Tag Archives: Submissions

Update: Arkansas Police Chief that Arrested Man For Open Carry Burned His Own Truck; Stole From Department

In August of last year, I wrote a post about a video that had been submitted by a Cop Block reader showing a police chief in Bald Knob, Arkansas questioning Richard Chambless, a Second Amendment activist who had been arrested while legally open carrying a hand gun.

During that video, Chief Erek Balentine was very insistent that open carrying actually wasn’t legal in Arkansas and even eventually berated Chambless in an angry outburst toward the end of the interrogation. He also had some sort of issue with the fact Chambless was carrying a police scanner at the time of his arrest, implying that it was an indicator of criminal intentions.

A month later, Chief Balentine resigned, presumably under public pressure as a result of the publicity generated by the video featured in the first post, stating he was in “fear for his family’s safety.” However, this is where things really start to get interesting.

According to Balentine, someone had spray painted “2 Amendment” on both sides of his truck and then lit that truck on fire. Obviously, this was some whacky, extremist gun nut retaliating for Chief Balentine’s arrest of Chambless for something that wasn’t just legal, but was expressly protected within the Constitution. Right?

Bald Knob Police Chief Balentine Resigns

Former Bald Knob Police Chief Balentine

Now the real truth has come out, though. Former Bald Knob Arkansas Police Chief Erek Ballentine is a big filthy liar and a thief on top of that. And, although this is the least shocking revelation involving this story, he’s just not a very smart or well thought out criminal mastermind, either.

Not only has he joined the ranks of cops who have staged an “attack” against themselves as part of the Fake War On Cops, but he also joined the very crowded ranks of cops who have committed fraud and stole from their own department.

In fact, the entire burned truck incident was intended to somehow distract from the fact that he had stolen a shotgun, which had been donated to the police department for a fundraising auction and then sold it and pocketed the cash. The fraud part of the equation is based on him having filed a insurance claim on the truck he actually burned.

Of course, no story about a criminal cop (I realize that’s a bit redundant and that I’m not supposed to use double negatives) and the Good Cops he works with holding him accountable would be complete without that Bad Apple getting the typical Policeman’s Discount.

After initially being charged with federal felony charges of arson, mail fraud, and possession of a stolen firearm (which he was in possession of because he stole it), Former Chief Balentine was allowed to plead guilty to the single charge of possessing the stolen firearm and promise to pay restitution to Progressive Insurance for the false claim. As part of that deal the Feds agreed not to pursue the more serious charges of arson and fraud.

Original Video of Man Arrested in Bald Knob, Arkansas for Legally Open Carrying a Gun

Man Illegally Detained and Assaulted For Filming by Nassau County Policeman

Date of Incident: August 28, 2015
Officer Involved: Sgt. Hermonn – Badge#580
Department Involved: Nassau County Police Department – First Pct.

The above video was submitted by a reader by the name of Wil, via the Cop Block submissions page. He states in his description:

“I was simply using my First Amendment right to video record in public, when a police officer approached me demanding I.D. He then he grabbed my arm and threw me onto the hood of a police car. I was cuffed and kept with my face down on the hood for 10-15 minutes before being released. My First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated.

I have more recordings and plan to make a FOIA request for recordings of the cctv cameras in the precinct. Everything happened in front of the police station, cameras should have recorded everything, unless they mysteriously got deleted.”

Pls share!
– Wil

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Bald Knob, AR Firearm Arrest; Police Chief Angrily Insists Open Carry is Illegal

This post was originally submitted by Richard Gray, via the Cop Block.org submissions page. The original Facebook post that contained the video from the Bald Knob Police Department interrogation tape can be found here.

line-bannerDate of Incident: May 24, 2015
Officer(s) Involved: Chief of Police Erek Balentine, at least two other unidentified police officers
Department Involved: Bald Knob (AR) Police Department
Phone Number: (501) 724-5193

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Arkansas Open Carry ArrestRichard Chambless was arrested while open carrying in Bald Knob, Arkansas. Chambless was walking around town with a holstered, openly carried firearm, and a police scanner. He also entered the McDonald’s near his home a couple of times, who apparently (based on statements in the video) told him he was not allowed inside with the gun. Several 911 callers subsequently reported a man with a gun. Over the scanner, Chambless heard that the police were looking for him. He called and reported his location and said he would wait for them. Chambless was arrested. He agreed to a videotaped interrogation conducted by the chief of police.

