Archive for the 'Police' Category

Edgewater Police Investigate Officer’s Negligent Discharge Of AR-15

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

News from Florida:

An Edgewater police officer is under investigation for accidentally discharging a rifle while answering what turned out to be a hoax call, a police official said.

Timothy Huggins, a 16-year veteran of the Edgewater Police Department, discharged his firearm as he and another officer were at a home in the city checking out reports of a hostage situation, Edgewater police Capt. Joe Mahoney said Tuesday.

And, Daniel Mease, 25, a Marine veteran who said he was at his father’s Kumquat Drive home visiting for Memorial Day, claims Huggins was careless and negligent with the handling of his firearm.

The incident has set in motion an internal affairs investigation to determine the circumstances that caused the firearm to discharge, Mahoney said.

“We want to make sure that this type of accident does not occur again,” Mahoney said.

The hostage call turned out to be a hoax, Mahoney said.

Edgewater police were dispatched to 1924 Kumquat Drive at 8:20 p.m. Monday after getting a call from Hillsborough County authorities saying that they had taken a call from a man — Robert James Ware — claiming to have a hostage at the Edgewater home, Mahoney said.

“Hillsborough County dispatchers were able to link the call to the home on Kumquat Drive and we sent our officers there to do a well-being check,” Mahoney said.

Turns out Ware, who had the Kumquat Drive home as a previous address, is in the Collier County jail, an Edgewater police report shows.

According to Volusia dispatchers, Hillsborough investigators believed the hostage call was a “spoof call” — one that displays a different number than the calling phone — but needed to have Edgewater police verify it.

Huggins was one of two officers sent to the home.

“(Huggins) had an accidental discharge of his AR-15,” Mahoney said. “The bullet went into the ground and it did not hit a home.”

The report states Huggins’ “finger was outside the trigger guard at the time of the accidental discharge.”

Mease, who said he was outside the home when the other officers arrived, claims Huggins and the other officer were about 5 feet behind him when the rifle fired.

“I told them there was no hostage situation at my father’s house,” Mease said. “I told them nothing was going on and that I had just walked out of my father’s home.”

Mease said Huggins pointed the AR-15 while the other officer aimed a Taser at him and asked him for identification. As Mease, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after a seven-month tour in Afghanistan, walked to his car to get his ID, followed by the officers, he heard the shot behind him, he said.

A report states Mease got belligerent when approached by the officers and got more agitated when the firearm discharged. Officers had to wrestle Mease to take away a 9-inch knife he had on his side, police said.

Now for the event post-mortem.  Someone lied on the report.  Huggins’ finger was not outside the trigger guard at the time of the negligent discharge.  Guns don’t just go off.  Someone has to pull the trigger.  I suspect that he stumbled and had a sympathetic muscle reflex, causing him to squeeze the trigger.  A person can be trained to overcome this sympathetic reaction (like my son during his pre-deployment workup as a SAW gunner), but this officer is a goofball, and few if any civilian police will ever be trained to such a level.

As for the knife, they only imagined that they “had to wrestle Mease to take away a 9-inch knife he had on his side.”  They didn’t really have to do that.  They just made that up.  They could have decided to carry only their side arm, shake his hand, and ask how he was doing.  Instead they decided to act like members of the local gang.

Finally, as I note every time I write about these events (and they happen on a daily basis in America), notice the lack of muzzle discipline.  As one commenter of mine put so well, ”If you need to speak with the occupant, make an appointment.”  They have no right to invade domiciles and point weapons at people.  In this instance the police were played for idiots, and they decided to act the part.

Another LEO M-16 Goes Missing

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

News from Melbourne, Florida.

… the Melbourne Police Department has been forced to file its own missing property report after an M-16 rifle went missing.

The rifle was given to the department under a federal program, but now it’s nowhere to be found. Police said they realized the M-16 was gone during their annual inventory check in February.

“I know people will wonder, how do you misplace an M-16?” said Sgt. Sheridan Shelley. “Well, our inventory system, since this incident, is being reviewed and changed.”

That could mean more than annual inventory checks of equipment at the department, officials said.

Melbourne police are also taking a closer look at who is allowed into secure areas.

The missing M-16 was last seen in a SWAT locker.

“The unfortunate thing is narrowing down an exact time or location when this firearm may have gone missing,” said Sheridan. “It’s very difficult.”

Yep.  People will wonder how a SWAT team “loses” or “misplaces” an M-16.  You betcha.  Us common civilians who aren’t allowed to own fully automatic weapons wouldn’t misplace ours if we had one.  In fact, I’ve never misplaced any weapon at all, ever.

