Tag Archives: marijuana

Maine Cop Facing 20 Sexual Assault Charges, Including Against Six Year Old, Gets Misdemeanor Plea Deal, $1000 Fine

Sexual Assault Charges Misdemeanor Plea Deal Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Maine Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Hatch facing 20 charges of sexual assault of a minor, including one who was six years old at the time was given a misdemeanor plea deal and a $1,000 fine.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III was facing 20 charges of sexual assault against three minors, including one who was just six years old at the time. However, instead of refiling charges after his first trial ended in a hung jury, the Maine Attorney General’s Office offered him a plea bargain. And, boy, what a bargain it was!

As part of the plea deal Hatch agreed to plead guilty to the Class D misdemeanor (almost the lowest level of crime someone can be charged with) of “furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol.” In exchange for that, the prosecutor has agreed that his “punishment” will consist of a $1,000 fine. No jail time, no probation, no sex offender registry, not even a series of overpriced classes to sit through. It’s slightly worse than if he had received a traffic citation.

At this point, it’s hard to be surprised when cops sit back and cover for their “Brothas” no matter how heinous the crime might be. Nor is it particularly shocking anymore when prosecutors give them their “Policeman’s Discount” and they get just a slap on the wrist or the crimes committed by “Police Heroes” are overlooked altogether. This takes the cake, though.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Lincoln County Sheriffs Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year Kenneth L. Hatch III

Obviously, one would think that someone facing charges of sexually abusing multiple underage children, including one who was only six years old at the time, would get several books thrown at them.

Via the PressHerald.com:

On and off for the last 16 years, prosecutors allege, Hatch preyed on teenage girls, all the while moving through the ranks of law enforcement in central Maine.

An indictment handed up in August accused Hatch, 46, of 22 felonies, including 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana to a minor, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. In many of the incidents, Hatch was on duty when the alleged abuse occurred.

Via the Bangor Daily News:

The drug counts allege that Hatch gave marijuana from a bag marked “EVIDENCE” to two of his three alleged victims, two of whom were 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged assaults.

The alleged sexual assaults against the third victim, which resulted in Hatch’s arrest in June, reportedly first occurred in 2004 when she was 6, Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who is prosecuting the case, told the grand jury in August. The indictments allege that Hatch then sexually assaulted the same girl and provided her marijuana in 2013 and 2014, when she was 14 and 15.

One would obviously be very wrong, though. Apparently, in Maine the Magical Uniforms they issue to cops are especially potent at rendering them impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for their actions. Of course, one of his victims spoke of her fears in relation to that and how it made her reluctant to come forward. (Via the PressHerald.com, again.)

One of the alleged victims who spoke with the Maine Sunday Telegram said Hatch used his power as a police officer to sexually abuse her over a period of years. She was afraid to speak up, she said, because it would be her word against his.

“He’s a cop,” she said. “Who’s going to believe me?”

Finally in June, she spoke up and told a family member, triggering the investigation and Hatch’s arrest.

Her fear of speaking out is common among victims of police sexual violence. For every victim who comes forward to accuse an officer, five more remain silent, said Philip M. Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University and a leading researcher on police misconduct.

“There’s something about that power dynamic,” Stinson said. “Police officers are used to being in charge, of telling people what to do, and of people obeying them – or there are consequences.”

I’m sure that this sentence will alleviate those fears:

“Hatch will appear before Stokes in Knox County Superior Court on Friday morning, agree to pay a $1,000 fine, and will serve no jail time.”

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After Virginia Police Raid Wrong Address Innocent College Student Was Beaten, Arrested, and Evicted From Home

Maurice Neblett Police Raid Wrong House Cause Eviction

After Virginia police raided the wrong address, innocent Virginia Union University student Maurice Neblett was beaten, falsely arrested, and evicted from his apartment.

Note: This post is based on a a reader submission shared with Nevada Cop Block by Maurice Neblett. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world.

In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

(Several quotes used below were taken from a previous article on this incident by Amelia Heymann, a contributing writer at the Commonwealth Times, which is the student newspaper for Virginia Union University.)

During a February 2014 police raid, Maurice Neblett, who was naked at the time, was pulled out of bed, beaten by as many as a dozen policemen, and then falsely arrested. He was punched, kicked, and further battered with flashlights, rifle butts, and other objects in a beating that went on for at least five minutes.

Eventually, he was placed in a choke-hold and then handcuffed. While handcuffed, one of the officers involved began verbally taunting him. That officer, Richmond Police Officer Mark Sims, reportedly whispered in his ear, “Who has the most power, us or the Bloods?” and “We should have done this to your brother, but it does not matter because he will be gone for a very long time. You will too.”

Neblett’s address at the time was 531 W. Bacon St. in Richmond, Va. The address on their warrant was “Building Two, Apartment 2120 at 610 W. Bacon St.” Not only were police at the wrong address, the address listed on their warrant doesn’t actually exist. Even if it had been a legitimate address the corresponding number would be a block away.

Further complicating the story is the fact that the two officers who obtained the warrant claimed they had conducted a 30 day investigation after they “smelled marijuana in the area.” No drugs, or anything else illegal, were found during the raid. Nor was any evidence of  illegal activity by Neblett or anyone at his address ever found. The only charges filed against him, two felonies for “assaulting an officer,” were later dropped.

No connection to the Bloods, the street gang referenced by Sims while they were beating Neblett, has ever been established. Neblett has also continuously maintained that he had offered no resistance to justify the force used against him. Neblett claims the officers discussed who would among them would like to volunteer to “be an assaultee.”

Being released from jail and having the charges eventually dropped wasn’t the end of the disruption that the Richmond Police Department’s actions that night caused for Neblett, though. Because he was initially charged with a federal crime, Neblett was evicted from his apartment. He ended up homeless as a result, living out of his car for several months.

In addition, he states that he suffers daily from anxiety, post-traumatic stress, loss of sleep and “a profound and insurmountable loss of trust in the state, the city and their law enforcement officials.” Neblett is a criminal justice major at Virginia Union University and obviously this raid and its aftermath greatly affected his studies.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Neblett says. “I’m trying to figure out if I’m in a nightmare.”

