Friday, January 23, 2015
Sacramento County, California Sheriff's Deputy Who Illegally Parked in Handicap Parking Space; "We're Allowed to Get Breaks."
Friday, January 16, 2015
Brighton, NY Police officer Mike Romach Thinks That Me Exercising My Right to Free Speech is Threatening.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Rochester, NY Main Street Armory Exposed: "The owner and staff divide up and keep all confiscated weapons and drugs."
By Davy V.
On Tuesday, Scott Donaldson, the owner of the Main Street Armory in Rochester, NY, got in front of news cameras and announced that he was banning hip hop concerts at his establishment.
Wearing sunglasses, Donaldson, who is blind, said that after several fights and shootings which preceded hip hop concerts, he decided to no longer allow any more rap concerts.
Stopping short of blaming African-Americans and Latinos, Donaldson, who is white, would only say that "Stabbings, shootings, it's attracting the wrong people. We don't want to do that anymore."
"The wrong people"?
What "people" is Scott Donaldson referring to?
Not surprisingly, there's one thing that Scott Donaldson, who purchased the Main Street Armory in 2005 for only $1,000, did not mention.
According to an employee of the Main Street Armory, Donaldson's security staff searches minority concert goers, and confiscates illegal weapons such as knives, as well as drugs including marijuana.
You may ask what's wrong with that?
Shouldn't security confiscate drugs and weapons?
Well, according to the employee who spoke to me on the condition of anonymity, it's what the security staff and Scott Donaldson do with the confiscated weapons and drugs, which is disturbing.
"It all goes in boxes, the drugs, the knives," the employee said, "Then the owner and staff divide up and keep all confiscated weapons and drugs."
So let me get this straight.
Ok, so Scott Donaldson, a white man, who has made tons of money from black and Latino concert goers, is now blaming those same minority concert goers for violence?
Those same minority patrons who have made him a very rich man?
And now it turns out that all along Scott Donaldson and his security/bouncers have been confiscating illegal weapons and drugs from those same minority concert goers, and keeping the drugs and weapons for him and his staff?
And now, he makes a decision to ban hip hop concerts?
Saying "It's attracting the wrong people" ?
"The thing is Scott Donaldson doesn't want to pay for armed security, he wants to cut corners," the employee told me.
The employee also told me that Donaldson's claims of violence is exaggerated and unfairly targets hip hop music.
In fact the employee mentioned a recent hip hop concert at the Main Street Armory, on October 2nd, where hip hop legend Nas kicked off his "Time Is Illmatic" tour, which he says was peaceful.
"It was a great show," the employee said, "There were no incidents and everyone had a great time, Nas played his classics and there was no violence."
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Rochester, NY Police Department's Professional Standards Section (Internal Affairs) Exonerates Rogue Street Cops Who Beat Disabled Amputee
According to an interview conducted on local radio station 96.5FM WCMF, former Chief of Police James Sheppard said that the officers were tasked with “clearing the block” because the RPD works “very closely with the Jefferson Avenue Business Association.” However, while people were outside enjoying a nice evening and inadvertently exercising their Constitutional rights, the police acted on the alleged agitation of the business association. According to the chief, “what they [the businesses on Jefferson Ave.] don't want is when you have these clusters of people that hanging out and selling dope—it kills business.” The RPD apparently took orders from the business association that made it criminal to be on the sidewalks congregating—even though, according to James Muhammad of the Jefferson Avenue Business Association at a community rally in support of Mr. Warr on May 18, 2013, “We did not give the police the task to do what they did.”
The two officers who were telling people to move on, officers Joseph “Joey” M. Ferrigno II and Anthony “Rock” R. Liberatore, approached Mr. Warr and gave him the same order.
According to Mr. Warr, officer Ferrigno told him to “Move.”
“Sir, I'm catching a bus.” said Mr. Warr.
“I said fucking move!” officer Ferrigno responded.
When he tried to explain that he was waiting for the bus, officer Ferrigno sprayed him in the face with OC spray as officer Liberatore violently pushed over and threw Mr. Warr out of his motorized wheelchair onto the ground injuring his left side and stump where his prosthetic leg attaches.
Shortly after Mr. Warr was thrown to the ground, officer Liberatore “delivered an elbow strike to Mr. Warr's head in the hopes of ending the situation as fast as possible,” according to the investigative summary provided by Professional Standards Section (PSS) (internal investigations) of the RPD.
