Tennessee Deputy Sued Twice In The Same Day Over A Roadside Anal Search And A Forced Baptism

You’ve got to be a special kind of law enforcement officer to have two lawsuits filed against you in the same day. Hamilton County Deputy Daniel Wilkey is that kind of special. The Tennessee law enforcement officer managed to violate rights against enough people that two of them retained lawyers. This suggests Deputy Wilkey violates rights on a regular basis, but maybe not egregiously enough to merit a lawsuit in every case.

Both cases here are disturbing. And they’re disturbing in very different ways. I’ve never read a civil rights lawsuit against an officer that included claims of a forcible religious experience, but here we are. (h/t Peter Bonilla)

The first lawsuit [PDF], filed by Shandle Riley, alleges that Deputy Wilkey followed her to a friend’s house from a nearby gas station. Once he had (sort of) pulled her over, things got weird quick.

First, Deputy Wilkey claimed Riley was holding meth. To prove this, he engaged in a full body patdown. Then he ordered her to take off her bra and “shake her bra and shirt” to prove she hadn’t stashed any meth there. Riley asked for a female officer to be present during this “search” but the deputy told her the law doesn’t require female cops to search female citizens.

He then asked if she had anything illegal in her car. She said she had a marijuana roach stashed in a pack of cigarettes. At that point, Deputy Wilkey became verbally abusive. Then he decided to strike a deal with the alleged criminal. We’ll go to the lawsuit for that because… well, it offers the driest recounting of a positively insane situation.

Wilkey then approached Plaintiff and asked her if she was “saved” and believed in Jesus Christ.

Plaintiff stated that she believed in Jesus Christ, but that she was not “saved” by her own choice.

Wilkey then told Plaintiff that God was talking to him during the vehicle search, and Wilkey felt the Lord wanted him to baptize the Plaintiff.

Wilkey further told Plaintiff that he felt “the spirit.”

Um. Do what now?

These are words coming from the mouth of a sworn peace officer. And that’s not the end of it. The option given to Riley was to participate in this highly-unconventional baptism presided over by an officer of the law or get thrown into the gaping maw of the criminal justice system with as much force as Deputy Wilkey could muster. If Riley agreed to a baptism, Wilkey said he would only cite her for marijuana possession and speak to the judge on her behalf. Riley complied with Wilkey’s demands, which included grabbing towels from her friends house and following Wilkey’s cruiser out to a nearby lake.

At the lake, Riley and Wilkey were joined by Deputy Jacob Goforth, who did nothing as Wilkey proceeded with the “baptism.”

Wilkey told Plaintiff that Goforth was present because, in order for a baptism to be valid, a witness must “attest” to the ritual.

Wilkey then stripped nearly naked, with only his boxer shorts on.

Wilkey then gave Plaintiff the option to strip too, but Plaintiff declined.

Wilkey then lead Plaintiff into the near waist deep and frigid water, placed one hand on Plaintiff’s back, and his other hand on Plaintiff’s breasts, and completely submerged Plaintiff under the water.

Wilkey held Plaintiff under water for several moments, then with his hands still positioned on her back and breasts, raised Plaintiff from the cold water.

Plaintiff was shivering uncontrollably, and felt horribly violated.

Unfortunately for Riley, I doubt there’s a case on point that will easily eliminate Wilkey’s qualified immunity defense. But hopefully, the court will recognize this is batshit insane enough it doesn’t need to find a case on point to find Wilkey violated her rights. To top it all off, Riley held up her end of the under-the-color-of-law bargain. Deputy Wilkey did not.

At no time did Wilkey ever [go to] court on Plaintiff’s behalf and speak to the judge.

If that was the only thing Wilkey was being sued about, it would be enough to question his fitness for duty. But as you already know, this isn’t the end of the accusations against the deputy.

The second lawsuit, filed in the same court on the same day, alleges Deputy Wilkey engaged in a suspicionless stop that turned into an impromptu roadside anal cavity search and the beating of a handcuffed man. And oh my god does it start with one of the dumbest things an officer has ever said to defend a pretextual stop. From the lawsuit [PDF]:

Wilkey followed Plaintiffs, and conducted a traffic stop of the Plaintiffs on the false claims of “window tint violation” and that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs.

This assertion of Wilkey’s exceptional olfactory senses is followed by a parade of brutalities inflicted on the passenger of the pulled-over vehicle at the hands of the deputy. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, this whole interaction was recorded.