However, Neblett isn’t just focusing on what happened to him and his own problems as a result he has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police Department and hopes the lawsuit can not only find justice for him but also can lead to changes in policy within the department that would prevent raids such as this from happening in the future.

“I’m here, I’m breathing, a lot of people that have been in similar situations aren’t here today,” Neblett says.”This is bigger than me, I’m just a grain of salt.”

Also, regardless of whether or how the fact he is a black man may have influenced the actions of the police who raided his house, Neblett maintains that this should be viewed as an issue which is bigger than just a potential race-based incident:

“This is not a color bearing issue,” Neblett says. “It is important we support this because it could happen to anyone. We have to address again that no one is above the law and they have to be held accountable for their actions”

As noted above, Maurice Neblett has filed a lawsuit against the Richmond Police. Obviously, regardless of the eventual outcome lawsuits and everything that goes into filing them can be very expensive. That’s one of the reasons the police and governments choose the targets that they do. If you can’t afford to fight them in court, then they often get away with even the most egregious abuses.

Neblett has asked us to share a link to a page he set up to help offset the costs of lawyers and other expenses involved in pursuing justice in this case. If you are able to, you can donate by clicking this link to his GoFundMe account. Even if you can’t help financially, you can help him by sharing that link to others.

Related Content on NVCopBlock.org:

“F*ck the Right Thing. If Black Shoot Them” – Kentucky Police Chief’s Racist Messages to Recruit

Kentucky Police Chief Todd Shaw Racist Facebook Messages With Recruit

Facebook messages between former Prospect (KY) Police Chief Todd Shaw and a recruit in Louisville have revealed racist comments and images that were exchanged between them.

Court documents made public last week show “a pattern of highly disturbing racist and threatening Facebook messages” between Assistant Police Chief Todd Shaw and an unnamed Louisville Metropolitan Police Department recruit.

Shaw was the acting chief of police for the Prospect Police Department in Jefferson County, Kentucky at the time. Asst. Chief Shaw resigned in November after being suspended for the messages. Although no official reason is given (I bet you can figure it out), the recruit was not hired by the Louisville Metro Police.

The running dialog, which goes back to at least 2010, includes a question from the recruit in 2016 regarding a training assignment. He asks what the right thing to do would be if an officer comes upon three teenagers in a park smoking marijuana.

Assistant Chief Shaw’s response was: “Fuck the right thing. If black shoot them.” The recruit also questioned what should be done with the hypothetical murdered teens’ parents. In response, Shaw followed up by advising him: “If mom is hot then fuck her. If dad is hot then handcuff him and make him suck my dick. Unless daddy is black. Then shoot him.”

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Shaw also makes light of the shootings of unarmed black people. The recruit sent an image of a black man and woman with afros. Along with the picture, the recruit asked: “Does this hair make it look like I have a gun in my hand?” Shaw’s reply was, “To me, yes.

In another exchange, the recruit jokes about buying all the houses around Assistant Chief Shaw’s and rent them to people through the “Section 8” program that provides government subsidies to low income residents. Shaw’s responses are “I like thugs sex anyways” and once again insinuating a desire for race-based violence: “I need target practice.”

One of the racist Facebook messages between Chief Todd Shaw and an unnamed recruit.

Other messages, such as the one pictured to the right,  joked about racial stereotypes and included negative references to Martin Luther King: “ML King was nothing but a raciast (sic) womanizer … but because someone shot him, I get a day off with pay each year.”

The messages from Shaw, who had been a police officer for just under thirty years, were exposed by Mike O’Connell, the Jefferson County Attorney, who was seeking evidence of whether he had interfered with an unrelated investigation of sexual abuse within the Metro Police Explorer Program (a youth indoctrination and recruitment program for the police) at the time.

It’s not clear from media reports what exactly the nature of the suspected interference was, except that it involved looking up the private information of someone using the police database on the behalf of Officer Kenneth Betts. Betts is one of two Louisville police officers currently accused of sexually abusing teen “explorers.” The parents of the teens involved have stated that Louisville police failed to properly document their complaints and also urged them to keep quiet about the abuse.

Officer Betts was allowed to resign from the LMPD after it was found he had “improper contact” with a 16 year old member of the program. He was subsequently hired as a sworn reserve officer in the city of Audubon Park and as a Code Enforcement Officer in Rolling Hills. Betts spent seven years as the assistant director of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Explorer Academy, a summer program in conjunction with the Boy Scouts, and also participated in a program that involved visiting sick children at hospitals. He was allowed to continue doing so even during the time that he was being investigated for sexual misconduct.

Shaw’s lawyer attempted to prevent the messages from being made public after local media submitted Open Records Act requests. Among other things, he argued that the messages were exchanged privately between Shaw and the recruit and a lot of the messages included the internet slang “LOL” after them. According to attorney Michael Burns they were “just playing.”

O’Connell responded, “Any individual who shares such blatant racist views should not be given a badge, a gun and a position of authority. This type of bias from one officer gives a black eye to the countless policemen and women who do great work in our community each day.” He has also indicated that prosecutors have dropped 24 cases that would have relied primarily on testimony from Assistant Chief Shaw, as a result of the messages.

Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman denied Shaw’s motion to keep the messages private stating, “The documents reveal opinions and prejudices that bring into question Shaw’s integrity as a law enforcement officer who has been entrusted to serve and protect all members of society.” She also noted that those concerns were “magnified by his rank.”

So yeah, this story has a little bit of everything: a high-ranking racist cop advising a recruit and telling him to shoot unarmed black people, improper use of police database searches to cover up for another cop who is sexually abusing teens, a department “investigation” of that sexual abuse that is really designed to cover it up, and of course both him and the sexual abuser being allowed to resign so they could keep their pensions and benefits and even get rehired by another department.

Otherwise know as just another day at the office for American police.

