Archive for September, 2009

Taser kills man, police serving warrant for pot use

September 28, 2009

genthumbMANATEE COUNTY (Bay News 9) — A Bradenton man died early Monday morning after being Tasered by Bradenton police.

The incident occurred about 12:18 a.m. when officers initiated a traffic stop (he was riding a bicycle) in the 700 block of 27th Street East.

Police said, Derrick Humbert, 35, refused to stop and fled on foot, running through yards of homes.

One of the officers Tasered Humbert and the officers placed him in custody. Humbert was taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital for medical clearance prior to being taken to jail, but he died while being treated.

Police said they later learned Humbert had an outstanding arrest warrant for possession of marijuana.

The police department is investigating the incident and awaiting autopsy results. They said no more details will be released until the investigation is complete.

Police chief said: “Over six feet tall and over 200 pounds, so, it would have been safer in this particular case to use the Taser,” said Lewis. According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Humbert was actually only 5’5″ tall.

It’s amazing to me that we can fight the death penalty with such vigor, but shrug off these death penalty for victimless crime arrests by Leo.  Oba Chandler still sits on FL death row after raping and tying up three women and drowning them in Tampa Bay. Over 1000 people over the last 30 years have had their death sentences commuted by higher courts and all of them were convicted of some heinous murder, but Leos can kill someone for pot smoking?  State law allows the use of a taser if there is physical resistance or an attempt to escape.

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Camera saves five men from life in prison

September 18, 2009

I can tell you that if you are accused of a sex crime, it is nearly impossible to prove that you didn’t do it , if the accuser sticks to her story. Everyone, especially the media, immediately believes that a rape story is true and that the accused who are arrested are guilty. The five men who were accused of gang rape at Hofstra University were totally dead in the water, if you listened to all the news coverage after the accusation and before the woman recanted. The Nassau County district attorney said the 18-year-old freshman accuser recanted her story late Wednesday night after prosecutors told her the encounter may have been recorded on a cell phone.

Make sure that you carry a camera and an audio recorder with you at all times. If you are planning on having sex with someone, you are not married to, record a conversation that indicates that you and your partner are doing this consensually. Sucks, but that is the way it goes these days. That little camera saved those guys from a lifetime of pain. What’s going to happen to the girl? Probably nothing.

Leos and prosecutors are in a real rock and hard place on sex crime accusations. On one hand, if they don’t believe the accuser, they get plastered from the rape victim(s) crowd and if they over-prosecute and manufacture evidence, they are cast as evil persecutors. Lots and lots of men in recent years have been released from years in prison because of DNA evidence. We really shouldn’t automatically believe that the accused are sex criminals before their trials. Keep a camera with you.

Duel Standards?

September 18, 2009

(I purposely misspelled duel. A play on words, get it, duel and dual), otherwise known as a “malapropism.”

Two Leo not in uniform cases raise some questions. Locally, two recent arrests raise some interesting questions involving police officers. The first, a federal ICE officer was driving down a street, off duty in shorts and t-shirt, and saw two 9 year old boys pointing what he said were guns at his car. He stopped the car and went to talk to the boys who were playing with toy guns. The mom came out and the Leo was said to have gotten testy with her, but he did identify himself as a Leo and said he showed her his ID. The dad came out and told him to get off his property and the Leo then said that the dad grabbed a bat and threatened to beat him with the bat if he didn’t leave, no violence occurred. The local police arrived and arrested the dad for attempted battery on a Leo, a felony.

The other case, a mom was picking her daughter up from elementary school and drove into a private home driveway to turn around. The mom was confronted by an angry 51 year old woman running at her car, allegedly pointing a gun at her and her daughter. The daughter was so afraid, that she bounded into the back seat floor for cover. When the local police arrived, it was discovered that the 51 year old homeowner was a police officer from another agency, but said she was holding a cell phone and not a gun. Other witnesses said that she was brandishing a gun, threatening the driver. The police officer was arrested for felony aggravated assault with a firearm. This Leo was fired by the agency because she took the fifth with her boss. Typically, Leos aren’t allowed to remain silent with personnel matters, that is why most Leos when accused of crimes, resign or are fired if they won’t testify to internal affairs.

The chief of police of the agency who arrested the dad told reporters who questioned the arrest that even though the ICE officer was in shorts and t-shirt that “police officers are always on duty.” So, the reasoning goes that in the second case when the mom driving the car sues the agency of this police officer for violating her civil rights, the agency and the union can’t cry “but our officer was at home, out of uniform and not on duty.”

