Tag Archives: planting evidence

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:

Open Letter from Army Veteran to the Buffalo PD: Why Did You Murder My Dog?

The following Post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Matthew Albert, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The open letter from Sgt. Gary Aljoe, whose dog “Sarge” was murdered by members of the Buffalo Police Department Narcotics Task Force was originally posted at ArtVoice.com under the title “You Raided the Wrong House and Killed My Dog!

The execution of Sarge during a raid on Aljoe’s house by Detectives O’Brien and Adams was also discussed in a previous submission by Mathew Albert to the CopBlock Network, which I posted earlier this month.

Date of Incident: December 20, 2016
Department Involved: Buffalo Police Department
Officer Involved: Narcotics Detective Sean O’Brien and and Det. Shawn Adams
Department Phone No.: (716) 851-4575
Department Address: 74 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

An open letter from my client, Sgt. Gary Aljoe, a 37 year veteran, to the cops who killed his 8 year old German Shepherd, Sarge, on December 20, 2016, just before Christmas. Sarge was cowering in a corner of a room on a bunk as a search warrant was executed by the most prolific dog killing squad this country has to offer, the Buffalo Police Narcotics Department.

Sgt. Aljoe built schools and clinics in war torn third world nations while in the Army, and provided security at Ground Zero for fellow Americans after 9-11-01, breathing in all sorts of toxins for four months, toxins that still effect his breathing today.

Sergeant Aljoe knew what he was fighting for. He fought for freedom, justice, and the betterment of mankind. His best question to the killer cops: “What is it that are you fighting for?”

Share to all media outlets, anywhere, and everywhere.

– Matthew Albert

You Raided the Wrong House and Killed My Dog!

An open letter from US Army Sgt. Gary Aljoe to Detective Shawn Adams and Lieutenant Sean O’Brien of the Buffalo Police

Dear Detective Adams and Lieutenant O’Brien,

I am writing to you in regards to the events that occurred on December 20, 2016. As you are aware, you were the team of officers that obtained a search warrant from Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas Amodeo for the house at 85 Ullman Street, executed the warrant, and also executed my dog, Sarge, in the process, without finding anything more than allegedly some residue; found in my son’s room.

Since that time, and going through Christmas and New Years without Sarge, my best friend, I have had nothing to do but think and reflect. With that in mind, I am hoping that, as fellow men in uniform, you will provide me with explanations to certain questions I have.

While you may have not given my dog or I a second thought, after you walked out of the house, these questions have been eating away at me.

As a veteran of 37 years who served his county to try and defend your freedoms, I am hoping you will provide me the courtesy of answering these. For I know that my son is not a drug dealer, and my dog is not a dangerous dog, and offered no threat to you or any officers’ safety.

  1. How was a warrant obtained for my residence where neither the name, age, nor ethnicity was known of the supposed target?
  2. How often do you raid houses without knowing the target of the raid?
  3. My attorney, Matt Albert, informed me that both of you have shot numerous dogs in your career. Why is that the case, and do you think that the small amount of narcotics obtained on these search warrants where dogs are killed justify the killings of man’s best friend?
  4. Do they justify the intrusion of liberty and the right of people to be secure in their homes?
  5. After doing my research, I have estimated that thousands of dogs have been killed by Buffalo Police Narcotics throughout the years. Why have you not sought or received training in non-lethal methods of handling dogs, such as fire extinguishers and/or Tasers when confronting animals during search warrant cases?
  6. Why is it that the Niagara Falls Police Department, which rarely kills dogs, can implement such procedures successfully and not kill dogs, while the Buffalo Police Department doesn’t and continues to kill dogs during raids?
  7. Why is it that a single Buffalo Police Officer from your Narcotics team, Detective Joseph Cook, killed more dogs in a three-year period then the entire New York City Police Department?
  8. Do you not think this is astonishing, and that something is critically wrong with the way your Department handles raids the dogs of the people who live in these homes?
  9. Why did you remove Sarge’s immediately after killing him, depriving me of the opportunity to bury him?
  10. Did you remove him because a necropsy report would contradict your “Use of Force” report where you may have indicated the dog was shot at close range, as if he was charging you, when in reality the dog was shot at a safe distance?
  11.  When you busted into my house in the early morning, and as I was fully compliant with your instructions and my dog was cowering in dread and presented no threat to your safety, why didn’t you ask me to secure Sarge, as I was a mere few feet from him when he was killed, and I could have saved his life?

