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Posts Tagged ‘Police officer’

Police Officer is Acquitted on Charges Related to the Death of Philando Castile

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

English: U.S. President Barack Obama speaking ...

English: U.S. President Barack Obama speaking on the . (Cropped from YouTube video widescreen, due to watermark) Español: El Presidente Barack Obama en rueda de prensa sobre el tiroteo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A video was taken by the girlfriend of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, moments after he was allegedly shot multiple times by a police officer in July 2016. That video went viral, and there has been widespread outrage over Castile’s death since that time. The case recently went to trial by jury. On Friday, June 16, 2017, the officer who allegedly fired the deadly shots was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm.

The jury trial involved a week of testimony, and it focused primarily on what Castile was doing just before being shot. The jury was in deliberations for five days. The courtroom was tense when the verdict was announced, revealing that the officer was cleared of all charges. Castile’s mother immediately left the courtroom and later expressed her disbelief that a person allegedly got away with murder, in the death of her son.

Research indicates that this may have been the first time in the history of Minnesota that an on-duty officer was charged with a fatal shooting. The verdict was decided on the question of whether or not the officer had a reason to be afraid that Mr. Castile was reaching for the gun that he had informed the officer he had, after the officer pulled over the vehicle he was in.

The officer who allegedly shot Castile said during the trial that he believed Mr. Castile was making a grab for his gun. The deceased’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said he was reaching for identification to give to the officer. Although there is a video from the dashcam from the police vehicle of the events and the live-stream video taken by Reynolds, no video provides footage of the critical moments in the front seat of the car, indicating how Castile moved before shots were fired.

The death of Castile has been the rallying cry for large protests in the twin cities. Not long after the deadly shooting, a question of racism became a major focus, partly as a result of U.S. President Barack Obama and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton both verbalizing the question of whether the shooting would have occurred if the driver or passengers had been white.

Following the verdict, an estimated 1,500 people marched in protest at the Minnesota Capital in St. Paul. They caused transit delays and backups in traffic.

–Guest Contributor

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Hundreds Protest the Alleged Deadly Police Shooting of a Pregnant Woman in Seattle

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington Deutsch: Turmkorb und Spitze der Space Needle, in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police officers allegedly shot and killed a pregnant African American woman in her home Sunday night, June 18, 2017, while responding to a burglary call in Seattle, Washington. According to police, one police officer typically goes to a burglary scene, but there had been an incident at that address earlier in June in which the same woman, Charleena Lyles, had allegedly threatened an officer with shears. The 30-year-old mother of four weighed under 100 pounds and police could have easily overpowered her rather than using lethal force, her family says. They also say Lyles had mental problems. On Tuesday night, hundreds gathered in a vigil and rally to protest Lyles’ death and demand justice.

Police transcripts indicate that the officers engaged in a discussion about a supposedly stolen X-Box when they got to the apartment, and then the scene took a dramatic turn. One of the officers addressed Lyles, repeatedly telling her to get back. Then the other officer asked for quick back-up and said help was needed and a woman had two knives.

One officer told the other to Tase the woman, and the response was that he didn’t have a Taser. There were more commands to get back, by both officers. Then both officers allegedly fired shots.

The officers immediately called for medics. When they arrived, Lyles was declared dead. Lyles’ children were in the apartment, but Lyles was the only person harmed. Relatives took custody of the children.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the officers did have other equipment providing them with options that did not involve lethal force. Both of the officers had been through training for crisis intervention.

–Guest Contributor

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A Man is Allegedly Killed in an Officer-Involved Shooting in Pleasant Grove, Dallas, Texas

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

English: This is an image I created with Photo...

English: This is an image I created with Photoshop Category:Law enforcement insignia in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fatal officer-involved shooting occurred in Pleasant Grove Monday night, June 19, 2017, and the Dallas Police Department is investigating the incident. According to law enforcement officials, at about 5 p.m., police were called to a scene with an active shooter. Assistant Chief Randall Blankenbaker said a man allegedly fired multiple gunshots into a neighbor’s home. When police arrived at the scene, a home on Eastham Drive, they found that the front door was open. A noisy disturbance between a man and a woman could be heard inside, as well as a crying infant.

