Currently Browsing: Cops Behaving Badly

FBI To Couple: Prove Your Innocence.

Jennifer and Paul Snitko have never been in trouble with the law.

Jennifer is an entertainment lawyer, and Paul is a retired aerospace engineer who in his career, has held multiple levels of security clearances.

The Snitkos had valuables they wished to secure, including a will, backup copies of their home computer’s hard drive, and some family heirlooms including jewelry, a fancy watch, and a class ring. They found a company called U.S. Private Vaults, in Beverly Hills, which offered them more convenience and better hours than a local bank.

However, a grand jury indicted the company on counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs, launder money, and avoid mandatory deposit reporting requirements, none of which had anything to do with the Snitkos.

The FBI raided U.S. Private Vaults based on the indictment.

This is where things go off the rails.

One Would Think That Holding A Prisoner Naked In A Cell Full Of Feces And Urine Would Be Against The Law.

Trent Taylor is a prisoner doing 10 years for robbery in a Texas State Prison.

According to court documents:

Taylor alleges that, for six full days in September 2013, correctional officers confined him in a pair of shockingly unsanitary cells. The first cell was covered, nearly floor to ceiling, in “‘massive amounts’ of feces”: all over the floor, the ceiling, the window, the walls, and even “‘packed inside the water faucet.’”

Fearing that his food and water would be contaminated, Taylor did not eat or drink for nearly four days. Correctional officers then moved Taylor to a second, frigidly cold cell, which was equipped with only a clogged drain in the floor to dispose of bodily wastes.

Kid With Toy Gun Suspended While Virtual Schooling At Home.

Isaiah Elliott is a 12 year old who attends Grand Mountain School (K-8) in Colorado.

Isaiah has been diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities.

While attending a virtual art class, young Isaih picked up a toy gun and moved it from one side of the screen to the other.

Out of the blue, the Elliots were dealing with the police at their door.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, the seventh grader was attending on online art class when a teacher saw Isaiah flash a toy gun across his computer screen. The toy in question is a neon green and black handgun with an orange tip with the words “Zombie Hunter” printed on the side.

“Back The Blue?” Not So Fast.

As the disgusting and unproductive rioting goes on across America, people are rightfully saying that we should support protests, but condemn the violence.

It is hard for people to hold a “conversation” that is wanted and or needed when their business is burned to the ground, damaged or looted.

The flip side of this is the “Back the Blue” “movement” that is out there in social media.

While we agree we should support and back law enforcement, the “Back the Blue” supporters fail to make the critical distinction of backing good cops, and not backing or supporting bad cops.

A few examples to illustrate the point:

More Voices Call For Release Of Edwards Video.

“The moment I release it, I give up all of the security features that are in my jail.” – Sheriff Wayne Ivey

More voices are calling for the release of the video of an incident at the Brevard County Jail where Gregory Lloyd Edwards, a 38-year-old army medic, died while in custody of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Brevard public defender, defense lawyers call on sheriff to release jail video involving Gregory Edwards and corrections deputies

Members of a criminal defense attorney organization, along with the Brevard County Public Defender are calling for Sheriff Wayne Ivey to release a jail video showing a violent confrontation between Gregory Edwards and corrections deputies.

Edwards died the next day.

Margaret Wagner, a criminal defense attorney and representative of the Brevard chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said that lawyers and prosecutors are frequently provided videos of jail interactions and fights as part of public trials and court cases. The group has over 50 members in Brevard.

Buffalo Chips.

You may have seen this video of alleged police brutality from Buffalo, NY.

Martin Gugino fell to the ground, hit his head on the sidewalk and blood could be seen as the contingent of officers walked by the fallen man. Officers Aaron Torgalski, 39, and Robert McCabe, 32, were suspended without pay and arraigned Saturday on second-degree assault charges and released on their own recognizance.

Initially, the Buffalo Police Department said the man “tripped.” When the video surfaced, the department changed their tune a bit.

In response to the two officers being charged, all 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team resigned from that team.

The police union said it was in response to the charges against the two officers.

Tinder Box.

(cartoon courtesy AF Branco at Comically Incorrect.)

We barely know where to begin. In a week that has seen the death of one man – George Floyd – ignite a country that has become divided along lines that make no sense to us and has resulted in the deaths of police and citizens, to say nothing of injuries to police and citizens.

We have no idea where it will end, but it is a law of nature that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more violent the rioters and looters become, the more they will be met with violence from the police and property owners. The more violence exerted by the police and property owners, the more violence we will see from rioters and looters.

Lost in all of this is the legitimate message of protestors who say that changes must be made in the policing of America.

We agree.

UTAH: Just Say “No” To Drug Dogs.

A Federal Court has ruled that in the state of Utah, so called “alerts” by drug sniffing dogs are unreliable and cannot be used as a premise for a search of a car for drugs and anything else.

In the case of United States v. Jordan, the Court wrote:

Thus, the finding of probable cause here was based solely on Officer Moore’s subjective interpretation of what he believed Tank’s actions meant. Such a finding cannot be considered “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment, as the Supreme Court has long held that more than such “inarticulate hunches” are necessary in order to permit “intrusions upon constitutionally guaranteed rights,” recognizing that “[i]f subjective good faith alone were the test, the protections of the Fourth Amendment would evaporate, and the people would be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, only in the discretion of the police.” See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 22, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968) (quotations and citations omitted). Indeed, even in the Tenth Circuit, where alerts may be sufficient to support probable cause, a court must find an officer’s testimony that he believed his dog alerted to be credible in order to sustain a finding of probable cause. See Parada, 577 F.3d at 1281.

The issue in this case was the initial training and post certification training the dog received. In the case, a dog by the name of “Tank,” was trained to “find” drugs in cars, “alerting” to the alleged presence of drugs, thus allowing the police to search a vehicle at a traffic stop. This has been standard procedure for some time. Courts have generally allowed that the dogs are reliable or at least have a “good faith” exception that there might be drugs in the car. This practice was thwarted somewhat by a Supreme Court case called Rodiguez v. The United States. In that case, the Court said that at a traffic stop, the police could not detain a person longer than it took to complete the initial traffic stop. What the police were doing was to stop a person, work on the ticket or whatever, and then detain a person until a drug sniffing dog could be brought to the scene. The Supreme Court said once the reason for the initial stop was done, they police could not demand the person wait until the drug sniffing dog got there. The police had to cut the person loose. The police in many jurisdictions responded to the Rodiguez ruling by seeing a traffic infraction and then instead of pulling the car and driver over immediately, they tailed the car while radioing for a K-9 unit. When the police eventually pulled the driver over, the dog and handler were nearby thus allowing the dog to walk around the car while the initial reason for the stop was being completed.

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