Category Archives: Cases
In 2015, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, the parents of 18-year Michael Brown, filed a suit against the city of Ferguson, MO, the former Police Chief Tom Jackson and former police officer Darren Wilson. Today, the city settled that lawsuit.
Terms of the wrongful death settlement were not disclosed. United States District Court Judge E. Richard Webber approved the settlement and ordered it sealed, writing;
“The gross settlement amount is fair and reasonable compensation for this wrongful death claim and is in the best interests of each plaintiff.”
In 2014, Michael Brown was shot multiple times, with the fatal wound being to the top of his head, spilling his brains onto the street. His body laid in the street for more than 4 hours. A grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, and the DOJ began a probe that found systematic racial discrimination in Ferguson that targeted Black residents and created a “toxic environment.” The report said the city overwhelmingly arrested and issued traffic citations to Blacks to boost city income, and used the police as a collection agency. Read the rest of this entry
Dominique Heaggan-Brown (25 years old) is a former Milwaukee police officer. He shot and killed 23-year old Sylville Smith in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood on August 13, 2016. On December 15, 2016, Heaggan-Brown was charged with one count of first-degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he can be sentenced to a maximum of 60 years in prison.
At the time of the shooting, Sylville was armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Heaggan-Brown and his partner wore body cameras which show that Sylville threw the gun over a fence into a yard. Heaggan-Brown shot Sylville, who fell to the ground on his back and had his hands near his head. Heaggan-Brown then shot Syville again, center mass. At the time he fired the second and fatal shot, Sylville was unarmed.
In his interview, Heaggan-Brown said that he fired once at which time he observed the pistol fly out of Smith’s hands and over the fence into the backyard of the residence. Smith then fell to the ground and Heaggan-Brown believed he was reaching for his waist so he discharged his weapon a second time. At no time after the shooting did Heaggan-Brown or any other officer search Smith for a second firearm. Read the rest of this entry
Ray Tensing is a former University of Cincinnati officer who shot and killed Samuel Dubose during a traffic stop in 2015. A mistrial was declared on November 12, 2016. The straw poll by jurors was unanimous for murder. After 25 hours of deliberation however, four jurors were ready to convict Tensing of murder, four were ready to convict him of voluntary manslaughter and four were ready to find him not guilty. The jury consisted of 2 Black women, 4 White women and 6 White men.
The trial was covered on this blog.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said that how jurors went from unanimously agreeing on a murder conviction in their straw poll to being unable to reach a verdict on any charge is unclear. He talked to the jurors and said that he learned a lot.
On November 28, 2016, Deter announced that he was retrying Tensing on the charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter.
The jury for Tensing’s retrial has now been seated. It consists of 7 White women, 2 White men, 1 Black man and 2 Black women.
Opening statements are anticipated for this morning. The trial is being live streamed at this link. I’ll update in the comment section below.
On May 14, 2017 at about 1 a.m., 40-year old Tashii Brown (also known by the last name Farmer) approached police offficer Kenneth Lopera of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Lopera and another officer were in a coffee shop in the Venetian which is located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
According to police, Tashii asked them if they knew where a drinking fountain was located and said that people were chasing him. He then abruptly ran through an employee-only area. Lopera gave chase. When he caught up with Tashii, he was trying to unlatch the tailgate of an occupied pickup truck. Lopera believed that Tashii was trying to carjack the truck, and he tased Tashii. The driver later told investigators that he did not think he was being carjacked.
Lopera shocked Tashii 7 times. Body cam video from the incident shows Tashii writhing on his back in pain with his hands in the air as Lopera commanded him to roll onto his stomach. Lopera hit Tashii with a closed fist several times in the head and face. He then put Tashii in a chokehold and held him in that chokehold until other officers arrived. Body cam video shows that another officer told Lopera to release his chokehold on Tashii, but Lopera continued the hold for another 46 seconds. Read the rest of this entry
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was in Falcon Heights, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was fatally shot by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer. Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter were passengers. Diamond live-streamed Philando’s dying moments and the aftermath on Facebook. The officer shot 7 times, hitting Philando Castile 5 times, twice in the heart.
Yanez’s attorney, Thomas Kelly, said Yanez stopped Castile because he matched the description of a suspect in a robbery a few days earlier. (Castile was found to not be connected to the robbery.)