Perhaps this situation is analogous to the one in Utah where a Sheriff’s deputy “forgot” that he took their fully automatic M-16 home and put it in his gun safe.

That’s it.  It’s “misplaced,” or “missing,” or someone “forgot.”

Militarization Of Police Intended To Handle Returning Veterans!

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

News From Indiana (via David Codrea):

In an interview with Fox 59, a Morgan County, Indiana Police Sergeant admits that the increasing militarization of domestic police departments is partly to deal with returning veterans who are now seen as a homegrown terror threat.

[ ... ]

Downing’s admission that the armored vehicles are partly about combating the threat posed by returning veterans correlates with similar rhetoric at the federal level.

An April 2009 DHS intelligence assessment listed returning vets as likely domestic terrorists. Just a month later, the New York Times reported on how Boy Scout Explorers were being trained by the DHS to kill “disgruntled Iraq war veterans” in terrorist drills.

The FBI has also repeatedly characterized returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as a major domestic terrorist threat.

Good grief!  First of all, returning veterans aren’t the problem – militarized police are.  Second, if returning veterans did decide to take matters into their own hands, if this idiot thinks that a bunch of fat ass, unqualified, keystone cop goofballs like Amerikan police would be able to handle combat veterans, he is living in fantasy world – a world of his own making because he wasn’t man enough to go to the sand box and do it himself.

Loud mouth coward.

How Did You Like Having A Gun Pointed At You?

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Michigan Live:

The fatal shooting of a fellow trooper was “at the forefront” of Michigan State Police Trooper Timothy Wagner’s mind last month when he pulled his handgun and pointed it at an 18-year-old woman during a traffic stop near Sturgis.

That’s according to a written statement Wagner provided to Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen after Christensen informed Wagner he was under investigation for allegations of excessive force. The statement is included in a nine-page report by Christensen obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Wagner was westbound on U.S. 12 at about 5:35 p.m. April 15 when he spotted the woman’s eastbound red Pontiac, which he clocked on radar going 77 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to the report.

In-car video from Wagner’s cruiser shows him doing a U-turn to catch up with the Pontiac. The driver pulls over to the shoulder about 45 seconds after Wagner made the U-turn and about 35 seconds after he activated his lights and siren.

Wagner exits his cruiser with his handgun drawn and approaches the Pontiac.

“With the recent incident involving the murder of Tpr. Paul Butterfield while approaching a vehicle at the forefront of my mind I elected to ‘clear’ the vehicle for my safety as I feel the vehicle could have suddenly pulled to the side in an effort to lure me into a vulnerable position where I could easily be shot,” Wagner later told Christensen in his statement.

Video from Wagner’s dash-mounted camera shows him handcuffing the woman then taking her to his cruiser, where the conversation between the two is recorded. The woman apologizes to Wagner, telling him she was trying to get home because she had gotten a call from her father informing her that the family’s home had been broken into.

St. Joseph County dispatchers confirm the report of the break-in to Wagner as the woman sits in his patrol car.

Wagner tells the woman, “I chased you for two miles with my lights and sirens at almost 80 mph. Do you see a problem with that?”

“Yes, I do,” she responded. “I honestly didn’t see you.”

At the end of the audio captured from inside the car, Wagner asks the woman, “How’d you like having a gun pointed ….” The rest of his statement is inaudible.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough, who was asked by Michigan State Police to review the incident, focused on that statement in calling for Wagner, a 19-veteran of MSP, to be fired.

McDonough considered whether to authorize charges of felonious assault and conduct unbecoming a public official against Wagner, but ultimately decided his handling of the traffic stop did not warrant criminal charges. In a statement issued Wednesday, however, the prosecutor wrote that he was “appalled and disgusted” by Wagner’s conduct.

Loss of LEO life may have been on his mind, but perhaps loss of civilian life at the hands of LEOs may have been on the mind of the poor woman he stopped.  Actually, I’m being coy.  She clearly didn’t know anything about what was going on around her, and the LEO admits that very thing in the questioning, while he also makes excuses for his behavior.

Welcome to Amerika, where slowing down, stopping and apologizing is interpreted as flee and elude.  And remember that for just about any reason at all, a LEO may unholster his weapon and point it at you, and you will be arrested and charged with felonious assault if you do something like that.

Wrongful Police Raid And Chum In The Water

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Like sharks feeding on chum, there has been another wrongful police raid.

Cops stormed a Kalamazoo, Mich., house looking for a man named Chum — a drug dealer who apparently hadn’t lived there for a year.

The home’s current occupants, the Handley family, had no idea who Chum was.