I am asking these questions not just for myself, or Sarge, who was my best friend, but for every resident of this city who believes the freedom of quiet enjoyment in one’s own home is one we should all enjoy as vital as Americans.

Freedom is what I fought for in my 37 years of military service.

My final question to you is this: By shooting dogs, kicking in doors, locking up so many people, ruining people’s lives over what is in reality for most users is illness and yet still seeing drugs running more rampant than ever in the community, what is it you are fighting for…?  and when is it time to admit that this fight is being fought incorrectly…  that changes in this battle need to be made?

New York SWAT Team Executes War Vet’s Dog Just Days Before Christmas

The following Post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Matt Albert, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Date of Incident: December 21, 2016
Department Involved: Buffalo Police Department
Officer Involved: Narcotics Detective Sean O’Brien
Department Phone No.: (716) 851-4575

A Bloody Christmas – This Is How Police Treat Our Veterans

After serving 37 years in the military, one would think that Gary Aljoe was entitled to spend a quiet Christmas with his family and his beloved best friend, an 8-year-old-male German Shepherd, whom Aljoe had owned since he was a pup. The dog had been given to him as a present by Aljoe’s son, and was appropriately named Sarge. For Gary himself had achieved the esteemed rank of Sergeant First Class, and one would think that this country would give back the so called freedoms Aljoe had fought for by allowing him the comforts and enjoyments of his own family and home this holiday season. If one thought that however,…one would be wrong.

In the early morning hours on December 21, 2016, the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit stormed Aljoe’s Ullman Street residence by way of a flash bang, taking the brave sergeant and his animal by surprise. Sarge, usually a very friendly and social German Shepherd, cowered in the corner at the sudden attack. Aljoe initially thought that he was being invaded and was set to call the police. It turned out that his instincts were half right.

And again, if one thought that the Police would show mercy on what they perceived to be an enemy combatant cowering in the corner, one would also be mistaken. A Buffalo police officer, name unknown at this point, blew up Sarge while Gary laid helpless on the floor, with a jackbooted cop standing over him, holding him down.

The mirage of freedom that Aljoe had fought for 37 years was shattered by way of gunshots from agents of his own government to his best friends’ head. This wasn’t friendly fire… this was the purposeful execution of a companion animal.

Aljoe has seen a lot over the course of his 37-year tour of duty. He had built schools and clinics in war torn nations such as Panama, and while others ran from midtown Manhattan in the wake of 9-11-01, Aljoe came to the scene to provide security for the four months immediately after the tragedy. However, nothing he saw prepared him to witness the savage slaughter of his best friend, by so called men, who should be wearing prison uniforms as opposed to police.

Aljoe has replayed these events in his head every single day, unable to fathom the brutality of the Buffalo Police Force. He is scheduled to begin extensive counseling at the VA. Meanwhile, the officers found the situation to be far more comical, laughing about the matter as they quickly bagged up Sarge to try and keep any testing being done on the body; testing which would prove the unjustifiable nature of the attack on a dog that was laying down helpless on the floor.

As previous Artvoice reports have established, this is nothing new to the Buffalo Police Department. For they have done this thousands of times over the years, and have the art of killing canines down to a science, with the help of the Buffalo Animal Control and the SPCA. Yes, the SPCA. If one were to think that the SPCA, the one agency in society whose creed is to protect animals above man, would be outraged about this barbaric practice, one would again be mistaken.

