Tag Archives: Tennessee

Tennessee Cop Caught on Tape Sexually Harassing Woman And Boasting About Also Doing It In Court Has Resigned

Earlier today, it was reported that Officer Frank Geisenhoffer, the South Carthage (TN) cop who was caught on audio recordings sexually harassing a woman and boasting about having done so to another woman in court, has resigned.

Last week, Officer Geisenhoffer’s repeated sexual harassment of a local store clerk was exposed in a “NewsChannel 5 Investigates” story. That woman, Elizabeth Restrepo, had secretly recording audio of Geisenhoffer asking her for nude photos of her and her sister, making crude sexual comments about their appearance, and admitting that he had once shown her a video of himself masturbating.

In addition, he also could be heard on the tapes boasting about how he had sexually harassed another woman within a courtroom with a judge present. In that instance, he described how he sent the unidentified woman text messages telling her to “spread your legs and let me see that pussy.” According to Officer Geisenhoffer, he was sitting in the jury box at the time.

Via NewsChannel5.com:

“I don’t do big girls,” Geisenhoffer says at one point. “Don’t have to — not with this d…k.”

At another point, he tells Restrepo, “You do look good, baby. F…ing hot!” Later, he comments on the appearance of her nipples.

“Everything about Frank is scary, but it’s even more scary because he has a badge,” she told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Restrepo began making the recordings in the early morning hours when the on-duty officer would visit her store. She said that he went from asking her for nude pictures of herself to showing her a video of himself masturbating.

“I didn’t know what to say.” she recalled. “I didn’t know what to do. I honestly, I think my mind went blank, like wow, did that really just happen?”

Then, she said, Geisenhoffer asked for video of her pleasuring herself.

“I said, ‘Frank, really?’ – like that. He said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ He said, ‘If you ever were to do that, give me a video. I’ll pay you for it. I will owe you big!'”

That’s when, after checking with one of his fellow officers, she decided to record him.

“Because I had to prove — I just didn’t want it to be an officer against a girl that just works at a convenience store,” Restrepo said.

On the recordings, Geisenhoffer first asks her for nude pics of herself.

“Dude, yesterday was my birthday so I was hoping you’d send me a picture of something,” he says.

Later, he asks for pictures of her sister’s breasts.

“Get me a picture of those t…ies,” he begs.

It’s a request that, on the recordings, he makes repeatedly.

At one point, Geisenhoffer tells Restrepo, “I saw a picture on Facebook of whatever she is to you. You was gonna get me a picture of her t…ies.”

NewsChannel 5 Investigates noted to Restrepo, “He comes back and asks for the same thing.”

“Over and over and over,” she answered.

Restrepo said that, at first, she hadn’t know how to deal with the South Carthage officer’s indecent requests.

Her initial instincts: “Laugh it off kinda. ‘Awww, Frank, you’re crazy!’ You know, whatever you have to do. What do you say?”

Did she ever say “stop it”?

“No,” she acknowledged.

Why not?

“Maybe because of who he is, maybe because of the things I know about Frank, maybe because I was scared, maybe because I didn’t know what to do — he’s an officer of the law.”

Then, one day, while she was recording, Restrepo said Geisenhoffer reached out and touched her.

“Grabbed my hair and just laid it like that,” she said, gesturing toward her breasts.

On the recording, Geisenhoffer says quietly, “Make a picture… just barely covering your nipples… barely, but with your hands on your hips.”

Restrepo recalled the moment.

“I could smell his breath,” she said, fighting back tears. “I didn’t know what to do, but to stand there and let him do it and record him.”

At some point, after Geisenhoffer heard that Restrepo might have been upset with him, he returned to the store and seemed to admit he had crossed a line.

“I did something to you here one night, and I felt bad about it,” he says on one of the recordings. “I didn’t touch you, but I almost did. I almost touched you — may have — and I felt bad about it.”

NewsChannel 5 Investigates said to Restrepo, “That must have been tough.”

“More than you know,” she answered.

“You felt violated?”

“Absolutely.”

Finally, in that last recording, the officer admits to having shown her the video of himself masturbating.

“Dude, I can get myself off. You know. In fact, you’ve seen me get myself off — and I erased that too, by the way,” he says with a chuckle.

Her reaction?

“I nearly jumped as high as the sky because I knew that finally I could prove that he really did show me that. And I thought, wow, finally got him. That’s what I thought.”

We observed, “It wasn’t just your word against a police officer’s word?”

“No,” she said, as tear ran down her cheek.

In another recording, Geisenhoffer boasts of having been ordered out a different store presumably for the same type of behavior. He then continues to brag about the courtroom incident.

And he boasts about pressuring another woman to expose her genital area right in the middle of a courtroom with a judge present.

“So I texted her and said, ‘Spread your legs and let me see that p…y,” Geisenhoffer recounts during the recording.

“She put in big bold letters: ‘NO.’ I said, ‘Please, baby, please.’ I was sitting like [in] the jury box thing, I was sitting over there. (Inaudible) Didn’t have on no panties or nothing.”

We asked Restrepo, “What does that say about him as an officer of the law?”

“Exactly,” she answered. “And every day he gets to wake up and put that badge on.”

Ultimately, Restrepo filed a complaint with the South Carthage Police Department. Their only response was to “punish” Officer Geisenhoffer, who has at least eight previous complaints on his record including one that was serious enough that it  resulted in him being demoted from sergeant back to a patrol officer, with a two week suspension and ordering him to stay out of the store where Restrepo works.

That is what prompted Restrepo to contact the news. “An officer of the law can do these things and just walk away and still be getting up and putting that badge on – still?” Restrepo asked. “But yet if it was a person who didn’t have a badge, they would have done went to jail.”

Fortunately, the publicity generated by that story has now led to Geisenhoffer’s resignation. Of course, the reality is that being allowed to resign, rather than being fired (and facing charges) as he should have, allows Officer Geisenhoffer to still collect his pension and potentially also receive retirement benefits. It also allows him to engage in the rather common practice amongst “Bad Apples” of simply going out and getting hired by another police department.