Today, prosecutor Dusterhoft told the jury;
“What he could see were dreadlocks, eyeglasses and the fact that Mr. Castile was a black man,” Dusterhoft said. “Based on that glimpse” he stopped the car in Falcon Heights.”
Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with three felony counts; second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.
On June 5, 2017, a jury was seated and opening statements were made. The jury consists of 9 men and 6 women which includes 3 alternates. There is one Black man and one Black woman on the jury.
Michael Tyree was 31-years old when he died on August 26, 2015. He was bi-polar and was arrested for misdemeanor theft and drug possession. Tyree was jailed in a section of the Santa Clara County Correctional facility that is reserved for inmates with special needs. There, he was beaten with the coroner finding the cause of death as internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma. There were lacerations to Michael’s liver and spleen, which was nearly severed in half. Michael was found in his cell naked and covered in vomit and feces.
Three guards, Matthew Farris, Jereh Lubrin and Rafael Rodriguez, were charged with second degree murder. Jereh Lubrin was also charged with assault under color of authority and the three guards were charged with assault under color of authority for allegedly beating inmate Juan Villa. Read the rest of this entry
Deborah Danner was a 66-year old senior citizen with schizophrenia. On October 18, 2016, Deborah was in her Bronx apartment when a neighbor called the police and reported that Deborah was screaming. New York City Police Sergeant Hugh Barry arrived on the scene.
Initially, the police said that Sergeant Barry persuaded Ms. Danner to drop a pair of scissors, but that she picked up a bat and tried to swing at him. Several other officers were at the scene, in the building at 630 Pugsley Avenue, but only Sergeant Barry was in the bedroom with Ms. Danner.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said Sergeant Barry failed to follow police protocol for dealing with people with mental illness. Specifically, he did not use his stun gun to try to subdue Ms. Danner, and he did not wait for a specialized Emergency Service Unit to arrive. Read the rest of this entry
On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray was taken into custody by Baltimore police officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller. Freddie sustained a spinal injury in a police van ride and died on April 19, 2015. Officer Ceasar Goodson was driving the van.
WBALTV reports that Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White and Officer Caesar Goodson have been suspended, pending termination. They were found to have failed to follow policies for seat-belting Freddie Gray.
Officers Garrett Miller and Edward Nero who took Freddie into custody, face five days suspension without pay.
Officer William Porter, whose trial resulted in a hung jury, faces no punishment.
On July 29, 2016, charges were dropped by prosecutors after a jury deadlocked on charges against Porter, and a judge acquitted Rice, Goodson and Nero.
The internal discipline review, conducted by the Montgomery and Howard county police departments, determined the officers broke department rules.
The officers can accept the recommended punishment or choose to dispute the charges. Read the rest of this entry
Opening statements were made today in the trial of police officer Betty Shelby, accused of fatally shooting Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Shelby is charged with manslaughter and faces four years to life in prison if convicted.
The jury consists of two black women, seven white women and three white men. The alternates are one black man and one white woman.
Shelby, 43, shot and killed Crutcher, 40, after approaching him on the street after his car broke down. Video shows him walking away from her with his hands up.
The Tulsa County District Attorney’s office claims Shelby “reacted unreasonably by escalating the situation from a confrontation with Mr. Crutcher, who was not responding to verbal commands and was walking away from her with his hands help up, becoming emotionally involved to the point that she overreacted.”
Shelby’s defense attorney Shannon McMurray told the jury it was a rush to file charges.
Shelby has been on unpaid leave since the shooting, and said that she fired her weapon because she thought Crutcher was going for a gun.
The prosecution’s first witness was Tulsa police officer Tyler Turnbough. He described coming to the scene and said that he saw Shelby had drawn her gun, so he drew his Taser in order to offer up a less-lethal option. Turnbough testified that he told Shelby he had drawn his Taser, but Turnbough said he wasn’t sure if Shelby acknowledged that she heard him.
Turnbough said he saw Crutcher reach his left hand into the window of his Lincoln Navigator, which prompted him to fire his taser at the exact moment Shelby fired her gun.
Trial is expected to take about a week. News on 6 has notes from the opening statements. I’ll do my best to update the trial in the comment section below.
On April 29, 2017, 15-year old Jordan Edwards was leaving a party with two of his older brothers. He was in the passenger seat of a vehicle when shot in the head by Balch Springs, Texas patrol officer Roy Oliver.