In fact, the SPCA has assisted Buffalo Police in the destruction of evidence time and time again, and helped cover up these brutal crimes for all these years. They have an incinerator designed specifically to make the dogs’ remains, and any hopes of justice… go up in smoke. After Buffalo Animal control bags up the bodies, they then take the lost souls to the SPCA for incineration.

Luckily, Aljoe contacted me in time for intervention and we will be ushering Sarge to Cornell for an independent Necropsy to be done. Private citizens are realizing more and more that they need to rely on other private citizens for hopes of obtaining traditionally American values, such as freedom and justice, and not law enforcement and quasi law enforcement agencies such as the SPCA.

To underscore that point, Erie County SPCA Chief Veterinarian Helene Chevalier actually has a forensic certification and can perform the analysis needed to determine how Sarge was shot; what position he was in when the officer fired. However… the SPCA has planted themselves firmly on the side of the cops on this one, forcing the difficult task of transporting Sarge across the state for any hopes of justice.

The SPCA, through email correspondence from Assistant Director Beth Shapiro, indicated they intend to handle this matter by working “with the Buffalo Police,” and “offering training.” Evidently, they overlook the fact that the Police have denied all efforts for training over the past 10 years… indicating that the choice to kill dogs is simply just that… a choice.

Perhaps Buffalo Police were in a particularly giddy mood that morning so close to Christmas, as a Federal Appeals Court in Michigan had just handed down quite the gift to law enforcement, in the form of a decision that has left dog lovers across the country howling in anger. The appeals court ruled that police can shoot and kill dogs upon entry into an individuals’ home if the dogs barks or moves. While paralyzed and mute dogs may still be safe, the rest of us are not.

The grand bounty that the Buffalo Police claimed for the stripping of this proud veteran’s pride and the loss of this beautiful German Shepherd’s life? A bag of cocaine residue, which police try and attribute to Aljoe’s son, who lives at the residence. It’s funny how all these so called drug dealers don’t actually have drugs in their houses…but rather, empty bags of residue. If one didn’t know any better, one could surmise that these bags are planted by police to try and justify their lawless invasions, canine kills, and mass arrests of the poor and downtrodden. If one didn’t know any better, one could easily come to the conclusion that there is no justice…there is just us.

– Matt Albert

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

Retired Baltimore Cop Tweets About Abuses He Witnessed

This morning (June 24th), Michael A. Wood Jr., a retired Baltimore police detective, began sending out a series of tweets about abuse he had “seen & participated in, in policing that is corrupt, intentional or not.”

Below are those tweets:

(Note: CDS = Controlled Dangerous Substance; AKA drugs)

According to Salon.com, this isn’t the first time Wood has made some sort of admission about abuse by police:

Wood previously alluded to much of the misconduct he claims to have witnessed during a May 2015 interview on the podcast Dogma Debate with David Smalley. During that interview, Wood called for an end to the war on drugs and cited a lack of empathy as one of the main drivers of police misconduct.

Michael Wood Jr2On the face of it, none of these admissions are exactly a revelation (which is kind of a statement in itself) if you’ve been paying attention to police abuse issues and the lack of accountability for them. There are some interesting details within them that connect to and tend to confirm (or be confirmed by) some previous known practices within other departments. Not too long ago, a Philadelphia cop admitted to planting drugs, falsifying paperwork, and lying under oath in testimony against other cops accused of stealing and doing all those other things that he did. In Houston, a group of police officers were caught writing bogus tickets in order to earn overtime by testifying in court. Also, in a high profile case of police brutality from Denver, the operator of the CCTV cam that provided the footage of an officer attacking a young man, who was in no way threatening or being aggressive toward him or anyone else, begins to pan away from the scene as soon as the beating starts, to try and prevent capturing evidence of it.

Wood’s admissions and the timing of them are a bit telling about the culture of police departments. It’s somewhat of a better late than never scenario, but the fact that he stood by and witnessed all of these (and probably many more) abuses and didn’t report them or take steps to stop them shows the level of complicity among law enforcement. This is something else I’m actually not personally surprised by. I’ve had a number of Las Vegas police answer with some variation of “are you going to pay my bills if I do,” when questioned about not reporting bad cops. The implication that they would get fired for speaking up after witnessing abuse or corruption shows who really controls police departments. The bad apples have already spoiled the bunch.