University of Tennessee Police Violate Independent Media’s Rights at Public Protest

The following post and video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Christian Alexander of BackRoomKnox.com, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Along with the description below, Christian stated:

The police chief has apologized, but not the University. I would love to get a consensus on whether I was right or wrong from your audience. Maybe it can be a teaching tool for being on campus.

Date of Incident: November 10, 2016
Officers Involved: Officer O’Neal, Officer Underwood, Officer McCarter
Department Involved: University of Tennessee Police
Phone Number: (865) 974-3114
Fax Number: (865) 974-4072
E-mail: [email protected]

Short version: (long version below) I was not able to go on a public university campus to film a protest. I was stopped and asked if I was a student, and they let me know only students, faculty and staff were allowed to be at the protest. The officers were respectful, while stabbing me in the back violating on my rights. I showed them my media credentials, but they still put me in a free speech zone. I even had a shift supervisor tell me the same. “It’s a public university, but private property.” I ultimately refused their orders under threat of criminal arrest-as you can see in the video. At this point, I did not know what the outcome would be. Would I be arrested or trespassed later? Or was I in the right and the law needed to be fixed? I’m still seeking guidance on both.

I am writing in regards to the violation of my first and fourteenth amendment rights on the University of Tennessee campus, Knoxville Tennessee. I have received an apology from the UT Police Department. I received no apology from the University itself.

Free speech zones are illegal on public campuses. University of Tennessee Police Officers and official policies, practices, or customs resulted in a deprivation of my rights. Because the protest was not an official “event of national significance,” I cannot be forced, as a citizen or media, into a separate area, under duress.

“The First Amendment represents “a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). Our institutions of higher learning play a central role in a system of freedom of expression because “[t]he college…surround-ing (sic) environs is peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas.’” Healy, 408 U.S. at180. In this regard, “[t]he first danger to liberty lies in granting the State the power” to limit freedom of expression in contravention of the “background and tradition of thought and experiment that is at the center of our intellectual and philosophic tradition.” Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819, 835 (1995). The First Amendment provides in pertinent part that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech or of the press,” and is applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.”

This past Friday a group(s) held a protest regarding the election of Donald Trump.

The Knox News Sentinal wrote:

“The protest, loosely comprised of the campus’ Diversity Matters student coalition, started near the amphitheater outside the humanities building at 12:30 p.m. The group marched along around the building and up pedestrian walkway.”

Trying to get the law or officers’ orders on record…I spoke to Officer A. O’neal. She stated “They just call us and tell us what we need to do.” She was speaking of campus policies and customs. I let her know that you don’t need to go through any procedure to be on public property.

violate-rightsSoon after speaking with Officer O’neal, I headed to the protest that was taking place in the walkway on campus. Before I was able to get there, I was approached by Officer McCarter. His first words were, “Let’s go down here for a minute. You do not have permission to be here.” He pointed to and told me to go to a “free speech zone.”

I asked why I could not go on my way to the protest. I had planned on recording the events. I do not actively participate in protests as a protestor. I do not believe I have ever been a protestor. I have been to many protests to report on them. I was not asked by the officer if I was protesting or going to be protesting. I had no signs. I only record the events.

He said that I was not affiliated with the university. We verbally disagreed on whether or not I could be there. Even though I knew I was on a public property, I asked if I was on public property for verification. The officer stated, “This is private property. It belongs to the State of Tennessee.” Again, I said, “Then it’s public property.” His response, “No Sir.” He said that I had to be student, staff, faculty or be here to conduct business. Again, university policy. I asked what happens next. He said I needed to go to the free speech zone, which was not near the protest. I asked what would happen if I did not do that. He said that I could be taken to jail for criminal trespass.

My press credentials were visible on my neck the entire day, and I was the only one at the event or at my location with both a photo ID and press credentials on my neck. My media credentials include my photo, date of expiration, address, signature and my affiliations and large bold letters PRESS. He looked at my credentials and sent me to an eight ft. long “free speech zone.” The officer then mentioned I needed to go stay with my friend. The “friend,” I had seen only once before in my life when I was covering the election. I said he was not with me. I was only covering him because that is where the news was at the time. This was clarified, and I was still told to go to the free speech zone by officer McCarter. I was respectful, but I was forced to go to the free speech zone as I verbally protested to the officer. My rights were violated and under threat of arrest, again, I had no choice but to follow the officer’s commands in order to get more clarification and offer respect to the officer.

Officer R. A. McCarter came back some time later, and he said, “talked with my sarge.” Officer McCarter stated that I needed to call (865) 974-3174 to get permission to be up here. Again, procedures of the university. Officer McCarter stated, “I told her [his sarge] that you are press. There is no headway with it.” He then pointed out the free speech zone which was far from the protest. I took my press credentials off my neck, out of the badge holder, and showed him again, and I said I was not there to protest. He then voluntarily stated that Knox News notified them. Implying that media should get permission before working a breaking story.

(Knox News had 318 comments 565 shares of their coverage of one of a previous protests. I had 9519 comments 17,275 shares of the same protest for a total of 1,754,515 views via Facebook, not including my other pages with additional views. In the digital age, reporting is no longer confined to America’s traditional newsrooms. As such, threats to press freedom threaten anyone who seeks to share information about official actions using a cellphone, social media service or website.)

Mr. McCarter then stated, “I was told, so this is it. You can stay down here.” (Pointing to a “free speech zone.”) about six to eight feet…” officer McCarter stated.

I asked for a supervisor of the supervisor for one more clarification and a chance for them to correct what should have been obvious First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment violations – under threat of criminal trespass and arrest. After an additional long wait in the illegal “free speech zone,” The supervisor for the shift, Officer Underwood, stated that the university is public but private property. He again stated the custom that the university is only open to students, faculty, staff, and invited guests.

I discovered my main camera was now out of space after using it on these highly illegal, disconcerting, disheartening, and defeating confrontations at the University of Tennessee. I then had to use a backup camera whose sound is not good compared to my main camera. It also took up about an hour of valuable time that I missed to cover the beginning of the sit in, as I was the first reporter on scene.

