Tag Archives: settlements

False Imprisonment: Its Increasing Frequency and the Huge Cost It Imposes on Society

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

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.

Police Abuses on the Rise

It’s no secret that police brutality and misconduct has been on the rise recently with cases in the news like Eric Garner who was suffocated in a choke hold by police and killed for illegally selling cigarettes. Similarly, a 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice was shot and killed after playing with a toy gun in the park. The level of uneasiness between police officers and citizens has hit an all-time high and we see this unrest play out in society. Police brutality is not the only form of police misconduct- false arrest of citizens can be an excruciating experience that sends innocent people to prison for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, Chicago’s taxpayers have had to pay over $120 million for the racial torture committed by one police commander, Jon Burge. Part of the disconnect between officers and citizens is the unfairness in power and how that power is used. To add on to this, police are offered different treatment when it comes to false arrests or misconduct. Although Burge oversaw the torture of over 118 black men – which would typically lead to decades in prison – he was released in three-and-a-half years and sent to a halfway house. All the men he tortured remain behind bars.

Police officers were granted a Qualified Immunity Doctrine by the Supreme Court which essentially states that police officers are innocent of harm towards their suspects in most cases due to their risky and honorable line of work. The best intentions are seen to be associated with most police officers, but has that been the case recently?

Typically, false arrest from police officers falls into the police misconduct category, which can also encompass police brutality and wrongful death. According to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations report, 75% of homicide exonerations involved police misconduct. One widely publicized example of a wrongful arrest was James Bain, who was convicted of kidnapping and rape at the age of 18. He served 35 years for a vicious crime he did not commit. Although DNA evidence was tested and presented prior, he was refused further DNA testing from the courts until his fifth try in 2006. Although misidentification from eyewitnesses account for 75% of all convictions that are overturned by DNA evidence, Bain was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated by police.

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How Does False Imprisonment Affect the Public?

Some people may think that the police arrest people who they think are guilty of a crime, and if they are wrongfully arrested, they are quickly released and go about their happy lives. That is far from the truth in most cases where the arrest was outright wrong and unlawful. Many people who are falsely arrested fight back and sue the police officer who wronged them and because of this, the public is responsible for paying that fee.

Amount of Money City Taxpayers Have Paid for Police Misconduct:

  • Chicago: $521 million from 2004-2014
  • Cleveland: $8.2 million between 2004-2014
  • Denver: $12 million since 2011
  • Dallas: $6.6 million between 2011-2014
  • Los Angeles: $101 million between 2002-2011

For example, Robert Graham was arrested for disorderly conduct by a police officer who was stuck in traffic behind him. Due to the gridlock traffic in New York City, Graham was also stuck in traffic and unable to move. The police officers wrongfully arrested Graham due to the circumstances of the situation. Graham’s wrongfully arrested cases was one of the ones that contributed to New York taxpayers paying $18 million to pay back people who were wrongfully arrested by officers.

According to Jon Norinsberg, a false imprisonment attorney, New York city police may only legally arrest citizens if:

  1. The police have an arrest warrant.
  2. The police have probable cause that you committed a crime.
  3. You are interfering with a police investigation or arrest.
  4. The police believe you are a criminal attempting to flee a crime scene.

Why are Police Officers Getting Away with False Imprisonment?

The number of innocent people behind bars is the highest number it has ever been historically, so it is only natural to question the source – the police. Why has it become okay to so quickly convict people and rarely face punishment as a police officer for wrongfully arresting someone? The issue gets stickier when videos of police officers using excessive force and even killing citizens when they appeared to pose no threat. Are there consequences for that? Rarely.

Unfortunately, false arrests happen and can be scary to argue your case in front of a judge – especially because police are most often shielded by the Qualified Immunity Doctrine exercised by the Supreme Court. This is a protective order that is designed to protect police officers from facing punishments from their mistakes or unlawful actions. In theory, this Qualified Immunity Doctrine was originally designed to shield officers who are properly bringing justice to criminals and who handle situations appropriately – if someone is upset for getting arrested if they deserve it, well this doctrine will protect the police from this potential complaint or lawsuit. Since videos have been released of police officers using unnecessary excessive force on unarmed people, citizens are growing scared that officers are abusing this immunity from the Supreme Court to get away with their unjust behavior. This is where a disconnect lies between police officers and citizens.