But as a result of the police SWAT tactics — which involved kicking down the back door, ransacking every room and making the occupants feel like endangered victims — the two young Handley children now believe Chum is coming to get them, and have nightmares to that effect. They are also afraid of the police, according to WWMT.

“One dream was about Chum coming in our house with a gun saying ‘Get on the ground,” said 8-year-old Aurora Handley.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety burst into the home and handcuffed the parents.

“I thought it was someone trying to rob us or hurt us,” said Jeremy Handley, the father, in a statement.

The children hid in the closet while police moved from room to room trashing the premises in search of drugs and cash. They found neither.

After admitting they made a mistake and should have known that Chum no longer lived there, the cops gave the kids some stuffed animals. Aurora and Brenden appreciate the new toys, but they are still mortified.

Well, since the cops gave toys away everything is cool, I guess.  SWAT raid = toys for the kids.  Who could argue with such an arrangement?

23 Police Officers, 377 Rounds, Two Men And No Guns

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

The Atlantic:

I’ve long proposed a simple rule: police officers who shoot unarmed innocents should have their guns taken away. They can work desk jobs or monitor meters. But if nothing else, they shouldn’t ever be in a position to put lives in danger again.

Applying that rule in Miami would have dramatic consequences.

The local CBS affiliate has investigated a police shooting that happened there last December. The results are jaw-dropping. A man who committed armed robbery and shot a police officer hours earlier was spotted in his automobile, along with a passenger who played no role in his crime. Police officers gave chase.

CBS reports what happened next:

The suspect’s blue Volvo crashed into the backyard of a townhouse.

It was later determined that neither the suspect nor the passenger was armed. Police officers nevertheless fired two barrages of bullets into the vehicle. Witnesses say that after the first volley of approximately 50 bullets, the two men were still alive. 

Roughly two minutes passed between volleys.

After the second volley both men were dead. Said another witness: “The policemen that had on the black and white vests were out there laughing like it was so funny.”

How about a different standard than the one proposed by the writer?  How about all 23 officers stand accused of murder (with a jury composed entirely of people from the neighborhood from which the victims came), and if found guilty of first degree murder receive the death penalty.  If found guilty of second degree murder get life without the possibility of parole and live among the general prison population for the rest of their miserable existence?

Sounds reasonable to me.  Would you propose a different standard?  Why?

Police Antics And SWAT-Capades

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

It’s a well worn category here, and that itself is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in Amerika.  Here is the first report we discussed just recently.

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) –Ruth Hunter, a 75-year-old woman, said she was tied up while State Police invaded her Henrico apartment.

She said officers told her during the raid what they were looking for, and court documents also show the information. She said she had nothing to do with the investigation.

Virginia State Police said a drug investigation is what prompted a Henrico County magistrate to issue a warrant for an apartment in the 5600 block of Crenshaw road.

The woman claims that officers ultimately arrested a man who lives two doors down from her.

“I thought someone was breaking in to rob or kill me,” Hunter said.

Seconds after her front door flies open Hunter said she heard a voice yell “Police!”

“…Took my hands with a tie-thing and said ‘You’re under arrest’ and started asking questions,” she recalled. “The more I told them I didn’t know these people, the more he continued.”

Hunter said that police left her apartment and went two doors down, while she was left handcuffed with a zip tie.

The fiancé of the man arrested says she was there at the time, and asked CBS 6 to hide her identity

“Just so happened they came to the apartment and they got it mixed up,’ she said.

The team left her zip tied because as you know, seventy five year old women are such an ever-present danger to law enforcement.  She could have thrown down with the best of them while they were busy doing other things, like going to the right house rather than grandmother’s place.

Next up, police in Miami-Dade badly beat a young man with Down Syndrome for packing a Colostomy bag.

Gilberto Powell says the police were following him in their cruiser as he was walking home. The police report says the officers decided to stop Gilberto after they noticed a “bulge” in Gilberto’s pants. After an officer tried to conduct a patdown, the report claims Gilberto attempted to flee.

Gilberto denies trying to run away and says he did everything the officer asked him to do. What happened next resulted in the photograph above.

After Powell was finally handcuffed and questioned, the officers realized he was “mentally challenged, was not capable of understanding our commands, and that the bulge in his waistband was a colostomy bag,” the report said.

By that time, Gilberto had been hit, knocked to the ground and the bag had reportedly been ripped from his body. The father says by the time he and Gilberto’s mother ran outside to their son, the cops had removed Gilberto’s pants and had him out there in his boxer shorts.

The mother asked the officer, “Didn’t you know he was a Down Syndrome kid?” to which the cop responded, “I’m not a doctor, I didn’t know.”

The family’s attorney Philip Gold said that it should’ve been immediately obvious that Gilberto has special needs.