However, the idea that you should stand by and witness or cover up and even participate in abuses for monetary reasons doesn’t speak much for your own morality or how much of a good cop you actually are. Woods and others who “come clean” after their days as a cop are over should be commended for that act and the light that it shines on the corruption and police brutality out there. It would be much more beneficial if those standing there right this moment witnessing an abuse would take a stand here and now, though. If we’re really to believe that the bad ones are just a tiny minority of the police force, then the good shouldn’t have to worry about retaliation, since there’s so many more of them.

banner-storeBTW, it didn’t take long for the parade of “Good Cop” supporters to show up and let Wood know how much they approved of his honesty and willingness to expose bad cops:

You gotta love those Cop Lovers with their eternal quest for truth and justice.

Corrupt Virginia State Police Illegally Search Car Then Plant Drugs/False Evidence

The video and description within this post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the  CopBlock Submissions Page.

All too often police use victimless crimes, such as seat belt or window tint level violations to gain entry “lawfully” into your vehicle for a victimless charge that is more profitable. In this case, for approximately 5 1/2 minutes an officer searched the passenger side of the vehicle and never indicated he had found anything.

Meanwhile, the officer that was searching the other side of the vehicle finished his trunk search,  returned to his vehicle, had a few words with the officer that searched the passenger’s side, grabbed an evidence bag and a drug testing testing kit, returned to the passenger’s side floorboard, and  miraculously without effort instantly found marijuana.

Date of Incident: June 10, 2014
Officers Involved:  Troopers Hobbs and  McGinnis
Department Involved: Virginia State Police
Department Phone Number: (540) 672-1491

Corrupt VA Police – Illegal Search & Seizure/Planting of False Evidence

Tuesday 06-10-2014 at approximately 7pm, I and the driver/owner of the car were bird-dogging for rental property in Central VA, an area unfamiliar to us. On Tower Rd, we were passed by a silver Impala unmarked, but clearly identifiable as a cop car as the vehicle had large antennas on the roof. In the rear view mirror, we noticed him make a U-turn and accelerate behind us. We weren’t driving fast or even speeding as we were taking in the country road. We made a left on Sunnyside Rd. & the Impala continued on straight. As we pulled into a driveway to get our bearings, the home owner walked down his driveway and approached the car. We told him we were just getting our bearings, pulled out from his driveway, and began back up Sunnyside Rd. At that point, we noticed the same unmarked Impala behind us; almost as if he simply circled the area and targeted us. As we were only doing 15/20mph I instructed driver/owner to pullover and allow him to pass, at which point the cop also pulled behind us and turned on his police lights.

He approached the driver side door and told driver /owner that her window tint was too dark for VA. I told him we had never had any problems in our immediate area of Arlington and Alexandria. He went back to his car retrieving a Window tint detector of some sort and slid it over the glass. He then addressed me (passenger seat) noting that I didn’t have my seat belt on, to which I replied that we had just been stopped & intended to pull over. The officer, who was named Hobbs (uniform stated VA state police) then asked for my I.D. I initially refused, asking for what purpose. Officer Hobbs responded by saying that he could pull me out of the car and search me. I complied and he went back to his cruiser. After about 15min. of waiting and several other police cars showing up, including a Sheriff from the Orange County Police Force (Sgt. Dickerson, I believe) and a K-9 cop. At that time, the Sgt. Walked up to the car and informed the driver/owner that her info wasn’t popping up in their computer and requested her S.S. number. I objected stating, “that’s totally unheard of,” but the driver/owner, feeling pressured by the Sgt., relented. After another 10 or so minutes, the officers instructed me to step out of the car and that they were going to search me. I complied and Hobbs patted me down. The driver/owner was then told she would also be patted down, to which she responded that a female should be present. Her request was shot down as Hobbs stated that it’s NOT a state law & thus he was justified – so I told the driver/owner to make sure she was standing in front of the Impala. We asked if the cruiser dashboard camera was recording and we were told YES.

