taxpayers agreed to pay $25,000 to settle the resulting censorship lawsuit under the 1st Amendment.
Three Farmington officers grossly overstepped their boundaries acting as censors, when they arrested Trujillo for violating the local Disorderly Conduct ordinance, in the absence of any provoked parties when he said “fuck” in an IHOP restaurant.
In fact, the family with small children whom police claimed to be protecting refused to give their names or in any way become involved in the three officers’ false arrest “to ensure the obscene language didn’t continue.”
Without threat of a fight or injury, there’s no probable cause for a Disorderly Conduct arrest which is commonly called a “contempt of cop” charge for its frequent use by police in punishing citizens for disagreement, with false arrest.
The police were disorderly in this case, starting a fight that’s gone on in courts for years.
New Mexico’s state constitution also has extra safeguards against this type of law enforcement overreach, as Trujillo’s counsel pointed out in his lawsuit against the a City of Farmington for arresting the man who said “fuck”, as you can see below.
Source: Twitter
Unfortunately, the town of Farmington’s Police Chief Hebbe doesn’t seem to give even one flying fuck about the un-American actions of his cops, since the settlement doesn’t admit guilt.
Local news outlet KOB reported:
“In the course of a conversation that’s one thing, but in the course of loud, boisterous or intoxicated language in a restaurant with children and families around who are objecting to it – that is something different,” said Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe.
You can’t say it on TV or radio, but can you say it loudly in a restaurant with in ear shot of small children?
“It certainly depends on the circumstances,” says Hebbe. “In this

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NYPD Whistleblower Hospitalized Against Will Settles for $600,000

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

The New York City Police Department settled a $600,000 lawsuit Tuesday with one of its own officers after they forced him into a psychiatric ward for several days against his will for turning whistle-blower on them.
NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who has been on unpaid suspension since 2008, will receive back pay, benefits and punitive damages.

Schoolcraft was suspended after he released recordings of NYPD sergeants continually directing its’ officers to stop people on the street, even without merit or probable cause that the individuals stopped had committed a crime.
The NYPD’s practices are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens against illegal unwarranted search and seizure.
In addition to placing him on suspension, the NYPD arrested Schoolcraft from his residence and forcefully took him to a psychiatric ward at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where he was left for days.
The arrest and mental hospitalization was ordered by Schoolcraft’s commanding officer, Steven Mauriello.
The suit alleged that the NYPD made a coordinated and concentrated effort to silence Schoolcraft after he released recordings of the Constitutional injustice. The settlement does not cover the suit against Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and doctors who treated Schoolcraft against his will.

NYPD street stops have quintupled during the “stop and frisk” era with complaints indicating police have put Black and Latino neighborhoods under siege.
In fact, Schoolcraft was stationed at the 81st Precinct, which covers a crowded multiracial population of low-income areas, filled with gentrification-infested housing projects.

A city spokesman released the following statement:
“We are pleased that we were able to reach a just and fair resolution of this dispute, the settlement should not be construed as an admission that the city or any city employee engaged in wrongdoing. We believe this settlement is in the best interests of the city.
Earlier this year, PINAC reported on Baltimore cop Joseph Crystal; Officer Crystal

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Indiana Cops Force Man Out of Car at Gunpoint as Pregnant Wife Goes Into Labor in Gut-Wrenching Video

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

James and Dana Reiner had a experience with police that no one should have to go through.
As James was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital in January of 2012 in Indiana, Portage police officer Anthony Dandurand tried to pull them over.
But Dana’s water had broke, so James continued driving to the hospital, calling 911 to explain to the dispatcher that his wife was about to give birth and needed to get to the hospital as quick as possible.
Rather than communicate the message to the officer, the dispatcher advised the Reiner’s to pull over to inform the pursuing officer of the situation at hand.
The video shows James pulling over, and Officer Anthony Dandurand yelling, “On the ground! On your face now! Get on your fucking face!”
James pleaded with the officers that his wife was pregnant.
Officer Dandurand asserted that he didn’t care.
Dana was screaming in pain during the entire ordeal.
After 20 minutes of being detained by officers, an ambulance finally shows up only to get to a hospital that is 10 miles away. When a woman is pregnant every minute counts, and these officers didn’t take the baby, mother or father into consideration.
James even asked one of the officers if he could get up off the ground, and the officer told James to stay right there on the ground; this was after the police had established the fact that Dana was pregnant and in labor.
The reckless officers even went so far to mock the father while he was face down on the ground and handcuffed, saying, “perhaps we should taser him”,
One officer stated, “Now you’re going to be in the Lake County jail when your kid is born. That’s what’s going to happen.”
“Did you tase him?” another cop asked.
“No,” replied another officer.
“It’s not too late, is it?” said a cop.
“You want

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Illinois Woman Arrested for Recording Cop Accepts $117,500 Settlement

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

An Illinois woman arrested for video recording police on her friend’s property is receiving a $1117,500 settlement.
But Naperville officials last week insisted this hefty sum was in no way an admission that its cops “acted wrongfully.”
However, anybody viewing the video showing utility workers and police entering the residential property to install a wireless meter should be able to see they not only acted wrongfully, but unlawfully as well.
The incident took place in Naperville on January 23, 2013 as utility workers were trying to install a “smart meter” outside the home of Jennifer Stahl, who was part of a group that opposed such meters on the beliefs that they were a health risk.
Stahl’s friend, Malia “Kim” Bendis, who was also part of the group, was on the property recording the workers, who were accompanied by four Naperville cops.
One of the cops, Sergeant. Nick Liberio, arrested her after telling her he did not give her consent to record him.
But Stahl did not give him consent to enter her property either and that made no difference.
Besides, the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which had led to several felony arrests over the years without a single conviction, had already been ruled unconstitutional by then.
So consent to record him, as ridiculous as that sounds, was not needed.
Especially considering a news crew was at the scene recording the cops, the utility workers, the two women and the eventual arrest.
Despite all that, Bendis was charged with misdemeanor eavesdropping, indicating that they already know they had no case because all the previous arrests were felonies.
Read the full lawsuit here. And the settlement agreement here.
Videos of the arrest and of the news report of the arrest and the controversy over the meters are posted below.
Read up on the current Illinois eavesdropping law here, which went into effect this year.
 
 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MkzIdKmeWo?feature=oembed&w=618&h=464]  
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP1P2tbS-KA?feature=oembed&w=618&h=348] The post Illinois Woman

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Former South Carolina Police Chief Killed An Unarmed Black Man, Sentenced To 1 Year House Arrest

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

On Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to drop the murder charge against a former South Carolina police chief in exchange for a guilty plea to “misconduct in office.” Richard Combs, 38, had been facing 30 years in prison for the murder of 54-year-old Bernard Bailey in 2011. The former Chief will only serve a one-year home detention sentence …
The post Former South Carolina Police Chief Killed An Unarmed Black Man, Sentenced To 1 Year House Arrest appeared first on PINAC.

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California Cops Killed Marine on Veterans Day, City Pays $2,500,000 to Settle Family’s Lawsuit

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

California cops with the City of Palm Springs Police Department agreed to a $2,500,000 settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit of a Marine killed by an officer that recklessly jumped through the window of his moving vehicle. It happened on Veteran’s Day 2012. Corporal Allan ‘AJ’ DeVillena II, was 22-year-old High Desert Marine and veteran …
The post California Cops Killed Marine on Veterans Day, City Pays $2,500,000 to Settle Family’s Lawsuit appeared first on PINAC.

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