Category Archives: Trials & Cases

Recent News On Ferguson and St. Louis

Federal Probe Into St. Louis Police Department

St. Louis CBS Local News reports that as many as 25 St. Louis City police officers are under investigation for being hired to protect drug dealers. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the involved officers are no longer on active duty as the investigation continues.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Circuit Attorney are all involved in the investigation that began in December. The investigation began when an off-duty police officer was shot in North St. Louis. The off-duty officer returned fire and the man he shot later turned up dead in a burning car.

In a press release by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, they state that they are unable to discuss details or findings before the investigation has concluded.

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Ferguson Municipal Judge Resigns

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Protests In Madison, WI After Police Kill Unarmed Teen

When I first heard about this, and that citizens were organizing to protest, it did not take me by surprise. Madison, Wisconsin is known as a college town.  People travel from Illinois to Madison for health services. Madison is known for its veteran’s and research hospitals. It is a city where many residents are professionals and college students.

Fort McCoy’s Total Force Training Center is about a two-hour drive from Madison, and it is not unusual to see military personnel and their families use Madison as a meeting place and to socialize. Dane County Regional Airport is located in Madison, WI. When I visited there, I found diversity. There are no second looks on mixed race couples.

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Madison Police Officer Matt Kenny

What am I saying? When Madison police officer Matt Kenny killed unarmed 19-year old Tony Robinson, he not only killed an unarmed person, but he also tarnished Madison’s reputation as the city in Wisconsin that seeks positive changes for its state. Officer Kenny did this in a state that does not have the death penalty. Understand that to mean that there is no crime in the State of Wisconsin where judicial punishment is death. In 1853, Wisconsin was the first state in America to permanently abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

After Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes became public knowledge, there was a push in the Wisconsin legislature to reinstate the death penalty. Between 1991 and 1996, 22 Bills were introduced for reinstatement. None made it through legislative committees.

When an unarmed person is killed by the police, and social media takes off to justify the killing of a “thug,” the people of Madison take exception to that. They do not kill their own even when the person is convicted for murder. Read the rest of this entry

Jessica Hernandez’s Autopsy Contradicts Police Report

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Jessica Hernandez

We previously reported on the death of 17-year old Jessica Hernandez. Jessica was killed on January 26, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. Authorities said Jessica was in a stolen vehicle and tried running over one of the officers, striking him on the leg, which led to that and another officer firing their guns.

A witness, 16-year old Trina Diaz, who was in the passenger’s seat during the incident, stated that the officers were standing next to the car when they fired, and that the car hit the officer only after Jessica was struck, which veered the car in his direction, pinning his leg between the car and a fence.

The coroner’s report shows that Jessica was shot twice to her left side; once to the chest where the bullet went through her heart and both lungs. The coroner determined that none of the shots were fired at close range. Jessica also had bruises and abrasions to her face, torso and neck. Read the rest of this entry

No Federal Civil Right Violation Charges Against George Zimmerman

Hat tip to Butterflydreamer2.

Zimmerman’s attorney, Don West, said that he hopes the decision will mark the start of a new chapter in George Zimmerman’s life.

Trayvon’s parents said they are disappointed but thanked the Justice Department for their investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the investigation concluded that circumstances of the case did not meet the high standard required to prove a federal hate crime.

The timing raises suspicion of the investigation and result. The federal grand jury met last year and their session ended in December. Had the federal grand jury not returned an indictment, the DOJ should have announced that much sooner than now. Zimmerman did have an attorney; Don West, who is a federal criminal defense attorney. Apparently, Zimmerman was anticipating an indictment. The question is, did the federal grand jury return an indictment, but the DOJ decide that in spite of that, they will not prosecute? Read the rest of this entry

Two Police Involved Killings In Two Weeks in Gastonia North Carolina

On February 7, 2015, 74-year old James Howard Allen was home recovering from heart surgery. Family members were concerned about his well-being. They had not been able to reach him and asked the police to make a welfare check. An officer arrived at the address, but there was no answer at the door.

The Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services were asked to check on James’ house.  The Fire Department opened the back door and officers say that James was found holding a handgun pointed in the direction of the door. Officer Josh Lefevers, who was hired by the Gastonia Police Department in August 2012, fatally shot James. Lefevers is on administrative leave pending investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

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When Words Of Comfort Don’t Seem To Be Enough

Just some thoughts on this dreary, cold day.