Chief of Police Erek Balentine incorrectly reads a law that states it is illegal to “unlawfully employ” a handgun, even though Chambless was not doing so by openly carrying his firearm. Toward the end of the video, Chief Balentine becomes very irate and yells at Chambless after he refuses to acknowledge that he has no right to carry a weapon because, according to the chief, there is no law which allows him to carry a firearm. Chambless consistently brings up the Second Amendment and the fact that the absence of a law explicitly stating he has a right to carry a firearm isn’t required, because the 2nd Amendment gives him that right. Another police employee gave Chambless a speech about nobody needing to carry a firearm, because the police would protect them.

Arkansas-Open-Carry-Arrest-Police-Chief-Angrily-Insists-open-Carry-is-IllegalChief Balentine also stole Chambless’ police scanner, claiming that the only reason he has for using it is because he’s engaging in illegal acts and needs to monitor where the police officers are, so he can get away. That is in spite of the fact that Chambless heard on the scanner that they were looking for him over the firearm and called to inform them of his location.

Apparently, Chambless was found guilty on August 25, 2015 by District Judge Mark Derrick, but Chambless plans to appeal.

-Richard Gray

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My Ransomed Soul – Monarch (Anti-Police Brutality Music Video)

10933728_10153101677227474_5057771965345420041_nThe following was received via an anonymous submission on the Cop Block Submissions page: Maryland metal band My Ransomed Soul released a music video for their new single “Monarch”, which addresses issues of police brutality and excessive government control. The new album, entitled Trilateral, will be released independently on February 24th, 2015.

Maryland Cop Block Affiliates/Allies

  • Baltimore Copwatch – Facebook
  • Cop Block Keyser WV / Cumberland MD – Facebook

If you live outside of Maryland, you can find your own local Cop Block/Cop Watch group at the Cop Block Groups page. If there isn’t a local Cop Block affiliate in your area yet, you can help advocate for accountability in your area by Starting a Cop Block group yourself.

LYRICS:

We call it freedom
But are we really free
You call me blind when it’s you that cannot see

We give them power to control our lives
As they slowly strip away our rights

This is brainwashing at its finest
You give it all away
You stand and speak of freedom
Yet you tell me what to say

When did another’s life become your decision
When did love become an institution

Controlling the masses with their social agenda
It’s nothing more than a tyrants propaganda

This is brainwashing at its finest
You give it all away
You stand and speak of freedom
Yet you tell me what to say

This system is a living breathing machine
Tear out its heart and watch as it bleeds

All hail the tyranny
All hail the tyranny

This is brainwashing at its finest
You give it all away
You stand and speak of freedom
Yet you tell me what to say

Don’t tell me what to say

Video by Roar & Gills
DP – Rory McAllister
AC – Brad Gillespie

FOLLOW MY RANSOMED SOUL:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myransomedsoul
Twitter: https://twitter.com/myransomedsoul

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Another Case of (Las Vegas) Nevada Police Just Doing their Job (via Submission)

Excessive Force?

Excessive Force?

This was received via the “Submit Your Story” page a while back. It concerns the arrest of a woman at the downtown Las Vegas Greyhound bus station, who had been accused of not paying a taxi bill. All of the following text, pictures, and video were originally posted at the “Art Entertainment” blog and have been reposted in their entirety without any modifications or edits. The singular exception to that was the edition of the year (2013) to the first paragraph for clarity. Obviously, you can read the account and watch the video yourself to decide whether you consider this to be a case of police brutality. It’s certainly not anywhere near one of the worst examples of Metro’s heavy handed antics caught on tape in Downtown Las Vegas.

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS

Two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers arrived at the Las Vegas Greyhound station on August 18th (2013) because a taxi driver claimed that a girl that was waiting in there for the bus did not pay him the fees for his ride service to the station.  People sitting in the waiting area suddenly started to witness the struggle between the two robust officers and the defenseless African American girl who posed no threat to them.