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CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman Preparing to Challenge Drug War in Court Jan. 11th During Marijuana Arrest Trial

Marijuana Possession Trial Ademo Freeman Adam Mueller

“When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year” – Ademo Freeman

The following video and post was originally published at CopBlock.org by Asa J under the title, “CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War.” Obviously, it refers to Ademo’s arrest last year in Ohio on charges of possession of the scary, dangerous “drug” marijuana, that most people could not care less about at this point. More specifically, it relates to the trial for those charges that begins next week, on January 11th.

Barring some sort of eleventh hour plea deal with a sentence of time served (he has stated he would not agree to any deal that requires additional jail/prison time), Ademo will be facing up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 if he is found guilty. More than likely, his freedom hinges on someone in the jury exercising their “Jury Nullificationrights and ruling based on the morality of the War on (Some) Drugs and the prosecution of victimless crimes, rather than the letter of the law.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

CopBlock Founder Ademo Freeman To Square Off In Court Against Drug War

Next week, CopBlock co-founder Ademo Freeman will square off against those wishing to send him to prison for peacefully traveling with medical marijuana in a state that also recognizes legal medicinal use of the plant.

You heard that right. Due to the lack of legal framework surrounding medical use of cannabis in Ohio (even though the state passed medical cannabis in 2016), Ademo faces up to six years in prison and fines of $20,000 when he stands trail on January 11 for possession of his medicine.

As such, Ohio law stipulates that the Board of Pharmacy attempt to negotiate and enter into reciprocity agreements with other medical marijuana states before allowing use of their medicine. Before entering into an agreement with another state, the Board must determine that the state meet certain criteria.

First, the eligibility requirements imposed by the other state in order to obtain a registry identification card have to be substantially comparable to Ohio’s requirements. Second, the other state must also recognize patient or caregiver registration and identification cards issued in Ohio. Ohio has no such agreement with Colorado, the state Ademo obtained his medical cannabis card in, nor any other state for that matter. In fact, the politicians of Ohio have dragged their feet for two years on this issue depriving who knows how many from receiving medical cannabis and killing countless others.

Ademo is no stranger to the criminal justice system. Shortly after founding CopBlock with activist and friend Pete Eyre in 2010 the two were part of a group of activists arrested for recording public officials at the Franklin County, Massachusetts jail.

The following year Ademo was arrested for wiretapping and faced 21 years in prison after video surfaced from West High School in Manchester, New Hampshire showing a student being roughly pushed down onto a cafeteria table by police detective Darren Murphy.

Ademo recorded telephone conversations he had with a Manchester police captain, the West High principal and her assistant in attempt to bring attention to the incident. He represented himself in court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation. Those convictions were later thrown out by the New Hampshire Supreme Court however.

CopBlock is a decentralized organization made up of a diverse group of individuals united by their shared belief that “badges don’t grant extra rights,” CopBlock.org states. In this pursuit CopBlockers routinely draw attention to police brutality and corruption and are known for their controversial and sometimes intense encounters with police. Naturally, shining a light on the domestic enforcement arm of government attracts unwanted attention. In February, Ademo was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking marijuana and possession of hash oil in Warren County, Ohio.

According to WCPO, 24 pounds of marijuana and 26 vials of hash oil were found in Ademo’s car after he was pulled over by Ohio State Troopers for a missing license plate light. He was arraigned on a $75,000 bond.

From behind bars Ademo routinely spoke out about police accountability issues and problems with the criminal justice system. He was released from jail in March following a major bond reduction having refused a plea deal to serve one year in prison.

Ademo has long been a crusader against the drug war, an issue that routinely garners attention on the pages of CopBlock.org. An advocate of self-ownership and an opponent of victimless crime laws, it was in fact a 2004 marijuana conviction that ultimately led Ademo to co-found CopBlock.

Now, almost 14 years later, Ademo continues to stand up for his individual right to decide for himself what to put in his own body. Next Thursday he will stand trial in Warren County having refused another plea offer this week that would have resulted in a 36 month prison sentence suspended for 6 months in jail and three years probation.

In a live Facebook video on Friday Ademo explained why.

“I’m a medical marijuana patient, ” he said. “I held a valid medical marijuana card until December 17 of last year. Everything I was in possession of that day was my medicine.”

Having lived in Colorado for a short while Ademo decided to return to Ohio temporarily after his plans to make a permanent move to the state didn’t work out. Ademo and his spouse (at the time) had decided not to move his partner’s children so far from their biological father (who came back into his young childrens life) and instead set up a forever home in Michigan (another medical MJ state) after the kids finished school. The only problem was, Ademo never made it back. He was caged by state troopers in the Warren County jail for simply stepping over a line into an occupied territory that seriously needs to clarify its laws regarding the legal use of medicinal cannabis.

“While they say ‘trafficking,’ I had everything I owned in my car,” Ademo said. “There was no drug bust. There were no informants. This wasn’t done at a DUI [checkpoint], I didn’t sell weed to an undercover cop. That’s not my intention. I use weed for medical purposes and I merely had six months worth of medicine with me.”

Ademo has asked people to please call assistant prosecutor Chris Delnicki at the telephone number 513-695-1325 to voice their support. He has also asked friends to send character letters stating that jail isn’t the proper punishment for his so-called “crimes” to Delnicki and/or Judge Robert Peeler at the address: 520 Justice Drive Lebanon, Ohio 45036.

“I don’t believe that my actions deserve 36 months in prison,” Ademo said. “When I go to trial I’m not asking to not be punished. I’m asking not to be punished anymore. I’ve done nearly 50 days in jail. I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost a year’s worth of time and have basically been on probation for a year. I believe that that’s enough for someone with a medical marijuana card.”

To hear more of Ademo’s thoughts on the case listen below:

Original Facebook Live Video:

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Video: Arkansas Police Beat Fifteen Year Old Who is Clearly Not Resisting Over Marijuana Pipe

Police Brutality Teen Farmington Arkansas

Two cops in Farmington, Arkansas assaulted a fifteen year old boy for the dangerous crime of having a dirty pipe in his pocket.