It is hard when loved ones die from disease or old age. It is horrible when loved ones die from an accident. It is devastating when loved ones are killed by others.   Those left behind always seem to have a feeling of guilt, but that’s mainly from being helpless. I’ve said on this blog many times that death does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about age, gender, or the color of skin.   Money might buy medical care to extend life, but it cannot bribe death when the time comes.  That sense of helplessness runs deep.

When loved ones are killed, people look to the justice system. The only comfort that comes from that is the sense of juries and judges acknowledging right from wrong. However, what juries hear and see is painted by their own hearts and minds.  People are not computers programmed to process data without bias.

There are times when there are no words sufficient in bringing comfort to the hurting, to those who have lost loved ones, the ill, the tired. There are times when I feel that there must be more – something I can do, and not merely say. If I had the power of resurrection, I would walk through the hospitals, the morgue, the graveyards, calling out names and saying, “Come forth.”

Today, because I feel that there are no words sufficient to directly comfort the living, I will address their loved ones who have gone on. Read the rest of this entry

NY Police Officer Peter Liang Indicted On 6 Charges

  1. second-degree manslaughter,
  2. criminally negligent homicide,
  3. reckless endangerment,
  4. second-degree assault, and
  5. – 6. two counts of official misconduct.
Peter Liang

Peter Liang, left, arrives in court.

On November 20, 2014, New York City police officer Peter Liang shot and killed 28-year old Akai Gurley. Gurley was unarmed, and reportedly walking with his girlfriend down a stairwell at a Brooklyn housing project when Liang shot him.

Liang alleges that he was opening a door with the same hand that held his gun, and that the shooting was an accident. The grand jury however, returned an indictment of 6 counts against Liang. The question now is, will a jury convict Liang of any or all of the charges?

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19-Year Old Arrested For Cyberharassment

Brandon Wilson

Brandon Wilson

Online, he uses the handle “Famed God.” Brandon Wilson now has fame, but not in the manner he wanted.   Thursday, Wilson was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is now behind bars in Nevada waiting extradition to Illinois. In July, Wilson allegedly reported a murder to Naperville’s emergency 911 line. The SWAT team responded and found that the call was a false report.  Illinois prosecutors said there is evidence on Wilson’s computers that the July 10, 2014 “swatting” hoax was not the only time that Wilson made false police reports.

Swatting” is the new form of internet harassment which involves falsely reporting a dangerous situation to send the police to another person’s home. The false report can lead to deployment of a SWAT team.

Wilson is also said to have hacked the gaming consoles of two others and threatened to put someone “in debt for life” by accessing banking information. Illinois prosecutors said charges Wilson faces include two counts of computer tampering, one count of intimidation, computer fraud, identity theft and disorderly conduct. If convicted, Wilson faces up to 5 years in prison.

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3 1/2 Minutes Wins Sundance Award

3 1-2 minutes Sundance3 1/2 Minutes is a documentary movie about the Jordan Davis’ murder. For a background on the film, click here to see our previous article. The documentary was presented at the Sundance Film Festival and has won the Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact. Jordan’s parents, Lucia McBath and Ronald Davis, spoke at the acceptance.

 “I am grieved that these continuing stories are everyday matters swept away,” HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins said in a statement. “By bringing this powerful film to HBO audiences, we hope to elevate the national conversation around these tragic issues.”

HBO has secured the film’s television rights.

Here’s the award announcement and acceptance.

 

Here’s the trailer for the movie.

 

 

Chicago Suburban Cop Awaiting Verdict On Felony Reckless Conduct

Craig Taylor

Craig Taylor

Park Forest, Illinois Officer Craig Taylor is charged with felony reckless conduct for the July 2013 death of 95- year old, World War II veteran John Wrana. John was a resident of the Victory Centre senior assisted living facility.

44-year old Craig Taylor is an 11-year veteran patrol officer. On July 26, 2013, a staff member reported that John was combative with emergency workers trying to care for him. Taylor was one of five officers dispatched. Mercury News reports;

 “According to court documents, when the officers entered his room they saw Wrana holding a long metal object that officers believed was a knife or machete, but was actually a shoe horn. Wrana did pick up a knife and threaten the officers with it, and he refused their orders to drop it.”