Excessive Force?
Police excessive use of force

According to a witness, one of the officers asked her if she had paid the fee to the taxi driver.  The girl responded that she did but did not get a receipt. They did not believe and tried to take the girl to the police station but she refused.  The officers tried to use persuasion at first but then one of them lost his patience and used force.  Both males were trying to forcefully handcuff the girl who was not in a position to resist bud did not want to be treated that way. One of the officers would not let his body weight off the girl.  Another witness said the police physical force was unreasonable and unnecessary. Injuries could have resulted from the police restraint efforts. There is nothing more egregious than the thought that someone who has been vested and trusted with the duty of protecting us from the hands of aggressors, becomes the aggressor himself, under the color of a badge. No human being should suffer as this girl did, in a civilized nation of laws and government. The foundation of this country’s creation is the United States Constitution, which specifically gives every person, regardless of race, creed, color, or ethnic origin, the right to be free from certain governmental behavior. Under the Eighth Amendment, even if a person is a convicted incarcerated prisoner, he/she has the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. There are thousands of reports each year of assault and ill treatment against officers who use excessive force and violate the human rights of their victims (AIUSA Rights 1999:1). A significant problem in this area is that police abusive behavior may be considered necessary and appropriate police procedure (Geller, 1996:7).

Georgia Man Falsely Arrested For Picking Up “Litter” on the Side of the Road

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Joseph Howard, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. It details an incident in which he states that he was subjected to a false arrest by the husband of a candidate for local office in Houston County, Georgia, who is also a Lieutenant at the Warner Robins Police Department.

I live in Georgia. We have laws in this state against posting signs on the rights-of-way (ROW). The Georgia Department of Transportation issues news releases yearly warning politicians not to post signs on the ROW. These same laws state that anyone who violates these laws shall be punished the same as littering.

Imagine my surprise when I was arrested July 1, 2012 while out on my weekly routine picking up illegal signs. My actions were not politically motivated. I was going out weekly, with the blessing of the Georgia Department of Transportation, picking up signs along the roadways. You’ve seen the various signs: Pressure washing, roofing, mattresses, house foreclosures, we restore bad credit, etc. Consider the fact that election season had just started too and you’ll see I really had my hands full.

You would think politicians would know the law – especially someone running for Solicitor General of Houston County, such as Amy Smith. She did not want me picking up her illegal signs. Amy’s husband, Lt. Brian Smith, is a lieutenant at the Warner Robins Police Department. He is the one who declared that his wife, solicitor Amy Smith, wanted to press charges for 23 counts of theft by taking.

I have pictures of the signs I picked up that clearly show them on the right-of-way. Officer Jerry Neese of the Warner Robins Police Department, the officer who noticed me picking up signs, wrote on my arrest report that the signs were on the ROW. Still, I could not convince them of my good intentions or that the signs ARE litter. I was arrested, booked, handcuffed, and transported in the back of a police van to the county jail until I could post bail.

Bail was set at $5000, for what amounted to $92 worth of signs. I had to pay $500 bond to be released. The name of the judge that signed the arrest warrant that Sunday afternoon was Angela Sammons, the magistrate. My trial date in state court is set for September. 6, 2012. At this point, I have refused to pay another $1500 (cheapest I’ve found) for a defense lawyer.

– Joseph Howard

Note: A follow-up with Joseph revealed that on August 28, 2012 “[he] got home from work and found a letter from the Houston County DA stating that the case has been dismissed ‘at the request of the victim.'”

Joseph said:

“I was surprised that I didn’t feel any less angry that it happened in the first place. I would have liked to have gone forward in court to get a judgement as to whether I have a right to clean up litter or not. I guess I will just have to get arrested again. I AM THE VICTIM! They put me through hell. I have never been convicted of even a misdemeanor before.”

Peaceful Occupy Reno Memorial Day March Broken up by “Peace” Officers; 10 Arrested

Mem day162

Paul can be seen here in the striped shirt during the arrest

This story of Police over-reaction to peaceful people non-violently expressing their free speech on a day supposedly dedicated to observing freedom comes to Nevada Cop Block by way of a personal friend of mine from Reno. Paul Lenart, a longtime labor activist, founding member of the Reno IWW GMB, and member of Occupy Reno, provided this personal account of the aftermath of what was a peaceful march in support of a local homeless person, who had his arm broken while being arrested by Officer David Schimmel of the Reno Police Department. It has been reported that this injury occurred as the result of  him being slammed on the ground while handcuffed.

The pictures included (as well as some additional background info) were originally posted on Occupy Reno‘s Flickr photostream. Paul’s narrative of the incident is included in its entirety with only minor style and grammar edits. The original can be viewed here. (All links within the text were inserted by NVCB for informational purposes. In essence, they represent editorial commentary and not necessarily opinion or facts attributable to Paul or anyone else involved in the action being described.)

