Tag Archives: search warrant

Florida Policeman Pleads Guilty To Firing Gun at Another Cop; Tampering With Evidence in Road Rage Incident

Miami-Dade Police Officer Jonathan Lang has agreed to plead guilty to shooting at another car during a road rage incident in July 2014. The other car, which Lang had cut off prior to firing a gunshot into the back of their car, was driven by Miami-Dade Corrections Officer Georgina Illa.

Via NBC 6 Miami:

Lang’s story started when corrections officer Georgina Illa said a driver in a white car cut her off on the Turnpike near Southwest 153rd Street. Illa said as she went to pass the car, someone threw out a cup of some liquid and then pulled out a gun and shot.

The bullet went through Illa’s taillight, through her trunk, and then lodged in the rear seat of the car. Illa said she flagged down an officer driving nearby, who then pulled the suspect’s car over. Illa said she also stopped and that’s when one of the officers on the scene told her a Miami-Dade Police Officer fired his gun.

After the accident and before his van was searched, Lang showed up to the impound yard, opened the door to his van, and took the gun. The gun was never found, although he was caught on surveillance camera taking it. (That video can be viewed below.)

Via NBC 6 Miami:

In the surveillance video, first obtained by NBC 6, a white Mazda SUV that authorities say was being driven by Lang arrives at an tow truck lot in South Miami-Dade just two hours and 35 minutes after Lang signed a document giving the investigating FHP sergeant the legal consent to search the vehicle.

And just 11 minutes later, a man wearing a baseball cap shows up and the lights flash on the car. FHP officials said it indicates he had the remote, and he quickly opens the passenger door, grabs something and exits.

The FHP trooper wrote in his request for a search warrant: “The unidentified subject removed an unknown item…and ran east bound through the…parking lot. There is reasonable evidence the vehicle was accessed by persons known to Mr. Lang.”

The FHP officer believes the property taken from the vehicle was the firearm and it was returned to Lang in order to conceal the evidence, the request reads.

When the investigating trooper did get the warrant to return to the car his records show he found ammunition but no weapon.

While the photos show pictures of weapons from Lang’s cellphone obtained in a search warrant for his house, once inside troopers receipts show there were weapons but not the elusive one, the one FHP believes was taken from the SUV at his moment we can now see.

The obvious question, of course, is why he was not in jail that soon after the incident and therefore able to go down and remove evidence from the vehicle. Just as obviously, that’s really only a rhetorical question, since he’s a cop and the normal rules involving violent criminals don’t actually apply.

On Tuesday (October 25th), Officer Lang accepted a plea deal in which he pled guilty to discharging a firearm from a moving vehicle, assault and tampering with evidence. The exact terms of the deal were not announced, but it is expected to result in a very firm slap on the wrist. (Of course, that’s not a sure thing because he shot at another cop, but the odds are still good.)

Local Media Coverage:

Georgia School Cop Who Left K-9 in Hot Car to Die Also Shot Two Other Dogs Previously

Georgia School Cop Lt Peabody K9 Dog MurderOn June 10th, Lieutenant Daniel Peabody of the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office left his K-9 to die in a hot car, later claiming to have forgotten about him. Inca, the dog who had been assigned to Peabody by the Cherokee Schools police, died from a heat stroke as a result.

The car that the dog had been left in was reportedly not even intended to be used as a K-9 unit. Unlike the cars that typically are used to transport police dogs, this car had no alarm system installed to warn of excessive heat and also didn’t have a kennel installed to contain the dog within the vehicle. Lt. Peabody was subsequently placed under investigation and forced to resign over the incident.

Now it has come to light that during the investigation of Inca’s death it was revealed Peabody had also shot a previous dog, which had been assigned to him in 2012. Apparently, at the time that dog was killed no investigation was made into its cause of death and Peabody’s claim that it had choked on a toy was just accepted.

He has now been arrested in relation to both of the dogs’ deaths on charges of animal cruelty and lying to investigators.

