Tag Archives: Missouri

Missouri Trooper Charged With Manslaughter in Drowning Of Handcuffed Man Pleas to “Boating Violation” (Update)

Brandon Ellingson Drowning Lake of the Ozarks Missouri Trooper Anthony Piercy

Shortly before his trial was set to begin, Missouri State Trooper Anthony Piercy was given a plea deal that reduces the charge he was facing for the May 2014 drowning of Brandon Ellingson from a felony charge to a low level misdemeanor. As a result, he will face a maximum sentence of just six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Also, as part of that deal, he can withdraw the plea if the prosecution recommends jail time. So, essentially it guarantees that the worst punishment he will possibly get is a short probation sentence and a small fine.

Piercy had originally been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his actions that led to the death of Ellingson. Witnesses also testified that he failed to make any attempt to rescue Brandon while he was drowning. Instead, the Trooper was allowed to plea down to a charge of “negligent operation of a vessel,” a minor boating violation that is essentially equivalent to a traffic ticket.

As has been reported previously here on Nevada Cop Block, Ellingson was arrested by Trooper Piercy for boating while intoxicated at the Lake of Ozarks. Prior to transporting him back to shore, Piercy handcuffed Ellingson’s hands behind his back and subsequently incorrectly placed a life vest over his arms. He also reportedly was traveling too fast in a State Water Patrol boat.

Due to that excessive speed, Ellingson was thrown out of the boat when it hit a large wake. The improperly secured life vest came off soon after Ellingson was knocked into the water. He was then unable to remain afloat and also unable to swim with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Later, Trooper Piercy told several lies in an effort to avoid responsibility for Brandon Ellingson’s preventable death. One of those lies was that Ellingson had intentionally jumped out of the boat. Also, during a phone call with his supervisor (embedded below), Piercy claimed that he attempted to save Ellingson once he went overboard. Among other things in that call, he claimed that he was sore from having “tread water” while trying to pull Ellingson out of the lake, implying that he had jumped in after him.

However, independent witnesses aboard a private boat that came upon the location where Ellingson drowned contradicted those claims. According to the occupants of that boat, Piercy only held a pole out toward him and never made any effort to jump in the water even when they screamed at him to do so. In addition, the captain of that boat, Jim Bascue, stated that none of them knew at the time that Ellingson was restrained by handcuffs. Bascue stated that had he known that he would have jumped in and saved Elllingson himself.

Ellingson’s father begrudgingly accepted the plea deal (see first video embedded below):

“This is the best we were going to get here,” said Craig Ellingson. “It would have been a hung jury, or he would have gotten off. I didn’t want to risk the chance we wouldn’t get the opportunity to see him face to face and say what we want to say. Now we get that. We know what he’s guilty of.”

The trial would have been held in Piercy’s hometown of Versailles, which has just over 2,000 residents, most of whom have some connection to him or his family.

Other family members, including Brandon’s mother, Sherry Ellingson, were more outspoken about the complete lack of justice this deal represents. (Via KansasCity.com):

For Sherry Ellingson, the plea Tuesday did nothing to ease her pain. A trial, she said, would have further exposed how Piercy did little to help her son before he sank in handcuffs to the bottom of the lake and how the patrol then tried to conceal the truth of what happened.

“I don’t really give a care what his punishment is, but I wanted his record to say ‘manslaughter,’ ” Sherry Ellingson told The Star. “If anyone says that justice has now been served, you have got to be kidding me. In what way?”

Columbia MO Police Commit Felony Wiretap to Record Phone Call Between Attorney and Client

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Stephen Wyse, a civil rights attorney from Missouri, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The accompanying video, embedded below, was posted to the Citizens For Justice YouTube channel. Additional information about Citizens For Justice can be found at their Facebook page.

MEDIA ADVISORY

January 27, 2017

Columbia, Missouri – Civil Rights Attorney Stephen Wyse filed dual criminal and Internal Affairs complaints against a presently unidentified Columbia Police Department officer or officers for felony wiretap act violations of recording the attorney-client phone call between Shayne Healea and his attorney Shane Farrow on October 24, 2014.

In October 2016, Wyse made repeated calls to Boone County Prosecutor Daniel Knight requesting for him to appoint a special prosecutor to determine if this felony by a Columbia Police Officer(s) was a single incident or part of the pattern and practice of Columbia Police Officers to illegally record attorney-client communications and use them in their investigations and/or turn them over to government prosecutors.