Note: This post and the video included with it was shared with Nevada Cop Block via reader submission. If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

The post was originally published on the “NWA Lifestyle” blog by

In the video, the teen is clearly not resisting and based on his size and the fact that the two cops are each much bigger wouldn’t be much of a threat even if he intended to resist. Whether they were angry because he was initially reluctant to admit he had a pipe on him or they are just bullies that like to beat up on children, what this video shows amounts to child abuse. Abuse that anyone else not wearing one of those Magic Uniforms, including that teen’s own parents, would likely get arrested for.

Farmington Cops Use Excessive Force on Teenager in Kum ‘n’ Go

In a world where we encounter daily posts of videos showing excessive force by the police, here comes yet another example of police brutality. On December 31, 2017 the Farmington Police Department out of Farmington Arkansas arrested a 15 year male juvenile at a Kum ‘n’ Go. Initially detained under the suspicion of having a weed pipe in his pocket the encounter took a sudden violent turn.

The young man was in the bathroom of the popular convenience store, with his friend, when two police officers entered the bathroom and asked the young man what was in his pocket. Initially not wanting to admit that he had the pipe, the young man then admitted that it was a weed pipe to the law enforcement officers. When he went to pull the pipe out the police officers brutally threw the child against the wall and broke out his front tooth, all the while the kid is screaming in pain and declaring he isn’t resisting arrest. The officers continue to twist his arms and kneel on his back, even more brutally when the child loses his temper and calls them names after his tooth is knocked out and he is spouting blood everywhere.

Speaking for myself, I am horrified and disgusted at this behavior from law enforcement. These two cops, who are clearly larger and far stronger than the 5’7” , 125 LB., 15 year old obviously did not feel a threat of danger while they left another unattended teenager to film them. The boy continually cries out that he isn’t resisting. When he loses his temper, letting out a barrage of curses at the bully cop who just slammed his face into a wall, breaking his front tooth out; the officer elbows his face and twists the kid’s arms all he way up his back in what is clearly excessive and unnecessary force and revenge.

In a community that is usually a small and fairly quiet community the police forces seem to like to ignore rising gang problems and focus their attention on teens smoking weed, treating them like potential violent offenders? These officers were clearly NOT in danger, felt no threat of being in danger and had no cause to exert the amount of force they used on this child, which left medical damage to not only his face, but left a myriad of muscle damage to his back and shoulders.

For more on this story more commentary on Farmington as a deeper look at everything involved in this ongoing case please stay tuned, I will be writing a complete commentary and situation review. Be careful Farmington and Fayetteville residents! All around you gangs, like Gangster Disciples are growing bigger? Shootings in Farmington? Yes there are! Gangs of teenagers breaking into apartments and houses and jumping your kids? Yes, this is happening right down the road, but you aren’t hearing about it because it’s juveniles doing the offending! Yes this IS happening and you aren’t being told. Instead of dealing with the rising the gang problem, even when occurrences are being reported right away, you’ve got the quickly notorious Farmington Police Department beating up kids in their favorite spot, Kum ‘n’ Go.

I say let’s put an end to this abuse of power: email me all your stories, tell me everything; I’m airing it all!

Email me at [email protected]

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Second Body Cam Video of Baltimore Police Planting Drugs Then “Finding” Them Has Surfaced

Baltimore Police Department Planting Drugs Video

For the second time in a matter of weeks, body camera footage has been released showing officers from the Baltimore Police Department planting drugs. In both videos, the planting of that evidence was exposed by a feature of the body cams that causes them to begin saving video thirty seconds prior to the point where they are manually activated. This video is from November 2016, while the earlier one dates from January of this year.

In this latest video to surface, police were conducting a traffic stop in which they were profiling drivers in an effort to make drug arrests. After claiming to have seen the passenger in Shamere Collins’ vehicle making a drug sale, the police stopped them. However, after a thorough search, no drugs were found anywhere in the car.

The body cam video of that initial search includes audio of one officer stating that there would be “negative consequences” if they didn’t find drugs and thereby couldn’t arrest someone. After that, the cops for no apparent reason all turned their body cameras off.

What followed, according to CBS News.com:

When the cameras come back on, an officer is seen squatting by the driver’s side of the suspect’s car, apparently unaware that he’s being recorded.

He then stands up and steps back. About 30 seconds pass, and another officer approaches the car, then squats down and pulls out a bag of drugs.

Although the charges were thrown out once the public defender representing her got ahold of this video, Collins and her boyfriend, who was the passenger were charged with possession of opiates and marijuana, as a result. According to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, dozens more cases that involve this group of officers could also be thrown out.

Meanwhile, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis maintained that this is no reason for the public to “jump to conclusions” or make “heavy allegations” about police misconduct based on the video. Because concluding that something suspicious was going on after all the cops turned their cameras off right after one of them expressed concerns about getting in trouble if they didn’t find any drugs to justify an arrest, then video (that the cops didn’t expect to be recorded) showing one cop crouching next to the car, followed by body cam video (that they did expect to be recorded) of a different cop easily finding drugs in that same area after it had already been thoroughly searched is quite a jump.

Of course, this also comes on the heals of the previously released video (embedded below), which is even more damning. In that video, Officer Richard Pinheiro can be clearly seen putting a bag inside a can on a pile of debris in an alley. He then walks back out to the street, accompanied by two other officers who have not been named.

After activating the camera, he proceeds to walk back down the alley as one of the unnamed officers can be heard laughing behind him. Miraculously, he manages to quickly zero in on the can shortly after searching through the debris pile. He then pulls out the bag that he unwittingly recorded himself planting to reveal that it is filled with pills.

The man who was arrested as a result spent over seven months in jail awaiting trial before this video was made public and his charges were thrown out. So far, thirty-four other cases have also been thrown out and as many as fifty-five more could be, as well. Officer Pinheiro was (only) suspended for his actions, while the two other officers that watched (and laughed) as he planted evidence have received no punishment at all.