Via AJC.com:

It was the investigation into Inca’s death that produced evidence suggesting Peabody shot and killed the other dog, Cherokee marshal’s officials said Wednesday.

That dog, a yellow lab named named Dale, was assigned to Peabody from 2007 to 2012 when he lived in Paulding County.

“Peabody initially claimed Dale’s death was accidental due to Dale choking on a toy,” the marshal’s office said in a statement. “However, the investigation yielded evidence that Dale was in fact shot and killed.”

On Monday, investigators found remains thought to be those of a dog at Peabody’s former home in Paulding while executing a search warrant. Those remains are being analyzed by a forensic veterinarian to try to identify the breed and cause of death, the marshal’s office said.

Peabody is in the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals and making a false statement to investigators in lieu of $22,400 bond.

It’s not real clear from the wording in that quote if the dog remains found at the house are those of the previous K-9, Dale, or if it is yet another dog he potentially killed.

It is also mentioned in that AJC.com article that Peabody’s wife, Tyler Verlander, has been charged with what is reported as “unrelated” charges involving improper running and licensing of boarding and training services, seemingly from within their home.

Cherokee County Marshal Lt. Dan PeabodyThis obviously leaves plenty of questions in regards to the supervision of K-9 officers and the dogs assigned to them by the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office. It shouldn’t be hard to determine the difference between a dog that choked on a toy and one that was shot to death. That would imply that Peabody’s word was taken without question in the previous case and not even a cursory investigation was carried out to confirm the cause of death.

Once Lt. Peabody receives his slap on the wrist for murdering two dogs, there should be some sort of inquiry into whoever is ultimately responsible for the welfare of the dogs, as well.

**Update** It was later revealed that the dog remains found at Lieutenant Peabody’s former home were in fact those of a previous pet he has now been accused of killing also. Peabody has now been implicated in the murders of three dogs, including two police K-9’s.

Texas Deputy Arrested For Drinking And Popping Pills While Driving Patrol Car

Via the Statesman.com:

Bastrop County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Davenport responded about 8:30 a.m. to a welfare check on Ensinger at the River Chase Mobile Home Park near 143 Navasota St. after Ensinger was heard transmitting over his police radio with slurred speech and not making sense, according to his arrest affidavit.

“Deputy Ensinger was sitting in the driver seat of his patrol unit parked on the street with the engine running and headlights on,” Davenport said in the affidavit. “I then smelled the odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath as I spoke to him.”

Davenport said a search of Ensinger’s county-owned patrol vehicle turned up an open quart-sized bottle of vodka inside the deputy’s open backpack perched atop the passenger’s seat. Along with the open vodka bottle, only a third full, was an empty bottle of prescription medicine, Davenport said in the affidavit.

Ensinger volunteered to a breathalyzer test but declined to offer a blood sample. A search warrant was obtained for a blood sample due to the possible combination of alcohol and prescription medicine, the affidavit said.

Michigan State Police Illegally Search; Use Falsified License to Entrap Legal Medical Marijuana Facility

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

Date of Interaction: July 09, 2014
Officers Involved: Det. Sgt. Karl Schmitz, Trooper Vogt, Det. Phillip Marshall, Det. Casey Bringedahl, Det. Kate Straus
Department Involved: Michigan State Police
Department Phone Number(s): West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) 231-759-9600 Det. Kate Straus 616-430-5606

On Wednesday, July 9th 2014, my store and both my homes were raided by state police (WEMET). I received a call from my fiance mid-afternoon informing me that there was somebody from the Department of Treasury, Tobacco Enforcement Division, at the store inspecting our merchandise. He wanted to speak to the owner so I told her to put him on the phone. He stated that there were items in question at the store and that he was going to search the rest of the building. I told him he needed to leave and come back with a warrant. He told me that he was not going to leave.