Where is the Accountability From the Police?

Why is it that as a society we only started paying attention to police misconduct and false arrests when Netflix featured programs like Making a Murderer?

Police officers are designed to keep our communities safe. While most cops are heroes and upstanding citizens who work hard to protect our safety, those who entered the police force to unlawfully assert power over others and take advantage of their badge are getting more press in recent news. Although it’s an unfortunate circumstance, it is important to stay educated on what is happening in society to better educate yourself and to hopefully make a positive change.

The Many Ways That Police Brutality Payouts Cost Taxpayers

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Martha K. Huggins, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The post was originally published at the dailygazette.com under the title, “Police Brutality Raises Costs to Taxpayers.”

Martha K. Huggins is a Tulane Professor Emerita and scholar of Brazil, who has researched police violations of human rights in Brazil for 40 years. Huggins is now transforming that work to the US, where she is studying municipal government and the insurance industry’s direct complicity in promoting, covering up, and hence rewarding police violence.

Police Brutality Raises Costs to Taxpayers

Schenectady’s City Council has voted to use the general fund to pay the already bargained 2 percent raise for police. I assume the annual $2.5 million casino licensing fee — 80 percent of it — will now go for public education? Education must never be back-staged by ravenous “public safety” interests, yet addressing a police raise from the general fund is very problematical.

About 53 percent of Schenectady’s general fund comes from property, sales and use taxes, with the general fund’s single greatest expense, “law enforcement” — mostly for police salaries and pensions.

Schenectady police enhance their salaries with overtime, which elevates officers’ base pay and raises the city’s pension indebtedness.

Chicago’s taxpayers carry multiple general obligation bond indebtedness just for retroactive pension arrears and mounting police brutality lawsuits. Schenectady’s general fund itself is burdened with police brutality payouts: one in 2015 (man’s head slammed on sidewalk), another just filed (family brutalized), and yet another moving toward filing (woman’s head shoved in fecal-filled toilet).

Schenectady’s city officials “risk-manage” such police civil rights abuses by taxpayers’ insuring against expected police brutality, suggesting that police civil rights abuses are far from unusual. Schenectady’s general fund buys police-related liability insurance — around $100,000 annually — but police brutality payouts increase premiums and reduce deductible levels. Taxpayer money covers costs from deductibles and private attorneys’ fees to defend Schenectady police.

But the bitterest aspect of “risk-managing” police brutality is that the poor — statistically most likely to be abused by police — are those whose taxes go disproportionately toward lawsuit payouts and police salaries.

Schenectady must freeze police salaries, and now that a police chief is in place, a transparent system for evaluating police merit collaboratively must be worked out among city managers, taxpayers and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA). A public educated in city schools enhances “public safety;” police who violate civil rights weaken security and are taxpayer costly.

– Martha K. Huggins

Schenectady

Former Union College Professor

“Crowd-Pleasing, Gun-Toting, Tough-Talking” Colorado Sheriff Facing 6 Felonies, Including Extortion And Kidnapping

Last week, Terry Maketa was indicted on nine charges, including six felonies. Less than two years ago, Maketa was the sheriff of El Paso County in Colorado and a powerful Republican “rising star” within local politics.

Along with Former Sheriff Maketa, Former Undersheriff Paula Presley and Former Sheriff’s Office Commander Juan “John” San Agustin were also indicted by the same grand jury. Presley faces the same charges as Maketa, while San Agustin faces two felony charges.

Maketa and Presley were both charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and three separate counts of first degree official misconduct. San Agustin was also included on the kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. A PDF of the grand jury’s indictment can be found here.

Via Gazette.com:

The criminal investigation, led by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, turned up wide-ranging allegations involving abuses of power and reprisals against political rivals. Among the charges leveled at the three were that they conspired to force a domestic violence victim to recant her story to protect a deputy she accused of punching her – eventually causing her arrest and wrongful incarceration.

In another alleged scheme, Maketa threatened to pull a $5.2 million contract with the jail’s healthcare provider unless the company fired an employee who refused to run Presley’s aborted campaign for sheriff in 2013. The sheriff, who is married, was accused by subordinates of having an affair with Presley, which the pair have denied.