Prosecutors say that Taylor fired bean bags at John 5 times, hitting him in the abdomen and the hand in which John was holding the knife.

John Wrana

John Wrana

Training standards state that bean bag shoots have an optimum distance of 15 to 60 feet. All of the shots fired by Taylor were no more than 8 feet away. Prosecutors say that Taylor fired 5 beanbags in rapid succession into John’s abdomen from 6 to 8 feet away. John died from internal bleeding.

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Video of 17-Yr Old Kristiana Coignard In Police Station

Hat tip to Glenn Robinson.

There’s no sound to either video.  It starts before Kristiana arrives. Since there is no sound, there is no way of knowing why the first officer restrained, but not handcuff her, even though it is now reported that she told the officer she had a gun.

Suicide, even by cop, is not a desire to die but a desire to stop the pain.  Kristiana was hurting inside.  May she rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

17-Year Old Girl Killed In Police Station

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17-year old Kristiana Coignard

On January 22, 2015 around 6:28 p.m., 17-year old Kristiana Coignard of Longview, Texas walked into the police station, picked up the phone, and told dispatch that she needed to talk to police.

Kristiana was living with her aunt, Heather Robertson. Kristiana’s mom died when she was 4-years old, and Kristiana suffered with depression and bipolar disorder. She attempted suicide several times, and had been hospitalized.

On January 22, 2015, three officers went to the lobby of the police station and shot Kristiana, killing her. Details are currently under investigation. They allege that she threatened them with a knife.

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Police Shoot, Kill, 16 Year Old Female Jessie Hernandez, For Driving Stolen Vehicle. Community Holds Vigil.

Gun violence in America

This is so very sad. Guns were invented to kill. Once that bullet is fired, it can’t be called back.

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5-year-old boy finds gun, shoots baby brother in head

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Deputy charged with murder asks for house arrest

This is sad. The deceased leaves behind a pregnant wife, and the killer has a pregnant girlfriend.

KRQE News 13

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LAS CRUCES (KRQE) – The former deputy charged with murdering a fellow deputy is asking the judge for a break.

Tai Chan is already out of jail, which is rare for a murder suspect, let alone someone accused of killing a deputy.

Now, while Chan awaits trial, he wants to move back home to Santa Fe where the murdered deputy’s family also lives.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Martin died three months ago after guests at a Las Cruces hotel found him lying in the lobby, shot in the back.

“Just to know he’s not around… It’s heartbreaking,” Lupe Leal, a family friend told News 13 in October.

Police said, fellow deputy, Chan, pulled the trigger after a night out at a bar sparked an argument.

He is charged with first degree murder, but he is no longer behind bars.

Now, his attorney John Day said…

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Putting Victims on Trial

Shannoninmiami submitted the following comment:

“Yahtzee,

That is such an awesome idea- videos of the victim before the killer &co vilify them. but then I remember xena telling me a long time ago, that the victim is not on trial,
they don’t need to defend themselves! isn’t that some BS??@!! because I remember thinking of course, that makes perfect sense or THEY WOULDN’T BE the VICTIM, they’d be the DEFENDANT!

that’s true technically but things have changed. the media & the legal profession seem to be devolving into game show like entertainment sources. the ones who used to respect & speak for the victims aren’t really doing that in certain cases.
victims aren’t treated as victims. but in order for a dead victim to have a fair chance at justice they gotta be the victim.

Maybe we need a sort of special victim’s defense team who can speak out on the victim’s behalf and counter attack the killer’s allegations.
look at cases like Mike Brown & Trayvon where racist character assassination is used as a defense for murder, literally.
it seems anything goes, even fantastic stories of dead teenagers with super human strength and magical powers”

Thank you Shannon, for bringing up this subject.  Today, the media and internet have changed things to where many people no longer think logically.  In fact, the double-minded man is revealed more today because of the internet, and we see this when people place victims on trial.

I would like to share a portion of how I came to understand that victims are not on trial.

front_pageOn December 1, 1958, Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago caught fire, killing 93 children and 3 nuns.  Some of the children that died were my age. I remember seeing the photographs of those who died on television and in the newspaper that my dad brought home with him from work.  So many children.

In my child, inquisitive mind, I asked my Sunday School teacher if the children had done anything wrong to die so young and by fire.  My thoughts were somewhat along the lines of Santa Claus giving presents only to children who were good.

