Fired for cutting a woman’s hair, Michigan cop is back on the job without the approval of his bosses
Security camera footage shows Officer Bernadette Najor cutting the hair off of 22-year-old Charda Gregory during the November 2013 encounter. Gregory was sitting in a restraint chair, after being shoved into it by Najor and secured by several officers.
Najor was fired a month later, after Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso reviewed the footage, which does not include sound. The officer’s use of force was not documented in the original incident report.
The officer testified before arbitrator Nora Lynch that she was following police procedure in cutting Gregory’s hair, because the weave was “loosely tied in with loops” and thus not “permanently attached” to her head. Many police departments remove hair extensions from prisoners, to eliminate the possibility of them being used as weapons.
In this case, however, Gregory complained about her treatment, calling Najor “a very horrible person.” Galasso also criticized Najor’s tactics.
“I read the police report and was stunned at the very bottom line … that stated that this person’s hair was cut off,” Glasso told the Huffington Post.
According to WXYZ-TV, the incident ocurred while Gregory was being held on charges of malicious destruction of police property and vandalism. Gregory said at the time that she woke up in a local hotel room, disoriented, and believed that she had been drugged at a party in Detroit, about 16 miles away the night before.
An internal review subsequently accused Najor of conduct unbecoming an officer, failing to foster public respect and cooperation, and unnecessary use of force, among other policy violations. The city also paid Gregory a $75,000 settlement and dropped the charges against her. Najor’s firing was not part of the settlement.
But Lynch ruled that Najor be rehired with back pay and benefits, saying her supervisors had carried out a biased investigation into the incident.
“To view the video without the benefit of an audio component and without carefully weighing the accounts of officers who were present does not reflect the reality of what occurred,” Lynch wrote in a 26-page decision. “The officers, who were interviewed separately, gave consistent accounts, agreeing that the prisoner was combative and resistant and their actions to control her did not involve the use of excessive force.”
The officers’ accounts ran counter to that of Capt. James Matheny, who conducted the department’s investigation. He testified that Gregory was not behaving aggressively at the time of the encounter.
The department said in a statement that it “strongly disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision.”
“The actions taken by the Warren Police Department were appropriate and required,” the statement read. “Despite that, this is a nation of laws, and even where we believe that an arbitrator’s decision is plainly wrong, we will follow it.”
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The incident, which took place on Saturday night, began when Quintero’s family called 911, saying Quintero was under the influence of alcohol and had threatened them with a knife at a party.
According to police, Quintero was “belligerent” and wouldn’t comply with the two officers who arrived at the scene eight minutes later, while seated in an SUV with his father, parked in front of the house.
“Sitting belligerently”? That’s a new one.
Ted McAdams and his wife live in the unit behind where the party was going on. They ran outside after they heard screaming. McAdams claims to have witnessed the tragic events leading up to the death of Quintero.
According to McAdams, Quintero was “trying to talk to the male officer with compliance” and “had his arms up until he got tasered, [when] his arms went down to his side.”
Multiple witnesses have stated that Quintero had his hands up and seemed to be compliant, until another officer employed a taser on him, subsequently causing Quintero to lower his hands, which then lead to Martin shooting him in the chest with an AR-15, according to KAKE.com.
Police claim Quintero reached toward an officer’s waistband, but McAdams refutes that statement, claiming that he saw the incident and never saw Quintero make such a move.
You silly witnesses. Everyone knows that your account of a situation is trumped by police officers. By default, they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
(don’t worry, I haven’t drunk the authoritarian Kool-Aid)
It must be noted, that claiming a person reached for an officer’s waistband/weapon, is one of the standard police refrains when attempting to justify use of deadly force in the killing unarmed citizens.
A former state school board member from Wichita and vice chairman of the city’s Racial Profiling Advisory Board, Walt Chappell, told the Wichita Eagle he had a feeling the officers “made a conscious decision to escalate rather than de-escalate.”
This seems to happen a lot in these officer involved shootings. Why don’t they ever work to de-escalate a situation?
The mere fact that the female officer walked up with a rifle “would indicate to me they were already loaded for bear,” Chappell said.
McAdams says he’s not alone in thinking this situation was taken too far.
“After that all the neighbors and I threw a little fit at the cops because I’ve got a wife and a newborn and the safety issue and not just that, the way the cops handled themselves.”
He added, “If he was told to do something, yeah he should’ve done it, but that officer had, to my advice and my suggestion, she shouldn’t have ever shot him.”
Another witness, Dustin Deckard, was driving home on Saturday afternoon when he witnessed a cop aiming her rifle at an unarmed man with his hands up.
“It was clearly a younger man in his early 20s of Hispanic descent, and he was wearing a blue jersey and he had his hands up,” said Deckard, referring to the Wichita Police.