Shayne Healea is presently the Moniteau County Prosecuting Attorney. Before becoming an attorney he was a police officer that worked undercover in a multi-jurisdiction drug task force. He is currently awaiting trial on DUI charges related to a 2014 car accident.

Columbia Police Commit Felony Wiretap

Columbia Police officer(s) recorded a legally privileged phone call between Shayne Healea and his attorney Shane Farrow on October 24, 2014, at the Columbia Police Department. The officer(s) involved have yet to be identified.

Mr. Healea had been arrested on October 24, 2014, after which he had requested to speak with his attorney in private. At first, the yet unidentified officer refused to permit a private and legally privileged attorney-client phone call. But then the officer apparently relented and placed Mr. Healea in holding cell for privacy to talk with his attorney. A legal duty the officer was required to obey as commanded by both Missouri law and the United States Constitution. Unbeknownst to Mr. Healea this Columbia Police officer was using electronic surveillance equipment placed in the holding cell to enable police commit felony wiretap and record the 15 to 20 minute phone call between Healea and his lawyer.

As an attorney who has had what I believed to be legally privileged attorney-client conversations with my clients within the confines of the Columbia Police Department. I was outraged when news reports from the Columbia Tribune and Columbia Missourian revealed that Columbia police officer(s) had committed a felony wiretap and I was concerned that my client(s) rights might also have been violated by similar criminal actions committed by the police.

– Stephen Wyse

Stephen Wyse’s complete blog post on the subject with links to his complaint and a video report from Wyse can be found here:

Columbia Police Commit Felony Wiretap of Attorney-Client Phone Call

 

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.

The Blue Mafia: New Book Explores Police Brutality and Consent Decrees in Ohio

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Tim Tolka, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Within the post, Tim discusses “Blue Mafia,” a book he wrote detailing police corruption and violence in Ohio, specifically concerning the police departments in Steubenville and Warren. Also included is a video preview of that book by Tim.

Tim also states:

The book is forthcoming and mentions all the officers involved by name with extensive documentation from the media, court documents, former and current officials and witnesses.

Blue Mafia: An Exploration of Consent Decrees in Ohio

A new book entitled “Blue Mafia” examines the nation’s second ever and fourth oldest Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations of patterns and practices of police misconduct in two small Ohio towns seated in Rustbelt Democratic counties. Ohio has hosted as many federal police misconduct investigations as New York state although it has only a fraction of its population. Only California has hosted more investigations than Ohio, although it has more than twice Ohio’s population. However, nowhere has the DOJ been resisted more fiercely than in Ohio.

In 1995, civil rights lawyer Richard Olivito began to feel hunted while litigating a civil rights case against the Steubenville police. He and his family received death threats. He and his wife survived two failed assassination attempts before placing a desperate call to the DOJ and driving to D.C. to meet with federal attorneys. The DOJ later sent two attorneys to investigate and requested a truckload of documents from the city of Steubenville. In 1997, the DOJ sued Steubenville for a pattern of civil rights violations and the city signed the second consent decree in U.S. history.

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The pattern of misconduct that caused Steubenville to become one of the less than 3% of municipalities saddled with a consent decree was essentially similar to that of the LAPD Rampart scandal. There were one or two allegations the DOJ was aware of against the police in Steubenville that not even the LAPD could touch. Steubenville has a history of corruption and organized crime which persists until the present day. The federal auditor for the consent decree eventually admitted that he couldn’t change the town’s culture or the choices of its powerful families.

Before the DOJ came to town, there were brutal and unaccountable police on the payroll of the mob in Steubenville. In 1986, the chief was accused of beating a white British woman who was with a black man in a Bob Evans, while yelling “niggerlover!” Once, an officer beat a woman with a chair inside the local courthouse, yet the chief famously refused to discipline his officers. Meanwhile, the county prosecutor was recruiting hitmen into an undercover narcotics task force and plotting to set people up, rob them and even murder them. Richard Olivito handled two criminal cases in which it was revealed in open court that an officer planted evidence and trafficked drugs. All these circumstances on top of forty-four court settlements in civil rights cases piqued the interest of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

Six years after being involved in the DOJ investigation of Steubenville, Olivito again faced DOJ attorneys on the other side of a conference room in 2003. One of them asked, “Is it as bad as Steubenville?” Olivito replied,”I think it’s worse. It’s laced with racism.” Olivito visited the DOJ after he learned of strip searches, beatings and multiple alleged murders by the Warren police.