Immediately, I dropped what I was doing and headed for the store. Upon my arrival, I found four people in my store that I did not recognize. Right away, I pulled out my phone and started videotaping everything. He asked about tobacco products in the store and I notified him that our products are not for use with, nor intended for use with tobacco. Then I showed him the sign on the wall which states this as well. I then asked him to leave, which he did not. I asked the identity of two officers who were accompanying him, who then identified themselves as Sgt. Schmitz, and Trooper Vogt. After my refusal to show them identification, I asked them for theirs and they refused. I insisted that if they are proclaiming to be officers of the law, that they needed to prove as much. They finally did.

Again, I asked these four persons to leave the store and get a warrant. They refused and proceeded to the rear of the building which is a completely separate business entity with its own tax identification number as well as a separate electrical meter. The people from the department of tobacco enforcement had no business going back there as it is not open to the public. They proceeded anyway. Upon searching the rear of the building, accompanied by the two state police officers, they observed marijuana that we were legally allowed to be in possession of. Again, the officers were told to leave and follow due process of law and obtain a warrant. Once again, they refused to leave. Det./Sgt. Schmitz then contacted Det. Phillip Marshall of WEMET and notified him of the marijuana found in the rear of the building.

Three years ago, WEMET raided our place of business and our home after illegally searching our vehicle without a warrant and against our will, and found us to be in possession of less than 12 ounces of marijuana. Under the state’s medical marijuana law, we are allowed to be in possession of 17.5 ounces. WEMET seized the marijuana along with all the cash we had and then proceeded to violate our rights after we had both invoked our Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. We were then taken into custody and further questioned against our will. To shorten that story, no charges were filed against us and our belongings, including the less than 12 ounces of marijuana, were returned to us after protesting outside the Muskegon County Hall of Justice where nearly 100 supporters stood with us. We filed a lawsuit against WEMET, Muskegon Police, and Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office. The attorney we retained to handle this case screwed us around for two years and we ended up having to retain a local attorney to go after him for our retainer back. We in turn retained an attorney based in Lansing who handles these kinds of lawsuits against government entities. Unfortunately, the case exceeded the three year statute of limitations as is no longer active…which brings us back to this story.

After getting information of the marijuana found, Det. Phillip Marshall of WEMET contacted Det. Kate Straus of WEMET and notified her as to what the situation was, and a team was formed at my store. When they arrived, I asked them to see a warrant, which they did not provide because they didn’t have one. They were asked several times to leave the premises and come back with a warrant, but they continued refusing to do so. Finally, our Muskegon based attorney arrived on the scene and we were escorted out of the building while they attempted to obtain a warrant. We were being detained at this time, but were not under arrest. Note that I had my two older sons with me at this time and my youngest son was at home sleeping while my buddy was there doing some electrical work for me.

By this time, I had been at the store with my sons for nearly an hour when I had their biological mother come pick them up. At this time, we were made aware of the fact that another team had assembled at my home on Green Creek where my son was sleeping, and also at my home that is for sale on Farr Rd. Finally, around 5:15 pm, we were served with a search warrant for 885 East Apple, the location of my store. Upon reading the warrant, I found it very disturbing that the warrant was based on the fact that on June 4, 2013, one Det. Adam Dent entered the store showing a previously prepared FICTITIOUS application for a medical marijuana card under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program MCL 333.2642, and a FICTITIOUS cancelled check made out to the State of Michigan. The application and a copy of a cancelled check is needed by a patient before they actually receive their tangible Patient Registry Identification Card in the mail, to prove to law enforcement that they have actually registered their application with the state. The state only cashes the check if the application is approved, THUS, the copy of the cancelled check is the only way of knowing a patient has been approved before obtaining their actual card.