According to independent witness affidavits and video recordings, officers Liberatore and Ferrigno violently kicked, kneed, and punched Mr. Warr all over his body including his head, ribs, stomach, chest, and back. Officer Liberatore decided that he needed to subdue Mr. Warr—for his and Mr. Warr's safety—and used an “untrained technique” on his victim: a downward elbow strike to the head.
Again, according to independent witnesses, as Mr. Warr was being violently assaulted by the officers, RPD Sergeant Mitchell “Big Face” R. Stewart II arrived to assist in the arrest of Mr. Warr as he was punched, kicked, and handcuffed by the officers.
According to La'Shanda Flowers, Tache Young, Derrick Latham, Mary Adams, and Ricardo Adams—all independent witnesses—Mr. Warr did nothing to provoke the police violence he endured and he did nothing to resist arrest once the attack began. Mr. Warr was left on the ground waiting for an ambulance, after he was handcuffed, for nearly 25 minutes.
Mr. Warr was eventually transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for medical treatment. Mr. Burkwit states, "Prior to his arrival at Strong, Mr. Warr consistently complained to the officers that his eyes and face were burning due to the mace but the officers never washed or provided Mr. Warr with anything to clean his face. He also told the officers that his handcuffs were too tight but none of the officers loosened or removed the handcuffs until after Mr. Warr arrived," at the hospital for treatment.
As to the first allegation regarding unlawful arrest, the PSS investigation found that it was Unprovable. Attorney Charles F. Burkwit, who is representing Mr. Warr, rightfully questioned this ruling. Evidence considered by PSS in its finding were the conflicting testimonies of the officers and Mr. Warr, the New York State Penal Law, the New York State Court of Appeals ruling of People v. Baker, and the lack of independent witnesses. PSS justified it's ruling on the “public harm” element based in People v. Baker, a disorderly conduct charge—primarily based on the police narrative—that Mr. Warr made “unreasonable noise,” he used “abusive or obscene language” in public, that he was “congregat[ing] with other persons in a public place and refuse[d] to comply with a lawful order of the police to disperse,” and finally, because there was a lack of independent witnesses to give a counter-narrative.
Right off the bat, at least one independent witness—Tache Young—could have been contacted by the investigators. PSS knew of Ms. Young because Charles F. Burkwit, had served a Verified Notice of Claim, verified May 17, 2013, on behalf of Mr. Warr upon the City of Rochester where the true identity of the YouTube.com video's videographer—Tache Young—was disclosed—four days after the RPD chief ordered the initiation of an investigation into what happened on May 1, 2013.
Mr. Burkwit questioned, “Would Tache Young and La'Shanda Flowers' testimony have changed the unlawful arrest determination from unprovable to proven? One must question why these known independent key witnesses were never contacted in this case by the Rochester Police Department.”
Again, regarding the first allegation of unlawful arrest, Mr. Burkwit questioned why the “Professional Standards Section did not cite the complete holding in People v. Baker, which held that isolated statements using coarse language to criticize the actions of a police officer, unaccompanied by provocative acts or other aggravating circumstances, will rarely afford a basis to infer the presence of 'public harm' mens rea necessary to support a disorderly conduct charge.” Further, when “a defendant makes abusive or profane statements” and those statements are “not accompanied by menacing conduct,” and where there is no basis to “infer the officer felt threatened by the statements” that there basically isn't enough evidence to support the “public harm” element for a disorderly conduct arrest. This “public harm” element is further diluted by the fact that there were two officers at the scene because, according to the ruling, others in the vicinity would not risk “join[ing] forces with the defendant to gang up on the arresting officer.”
According to PSS, they have clarified that “the risk of public disorder does not have to be realized but the circumstances must be such that defendant's intent to create such a threat (or reckless disregard thereof) can be readily inferred.”
So, the police argue, regarding People v. Baker, that if there is a contradiction in what actually happened, then they will pass judgement based on a potentially latent, unrealized threat of public disorder. This goes against the case law cited above. And because Mr. Warr is deemed the defendant (and clearly guilty until proven innocent—informally turning the rule of law on its head), PSS will take the word of the officer over the defendant because the officer is a sworn public servant. And because we all know that the word of a white officer is worth more than black life, based on the recent non-indictments of the killer cops who murdered Michael Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, and so many others, their narrative—the State's narrative—takes precedence. But wait, what if there was another witness, from above, viewing the whole thing? In Benny Warr's case, there was another such witness.