If you just look at Gilberto, he 5-foot-3, 130 pounds with Down Syndrome, it’s 100 percent obvious he has Down Syndrome,” he said. It’s impossible to believe [the police's story] if you hear one word out of Gilberto’s mouth.”

Because even though Florida’s stop and identify statute applies only to prowling and loitering, 5 foot tall boys with Down syndrome and colostomy bags are such a danger to society.

Next up, news from Framingham.

A Boston television station reported Thursday night,  Framingham Police and members of the Massachusetts State Police raided the wrong apartment Thursday morning, when conducting a drug raid.

The police meant to raid 78A at 6 a.m. Thursday morning but instead raided 78B, which was occupied by a mom and her five children, ranging in age from 4 to 18.

Oh, what’s the difference, 78A and 78B?  The alpha-numeric characters are, after all, so similar.  I’m sure that officers pointed rifles at women and children just in case, you know, so they could be assured of going home safely at the end of their shift.  But don’t forget that we have history with the Framingham Police Department when innocent Mr. Eurie Stamps was shot to death by their SWAT team.

Finally, no door is safe with a SWAT team on the prowl.

Midland-A Midland family says they don’t feel safe in their own home after the Midland Police Department’s SWAT team kicked in their front door during last Friday’s tragic standoff.

The family is asking that the city fix the damages that were made to their door, but it could take several weeks before the city takes any action.

For the past four nights, Cesar Reyna and his girlfriend have not been able to sleep in peace knowing that at anytime someone could walk right through their front door.

“I worry for the safety of my son, anything can happen whenever,” said Reyna. “Anybody can just walk into my house, it’s just uncomfortable.”

When Reyna got home from work last Friday night, his front door was wide open and police officers covered his front lawn.

“I came out and talked to them [police officers] and they said they had kicked it in, but they wouldn’t tell me why,” said Reyna.

According to Sarah Higgins,  the Public Information Officer for Midland, the SWAT team knocked on the door several times before kicking it in. She said the team had to evacuate the home being that it was right across the street from were the standoff took place.

Reyna and his family were told to call the City’s Safety and Risk Management department to file a claim for the damages that were made to their door, but when they did make the call they were told their case wouldn’t be reviewed until May 13.

These folks weren’t just on some correct or incorrect raid party list.  They lived across the street from the raid party.  They had the misfortune of living in the wrong place, and the SWAT team decided to bust in their door, and are now guilty of breaking and entering, trespassing, violation of due process rights, violation of rights against illegal search and seizure, destruction of property, vandalism, and so on the list could go.  But hey, they got to go home safely at the end of their shift.

The saddest part about all of this is that no judge in America, local, state or federal, so much as gives a damn about any of this.  They all play for the same team.  And in anticipation of comments concerning the root cause of this sorry state of affairs, it isn’t either police or judges (or politicians, for that matter).  It’s not either-or.  It’s both-and.  All participating parties are culpable for the moral obscenity and the grotesque, twisted monster that has become our system of justice.  Let the fan boys from chew on these things for a while.

Virginia State Police Raid Wrong Address

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) –Ruth Hunter, a 75-year-old woman, said she was tied up while State Police invaded her Henrico apartment.

She said officers told her during the raid what they were looking for, and court documents also show the information. She said she had nothing to do with the investigation.

Virginia State Police said a drug investigation is what prompted a Henrico County magistrate to issue a warrant for an apartment in the 5600 block of Crenshaw road.

The woman claims that officers ultimately arrested a man who lives two doors down from her.

“I thought someone was breaking in to rob or kill me,” Hunter said.

Seconds after her front door flies open Hunter said she heard a voice yell “Police!”

“…Took my hands with a tie-thing and said ‘You’re under arrest’ and started asking questions,” she recalled. “The more I told them I didn’t know these people, the more he continued.”

Hunter said that police left her apartment and went two doors down, while she was left handcuffed with a zip tie.

The fiancé of the man arrested says she was there at the time, and asked CBS 6 to hide her identity

“Just so happened they came to the apartment and they got it mixed up,’ she said.

State Police cite an ongoing drug investigation as why they can’t comment any further.

Ms. Hunter doesn’t say, but I suspect the LEOs pointed rifles at her head.  They can’t comment any further because they screwed up, and we wouldn’t want the public to get wind of things like this, would we now?  They may start to question why we have to do raids like this in the first place.

At 75 years old, it’s seriously in doubt that she posed any threat to anyone, much less the police, and the fact that she was zip tied is obscene.  Hey, but at least the LEOs got to go home safely at the end of their shift, and that’s what’s really important, right?