That said, assuming a protest is in a public forum, as this protest was, reporters don’t need credentials to cover it. We enjoy a right of access along with the public. Media does not need permission to be there, nor do they need permission to engage there in news gathering activities. The kinds of actions taken out on me alone can send a harsh message: gather legal video at your own demise.

I missed, but heard with my ears, the main news that I wanted to get, but did not get the video I needed as I was detained in the “free speech zone.” At this time, I was extremely upset and flabbergasted at the actions of these officers. After about an hour, I went on to campus in the public area anyway. The entire time I was on campus I was under duress and threat of arrest. This is not a good way to gather news, and I am thankful that I did not have a heart attack each time the officers came near me. I also stayed up all night in fear of officers arriving at my house to arrest me.

I recorded evidence of three assaults at this protest. Two current students and one non student were assaulted at the event. Two have filed police reports. The female victim of the assault sought out my news page, and I will send her the video evidence. I also have video of this same gentleman inciting violence on campus, at the rock. It involved an assault. Police were called. The victim was given an apology and no charges were filed.

I am seeking help via social media and other organizations to help me put together this matter and to understand who did right, who did wrong and what can I do to fix it or help someone else in the future.

Christian Alexander
BackRoomKnox.com

Police Wife Writes About the “Secret Epidemic” of Police Domestic Violence

This post was originally published at the “Ms. Magazine” blog in October of 2015 by and (who was married to a police officer for 20 years) under the original title “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence.” (See below for their full biographies.)

Domestic violence takes place in up to a staggering 40 percent of law enforcement families, but police departments mostly ignore the problem or let it slide, write ex-police wife Susanna Hope and award-winning investigative journalist Alex Roslin in their new book, Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence. The following excerpt is adapted from their book, available on Amazon or as an eBook from their website, and is being published as part of the Ms. Blog’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month series.

According to Alex Roslin, “Police Wife” itself has more than 60 pages of appendices giving advice and resources to survivors, family and friends plus recommendations for advocates, police, governments, journalists and researchers.

In order to help survivors and others, they’ve made virtually all of the appendices available for free through their website. Here is the direct link to this extended free excerpt.

The propensity for police to abuse their wives, children, and other family members is, of course, no secret among people who read CopBlock.org. It’s rare that more than a few days go by without a report of a cop having committed domestic violence and several CopBlock Network Contributors have posted about the increased risk that entails marrying or having the bad fortune to be the child of a cop. Obviously, the habitual efforts of Good Cops to cover up the crimes of those Bad Apples, is also a large factor in its commonality.

Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence

In 2009, in Utica, New York, police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. killed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo-Longo, stabbing her more than a dozen times in their home, then stabbed himself to death. One of the couple’s four children discovered the horrifying scene on coming home from school that afternoon.

Police Officer Cop BlockUtica’s then-Police Chief Daniel LaBella said the killing was completely unexpected—an incident “no one could have prevented or predicted.” But Kristin’s family filed a $100-million wrongful-death suit saying city and police officials didn’t do enough about Longo’s troubling behavior before the tragedy.

Kristin had contacted police at least five times in the weeks before she was murdered, saying she feared her husband might kill her and their kids, but police supervisors discouraged her from making reports or seeking a protection order, the lawsuit said. In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge agreed that the police actions may have “enhanced the danger to Kristin and amounted to deliberate indifference.” The city settled the suit in 2013, paying the couple’s children $2 million.

The murder wasn’t an isolated tragedy. It was unusual only because it was so public and so bloody. A staggering amount of domestic violence rages behind the walls of cops’ homes, while most police departments do little about it. In the vast majority of cases, cops who hurt a family member do so in utter secrecy, while their victims live in desperate isolation with very little hope of help. Research shows:

  • An astonishing 40 percent of cops acknowledged in one U.S. survey that they were violent with their spouse or children in the previous six months.
  • A second survey had remarkably similar results—40 percent of officers admitted there was violence in their relationship in the previous year. The abuse rate for cops is up to 15 times higher than among the public.
  • Police discipline is startlingly lax. The LAPD disciplines cops with a sustained domestic violence complaint less strictly than those who lie or get in an off-duty fight. In the Puerto Rico Police Department, 86 percent of cops remained on active duty even after two or more arrests for domestic violence.

It seems incredible that a crime wave of such magnitude and far-reaching social ramifications could be so unknown to the public and yet at the same time an open secret in a mostly indifferent law enforcement community. It is surely one of the most surreal crime epidemics ever—at once disavowed, generalized and virtually unchecked.

Aptly summing up the bizarre disconnect, retired Lieutenant Detective Mark Wynn of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department in Tennessee told PBS in a 2013 story on the issue: “What’s amazing to me is we’re having this conversation at all. I mean, could you imagine us sitting here talking about this and saying, how do you feel about officers using crack before they go to work, or how do you feel about the officer who every once in a while just robs a bank, or every once in a while decides to go in and steal a car from a dealership? We wouldn’t have this conversation. Why is it that we’ve taken violence against women and separated that from other crimes?”

Domestic violence is bad enough for any woman to deal with. Shelters, many of them chronically underfunded, regularly turn away abused women because they’re full, while only about one in four incidents in the wider population ever get reported to police. Hundreds of U.S. communities have adopted “nuisance property” laws that encourage police to pressure landlords to evict tenants who repeatedly call 911 over domestic abuse, further dissuading victims from seeking help.

But abuse at home is far worse for the wife or girlfriend of a cop. Who will she call—911? What if a coworker or friend of her husband responds? Police officers are trained in the use of physical force and know how to hurt someone without leaving a trace. They have guns and often bring them home. And if a cop’s wife runs, where will she hide? He usually knows where the women’s shelters are. Some shelter staff admit they are powerless to protect an abused police spouse. Her abuser may have training and tools to track her web use, phone calls and travels to find out if she is researching how to get help or, if she has fled, where she went.

In the rare case where the woman works up the nerve to complain, the police department and justice system often victimize her again. She must take on the infamous blue wall of silence—the strict unwritten code of cops protecting each other in investigations. The police have a name for it—extending “professional courtesy.” In the words of Anthony Bouza, a one-time commander in the New York Police Department and former police chief of Minneapolis, “The Mafia never enforced its code of blood-sworn omerta with the ferocity, efficacy and enthusiasm the police bring to the Blue Code of Silence.”