The grand jury also found that Maketa and Presley led a series of internal investigations in 2013 that accused or sought to accuse sheriff’s employees of stealing an internal affairs file belonging to then-sheriff’s candidate Bill Elder – igniting a controversy that threatened to end Elder’s political hopes and instead put the candidate of Maketa’s favor into office.

The grand jury panel met in secret at the El Paso County courthouse in a process overseen by prosecutors with the 18th Judicial District, comprising Arapaho, Elbert, Lincoln and Douglas counties. District Attorney George Brauchler declined to say how many people were on the panel, how many times they met, or what the final split was on the nine counts.

The county has paid more than $300,000 in claims against Maketa and other former Sheriff’s Office employees. Another $400,000 had been paid in fees for financial and personnel investigations and for the three Sheriff’s Office commanders put on paid leave.

Even though they are facing numerous felonies, their bail was set at just $10,000. All three of them have posted that bond and are currently free awaiting trial.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office Indictments

Along with various financial improprieties, at the heart of those charges is a case in which members of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office at Maketa’s direction (just doing their job) caused the girlfriend of a deputy to be arrested after she reported being assaulted by that deputy in order to cover up for him.

Via Gazette.com:

A woman’s face and jawline swelled – allegedly from a punch – and her arm showed bruises.

She blamed it on violent beatings at the hands of her boyfriend – but a month later, she was the one in jail, court documents show.

In 2013, to protect a deputy, then-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa directed a domestic violence victim to change her story and say she was the aggressor, a grand jury found in indicting the former sheriff and two others on Wednesday. Maketa then stood by as the woman was arrested and wrongfully jailed.

The deputy’s girlfriend also said she had been dragged inside their house, as well as pushed and hit on her head over the previous four months, the affidavit said. Some bruises were visible, according to Kaiser’s report.

When Kaiser pressed (Deputy Travis) Garretson on the allegations, he said “it was possible” he hit his girlfriend the previous night, the affidavit said. He also admitted to leaving a string of obscenity-laced voicemails on her phone, including one where he threatened, “I know what you are doing, I will get you back.”

Garretson was arrested and booked into the El Paso County jail on suspicion of third-degree assault and harassment, both misdemeanors.

What followed, however, was a plot to place the blame on Garretson’s girlfriend, Kellie Trull, 45, according to the indictment.

Garretson asked Maketa for help keeping his job in light of his arrest, the indictment said.
The sheriff responded by telling Trull to claim responsibility for starting the fight, for which she would not be arrested, the grand jury found. Presley reiterated those instructions – and the promise Trull would not be arrested, the indictment said.

Kaiser, the same sheriff’s detective who detailed Trull’s swollen face and bruises a month earlier, took the woman’s new confession in September 2013.

However, key details appear to be missing from that affidavit – a document that law enforcement officers must use to justify arrests.

Those details include:

– No mention the couple had worked at the El Paso County jail when the altercation took place. Garretson was a deputy there and Trull worked for Correctional Healthcare Companies, which provided medical services at the jail, the indictment said.

– No mention that Trull followed her about-face confession with the claim that Maketa and Presley told her to recant her statement and accept blame for the fight.

The affidavit largely focused on Trull’s admission that she instigated almost every altercation with Garretson, leaving him scratched and bruised. She also claimed to have been drunk when she drove to a friend’s house, the affidavit said.

Trull was arrested and booked into the Douglas County jail on suspicion of harassment and driving under the influence. She was held more than 24 hours, the grand jury found. Maketa and Presley later assured Garretson that “this could help” him with his own case, the indictment said.

Three Sheriff’s Office employees – Bureau Chief Al Harmon, then-Sgt. Robert Jaworski and Kaiser – said they did not think Trull should have been arrested.

Kaiser said she was following orders. Jaworski said he feared for his job. Harmon denied ordering the arrest, but nevertheless expressed fear about disobeying orders. (Emphasis added.)

Creepy Sheriff MaketaIncidentally, it was the combination of a sex scandal involving affairs Sheriff Maketa, who is married, was having with three female employees of the sheriff’s office, including Presley, and accusations of abusive treatments from other employees that started the whole investigation leading to those indictments.

And as is the usual case, a shirtless selfie ultimately led to his dramatic downfall.

Via Gazette.com:

For years, rumors circulated about improprieties in the Sheriff’s Office, but it was an article accompanied by a shirtless selfie of Maketa on the front page of The Gazette that brought to light accusations of sexual misconduct and abusive treatment of employees.