At that point, the K-9 cop ran around the car twice and then scoured the interior of the car, including both front & back seats, with NO signals being given or barking. The K-9 cop (Officer McGinnis) took the German Shepherd back into the squad car, passing Hobbs on the way and whispering something (the driver/owner heard, “It’s clean”) to one another in passing. McGinnis then proceeded to search the car with Officer Hobbs. At this point the driver/owner and I began recording the car search and the officer’s actions via her iPhone, because we couldn’t understand what gave them the thought that we were doing anything illegal or had contraband in the car. They NEVER mentioned to us that they smelled marijuana or anything that they were suspicious of from the start.

The cops knew that they were being recorded as I narrated the day’s events up until that point and panned the phone to the Sgt. standing to our left and toward their cruisers. Two other tactical looking offers in plain clothes 9 Tactical vests) went and sat in their SUV & waited. Hobbs concentrated on the driver’s (left) side while McGinnis focused his search on the passenger’s (right) side. They then both moved to the rear seats at which time McGinnis came back to the driver’s side squatted down going through the floorboard area, where my wallet and a ziplock bag filled with trash (cigarette box, grapefruit peel) were. He then left the car and stood next to the Sgt. who was still standing next to me about 10ft from the rear left of the car. Hobbs proceeded to the trunk area and after taking a cursory look walked back to his car. At that time McGinnis walked over to him (out of cruiser camera view) and exchanged brief small talk out of earshot. IMMEDIATELY, Hobbs darted for the passenger side floorboard with a police evidence bag, squatted down and then held up a small drug testing kit, which he shook repeatedly until it changed to green. As he walked over to us, he stated that it was indeed marijuana and that I’d be given the charge as the drug evidence was found on my side of the car. He then told us both our charges (driver/owner – window tint & myself – No seatbelt & possession of Marijuana). Hobbs escorted the driver/owner over to the hood of his cruiser and asked for her purse to search it – to which she refused. He then stated that he could simply take it, and the driver/owner looked back at me and I nodded sure give it to him, so as not to complicate things further. At this juncture I’m thinking I’m going to be handcuffed and would need to be bailed out someway. The driver/owner signed her paperwork and then it was my turn. We were told the dates to come back to court and that that they would be present. We took several minutes snapping pictures after our ID’s were returned and straightening up the car before we got back on the road to head home.

• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Illegal Search & seizure
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Asking me for my I.D. as a passenger and not posing a risk
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: Denial of a female cop for a pat down even when requested
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NOT letting us leave after the Dog found no traces of anything illegal
• IMMEDIATE ISSUE: NO real probable cause to follow or antagonize us as Hobbs could have pulled us over from from Tower Rd. when we 1st encountered him, for the tint infraction.

SMOKING GUN: If McGinnis had truly found evidence of narcotics he NEVER stopped his search to acknowledge it & thus his actions of stepping away from the car and then meeting Hobbs by his car were highly unusual as they were speaking in private. With Hobbs making a beeline for the passenger side floor board and locating something EVEN as he had been solely searching the left hand side of the car was highly ODD, to say the least.

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Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Uses Medical Marijuana Card; Conceal Carry Permit to Justify Illegal Search

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Shane Yetzkevia, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

On Wednesday July 30, 2013, I was driving westbound on I-94 when I had a SUV quickly approached me from behind and turned on its red and blue lights. Having been pulled over before and told my car smells like marijuana, I sprayed air freshener to make sure it wasn’t going to be the case this time. I pulled to the side of the road in a construction zone. The officer approached my car on the passenger’s side; I rolled down the window, said, “Hi there. You’re going to want this,” and handed the officer my CPL. He asked if I had my gun with me and where it was, which I responded to with, “Yes, in my pocket.” Then, I handed the officer my license, insurance, and registration. He asked me, “Where you heading today?” and I answered, “Heading to do some shopping.” I asked, “Do you mind if I ask why you pulled me over?” to which he replied, “Your window tint.” At that point, I handed him my doctors slip for the tint. He read the slip and said, “Oh…good, you’re all set here. Let me go jot down your info, I’ll be right back, and you can be on your way.”