Police officers ordered the man to go to the front door. The man complied, but officers say he was holding a handgun. According to investigators, an officer allegedly opened fire, having no other option. The 28-year-old male in the doorway was allegedly struck by police gunfire. He was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where he later passed away.

Police said the woman inside the home had significant lacerations. She was also transported to the same hospital for treatment and is expected to fully recover. The infant was not injured.

According to investigators, the woman may have been assaulted by the man, who allegedly threatened to kill her and the baby. The identities of the individuals involved have not yet been released.

The man allegedly did not fire at the officer, a preliminary investigation shows. Body camera footage is being reviewed, to determine whether the suspect pointed the handgun at the police officer, according to Blankenbaker.

The investigation hasn’t yet uncovered a motive for the man allegedly firing gunshots into the neighbor’s home.

–Guest Contributor

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A Fleeing Suspect is allegedly Shot to Death by Police in Hunting Park, PA

Friday, June 16th, 2017

On Thursday, June 9, 2017, at about 6:45 p.m., police encountered 32-year-old David Thomas Jones, who was riding a dirt bike. At the time, the officers had been transporting individuals to the Special Victims Unit. Police allege that Jones had been driving the dirt bike recklessly. When the dirt bike stalled on a sidewalk, an officer exited his vehicle and attempted to question Jones. Officers say Jones turned away from police and placed his hands in his front waistband. A pat down was performed by police and the officer felt a gun in Jones’ waistband. At that point, the officer drew his weapon. Jones was repeatedly instructed not to touch his gun. Officers claim there was a struggle, after which Jones pulled the gun from his waistband. A police officer says that he squeezed the trigger on his service weapon, but it didn’t fire. The officer “cleared the stoppage,” investigators say, and then started allegedly firing at Jones as he began running away. Jones was allegedly shot in the buttocks and back. He was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where at 6:59 p.m. he was pronounced dead. Jones’ gun was found to be loaded with 15 bullets, law enforcement officers say.

The surveillance video of the incident has not been released. Commissioner Ross said it could be taken out of context, and it may not show that the suspect was threatening to fire while he was running away. Video available from an Action Cam at the scene shows a gun feet away from the dirt bike Jones had been riding.

Ross said officers are allowed to shoot a suspect who is fleeing, according to departmental policy.

In keeping with standard procedures and as the investigation into the incident is conducted, the officer who allegedly shot Jones is on administrative leave.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer – For use of a Stun Gun During an Arrest, an Austin, Texas Police Officer is Suspended for 20 Days

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

English: Clinton Warren Hunter Austin Police S...

English: Clinton Warren Hunter Austin Police South Substation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Austin Police Department (APD) has suspended an officer for 20 days, after he allegedly used a stun gun to shock a suspect who was not resisting arrest. The suspension is from June 14 through June 26, 2017. In addition, the officer has agreed to undergo evaluation by an APD psychologist. Police Chief Brian Manley says the officer is also under departmental probation for one year. If, during that time, the officer repeats the alleged behavior or does anything like it, he faces losing his job, with no right to appeal.

The officer who allegedly stun-gunned a suspect who wasn’t resisting at the time has been with APD since 1994. On January 17, 2017, he was working the Property Crimes Task Force. He and other officers were trying to locate a burglary-of-a-habitation suspect who had an active warrant. In northeast Austin, they found the man and attempted an arrest. The man managed to escape in an automobile. Later the suspect was trying to escape police on foot, and that was when he was captured.

Chief Manley says the suspect had been handcuffed and was face-down on the ground. He was not trying to assault an officer, and he was not actively resisting arrest. During this time, the now-suspended police officer allegedly took an action without first advising the suspect or other officers. He ran over to the suspect and allegedly held the stun gun to the man’s back for five seconds, which is referred to as “drive-stunning.”

