Tag Archives: NC

North Carolina State Trooper Caught on Video Going 100+ MPH Down Wrong Side of Highway

North Carolina State Trooper Reckless Driving

The trooper in the video, who has since been identified as T.J. Williamson, was not only driving on the wrong side of the road, but also reportedly going over one-hundred miles per hour at the time. Typically, the speed limit on rural highways are at least 65 mph. Assuming that the cars driving on that highway are following the legal speed limit, that means Trooper Williamson’s car would be approaching oncoming traffic at 165 mph. (And that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)

Even with his lights and sirens on, someone could have easily not seen him until it was too late at that speed. It’s beyond obvious that Williamson caused much more of a hazard by speeding on the wrong side of the road than any illegal street ever would have.

Via MyFox8.com:

The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a video that shows a trooper going the wrong way on a highway while attempting to stop street racers, WBTV reports. A group of people were blocking traffic to race along U.S. 321 around 4:30 p.m. in Newton Sunday. Troopers said they were creating hazardous conditions for other drivers.

The video, which was shot by Carisa Lynn, has been widely shared on social media. “Just freaked out,” Lynn told WSOC. “It was crazy. It was very dangerous.” Lynn said she believes the trooper put more people at risk by the way he responded to the reported street racing. “Street racing isn’t what you should be doing, but it was more reckless in my opinion of the police officer to be driving the way he was driving, in general, to pull over some people racing,” Lynn said.

As many as 10 BMWs were involved in the street racing bust, WSOC reports. Highway Patrol has impounded five of those vehicles. Multiple people face charges that include prearranged speed racing, careless and reckless driving and impeding traffic.

Once that video became public, Trooper Williamson resigned according to WRAL.com in Raleigh, NC. It’ll probably be at least a couple months before he’s working for some other department.

A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has resigned after a video showed him driving the wrong way on a highway as he responded to reports of street racing.

A statement from the patrol on Tuesday said Trooper T.J. Williamson submitted his resignation effective immediately.

Note: This post and the video embedded below were shared with Nevada Cop Block via the NVCopBlock.org submissions page. If you have a personal story, video you took, or link to a story or video you’d like to see posted on the Nevada Cop Block site, send it to us.

2 Comments

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.

Thanks,
Lynne

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?

2016

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.

Background

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.

Appeal

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]

Leave a comment

Fourteen Members of “Law Enforcement” Charged As Result Of An FBI Drug Sting in North Carolina

Earlier this week, it was announced that after a two year long drug sting involving the FBI a total of fourteen members of law enforcement have been charged with drug crimes, including eleven within the state of North Carolina. According to WRAL-TV, all of the arrestees from North Carolina have confessed since being arrested. It wasn’t clear if that was part of a plea deal or if they simply chose to confess (my money is on door #1).

The arrests for charges related to cocaine and heroin included eight current or former police officers, three correctional officers, two Virginia prison employees, and one 911 dispatcher. The dispatcher, as well as all eight of the law enforcement  officers except one work or had worked for the Northampton County (NC) Sheriff’s Office. That includes five current and two former NCSO deputies.

Via WSPA News 7:

Thomas Walker, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, said multiple people were arrested in a major sting of cocaine and heroin operations. Those arrested include five current members of the Northampton County sheriff’s office.

They were charged with trafficking cocaine and heroin up and down the I-95 corridor.

On Wednesday in court, prosecutors showed photos and video of alleged wrong-doing, WRAL reported.

“They all gave some sort of confession,” a prosecutor told the judge, according to the TV station. “Each of these defendants admitted to their involvement.”

Nine of the officers were not granted bail on Wednesday because the judge said he needed more time to review the case, according to WRAL.