The Balch Springs Police Chief was quick coming forth with the officer’s side of the story. It was reported that Officer Roy Oliver was called to investigate reports of underage drinking at a house party. When they arrived, they heard what they believed were gunshots. A car of teenagers leaving the party was driving toward the police in reverse in an “aggressive manner.” Oliver opened fire, striking Jordan Edwards in the head. Jordan died at a hospital.
Roy Oliver was placed on administrative duty while the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’ Office began investigating the shooting. The Balch Springs Police Department began an internal investigation.
The following Tuesday, Roy Oliver was fired on the basis that he violated department policies. Police Chief Jonathan Haber stated that he rushed to get information out to the public, but since watched two body cam videos showing that the teens were driving away from the officers when Oliver fired. Read the rest of this entry
Hello everyone. Chuquestaquenumber1 here.
In 2016 NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began a peaceful protest against police brutality and criminality of Black people. Especially the unjust killings of unarmed non threatening Black males. His peaceful protest consisted of not standing for the national anthem. Once he started, he was accused of harming our LEOs and disrespecting the US military. He was subjected to massive outrage from people of all backgrounds, especially from military personnel.
Fast forward to April 2017. April 23,2017 was the last day for Marine Sgt. Justin Noah Lampkins. On Sunday April 23, 2017 at 1:19 am, 25 yr old Marine Sgt. Justin Noah Lampkins was at a McDonald’s Drive thru in Bedford, ,Indiana. Several vehicles were ahead of Sgt. Lampkins’ vehicle when he honked a horn in the drive thru. At this point, Evan Schaffer, 22 yr old criminal who had a warrant from another state, because he skipped a court hearing, got out of his truck and punched Lampkins in his face.
Schaffer walked away but decided to turn around and continue the confrontation. Lampkins, defending himself, shoved Schaffer. Schaffer pulled out a gun and shot the unarmed Lampkins in the chest. Schaffer and his friends fled the scene . Lampkins was taken to IU Health Hospital where he died of his wounds.
Bedford Police caught up with Schaffer and his friends. The 4 friends cooperated and gave up. Schaffer resisted arrest and was Tasered into submission. Schaffer has been charged with Lampkins murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Sgt. Justin Noah Lampkins joined the military in 2011, one year after graduating from Bloomington High School North. He was inspired to join the military by his grandfather, an Army veteran. Lampkins was honorably discharged in 2015.
Evan Schaffer had a warrant for carrying a weapon without a permit and transporting a weapon to another county. He is also facing charges of arson. Read the rest of this entry
On April 19, 2017, The Innocence Project reports:
“This morning, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced that it will vacate 21,587 drug conviction cases. This is the largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history. The decision was made in response to a massive drug-testing scandal involving Annie Dookhan—a former chemist for the Hinton State laboratory in Massachusetts—who, in 2013, was convicted of tampering with and fabricating drug tests in criminal cases.
During her more than eight-year tenure at the lab, Dookhan handled approximately 40,000 cases. She admitted to tampering with at least two dozen cases and also fabricating test results, prompting widespread concern amongst many in the defense community that any of the tens of thousands of drug tests used as evidence in approximately 20,000 conviction cases were potentially inaccurate or falsified.”
The Massachusetts judiciary system does not have capacity to hear and rule on appeals to each individual case that Dookhan handled. The Massachusetts Supreme Court therefore, ordered prosecutors to dismiss the cases in bulk.
According to Aljazeera, an investigation in 2013 found that Dookhan falsified test results as far back as 2004. Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted “dry labbing,” or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs. Dookhan was sentenced to three years in prison and was paroled last year. Read the rest of this entry
Miami-Dade State’s Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has changed her 24 year reputation for not charging law enforcement officers for on-duty shootings. On April 12, 2017, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced it has charged North Miami SWAT Officer Jonathan Aledda with felony attempted manslaughter and misdemeanor culpable negligence. Aledda shot Charles Kinsey, an unarmed Black man, on July 8, 2016. Kinsey is a therapist for a group home and was trying to help an autistic man, Arnaldo Rios-Soto, to get out of the street and return to the group home.
A bystander called 911 and said Rios-Soto might have been holding a gun. That caller also repeated several times that the person holding something to his head appeared to be mentally ill. Factually, Rios-Soto was holding a toy truck.