Here’s the lawsuit’s description of those events:

Wilkey handcuffed James, and the individual Defendants took James to the front of one of their police vehicles.

Wilkey then began to grab James’ genitals. When James told Wilkey that James had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey’s actions were causing James pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James’ arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury to James.

Wilkey and Brewer then beat James with fists, knees, and feet, slammed James to the ground, and continued their brutalization of James.

Wilkey and Brewer then removed James’ pants and shoes, while still beating James.

Wilkey and Brewer then forced James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and continued to jerk his arms high above his back, and beat James.

While Brewer continued to force James’ face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and jerk his arms high above his back Wilkey donned a set of gloves, pulled down James’ underwear, and conducted an anal cavity search of James.

The lawsuit goes on to note that James suffered numerous injuries including “tearing of his anus” and an aggravation of his existing hernia. The charges brought against James (the deputies discovered drugs in his underwear) were all dropped after the dashcam video was made public.

Deputy Wilkey has been suspended, but it’s the nice kind that means he’ll be paid to do nothing while the Sheriff’s Office decides what to do with him. It would seem obvious he’s too expensive to keep around.

Tennessee Deputy Sued Twice In The Same Day Over A Roadside Anal Search And A Forced Baptism

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via Above the Law https://abovethelaw.com

October 18, 2019 at 06:35PM

They Took Different Paths. They Died Together in the Bronx.

The lives of two young men — one a police officer, the other a gang member with a gun — collided after midnight. Each has a story.

Brian Mulkeen, 33, had a fascination with heroes and loved action movies. It did not surprise his friends when he became a New York City police officer, in an aggressive plainclothes unit focused on getting guns off the street.

Antonio Lavance Williams, 27, a cook and a father of two from Binghamton, N.Y., had traveled to the Bronx to watch a televised prize fight with a friend. He was on probation for a drug conviction. He was also carrying a pistol, the police say.

The lives of these two men, of similar build and close in age, collided — and ended — violently, just after midnight on Sunday, Sept. 29.

Mr. Williams had everything to lose if he were arrested again, and when plainclothes officers tried to question him and another man outside the Edenwald Houses at 12:30 a.m., he ran. Officer Mulkeen chased Mr. Williams and they grappled in a dark courtyard behind a building.

Within minutes, both were mortally wounded by gunshots fired by officers. Officer Mulkeen fired five times at Mr. Williams before being shot by his fellow officers. Mr. Williams’s .32-caliber revolver was never fired.

Ten days later, the police have released few details about the shooting. The department has not said why Officer Mulkeen and his partners stopped Mr. Williams, nor has it said when or how the officers learned Mr. Williams had a loaded gun. And it has not explained how Officer Mulkeen ended up in the line of fire of his partners.

To some critics of the police, the deaths of Officer Mulkeen and Mr. Williams are emblematic of the risks inherent in the Police Department’s strategy of sending plainclothes teams to search for people with guns. The units have been accused of being overzealous and of stopping people on questionable legal grounds.

The “friendly fire” police death — the second time this year an officer has been killed by colleagues’ bullets — has also led to calls for more training.

At Officer Mulkeen’s funeral, the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said, “One person is responsible for Brian’s death, and that’s the person carrying a loaded and illegal gun that decided to run from the police.”

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/09/nyregion/bronx-officer-brian-mulkeen-nypd.html

via Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings https://ift.tt/2aXA2Kq

October 9, 2019 at 05:16AM

Rhode Island Police Don’t Just Make Arrests. Some Also Act As Prosecutors.

The state is one of eight that allows cops to arraign people on misdemeanor charges. Advocates and academics say the practice is unjust.

On a recent Friday morning during arraignments in Rhode Island’s Sixth District Court, a dozen police officers filled the front row of the gallery.

As the judge called defendants to the bench, a police officer from the city or town where the arrest happened approached the prosecutor’s lectern and determined the charges, recommending bail or fines when necessary.

In most other courtrooms in the United States, a trained district or county prosecutor handles all arraignments; in Rhode Island, it’s left to the police.

Police officers in the state conduct nearly every arraignment in criminal cases. However, Rhode Island isn’t alone in giving police the authority to make charging decisions and prosecute arrests.