The article outlined complaints written by three Sheriff’s Office commanders. The complaints, submitted May 12, 2014, to the Board of El Paso County Commissioners and the federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, accused Maketa of discrimination, creating a hostile work environment and financial mismanagement.

The complaint named three women alleged to have had sexual relationships with Maketa: Undersheriff Paula Presley, Comptroller Dorene Cardarelle and the head of training for dispatchers, Tiffany Huntz. Maketa was married at the time. The Gazette also obtained more than 500 emails and text messages between Maketa, Cardarelle and Huntz.

The messages to Cardarelle were explicit.
“Wish you were with me” message accompanied this selfie of Sheriff Terry Maketa sent to a female subordinate.

In one message, a photo of a shirtless Maketa includes the message “wish you were with me.”

The fallout was immediate. County Commissioner Darryl Glenn said Maketa’s alleged affairs were the “worst-kept secret in town.” He said the rumors hadn’t been acted on because there had been no proof.

“This is the first time we’ve been presented evidence from people willing to put down their names,” Glenn said at a press 2014 conference.

Within a week, Commissioner Peggy Littleton called for Maketa to resign, citing a “lack of integrity” in his office.

Two days later, the commissioners gave him a unanimous “no confidence” vote, stating “we believe that leadership within the Sheriff’s Office has been compromised along with the functionality within the office.”

Maketa refused to step down, and instead ordered meetings to discuss employee morale. When one employee told The Gazette about the meetings, Maketa released the personnel file of the person he suspected of leaking the information.

In September 2014, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed it was investigating the sheriff with the help of the FBI. In December, Maketa submitted retirement paperwork, with plans to leave two weeks before the end of his third term.

Settlements given to Sheriff’s Office employees stand at more than $300,000, with another $400,000 spent by the county for investigations.

Remember folks, shirtless selfies are never a good idea. Neither is extortion, convincing domestic violence victims to lie in order to protect a deputy who beat her up and then kidnapping and falsely imprisoning her after she does so, or even cheating on your wife; especially with people you supervise at work. But above all else, if you feel the urge to take a shirtless selfie, fight it with every fiber of your being. Nothing good will come of it.

Corruption by Six Philadelphia Drug Cops Cost Taxpayers Over $50 Million

The following post was submitted anonymously, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The case of the six Philadelphia cops discussed in this post has been previously discussed on the CopBlock Network. Those posts can be found here, here, and here.

THOUSANDS of Philadelphia cops were involved in 600-plus dismissed/reversed cases of six narcotics cops (about 1,000 cases in total are to be dismissed/reversed, as per the Public Defender’s Association.) That is because dozens of officers were involved in each of the thousand fake cases, which were scattered throughout the city. For those reasons alone, THOUSANDS of Philadelphia cops are possibly corrupt!

The six referenced officers have cost taxpayers over $30 million (and counting to $50 million-plus) in wasted prosecution costs of over $50,000 per case (including prosecuting attorneys’ fees, court costs, incarceration costs, police compensation, etc.) and corruption/brutality lawsuit settlements.

In May 2015, the six “allegedly” crooked Philadelphia cops were acquitted by a scammed jury. Prosecutors purposefully presented an EXTREMELY weak case in order to vindicate the obviously guilty cops, with whom they had frequently worked to convict possibly innocent people. During the voir dire, prosecutors deliberately selected 11 wealthy suburban whites to be jurors (only one of the 12 jurors picked was black), knowing that such jurors would side with the crooked white cops and disbelieve the mostly black witnesses.

The sole purpose of the “prosecution” was to give the illusion that the police are being policed, while simultaneously allowing the six “allegedly” criminal cops to receive long, paid vacations. Prosecutors intentionally failed to emphasize the real evidence, which is that a staggering 19 victims gave virtually IDENTICAL accounts of their alleged victimizations, which held up even under intense and sophisticated FBI interrogations. Any seasoned lawyer will tell you that it normally takes merely TWO such corroborating witnesses (even convicted felons) to get a conviction. And many of the cops’ HUNDREDS of alleged victims are NOT criminals, contrary to the blatant lies told by prosecutors.

Do not believe the silly police excuse that the 19 witnesses were not credible because they were not completely consistent in their testimony. All witnesses are inconsistent to some degree, and no defendant would ever be convicted if complete consistency was the standard.