With that being said, Det. Adam Dent’s entrapment of using FICTITIOUS credentials gained him access to the rear of the building where he impersonated himself as a Crohn’s patient and purchased some medical marijuana. Note: The MMMA allows a caregiver to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana for each patient whom he or she is connected to through the department’s (LARA) registration process. It also allows a caregiver to possess up to 12 plants for each patient whom he or she is connected to through the department’s registration process. Furthermore, the act also states that a registered primary caregiver may receive compensation for costs associated with assisting a registered qualifying patient in the medical use of marijuana. Any such compensation shall not constitute the sale of controlled substances. It does NOT specify that such a patient need to be connected to them through the department’s registration process. Many patients who are new to the program are not convenienced by pharmacies that distribute the medicine; they are forced to obtain it through licensed caregivers who have what is referred to as “overage” until either (a) their own plants are harvested, which takes upwards of 5 months, or (b) someone who they have assigned as their caregiver through the state’s registration process, harvests their plants…which cannot be started until caregivership is approved by the state and take upwards of five months to grow.

As disturbing as it is that the state police waste taxpayer dollars by creating fake medical marijuana credentials, and then go after caregivers attempting to service the needs of the sick, what is even more disturbing is the fact that I later learned that while we were in custody at the 885 East Apple location, police entered my home and had my 12 year old son at gunpoint from a dead sleep, and began conducting a search BEFORE THE WARRANT WAS ISSUED! When my attorney asked Det. Kate Straus about my son’s statement of this happening, she admitted that officers entered the home before a warrant was issued. When asked about officers drawing weapons on my son and waking him up with flashlights and pistols in his face, she didn’t respond.

During the raid, officers seized cash, computers, cell phones (including those that were used earlier to record officers and their conduct in the store) and all marijuana and marijuana plants found. When I asked them why they were taking the marijuana and the marijuana plants, Det. Kate Straus stated that they were being seized because they were not in a properly secured facility. I asked her how this was when they had to kick down the door to enter the home and she replied, “because your realtor has a key for showing the house to prospective buyers and therefore has access to the marijuana.” I informed her that the area of the home where the marijuana is stored and cultivated is locked separately and nobody else has access to it, but it was too late. Officers had already came upon the area of the home where the marijuana was stored and cultivated and kicked in a second door now, into where the marijuana was stored. From there, they kicked a hole in the wall to gain access to where the marijuana was cultivated. After gaining entry to the cultivation area, they found the main door to the room and cut the master lock that was securing the facility. That’s how much of an improperly secured facility it was; so much so that they kicked a hole in the wall, and cut a lock. The plants had already been uprooted and the marijuana seized. Not only did they violate 333.26424(h) which states that any marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, or illicit property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of marijuana, as allowed under this act, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be seized or forfeited, but they also violated the due process of law by entering and searching the home on Green Creek before a warrant was issued, and used excessive force by holding my 12 year old son at gunpoint. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they also seized my cell phone and were going through it BEFORE the warrant was obtained.

Now, whether or not you are a supporter of marijuana use for medical purposes, the law is the law, and the law was passed by 63% of the voters in 2008. Surely it was not the intent of the voters to have their tax dollars expended in such a way where law enforcement would prepare fictitious credentials and use them to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed caregiver and then go after them for providing an alleged patient a service where the state does not provide it, in order to alleviate the symptoms of a debilitating condition as permitted in the definition of medical use in section 3 of the law. MCL 333.26423(f) “medical use” means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition. These officers MUST be held accountable for their actions and prevented from conducting themselves in such a way in the future.

They are pursuing criminal charges for two counts of delivery, which would not only incarcerate my fiance, but would get her medical marijuana patient card revoked, not to mention the five patients that she is a caregiver for, one of whom is a former Florida State Narcotics Agent who now resides in Michigan and uses marijuana to treat four different diagnosed kinds of cancer. This was all because they used fictitious paperwork that showed them to be approved by the state’s registration department. We have retained Nick Bostic in Lansing to file a lawsuit against them for their conduct, and to return any and all items seized in violation of MCL 333.26424(h).

It should again be noted that my cell phone was seized and searched before the warrant was obtained, and that the business was extensively searched after they were told to leave the premises, also before the warrant was obtained.

– Derek Antol

Video of the 2011 Protest in Front of the Muskegon County Hall of Justice: