Sunday, June 17, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
|Speak Out Against Police Corruption|
|If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a picture with words on it worth?|
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Speak Out Against Police Corruption
Friday, June 8, 2007
MODESTO, Calif. (AP) -- The city of Modesto announced Wednesday it will pay $2.55 million to settle a suit brought by the parents of an 11-year-old boy killed during a drug raid two years ago.Alberto Sepulveda was accidentally shot and killed by a member of the Modesto Police Department's SWAT Team in September of 2000. Modesto's city attorney, Michael Milich, said most of the $2.55 million will be covered by insurance. The parents of Sepulveda had filed a wrongful death suit against the city following the boy's killing.
It started on February 20, 1997. Two Modesto police officers yanked Michael, then a 16-year old junior, from his second period class for questioning in a gang-related shooting. School officials cooperated fully with the police and did nothing to intercede on Michael’s behalf. Michael was subjected to hours of threats from the police right at his school. What took place at the school sent Michael to jail for a year.
Officers Al Brocchini and Detective Nick Chilles arrived at the high school and took Michael down to the attendance office where they interrogated him relentlessly. They wanted information on a burglary and subsequent shooting. Michael didn’t have any information for them; he claims he wasn’t there. But police kept after him, threatening and making promises throughout the entire morning.
Michael wanted the session to end. The police told him repeatedly that he would not be prosecuted as long as he cooperated with them and provided information about other gang members who were involved in the burglary and shooting. They told him that even if he was the shooter, he would not be booked. And they said that if he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, he would be sent to jail.
Worn down and confused, Michael told them what they wanted to hear. He made a false confession. The police put words into his mouth. In reviewing the 169-page transcript, an expert on police interrogations called the statement "grossly" coercive.
Then, true to their word, the cops took him home. When he got there, Michael explained the false confession to his father. The father called the police and said that his son had lied. The police responded by returning with a warrant and arresting Michael. He was then charged with 11 counts of attempted murder and remained incarcerated for the next year.
During that time Michael recanted his confession. The police, using their coercive methods once again, were able to extract statements from two other youths who claimed that Michael was involved. Michael ultimately took a lie detector test which showed that he was not involved in the burglary and shooting.
When Michael was first arrested, he was placed in juvenile hall. Inmates cannot post bail to get released from juvenile hall. When it was later determined that he would be tried as an adult, he was transferred to the men’s jail and bail was posted at $250,000. This amount was too high for Michael’s family to pay. So Michael remained in jail. In order to do his best for his client, Michael’s attorney had to request a number of delays of court appearances and Michael remained in jail.
Finally after Michael had passed two polygraph tests and repeatedly denied that he was involved, a deputy district attorney asked the Superior Court to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence.
Michael is now free. But I cannot imagine what spending a year in an adult jail for a crime he did not commit has done to someone so young. Not only was Michael unfairly punished, police focus on the wrong boy let the real perpetrator to go free.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Chilhowie Town Manager Bill Boswell spent Friday morning preparing for his employees’ Memorial Day picnic. But beneath the bounty of burgers, hot dogs, fun and games ran the undercurrent of a shake-up at the town police department that would rattle anyone. Earlier this week, the town’s former police chief and a recently fired sergeant were both arrested on charges involving the sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl at a Halloween haunted house last fall. In addition, a third officer was arrested on a charge of selling the painkiller hydrocodone. All three officers were indicted this week and had either resigned or been fired by the town. The arrests cut the town’s police force of six in half.
Friday afternoon, Smyth County Circuit Court Judge Charles B. Flannagan II set $20,000 secured bonds for both former Chilhowie police chief Dwayne Sheffield and Sgt. Brian Doss. The two had previously been held at Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon. The judge also placed multiple conditions on the two defendants, including placing them under house arrest using electronic monitoring devices and ordering them to certify that there are no firearms or alcohol in their homes. They were also ordered not to have any contact with the victim or her family. Former officer James E. Runyon, 29, of Chilhowie, who was indicted on Tuesday for distribution of a Schedule III controlled substance, had already been released on a $1,500 bond.