Police officers act as prosecutors in eight other states, The Appeal found through conversations with spokespeople for state courts and attorneys general, and other officials. In New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Virginia, police officers can act as prosecutors throughout the entire misdemeanor process—from a defendant’s first appearance through a plea or trial. In four states—Alaska, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania—police can only arraign cases.

Legal experts and advocates say prosecution by police is an illegal and unjust practice that profoundly shapes the criminal legal system. “Each individual case may carry limited or no jail time,” said Natalia Friedlander, an attorney at the Rhode Island Center for Justice. “But the cumulative effect of these thousands of illegitimate prosecutions is nothing less than systemic injustice.”

Unlike most states, Rhode Island has no district attorneys or county prosecutors. The attorney general has the power to prosecute all crimes in the state, though the office leaves misdemeanor prosecutions to each of the state’s 39 cities and towns. These municipalities leave misdemeanor arraignments to their police departments, avoiding the cost of hiring more attorneys to handle the first time a defendant appears in court.

In Providence, the state’s capital and largest city, not one of the city’s police prosecutors has a law degree, said department spokesperson Lindsay Lague. Providence Police Department prosecutors receive three months of on-the-job training with a current police prosecutor, said Lague. Some police prosecutors, she said, have “degrees in criminal justice, public speaking, [and] trial testimony.”

Rhode Island police prosecutors are also trained at police prosecution officer seminars hosted by the Roger Williams University School of Justice Studies. The Appeal obtained via public records request the slideshow presentation from the seminar, which overviews the basic elements of the arraignment process, including types of bail and different pleas. The slideshow also includes tips for the police officers, such as “highlight names and important facts” in a police report before reciting it to the judge.

Christopher Behan, Newport’s city solicitor, said misdemeanors are simple enough to arraign without a law degree. “A lot of these charges are straightforward charges within a police officer’s knowledge,” he told The Appeal. Behan says the police department will frequently call his office “if they aren’t certain on probable cause or application of a statute.” However, these charging decisions, said Andrew Horwitz, a professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, require making legal analyses, such as whether there is enough probable cause to bring charges, and thus require formal legal training.

Conducting arraignments without a law degree constitutes the unauthorized practice of the law, according to Horwitz, who has studied the issue in depth and published a law review article on the topic. Horwitz also directs the criminal defense clinic at the law school. “We have laws in Rhode Island, and in every other state in the country, that say it is a crime to practice law without a degree,” Horwitz told The Appeal.

But Craig Berke, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Judiciary, wrote in an email that “The activities of police prosecutors in the arraignment courtrooms has never been construed to be the ‘practice of law.’” Although the Supreme Court of Rhode Island has never ruled on this question, two state supreme courts, in South Carolina and New Hampshire, have ruled that state law allows police officers to prosecute criminal cases—arguing that judges can oversee the police and correct any misconduct.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment on whether police prosecutors are breaking the law. “Deeming something an ‘unauthorized practice of law’ is not a decision he would make,” said Kristy dosReis, the office spokesperson.

Legality of the practice, however, is just one of many concerns that experts and advocates have raised. For example, Horwitz told The Appeal, police officers are not bound to the code of ethics that holds lawyers accountable. “A prosecutor is ethically bound to exercise discretion. A police officer has no such duty,” he said. That discretion, said Alexandra Natapoff, professor of law at the University of California, Irvine and author of “Punishment Without Crime,” is crucial to and hugely impactful on the lives of those being arraigned. “The moment when an arrested person becomes a defendant is when the criminal system is supposed to make a thoughtful decision about who should enter the adversarial process,” said Natapoff

In Providence, every arrest made by the police department turns into a charge, said Lague, the spokesperson. Prosecuting each arrest without exercising discretion violates the American Bar Association’s prosecutorial standards, which lists 16 reasons a prosecutor should decline to press charges. These reasons range from the weakness of a case to more serious issues, including improper conduct by law enforcement, the influence of any improper biases, or the effect of prosecution on public welfare.

Prosecutors are supposed to serve as bulwarks against charges that are frivolous, unsubstantiated or unjust, said Friedlander, the attorney at the Rhode Island Center for Justice. In Rhode Island District Court, Friedlander explained, no such bulwark exists. This lack of independent review, she said, creates a clear conflict of interest between the goals of local police departments and the role of a prosecutor, which, according to the bar association is, “to serve the public and not any particular government agency, law enforcement officer or unit, witness or victim.”

