Police Brutality & Abuse Of Power
Any incident involving police either using excessive force or abusing their power or authority.
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(POPEYE) With the recent passing of author and friend Jim Marrs (August 2nd 2017) I decided to honor him by remastering the very first interview I did with Jim on air back in 2012 about his book RISE OF THE FOURTH REICH. This edition of DTRH originally aired back on 06-10-2012. I made an entire new video for YouTube with new images and cleaner audio in HD. I also made a new audio only version for the download archives and the audio player here on the site. Jim deserved at least this much. He was a good man, a great researcher, and my friend. Fair Winds And Following Seas Jim.
On this edition of DTRH Popeye talks to author and investigative journalist Jim Marrs. They cover Jim’s book RISE OF THE FOURTH REICH; 9/11; The New World Order Agenda; JFK’s Assassination; Hidden History of WW2; and much more.
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(FEDERALJACK) An innocent elderly woman’s home was raided by SWAT when she was suspected of using the internet to trash-talk and post threats toward the local police. In response, gun-wielding assailants breached her doors and windows in a violent search for electronic evidence. The hair-raising incident took place at the household of Louise Milan on Powell Street. It was the place where she and her husband had raised their six children, and had lived for three decades. On June 21, 2012, the solitude of the familial home was shattered — along with numerous doors and window panes.
(MIAMI HERALD) Miami-Dade cop Ralph Mata, the feds said Tuesday, protected cocaine smugglers, bought them firearms, doled out sensitive law enforcement intelligence and even concocted a detailed plot to murder rivals.
But Mata, 45, is no low-ranking uniformed patrolman – he is a lieutenant with internal affairs, tasked with rooting out corruption within his own department.
Federal authorities arrested Mata in Miami Gardens on Tuesday, stunning fellow officers, who described the longtime policeman as a straight-laced, low-key supervisor who has been with Miami-Dade’s Professional Compliance Bureau since March 2010.
Mata, who joined the department in 1992, will make an appearance in Miami federal court Wednesday morning. It was unknown Tuesday if he had a lawyer; the department’s union was not representing him.
A Miami-Dade police department spokesman declined to comment Tuesday.
The investigation was spearheaded by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, where Mata is now charged with a slew of federal counts, including aiding a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
In a criminal complaint that reads like a Hollywood script, the FBI portrayed Mata as a key player in a real-life cocaine smuggling ring that specialized in moving dope in produce pallets via countries such as Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. He called himself “The Milk Man.”
So far, authorities have seized at least 160 kilograms of cocaine from the unnamed drug smugglers.
Over two years, agents in the New Jersey field office say they pieced together Mata’s illicit moonlighting by combing through bank, airline and phone records, as well as secretly recording conversations and working with informants and other witnesses. His name was even found in a drug smuggler’s ledger of payoffs, which amounted to tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the complaint, the cocaine smugglers in 2011 asked Mata for help after they received threats from rival dealers. They considered planting drugs on them so police would arrest them. At least four times, Mata suggested “his contacts” could wear uniforms and badges, pull the rivals over as if conducting a traffic stop and shoot them dead.
Mata, the FBI said, even arranged to pay the killers $300,000 for two proposed hits. Though the smugglers decided against the plot, Mata even “traveled to New York to give the assassins a box of cigars” and $5,000 for their “willingness.”
He also purchased several firearms for the drug smugglers, using his contacts at Miami International Airport to send them to the Dominican Republic, according to the complaint. Twice, in October 2012 and January 2013, he flew to the island, carrying weapons and ammunition inside his carry-on suitcase.
The smugglers later reimbursed him for the costs of the weapons, according to the FBI. Agents traced the purchase of the rifles and pistols, which were later seized.
According to the complaint, Mata also used his access to law enforcement intelligence to help the smugglers. In January 2012, the dealers suspected a member of their own group had ripped them off of $419,000 in drug cash in Bergen County, N.J.
In fact, Mata told them, the money had been seized by Drug Enforcement Administration agents. He even provided the name of the DEA agent on the case.
