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
In December 2016, we followed the trials of Michael Slager and Dylann Roof. There was also another trial.
In August 2012, Officer Patrick Tuter of Garland, Texas led a vehicle chase of unarmed 25 year old Michael Allen. Tuter fired at Michael 41 times, reloading several times and hitting Michael 3 times. The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Officer performed the autopsy and determined that Michael suffered gunshot wounds to his upper back, side, and left elbow.
Tuter’s official report was that he opened fired after Michael rammed a patrol car. The dashboard video however, showed that it was Tuter’s patrol car that rammed into Michael’s truck. Tuter fired his gun from the back, left-side of Michael’s truck.
Michael Allen’s body was pulled out of the cab of his truck by a K9 who chewed his face.
In March 2013, Tuter was fired for violating department policies on pursuits and use of force. He had been on the force 7 years.
In 2007, Daniel Willis applied for work with the Travis County Texas Sheriff’s office. He entered in his employment application that he had applied to the Round Rock Police Department. However, he missed the exam date. He had also applied to work for the Austin Police Department but failed the department’s psychological exam.
Travis County hired Daniel Willis as a jail correction officer. Beginning in 2010, Willis applied to be a patrol deputy for the Travis County Texas Sheriff’s Office. He applied three times, and failed three times.
In 2012, one of Willis’ jail supervisors wrote in his review that Willis needed “more development in handling explosive situations and the utilization of common sense.”
Notwithstanding his past failures and the review, in May 2013, Willis resigned his job with Travis County for a position as a patrol deputy for Bastrop County. Less than a year later, on February 16, 2014, Willis killed an unarmed woman without warning. Less than 2 weeks after Willis killed 47-year old Yvette Smith, Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering told the Austin American-Statesman newspaper that some of his staff tampered with Willis’ training records to fix mistakes. Read the rest of this entry
Brian Encina, the Texas trooper who arrested Sandra Bland, has been fired from his job with the Texas Department of Public Safety. In December, he was indicted on a perjury charge. He’s accused of lying about his July 10, 2015 arrest of Sandra Bland and their confrontational traffic stop. It was caught on dashcam video and also filmed by a passer-by. The perjury charge is a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Twenty-eight year old Sandra Bland was found dead in the Waller County jail. Although her death was ruled a suicide, an investigation is taking place, including involvement by the FBI. Read the rest of this entry
Mindyme62 posted about in open discussion in December 2014 about a stand your ground case. That’s more than a year ago, so I wanted to follow-up. In November 2015, we got a verdict, for the second time.
In 2010, Raul Rodriguez went to his neighbor’s house, taking his video recorder, cellphone, and gun with him. The neighbor was having a birthday party. Rodriguez thought that the music was too loud. Kelly Danaher, then 36-years old and a teacher, Kelly’s dad and other men argued with Rodriguez over the volume of the music. Rodriguez was filming when he said “I am in fear for my life” and shot, fatally wounding Kelly.
In 2012, Raul Rodriguez, 49, of Harris County, Texas, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Rodriguez appealed and Houston’s First Court of Appeals said the jury’s instructions on the law on self-defense was so confusing that Rodriguez did not get a fair trial.
In 2015, Rodriguez went back to trial. On November 20, 2015, jurors deliberated about 3 hours before siding with prosecutors that Rodriguez provoked the situation.
“This case is about provocation, pure and simple. The law doesn’t allow you to create a situation and then claim self-defense.” Prosecutor Kelli Johnson stated in closing arguments.
A Waller County grand jury has indicted Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Brian Encinia on perjury charges. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, Encinia could face up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
Grand juries typically review felony cases. Darrell Jordan, one of five special prosecutors assigned to the case, stated “Because he [is] an officer, they have to go through an indictment process, regardless of whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor.” The grand jury’s indictment stemmed from a statement by Encinia
Encinia pulled Bland over on July 10, 2015 for making an improper lane change near Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, where she had just interviewed and accepted a job. Dashcam video from Encinia’s patrol car shows that the traffic stop quickly became confrontational.