After a couple minutes, he returned and said, “Mr. Yetzke, so you have your medical marijuana card, correct?” to which I answered yes. He responded with, “Good, because I’m going to search your car.” That’s when I said, “No, you are not. I thought the police weren’t supposed to have access to the medical marijuana registry, and use it against patients…so, no, you do not have my permission or a reason to search my vehicle.” The officer said, “I’m the law, I have access to everything! Now, do you have any marijuana in the car?” I responded that I am a cardholder, so it is legal for me to have it. He responded, “Well, I smell marijuana and it’s illegal for you to have both the CPL and medical card, so I’m going to search you and your car!” I said, “I’m pretty sure I can have both, how else should I protect myself from someone trying to take my medicine from me? Plus, I know there isn’t any way you’re smelling anything of that nature! So, no, you can not search me or my car!” He then said that I needed to hand over my marijuana.

When I asked why, he responded with, “Are you resisting me? You need to do what you’re told or I’m going to arrest you!” I said, “Fine, here’s some weed for you,” and turned around in my seat to dig around in the backseat and get him the least amount of medicine I could, thinking he was just trying to steal it from me at this point. I handed him a small glass jar with some of my medicine in it. He took the jar, and told me that it was supposed to be in a locked box in my trunk. I informed him that I wasn’t aware of this law and asked when that started. He said it became a law in December and that I needed to get out of my car. I asked why, and he responded with, “If you don’t get out of your car, I’m going to arrest you for obstruction!” I responded, “I really don’t think I should get out of my car!” He said, “I’m the law and you need to do what I tell you or I’m going to take you in. So, get out and step to the back of your vehicle!”

Not wanting to go to jail, I got out of my car and went to the back of my car. He asked again if I was carrying my gun and where it was. I told him I was still carrying and it was in my pocket, as I’d said before. He then told me he was going to search me and my car, to which I responded, “No, you do not have my permission to search me or my car.” He said, “I need to disarm you and search you and your car.” I responded with, “I’ve told you over and over that you are not to search me or my car!” He took my gun from my pocket, said he needed to pat me down, and did so.

He asked where I work and I told him that I didn’t see how where I work or what I do for a living had anything to do with what was going on, so I didn’t feel that I should to answer that. He responded, “I’m the law, you have to answer my questions or go to jail!” I told him I am disabled and on disability. He asked what I’m on disability for and why I’m a medical marijuana patient. I respond with, “I know you’re not suppose to ask me about my medical condition or why I’m on disability.”

Once again he said, “I’m the law and you have to answer my questions…now I think we need to step back to my vehicle.” I asked why, and he told me he had a couple more questions for me and needed some more information. I said he could ask me anything he needed to right there and didn’t need me in his car to do that. He said, “I can just take you in and you can finish answering these questions from a jail cell, or you can answer them in my car.”

“Fine, I don’t really want to go to jail today,” I said. We went to the back door of his SUV and he opened the door and told me to get in. As I went to get in the vehicle, I noticed a dog and said, “I can’t get in there, I’m very allergic to dogs! My hands and feet swell and my air passages close!”

He responded, “You’ll be okay, I’ll roll your window down,” and pushed me into the backseat and shut the door. The officer then got into the front seat of the vehicle, rolled down my window, and started asking me more questions. I told him I couldn’t hear what he was saying, so he rolled the window back up and asked what my phone number was. I told him my phone number and informed him that I was already starting to itch from being near the dog. “You’ll be okay! Now. I’m going to search your car,” the officer said. I again told him that I did not consent. He told me, “I’m going to take the dog and search your car and if the dog ‘hits’ on the car I’m going to search it.”

“You already know I’m a card holder and there’s been marijuana in the car, so of course the dog is going to alert on it,” I replied.