Turns out, PSS never utilized the City of Rochester's Blue Light Camera surveillance footage for this allegation of unlawful arrest in their investigation. If they had, they might have reconsidered their ruling. According to Mr. Burkwit and his careful analysis of the blue light surveillance camera footage, “[I]f Benny Warr had used profanity towards the officers, which he denies, the Blue Light Camera footage does not show the officers were alarmed in any manner, does not show others were alarmed and began assembling or that the officers were in any type of danger. Rather, the Blue Light camera footage shows Officers Liberatore and Ferrigno arriving and pedestrians, including Benny Warr, promptly leaving the east side of Jefferson Avenue. Within two (2) minutes after the officers' arrival, the group that was in front of 580 Jefferson Avenue is gone as per the Blue Light Camera. Officer Ferrigno's claim that a large group gathered and became very irate and anti-police cannot be supported by the objective blue light camera footage.”
As to the second allegation regarding excessive use of force, PSS recommended the finding of Exonerated for the officers regarding excessive use of force, regardless of the affidavits of independent witnesses who saw the unprovoked police brutality. Ms. Young was mentioned above as the videographer whose video was published on YouTube.com. She recounts, in her affidavit dated May 25, 2013, that “the officers kicked Benny Warr in his head and side and kneed him. At no time did Benny Warr do anything to provoke the attack and he did not try to resist being arrested by the police officers.” While her video was considered in the investigation, her testimony was never sought by the police.
Derrick Latham, another independent witness, stated in his affidavit dated April 15, 2014, “Officer Joey maced Benny. The bald officer pushed Benny's wheelchair over. Benny landed on the sidewalk. One officer put his knee in Benny's back. They were trying to put cuffs on Benny. Benny said he was not resisting. I think the officers kicked Benny when he was on the ground, and they kneed Benny while he was on the ground. I was about five feet from Benny when this happened.”
Another independent witness, La'Shanda Flowers, wrote in her affidavit dated May 22, 2013, “Benny did not do anything toward the officers. Benny did not swing at the officers. He did not try to hit the officers. The officers grabbed Benny and threw him to the ground. After they threw him to the ground, one of the officers put his knee in Benny's back. I could not understand why the police were doing this to Benny—I told them this—they told me to get away.” She crossed the street as ordered and told other police officers that what they were doing “was wrong.” For this, she was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Then there's the testimony provided by Rochester City School District School Board Commissioner Mary Adams to the PSS investigation on June 10, 2013. While her account was recorded and supposedly considered, it looks as if it was summarily discarded. Mrs. Adams testified that she saw both officers “kicking, hitting, pushing, shoving” Mr. Warr and that she saw one of the officers kick Mr. Warr “particularly hard” in his head. She told PSS that the kick “was as if it was just like an emotional hatred, violent kick for no other reason than hatred towards this man.” Mrs. Adams said that she saw the officer take a few steps back to gain momentum for his kick. The PSS investigative summary paraphrased Mrs. Adams as saying that she did “did not observe any kind of resistance on behalf of Mr. Warr.”
Mr. Burkwit also noted inconsistencies in the police reports where the officers clearly contradict each other, the independent witnesses, and the blue light surveillance camera footage: “The [PSS] summary relies solely upon the testimony of the three officers involved in the arrest of Benny Warr. The report recites how Mr. Warr was swinging both arms wildly to avoid Officer Ferrigno's grasp. The report further concludes that Officer Liberatore believes that Mr. Warr hit Officer Ferrigno with his arms. This contradicts Officer Ferrigno's Statement to the Professional Standards Section that he was 'punched' in the genitals by Mr. Warr. There is no proof that Officer Ferrigno was ever punched by Mr. Warr apart from his own self serving statement. The video footage and independent witnesses only support this conclusion.”
Lastly, regarding this allegation of excessive force, according to an internal correspondence between Lieutenant Jeremy Anzalone, and Lieutenant Michael Callari, officer Liberatore's elbow strike to Mr. Warr's face was an “untrained technique” of the RPD. The use of this “untrained technique” didn't have any bearing on the outcome of the investigation based on the “totality of the circumstances,” which created a “tactical dilemma” for the officers according to Sergeant Andy McPherson.