A cell-phone video captured Kinsey lying on his back with his arms in the air, stating who he is, his job, that Arnaldo Rios-Soto is his patient, that he did not have a gun, and begging officers not to shoot.
Investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) included taking statements of police witnesses. The Miami New Times obtained audio from North Miami Police Chief Gary Eugene’s testimony to Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators. That testimony revealed that Eugene said his officers announced over police radio that Rios-Soto was holding a toy before Aledda shot Kinsey. Read the rest of this entry
Kameron Teel is a substitute teacher. He is also a former high school soccer star. Kameron set a record for goals scored at Gloucester Catholic High School in Gloucester City and he also played at Immaculata University. Kameron was a scholarship soccer player for La Salle University, as well as a judo and soccer coach/trainer.
On June 24, 2016 in Glassboro, New Jersey, 26-year old Kameron was riding his bike through a borough park. Glassboro Police Sargent Dan Eliason yelled for Kameron to get on the ground. What happened next led to a lawsuit filed by Kameron.
“The suit claims that Kameron was laying on the ground, complying to police orders, when Eliason put his knee on Teel’s back, making it difficult for Teel to breathe and causing extreme pain.
Teel allegedly yelled “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe. They are trying to kill me and I don’t want to die.”
Teel alleges he was pepper-sprayed and handcuffed. After leading him to a police vehicle, an unidentified police officer allegedly “slammed” Teel’s head into the hood. After seeing the damage to the vehicle, the officer allegedly told Teel he would be charged with destruction of governmental property.
Teel was also injured when he was bitten numerous times on his legs and hands by the police K-9, he claims in the lawsuit.”
At the time of his arrest, police were seeking a suspect in the park for drug activity. The suspect was described as a Black male, approximately 13 years old.
The police say that they mistook the 26-year old with a full facial beard for the 13-year old suspect.
Kameron’s lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution, false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive force and assault, and failure to supervise, train, adopt needed policy, and violation of Kameron’s civil rights. According to Courier Post, the suit seeks damages of more than $150,000.
Kameron had no prior arrests and the charge of destruction of government property was dismissed.
Kameron is represented by lawyer D. Wesley Cornish of Philadelphia, who says that the borough has not provided police video of the incident.
Just a quick note to update. The introduction to the video says:
Dylann Storm Roof who shot and killed nine black parishioners at a historic Charleston church in 2015, pleaded guilty Monday to state charges stemming from the massacre as part of a deal with prosecutors to spend the rest of his life in prison to avoid a second death-penalty trial.
Roof already had been sentenced to die earlier this year for his convictions in federal court on hate crimes charges, though the state could have pursued a second such penalty in its murder case against the young man.
Roof was charged both federally and at the state level after the June 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, when nine black parishioners were shot and killed down during an evening Bible study.
The federal death sentence still stands!
After impact statements and Roof’s grandad speaking on Roof’s behalf, the Judge sentenced Roof to 9 life sentences on state charges.
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times. Slager’s state trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016. It ended with a hung jury. Slager is scheduled to be retried by the State of South Carolina, and also by the federal government. His trial was reported on this blog.
Meanwhile, three men had filed lawsuits against North Charleston for being wrongfully or excessively tased by Michael Slager. Two have reached settlement. Mario Givens was awarded $27,500 and Jerome Stanley $50,000 for their 2013 run-ins with Slager.
The Post Courier reports:
“They were among three people who filed actions in 2015 amid intense scrutiny of the city’s police force. An eyewitness video of patrolman Michael Slager shooting the fleeing black man sparked the frenzy.
The men alleged excessive use of the stun gun, though Slager’s lawyers have defended his record as exemplary.”
Mario Givens is quoted as saying,
“If they’d listened to me Walter Scott might not be dead’: Man who filed excessive force complaint after being tasered by ‘killer cop’ in 2013 speaks out – and announces he’s suing.”
Givens was initially charged with resisting arrest, but was later released without charge. He filed a police complaint but Slager was exonerated. Read the rest of this entry
An unnamed, high-ranking Walker Police officer, who was employed by the department for about a decade, has resigned after he was suspended for placing a noose inside the squad room of the department. He was originally suspended for 3 days without pay. A meeting to review the officer’s conduct and consider disciplinary action was scheduled, but was cancelled after the officer announced his resignation.