“I don’t have to abide by that law, the people voted that in, not me and I don’t believe it should even be on the books…I’m the law and I didn’t vote for it, so I enforce it as I see fit,” the officer said. He asked me if there was marijuana in the car and I responded that there shouldn’t be anywhere close to more than I’m allowed. He got out, got his dog out of the back of his vehicle, walked the dog to the back passenger-side fender of my car, said something to the dog, and tapped the car fender. The dog jumped up where the officer tapped the car, then jumped back down. The officer returned the dog to the back of his vehicle and informed me the dog alerted on my vehicle and he was going to search it. At that point, I asked him to please get me out of his vehicle or at least roll the window back down because I was having a reaction to his dog. “You’ll be okay, he said.”

At this time, I saw two Bridgeman police officers arrive, talk to the officer that pulled me over, and then watch as the officer began to search my car. I asked the officers to get me medical attention, because I was having breathing difficulties. They turned and looked at me, then at each other, laughed, and walked away. Shortly after that, the officer that was searching my vehicle came back to the passenger side of his vehicle and informed me he found two hits of LSD in my center console and more marijuana in my car. I informed him the LSD was not mine, there was no chance it was ever in my car, and I that needed to get out of his vehicle because I was having breathing issues. Once again, he told me that I would be fine. He went around to the driver’s side of his vehicle, got his phone, made a call, then had a laugh with the two other officers before they left. The officer got back into the driver’s seat of his vehicle. I told him I couldn’t breath; he said to take deep breaths, not short ones and I would be fine. He also said he was giving me a ticket for “improper transportation of medical marijuana with the possession of LSD as a side note.” He got out of the vehicle to let me out of the back seat.

After getting out of his vehicle, I was light-headed and wobbly, and needed to catch myself on his vehicle. He said, “You need to get back to your car now!” I told him I was trying to get my balance and catch my breath to which he responded, “You can catch your breath at your car.” I proceeded to stumble my way to the back of my car, use my emergency inhaler, then vomit a couple times. He asked why I didn’t use my emergency inhaler in the back of his vehicle and I told him it probably was not a good idea to open my air passages in an area that’s filled with something that I’m allergic to, causing me breath in even more of the dog dander. He asked if he needed to call an ambulance for me, and I asked, “Why, so you can have my car impounded while I’m in the hospital? I’ll risk driving there myself, thanks!”

He then said, “Well then, you need to get in your car and be on your way!” I asked about getting my gun back. He responded that no, he was not going to give it back and told me I could call him next week so he could get it back to me. I said, “I don’t believe you can just take my gun like that!” He responded, “I can do whatever I want, I am the law!” I asked, “Shouldn’t I at least get a receipt for it?” to which he said, “We know I have it and that’s good enough.”

“How am I to contact you? Do you at least have a card so I know who to contact?” He said, “Hold on, I’ll see what I have,” went to his vehicle, and returned with a piece of paper. “I don’t have any cards, but here’s my name and a number you can reach me at. Now get in your car and leave!” I got into my car and chewed three allergy tablets to counteract the allergic reaction I was still having and left.

After all that, when I went to court the video from the officer’s vehicle wasn’t available due to “malfunctioning equipment” for the months of July and August! Needless to say, after thousands of dollars in lawyer fees and multiple trips to court, I had to take a plea or spend a minimum of two years, maximum of 10 years in jail because of the evidence that the officer both added and the evidence he destroyed! The county I live in took away my CPL before I even went to court, after the officer in the case contacted them. I will probably never be able to get it back again!

– Shane Yetzke

“I Want Them to be Afraid Every Time They See the Police”

It’s rare that you see that sort of statement from a police chief quoted in a newspaper. Not so much because it’s rare for police to feel that way, but more so because most of them know enough not to be that honest about how they feel. But not Homer, La. Police Chief Russell Mills, who believes that the key to lowering crime in a community lies in harassing and beating up every black person in that community, even if they didn’t do anything and especially if they are young and have friends:

“If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names,” said Mills, who is white. “I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested.”