Screen-shot-2016-02-04-at-9.56.10-AMThe six “hero” policemen, Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser, have since been rehired with back pay. In other words, as “punishment” for “allegedly” robbing, extorting, assaulting, perjuring, and framing citizens, as well as dealing drugs and stolen property, these six thugs in blue have each received a paid, yearlong vacation! This, despite the fact that they have cost taxpayers over $30 million (and counting) in wasted prosecution fees and lawsuit settlements. One officer, Michael Spicer, has even since promoted to sergeant!

Five of the cop thugs have even filed a laughably frivolous defamation lawsuit against Philadelphia’s mayor, police commissioner, and district attorney. We are sorry, obviously guilty but “allegedly” corrupt cops, but the truth is an absolute defense against libel and slander — and such officials are immune from such civil prosecution — so your case will be dismissed on a summary judgement. Your guilt has already been proven by the civil standard, as per the city solicitor’s de facto admission thereof via lawsuit settlements which he made with some of your “alleged” victims. Said three city officials should countersue these five scumbags in blue for malicious prosecution and other points of law.

Also, taxpayers should file a federal class action lawsuit against the “hero” officers and police union, for fraud and violations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and other points of law, to recoup their losses. The city’s police force actually wanted to hold a parade for these six obese, vertically challenged losers, calling them “heros”.

Click these links for more details:

LVMPD Budget Cuts: Finally, Minorities and Poor People Benefit from the Recession

Guess who lives in the neighborhoods LVMPD “saturates.”.

Recently, Sheriff Doug Gillespie made an announcement that, due to budget shortfalls, Las Vegas police would be forced to shift 26 cops from the D.A.R.E program and one of four “saturation teams” back to patrol duty. This along with hiring freezes instituted earlier in the year, was of course couched in terms of Las Vegas area residents becoming less safe, as a result:

“Sheriff Doug Gillespie’s face was grim as he described the largest budget shortfall yet facing Metro Police: an estimated $46.5 million deficit for 2013…

‘Should the community be concerned,” Gillespie said in a Metro video. “Yes. They

Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie looking very much like he needs a hug.

should be concerned…’

Deputy Chief Kevin McMahill said in a Metro video he’s worried about the demands placed on remaining officers and the community.

‘Will it be less safe? That’s a tough thing for me to sit and say to you,’ McMahill said. ‘The truth is probably…'”

And not surprisingly, either, the affected programs are characterized as essential crime prevention tools that should take priority over everything else:

“They’re cops dedicated to preventing crime in the valley.

But now they’re a luxury the Metropolitan Police Department can’t afford…

“I think it’s one of the few ways we could keep kids off drugs. It’s bothersome to me and bothersome to the community,” he (Las  Vegas Police Union head Chris Collins) said.

But the cuts will continue until Las Vegas and Clark County, which fund about 70 percent of the Metropolitan Police Department’s budget, figure out their priorities, he said.

“You still see city and county parks are being built. Why are you building parks but not funding the Police Department to the level it needs to keep citizens safe?” he asked.

All this teeth gnashing and hand wringing over being unable to fund cops and stuff that the community actually benefits from kinda explains why the city recently implemented what amounts to a protection racket style extortion scheme against local artists participating in First Fridays a few months back.

However, reality tells a very different story in regards to both of these programs.

A License to Harass: Saturating Certain Communities

They’ll find an excuse to stop you (unless you’re in Summerlin).

The so-called “saturation teams,” which were conceived and implemented by Metro Capt. Jim Dixon and Gillespie (prior to him becoming the sheriff) back in 2005, are actually glorified harassment squads that descend upon designated areas looking for any excuse to stop, search, and arrest the people within those neighborhoods.

“They use whatever laws are at their disposal: jaywalking, riding a bicycle without reflectors, outstanding warrants. They work together, swarming “hot spots” around the valley…

‘We’re like wolves,” officer Justin Gauker says. “We travel in a pack.'”