Proceeding with charges is a serious decision that can mean the difference between a life with a criminal record and one without, said Norman Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “Those convictions have enormous collateral consequences that stay with people for the rest of their life,” Reimer said. “These are very consequential proceedings when you get a criminal conviction.”

Stephen Erickson, who served as a Rhode Island District Court judge for 20 years, described one example he observed from the bench. In Warwick in the early 2000s, Erickson explained, “The police were laser-focused on prosecuting shoplifting, even minor offenses,” he said, seeking convictions in all cases––rather than community service or dropping the charges, as other police departments would. “It’s almost as if they were an arm of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce,” Erickson said.

Horwitz believes Peter Neronha, the state’s attorney general, is in a position to change the status quo. “If something illegal is happening in his state, he should exercise that same prosecutorial discretion I am talking about to address it.”

One solution, Horwitz said, is to have the attorney general’s office take over misdemeanor prosecutions. When asked whether he would support such a solution, Neronha cited the challenge of asking for money from the state legislature to hire more lawyers. “In a perfect world, would I do that? Of course I would,” Neronha said. “But I also know what’s realistic and what isn’t right now.”

Berke, the state courts spokesperson, also cited money and pragmatism as concerns. “These issues involving the use of police prosecutors are intertwined with a practical and fiscal reality which cannot be ignored,” he said. “The courts and the litigants, in their varying roles, are constrained to deal with that reality.” As a result, the fiscal burden of prosecuting misdemeanors is left to cities and towns, each of which must staff police officers to attend court each morning.

Alternatively, Erickson said that the court’s chief judge, Jeanne E. LaFazia, could issue an order that no one without a law degree may conduct arraignments. When asked whether the chief judge could issue such an order, Berke said, “The decision to delegate prosecutorial responsibilities to the cities and towns rests solely with the office of the attorney general.”

Rhode Island does not face any legal challenges over its use of police prosecutors, but experts like Horwitz say the practice deserves more scrutiny. “At the initial, and in some ways most important stage of the criminal process,” he said, “the state is committing a crime in an effort to prosecute a case.”

Prosecutors across the country are increasingly intervening in the first stages of the criminal process to implement progressive policy changes. In Boston, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins developed a list of 15 charges, such as shoplifting and minor driving offenses, that should generally be either dismissed before arraignment or diverted and treated as civil infractions. Similarly, in Philadelphia, District Attorney Larry Krasner directed his staff to not seek money bail for a majority of the offenses his office charges, in addition to other reforms.

Said Natapoff: “There is a new appreciation for just how profoundly prosecutors shape the American criminal system.”

via The Appeal https://theappeal.org

October 10, 2019 at 11:58AM

This Week’s Corrupt Cops Stories

A rapey reserve officer is in hot water in Louisiana, an NYPD officer who moonlighted as a bodyguard for El Chapo’s wife gets nailed in a sting, an Indiana hospital cop gets caught with his fingers in the pain pill jar, and more. Let’s get to it:

In New York City, an NYPD officer was arrested last Wednesday in a drug sting. Officer Ishmael Bailey, who recently moonlighted as a bodyguard for the wife of Sinaloa Cartel head Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s wife during his trial, went down after being caught transporting cocaine for an undercover officer posing as a drug dealer. He is charged with selling and possessing cocaine, as well as receiving bribes, conspiracy and official misconduct.

In Muncie, Indiana, a former Indiana University Ball Memorial Hospital police officer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly stealing pain medications from a hospital safe. Michael Goldsmith, 30, went down after surveillance video implicated him in the theft of 141 opioid pain pills. He is charged with official misconduct, obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or deceit, theft and possession of a controlled substance.

In Merryville, Louisiana, a Merryville police reserve officer was arrested Monday on charges he gave drugs to a 16-year-old boy and then sexually assaulted him. Reserve Officer Roland Harrison, 38, faces charges of rape and drug possession. He also faces four counts of unauthorized use of movables, for taking police gear including uniforms without authorization.