It all adds up to the police having a de facto licence to abuse their spouses and children. And it’s a worldwide phenomenon that police families struggle with everywhere from Montreal to Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, the U.K., Australia and South Africa.

The torrent of abuse is virtually unknown to the public, but without realizing it, we all pay a steep price. Domestic violence is the single most common reason the public contacts the police in the U.S., accounting for up to 50 percent of all calls in some areas. Yet, a battered woman who calls 911 may have a two-in-five chance of an abuser coming to her door. Official investigations have found law enforcement departments that tolerate abuse in police homes also mishandle violence against women in other homes.

Abusive cops are also more prone to other forms of misconduct on the job—such as brutality against civilians and violence against fellow officers. We all pay as taxpayers when governments have to settle multi-million-dollar lawsuits with victims of police abuse or negligence. Police domestic violence also has close connections to a host of other problems—police killings of African Americans, sexual harassment of female drivers at traffic stops and women cops, and even more broadly, issues like growing social inequality and subjugation of Native Americans.

And police officers themselves are victims, too. Even though our society calls cops heroes, we give them little support to cope with the pressure of police work. A big part of the job is to wield power to control other people. As a result, policing attracts people who are good at controlling others or may have a craving for that kind of power—and then trains them to use their power better. Control is also the main driver of domestic violence. Is it a surprise then that so many cops are violent at home?

Support the Ms. Magazine Prison and Domestic Violence Shelter Program today and show women fleeing domestic violence that they’re not alone.

Susanna Hope (a pseudonym for security and privacy reasons) is a Canadian professional writer who was married for over 20 years to a police officer. She has two sons and two grandchildren.

Alex Roslin is an award-winning Canadian journalist who was president of the board of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.

Man Charged After Suing Knoxville Police For Excessive Force

Ernesto Rodriguez Knoxville Beating 2Over a year ago, Ernesto Rodriguez was arrested after a domestic dispute call. Later a dashcam video (see below) was released showing him being beaten by the police officers responding to that call. Charges from that arrest weren’t filed at that time. However, earlier this month Rodriguez filed a lawsuit based on the dash cam footage, which clearly shows him being punched in the head numerous times. All of a sudden, the Knoxville Police Department remembered to file those charges of resisting arrest and assaulting officers. The timing is probably just a coincidence.

Via Wate.com:

According to the lawsuit, Officer Kimber responded to a domestic incident at Roaming Drive on July 9, 2014. The 911 caller said Rodridguez had thrown a knife, then walked down the street.

Office Kimber found Rodridguez nearby, made him stand with his stomach on the squad car’s hood and tried to cuff him even though Rodridguez said the cuffs were too small to fit on his wrists. Rodridguez, who is Mexican and spoke very little English, says he screamed in agony and attempted to let Kimber know the cuffs were too tight and hurting him. He says Kimber continued to try to force the cuffs on his arms.

Ernesto Rodriguez Knoxville Beating 1Kimber called for backup, then threatened to zap Rodridguez with a Taser, according to the lawsuit. Officer Thurman responded to the backup call and, according to Rodridguez, proceeded to beat him to the point of losing consciousness while Kimber held him down. He also says Officer Baker responded to the call for backup during the beating.

The lawsuit claims, the officers were only able to handcuff Rodridguez after he passed out. He was rushed to University of Tennessee Medical Center’s trauma center. Rodriguez said he was treated for serious, life threatening injuries, saying he had visible scarring on his wrists from the cuffs and had several face and eye surgeries.

The police claim that Rodriguez’ injuries were the result of him hitting his head on the ground. Of course, when you beat someone until they fall unconscious and hit their head on the ground, you’re kinda still responsible for that.

Click on the image to check out mobile device apps that can help you stay safe and keep the police accountable.

Click on the image to check out mobile device apps that can help you stay safe and keep the police accountable.

Update: Sister Megan Rice, “Transform Now Plowshares” Members Released

Sister Meghan RiceLast week, I posted about the 6th U.S. Circuit Court’s ruling (see below) that overturned the sabotage convictions of the “Y-12 Three” and ordered resentencing for their convictions on the charge of “injuring government property.” This created hope that “Transform Now Plowshares” members Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed would be released as a result, since their sentences were largely based on that higher charge of sabotage. On Saturday May 16th, those hopes were realized after the government stated that they would not fight their release:

“All three peace activists who vandalized Y-12 are out of prison. Attorney Marc Shapiro said Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed were released from prison Saturday afternoon. Sister Megan Rice, 85, was released a several hours later…

On Friday, the government responded that it did not object to their release pending the July hearing, if the court ‘determines that the potential risk of the defendants over-serving their likely guideline sentences on their remaining convictions constitutes ‘exceptional reasons” under federal law.”

At this point, from everything I’ve heard it appears that they will be sentenced to time served on July 8th. Therefore, they will remain free, having already served more time than what is typical for the lesser crime for which their convictions were upheld:

The trio will still be re-sentenced on the lesser charges, but it could mean they are out of prison for good for the time already served. Quigley (their lawyer) says they are thrilled with the decision and still stand by their actions.

Excerpt from the previous post:

Transform Now Plowshares Members’ Convictions Overturned

Transform Now Plowshares Y-12 Sister Megan RiceOn May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld.

Via the NY Times:

An anti-nuke nun may soon be blessed with freedom.

An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who broke into a weapons-grade uranium facility and splashed blood on the walls.

But Sister Megan Rice, locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for the past two years, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, are not totally in the clear yet.

A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision Friday that the three did not injure national security when they cut through several fences and broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

But the court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons . . . the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend,” the opinion said. “But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage.”

The trio, known as the Y-12 three, hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker in Oak Ridge to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

Their aim was to bring the dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation to people’s attention.

The Appellate Court’s ruling determined that “Congress never intended to punish individuals whose sole intent was to spread a message of peace, which is far from trying to disrupt nuclear defense systems.”