Walker said there were arrests at an airport in Halifax County and a warehouse in Rocky Mount. A second group was arrested at a warehouse in Rocky Mount. The undercover operation, called “Operation Rockfish,” has been ongoing for about a year and a half…

Arrested were:

  • Ikeisha Jacobs, 32, a deputy with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Jason Boon, 29, a Northampton deputy
  • Jimmy Pair, 48, a Northampton deputy
  • Curtis Boone, 31, a Northampton deputy
  • Thomas Jefferson Allen II, 37, a Northampton deputy
  • Wardie Vincent Jr., 35, a former Northampton deputy
  • Cory Jackson, 43, formerly with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Antonio Tillmon, 31, a Windsor City policeman
  • Adrienne Moody, 39, a North Carolina correctional officer
  • Alaina Sue Kamling, 27, a North Carolina correctional officer
  • Kavon Phillips, 25, a North Carolina correctional officer
  • Lann Tjuan Clanton, 36, a correctional officer with the Virginia Department of Corrections
  • Alphonso Ponton, 42, a Virginia correctional officer
  • Tohsa Dailey, 31, a 911 dispatch operator for Northampton County
  • Crystal Pierce, 31, of Raleigh

FBI Agent John Strong, who said he and the other agents involved were shocked (I tellya!) by the involvement of police officers, characterized it as “a breach of the public’s trust” in which those officers used their positions “to line their own pockets.”

Another guy who is shocked (I tellya!) is Northhampton County Sheriff Jack Smith, who saw roughly 15% of his 35 deputy department marched away in handcuffs, as a result of the case. He agreed with Agent Strong that this type of thing just cannot be tolerated, especially from members of law enforcement, stating:

“They’ve let me down. They’ve let the sheriff’s office down,” Smith said. “They’ve let the citizens down as well as their families. Most of them have children and they’ve let the down as well.”

For the record, guess who is not surprised at all by this and won’t be in any way surprised when they all get light sentences and possibly even just probation. (I’m talking about me, in case that isn’t really obvious.)

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Three New Orleans Police Officers Caught Selling Untaxed Cigarettes; Not Choked to Death

Late last month, six people including three New Orleans police officers, were indicted as part of an illegal tobacco smuggling ring. The scheme, which lasted just about one year, involved smuggling cigarettes and cigars across state lines in order to avoid paying federal and state taxes.

Officers Justin Brown and Joshua Carthon, of the New Orleans Police Department and Deputy Garrett Partman, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, are accused of accepting bribes in exchanging for transporting the products across state lines and providing protection during the trips.

Via TheAdvocate.com:

Federal prosecutors say the conspiracy began in September 2015, when two Gretna men, Jadallah Saed, 30, and Anwar “Tony” Abdelmajid-Ahmad, 29, started buying thousands of cartons of cigarettes considered by the authorities to be contraband because they had no state tax stamps on their packaging.

Authorities said the racket involved at least 15,000 cartons of cigarettes. It was unclear where they obtained the cigarettes.

Beginning in January, the indictment says, the two police officers, joined by Abdelmajid-Ahmad, would transport the cigarettes to another co-defendant in North Carolina, Atalla Atalla, a 38-year-old Wilmington man known as “Tommy.” The officers made their second trip in March but were joined this time by Partman, the indictment alleges.

The defendants face a host of charges, including conspiring to traffic contraband cigarettes, evading federal excise tax and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises.

Partman, 31, resigned from the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, said Philip Stelly, an agency spokesman. Stelly said Partman was hired in January 2010, but it was not clear whether he had been assigned to the city’s jail or the Sheriff’s Office’s civil division.

Meanwhile, the two officers, Brown and Carthon, were placed on emergency suspension without pay this week, officials said. Brown, 29, has been with the New Orleans Police Department for four years and most recently was assigned to the Special Operations Division.

Carthon, 32, is a seven-year veteran and most recently served in the 7th District, which covers New Orleans East. He previously was suspended for 25 days following an April 2014 drunk-driving incident in which he crashed his pickup while driving with a blood-alcohol content of .131. He also was involved in a fatal officer-involved shooting following an armed robbery last year, which the authorities deemed to be justified.

I’d say I was surprised by that last paragraph, but it’s getting hard to find a report of a cop who was (finally) busted that already didn’t have a long list of previous misconduct and very mild slaps on the wrist. One thing I did find just a bit odd was that, unlike Eric Garner in New York, the cops in New Orleans weren’t forced to choke any of these guys to death for selling untaxed cigarettes.

Leave a comment