Police Behaving Badly 2.9.15

If a cop were to punch a 13-year-old student with a closed fist, resulting in the student being knocked to the floor, one would think the student did something incredibly egregious. Brutally beating another student perhaps. Bringing a weapon such as a knife or a gun to school maybe. Cutting in line at the cafeteria?  Not a good reason at all to punch a child. Unless you are former Louisville Metro Police Department officer Jonathan Hardin.

Jonathan Hardin, 31, a sworn LMPD officer who worked as a school resource officer at Olmstead Academy North, is accused of assaulting two students at the school on two days in January. According to the warrant, both incidents are captured on surveillance video.

The first incident, according to his arrest warrant, took place Jan. 22 when he allegedly hit a 13-year-old student in the face with a closed fist, knocking him to the floor.

The reason? According to paperwork filed, the student cut in line in the cafeteria.

The school resource officer cited the student with menacing and resisting arrest.

Five days later, on Jan. 27, Hardin was accused of putting a 13-year-old in a choke hold, causing him to lose consciousness. He later allegedly handcuffed the student instead of getting him medical treatment then drove him home not telling his parents what happened.

Dr. Bill Smock concluded the choke hold caused a brain injury to the student creating a great risk of death to the child.

“They’re very serious charges,” said Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, “One of them carries 10 to 20 years in the penitentiary, it’s assault first degree.”

Clay said the current charges against the officer are consistent with what his clients experienced in the summer of 2014, when Hardin was working at the Gentleman’s Academy, a program that was a joint effort between LMPD and the University of Louisville.

Clay is suing Hardin, Officer Clayton Reeves and Colonel Yvette Gentry on behalf of a 14-year-old and his mother.

I wonder what explanation, if any, Hardin offered for his use of excessive force. His response to a 13-year-old cutting in line brings to mind the NYPD’s racially biased Broken Windows policy. The policy basically states that policing lower tier crimes like jumping tolls, trespassing, or vandalism creates an environment of law and order, thus preventing more serious crimes from occurring. Looking at Hardin’s actions through the lens of the Broken Windows style of policing, stopping a teenager from cutting in line makes some degree of sense (although I’m not convinced that Broken Windows policing is an effective deterrent to more serious forms of crime). What doesn’t make sense is punching the kid! But then many police officers across the country often have anger management issues and many of them are far too quick to make use of excessive force. It’s almost like they’re not being trained to serve and protect, but to treat civilians like wartime combatants or something!

* * * *

This next example of bad behavior comes from a Coast Guard officer, rather than a police officer, but it’s in keeping with the idea of uniformed people in positions of power behaving badly.

A Coast Guard member shot two colleagues at a Cape Cod condo complex early Thursday, lit a car on fire to hamper police, planted fake bombs and then opened fire on officers, authorities said.

The episode, which police chief in the town of Bourne called “crazy and hectic,” left one woman dead, another woman and an officer wounded, and the suspect in custody.

Coast Guard spokesman Ross Ruddell said both women involved were stationed on Cape Cod, while the suspected gunman was a man stationed in Virginia. Ruddell said he could not disclose their names or how they knew each other.

The man set a vehicle on fire to block the only road into the condo complex and set up devices resembling bombs, authorities said. The state police bomb squad examined the devices and determined they were all fakes that contained no explosives, Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said.

The suspect was taken into custody at gunpoint about a half hour after the 2:15 a.m. attack.

What started as a response to reports of a vehicle on fire turned into a “crazy and hectic scene,” Bourne police Chief Dennis Woodside said. He said police also received a 911 call from one of the victims from inside a condo.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe called the shooting of the officer “an ambush.” Officers made their way around the burning vehicle on foot and were pinned down by gunfire.

The wounded officer, shot in the back below his bulletproof vest, took cover between two vehicles, his colleagues unable to reach him. Woodside described the officer as a veteran with at least 10 years of service.

The officer lay wounded for about 15 minutes before the suspect was arrested. Even then, police remained wary because they were not aware if there were other gunmen.

Two colleagues grabbed the officer and carried him through the woods and snow so he could be taken to the hospital, where he was stabilized and improving, the chief said.