Warren was Ferguson ten years before the death of Michael Brown and had similar problems as recently reported by the DOJ in the Baltimore Police Department. In 2003, a video of three cops beating an African American was broadcast by national outlets. Strip searches were “routine” after traffic stops, if cops discovered the driver has a suspended license or acted in a way they didn’t like. A spree of volatile new lawsuits on top of more than fifty during the preceding decades as well as desperate calls from community leaders convinced the Bush DOJ to investigate in 2005, but the DOJ didn’t file a suit accusing Warren of a pattern and practice of civil rights violations until 2012.

Still today, no Warren officer has ever been fired for excessive force and no officer has ever been punished in a lethal force incident. The nine-year tenure of the department’s former chief, John Mandopoulos caused DOJ intervention after two years and a pattern of federal involvement which intensified after every presidential election. The WPD now hosts the fourth oldest DOJ investigation in the country, as they “strive everyday to reach compliance with the decree,” which must be maintained for two years in order for the consent decree to be lifted.

Blue Mafia portrays the challenge of civil rights on the frontline against police brutality in the courts and the streets of America. No other book examines the federal process of police reform in comparable depth, revealing the influence of local and national politics as well as insurers, law firms and police unions. Often, the DOJ is the last line of defense for small town residents, but it offers no remedy to those deprived and violated, only the promise of a less brutal future. For residents in Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago and other cities with ongoing DOJ settlement agreements, there is much to learn from the experiences of Warren and Steubenville.

– Tim Tolka

Update: Investigation Opened Into Misconduct and Fraud by Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Bryan Jeffers of South East Missouri (SEMO) CopBlock, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It is an update of a previous submission about potential misconduct and fraud by Sheriff Dean Finch of Wayne County, Missouri. This post was originally published at the website of SEMO CopBlock under the title, “Did Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch violate the Hatch Act?

In addition, Bryan stated:

This Email was sent to me right before I shared this story.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened a case file and started an investigation into Sheriff Dean Finch’s misconduct. It would be great if Dean is charged and convicted of breaking the Hatch Act. It may not land him in prison as we’d prefer, however, it will be justice, no matter how small the punishment may be.

dean-finch-hatch-act-investigation

Click for full size image.

Did Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch Violate the Hatch Act?

To understand if Dean Finch violated the Hatch Act we first have to understand what the Hatch Act is about. The Hatch Act of 1939 was named after Senator Carl Hatch a Democrat from New Mexico who wrote it. The Hatch Act is officially, an act to prevent pernicious political activities. The act was amended in 2012. As such, we will focus on the 2012 amended version.

In 2012 President Barack Obama signed the “Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012.” It modified penalties under the Hatch Act to allow for disciplinary actions in addition to removal for federal employees; clarified the applicability to the District of Columbia of provisions that cover state and local governments; limited the prohibition on state and local employees running for elective office to employees whose salary is paid completely by federal loans or grants. (The complete law can be found here.)

According to subsection 7324. Political activities on duty; prohibitions
Picture

PictureSEMO Cop Block obtained evidence of Dean Finch allegedly violating three of four prohibitions. In the picture provided, Dean Finch is seen at the Ozark Heritage Festival, campaigning in uniform with badge and belt present, with a county issued shirt on.

According to Subsection 7324, “An An employee may not engage in political activity, while the employee is on duty. As you can see from the picture provided the Sheriff is on duty, and in uniform.  Both of the accusations could be covered by Subsection 7324 A(1), and A(3).


In the festival’s parade, Dean Finch allegedly violated the Hatch Act early the same day by campaigning in a parade while he was driving the vehicle that he leases to the county, and is paid $0.54/mile when he drives it (read more here)
Did Dean add the mileage he drove during the parade to his mileage log he is paid from? According to the subsection 7324 – (4) it is prohibited “using any vehicle owned or leased by the Government of the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof.” Hence Dean drove his leased vehicle during a campaigning session by driving the county leased vehicle throughout the “Ozark Heritage Festival” with a sign the read “Wayne County sheriff Dean Finch” on both sides of the vehicle. Isn’t this a violation of the Hatch Act?
We at SEMO Cop Block believe so. Dean Finch should be charged, convicted, and punished to the fullest extent of the law. According to subsection 732:

Dean Finch should be subject to removal and not allowed to hold any elected office for a period not to exceed 5 years. A fine not to exceed $1,000.

