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Former Independence MO Police Officer Timothy Runnels Pleads Guilty

This case brings me a level of  trust in the Department of Justice, while at the same time, causes me to question their impartiality.

In March 2015, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against former Independence, Missouri, police officer Timothy Runnels for violating the constitutional rights of a minor who was in his custody and obstructing the subsequent investigation into the incident.

Per the Department of Justice:

“According to the indictment, Runnels continuously deployed a Taser against the minor while the minor was on the ground and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.  The indictment also charges that Runnels deliberately dropped the minor headfirst onto the ground while the minor was restrained and not posing a threat to Runnels or others.  The indictment alleges that the minor sustained bodily injury as a result of Runnels’ actions and, with respect to the first count, that the offense involved the use of a dangerous weapon.  The indictment also charges Runnels with two counts of obstruction of justice for filing a false police report concerning the incident and for making a false statement to Independence Police Department investigators regarding the amount of force that he used against the minor.”

Runnels had been on the Independence, MO police force for 2 years. Read the rest of this entry

Five Years, But Couple Pleaded Guilty To Violating Civil Rights

On August 28, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Western District of Missouri announced that an Independence, MO man and woman pleaded guilty in federal court to violating the civil rights of an African-American family by setting fire to their residence.

Missouri Couple

Logan J. Smith, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera

Logan J. Smith, 25, and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera, 34, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to one court of conspiring to threaten and intimidate a family from exercising their constitutional right to reside in their home because of their race or color, and one count of civil rights violation for committing a racially motivated arson.

Smith waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information.   Cheek-Herrera pleaded guilty to two of three counts charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on May 23, 2013. Read the rest of this entry

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