Not Isolated Incidents

These incidents don’t represent the only times that the Baltimore police have been under scrutiny for manufacturing evidence and manipulating body cameras. In March, all seven members of an “elite task force” that targets illegal weapons and drug crimes were indicted on racketeering charges for robberies that included completely innocent people of cash and filing false paperwork to get paid for overtime they didn’t actually work. In the process, they also falsified search warrants to justify detentions and traffic stops against their intended targets. As they were performing these “shake downs,” officers were known to have turned off their body cameras.

Nor is this the first confirmed instance of body camera footage being falsified to show police finding evidence against suspects. In May of this year, charges were dropped against a man in Colorado after a cop in Pueblo admitted he staged a video of himself  finding heroin and a gun in his car. In that case, Officer Seth Jensen claimed that he was merely “reenacting” his legitimate discovery of the evidence.

An “Unintended Consequence” of Transparency?

Given all of that, it’s rather interesting that in the CBS News video embedded below (beginning at about 3:45) correspondent Jeff Pegues characterizes the issue as a “downside of video transparency” and an “unintended consequence” of police wearing body cameras. Apparently, on his planet these type of incidents aren’t an argument for increased scrutiny and transparency, but rather a problem for “police departments that have to defend themselves against this type of policing.”

Obviously, I can’t see any reason we shouldn’t just trust these cops and accept their word. It would be crazy if cops didn’t have the ability to freely plant evidence without being detected and police departments had no incentive to eliminate “this type of policing.” That freedom to just arrest whoever they want and make up a reason undoubtedly would make their tough jobs so much easier.

Watch him throw it into the floorboards

BPD Officer Richard Pinheiro planting drugs

CBS News coverage of  the latest incident:

Severe Flaws in “Justice System” Highlighted by Disciplinary Hearing of Former Wake County NC Prosecutor

Wake County Prosecutor Colleen Janssen Corruption

Deliberate misconduct by prosecutor Colleen Janssen led to two men being falsely convicted, but she essentially received no discipline for it.

The following post was shared with Nevada Cop Block by Lynne Blanchard, via the NVCopBlock.org Submissions Page. This is a repost from Blanchard’s own blog, “Stop Wrongful Convictions,” which was originally published under the title “Disciplinary Outcome of Former Wake County Prosecutor Highlights Severe Flaws in Our Justice System.

Along with the submission, Blanchard stated:

I mostly cover wrongful conviction cases which usually contain some level of police corruption/misconduct, but I like to expose all official misconduct.


March, 2017

This week, former Wake County prosecutor, Colleen Janssen learned the outcome of the disciplinary hearing to review the level of her misconduct in a criminal case. Though she deliberately withheld critical evidence from the defense and manipulated others to go along with her scheme to hide exculpatory evidence, she did not even lose her law license for a day. Instead, Judge Donald Stephens ruled that she could not practice law with a government agency for a period of two years. This means she can be begin working as a prosecutor again in two years and do private practice until that time. What a punishment for maliciously prosecuting two men — who landed in prison for over two years until her actions were discovered!

I will describe Janssen’s egregious actions in detail, but she was not the only one who participated in the willful act to hide exculpatory information from the defense. She actually had a lot of help from other public officials — which should place all Wake County cases under scrutiny. How often does this type of thing happen? Why is no one held accountable? Why are these people above the law?


Colleen Janssen was asked to resign from her position with the Wake County District Attorney’s office in June, 2016 following the revelation that she withheld critical information in an armed robbery case against Bashiri Sandy and Henry Supris in the fall of 2014. It was an obvious and deliberate Brady violation that prevented the accused from receiving a fair trial. The North Carolina Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the convictions of Sandy and Supris. District Attorney, Lorrin Freeman later dropped the charges against them.

They withheld evidence — the fact that Janssen’s star witness, Marcus Smith was a drug dealer — was the foundation of the entire defense case. This fact supported the story of the accused to such a degree that there could have been no trial without it.


Sandy and Supris told police that they confronted Smith to collect money or drugs because Smith had been shorting them on marijuana purchases. Smith gave them money and jewelry, and then gunshots were exchanged. Smith shot Sandy in the leg. Smith sustained a gunshot wound to the arm. It is unclear who fired that shot, but it is not relevant to this article.

Smith told police that he was a victim of an armed robbery. The State accepted his story, ignoring the statements by Sandy and Supris — that it was a confrontation about a drug deal.

Sandy told Raleigh Police that Smith was a big-time drug dealer. That resulted in police requesting permission from a judge to place a GPS device on Smith’s car.

Smith’s Impending Charges

Janssen continued building her case against Sandy and Supris despite knowledge that Raleigh police were pursuing her “victim” (star witness) in the “armed robbery” case. In the summer of 2013, Janssen contacted detective Battle via a private email address and asked to meet with him. She asked him to hold off on arresting Smith until after her trial because she allegedly didn’t want to “spook” her witness. Never mind that the impending arrest of the witness/drug dealer should have negated the whole need for any trial since it supported the defendants’ stories, not the state’s case.

Raleigh Police complicit in misconduct

Officer Battle agreed to delay Smith’s arrest. Since police had been watching Smith, they learned the location of his stash house. Upon discovery of this information, Battle gave Janssen a “heads-up” about the probable cause and search warrant of Smith’s drug house. He clearly informed her that Smith would not be named in the search warrant and he would wait until he left the premise to search the property, thus avoiding the need to arrest Smith at that time, since it could jeopardize Janssen’s case! Never mind that taxpayers trust that police will make the appropriate arrests at the time of the known crimes! In fact, over five-hundred pounds of marijuana were found in the stash house. Battle’s cooperation gave Janssen the ability to conceal the fact that her star witness was a drug king-pin at trial!

Impending Federal Charges

Due to the amount of drugs found, this became a federal case. Laurence Cameron with the U.S. Attorney’s office would be handling the case. He became aware of the fact that Raleigh police held off on making the arrest per Janssen’s request. As a former assistant D.A. with Wake County himself, he knew Janssen and contacted her to discuss the status of Smith’s impending charges. According to Cameron, Janssen did not want to hear anything about it. Deliberate denial would prevent her from violating discovery rules, and she was fine with that. Prior to that particular call, she had in fact asked Cameron not to arrest Smith until after her trial.