Which is why it isn’t that surprising when two of his officers end up under investigation for shooting an unarmed man and then, according to witnesses, planting a weapon next to him to justify the shooting.

On the last afternoon of his life, Bernard Monroe was hosting a cookout for family and friends in front of his dilapidated home in this small northern Louisiana town.

Throat cancer had left the 73-year-old retired electric utility worker unable to talk, but family members said he clearly was enjoying the commotion of a dozen of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren cavorting in the grassless yard.

Then the Homer police showed up, two white officers whose arrival caused the participants at the black family’s gathering to fall silent.

Within moments, Monroe was dead, shot by one of the officers as his family looked on…

“He just shot him through the screen door,” said Denise Nicholson, a family friend who said she was standing a few feet away. “After [Monroe] was on the ground, we kept asking the officer to call an ambulance, but all he did was get on his radio and say, ‘Officer in distress.’ ”

The witnesses said the second officer picked up a handgun that Monroe, an avid hunter, always kept in plain sight on the porch for protection. Using a latex glove, the officer grasped the gun by its handle, the witnesses said, and ordered everyone to back away. The next thing they said they saw was the gun next to Monroe’s body.

“I saw him pick up the gun off the porch,” Marcus Frazier said. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ The cop told me, ‘Shut the hell up, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ ”

Homer police maintain Monroe was holding a loaded gun when he was shot, but would not comment further.

All of which was preceded by them chasing after that man’s son, who equally unsurprisingly, was in no hurry to be questioned by them, in spite of the fact he wasn’t wanted for anything at the time. Seems that Chief Mills has accomplished his goal.

(Originally posted on EYEAM4ANARCHY)

NYPD Cop Caught Planting Drugs on Innocent People Cries At Sentencing, Receives Probation

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It was originally published at the Gothamist by

The post details the court appearance of Jason Arbeeny, an NYPD cop who was caught planting drugs on innocent people in order to meet department arrest quaotas. During his sentencing hearing he began crying and begging the judge not to send him to jail. Amazingly enough, the judge actually stated that he had intended to sentence Arbeeny to jailtime, but instead decided to give him a probation as a result of his courtroom breakdown.

Do you think things would have gone the same for anyone who hadn’t committed their crimes while wearing a Magic Suit and Shiny Badge or was this just the typical Policeman’s Discount in action?

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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The Brooklyn South narcotics detective who was convicted of planting drugs on a woman and her boyfriend was sentenced to five years’ probation and 300 hours of community service. Former cop Jason Arbeeny, a 14-year NYPD veteran, was previously found guilty of eight counts of falsifying records and official misconduct for planting drugs on innocent suspects—a crime he claimed he did in order to reach quotas. Arbeeny broke down in tears at his sentencing today: “I can’t look at myself in the mirror anymore,” Arbeeny told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach. “Sir, I am begging you, please don’t send me to jail.”

Arbeeny tearfully apologized to his victims: “My oath went down the window, my pride went out the window,” he said. And Reichbach was moved by his tears: “I came into court this morning determined that the nature of this crime requires some jail time,” he said. “I frankly didn’t expect the defendant, at the 11th hour, to be making these claims.” Arbeeny, who mentioned that his young son is in therapy after threatening suicide over his father’s fate, was facing up to four years in prison.

Arbeeny had been found guilty of “flaking”—planting a twist of crack under a car seat during a Coney Island bust in January 2007—and for doctoring paperwork to make the arrest last. Altogether, “flaking” has reportedly cost the city $1.2 million to settle cases of false arrests.

During the trial, Justice Reichbach made a direct connection between “flaking” and the arrest quotas which the NYPD has repeatedly denied exist, or referred to as “productivity goals”—Reichbach noted that several witnesses said narcotics officers were expected to make 60 percent of their arrests for felonies and that cops would spread collars around so they could all meet the quotas. He specifically pointed to the “mindset in Narcotics that seemingly embraces a cowboy culture where anything goes in the never-ending war on drugs.”