I don’t agree with threatening anyone with a weapon even at your own home unless you are in fear of your family’s safety. In most cases, the best weapon that you can use is a camera. In neither case was the homeowner in fear of his/her life or even destruction of their property. In the first case, if the dad had just said thanks for coming by and took the two boys and the wife inside that would have been the extent of it. In the second case, it seems that the 51 year old female Leo was having a very bad day and possibly not controlling her hormones.

But in both cases, if the citizens had had cameras and audio recording, justice would come to light. When police officers are confronted with misconduct, they normally don’t come completely clean. I’m not saying that they always lie about these types of situations, but I’ve heard the cell-phone excuse so many times as I want to hurl.

Dash board cameras for your car have become incredibly inexpensive. I have one that you can’t even tell is a camera, less than 2 inches long and is voice activated. It was less than $100. In the first case, if the dad had grabbed his video recording device, he would have gotten rid of the Leo a lot faster than grabbing a bat. Don’t resort to violence when you can resort to recording.

In the second case, if the mom had her dash cam going, there wouldn’t have been a question about the gun brandishing, she would have been a You-tube celebrity and the police agency would just give her money to not sue.

Raided and arrested for allowing dog to die at home

September 14, 2009

A judge will actually sign a break down the door search warrant for this?

It just keeps getting worse!!!

September 11, 2009

Cape Coral – A 72-year-old man says he passed a breathalyzer but was arrested for D.U.I. anyway.
Police say there were traces of some type of substance in his urine but Vincent Tallo says that’s impossible.
“I’ve served my country, my record is clean and this is how I’m treated,” said Vincent Tallo.
Tallo was arrested at a D.U.I. checkpoint on Friday.
He and friend Mary Debenedetta were on their way home after a night of dancing.
“I bought a bottle of beer and sipped that bottle for two hours,” said Tallo.
The couple pulled up to the checkpoint and was approached by an officer.
“He asked me–had I been drinking, I told him I had one beer,” said Tallo.
Tallo said he had to follow the officer’s finger with his eyes and do a few more field tests.
“He told me to stand on my right foot and put my hands at my side. He said, Sir, you are arrested for D.U.I.–I said what? I requested the breathalyzer,” said Tallo.
Tallo said a female officer gave him the breathalyzer test and he blew a .000.
The 72-year-old was taken to a portable bathroom and asked to urinate in a cup.
“They’re doing a urine test– I said this guys a health-nut he doesn’t even take an Advil ,” said passenger Debenedetta.
Cape Coral police tell us the test can show twelve different drug classifications.
They say something showed up in Tallo’s test but they have to wait until the results come back from the state before they know exactly what it is.
Tallo traffic citation says “D.U.I.–pending urine”. The couple is now fighting the charges.
“I want other people to not go through this ever,” said Debenedetta.

Tallo was issued a citation and notice to appeal for “DUI — Pending Urine — Checkpoint,” the documents state. Due to Tallo’s vehicle being towed, he and Debenedetta walked to Debenedetta’s house, more than two miles away. SA office declined to prosecute.

UPDATE: The city has paid out nearly $41,000 total in two separate lawsuits where the Cape Coral police were accused of false arrests at DUI checkpoints. The city settled earlier this month with Vincent Tallo and James Wilhelm. On July 13, the city agreed to a $22,000 settlement with Tallo, while on July 15, it entered into a $18,750 settlement agreement with Wilhelm, officials said.

When are enough people going to insist that these aberrations of the United States Constitution be abolished? These checkpoints are so despicable, I cannot even control my temper. We had one of these checkpoints in Sarasota county over the weekend and the Leos made 9 DUI arrests (all of their arrests in 2008 were thrown out of court because of police misconduct at the checkpoints) and wrote 207 citations. How is it possible to write 207 citations if you are just asking people if they are impaired? What is wrong with us?

Why do think I have a camera outside my front door?

September 10, 2009

I know Mark Flanagan. We used to call him Ken because he looked so much like Ken from “Ken and Barbie”. He was a very able legislator from a conservative district in Manatee County. He did a lot of good for many people in our State.

Here is another Gates stop. I’ve named these police encounters “Gates Stops” after the so called “Terry Stop” (and Professor Gates encounter) that police use so often to abuse civil rights of people just walking around on the street.

Mark made one huge mistake. He went outside his home to talk with the police. DON’T OPEN YOUR DOOR TO SOMEONE WHO CAN DO LEGAL VIOLENCE TO YOU!!!