“He was behind the SUV, and the female officer was mostly directly in front of him, a little bit to his left. Both the officers were on either side of him, but he was facing the female officer who had her rifle up, and she was looking down the sight.”
Deckard added, “It was very eerie, because the shooting must have occurred seconds after. When I passed, I slowed down, so I only got a couple seconds of a view.”
Chappell made a very clear point when he stated,
“You don’t go in ready to shoot first and ask questions later. There’s a lot of things you can do before you ever pull out a weapon.”
You do when you have an ‘us VS them’ attitude. Which a great many police officers in the U.S. appear to have.
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The incident happened on September 3, 2014 and was caught on film by a camera-equipped national guard helicopter.
The members of the task force intended to serve a search warrant to suspect, Timothy Whittle in regards to allegations over methamphetamine. When plainclothes officers arrived at his residence he fled in a black pickup truck, leading them on a long chase through a rural area.
The pursuit ends as Whittle exits his vehicle and then runs across a field. He is then seen turning and facing officers, with his hands up, and lies face down in surrender.
The first detective to reach him, sits on Whittle and waits for his partner. As the second detective runs up to the scene, he kicks Whittle’s head jerking it around violently.
When Whittle looks up, a few moments later, blood is pouring down his face.
According to the Kansas City Star, who obtained copies of the reports and court records under an open-records request, the video does not match the official account.
Shock & horror!
Dishonest law enforcement officials? That’s practically unheard of. If more incidents like this occur, the public might start distrusting members of law enforcement. Oh, wait…
The second officer to reach Whittle is detective Michael Chinn. As Chinn arrived he kicked Whittle in the head and with his knee on his neck, he pressed the taser against his back and fired.
“As I approached I observed the suspect Timothy Whittle continuing to turn his head and … attempting to resist by furtive movements,” Chinn wrote in his report. “While running I swiftly arrived next to the suspect and gave him a dry stun, and an application of a five second burst from the Taser in the center of his back to gain compliance and control. … At this time the suspect, Timothy Whittle, stop (sic) resisting.”
Detective Kip Bartlett was the other officer on the scene who originally sat on the surrendering man. His account also claimed Whittle was “resisting.”
“I ordered him to the ground,” Bartlett wrote. “Once on the ground I attempted to handcuff him. Whittle started stiffing his arms and kept pulling his right arm away. I was telling him to stop resisting.”
Neither one of the officers mentioned the brutal kick to the face of a subdued man in their reports.
Of course they didn’t mention that. They have a narrative they want people to accept, and facts like “oh and we also kicked the suspect in the face” kinda gets in the way of that.
“Officers are only to use that amount of force that is necessary and called for under the circumstances,” S. Rafe Foreman, a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who has filed several lawsuits against police departments after excessive-force incidents, told the Star.
“There was absolutely no circumstance in that video that would justify a violent kick to the suspect’s head,” Foreman said.
Clearly the force used by the officers in this case wasn’t excessive. It doesn’t matter that he had surrendered and was subdued. He was a drug dealer/user. That’s more than enough to violate his rights, no?
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In the latest case of petulant police officers and the unions that back them, Pittsburg Police Chief Cameron McLay is in the hotseat because he wants to challenge racism at work by ending ‘white silence’.
The photo swept across social media, and local police union president Howard McQuillan took the statement against racism as an affront to the entire police department, telling KDKA: “The chief is calling us racists. He believes the Pittsburgh Police Department is racist. This has angered a lot of officers.”
Actually, the Police Chief did NOT call his officers racists. He said he’d challenge racism at work. That’s not quite the same thing. That said, everyone has biases and prejudices. Plus there’s this thing called implicit racial bias, which can lead people to hold prejudicial beliefs about people of a particular race or ethnicity. No one is immune to implicit racial bias, no matter how well-meaning they think they are. This is something police departments across the country need to be educated on. Immediately.
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Former Philadelphia Police Officer Cheryl L. Stephens was sentenced Tuesday to three years’ probation for lying to a federal grand jury during a loan-sharking investigation.
Stephens, 48, a 10-year police veteran, gave false testimony about a $100 loan she got from another officer who was convicted in the same investigation.
Prosecutor Anthony Wzorek told U.S. District Judge Darnell Jones that after initially making false statements to the grand jury, Stephens helped the government make its case against codefendant Gary Cottrell.
A tearful Stephens apologized to the judge, her voice barely audible and repeatedly cracking.
Stephens pleaded guilty in March to lying to the grand jury in 2012, and afterward cooperated with the government.
Federal prosecutors contended that Cottrell, a 14-year police veteran, made “juice loans” between 2006 and 2011, using force and threats to collect the money.
Cottrell was convicted in November of obstruction of justice but acquitted of other charges.
In addition to giving Stephens probation, Jones ordered her to do 200 hours of community service work.