The government had 14 days (as of May 8, 2015) to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to have the convictions reinstated. I don’t have a lot of faith in the government in general or in their willingness to back down rather than fight to the bitter end to force compliance with their authority, but I have some personal reasons (read below for more on that) to hope they will, since I actually know Sister Meghan and consider her a friend.

Sister Meghan and the others convicted with her are nothing short of political prisoners, who (as the appeals court acknowledged) were given inflated charges based on the political messages they expressed with their protest and the defiance they displayed in the process, as well as the embarrassment the ease with which they carried it out caused to those tasked with guarding America’s war machines. They should be released immediately.

Sister Meghan RiceSister Megan Rice – an Unofficial Saint

Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun and long time member of the Catholic Worker movement, is one of the nicest, kindest, most soft-spoken people you would ever meet. She’s also one of the toughest and most morally grounded people you could ever be lucky enough to know. I first met her when she was living in Las Vegas and I was involved in helping to re-establish the local Food Not Bombs group here, back in late 2008. Sister Megan and other members of Las Vegas Catholic Worker were among those that had supported Food Not Bombs Las Vegas when the City of Las Vegas passed laws making it illegal to share food with hungry people, specifically with people who “a reasonable, ordinary person would believe” needed that food. Before that…Read the full post by clicking here.

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Convictions of Sister Megan Rice, and the “Y-12 Three” Overturned

Transform Now Plowshares Members’ Could Be Released Soon

Transform Now Plowshares Y-12 Sister Megan RiceOn May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld.

Via the NY Times:

An anti-nuke nun may soon be blessed with freedom.

An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who broke into a weapons-grade uranium facility and splashed blood on the walls.

But Sister Megan Rice, locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for the past two years, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, are not totally in the clear yet.

A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision Friday that the three did not injure national security when they cut through several fences and broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

But the court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons . . . the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend,” the opinion said. “But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage.”

The trio, known as the Y-12 three, hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker in Oak Ridge to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

Their aim was to bring the dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation to people’s attention.

The Appellate Court’s ruling determined that “Congress never intended to punish individuals whose sole intent was to spread a message of peace, which is far from trying to disrupt nuclear defense systems.”

The government had 14 days (as of May 8, 2015) to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to have the convictions reinstated. I don’t have a lot of faith in the government in general or in their willingness to back down rather than fight to the bitter end to force compliance with their authority, but I have some personal reasons (read below for more on that) to hope they will, since I actually know Sister Meghan and consider her a friend.

Sister Meghan and the others convicted with her are nothing short of political prisoners, who (as the appeals court acknowledged) were given inflated charges based on the political messages they expressed with their protest and the defiance they displayed in the process, as well as the embarrassment the ease with which they carried it out caused to those tasked with guarding America’s war machines. They should be released immediately.

Sister Meghan RiceSister Megan Rice – an Unofficial Saint

Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun and long time member of the Catholic Worker movement, is one of the nicest, kindest, most soft-spoken people you would ever meet. She’s also one of the toughest and most morally grounded people you could ever be lucky enough to know. I first met her when she was living in Las Vegas and I was involved in helping to re-establish the local Food Not Bombs group here, back in late 2008. Sister Megan and other members of Las Vegas Catholic Worker were among those that had supported Food Not Bombs Las Vegas when the City of Las Vegas passed laws making it illegal to share food with hungry people, specifically with people who “a reasonable, ordinary person would believe” needed that food. Before that, she spent 40 years as a schoolteacher and relief worker in some of the poorest areas of Africa, until bouts with malaria and typhoid fever forced her to return to the United States.

From the first time I ever met her at a local coffee shop where we held the Las Vegas A-Cafe at that time, Sister Megan was never anything, but pleasant, friendly, and helpful. However, even as apparent as her good nature was, you could see and hear the strength of her character just as easily. She was the kind of genuine person that you respected as soon as you met her. Through involvement with Food Not Bombs and other peace groups, as well as my own personal advocacy, I have often worked with Catholic Worker and other faith-based groups in the Las Vegas area, such as Nevada Desert Experience and Pace e Bene, that are associated with them.

As a result, I had a fair amount of interaction with Sister Megan during her last couple of years in Las Vegas. During that time, my respect and admiration for her never ceased to grow. Her peaceful, yet determined, demeanor was always both inspirational and educational. Talking to her at regular “everyday” events was always a pleasant experience. On the other side of the coin, witnessing how she never let fear of punishment deter her from standing up for the right thing and was always willing to accept the consequences that might come, regardless of how overblown or draconian they might have been, was something that always strengthened my own resolve.

Toward the end of her time in Las Vegas, I attended the trial of the “Creech 14,” who had been arrested for stepping too close to the gate of Creech Air Force Base (where most of the U.S. drones are operated remotely) in order to protest the murders of people in other countries (including women and children) by people just north of Las Vegas. Sister Meghan (as well as the rest of the defendants) never backed down from her principles or recanted their beliefs as unjust, but simply made the argument that their actions were based on a duty to defend innocent people.

It seemed fairly obvious, that even the judge was sympathetic to their arguments, which included testimony from Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark on their behalf. Of course, when you are accused of challenging the government’s war machine, no judge will side against their employer and its biggest source of income, regardless of their potential sympathies for the accused. Especially in what was really a very minor case that was being used as a sort of show trial to discourage future activism against Creech’s drone murders. When I spoke to her after the trial on the phone, instead of being upset (like I was) or even disappointed that they were convicted, she was actually cheerful and talking about moving onto the next fight.

Transform Now Plowshares and the Oakridge Nuclear Facility – Pacifistic Terrorism

From left, Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli. (Photo: Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Not long after that, she left Nevada and shortly thereafter became involved in the biggest and most principled fight that anyone I know personally has ever undertaken. At a time when most people are relaxing in retirement, Sister Megan actually shut down a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

Along with Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, the (at the time) 82 year old nun entered the Oak Ridge (TN) National Laboratory, hung protest banners, poured blood on the walls, and spray-painted antiwar statements on buildings. The ease with which they entered what was supposed to be a highly secure nuclear weapons facility and the very public nature of it, this particular action not only challenged, but very much embarrassed the U.S. Government.