SEMO Cop Block has not just written up this article, we have filed a complaint with The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). (You can read the complaint here) The OSC is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. Their basic authorities come from four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The OSC would be the one in charge of investigating the Hatch Act complaints.

If you believe Dean Finch or anyone else has violated the Hatch Act, the OSC contact information is:

U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, NW
Suite 218
Washington, DC 20036
Hatch Act Hotline:           (202) 254-3650 or (800) 854-2824
Hatch Act Fax:                 (202) 254-3700
E-mail:                              [email protected]
Website:                          www.osc.gov

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened a case file and started an investigation into Sheriff Dean Finch’s misconduct. It would be great if Dean is charged and convicted of breaking the Hatch Act. It may not land him in prison as we’d prefer, however, it will be justice no matter how small the punishment may be.

The ‘NATIONAL SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION” has been trying to change the law to not include sheriffs, but has failed in every attempt they’ve made. In a letter they wrote in 2012, they say:

“HB 498 would clarify current law to allow sheriffs, in their official capacity, to participate in political activities. Moreover, it also clarifies allowable political activities of a sheriff to include, but not limited to, endorsing a candidate through print, radio or TV ads, speaking at political events, attending or sponsoring fundraisers.” (full letter here)

The bill they asked for was referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and Labor Policy. The bill has never made it out of the subcommittee.

The Supreme Court has several times declined to hear challenges to the act and has twice upheld its constitutionality. In a 1947 case brought by the CIO, a divided court found that Congress had properly exercised its authority as long as it had not affected voting rights. Then again In 1973, in a case brought by the National Association of Letter Carriers. A 6 to 3 decision found the act is neither too broad nor unclear.
The Hatch Act is there to prevent people who are paid in part or completely by the Federal Government from campaigning in uniform or while on duty. The Supreme Court has ruled twice on its fairness and broadness. Congress did not vote or discuss the bill brought to them by the National Sheriffs’ Association.

– Bryan Jeffers
   SEMO CopBlock

 

Missouri State Audits Show Potential Fraud by Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch

The following post was originally published on the website of Southeast Missouri CopBlock under the title “Did Sheriff Dean Finch Steal from the County?” It was shared with the CopBlock Network by Bryan Jeffers of SEMO Copblock, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Did Sheriff Dean Finch Steal from the County?

The Missouri State Auditor has finished an audit on Wayne County, Missouri. This is the county’s second audit since 2013. Back in 2013, the county received an overall performance rating of poor. The newest audit was just released and the auditor reported that Wayne County once again received a poor rating.

Could this be the results of Dean Finch stealing from the county?

In the auditor’s report (which can be read here) Nicole Galloway, CPA, said:

“The county has received an overall performance rating of poor financial condition with serious concerns. The cash balance is low and does not take into account significant liabilities of the fund, including $471,846 due to the Special Road and Bridge Fund.

The prosecuting attorney frequently reduces charges filed on traffic tickets by requiring defendants to make a donation, ranging from $50 to $300, to the county’s Special Law Enforcement Fund as a condition of reducing the charges. Donations totaled approximately $44,500 for the year ending December 31, 2015. Written plea agreements signed by the defendant and the judge do not disclose the amount the defendant was required to donate to the Special Law Enforcement Fund.

Receipt slips are not issued immediately upon receipt of bad check fees and donations, checks and money orders are not restrictively endorsed promptly, and monies are not transmitted timely. The prosecuting attorney has not established adequate procedures to ensure 10-day letters are issued and charges are filed timely with the court for unresolved bad check complaints”

In 2013, the prosecuting attorney at the time, Robert Ramshur, told the Wayne County Journal-Banner:

“The auditor’s office said they could find no authority for the fund’s existence. Yet, since he said that, the County Commission has approved an ordinance validating the fund.” (For more click here)

So after the auditor found no authority for the fund the county quickly made the authority for it. Was the county trying to backpedal and cover for the extortion of traffic offenders by prosecuting attorney and the sheriff ‘s office back in 2013? The same practice of extorting traffic offenders still continues now with the authority of the county.

Sheriff Dean Finch maintains a bank account outside the county treasury according to the auditor’s 2016 report:

“This account has an unidentified balance,  to account for proceeds from the U.S. Department of Justice Equitable Sharing Program without statutory authority.”

Did Sheriff Dean Finch steal money from the bank account he did not have the authority to maintain?