Watch Barry Cooper’s DVD on police coming to your home. He is one of the first civil rights guys that I’ve heard who has said what I have said for years. He asks, “Why are the police knocking on your door?” Because if they had a warrant, they would have broken down the door to get at you. They need your permission to come into your home or to even talk to you. Mark did the right thing, he said he couldn’t speak to police without his lawyer. The cop tackled him and took him to jail. I don’t think Leo Harrington will be working there much longer as the former Sheriff Charlie Wells and Mark were really good friends. The Sheriff now is a guy who got the job because Charlie recommended him for the job. Leo Harrington probably hasn’t read that Sheriffs have to run for office and have to be elected in Florida.

BRADENTON – Prosecutors will not pursue a misdemeanor charge against former state Rep. Mark Flanagan, who was tackled and arrested by a Sheriff’s deputy outside his home in western Manatee County.
Meanwhile, the deputy who made the arrest, Lee Harrington, will be investigated by the Sheriff’s Office.
The State Attorney’s Office has quickly dropped a resisting arrest charge against Flanagan, jailed on Monday during a confrontation at his home in the 1300 block of 91st Court Northwest.
Harrington, a Manatee Sheriff’s deputy, went to Flanagan’s home to look for his son, Kevin. Lawmen were investigating a hit-and-run crash and found a cell phone at the scene with a text message from the younger Flanagan.
When deputies arrived, Mark Flanagan opened the door, said he knew where his son was but asked the deputy to leave a card. Flanagan refused to speak to the deputy without a lawyer.
Harrington, the deputy, said Flanagan was impeding the investigation and took the former legislator to the ground to put on handcuffs.
Flanagan, 46, was released on a $750 bond.
He served four terms in the state House, from 1994 to 2002, and represented west Manatee County.

Read this Great advice from Barry Cooper.

Top Four Reasons Why You Should Never Talk To The Kops

Tuesday, 01 September 2009 20:21
The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to never be a witness against yourself.  These are the top four reasons why you should never talk to the police.

 

Reason #1.  There is no way talking to the kops can help you. You can’t talk your way out of getting arrested.  You can’t give them any information that will help you at trial. Anything you say can only be used against you and not for you.  In fact, during your trial if your attorney asks an officer to repeat what you told him because it will help your case, the prosecutor can and will object because it’s hearsay.

Reason #2.  Whether you are guilty or not guilty, you may still be manipulated into admitting your guilt with no benefit in return. In more than 25% of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants either made incriminating statements, delivered outright confessions or plead guilty.

Reason #3.  Even if you are innocent and deny your guilt and mostly tell the truth, you can easily get carried away and tell some little lie or make a little mistake that can hang you. The only time you should talk to the kops is in the presents of a jury.  Having citizen witnesses and a court of record ensures your words do not get twisted and minor mistakes do not jeopardize your freedom.

Reason #4.  Even if you are innocent and always tell the truth, you will always give the police some information that can be used to help convict you. Supreme Court Ohio vs. Reiner states, “One of the Fifth Amendment’s basic functions is to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.  Truthful responses of an innocent witness as well as those of a wrongdoer may provide the government with incriminating evidence from the speaker’s own mouth.”  Too many Americans view the Fifth Amendment privilege as a shelter for wrongdoers.

 

UPDATE:

MANATEE COUNTY — A deputy was suspended and demoted after an internal investigation found he was wrong to tackle and arrest a former state legislator from Manatee County.

Deputy Lee Harrington was suspended 120 hours and will lose 120 hours in vacation pay for tackling former state Rep. Mark Flanagan in September.

Harrington also was demoted to the dispatch center, losing $11,000 in salary, and will now make $32,000 a year.

On Sept. 7, Harrington went to Flanagan’s home to find Flanagan’s son, who was considered a witness to a hit-and-run crash. When Flanagan would not tell the deputy where to find his son, Harrington went into the hallway and took the former lawmaker to the ground.

Flanagan was arrested, but a misdemeanor obstruction charge against him was quickly dropped, and the sheriff ordered an internal investigation.

The inquiry found that Flanagan was wrongfully arrested because deputies are only supposed to enter homes with permission or in search of felony suspects.

Swamped under

September 10, 2009

Dr. Susan MacManus was commissioned to do a poll in our county. The poll asked various questions about what residents and voters felt about various topics. Obviously, the number one overriding issue was the economy and jobs. But was interesting to me is that crime was 3rd from the bottom at 3% and nearly 50% of respondents said that they absolutely did not favor a temporary tax increase for a new jail even though the current facility is at capacity.