Cameron was concerned enough that he got his supervisor, the U.S. Attorney involved. John Bruce contacted Howard Cummings — Wake County’s First Assistant District Attorney and Janssen’s supervisor. He informed Cummings that he had received information that Raleigh Police were holding off on making an arrest at Janssen’s request. Cummings told Bruce he would “take care of it.”

ADA Cummings testified at the disciplinary hearing that he had a discussion with Janssen and that she informed him that the search of the stash house yielded nothing that could be traced back to Smith, and that his name was not on a single search warrant. That was the end of it. Cummings testified that nothing was discoverable. It’s likely Cummings and Janssen believed the truth would never be revealed . . . and it wouldn’t have been if not for the federal case. It’s extremely bothersome that Cummings was willing to look the other way, despite being contacted by the US Attorney and informed that a fellow ADA deliberately told police to hold off on an arrest. Why did he allow the trial to proceed? Why didn’t he intervene? It is the “win at all cost” mentality of so many prosecutors. Truth doesn’t matter.

Trial of Sandy and Supris

Judicial Misconduct

Just weeks before the trial was scheduled to begin, Detective Battle sent Judge Ridgeway an application for a GPS monitor on Marcus Smith in connection to his drug trafficking, and he signed it. It was also sealed. Since Ridgeway was the trial judge, he became aware of information that impeached the state’s star witness — the mere fact that the witness was being investigated for drug trafficking. This placed the judge in a difficult predicament and also further lessened the defendants’ right to a fair trial.

From the appeal document (pg. 29-30):

On October 21, 2014, one week before trial, Judge Ridgeway considered Raleigh Police Department narcotics detective J.A. Battle’s application to surreptitiously place and monitor a G.P.S. tracking device on a car used by Marcus Smith and belonging to his live-in girlfriend. The application stated that a confidential informant alleged Smith “sells large quantities of marijuana,” and that “the most recent report was made in April 2013 when robbery suspect Barshiri Sandy told the police Marcus Smith was a known drug dealer with over 1 million dollars in product in a stash house. On this basis, Detective Battle stated, “It is believed that a GPS unit attached to Marcus Smith’s vehicle will provide relevant information regarding where Mr. Smith stores illegal drugs.”

In fact, the GPS tracking authorization had already enabled Detective Battle to locate and seize 150 pounds of marijuana from Smith’s “stash house” in August of 2014. Marcus Smith himself had been seen at the stash house before the seizure. On the basis of Detective Battle’s affidavit, Judge Ridgeway signed the authorization, finding there was “probable cause to believe that . . . the placement, monitoring of and records obtained from the electronic tracking device are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. Judge Ridgeway also ordered the application and order to be placed under seal.

None of the information was provided to the defense. The judge should have either unsealed the record OR recused himself from the case. He did neither and presided over the trial.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

The star witness perjured himself as he testified that he hadn’t sold drugs since 2005. The prosecutor knew it. The defense suspected he was lying but had no proof, even though it existed. The judge also knew the witness was lying.

Colleen Janssen was brazen enough to discredit the defense’s attempts to show that Smith was a drug dealer. This was her statement during closing arguments:

There has been absolutely no evidence from the witness stand outside of the defendants’ testimony that this has anything to do with drugs. Nothing that the police found, nothing that Marcus said. The defendants are the only people who’ve been talking about drugs, outside of that small amount of marijuana that Detective Grimaldi found in the garage and that was photographed and you saw. That small baggie of marijuana. From that, the defense wants to make you believe that Marcus Smith is apparently this drug kingpin. If that is the case, that apparently may . . . apparently that’s their position, but please think about whether or not you’ve heard any evidence from the witness stand that would support that contention or whether you just heard it from the lawyers.

The jury found them guilty. The prosecutor’s unethical behavior is absolutely appalling.


The appellate attorney representing Sandy and Supris became aware of Smith’s federal case and also received a copy of a letter that described how Raleigh Police delayed the arrest of Smith at the request of Colleen Janssen. When attorney Paul Green contacted Janssen to try to determine the source of the information, she delayed getting back to him for several weeks. At that point Green contacted Howard Cummings who refused to speak to him about the matter, even though he needed to confirm or deny the allegation about Janssen for his client. Janssen finally informed Green that she had no notes or emails from any such meeting with Detective Battle.

Green did his own research. He reached out to Smith’s attorney and was given the content of the private emails between Janssen and Detective Battle. Days later, Janssen “found” her private emails, likely knowing that Green would end up getting them eventually. She emailed them to Green and he filed a MAR (motion for appropriate relief) citing prosecutorial misconduct and Brady violations. The Court of Appeals ended up overturning the convictions of Sandy and Supris and the Wake County district attorney had no choice but to address the matter. Janssen was placed on paid leave and eventually asked to resign. The disciplinary investigation followed.

Disciplinary Hearing

Jansen blamed her negligent behavior on the fact that her father had been kidnapped six months prior by an imprisoned gang member she had prosecuted. You can read about that here. Luckily her father was rescued by the FBI and he is fine; however, it is rather pathetic that she used her father’s ordeal as an excuse for her behavior in this case. Evidently it worked, thus the almost non-existent punishment. At a minimum she should have lost her law license and since her deliberate malicious prosecution led to two (very likely) innocent men being sent to prison, she should have faced prison time, but that is never the case. Prosecutors are routinely able to get away with destroying lives with little (or no) consequence.

Jansen testified that she made mistakes, and that she never made the connection that the drug arrest was significant to her case, even though she knew it was certainly crucial to the defense case. I don’t believe her. It was no mistake.

She talked about how she would have never willfully done harm to “the office.” Who cares about the reputation of the office when people are paying a huge price for her actions — prison time.