The report states that the bank account Dean Finch maintains may be against the law:

“There is no statutory authority allowing the Sheriff to maintain this account outside the county treasury. Section 50.370, RSMO, requires every county official who receives any fees or other remuneration for official services to pay such monies to the county treasurer. In addition, Attorney General’s Opinion No. 45-1992 to the Hickory County Prosecuting Attorney, states sheriffs are not authorized to maintain a bank account for law enforcement purposes separate from the county treasury”

Should Dean Finch be charged convicted and jailed for this?

Nicole Galloway in her 2016 audit of Wayne County said:

“The Sheriff has not entered into written agreements with the City of Greenville or surrounding counties for the boarding of prisoners detailing the prisoner housing rate to be paid, the services to be provided, or any required notification for emergency or non-routine situations.”

This means, if you were arrested by the City of Greenville or any surrounding cities or counties and were housed by Wayne County, they had no formal plan for that city or county to pay Wayne County for your jail time. Nor did they have any plans for emergency or non-routine situations. Could this be the reason Darrell Antone Died in Wayne County custody in 2015? (read more on his death here)

The Sheriff leases his car to the county for $1 a year, but that is not the real concern. The concern is what the county paid him for mileage.

According to the report:

“The Sheriff is to be responsible for all maintenance, upkeep, and operating expenses. Although not specified in the lease agreement, the Sheriff was paid $0.56 per mile as compensation for leasing his vehicle to the county during the year ended December 31, 2015. Mileage reimbursements paid to the Sheriff during the year ended December 31, 2015, totaled $19,425. The Sheriff maintains mileage logs that include his badge number, the date, and the number of miles driven per day while patrolling the county.”

Assuming if this practice has been done the whole time he was Sheriff, this would mean in the current term he would have been paid a total of over $77,700 and in his two terms total of $155,400 for driving his personal vehicle. That is more than two times what the average citizen of Wayne County makes in a year.

It seems to me that Dean Finch is using his position of power to profit as much money from the county as he can. Why did Dean Finch use his position to steal an income of at least $155,400 in eight years of driving his personal car around?

In the report Nicole Galloway states:

“In addition to the mileage logs submitted to the County Clerk’s office for reimbursement, we noted the Sheriff’s badge number also appeared on the fuel logs used to track fuel obtained from the Sheriff’s Office bulk fuel tank during 2015. These logs indicate the Sheriff fueled his vehicle from the bulk fuel tank 68 times in 2015; totaling 791 gallons, in addition to claiming and receiving compensation of $19,425 for the miles driven.”

Below you will find a spreadsheet we made outlining how much we estimate he was paid by the county when you add the reimbursement and the free gas he filled his car with for over the 7 years he was double dipping taking into a low-ball average of $2.50/gallon.

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Wayne County paid the sheriff over 1/2 million dollars in eight years. In those eight years, Finch was paid $155,400 over his salary. He was “gifted” with over $13,000 in free gas because the county paid twice for it.

In the report, it does, however, say:

“Beginning in 2016, the Sheriff began subtracting the cost of the fuel obtained from the bulk fuel tank from the mileage logs submitted to the County Clerk monthly. For example, in April 2016, the Sheriff was reimbursed $1,600 for 3,282 miles driven ($0.54 per mile for 2016) after deducting $172 for 97 gallons of fuel obtained from the county’s bulk fuel tank. The Sheriff calculated the amount to be deducted by multiplying the number of gallons pumped times the current price per gallon.”

This year is the 1st year Dean Finch decided to pay for the gas he is using. Will Dean Finch pay back the well over $13,000 he stole from double dipping?  Why is Dean Finch not in jail for stealing over $13,000 in gas?

The county has no accountability. In the 2015 audit report, it says:

“Neither the County Clerk nor the County Commission adequately reviews the financial activities of the County Collector. The County Clerk does not maintain an account book or other records summarizing property tax charges, transactions, and changes. The County Clerk and the County Commission do not perform procedures to verify the accuracy and completeness of the County Collector’s annual settlements. The County Clerk and County Commission do not adequately monitor additions and abatements entered into the property tax system.”

Wayne County citizens deserve better than Dean Finch.

Dean Finch, as Sheriff, cares more about loading his own pockets than protecting us and doing his job. According to the audit, he broke the law by managing a bank account he should never manage by law. He might of stole gas for seven years by the county paying for the gas in his car twice, once to him and once to the company the county gets the bulk gas from. He holds no accountability for the employees’ time sheets and overall is a horrible sheriff. Should Dean Finch be arrested? Did he steal over $13,000 in gas? Whats was up with the bank account he managed that he should never have had controll of?