Just after 2:45 a.m., after police apprehended the suspect, officers made their way to the unit where they found the two women who had been shot, one fatally.

* * * *

San Francisco cop caught choking a sleeping hospital patient, then falsely arresting him

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy is facing four felony charges and a misdemeanor after he randomly assaulted a sleeping patient at S.F. General Hospital and then lied about it.

The 33-year old deputy, Michael R. Lewelling, filed an official police report in November of this year claiming that the victim had assaulted him with a wooden cane. The victim was then arrested and charged with a felony and a misdemeanor.

However, surveillance footage of the assault shows that it was Lewelling that approached a sleeping man, and actually assaulted him.

According to KRON4, District Attorney George Gascón says the surveillance tape:

“depict(s) the victim hunched over in a chair sleeping in the Emergency Room’s waiting area, awaiting a doctor’s appointment later that day. Deputy Lewelling approaches the victim as he is starting to wake up.

He subsequently appears to engage in a conversation with the victim, at which point the victim slowly stands up, using a cane for assistance. Once up, he attempts to take a step towards the exit. While the victim is attempting to walk away, the defendant grabs the back of his collar, pulling him back into the seat and knocking his cane away.

The victim never raised his cane in a threatening manner. A few seconds later, he appears to grab the victim’s throat and begins to choke him. The battery continued, and the victim was then placed under arrest.”

After reviewing the surveillance footage, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Lewelling for perjury, filing a false police report, filing a false instrument and assault under the color of authority. He also faces a misdemeanor count of battery.

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Family asks cops to check on 74-year-old vet after surgery, and they break in and kill him

Gastonia police Chief Robert Helton explained at a press conference on Sunday that a family member had asked officers to check on James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Helton said that Allen’s family had asked for the welfare check because the 74-year-old veteran had recently undergone surgery.

An officer first visited Allen’s home at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, but there was no answer.

Gastonia police then contacted the Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services at 11:30 p.m. and a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance,” Helton said.

According to the chief, Gastonia police Officer Josh Lefevers announced himself before coming through the backdoor of the home, but Allen was pointing a gun at officers when they entered.

“He was challenged to lower the gun down,” Helton insisted. “The gun was pointed in the direction of the officers, and a shot was fired that fatally wounded him.”

The shooting left Allen’s family demanding answers.

“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Allen’s brother-in-law, Robert Battle, told WSOC.

Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen’s, said that his first reaction would have been to “grab a gun too.”

“You kicked the man’s door in,” Thompson remarked. “He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”

Sister Mary Battle said that she understood that police were probably frightened, but she pointed that her brother “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Helton told reporters that the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation had been asked to investigate the shooting. The Gastonia Police Department followed its standard procedure for officer involved shootings and placed Lefevers on administrative leave.

Allen was African-American…

* * * *

In a team-up between Police Behaving Badly and Irresponsible Gun Owners, a Mississippi couple is seeking help from the FBI because local police officers drew a gun on their 6-year-old autistic son.

Angela Thompson Roby said the incident happened while officers from the Ridgeland Police Department were executing a search warrant on Friday against her 23-year-old brother, Carneigio Gray, inside their mother’s home.

“My son was telling the police officers to stop, to not do that, please don’t hurt his uncle,” she told WBRC. “That’s when the guns were drawn on him and my mother was telling them, ‘Hey please don’t point your gun at my grandbaby. Please don’t do that.’”

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that, according to police, they called for backup when Gray resisted arrest. He had a warrant for contempt of court after he failed to appear to answer drug paraphernalia charges from three years ago.

Roby and her husband have contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Attorney General’s office. But a police spokesperson, Lt. John Neal, said the couple had not filed a complaint with the department.

“We’ve got policies and procedures for citizens to file complaints, and there are channels that are in place for citizens to lodge complaints with us to where they can be investigated,” Neal told the Clarion-Ledger. “If this family feels they’ve been wronged, our doors are open. We’d be happy to talk to them.”

I wonder why this BLACK family didn’t contact their local police department about this. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the perception on the part of many African-Americans that police are racist and untrustworthy. No. It must be something else.

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Police Behaving Badly 2.9.15
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