After the seizure – and another DEA bust totaling $311,000 – Mata agreed to help move a future haul of dirty money himself, the complaint said. In July 2012, Mata and a drug smuggler who actually carried the cash flew from New York to the Dominican Republic.
The lieutenant was given $5,000 for the trip, the FBI said.
On another occasion, the drug dealers gave him a Rolex watch, valued at $10,000, for helping move money through JFK Airport in New York. Mata called an acquaintance at the airport “to ensure” the drug smuggler got through security without being stopped.
The escalation of his involvement only grew, according to FBI agents.
In early 2013, he suggested smuggling routes into Miami-Dade ports – he would specify when the U.S. Coast Guard was conducting training exercises and not actively patrolling the waters for illegal cargo. He even suggested he could accompany a shipment along with an ex-police dog.
If Mata were pulled over by fellow cops, he “would show his Miami-Dade Police Department badge and explain that he was traveling with the narcotics-detecting canine for a training course,” the complaint said.
(MIAMI HERALD) Willie Sams, studying to become a barber in a small Georgia town, was visiting his grandmother and father in Liberty City three weeks ago when he got into a confrontation with Miami-Dade police.
Just before 1 a.m. on Feb. 5, police responding to a domestic dispute call jolted Sams, 21, with an electronic control device, more commonly known as a Taser.
An hour later, doctors at Northshore Medical Center pronounced Sams dead.
“An encounter occurred between the officers and Mr. Sams. The officers deployed an electronic control device, striking Mr. Sams. MDFR [Miami-Dade Fire Rescue] was called to the scene and Mr. Sams was transported to North Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.” That is the police statement on the death — and all authorities will say.
Cause of death has yet to be determined by the county’s medical examiner. That office continues to wait on findings from blood work and a toxicology report. The investigation remains open.
Sams’ mother, 40-year-old Lagayla Bennett, said she spent more than a week in Miami retrieving her son’s body, and buried him last Saturday in Georgia. She said she repeatedly called detectives to try and learn what happened.
“To this day no one has called me to say my son passed,” Bennett said. “Now I’m trying to track down his driver’s license.”
Bennett said her son was 200 hours short of receiving a technical degree to cut and style hair, and had done music production work. She also said Sams had no medical issues. He lived in Palmetto, Ga., a tiny town in the state’s northwest corner with a population of less than 5,000.
The Miami-Dade medical examiner has never determined that a Taser, an electronic device that hits the subject with barbs that can release up to 50,000 volts of electricity, has been responsible for a death. The device has been used by South Florida police agencies for about a decade.
Often, death is blamed on a state of “excited delirium,” and agitated condition that medical experts say causes a persons heart to race.
Family members Sams had been staying with in Miami did not respond to requests for interviews. No one responded to a note left on the front door of the Liberty City townhome in the 1600 block of Northwest 75th Street, where the Feb. 5 incident took place.
Neighbors there said they weren’t even aware of Sams’ death.
Latawya Willingham, 37, lives next door to the townhome. She said she doesn’t know her neighbors, and that people in the neighborhood mostly keep to themselves.
She said a commotion on the morning of Sams’ death startled her, and she took a look out her upstairs window.
“I saw they Tasered him, it was late,” Willingham said. “He fell, so I knew they didn’t shoot him. He’s dead? I didn’t know that.”
Bennett, Sams’ mother, remains miffed at Miami-Dade police.
“No one, as of today, has called me to say my son passed.” she said.
(POLICE STATE USA) A disgusting scandal involving police officers performing illegal anal cavity searches with the intent to “degrade and humiliate” dozens and dozens of victims has come to an apparent conclusion, which some feel amounts to little more than a slap on the wrists for those involved.
Between February 2010 and February 2012, a small group of Milwaukee officers took part in a string of serial assaults on subjects pulled off the streets. In many cases, the officers demanded the subjects produce the drugs they assumed were being hidden somewhere on their person. When they were not satisfied with the cooperation from the subjects, an officer would jam his hand into the subject’s underpants, touch his genitals, and insert a finger into his anus on the side of the road. Some of the complaints stated that drugs were planted during these searches. At least one complainant was a juvenile, and one stated that he was fingered so hard that his anus bled afterwards.