– Bryan Jeffers

SEMO CopBlock

When Current Police Behavior was Predicted by “Ridiculous Satire”

It’s been a while since it was easy to tell the difference between actual politics and an Onion article, but those vying to be deemed the Lesser of Two Evils aren’t alone in the distinction of having their behavior reach a level of ridiculousness that makes it hard to believe it doesn’t involve someone jumping out and telling their victims to smile while pointing out the locations of hidden cameras.

In August of 2014, the video satire site “Funny or Die” posted a video entitled “Cop vs. Black Guy” showing an outrageously ridiculous scenario that started out with a black man innocently sitting on his own front porch eating ice cream. Soon a cop appears from out of nowhere and starts accusing him of stuff and barking out insane commands, all while the innocent, non-threatening man tries in vain to explain that he’s just sitting on his own porch eating ice cream.

On EURweb.com it was described this way (links added):

*As the country continues to debate policing disparities in black neighborhoods in the wake of Ferguson, the satirical website Funny or Die has come out with its take.

In “Cop v. Black Guy,” an unarmed black man is eating vanilla ice cream on the front stoop of his own home when a white police officer confronts him and all kinds of hell breaks loose.

Written by “Key And Peele” veterans Colton Dunn and Phil Augusta Jackson, the situation spirals out of control, with the officer’s uniform going from his regular getup, to SWAT, to grass camouflage, to Stormtrooper before he realizes he needs to “calm the f*** down.”

Almost two years later, in June of this year, that video has come to life in a bad and very unfunny way. While doing nothing but sitting on the porch of the house where he lives with his mother, Dejuan Yourse was first harassed, then assaulted and arrested by a pair of Greensboro, North Carolina police officers.

Yourse willingly and peacefully gave Officers Travis Cole and C.N. Jackson his ID, which had that address listed on it, called his mother on the phone, and even offered to introduce them to some of his neighbors in order to confirm he lived there. In spite of that, Ofc. Cole, who at one point suggested that Yourse should pronounce his name a different way, attacked him when he called a friend and asked him to come over and vouch for him.

Although the excuse used was that the friend he called was possibly part of an elaborate scheme to ambush the two police officers, it actually seems much more likely that Cole was offended by the fact that Yourse (very correctly) stated to that friend that he was being harassed by him and Ofc. Jackson. In the end, Yourse was tackled to the ground, punched at least twice, handcuffed, kidnapped, and forced into a police car all because he had the audacity to sit quietly on his own porch, which was located somewhere the cops decided he didn’t belong.

Of course, the videos aren’t exactly the same. No ice cream was harmed while Officer Cole beat and kidnapped a very innocent man and there’s no wardrobe changes involved, either. However, the biggest difference between the two videos is that the real police have yet to (and likely will never) figure out that they should “calm the fuck down.”

In fact, cops have given every indication that they intend to respond to the negative reactions they have received to their violent, out of control, and racist behavior by doubling down on the Police State.

St. Louis Police Sergeant Embezzled Over $80,000 From The “Ethical Society of Police”

A sergeant with the St. Louis Police Department, who was the head of a group that represents black police officers has admitted to stealing over $80,000 from the organization. If the fact that the group this cop stole from is named the “Ethical Society of Police” isn’t ironic enough for you his name is Darren Wilson, although he’s not that Darren Wilson.

Apparently, Sgt. Wilson used all that money to fund his dreams of being an entertainer. Sgt. Heather Taylor, who replaced him as head of the Ethical Society of Police, doesn’t seem to be that amused, though. She even went the incredibly rare route among cops of saying another cop should actually go to jail.

Via STLtoday.com:

Darren Randal Wilson, 42, used money from the Ethical Society of Police on his side business of promoting local comedy shows “featuring nationally known comedians,” prosecutors said.

The current president, Sgt. Heather Taylor, told the Post-Dispatch outside the courtroom that Wilson looted the building fund and money meant for community service and legal representation.

She said the group was forced by Wilson’s theft to downsize.

Asked if Wilson had repaid any of the money, Taylor replied, “Not one cent.”

Taylor said that Wilson was a former professional clown, and said that he behaved as a “clown.”

“He needs to go to jail,” she said.