That public shaming of the United States’ war apparatus and it’s very lax security was their real “crime.” Outside of that, all the three pacifists had committed was trespassing and what would be a stretch to call vandalism, since no actual property was damaged. In spite of that, they were branded as “violent terrorists” by the Federal Government and charged with felony crimes. This was much more a case of saving face over the exposure of just how easy it would be for someone with real harmful intent to walk right onto a base filled with nuclear materials (they actually had to approach a security guard working there and alert him to their presence) than any real danger that they had ever created with their non-violent actions.

Square-bannerAs was the case in previous acts of civil disobedience, rather than back down from her convictions and beg her captors for leniency, Sr. Megan and the others reaffirmed their commitment to direct action and even informed the judge after their conviction that they would resume such activity upon release, stating that the only way to stop them from advocating for peace would be to give them a life sentence. At the time, they were in fact facing what amounted to an actual life sentence (a 30 year maximum), due to their ages.

Although it is still a travesty that she should have spent even a day in jail, the judge fortunately didn’t heed their advice in that respect and sentenced her to 35 months, along with sentencing Boertje-Obed and Walli to 62 months each. As the Daily News detailed earlier this year, Sister Megan has since been confined to a “Brooklyn hellhole,” crammed with 111 other women into an unsanitary, inhumane single room prison unit at the Metropolitan Federal Detention Center in New York City.

In spite of those deplorable conditions, Sister Megan responds with her typical strength and good cheer. Rather than complain, she makes her initial appearance for that interview serene and smiling and speaks of how the patience and endurance the beautiful women she lives with in the prison have become a “constant source of admiration and hope that change is possible.”

SecondSaturdayMay 047That sort of humility, determination, optimism, and caring spirit is what I noticed and admired almost immediately when I met Sister Megan. And it’s what has caused me to take inspiration from her and become determined myself to continue fighting for that change. Throughout my life and especially since I became involved in activist causes, I’ve been very fortunate to meet a variety of amazing and inspiring people that have left permanent impressions on me and helped to shape my character in a positive way. Sister Megan is someone I place among the top of that list. She and her fellow peaceful “terrorists” should be released right now, not so much because she personally needs or would likely ask for that on her own behalf, but rather because those of us out here need people like her standing with us.

Pledge $1/month to help spread the message that, "Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights."

Pledge $1/month to help spread the message that, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.”

Release Sister Megan Rice, and the “Y-12 Three” Peaceful Political Prisoners

Transform Now Plowshares Members’ Convictions Overturned

Transform Now Plowshares Y-12 Sister Megan RiceOn May 8th, an appeals court overturned the convictions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, members of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, on sabotage crimes relating to their acts of civil disobedience against nuclear war and in favor of peace. They also ordered that they be re-sentenced for a lesser crime of “injuring government property,” which was upheld.

Via the NY Times:

An anti-nuke nun may soon be blessed with freedom.

An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of an 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who broke into a weapons-grade uranium facility and splashed blood on the walls.

But Sister Megan Rice, locked up in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for the past two years, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, are not totally in the clear yet.

A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision Friday that the three did not injure national security when they cut through several fences and broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in July 2012.

But the court upheld a less serious conviction for injuring government property. “If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons . . . the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation’s ability to attack or defend,” the opinion said. “But vague platitudes about a facility’s ‘crucial role in the national defense’ are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage.”

The trio, known as the Y-12 three, hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker in Oak Ridge to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares.”

Their aim was to bring the dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation to people’s attention.

The Appellate Court’s ruling determined that “Congress never intended to punish individuals whose sole intent was to spread a message of peace, which is far from trying to disrupt nuclear defense systems.”

The government had 14 days (as of May 8, 2015) to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to have the convictions reinstated. I don’t have a lot of faith in the government in general or in their willingness to back down rather than fight to the bitter end to force compliance with their authority, but I have some personal reasons (read below for more on that) to hope they will, since I actually know Sister Meghan and consider her a friend.

Sister Meghan and the others convicted with her are nothing short of political prisoners, who (as the appeals court acknowledged) were given inflated charges based on the political messages they expressed with their protest and the defiance they displayed in the process, as well as the embarrassment the ease with which they carried it out caused to those tasked with guarding America’s war machines. They should be released immediately.

Sister Meghan RiceSister Megan Rice – an Unofficial Saint

Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun and long time member of the Catholic Worker movement, is one of the nicest, kindest, most soft-spoken people you would ever meet. She’s also one of the toughest and most morally grounded people you could ever be lucky enough to know. I first met her when she was living in Las Vegas and I was involved in helping to re-establish the local Food Not Bombs group here, back in late 2008. Sister Megan and other members of Las Vegas Catholic Worker were among those that had supported Food Not Bombs Las Vegas when the City of Las Vegas passed laws making it illegal to share food with hungry people, specifically with people who “a reasonable, ordinary person would believe” needed that food. Before that, she spent 40 years as a schoolteacher and relief worker in some of the poorest areas of Africa, until bouts with malaria and typhoid fever forced her to return to the United States.

From the first time I ever met her at a local coffee shop where we held the Las Vegas A-Cafe at that time, Sister Megan was never anything, but pleasant, friendly, and helpful. However, even as apparent as her good nature was, you could see and hear the strength of her character just as easily. She was the kind of genuine person that you respected as soon as you met her. Through involvement with Food Not Bombs and other peace groups, as well as my own personal advocacy, I have often worked with Catholic Worker and other faith-based groups in the Las Vegas area, such as Nevada Desert Experience and Pace e Bene, that are associated with them.

As a result, I had a fair amount of interaction with Sister Megan during her last couple of years in Las Vegas. During that time, my respect and admiration for her never ceased to grow. Her peaceful, yet determined, demeanor was always both inspirational and educational. Talking to her at regular “everyday” events was always a pleasant experience. On the other side of the coin, witnessing how she never let fear of punishment deter her from standing up for the right thing and was always willing to accept the consequences that might come, regardless of how overblown or draconian they might have been, was something that always strengthened my own resolve.