In Harvest, Alabama, a state prison guard was arrested Tuesday after he got caught trying to smuggle drugs into the Limestone Correctional Facility. Officer Travis Wales, 39, got caught with a Subutex pill, a bag of methamphetamine, and a bottle of synthetic urine substitute (for passing drug tests). He is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband after a drug dog found the contraband in Wales’ possession.

via Criminal Justice https://ift.tt/2Np9czi

September 25, 2019 at 05:57PM

Jurors convict ex-cop who shot man after entering wrong apartment; ‘castle doctrine’ is at issue

Jurors convicted a former Dallas police officer of murder Tuesday for shooting and killing a black man after she mistook his apartment for hers.

Jurors convicted Amber Guyger even though they were allowed to consider whether the “castle doctrine” protected her, the Washington Post and NBC News reports.

Guyger was accused of shooting and killing 26-year-old Botham Jean, whose apartment was directly above hers, after opening his unlocked door in September 2018 and seeing him seated on his couch. Jean was unarmed and eating ice cream. Guyger said she feared for her life after opening the door and seeing a “silhouette figure” in the dark apartment.

Judge Tammy Kemp ruled Monday that jurors could consider whether Guyger was protected by the castle doctrine, according to prior reports by the Washington Post, the Texas Tribune, the Dallas Morning News and CNN.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the castle doctrine holds that people have the right to use deadly force, without retreating, to protect themselves or their home (their “castle”) when they know or have reason to think such force is immediately necessary. They also have the right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, provided that they didn’t provoke the other person, and they weren’t engaged in criminal activity.

Another section of the law cited by the Texas Tribune says people’s use of force is presumed to be reasonable when they know or have reason to think the other person is unlawfully on their property.

Prosecutors have said Guyger was distracted on the night that she entered Jean’s apartment because of sexually explicit text messages from her partner on the police force. She had just finished a shift of nearly 14 hours when she parked on the wrong floor of her apartment building and went to the wrong apartment.

Prosecutor told jurors in closing arguments that the Castle doctrine didn’t apply to Guyger.

Lead prosecutor Jason Hermus argued that Guyger’s use of force wasn’t reasonably necessary. Another prosecutor, Jason Fine, also argued that the doctrine doesn’t apply.

“Who does castle doctrine protect? Homeowners. It protects homeowners against intruders, and now, all of a sudden, the intruder is trying to use it against the homeowner. What are we doing?” Fine said.

Fine said Guyger missed several cues that she was in the wrong apartment, including Jean’s red doormat, the carpet in his home and the apartment number on the door.

Shannon Edmonds, director of governmental relations for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, told the Texas Tribune that the castle doctrine is an ambiguous term, and lawyers disagree about the doctrine’s protections.

Many people were surprised when the judge allowed use of the doctrine, legal analyst Pete Schulte told the Washington Post. Schulte was among them.

“This case is so rare. You couldn’t even make this up for a law school exam,” Schulte said.

via ABA Journal Daily News https://ift.tt/1jXmrxS

October 1, 2019 at 01:25PM

Suspended Margate cop arrested in undercover drug buy, police say

A Margate cop who was already suspended for testing positive for methamphetamine has been arrested during an undercover drug deal, a Lantana police report and court records show.

Christopher Kanan, 31, was arrested Wednesday, posted $19,500 bond and was freed from the Palm Beach County jail in fewer than five hours, records show.

Lantana police used an informant to nab Kanan for trying to buy an ounce of methamphetamine for $500 and a liter of GHB for $300, according to an arrest report.

Because Kanan already had a container of GHB in his truck when he showed up at an apartment near Lantana Road and Federal Highway to make his purchase, he also was charged with felony possession of the psychoactive depressant better known as the date-rape drug.

The road patrol officer they had suspended with pay on July 16. Kanan’s suspension on Wednesday was converted to unpaid leave and the agency launched a second internal affairs investigation, said Sgt. Michael Druzbik, a spokesman for Margate police.

The agency is restricted from commenting on active criminal and internal investigations, he said.

Kanan was hired on June 6, 2016 and has an annual salary of $61,904.96, Druzbik said.

Kanan’s name was blacked out on an arrest report filed on the Palm Beach County Clerk of Court’s website. The clerk’s online record, however, listed the defendant as Kanan and showed he was facing the exact same charges as the arrestee on the redacted police report.

The police informant had previously been arrested with over 16 ounces of methamphetamine, Lantana police aid.

The informant told police he knew a police officer who was willing to buy methamphetamine and GHB.