Those of us that are familiar with the way these wolves usually hunt aren’t exactly shocked by the selective nature of their prey or even how brazen they are when discussing it:

 Sat team officers have to make constant judgment calls. They won’t pull over and arrest someone in Summerlin (a more affluent, predominantly white section of Vegas), for example, who doesn’t have bike reflectors…

It’s old-school policing with professionalism…

I wouldn’t exactly disagree that “old-school policing” often included a lot of  swarming through minority and poor neighborhoods rousting anyone that they arbitrarily decide “is up to something” or “doesn’t belong there.” However, the professionalism of punishing everyone who lives in a certain location for the actions of a small segment of that location’s residents is a little more subjective. Also, it’s no secret that police stop minorities more often, look harder for an excuse to search them once stopped, and are much more likely to make an arrest if something is found. There is a reason that “old schools” get closed down. Usually they provide really shitty educations.

 DARE: A History of Failure and Community Destruction

Meanwhile, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is actually an overly expensive program that has consistently been found to be ineffective and even potentially counter-productive. DARE programs really are nothing more than a product of police desire to justify increased funding, allow access to children for propaganda and informant recruitment purposes, and even convince them to turn their own parents in for minor, victimless drug “crimes.”

The advent of DARE programs has correlated with a steep increase in drug use among school children.

“DARE is costly and ineffective. It wastes educational and police resources. The link between schools and drug police has become a sacred cow that leads to a false sense of security, despite clear evidence that DARE is a failure. Since its curriculum went national, two patterns have emerged: more students now do drugs, and they start using drugs at an earlier age…

DARE has a hidden agenda. DARE is more than just a thinly veiled public relations device for the police department. It is a propaganda tool that indoctrinates children in the politics of the Drug War, and a hidden lobbying strategy to increase police budgets.”

Even the psychologists that created the basis for the model DARE uses have since denounced it as “misguided and outdated.”

“DARE is rooted in trash psychology,” Colson told me two years ago. “We developed the theories that DARE was founded on, and we were wrong. Even Abe Maslow wrote about these theories being wrong before he died.”

Which is true, said Boulder psychotherapist Ellen Maslow, Abraham Maslow’s daughter. She called DARE “nonsense” in 1996, saying the program represented widespread misinterpretation of humanistic psychology.

The Economy isn’t the Only Reason Metro is Over Budget

A reenactment of local governments’ spending policies over the past few years.

At the root of all this is the basic question of why Metro is over budget in the first place. The economic downturn that has hit Las Vegas especially hard certainly plays a part in it, although the reserve fund area police accumulated during the good times has been able to offset that up until this year. The real reason that local police departments’ funds are running dry is because they spent the past few years throwing cash around like a drunken sailor on shore leave.

Local governments throughout Southern Nevada decided to disregard the economic crash that everyone else in the world saw coming and go on a spending spree beginning in 2009. The city of Las Vegas, which is responsible for 40% of Metro’s budget, spent $146 million building a new city hall building that they couldn’t afford to staff five days a week anymore by the time of its opening.

North Las Vegas, which flirted with bankruptcy last year prior to taking advantage of a loophole that allowed them to declare a state of emergency in order to circumvent mandated spending requirements and also has been threatened with a takeover by state overseers, spent $130 million on their own fancy new city hall.

LVMPD’s fancy new (and expensive) digs.

Not to be outdone, LVMPD decided that they needed to have a “place of their own” after getting by all these years using space within the old city hall building and rented spaces throughout different areas of town. Instead of joining in on the move to the new city hall or taking over an existing government owned property (including the old city hall), they began construction on a brand new 370,000 square-foot complex.

While the construction costs seems to be a better kept secret than the location of the Holy Grail, it’s been widely reported that they are paying over $12.5 million per year, plus an annual increase of 2%, on top of that to lease the land the new headquarters was built on from a private real estate company.

All of this spending is usually explained away by the fact that they were planned back during the “good times,” even though everyone of them actually received their final approval late in 2009, well after the recession had already begun. The other go-to justification was (as is often the case for these sort of things) job creation, which in reality has amounted to nothing but temporary construction jobs during the building phase.

In fact, the expenditures from that construction has actually eliminated permanent jobs. As mentioned, the Las Vegas city hall is now only open four days a week. North Las Vegas has not only laid off public workers (including cops and firemen), but has also closed down it’s jail and has been rumored to have made unsuccessful ovatures to merge their entire police force with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Sheriff Gillespie has up until now been able to stave off large scale layoffs at Metro by not replacing retiring officers, drawing off the once large reserve funds, and doing a bit of creative math to shift expenses around.