Toward the end of her time in Las Vegas, I attended the trial of the “Creech 14,” who had been arrested for stepping too close to the gate of Creech Air Force Base (where most of the U.S. drones are operated remotely) in order to protest the murders of people in other countries (including women and children) by people just north of Las Vegas. Sister Meghan (as well as the rest of the defendants) never backed down from her principles or recanted their beliefs as unjust, but simply made the argument that their actions were based on a duty to defend innocent people.

It seemed fairly obvious, that even the judge was sympathetic to their arguments, which included testimony from Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark on their behalf. Of course, when you are accused of challenging the government’s war machine, no judge will side against their employer and its biggest source of income, regardless of their potential sympathies for the accused. Especially in what was really a very minor case that was being used as a sort of show trial to discourage future activism against Creech’s drone murders. When I spoke to her after the trial on the phone, instead of being upset (like I was) or even disappointed that they were convicted, she was actually cheerful and talking about moving onto the next fight.

Transform Now Plowshares and the Oakridge Nuclear Facility – Pacifistic Terrorism

From left, Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice, and Michael Walli. (Photo: Saul Young/News Sentinel)

Not long after that, she left Nevada and shortly thereafter became involved in the biggest and most principled fight that anyone I know personally has ever undertaken. At a time when most people are relaxing in retirement, Sister Megan actually shut down a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility.

Along with Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, of the “Transform Now Plowshares” movement, the (at the time) 82 year old nun entered the Oak Ridge (TN) National Laboratory, hung protest banners, poured blood on the walls, and spray-painted antiwar statements on buildings. The ease with which they entered what was supposed to be a highly secure nuclear weapons facility and the very public nature of it, this particular action not only challenged, but very much embarrassed the U.S. Government.

That public shaming of the United States’ war apparatus and it’s very lax security was their real “crime.” Outside of that, all the three pacifists had committed was trespassing and what would be a stretch to call vandalism, since no actual property was damaged. In spite of that, they were branded as “violent terrorists” by the Federal Government and charged with felony crimes. This was much more a case of saving face over the exposure of just how easy it would be for someone with real harmful intent to walk right onto a base filled with nuclear materials (they actually had to approach a security guard working there and alert him to their presence) than any real danger that they had ever created with their non-violent actions.

Square-bannerAs was the case in previous acts of civil disobedience, rather than back down from her convictions and beg her captors for leniency, Sr. Megan and the others reaffirmed their commitment to direct action and even informed the judge after their conviction that they would resume such activity upon release, stating that the only way to stop them from advocating for peace would be to give them a life sentence. At the time, they were in fact facing what amounted to an actual life sentence (a 30 year maximum), due to their ages.

Although it is still a travesty that she should have spent even a day in jail, the judge fortunately didn’t heed their advice in that respect and sentenced her to 35 months, along with sentencing Boertje-Obed and Walli to 62 months each. As the Daily News detailed earlier this year, Sister Megan has since been confined to a “Brooklyn hellhole,” crammed with 111 other women into an unsanitary, inhumane single room prison unit at the Metropolitan Federal Detention Center in New York City.

In spite of those deplorable conditions, Sister Megan responds with her typical strength and good cheer. Rather than complain, she makes her initial appearance for that interview serene and smiling and speaks of how the patience and endurance the beautiful women she lives with in the prison have become a “constant source of admiration and hope that change is possible.”

SecondSaturdayMay 047That sort of humility, determination, optimism, and caring spirit is what I noticed and admired almost immediately when I met Sister Megan. And it’s what has caused me to take inspiration from her and become determined myself to continue fighting for that change. Throughout my life and especially since I became involved in activist causes, I’ve been very fortunate to meet a variety of amazing and inspiring people that have left permanent impressions on me and helped to shape my character in a positive way. Sister Megan is someone I place among the top of that list. She and her fellow peaceful “terrorists” should be released right now, not so much because she personally needs or would likely ask for that on her own behalf, but rather because those of us out here need people like her standing with us.

Pledge $1/month to help spread the message that, "Badges Don't Grant Extra Rights."

Pledge $1/month to help spread the message that, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.”

Small Town Police Steal Money, Kidnap Child in Maury County, TN.

Grant Shields shared the content below, regarding a case in which Bob Zadan, of the Maury County Sheriff’s Dept. (TN) Drug Task Force and an unnamed member of the Tenn. Dept. of Children’s Services stole from them and later kidnapped their child after they were accused of “committing” a victimless crime, via the Cop Block Submissions page.

image3Mitchell Shields, Sarah Feron and their son Logan were a great family. Both were great parents. Worked hard and went to community college to better their lives that much more. That is until tragedy struck in their small town lives.

On  Feb. 5, 2015, the Maury County Sheriff’s Dept. Drug Task Force, obtained a warrant to search Ms. Tonya Feron’s home, in which Mitchell shields and his family were living. That warrant was actually obtained based on false information. The information for the warrant came from a phone call between Mitchell Shields and his friend Bill, who is in prison near Memphis Tennessee. In the conversation, Bill spoke hypothetically about having Mitchell give somebody marijuana to sneak into the jail for him. Mitchell obviously said no. The cops must have been thinking they were talking in code. And took this information to Maury county so they could get a search warrant for the house, in which Mitchell and his family lived in, in hopes to find a large amount of marijuana. They tore the house up to find nothing but personal hallucinogenic mushrooms, personal dabs, and personal marijuana. No more than 20g of marijuana was found, which isn’t what the warrant was for.

This upset the DTF (Drug Task Force) agent in charge, Bob Zadan, and he filed charges against everybody for the mushrooms and marijuana, as well as made up charges like the manufacturing and distribution of BHO, even though only a small amount of BHO was found in the house. They based this off of Mitchell owning two very small bottles of unrefined butane for lighter refills and dab wizard containers. Logan, their son, went home with George Shields, his grandfather. Mitchell and his family thought this was the end of it and they would just fight it and have the charges dropped.