Wilson is not related to the former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, whose shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 drew nationwide attention.

During the plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristian Stevens said that as president, Wilson wrote unauthorized checks and made unauthorized transfers, debit card transactions and cash withdrawals of ESOP funds.

The money in the accounts came mostly from member dues, he said.

Under federal guidelines, he faces a possible term of 12 to 18 months in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 12.

As part of the plea, prosecutors agreed to ask for 12 months, Stevens said, and Wilson’s lawyer could ask for less.

Wilson began his police career in March 1997.
And yeah, you heard (read) that right; Sgt. Wilson was a former clown. I’m not saying that Sgt. Wilson or any other members of St. Louis area law enforcement are necessarily tied to the Great Clown Invasion of 2016, which is currently spreading like wildfire after originating in South Carolina. I’m just saying will the evils perpetrated by clowns never cease? Also, I think we have to be concerned that Evil Scary Clowns have joined forces with the Bad Apples in a obvious attempt to undermine the efforts of Good Cops to clean up the police. That should have been expected.

They Fought the Law and the Law LOST; SEMO CopBlock Wins First Amendment Lawsuit

The following post and video was shared with the CopBlock Network by Bryan Jeffers of SEMO Cop Block, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The post discusses an incident they were involved in where city officials, including the mayor, chief of police, and county sheriff retaliated against them for flipping the mayor off, which is a First Amendment protected act of Free Speech. Among other things, they had their water meter removed by city workers, even though they were current on their bill.

Within the video, the fact that they were paid up to date on their water bill and that the removal was ordered as an act of retaliation is admitted. Ultimately, these acts of retaliation led to a lawsuit by jeffers and his mother Tina Warren, which was supported by the ACLU.

The post below details the resolution of that lawsuit and conditions under which it was resolved.

City/County Officials Involved:

  • Piedmont Mayor: William “Bill” Kirkpatrick
  • Piedmont Chief of Police:  Richard Sanders
  • Wayne County Sheriff: Dean Finch
  • Lieutenant of Piedmont Police: Cory Tompson

Back in September of 2015, Wayne County residents Tina Warren and her son Bryan Jeffers, with help from the ACLU, filed a lawsuit accusing the City of Piedmont, the Chief of Police of Piedmont (Richard Sanders), a Police Lieutenant of Piedmont (Cory Tompson), the Mayor of Piedmont ( William “Bill” Kirkpatrick), and also the Sheriff of Wayne County (Dean Finch) of violations of the First Amendment.

In retaliation for their use of what is protected Free Speech, they have been harassed on multiple occasions. Miss Warren has been pulled over multiple times for “flipping the bird” to the city mayor. Also, Mr. Jeffers’ water meter was taken by workers employed by the local government in a further act of retaliation, even though they were current on their water bill. In addition, Mayor Kirkpatrick sent the sheriff to her home with the state DEA, to perform an unwarranted search for drugs. That search turned up nothing. You can read all about it here.

We are proud to announce that Tina Warren and Bryan Jeffers have come to a settlement with the City of Piedmont and all of the defendants involved. Miss Warren and Mr. Jeffers agreed to dismiss, with prejudice, the lawsuit against the City of Piedmont, MO as well as the named defendants after the defendants agreed to the following terms:

  1. The City of Piedmont, through its insurance company, agree to pay Miss Warren and Mr. Jeffers and their attorneys the sum of $9,500.00
  2. Defendant City of Piedmont agrees to issue the following apology:
    “The administration of the City of Piedmont regrets their response to Tina Warren’s expressive activities. The city recognizes that residents have the first amendment rights and can not be subject to retaliation for exercising those rights. The city also acknowledges a citizen’s right to criticize public officials , even when some may find it offensive.”
  3. The city agrees to revisit and evaluate laws that outlaw cursing, offensive gestures, among others. Before this agreement the city went ahead and hired an outside company to review and rewrite any outdated laws.
  4. The city agrees to remove any remaining signs citing or relating to “no cursing”
  5. Each party agrees to pay their own attorney fee and cost.
  6. Mediation cost shall be divided equally between the defendants City of Piedmont and Sheriff Finch (taking money from an officer’s personnel pocket)

Standing up for your rights and seeing it to the end is something we like seeing. We encourage everyone to call the Piedmont City Council Members and tell them “We don’t want to flip the bill for Bill anymore.” We believe that if enough people call the council members they will go ahead and impeach the 1st Amendment hating mayor.