The group’s ringleader was Milwaukee Officer Michael Vagnini, assisted primarily by three other officers; Jeffrey Dollhopf, Brian Kozelek and Jacob Knight. Although 7 officers and one supervisor were originally suspended, the four officers mentioned above were the men the district attorney felt had enough involvement to pursue legal actions against.
Officer Vagnini was the the one who directly performed the searches with his hand; the others were present and assisted with detaining the victims, holding them down, provided Vagnini cover while molested them, and then failed to report the crimes to superiors in the department.
A Pattern of Abuse
For two years the complaints piled up from the victims, with the knowledge of department superiors, including Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. The chief stated that the department had been aware of the behavior of his officers for “a couple of years,” but waited to investigate until the department recognized a pattern. One complainant said he notified the department of Vagnini’s abusive tactics as early as 2008.
Vagnini and his cohorts were assigned to Milwaukee’s District 5, and regularly pulled over drivers on a pretense of not wearing a seat belt or of having darkly tinted windows, followed by searches without a legal reason, according to prosecutors.
Finally, in October 2012, city officials felt charged the officers, and the public began to become aware of the stories. One case was described by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
In one case, a man had gone to check on his aunt’s house in the 3500 block of N. 10th St. When he came outside, his vehicle was surrounded by squad cars. Vagnini put his bare hand down the man’s pants, touched his scrotum and inserted fingers into his anus, the complaint says. When the man pulled away, Vagnini put him in a choke hold that caused him to slobber onto Vagnini’s arm. Vagnini repeatedly told him to “stop resisting” as he pulled back so hard on his neck his feet almost left the ground, the man said. Two other officers held his arms and one put a gun to his head, the complaint says.
Vagnini claimed he found crack cocaine inside the man’s anus, but the man insisted it “was not on him prior to the search,” the complaint says.
“When I got the cuffs on, he patted me down,” he told WISN-12 News. “But he rushed his hand. He rushed his hand up my butt.”
Another complaint describes a man being fingered so forcefully that his anus bled. From JSonline:
In another search, Vagnini conducted a traffic stop near N. 12th and W. Locust streets, the complaint says. Vagnini handcuffed the driver and asked him for “the drugs.” The defendant denied having drugs but actually had hidden drugs inside his anal cavity, according to the complaint.
Vagnini put the suspect in a choke hold from behind, released him and then stuck his gloved hand inside the defendant’s underwear, “shoving his fingers deeply into the defendant’s butt crack and possibly into the defendant’s anus,” the complaint says.
The man was screaming, and as a result of Vagnini’s actions the man was bleeding from the anal area for several days, the complaint says.
And the stories kept coming forward.
Robert Mann, 55, contends that Police Officer Michael Vagnini stopped him as he was walking near N. 31st St. and Atkinson Ave. in June 2011 and without probable cause, pulled down Mann’s pants and put his hand in Mann’s rectum “in an unsafe, unhygienic, and intentionally humiliating fashion.” No drugs were recovered from Mann.
[A] juveinile, identified as K.F., was 15 when he was riding in a friend’s car that was stopped by police on N. 26th St. in December 2011. According to the suit, he was ordered out of the car before Vagnini reached into the teen’s pants, touching his genitalia and his anus while Police Officer Jacob Knight watched.
In July 2009, Chavies Hoskin, 28, was stopped while driving on N. 13th St. Vagnini reached into Hoskin’s pants and pulled a bag of cocaine from Hoskin’s anal area, while Sgt. Jason Mucha and Officer Thomas Maglio watched. Hoskin was charged with the delivery of cocaine. His suit contends that the officers lied in reports, and that Vagnini also falsely testified under oath about how and where he found the cocaine.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzed the cases of at least 13 victims as of August 2013.
Keon Canada was pulled over five times during the summer of 2011 and subjected to butt-cheek searches four times, and that officers opened the front of his pants another time. No drugs were found during any of the stops.