“These are factors which the officers quickly have to process and make [sic] decision of how to react in order to maintain their safety as well as that of Mr. Warr's,” the PSS investigative summary notes. This assertion, of “safety,” is laughable if it wasn't for the violent actions of the police officers that came down on Mr. Warr, after his Constitutional rights were violated, after chemical weapons were used upon him, and after he was violently assaulted by police after which, he was arrested and charged with crimes. Who are the police protecting? Who are they keeping safe? It appears no one except their own.
Sgt. McPherson, the PSS investigative summary noted, is the RPD's Defensive Tactics Coordinator as well as the head instructor for the Public Safety Training Facility for new recruits. In his determination, after he reviewed both the cell phone video and the blue light surveillance camera footage, and met with officer Liberatore, he found that the use of force was “reasonable and appropriate.” The summary does not indicate that he contacted any independent witnesses for their accounts of what happened.
Finally, as to the last allegation regarding discourtesy, PSS recommended a finding of Unprovable for officer Ferrigno and a finding of Sustained for officer Liberatore--specifically because he admitted during the investigation that he threatened Mr. Warr with the words, “Are you ready to get your ass kicked?” Officer Liberatore, of course, would never say this to be discourteous, but “to use language that is best understood and complied with on the street.” What does this mean? According to PSS, the officers were cleared of wrong-doing by the RPD's internal investigation except for Liberatore's discourtesy. There is no mention in the PSS investigation of any action taken against officer Liberatore. Presumably its findings are passed onto the chief to take (or not) a final, private, disciplinary action against the officer if he deems it necessary.
That was the outcome of the official investigation in all of its incompetent glory. Not unexpectedly, in their internal investigation, the police failed to contact independent witnesses, played hard and fast with the facts in citing the City of Rochester's own video surveillance footage, relied solely on the testimony of the officers to make its decision, and apparently didn't see any problem with using contradictory testimony, statements, and reports from the officers involved. Bluntly, this “investigation” was a farce, and worse, it appears to be legal. This is what happens when police are allowed to police the police. The public gets zero accountability.
• Any conduct which, if proven, would constitute a crime.
• Any other matters referred to the CRB by the Chief of Police.
On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 2PM, at the Federal Building on State Street in Rochester, NY, Judge Marian Payson will hear oral arguments from Mr. Burkwit on behalf of Mr. Warr demanding that the City release all the discovery documents requested by Mr. Burkwit. “I'm asking for the personnel files for the officers. I'm also asking the City [of Rochester] to divulge any instances of police misconduct and civil rights actions over the last 10 years—I'm really diving into whatever documentation they have—any documentation they have concerning the officers and their histories and any prior complaints.”
The public is welcome to attend Judge Payson's court on January 13, 2015 at 2:00pm in order to hear oral arguments. Please bring your I.D. as you cannot enter the Federal Building on State Streetwithout one. Enough Is Enough is planning a press conference with Mr. Warr and his lawyer the next day.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
By Davy V.
Two Sheriff deputies from the Lost Hills, California Sheriff's Station (Yes you read that right, LOST Hills Sheriff's Station) have LOST a bean bag shotgun which can be used as a regular shotgun if loaded with buckshot or lead slug shells.
Here's the story.
The Barney Fife deputies put the shotgun, which was loaded with four beanbag shells, in a black canvas case, then placed that case in the trunk of their police cruiser, early Saturday morning, at the Agoura Hills Sheriff's station.
The deputies then drove to Hollywood, which is about 33 miles away.
Upon exiting the Sunset Boulevard off-ramp, the deputies were flagged down by a citizen who told them that the trunk of their police cruiser sad open.
If was then that the deputies searched the trunk and discovered the missing shotgun.
If wasn't long before an A.P.B. was put out to all surrounding law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the shotgun.
Officers from several departments, including the California Highway Patrol and the L.A.P.D. were on the hunt.
Even a Los Angeles Sheriff!s Department helicopter crew searched the entire route the deputies travelled.
There you go, Lost Hills, California taxpayers!
Your hard earned taxpayer dollars at work.