The video shows the trooper holding a stun gun and yelling, “I will light you up!” after Bland refuses to get out of her car. Bland eventually steps out of the vehicle, and Encinia ordered her to the side of the road. Read the rest of this entry
Remember this photo of bikers in Waco, Texas? 177 of them were arrested. On Tuesday, a grand jury returned indictments against 106 of them for engaging in organized criminal activity.
It took the grand jury 9 hours to reach the decision on the 106 bikers. District Attorney Abel Reyna said that the grand jury will return to consider charges against the other 71 bikers.
Nine people died and 20 were injured, which authorities say arose from an apparent confrontation between the Bandidos and the Cossacks motorcycle clubs. More than 430 weapons were recovered from the crime scene, including 151 firearms. No one has been charged in the deaths and injuries because investigators cannot determine whose bullets struck those who died or were injured.
A Texas couple, Mark Lesher, 63, and his wife, Rhonda, 50, were accused by a woman of sexual assault. Mark Lesher is a prominent attorney, and Rhonda was running a successful day spa. The accusation included a man who works on the Lesher’s ranch. Before they stood trial in January 2009, there was a steady stream of attacks on the Web forum Topix.com. The comments accused the couple of murder, encouraging pedophilia, drug abuse and other crimes that materially attack their characters.
In January 2009, the couple and their ranch hand were found not guilty on all charges.
Three years ago, the couple filed a 365-page lawsuit naming 178 pseudonyms used to post what they considered the most defamatory messages. They posted the lawsuit on Topix and served the company a subpoena to obtain the IP addresses. A Texas judge ordered Topix to turn over the identifying information about the anonymous posters. The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses led to a couple that owned a business, and accused the Lesher’s of sexual assault in 2008.
In July 2009, the Leshers filed an amended petition in the District Court of Tarrant County, Texas naming Shannon Coyel, the couple’s accuser; her husband Gerald Covel and his brother, James Coyel. Also named as a defendant was Apache Truck & Van Parts of Kennedale, Texas and two of its employers, Charlie and Pat Doescher.
On Friday, a jury awarded the Leshers a judgment of $13.78 million.
Mark and Rhonda Lesher stand on the steps of Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas, shortly after their acquittal of sexual assault charges Jan. 16, 2009. On Friday, the couple were awarded
The Gazette reported a malicious prosecution suit is pending that names as defendants the Coyels and Red River County District Attorney Val Varley, who unsuccessfully prosecuted the sexual assault case against the Leshers. That suit accuses them of conspiring to convict the Leshers of a crime they did not commit. The newspaper reports that a jury trial is scheduled for August.
Ryan Calo, who teaches privacy law at Stanford Law School and is joining the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law, said
“Defamation is one area of law in which a jury or court have to figure out how much damage has been done. It’s not a car accident where you can calculate medical bills and how much work was lost after an injury. There’s something more ephemeral in a reputation.”
There is a difference between free speech, which states an opinion, and accusations stated as fact that have no basis in fact and causes harm to the personal lives of others.
There’s more on this story and other internet defamation stories on ABC News.
Based on the dash cam video, Sandra’s car was searched. I would like to know Texas law for illegal searches of vehicles.
On Monday afternoon, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis announced the death of Sandra Bland, which was initially ruled a suicide, would be treated “as it would be in a murder investigation.” Mathis also said while the Texas Rangers were leading the investigation, the FBI was now supervising it.
“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Mathis reportedly said at a press conference.
On July 10, police officers pulled over Sandra Bland for failing to indicate before changing lanes in Waller County, Texas. She was violently arrested, according to a passerby’s video, after becoming allegedly combative with the arresting officer. She was found dead in her jail cell three days later.
After discussing Bland with those closest to her and those who saw her…
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The same thing is happening on the internet. There is a group of White Supremacists that do not want people of different races to associate and support each other online.