During a recession as severe as this one, you might expect that violent crime would go through the roof. More people without money means more robbing, stealing, and gun play because people are frustrated over their situations. However, this isn’t happening. Overall crime in Charlotte County was down 27.4 percent. Its unemployment rate is 12.1 percent.

What is happening, however, is that our jail is filled with non-violent, victimless crime “offenders” who either can not extricate themselves from the “system” or have just said the heck with it at least I can get medical care and food here at the jail. We have turned our local jail into a debtor’s prison. Something the House of Burgesses did away with in 1619.

The system is not going to get any more money to build more jail space, so they have to deal with it.  This is what should be done.

What the State Attorney should do immediately is inform law enforcement that he will not prosecute <20 grams of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia arrests. These are both minor misdemeanors and this would certainly lighten the load on the court and the jail.

Shoplifting prosecutions under $100 should be suspended and a seminar should be done with store managers to educate them how to deal with this issue internally.

Also something has to be done with the innumerable arrests for no or suspended DL’s. I haven’t got an answer for this yet, but the fine, suspend, arrest, fine, arrest for contempt, fine and no collections on these “crimes” is idiotic.

I could do…..

September 9, 2009

a blog on just shoplifting.

More shoplifting crap. A&F wouldn’t let two girls into a fitting room because they were afraid of shoppers stealing from them. My question is, if you are in the selling business, why are you afraid that people are going to steal from you? Is everyone is a potential thief? Why not just try to sell as much as you possibly can and don’t worry so much about the thief here and there? This cost A & F 115K. How much stuff could teenagers shoplift before you could get to 115k? You people are a bunch of bozos.  Here is the story::

Abercrombie & Fitch was fined $115,264 for refusing to let an Apple Valley teen help her autistic sister try on clothes.

Molly Maxson, then 14, was with her older sister on a back-to-school shopping trip in August 2005 when a store employee told them they couldn’t both enter the fitting room because of store policy aimed at preventing shoplifting. The store refused to relent even after the sister, and later the girls’ mother, explained that Molly couldn’t be alone because of her disability.

The confrontation humiliated the girl, who testified that the incident made her feel like a “misfit.”

“She was singled out and required to hear her sister and mother repeatedly ask for accommodations based on her disability, in front of a long line of customers, at a store that markets itself to young people as a purveyor of a particularly desirable ‘look,'” administrative law judge Kathleen D. Sheehy declared in her ruling.

When several complaints to the company were ignored, the girl’s mother, Beth Maxson of Apple Valley, took the case to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

Death penalty for shoplifting

September 8, 2009

BEIJING – Two employees of a Wal-Mart store in eastern China were arrested after a woman was beaten outside the store on suspicion of being a shoplifter and died, a state-owned newspaper reported Tuesday.

The China Daily said Yu Xiaochun died 500 yards (meters) from the store in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province.

Local police said in a notice posted on their Web site that the 37-year old Yu was going home Aug. 30 when she was surrounded by five Wal-Mart employees — four men and one woman, all in their 20s — who accused her of shoplifting.

This was in China, so we can’t get too worked up about this, but this craziness over apprehending shoplifters has got to stop. Every single person who is detained over a “suspicion” of shoplifting here in the US should sue the store for violation of civil rights in federal court. If a store employee stops you because the sensormatic beeps, ask to to speak to the manager and inform him that you will be hiring a lawyer to seek damages against the store for a violation of your civil rights because they are violating your protection against unreasonable seizure and search guaranteed by the 4th amendment. If you are leaving a store like Wal-Mart and they ask to see your receipt to verify an item that you purchased, they are seizing you and searching you without probable cause.

If store managers are held accountable, these extreme cases, like the one in the above paragraph, are unlikely to happen.

Violence has no place..

September 4, 2009

Ok, I’m a civil libertarian and an opponent of the death penalty. I’m an opponent of victimless crimes, but this one was not a victimless crime. Sorry, Mumia, is guilty. Mumia did it. There is no possible doubt that Mumia killed Officer Danny Faulkner. There were witnesses less than 10 feet away from the scene and Mumia was captured less than 15 ft away from the fatally injured policeman seconds after the shooting. I don’t want the guy to get the needle, but please, this guy is not innocent. Even his supporters are a little unsure of his innocence; their shtick is that he didn’t get a fair trial. Ok, maybe not, but another trial here wouldn’t make any difference. The dude shot the Leo in the back and there is no doubt about this.

In 1981, we didn’t have dash cams. If the Leos had the dash cams here, we wouldn’t even be talking about this.  Cameras and audio on every traffic stop and encounter.