Las Vegas Police Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Not an actual Metro police training illustration.

Another factor that has become a negative draw on Metro’s budget has been their tendency to beat, kill, and otherwise abuse people around the valley including completely innocent people and people they just don’t feel like chasing. The 150+ settlements that Las Vegas area police have paid out over the last five years alone (plus another $20 million lawsuit already in the pipeline) come out of that reserve fund and, of course, your pocket. Between the $6.5 million in direct cash paid out and all the salaries being paid to cops sitting home on paid vacation while their friends in the department figure out a way to exonerate them, a lot of Metro’s personnel woes could be alleviated if they just started asking a few questions before shooting or at least afterwards.

The propensity that cops in and around Las Vegas have for brutalizing its inhabitants has both monetary and physical consequences. Since local taxpayers foot the bill for these settlements and most of the offending officers are still on the payroll, these budget cuts are actually one of the few times that local cops have in any way felt repercussions for instances of police brutality.

Unfortunately, it’s not the actual cops responsible for these transgressions that will suffer, but rather it will be new (as of yet) untainted recruits that won’t be hired as a result. However, on the upside, there will be one less saturation team available to harass and abuse people that can’t afford to live in Summerlin.

And that’s a good start…

After Henderson Police Beat Man in Diabetic Shock, NV Residents Pay for It (via submission)

I recently received a link to this story via the submission page along with the statement “this was a big story, surprised you don’t have it on your site.”

A member of the Henderson police Department was caught on video kicking a man in the head while he is held by three other cops. It was later determined that this man was suffering from diabetic shock instead of driving drunk as cops originally suspected.

While that surprise isn’t unfounded, the simple reason that this hasn’t been posted on NvCopBlock.org previously is that it predates the launch of this site. However, I very much agree that it should be included and am taking this opportunity to rectify that discrepancy by posting the submission along with a few updates.

This story, along with it’s eventual “resolution,” is actually very indicative of the lack of accountability within police departments in the Las Vegas area:

“A Nevada city will pay a diabetic man $158,500 (it actually totals close to $300k once the state settlements are factored in) after police beat him while he was in diabetic shock, thinking he was a drunken driver…

The incident was caught by the dash cam of a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper present during the incident, which began as a chase in the early morning hours of Oct. 29, 2010. Police suspected the man was driving drunk…

The video showed that once the car was pulled over, police officers swarmed the driver and began kicking him.

‘Stop resisting motherfucker. Stop resisting motherfucker,’ an officer yelled as the man lay on the ground.

However, the man was not drunk – he was suffering a diabetic episode. Insulin shock can mimic the symptoms of intoxication…

An officer seen in the video kicking the diabetic motorist is Sgt. Brett Seekatz, who has been with the Henderson Police Department since August 2002, ABC 13 reported. Officials wouldn’t specify how or if Seekatz was disciplined over the incident, saying the information is a personnel matter and will not be released. He remains a member of the Henderson Police Department.”

Once the video surfaced, the people in the community were understandably outraged by the obviously unnecessary nature of the beating inflicted on a visibly restrained man. Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson saw it differently, though. In his initial review of the case, he came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be “in the community’s best interest” to punish Sgt. Seekatz (who has a history of complaints being filed against him predating this case) or any of the other officers because two years had passed since the incident happened.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson

Not surprisingly, that assessment was met with outrage by the community prompting Wolfson to take yet another look at the case and try to come up with a better sounding rationalization for not punishing Seekatz. Unfortunately, he didn’t do a very good job in that effort. Once again, Wolfson chose not to hold anyone accountable for their actions that day, essentially stating that Henderson police are trained to kick people in the head while making arrests and therefore they couldn’t be punished for doing so.

Not exactly the sort of thing that makes you feel real confident that you won’t become yet another victim of the police departments in and around Las Vegas, but honestly not something that is a shock to anyone that has dealt with them before. Knowing that you won’t get punished for abusing and even killing someone, tends to embolden those in positions of authority over others to abuse that authority. Including it in their training, tends to make those abuses inevitable.

And if you’re a taxpaying resident of Clark County, NV., that $6,514,918 that the LVMPD alone has payed out to its victims since 2009 , including almost $2 million already in 2012 (amounts via the Clark County Criminal Cops site), is coming straight out of your paycheck.