GHB has been dubbed the date-rape drug because of its ability, especially when combined with alcohol, to induce unarousable sleep. It gained popularity in the dance club scene because, in small doses, it induces euphoria and sociability and acts as an aphrodisiac.

GHB is comparable to ecstasy. Slang terms for it include liquid ecstasy, lollipops, liquid X or liquid E.

Through an exchange of text messages between the informant and Kanan, a drug deal was negotiated, police said.

Kanan, according to his arrest report, said he was in the market for one ounce of meth for $500 and a liter of GHB for $300 and he would be there in 45 minutes.

When Kanan got there he must have sensed something was amiss.

He was greeted by an undercover cop and told the person he’d negotiated the deal with — the informant — was in the shower.

“[Kanan] examined the water bottle [containing GHB] and the sham methamphetamine several times,” the police report said. “[Kanan] kept saying something doesn’t look right.”

Kanan said he wanted to take a bottle of water to his girlfriend who was outside in his truck, police said.

When he stepped outside, Kanan was arrested.

He carried two bundles of cash, one contained $500 and the other $300, and had a gun in his silver Ford pickup, along with a container of GHB, the report said.

At the police station, Kanan told investigators he “was currently on administrative suspension for testing positive for methamphetamine.”

He denied going to the apartment to buy drugs. Instead, Kanan told police he went there to pick up plastic bins for a friend who was moving into a new apartment.

“[He] stated he did not remember sending any text messages and refused to show me his messages on his phone,” Kanan’s arrest report said.

Kanan was booked into jail at 11:14 p.m. Wednesday, posted bond and was out by 4:08 a.m., records show.

His 29-year-old girlfriend, Zamantha Kluger, was not arrested but might be, Detective Sgt. Jim Eddy, of the Lantana Police Department, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I’m hoping she’s going to be charged,” he said.

via “Miami arrested” – Google News https://ift.tt/2n0uU0B

September 27, 2019 at 02:34PM

Florida city commissioner confronts deputy at awards ceremony over arrest

“You’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here,” Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin told Broward County Deputy Joshua Gallardo.

South Florida city commissioner confronted a deputy at an awards ceremony honoring members of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office for falsely arresting him four years ago.

The confrontation happened Wednesday at an Officer of the Month program at the Tamarac City Commission meeting. After Deputy Joshua Gallardo and others received their honors, Commissioner Mike Gelin is seen in a video grabbing the microphone and calling Gallardo back down to the floor.

“It’s good to see you again. You probably don’t remember me. But you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin says in a video obtained by NBC Miami. “You lied on the police report. I believe you are a rogue police officer, you’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here.”

Gallardo just nods his head, gives a thumbs-up sign and walks away after the commissioner finishes talking. Mayor Michelle Gomez then takes the microphone and thanks the sheriff’s office.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate as a whole BSO and everything you do for us,” Gomez says. “Thank you for your service to our community. We appreciate you. Please take that away from here today.”

Gallardo arrested Gelin in July 2015 for allegedly resisting and obstructing without violence, according to NBC Miami. Gelin had allegedly recorded police as they responded to a battery incident, the Miami Herald reported.

Gelin was not a city commissioner at the time, and the charges were dropped. Tamarac is about 14 miles northwest of Fort Lauderdale.

Gomez and the Broward County Police Benevolent Association have publicly criticized Gelin for confronting the deputy at the ceremony.

“As a public official, Commissioner Gelin’s behavior towards a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is unacceptable,” PBA president Rod Skirvin said in a statement posted on Facebook. The labor union said it had withdrawn its endorsement of Gelin.

“The Broward County PBA will not endorse any elected official who treats law enforcement officers with a complete lack of respect and common courtesy the way Commissioner Gelin did in his official duties representing the city of Tamarac,” Skirvin said.

Gomez said in a statement Saturday that Gelin’s comments were “highly inappropriate.”

“This was neither the time nor the forum to air personal grievances. I believe this clearly violated the City’s civility code,” she said. “This is NOT the way we treat employees or people who work for our City. There are proper channels to follow, but the Commissioner chose not to use them.”

The mayor said she has talked with the city attorney about what actions can be taken and thanked Gallardo for handling the situation in a “professional way.”

“I speak for the City of Tamarac when I say that we have the utmost respect for BSO and the Deputies who put their lives on the line each day to safeguard our community,” Gomez said.