The charges against Sheffield and Doss stemmed from an incident with a 17-year-old girl at a haunted house fundraising event in October, Virginia State Police investigators said. Sheffield is charged with rape, object sexual penetration, felony child endangerment, sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Doss is charged with forcible sodomy, felony child endangerment, sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. According to the indictments, Sheffield and Doss had sex with the girl "by force, threat or intimidation" and "against her will ... while having the custody of a child."
An indictment does not address guilt or innocence but reflects only the grand jury’s belief the charge merits prosecution. Reaction in the Smyth County town runs the gamut. "I was shocked," said Chilhowie Barber Shop owner Larry McClure, who has given the former officers a cut or two.
Lee Harrell, appointed as special prosecutor in the case in March, wouldn’t say much on the case. "These are serious allegations," he said. "The grand jury found probable cause for the indictments, and the case now proceeds to trial. Because the victim is a minor, I will not comment further on the case to protect the victim and the integrity of the investigation." Virginia State Police Sgt. Michael Conroy also had little to say.
In early May, the Chilhowie Town Council voted 5-0 in a special called meeting to terminate Sheffield and Doss. The council met in closed session and the meeting took place before the indictments came out. The officers were terminated" Boswell said. The town has advertised for two police officer positions, and in the meantime, it is working with the county sheriff’s office and state police to patrol the streets. "When something like this happens, what you do is reschedule and work with the other available law enforcement agencies to make sure you’re covered," Boswell said Friday. "Everyone’s working overtime now, but we’re having no morale problems. We’re doing fine."
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Brenda Grantland – America's leading asset forfeiture defense attorney – gives these examples of government greed in her book "Your House Is Under Arrest":
* Suffolk County, New York. District Attorney James M. Catterton drives around in a BMW 735I that was seized from an alleged drug dealer. He spent $3,412 from the forfeiture fund for mechanical and body work, including $75 for pin-striping.
* Warren County, New Jersey. The assistant chief prosecutor drives a confiscated yellow Corvette.
* Little Compton, Rhode Island. The seven member police force received $3.8 million from the federal forfeiture fund, and spent it on such things as a new 23-foot boat with trailer, and new Pontiac Firebirds.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The head of one Los Angeles police forfeiture squad claims his group personally pocketed over $60 million in seized property.
Why do our courts tolerate these outrageous legalized thefts? Because they get their cut. It's completely legal for confiscated property to be used by police, prosecutors and judges, so long as it's for official business. In 1996, a federal district court even ruled that police can personally receive 25% of the value of any confiscated home, car, or business.
Monday, June 4, 2007
A mentally retarded man in a white shirt walks towards police and is clubbed. Others are clubbed as well as a person in wheelchair knocked over. A girl screams "he's mentally retarded." The cop on bike deliberately smashes into two people standing there videoing. Other cops club them, even after they're on the ground. After several seconds of them not moving, the cop clubs them again and is pushed back by another cop.
Think about this. Police are just like public officials except they don't have to get elected and they get to carry a gun. These people in our police force are able to pull a gun on you at there discretion and we as a society have no say so about who is hired or fired. Pretty much the only way to get rid of a crooked cop is to catch him on video tape breaking the law, and sometimes that is not even enough. Did you know that cops are trained to lie? Thats right, they are trained to tell you whatever it takes to get you to confess to a crime, whether you did it or not.
Another fun fact is that if you score too high on your IQ test, you will be banned from joining any police force. People, Im not making this stuff up! If you don't want to take my word for it, just do a Google search on "scores too high on IQ test for police" . It is ridiculous to keep someone from getting a job because that person is too smart. I wonder how dumb you really have to be to become a cop. The only reason that more of them are not revealed as being crooked is because, as I said before, they are trained to lie. They are trained to know exactly what it takes to get someone convicted of a crime. So of course they know exactly what to do to avoid being caught themselves. Not to mention, the guys that should be arresting them are the same guys that they spend their days off with at the shooting range.