A plaintiff identified only as R.P. contends he was twice subjected to improper searches of his anal areas by former officer Michael Vagnini without probable cause, and the during one of stops Vagnini took his watch, despite another officer’s warning “you can’t do that.” R.P. said that when he went to the District Five station immediately following the incident to reclaim his watch and file a complaint, he was denied a complaint form and his watch and warned that police would report him to the FBI.
Someone identified only as M.C.claims he was stopped and illegally searched three times in 24 hours during the summer of 2011. No drugs were found. In December 2011 and January 2012, M.C. contends he was again stopped by Vagnini and other officers and on both occasions was struck in the face by Vagnini before being pulled out of a car, held on the ground and subjected to a forceful penetration of his anus.
The suit lists three stops of Walter Coleman and buttock searches by Vagnini, including one where Vagnini first put on rubber gloves. In most of the cases, victims said Vagnini used his his bare hands or would pull their underwear up tight, as if doing a wedgie, then use the underwear as a shield between his hand and the anal area. The lawsuit says during the gloved incident, Coleman asked Vagnini if he had a search warrant, and the officer laughed.
James Ashford claims he was subjected to six illegal searches over a six month period starting in the summer of 2011. At one point, he, his mother and other relatives met with a District Five lieutenant to complain that Ashford was being harassed. According to the lawsuit, the lieutenant told Ashford he should stay out of certain neighborhoods, and never acknowledged that the officers’ actions, including the warrant-less, public rectal searches, were inappropriate, or that the officers would be investigated or disciplined.
After the long official silence, Police Chief Ed Flynn made public condemnations of the charged officers. “Quite frankly, I’m disgusted by the willful actions by some of the officers in our Police Department. And I’m appalled by the willful inaction of some other officers in our police department in failing to stop egregious conduct,” said Flynn.
In October 2012, the following charges were levied:
- against Michael Vagnini, 25 charges including a sexual assault charge;
- against Jeffrey Dollhopf, 3 felony counts of misconduct in public office, 1 felony count of false imprisonment, 1 count of being a party to an illegal cavity search, and 1 count of being a party to an illegal strip search;
- against Jacob Knight, 1 count of misconduct in public office and 1 count of being a party to the crime of an illegal cavity search;
- against Brian Kozelek, 2 count of misconduct in public office, 1 count of false imprisonment, and 1 count of being a party to the crime of an illegal strip search.
“Everybody involved has been on the force long enough to know better. There’s no way you can justify it as some kind of inadvertent mistake. The allegations are proven beyond a reasonable doubt and show inexcusable conduct,” Chief Flynn stated in a press conference.
Wisconsin law prohibits police officers from ever being involved in body cavity searches, regardless of probable cause. This kind of abuse is delegated to professionals like doctors and nurses, according toWisconsin Statute § 968.255 (3). And they may be only performed after a search warrant has been obtained.
Not only were the searches illegal according to the Wisconsin legislature, they clearly should be classified as rape according to the DOJ.
Rape is: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
This seemed to be acknowledged by the prosecution. “I know Michael Vagnini understood the sexual undertones of what was going on,” Assistant District Attorney Miriam Falk said. “It was intended to degrade and humiliate them, and that’s what makes it a sexual assault.” She said while Vagnini may not obtained sexual gratification from penetrating his victims’ anuses, the victims felt violated nonetheless.
Yet as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop the sexual assault charges since Vagnini agreed to plead no contest to four felony charges and four misdemeanors. Vagnini will no longer have to register as a sex offender.
In fact, all of the perpetrators were given plea deals and given light sentences.
Officer Jeffrey Dollhopf, 42, will face a $300 fine and and was ordered to 100 hours of community service for his involvement in the assaults. Since he pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct as a party to the crime, most of his charges were wiped out. As part of his deal, he agreed to resign from the department. He spent one full year on paid leave from the department.
Officer Brian Kozelek, 34, was given a similar deal. After a full year of paid vacation, he now faces a $300 fine and a mere 20 hours community service. He also agreed to voluntarily resign his position at the department.
Officer Jacob Knight, 32, will actually face a small amount of jail time. He was sentenced to 20 days in the House of Correction, a $300 fine and 60 hours of community service after an extended amount of paid time off.