In reality, it was just the beginning. On Feb 20 2015, the Maury County Sheriff’s Dept. DTF showed up at Ms. Tonya Feron’s house again, but this time with no warrant. They showed up with Sarah’s probation officer for a “routine” home check. Agent Zadan orchestrated the entire ordeal intentionally in order to steal their son. They brought an agent with them from the Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services. After they showed up, they destroyed Sarah and Mitchell’s room, and stole almost $6,000 from George Shields’ lock box that he had taken out of his jeep to keep with Sarah in her room, in case she needed it. They even stole George’s pistol that he let Sarah hold onto, which she is legally allowed to own, and illegally searched his truck that was in the yard without his permission.

They found nothing besides George’s money and pistol in the house, but they still re-arrested Sarah and her mother saying they had a warrant for Ms. Tonya and Sarah. While Sarah attempted to inform her mother of her rights another agent told her to shut up and stop playing lawyer. When Sarah went to call George so he could get Logan (protocol is to give the child to the next of kin), agent Zadan snatched her phone and not one officer or agent would call George for her. They took Ms. Tonya and Sarah to the jail. Ms. Tonya was interrogated for three hours and waited even longer to be booked, because there was no such arrest warrant for her. They had to get an arrest warrant while at the jail, so they could hold her. The initial arrest was illegal. They also stole both Sarah’s cell phones and Tonyas cell phone, neither of which are logged into evidence. They did this just so Ms. Tonya could not take Logan home. Logan is now in the hands of a foster family and his parents aren’t even allowed to see him.


Tennessee Cop Block Affiliates

If you live outside Tennessee, you can find the appropriate affiliate in your area by consulting the Cop Block Groups page or by Starting a Local Group.

White County Sheriff Deputies Barge Into My Home Conduct Illegal Search [Video]

The following post and accompanying video were shared with the CopBlock Network by Lance Davis, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

The description included below documents the undesired “service” Davis received from three deputies with the White County (TN) Sheriff’s Office.

Date of Incident: October 4, 2014
Individuals Involved: Three unidentified employees of the White County (TN) Sheriff’s Office
Department Involved: White County (TN) Sheriff’s Office (Lt. Janice Hale = Commander of Warrants Division)
Department Phone No.: (931) 836-3028
Department Fax No.: (931) 836-1524
Department Email: [email protected]
Department Website: http://www.whitecosheriff.org
Area Cop Block Affiliate(s): There are multiple Cop Block Affiliates in Tennessee. To find the appropriate local group in this or your own area, consult the Cop Block Groups page.

I was inside the garage of my house while my wife was in the living room with our two children, one of whom is eight years old and the another who is just nine weeks old. She shouted to me that a patrol car had come down the driveway and parked next to the house. I walked to the back door and stepped outside where a deputy was approaching. He asked for my name, which I provided him, and asked if I knew a man named Gary Baker, which I do not. He then informed me that they have an arrest warrant for Mr. Baker and an anonymous tip that he was at my house. I informed him Mr. Baker was not here and that they were not allowed inside my house. He claimed that they had a warrant allowing them inside, which I told him he needed to provide me before I would allow them entrance. The deputy called over his supervisor, who walked around the house and told me I was supposed to allow them inside.

At this point, a third deputy walked out of my house directly behind me through the same back door I had exited. I asked him why he was inside without permission and he told me “the front door was open so I just walked in.” We had left the main door open, but the storm door was securely closed, so he had entered a closed door without permission. I stepped aside to allow him to exit the building and at this point the two deputies took the opportunity to walk back into my house and resume their search, as I repeatedly told them they did not have permission to do so. I then grabbed my phone and started recording the incident as one deputy was searching through my garage.

After they found nothing, the three deputies gathered on my back porch and attempted to explain why they had just harassed my family and searched my house. The entire conversation is recorded on video, as well as one of the deputies continuing to search my shed. They again reported that they were looking for a man they had a felony arrest warrant for and that they had been given an anonymous tip that he was at my house. They claimed this allowed them to search my house without my permission, even though they did not provide me with written proof of said warrant. After the conversation, the deputies departed.

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Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy States His Badge Allows Him to “Do Anything He Wants”

This post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Jamie Braden, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Within the post, Braden discusses a conversation he says he had while working as a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy with another deputy. Braden states that during that conversation the other deputy stated that his badge would allow him to “do anything you want to do.”

Part of that discussion also involved the mention of a previous case of excessive force at the Hamilton County Jail, which that other deputy, Andrew Standifer was involved in. In 2011, there in fact was an incident where Deputy Standifer and another deputy, named Daniel Harden were disciplined for excessive use of force against a drunk man in a cell at the Hamilton County Jail.

Date of Interaction: June 2012
Department Involved: Hamilton County (TN) Sheriff’s Dept.
Officer Involved: Deputy Andrew Standifer
Department Phone No.: (423) 209-7090

I worked as a sheriff’s deputy for Hamilton County, TN. In my training, I worked with another deputy by the name of Andrew Standifer. The first time I worked with him we were talking about something, I do not remember what it was, and I said, “I wonder if I can do (whatever it was we were talking about).” He stood up from where he was sitting and walked over to me.

He said, “What is that on your shirt?”

I looked down because I thought I had something on my shirt. I asked him, “What?” because I didn’t see anything.

He said, “That badge – with that badge you can do anything you want to do.”

I nearly fainted! Had he really said what he just said? YES!

As if that was not enough, he proceeded to laughingly tell me he was on YouTube from where he and another officer were in an altercation with an allegedly drunk man in a cell. They got in trouble, a one day suspension to be specific. What that tells them is, if you want a day off, rough someone up.

That was not the only time there was violence against detainees in his history. He started seeing a new officer that came in in my class. They put them together on the disciplinary floor even though she had not worked the floors often, she worked in central control. Standifer wanted to show off in front of her.

According to the video, he engaged in a physical confrontation with a detainee but was not able to physically overpower him, so of course he called for back up. The inmate ended up getting tased (while he was handcuffed), all over the detainee asking for a toothbrush.

Andrew Standifer is still employed as a sheriff’s deputy with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department in Tennessee. If you ever go to Chattanooga, Tennessee and get put in jail, watch out. He’s a short little man that hides behind his badge. Remember, if he can’t whip your ass… he will call his buddies to come help him.

– Jamie Braden