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Victims of Richard Speck

The next I remember hearing of massive death came by Richard Speck, who on July 13, 1966, killed 8 nursing students in Chicago.  There was talk in the beauty shops and meat market. Rumors were passed about the immorality of the nursing students and some people disagreed that White nursing students should have shared living quarters with nursing students from the Philippines. It left me puzzled.  How could those nursing students be responsible for their own deaths and why accuse the lone survivor, who was from the Philippines, of conspiring with Speck? Read the rest of this entry

Retaliation Against Cop For Reporting Police Brutality

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Joe Crystal

Because of numerous reports of police brutality and use of excessive force, many have asked why the good cops do not report the bad  ones.

I no longer need to address that in the comment section of this blog.

Now former Baltimore police detective Joe Crystal tells his story in the following video. Joe has sued both the Baltimore Police Department and the police commissioner for not protecting him from retaliation.

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3 ½ Minutes – A Documentary Film About The Death Of Jordan Davis

3 1-2 minutes

From the documentary film, 3 1/2 Minutes.

At Sundance, the premier independent film festival, the documentary titled 3 ½ Minutes will take the screen in Utah. Minette Nelson wanted to document a story that would continue the discussion on race and gun violence with a focus on Florida, but she wanted a story that was not as well-known as the Trayvon Martin story. Her son told her about Jordan Davis. She read everything she could about the killing and mailed Ron Davis, Jordan’s father, in April 2013.

“My letter stated that I felt that Jordan’s case could be exemplary of what is wrong with post-racial society in America and that Jordan was no different from my son. Thirdly, that if there had been no gun in the equation, Jordan would’ve gone home safely to his bed that night.”

The 2013 festival’s award for best cinematography went to Marc Silver for the film, “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” Marc Singer directed “3 ½ Minutes.”  He has a promotion for the film on his website.

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Rosanne Barr Files New Documents In Zimmerman Case

Robert and Gladys Zimmerman

Gladys and Robert Zimmerman in court during George Zimmerman’s murder trial.

It started in the Circuit Court for Seminole County, Florida. It was then transferred to the federal court.   There was no amount in the prayer for relief. In June 2014, a federal magistrate judge ruled that the case did not meet the minimum federal damages of $75,000 in damages. The case was transferred back to the state circuit court.

For those unfamiliar, Robert and Gladys Zimmerman, parents of George Zimmerman, filed suit against Rosanne Barr.  In July 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted for killing unarmed 17-year old Trayvon Martin.  The Zimmerman’s allege that Rosanne tweeted out the address to their home forcing them to move in the middle of the night and live in hiding. They accused Barr of trying to incite a “lynch mob.”

After the case was transferred back to the circuit court, the Zimmerman’s claimed damages that included doing their laundry. They asked Barr to settle the case for $750,000.  Barr’s attorneys’ actions thereafter conveyed to the Zimmerman’s to kick sand.

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Man Being Booked Saved Officer’s Life

In September 2015, Jamal Rutledge was being booked on charges of violation of probation for criminal mischief and burglary. Officer Franklin Foulks of the Fort Lauderdale Police was doing the booking when he suddenly collapsed. Being handcuffed behind his back, the only thing that Jamal could do was yell for help and kick the door to alert nearby officers.

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Jamal Rutledge (center) and three Fort Lauderdale Police Officers are being commended for saving another officer’s life.

Sergeant Todd Bunin heard Jamal’s cries for help. He saw Officer Foulks clenching his chest. Bunin notified police dispatch to send help. Officers Robert Norvis and Raymond Ketchmark overheard Bunin’s radio transmissions and immediately responded to assist. Norvis removed Foulks’ police gear and cut off his shirt. Ketchmark got a nearby Automated External Defibrillator to stimulate Officer Foulks’ heart.

 

Fire rescue arrived and transported Foulks to Broward Health Medical Center.

NBC Miami reports;

“ Fort Lauderdale Police say that the attending medical staff noted that the immediate actions by Rutledge, along with the quick response by nearby officers, saved Foulks’ life.”

Rutledge, Bunin and Ketchmark and Norvis will be honored publicly on Januray 21st at 6 p.m. at the next Fort Lauderdale Commission Meeting. Read the rest of this entry

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