As well, so many Wake County officials testified on her behalf about how she was so honest, hard-working, etc. Namely, former District Attorney, Colin Willoughby (who fought against Greg Taylor’s innocence claims, Judge Becky Holt (who did a poor job with the Jason Young case, Judge Gessner (you can learn more about his unethical tactics in the Brad Cooper case). They all came to her defense, even knowing how deceitful she was. That’s the reality of our “justice” system.

How many more cases like this exist? How much information has been withheld from defendants? Why is there a mentality to WIN, rather than seeking the truth? Why are public officials (who are paid with our tax dollars) never held accountable for their misconduct? My hope is that the public will become more aware of cases like this.

You can watch the disciplinary hearing here.

– Lynne Blanchard
Wrongful Conviction Advocate
Contact: [email protected]

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Drops Drug Charges Against Texas Man After “Meth” Turns Out to be Cat Litter

A sock full of cat litter ended up leading to a Texas man being publicly branded as a drug dealer, when deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office managed to mistake it for meth. In yet another case of faulty field tests that have repeatedly been exposed as wildly inaccurate, police issued a press release and bragged on Facebook about how their “big drug bust” had kept everyone’s children save from the scourge of methamphetamines.

Meanwhile, Ross Lebeau was taken to jail on charges of drug possession with the intent to distribute, based on the “meth” weighing in at over half a pound. As a result, he lost work and will be forced to go through the process of having his record expunged, even though the charges were dropped, to avoid the stigma of having been identified, very publicly, as a drug dealer.

In spite of that, Lebeau is surprisingly unwilling to place any blame on the deputies who used notoriously innacurate equipment to declare the cat litter was an illegal substance. For their part, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office released a second press release, in which they had no problem whatsoever placing the blame squarely on Lebeau’s shoulders saying that the deputies did everything right and that his statement that he didn’t know what the “unknown substance” was is what was responsible for the mix-up.

Via ABC13.com (in Houston):

Lebeau and his attorney do not blame the deputies for the ordeal, rather the field tests.

“Ultimately it might be bad budget-cutting testing equipment they need to re-evaluate,” said George Reul, who added prosecutors practically laughed when he told them it was cat litter.

“I would like an apology,” said Lebeau.

He says the accusation has caused him to lose work, not to mention the embarrassment. He will work to expunge his record.

“I was wrongly accused and I’m going to do everything in my power, with my family’s backing, to clear my name,” he said.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Statement:
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped Mr. LeBeau for a traffic offense on December 5, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. During that initial stop the deputies detected a strong odor of Marijuana emitting from his vehicle. Mr. LeBeau was question and admitted to having marijuana in the console of his vehicle.

The drugs were recovered and in the process of inventorying his vehicle a substance was found wrapped in one sock in his vehicle. Mr. LeBeau was questioned about the contents at which time he indicated that he had no idea what it was. The deputies followed proper procedures and field tested the substance on two separate occasions which field tested positive for methamphetamines, notified the District Attorney’s Office who accepted charges for possession of controlled substance of 200 grams and Mr. LeBeau posted bond and was released.

During the investigation Mr. LeBeau failed to identify the substance and later, after being released indicated on social media that the substance was cat litter that he kept in a sock in his vehicle.

Regarding this incident all indication shows that the deputies followed basic procedures and followed established protocol related to this incident. Because of the established procedures in place and this contraband was submitted to the Institute of Forensic Science it was determined not to be methamphetamine and charges were dismissed.

It doesn’t look like he’s going to get that apology. At least the prosecutors were able to get a good laugh out of it.

That “Good Cop” Who Bullied a TX Teen Into Doing Push-Ups Couldn’t Have Arrested Him For Pot Possession If He’d Wanted To

Officer Eric Ball of the Arlington Police Department has been getting praised pretty heavily as the latest internet sperstar with a badge and a heart of gold. The story goes that he “allowed” a teen to humiliate himself publicly by doing 200 push-ups rather than get arrested after the teen was reported to have been smoking marijuana near a movie theater.

Just one example of the glowing praise Ball has been receiving, via NBC4i.com:

Arlington police officer Eric Ball is getting a lot of attention after he caught a teen smoking weed.

It’s what he did after that’s receiving a lot of praise.

“One thing that my department pushes is for us to have compassion, and kind of think outside the box,” Ball said.

Ball was working another job at a movie theater when someone told him a man was smoking marijuana near the entrance. He told the person to come over, and saw him drop something.

“He said he had been smoking marijuana, but it wasn’t a usable amount. I just wanted to kinda teach him a lesson, to use that situation as a learning tool.”

Ball gave the teen a choice.

“He was real respectful. So I told him you have two options: he could go to jail or he could give me 200 push ups.”

So, the teen dropped to the concrete, and a passerby filmed it for Facebook. 

The young man told Ball he learned his lesson.

Later, the teen’s mom came out looking for the officer.

“She actually thought I was nice because I only made him do 200,” Ball said. “She said he should’ve done 1,000.”

And of course, as mentioned in the article, a bystander made sure to film it and post the footage to Facebook so there was a record of the kid’s humiliation and the cop’s heroics:

Except there’s one problem with all this glowing praise and all the accompanying taunts about the unnamed teen having to resort to doing “girl’s push-ups” in order to complete his “merciful” punishment. Most of it is based on the assumption that this teen would have been facing drug possession charges and would have been hauled off to jail with his life ruined, as a result.

The reality is that, at worst, he would have been facing a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia and a fine. He also likely would be offered a deferment, meaning the conviction would be sealed and wouldn’t show up on his record. Officer Ball even states in the article above in regard to the “drug” he caught the teen with, “…but it wasn’t a usable amount.” The reason he made that distinction is because under Texas law “the State has the burden to prove that the defendant knowingly or intentionally possessed a usable quantity of marijuana.

Even a paraphernalia charge would be a bit of a stretch. The description that Bell saw him drop something, which turned out to not even be enough to qualify as a usable amount, implies that the “paraphernalia” would have been a tiny piece of rolling paper. Based on the described demeanor of this teen (and his mother), the Arlington Police Department and prosecutors could probably have railroaded him into pleading guilty on such a charge. But would it even be worth the effort?