Josh Joseph went to visit his good friends Darren and Hayli Frank in Spring, Texas, just north of Houston, for the 4th of July weekend. He never expected that he was going to be offending anyone in the neighborhood by doing so. For the record, Josh is black, and his friends are white. They were celebrating the holiday out in their front yard, and one of their neighbors likely saw their black guest. When they woke up the next morning, the Franks’ $50,000 truck was covered in racist vulgarities that the vandals had spray-painted.
The Franks live in a pretty nice neighborhood. They never thought that they would be the victims of a hate crime, especially not in their area. But, as people are finding out, racism is everywhere, including places you’d least expect to find it. Even though the Franks lived in a decent area overall, Texas…
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Caterpillars, moths, butterflies, and all creatures great and small,
It’s been a busy week.
The pool party in McKinney, Texas resulted in constant headlines including the resignation of officer Casebolt and the employment termination or suspension of several people who were either involved in the originating physical altercation, or who made bigoted racial statements on social media.
Regarding the death of 12-year old Tamir Rice, in response to citizens’ affidavit, a judge has decided there is probable cause to charge Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann with murder, manslaughter, reckless homicide and negligent homicide. Judge Adrine also found there is probable cause to charge Cleveland police officer Frank Garmback with negligent homicide.
Some are reporting this as actual charges, but they are not. They are probable cause findings. The State’s Attorney has stated that he is taking the evidence before a grand jury to decide whether to charge the two officers. You can read the judge’s decision here.
This week, three more people have been killed by members of law enforcement, one being a homeless man in Overtown, Florida, in front of dozens of witnesses including children. Read the rest of this entry
It’s no big deal, but because of some people promoting it as a lost for Baltimore’s State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, I thought it important to write this so those interested can discern fact from ignorance. It’s easier for me to understand the structures of courts than how Baltimore has its own State’s Attorney because in most states, State’s Attorneys are elected to represent a county and not a city.
Each state has its own court structure, and that structure can differ from state to state. For example, California has Superior Courts that in other states, are considered Circuit Courts. Pennsylvania has courts of Common Pleas, Commonwealth Courts, Superior Court, and a Supreme Court. In Maryland, there are District Courts and Circuit Courts. District Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction of the District Court is concurrent with that of the circuit court in criminal cases that are classified misdemeanors and certain felonies, in which the penalty may be confinement for 3 years or more or a fine of $2,500 or more. The District Court does not conduct jury trials.
The Circuit Court for Baltimore City is a State trial court of unlimited jurisdiction. It handles all types of cases and is divided into four main divisions: Family, Juvenile, Criminal, and Civil.
The charges against the six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray were filed in the District Court. It is in that court that State’s Attorney Mosby filed a motion for a gag order. However, the officers were indicted and the cases transferred to the Circuit Court on May 21, 2015.
Kent Sprouse, 42, was the fifth convicted killer executed this year in Texas. In 2002, Sprouse killed Ennis Police officer Harry Marvin “Marty” Steinfeldt III, who was 28-years-old, and 38-year old Pedro Moreno. Although charged in Moreno’s death, Sprouse was not tried for it.
Sprouse, a meth addict, had used the drug and other drugs 48 hours before the shoot-out that took place at the Ferris Food Mart. Jim Jenkins, who was Sprouse’s lead lawyer at his trial said Sprouse suffered from the effects of methamphetamine addiction.
“He just didn’t know what he was doing, but the jury has to buy that. It’s sort of like being drunk and killing somebody. That’s really not a defense, not a legal defense. … The whole thing is extremely sad.”
Thursday, Sprouse was given the drug pentobarbital intravenously. He took several deep breaths and was pronounced dead 22 minutes later.
Associated Press reports:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials said a recent purchase of pentobarbital means they have enough of the sedative to carry out three other executions set for this month, including one next week. But at least three more are set for May and June, meaning they would have to find a new supply or switch to a different drug to carry out those executions on schedule.