Chief Manley wrote that the officer did not use the stun gun in an objectively reasonable manner.  The United States Supreme Court has determined that excessive force claims are to be examined based on objective reasonableness.

A video of the alleged drive-stunning incident was released on the Internet and went viral, causing widespread public outrage.

–Guest Contributor

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El Paso, TX Police Misconduct Attorney – A Minnesota Police Officer is on Trial for Second-Degree Manslaughter for a Controversial Shooting

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

English: Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul...

English: Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There has been widespread outrage over the alleged police shooting of Philando Castile, which was publicized through a video shot by Castile’s girlfriend after the shooting had occurred. The officer who allegedly shot Castile is currently on trial in St. Paul, Minnesota, on charges of second-degree manslaughter. A jury will decide whether the police officer should be found guilty of the charge or whether the officer was acting according to training, making a snap life-or-death decision.

What basically happened, according to different videos and statements, is that Castile’s vehicle was stopped for having a broken taillight. The police officer was speaking to Castile briefly, and Castile informed the police officer that he had a gun in the car. The officer calmly instructed the man not to reach for the gun. On a video at this point, you can hear the officer shouting, “Don’t pull it out!” In seconds, the police officer allegedly began shooting through the front passenger window. He allegedly shot seven times, narrowly missing Castile’s girlfriend, who had been driving, and her daughter, who was in the backseat.

This jury trial marks the first time in modern history in Minnesota that a police officer has been criminally charged in connection with an on-duty fatal shooting.  The trial is still in progress, after which the much-anticipated verdict of the jury will be handed down.

–Guest Contributor

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Texas Lawyer – The City of North Miami is Sued over an Alleged Police Shooting Involving a Disabled Man

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

North Miami FL Museum of Cont Art02

North Miami FL Museum of Cont Art02 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The family of Arnaldo Soto, who has autism, is suing the City of North Miami in connection with an alleged police shooting that occurred on July 18, 2016. The family claims that the disabled man’s civil rights were violated on the day authorities allegedly shot his caregiver. Charles Kinsey, the man who was shot, is also suing the city.

Soto was in the street with Kinsey on the day the incident occurred. Authorities say Kinsey was attempting to talk Soto into going back into his group home. Soto was holding a silver tanker truck toy. Police officers said they thought the toy was a weapon, and they allegedly fired three shots. Kinsey was struck in the leg as his hands were raised in the air. After the alleged shooting, Soto was taken to the police department to be interrogated.

Just on Monday of this week, the police interrogation of Soto was finally released by the police department, which is close to a year after the disabled man was handcuffed and transported to the North Miami Police Department. It’s clear in the surveillance video that Soto was unable to communicate. He asked at one point to have the handcuffs removed, and the police denied his request.

Family members expressed that they were disheartened watching the video. They say the police should have been able to recognize that Soto had autism.

The police officer who allegedly shot Kinsey was charged with attempted manslaughter in April of 2017. Later, after that announcement, prosecutors said they were upgrading the charges to include culpable negligence and an additional attempted manslaughter.

Family members say they are hoping their lawsuit will help to effect changes regarding how developmentally disabled people are viewed.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer – A Baytown, Texas Police Officer, Now Suspended, is Indicted on a Bribery Charge

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

English: I took this photograph off the north ...

Baytown, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A 9-year Baytown Police Department veteran and member of its SWAT team was indicted on a second-degree felony charge of bribery on Thursday, May 25, 2017. The officer has been fired and indefinitely suspended for allegedly offering to dismiss traffic tickets in exchange for nude photos of an 18-year-old driver.

According to the teen, approximately an hour after getting a ticket in March 2017, the officer allegedly contacted her through social media. Several screenshots were reviewed by investigators, and it was concluded that the messages were allegedly and clearly coercive. The messages allegedly applied pressure on the 18-year-old to forward him nude pictures of herself so that her tickets would be reduced to warnings.