Before the Arlington PD public relations crew got ahold of it, the amazing feel good story would have actually sounded a lot more like:

“Texas cop working side job decides writing citation that likely would have gotten thrown out anyway isn’t worth the trouble, bullies teen into doing push-ups, instead.”

(Of course, we haven’t even gotten into whether someone should be “taught a lesson” for smoking a completely harmless substance that shouldn’t even be illegal in the first place. Depending on the teen’s age, it could potentially be a parental issue, but outside of that, this teen doesn’t sound like much of a threat to society even if he’s openly risking the Reefer Madness.)

Jeff Mizanskey: A Productive Member of Society Sentenced to Life in Prison for Marijuana

The following videos and post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Derrick Marshall, of Marshall & Associates  Investigations, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This post was originally published at the Marshall & Associates Investigations blog under the title, “Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society.” The accompanying videos were posted at the “Citizens For JusticeYoutube Channel as part of a playlist that includes the interview of  Jeff Mizanskey by Derrick Marshall posted above, as well as a separate interview discussing the lack of medical care in prison that is embedded below.

Below the original post is a personal statement from Derrick Marshall explaining the background of the case, how he became involved, and his personal feelings about Jeff Mizanskey’s release.

Organizations which Jeff Mizanskey is associated with:

Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society

In 1996, Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a non-violent marijuana offense. He would spend nearly two decades in the Missouri Department of Corrections, before a group of family, friends, and supporters built a media campaign that led Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to commute his sentence, allowing him to be released on parole. On September 1, 2015, Jeff was released from Jefferson City Correctional Center to a crowd of loved ones and supporters.

Derrick Marshall of Marshall & Associates Investigations acted as Jeff’s private investigator while he fought for his freedom. Now a little more than a year after his release, Derrick visits Jeff at his worksite to see how he’s adjusting to society.

In the interview Jeff talks about how much money the tax payers spent to prevent him from being a productive member of society, short comings in the criminal justice system, and the failures of the drug war that led to him serving a life sentence for marijuana. He also opens up about how, although he is still somewhat uncomfortable talking in front of cameras, he believes it is absolutely necessary to create a desperately needed change in the system. Jeff strongly encourages others who have dealt with the prison system and lived to tell about it to speak out about their experience.

Jeff is currently running a construction crew, which he uses as an opportunity to teach younger men a valuable skill they can use to provide for their family. At the time of the interview, they were in the process of pouring the foundation for a tornado-resistant, octagon home near Jeff’s hometown of Sedalia, MO. He used the opportunity to demonstrate his skills for camera crew.

The owner of the home they are building, Herb Venable, described Jeff as a blessing and expressed disdain that the state would feel it necessary to waste taxpayer’s money to incarcerate a non-violent offender for such a draconian-sentence.

Jeff wrapped up the interview by thanking all their supporters for their continued support. He also took the opportunity to stress the fact that the current system needs a serious revamping. He firmly believes that unless we stand up to the status quo, we will remain in this position. He simply asks that everyone do their part.

– Derrick Marshall

My name is Derrick Marshall and I’m a private investigator with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Sometime back I became aware that a man was serving life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses through a petition on Change.org. The more I dug into the story, the more outraged I became. The drug war had failed this man horrendously, as well as his family and the taxpayers at large, who were left to foot the bill for his continued incarceration. The anger swelled inside of me until I made a decision; I was going to help Jeff Mizanskey obtain his freedom.

Maybe I couldn’t do much. Maybe I couldn’t go in and secure his freedom, but I could sure do my part. To get in contact with the family, I’d have to do a little detective work. I zoomed in on a picture of Jeff’s brother, Mike, and noticed a bar sign in the back. Following up on the lead, I called the establishment to discover that his brother worked there. I introduced myself and told him I was at his family’s service until Jeff’s freedom was secured.

From that point, I spent hours on the phone with the family and Jeff’s attorney helping to develop a strategy to ensure Jeff was released as soon as possible. I ran background reports and contacted media outlets to spread the word about Jeff’s egregious circumstances and the efforts that were being made to correct this miscarriage of justice.

When I heard that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had commuted Jeff’s sentence to life with parole I had mixed emotions. I was happy that Jeff would be able to leave the confines of the cold grey walls that had held him so long. I was happy he would be able to hug and hold his family whenever he wanted. I was happy he could eat and sleep the way he wanted and enjoy life like a somewhat normal person. But he would still be on parole for the rest of his life. He would still have to pay the criminal justice system for the “privilege” of being monitored by a parole officer. He would still have to ask permission to go certain places and do certain things. He would still be subject to the obstacle course of rules, regulations, and fees that had caused the downfall of so many other parolees before.

But a year later Jeff was thriving. He was running a construction crew and actively speaking out against the system that had tried (and failed) to destroy him. He was teaching younger guys how to do construction work while providing them guidance in life. He was receiving the highest level of praise from all those around him and had graduated to the lowest level of parole possible, which meant he had proved himself to his parole officer. Jeff had come out and proved the system wrong and I couldn’t have been prouder.

I was proud of Jeff for making a way for himself in spite of the incredible odds against him. I was proud of Jeff for being a mentor to others and using his experiences to guide others to the right path. I was proud of Jeff’s family for sticking it out with him for so many years when hope seemed bleak and the opportunity for freedom seemed almost impossible. I was proud of myself for recognizing an injustice and dedicating my time towards fixing it. And I was proud that, at least in a small way, my efforts paid off.

This letter might make it seem like I’m bragging, which in a way I am, but there’s a deeper goal behind it. The private investigation industry is cutthroat. A lot of PI’s are trying to outdo other PIs. One-up them if you will. Many times these competitions have negative implications. Businesses and reputations suffers as two egos battle it out. Maybe for once, the next time somebody tries to one-up me, they will succeed…

Succeed in freeing a man from unjust circumstances brought about by a criminal justice system in need of serious repair. Succeed in returning a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a son to his parents. Succeed in helping turn someone society has been told to forget back into a productive member of society. For once, I hoped my competition would outdo me, and the world would be a little better place because of it.