Death penalty states have found it increasingly difficult to acquire execution drugs because traditional manufacturers now refuse to sell their drugs for use in executions. States now rely on compounding pharmacies for their made-to-order execution drugs.
In three weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will consider a challenge from three death row inmates to Oklahoma’s lethal injection method. A ruling against the use of midazolam, a sedative that lacks the knockout punch of pentobarbital, is part of a three-drug cocktail. Read the rest of this entry
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.
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.
23-year-old Officer Nathanial Robinson pulled over 76-year-old Pete Vasquez. Vasquez works for a car lot, and was driving a car owned by his employer. Vasquez tried explaining to Robinson that dealer tags are exempt from inspection. That didn’t help. Robinson threw Vasquez on the hood of his cruiser and then took Vasquez to the ground. The dash cam caught the confrontation until Vasquez was on the ground. Out of the view of the dash cam, Robinson tazed Vasquez twice. Robinson is now on administrative leave. Read the rest of this entry
The Texas version of the “castle doctrine permits the use of deadly force when an “actor” believes someone has “unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation. Even when the Castle Doctrine does not apply, there is traditional self-defense law that is deferential to a homeowner.
On December 19, 2013, in Somerville Texas, Henry Goedrich Magee, was awakened before 6 a.m. to intruders breaking into his mobile home. Fearing for his and his pregnant girlfriend’s safety, Magee grabbed a firearm and opened fire on the intruders. He killed Adam Sowers, who happened to be a Burleson County law enforcement officer. Sgt. Adam Sowers was fatally wounded by Magee while leading an armed team during an early morning unannounced “no-knock” marijuana raid.
A Texas grand jury refused to indict Magee, citing that his sincere belief, fearing for his life and the life of his pregnant girlfriend, was a “completely reasonable act of self-defense.
The no-knock raid resulted in evidence to charge Magee with felony drug and weapon charges. He was held on a $50,000 bond.
On May 9th, 2014, just after 5:30 am, 49-year old Marvin Louis Guy of Killeen, Texas, was in bed with his wife when he was awakened by someone climbing through a window of his residence. Fearing what any reasonable person would, Marvin grabbed his gun and fired at the intruders. It was the Killeen Police Department’s Tactical Response Unit conducting a no-knock raid, based on an informant. Read the rest of this entry
It is truly amazing that we hear that Ebola is not an air borne virus, yet there is no understanding for how people, and their pets, are being infected. Maybe if hospital staff had taken Duncan seriously when he first came to the ER, it could have prevented the spread.
The unidentified health care worker treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who tested positive for the disease on Sept. 30. Duncan was the first person to have been diagnosed with the virus in the U.S. He died on Oct. 8.
After reporting a fever on Tuesday, the health care worker was put into isolation. Authorities are now searching for anyone who may have been in contact with the worker.
Nina Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola after treating Duncan, is also in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is still not clear…
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R.I.P. Charles Moore.
Stripped of Dignity
Deadra Pattum picked up a pair of $3.00 earrings in Y Beauty Supply in Houston, Texas. Deciding not to purchase them, she placed them back on the counter. Surveillance footage confirmed that Pattum put the earrings back on the counter, but by the time that the security guard watched the video, Pattum and her fiancé John Marsden, were already violated. The store’s owner allegedly said “You people always steal.”
Intimidated and nervous, Marsden removed his socks, shoes and pants.
The security guard said “She never left the counter with those earrings in her hand. There was no evidence of shoplifting.”
Pattum and Marsden are now pushing to have the store’s owners charged with unlawful search. “Everybody doesn’t shoplift. Everybody is not a thief. There are still honest people in the world” stated Pattum.
Quanell X, an activist fighting racial profiling, gave a statement saying, “This was a classic case of racial profiling in its most humiliating form. And something needs to be done about this.”
The owners of the store have declined to comment on the racial profiling charges, only saying that shoplifting costs their store a lot of money.
What’s the wholesale price for earrings that retail for $3.00?