According to a spokesperson for the Baytown Police, the officer was indefinitely suspended in mid-May, right about the time a news organization was on the verge of exposing the charges against the police officer.

Investigators have stated so far that there appears to be no evidence that the officer’s supervisors were aware of his alleged criminal behavior. They further reported that there is no evidence that indecent proposals of this kind are a common practice among the officers in Baytown.

Lt. Steve Dorris with Baytown police said that officers are held to levels of professional, ethical, and moral standards and integrity of the highest degree and that the confidence and trust of the community are of chief importance.

Part of the investigation is to explore whether the officer who allegedly bribed the 18-year-old bribed others. So far, there is no sign of that, investigators say.

–Guest Contributor

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Texas Attorney – A Tulsa Police Officer is Acquitted in the Fatal Shooting of Terence Crutcher

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

English: Tulsa Skyline Category:Images of Oklahoma

English: Tulsa Skyline Category:Images of Oklahoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Caucasian police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, allegedly shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, on September 16, 2016. The officer was later charged with first-degree manslaughter. On May 17, 2017, a jury found that the officer was not guilty of the charge. The shooting victim’s father said that he thinks the police officer literally got away with murder.

The jury that found the female officer not guilty was comprised of three African-Americans, four men, and eight women. On the evening the jury made their decision, about 100 demonstrators were in the courthouse plaza outside protesting the decision. Some protestors later blocked a major road in downtown Tulsa.

Marq Lewis said that the jury’s decision was a blow to the black community. He is the organizer of We the People Oklahoma, a local civil rights group. He questioned when officer-related shootings are finally going to stop.

Crutcher was 40 years old when he died. The officer who allegedly fired the deadly shots said that she ordered Crutcher to stop walking away from her and he ignored her. She told jurors that she was afraid because he didn’t follow her directive to lie on the ground. In addition, she was concerned that he was under the influence of the powerful hallucinogenic drug PCP, which makes users combative, unpredictable, and erratic. She also said she fired her weapon because it appeared to her that he was reaching for a gun. It turned out, however, that he was unarmed.

Part of the galvanization of the Black Lives Matter movement occurred when Crutcher was killed.

–Guest Contributor

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Family of Teen Shot by Police to Receive $850,000 from the City of Arlington

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

English: Student Center at Angelo State University

English: Student Center at Angelo State University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was announced on May 23, 2017, that the City of Arlington, Texas, has agreed to pay $850,000 to the family of Christian Taylor, in settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit. On August 7, 2015, 19-year-old Taylor, an unarmed African American, was allegedly fatally shot by an Arlington, Texas, police officer during a suspected burglary. The police officer who allegedly shot Taylor was fired from his job two days later. In June 2016, the Tarrant County Grand Jury voted not to take action against the former Arlington officer for the events leading to Taylor’s death.

The events leading to the alleged police shooting were largely caught on surveillance videos, though the shooting itself was not. At about 1 am, 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Taylor, a football player at Angelo State University, drove up to a car dealership in his own vehicle. Video footage shows that he allegedly began smashing windows on several of the cars in the lot.

Six officers with the Arlington Police Department showed up at the scene, having been called by a security guard. The officers discovered that the suspect had driven his car through the window of the dealership and was in the showroom on foot. A 49-year-old officer, a rookie who was still on probation who lacked policing experience, pursued Taylor inside the dealership. The rest of the officers stayed outside.

The officer claims that he confronted the suspect and ordered him to get on the ground. Taylor allegedly did not comply but began advancing toward the officer. At this point, the field training officer had entered the dealership and was preparing to deploy his Taser when the rookie allegedly shot Taylor from a distance of 7 to 10 feet. The suspect allegedly continued to approach, and the officer shot his gun at Taylor three more times.

The Arlington police chief said, four days after the deadly incident, that the rationale expressed for using deadly force raised serious concerns.

Family and friends of Taylor saw footage of his behavior that night, and they all said he was obviously not behaving like himself.

–Guest Contributor

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