If you or someone you know has had an experience with police that you would like to bring attention to you can always use our convenient submission form to let us know about it. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Mem day393a

A closer view of Paul’s arrest

The Action Committee of Occupy Reno was meeting on the evening of Memorial Day when we were visited by the self-styled Oakland Nomads. We had agreed earlier that we approved of an anti-police brutality action in the wake of a homeless man’s arm being broken by a cop. About 12 of us, a mixed group of locals and visitors, began a spontaneous march past the bus station from Wingfield Park.

Some chants included language not generally heard in church but common enough on HBO and in the culture generally. As we turned a corner onto 2nd street leading toward downtown, we were stopped by a “peace officer” pointing a shotgun at us (ammunition type undetermined as yet). When I say “pointing,” I mean held in a firing position, pointed from shoulder, as at the range, not vaguely in our direction.

No order to disperse was ever given, no escape route was afforded. Immediately 30 cops started cuffing and pushing us against a fence. When we were all cuffed and safe the police sat everyone on the curb with legs extended and feet crossed, hands behind backs. My flexibility isn’t what it used to be, so I asked whether lotus position or zazen kneeling was an acceptable alternative posture.

After fifteen minutes, they let me stand in deference to my gray hair, I suppose. An extended conversation about wife, kids, and vacations with “my” arresting officer did not include any mention of the right to remain silent or to have an attorney present. Nice enough fellow, though.

Mem day003a

Prior to the commencement of the march

We were loaded into a transport vehicle; at least it did not have “Welcome to Reno” on its front. Two young black people were in my transport (I think we only filled two vehicles total). The woman was very upset at having been put in a sort of standing only cage, rather than sitting on the benches with her friend and the rest of us.

At the end of the drive, we were turned over to County custody for booking at the Washoe Sheriff’s facility near Stead. While going through initial processing, they asked me whether I would answer all their questions. I said, “Well, that depends on what you ask, I guess,” which seemed reasonable enough, given that the presumption of privacy on details not relevant to the arrest still (I thought) exists. Wrong answer, apparently. Washoe maintains a zero-tolerance approach to anything other than absolute docility.

So I spent the next six hours in the drunk tank with one other demonstrator and four snoring rummies. This was my first experience in a drunk tank while sober, but the layout was pretty standard: drain in the middle, no view of the hall outside, four platforms that stole your body heat somewhat slower than the concrete floor, and six inmates wearing only trousers and t-shirts. Eventually they took me out to continue processing. I regret to say that I enabled their authoritarian addiction by being completely docile, proving that their methods “work.”

Mem day442a

Overkill much?

As a reward, between questions (which were, in the event, appropriate, that’s all they had to tell me earlier), I sat in a plastic chair watching NASCAR on tv with other prisoners. There was an interview with a nurse which determined that, yes, I was overdue for my heart pills, no, they probably didn’t have my anti-arhythmics, but don’t fret, no atrial fibrillation yet.

Next, I spoke to a social worker type in an interview that determined I was, in fact, eligible for release on O.R. Ironically, if you have the means to bail yourself out, you don’t have to pay, but if you don’t, you do have to pay, although you can’t; a conundrum. About six a.m. I was putting the contents of my wallet (drivers’ license, credit card, VA card, red card) back together and got my shoes and their insoles back.

A half hour later, my wife picked me up, so I could take her to work. The other locals were already out, but the visitors were held until late afternoon, then had their charges reduced from “parading without a permit” to “failure to stay on sidewalks (jaywalking?),” then released after nolo pleas with time served. When I spoke to them, they were still waiting for the bus tickets home they had been promised. It’s been 41 years since my last “political” arrest, so I was a little rusty, but I tried to maintain the proper attitude that we all sang about in the holding room: “Always look on the bright side of life” (Life of Brian by Monty Python).

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Mem day166

Seriously?

In addition, via personal conversation between Paul and I, I was told that this march
was never disruptive beyond straying off the sidewalk briefly just prior to the arrests being made and the aforementioned chanting of PG level slogans. This begs the obvious question of whether it was necessary for them to be arrested in the first place. It further brings into question why no command to disburse or opportunity to abandon the march was ever given for those who may not have wanted to continue to the point of an arrest. In essence, they were ambushed by the gang unit (whose use begs even more questions) without any forewarning, using unnecessarily  overwhelming numbers, and a questionable threat of force (the aiming of a shotgun at unarmed and easily visible people).

Was this really a good use of the Reno Police Department’s resources and personnel, all of which are actually funded by tax payers, including those individuals whose freedom of speech was quashed that day?