Louisiana law RS 14:40.5 prohibits a noose in a public place. Anyone convicted faces up to a $5,000 fine and one year in prison or both. The Walker police Investigative Unit has asked Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office to investigate for criminal charges. The case has been handed over to the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office for criminal investigation.
Police Chief David Addison is new to the job. The assistant chief is an African American. A lieutenant, who is also Black, found the noose. Security camera footage recorded the officer leaving the noose hanging in the department’s squad room.
Paperwork says that it was reported,
“You informed me that you fashioned the noose, or as you called it, the ‘slip knot,’ to pick with an arrestee that you had in custody…It was revealed to me via our department’s video cameras, that there was no arrestee present when you fashioned and displayed the cookie and noose in the squad room.”
Chief Addison is reported saying:
“Whether they’re white, black or oriental, we have a mixture here in Walker. Everyone, I don’t care if you’re white, black, oriental, you will be treated fairly by my officers. This will not be tolerated period. This was poor judgment, bad character. It will not be tolerated with the Walker Police Department.”
WBRZ has a video and more on this story.
A jury of 12 and 2 alternates have heard opening statements and is hearing testimony in the trial of Derrick Stafford. The trial is taking place in Marksville, Louisiana. Stafford, along with his partner Norris Greenhouse, Jr. are charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder in the November 2, 2015 shooting death of 6-year old Jeremy Mardis. Jeremy was the in the vehicle with his dad, Christopher Few, who was wounded when Stafford and his Greenhouse, Jr. opened fire.
Greenhouse, Jr. is scheduled for a separate trial later this year.
“Video from a police officer’s body camera shows the father had his hands raised inside his vehicle when the officers fired their semiautomatic pistols. At least four of their 18 shots ripped into the child’s body while he was strapped into the front seat.
Relatives of the victims wept as jurors watched the graphic video from the shooting. Several jurors were also seen wiping away tears.”
Stafford and Greenhouse stated that they opened fire on Few because he tried ramming his car into them. A state police detective has testified there isn’t any physical evidence that Few’s car collided with Greenhouse’s vehicle.
Ballistics evidence shows none of the 18 shots fired by the two deputies hit the front or back of Few’s car. The prosecution is using that as evident that neither deputy was in danger. “Cars don’t move sideways,” the prosecutor said.
Conrad Hafen was raised in Roy, Utah. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then attended Weber State University where he graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He was accepted into Brigham Young University’s Public Administration Masters Program. In 1985, he enrolled in the University of Idaho School of Law, graduating in 1988.
After law clerking and working as an associate attorney with a private law firm concentrating in insurance defense and products liability, Conrad Hafen accepted a position with the Humboldt County Nevada District Attorney’s Office. Within several months, he was promoted to Chief Deputy District Attorney and served in that capacity for 10 years.
Hafen lost a race for district judge in 2006, and when the Las Vegas Justice Court Department was looking for a judge for one of its specialty courts, Hafen threw his hat in the ring. During his campaign, Hafen said, “When people come before me … they’ll know my decision is based on the law and is a fair and just resolution.”
Saying what citizens want to hear, in 2010, Hafen was elected as a Justice of the peace in Nevada. Those judges hear misdemeanor cases and hold preliminary hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to move felony cases to state courts for trial.
Hafen’s career in the Nevada judicial system has now involuntarily ended and he is back in Utah. This is how it happened …
Zohra Bakhtary is a deputy public defender, and while advocating for one of her clients, Judge Hafen did not want her to speak. He had Bakhtary handcuffed and seated with inmates who were awaiting their hearings. After Hafen sentenced Bakhtary’s client, Daniel Fernandez, to six months in jail, he had court security remove her handcuffs and said, “I think she’s learned a lesson.”
District Judge Rob Bare released Fernandez and the petty theft conviction was later thrown out after a ruling that Fernandez was deprived of assistance of a lawyer when he was sentenced. Read the rest of this entry
We followed the hearing, and now the judge has entered her decision. Today, March 10, 2017, Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Barthle denied Curtis Reeves’ motion to apply Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law to the case. Reeves now faces trial on second degree murder charges for killing Chad Oulson to death in a movie theater over text messaging. A trial date has not yet been set.
Here’s the ruling: Read the rest of this entry