Police Chief: Not Wanting To Talk To Police Officers Is Odd

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 4 weeks ago


This insight into how police think the public should interact with them is certainly enlightening. (via this tweet and Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess blog)

The backstory is this: a woman was walking down the street when a motorcycle cop approached her, asked her if she lived in the area and if she would talk to him. She says his approach made her feel uncomfortable, so she refused and continued on her way.

“I thought that maybe he was flirting,” she said. “I just thought it was odd, I thought it was odd. I wasn’t really sure but I felt uncomfortable because there wasn’t anyone around.”

She says she was worried he might not even a real cop, so she refused to stop and began jogging away from him.

“He just crept along beside me on his motorcycle and he started saying, ‘Hey ma’am! I want to talk to you. Hey stop, ma’am! I want to talk to you.’ Then my anxiety rose even higher,” she said.

This was followed shortly thereafter by the cop dismounting, chasing her down, tackling her and placing her under arrest. The police chief claims this arrest was for “walking on the wrong side of the road,” (as well as “evading arrest” and “resisting arrest”) despite the fact that the woman wasn’t ultimately charged with anything.

Even if the preceding events could possibly be dismissed as hearsay, or something tainted by false impressions and emotions, there’s the police chief’s responses to questions about this interaction.

Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton says this:

Shelton says by law you’re not required to stop and talk to an officer if there’s not a lawful reason for them to be stopping you.

But then he says this:

“Normally if a police officer pulls up, in my opinion, it’s awful odd for somebody just to take off and not want to speak to the police officer,” Shelton said.

Let’s rehearse this one more time for the uninitiated among us, even if the police chief is lying and knows it.

Do … not … ever … talk … to … the … police.  Ever.  Got it?  Good.

North Carolina Deputies Raid Wrong Home

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 4 weeks ago

Times-News Burlington:

The Burlington police officer who obtained a search warrant for the wrong house in a drug investigation was present when the warrant was executed, but wasn’t able to stop deputies before they entered the house, police officials said Tuesday.

Burlington Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe called into Talkline, a local morning radio show on AM station WBAG, on Tuesday to discuss the incident, which occurred April 4 at a Mebane house outside of the police department’s jurisdiction, thus requiring the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office to execute the warrant.

Though the Times-News previously tried to get information from police on where Officer R.D. Hebden, who obtained the warrant, was while deputies entered the wrong house, Smythe explained on the radio show that the officer was present but was in the last of four cars to pull up to the site.

Smythe said sheriff’s deputies had already entered the house, located at 3264 Maplewood Ave., before Hebden could inform the ACSO lieutenant overseeing the operation that he had put the wrong address on the warrant, but that the officer immediately did so.

On the show, Smythe admitted the Burlington Police Department accepts the blame for the error, and mentioned that he had already apologized multiple times to the two residents of the house.

“It was due to a mistake on our officer’s part,” said Assistant Chief Chris Verdeck. “We’ve repeatedly apologized for our mistake and are investigating it thoroughly, internally, to try to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

The Sheriff’s Office has maintained that its deputies acted properly, and followed normal procedure for entering a residence at the address listed on a search warrant — which included a team of nine deputies from the vice and special operations units who went inside the house with guns drawn, ordering the residents on the ground and handcuffing them, said Randy Jones, public information officer.

Jones said one of the deputies carried a shotgun, one carried an AR-15 assault rifle and the others carried handguns. He said deputies knocked on the back door and announced their presence multiple times, to no response, before ramming through the door.

Once inside, the residents were ordered to get down and were both handcuffed while deputies conducted a walkthrough to ensure no one else was inside. He said once the scene was secured, Lt. Brandon Wilkerson, of the sheriff’s office, began to question whether they were at the correct location and went out to confer with Hebden.

The mistake of address on the search warrant was a result of Hebden selecting the wrong parcel while using an Alamance County geographic information system, said Lt. Brian Long, of the Burlington Police Department.

“Entered the wrong home …,” “apologized …,” “no response …,” and so on the clinically worded prose goes.  But there is nothing clinical about this.  Nine law enforcement officers crushed in a door and pointed weapons at innocent victims, thus endangering their lives, all over a mistaken address.

As a sidebar comment, if one of my readers does something like this, you would get charged with assault, reckless endangerment and brandishing a weapon.  And properly so.  But my readers wouldn’t do this.  They would ensure proper muzzle discipline at all times when in possession of a weapon.

The solution isn’t more apologies or radio talk shows.  The solution is to find another way to obtain evidence in criminal investigations that doesn’t involve ramming doors in or pointing weapons at people.  Note to LEOs: I couldn’t care less if you lose some of your evidence.  Use your heads and find another way.

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