  • Ward I Alderwoman: Karin Townsend – (573) 223-7579
  • Ward I Alderman: Brian Tutterow – Phone # Unlisted
  • Ward II Alderman: Tracey Bennett – (573) 223-1248
  • Ward II Alderman: Scott Tucker – (573) 223-7533

Miss Warren said:

“Let this be a warning to all these small towns and cities out there that one “Bad Apple” can cost a city a lot of money and could wrap your city up in court, if you have laws that are unconstitutional”

We would like more people to stand up to local governments and get laws changed like Miss Warren and Mr Jeffers did with the help of the ACLU. If you believe your rights were violated, do not rest ’til you win your case.

– Bryan Jeffers
SEMO Cop Block

If You Want True Reform, Abolish The Police!

This post was written by and originally published at the Center For a Stateless Society (C4SS) under the title “Ferguson, Accept No Substitutes: Abolish the Police!” Posts and other content can be submitted to the CopBlock Network via the CopBlock.org Submission Page. (Note: some links have been inserted, although no edits to the original text were made.)

Back in August 2014 a man named Michael Brown was shot by a police officer, Darren Wilson. Brown was unarmed and found himself in the hostile climate that exists between people of color and the police. His resulting death was the spark that lit the fire. Protests for #BlackLivesMatter began in earnest, people rallied for justice for Brown (Wilson was eventually acquitted of any wrong-doing) and in general, folks were deeply upset with the city of Ferguson.

Whether Brown’s actions warranted the almost 10 shots he received by officer Wilson, the background context of the event couldn’t be denied. Even the Department of Justice (DoJ) noted, to quote CBS, “a portrait of poor community-police relations, ineffective communication among the more than 50 law enforcement agencies that responded, police orders that infringed on First Amendment rights, and military-style tactics that antagonized demonstrators.”

The DoJ also remarked on a broad pattern of discrimination by the Ferguson police, particularly towards people of color.

What has changed in over a year and a half?

In September, CBS reported that, “Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon recommended the consolidation of police departments and municipal courts in the St. Louis area, and decreasing the use of police force.”

But more recently and perhaps more promisingly to some, there has been a proposed agreement between the DoJ and the City of Ferguson. If approved, this agreement would postpone any sort of federal lawsuit and make changes to local policies concerning the police. CBS reported that the proposal was even brought before the public for “feedback” before its approval.

Policy changes could include mandatory body cameras and microphones for police and their cruisers. In addition, there could be more thorough training of police and possible revisions of municipal codes that allow the City of Ferguson to jail people who can’t afford fines.

All of these things, if actually implemented, might sound like decent reforms.

But as fellow C4SS writer Thomas L. Knapp wrote back in December of 2014, when it comes to body cameras and the like, “Video technology is certainly part of the solution to police violence, but that solution should remain in the hands of regular people, not the state. … Cops need to be on cameras they don’t control.”

Why would we want the police to regulate themselves on how well they’re doing? A recent example of Chicago police officers tampering with their dash cams is just the tip of the iceberg. Somehow police often “mysteriously” can’t find evidence against themselves. It seems unlikely that it’d be any different in Ferguson.

Likewise, though there’d be more thorough training of the police, who would it be by? Other police? That’s likely the end result of this supposed “thorough” training that may teach “tolerance” for the disabled and marginalized. But acceptance is a lot more meaningful than tolerance, and how can we expect either to be taught to the police in any case?

They operate in an institution founded on “I was just taking orders” as a legitimate defense to wrong-doing. They operate in an institution that, if it really only had “a few bad apples”, would’ve done something more drastic than putting murdering cops on paid vacations. They operate in an institution that lacks any sort of communal competition in many areas, giving them de facto monopoly provision of defense. This monopoly leads not only to a lack of accountability but also violence on the part of the police.

Lastly, it seems unlikely that the city would, for some reason, stop imprisoning less fortunate citizens. If they’re able to make money off of these prisoners, why would they stop it? It seems akin to asking cops to stop profiting from traffic stops.

It’s a nice gesture to let the public “look” at the document before it’s actually passed.

But that’s all it is, a gesture.

Real change won’t come from the fox guarding the hen house. Real change will come from communities coming together and modeling their efforts less on busy-body neighborhood watches and more like the Black Panthers.

Further, community involvement shouldn’t aid prisons and punishment but rather should entice restitution and resolve.

To do that, my advice is simple: Abolish the police!