Fellow Tamarac Commissioner Julie Fishman said in a Facebook postthat Gelin should have confronted the deputy in private.

“One of the most important ideas of being an elected official is conducting oneself with dignity and in an ethical manner; not using the office you are in for personal gain or personal use,” she wrote.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement Saturday on Facebook, Gelin thanked his supporters, writing: “Wrongful arrests can have life long and career altering consequences. It is important that justice applies to everyone.”

via “Miami arrested” – Google News https://ift.tt/2n0uU0B

September 28, 2019 at 06:01PM

Police Offered Virtual Reality ‘Empathy Training’

When dealing with someone experiencing a mental-health crisis, empathy is one of the most valuable tools a police officer has. Being able to empathize with the victim is often the first step in de-escalating a crisis before it turns more chaotic or dangerous. In a high-pressure situation, when a first responder is confronting someone in the throes of a suicidal or psychotic episode, empathetic feelings are often replaced by another feeling: paralyzing fear, the Washington Post reports. “They’re showing up to various scenes with an adrenaline spike,” says Laura Brown of Axon, a company known for making Tasers that has become the biggest U.S. seller of police body cameras. “The innate fear reaction is the most important thing police need to learn how to regulate during situations involving people suffering from mental-health issues.”

Axon doesn’t want officers to use the company’s Tasers each time the opportunity arises. Instead, company officials want to help law enforcement officers become more familiar with using empathy to resolve emergencies when confusion is high and verbal commands lose their effectiveness. Axon has released “empathy development training” based in virtual reality. Axon has unveiled similar virtual training — using Oculus Go virtual reality headsets — to prepare first responders for scenarios involving people with autism and schizophrenia. “The ability to tell the difference between someone who’s acting in an unusual way that may be due to their autism versus someone who could be a risk to you can be a really fine line,” David Kearon of the group Autism Speaks told the Associated Press. “When you’re trying to make that judgment very quickly, that’s where we see mistakes made.” Axon is the latest major organization to harness virtual reality as a means of preparing people for operating in complex, high-pressure environments where there is little room for error.

via The Crime Report https://ift.tt/2myW3Gx

September 25, 2019 at 11:25AM

Video shows cops tackling, arresting black man who was videotaping them on cellphone

The video begins with three police officers walking toward a man holding his cellphone as he points the camera their way. An officer asks why the cellphone camera is so close to his face. A few seconds later, the camera is on the ground pointed skyward, but still recording audio as officers wrestle with the man and ultimately arrest him.

In between, the man obeys police orders as he steps backward toward a sidewalk across the street. Still, the officers follow him closely, repeatedly telling him to get the camera out of their faces.

“You guys are pressing me out,” the man says just before the cops tackle him to the ground, knocking his cellphone from his hands. “Oh my God.”

Just after midnight on Sunday, police arrested a musician named Emanuel David Williams, 30, and charged him with breach of the peace, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence. Police said they were called to Williams’ Overtown apartment by his girlfriend, who was breaking up with him and concerned about retrieving her personal belongings.

Though Williams doesn’t dispute that account first reported by the Miami New Times, he said the three Miami officers seen in the video wouldn’t let him get into his apartment. Then they followed him closely as he backed up on the street, even as they ordered him to head that way. Then, according to Williams, after one of the officers swatted his phone away, they tackled him to the ground and punched him in the head.

“I was shocked my phone even picked up the part after they knocked it out of my hand. I only got my phone back after I got out of jail. I didn’t think my phone caught all that,” he told New Times.

Video shows cops tackling, arresting black man who was videotaping them on cellphone  Miami Herald

September 26, 2019 at 02:55PM

Trial Opens for Former Officer Who Killed Unarmed Black Man in His Apartment

Botham Shem Jean posed no threat to the off-duty police officer who shot and killed him as he was watching television in his Dallas apartment last year, and in the final startled moments of his life, he had no chance to tell the officer she had entered the wrong apartment, a prosecutor told jurors on Monday, the opening day of the officer’s murder trial.

The former officer, Amber R. Guyger, 31, was returning home from her patrol shift in September 2018 when she entered what she said she believed was her own apartment. While standing at an apartment exactly one floor above her own, she fired her weapon twice at Mr. Jean, her 26-year-old neighbor, striking him once in the torso and killing him.

via Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings https://ift.tt/2aXA2Kq

September 23, 2019 at 11:22AM