As for Officer Michael Vagnini, his record of molesting innocent people, illegal detainment, illegal searches, penetrating orifices for fun, framing people with false evidence and ruining their lives has come to a close. After terrorizing his community for years in a most disgusting and egregious way, he will face just over 2 years behind bars — 26 months.
Do these sentences restore faith in the justice system and the Milwaukee Police Department, as some claim?
Attorney Jonathan Safran, representing some of the victims, said he’s “tired of the excuses” about training and supervision. “… The concern is that it goes beyond just these officers. We have allegations of a number of other officers in a number of other districts doing some of the same kinds of things.” Of the sentencing of Officer Knight, Safran said, ”I’m not sure if it’s strong enough.”
Vagnini’s own lawyer said Vagnini’s aggressive tactics were no secret within the department and the court system, saying the whole system encouraged and rewarded his crime fighting tactics to get drugs off the streets. “He’s left holding the bag for everybody,” Michael Steinle told the court, citing Vagnini’s dedication to fighting crime.
If what the defense and prosecuting attorneys say is true, the corruption in Milwaukee may go a lot deeper than just the 4 officers who have been officially charged. A deeper cleaning of the department may be in order, and only the Milwaukee mayor can see that it happens. His contact information is provided below.
One of the ironies of this story is that sadistic, violent freaks who physically abuse the public are given lighter sentences than many of the very people whose lives were ruined and were dragged into cages for the crime of possessing arbitrary plants and substances, harming no one but themselves.
And why should twisted individuals get lighter sentences for these acts due to their wearing a badge and a uniform? If a gang of strange men approaches a person, accosts them, threatens them with violence, detains them against their will, and penetrates their orifices with parts of their bodies, that should be considered rape or sexual assault, and those involved should be considered accomplices. That’s what would happen to a normal person without a badge. “Official misconduct” is only the tip of the iceberg for these monsters.
It should be noted that even if a few corrupt cops are no longer a part of the police force, the very same oppressive and unjust drug laws remain in place for future cops to abuse and destroy innocent, non-violent lives with. There’s a lot to be disturbed with after reading this case, and the problems will not go away without serious overhaul of the department, the laws, and the legal system itself.
(RT) A 17-year-old high school student who wanted to be a US Marine was fatally shot by Georgia police officers who mistook the video game controller in his hand for a weapon, the lawyer representing his family says.
Christopher Roupe was preparing to watch a movie when two police officers showed up at the door to execute a probation violation against his father, according to his family.
Euharlee Police Chief Terry Hagert also stated that two officers arrived at the home on Friday night. When Roupe answered the door, the female officer believed he was pointing a gun at her and fired a single shot at the young man. The police refused to reveal the names of the officers that responded to the scene.
Roupe was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in high school and has friends who he helped at school.
“He was a good kid. He always hung out with me and he took up for me,” friend William Corson told WSB-TV.
A funeral for Roupe is scheduled for Friday, just one day before what would have been his 18th birthday. The young man planned to join the Marines after graduating from high school.
Neighbor Ken Yates told reporters he heard the gunshot and saw the female officer seconds after.
“This is tragic. She came out of this house. She put her head in her hands and she was sobbing,” he said. “Supposedly, he opened the door with a BB gun.”
Chief Harget declined to identify the officer involved in order to protect her privacy, but referred all questions to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is running the probe into the incident. The officer has been placed on administrative leave – the standard measure when an officer is involved in a shooting.
Roupe’s family plans to file a lawsuit against the department, with attorney Cole Law saying the story simply “doesn’t add up.”
“We don’t know where that statement came from,” he said. “The eyewitness on the scene clearly stated that he had a Wii controller in his hand. He heard a knock at the door. He asked who it was, there was no response so he opened the door and upon opening the door he was immediately shot in the chest.”
Euharleee is a bedroom community of Cartersville, Georgia, with a population of under 5,000 people at the time of the 2010 US Census. Roupe was a senior at Woodland High School.
(MIAMI HERALD) Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Donna Jane Watts was on routine patrol early one morning when a Miami police car whizzed past at speeds that would eventually top 120 mph. Even with her blue lights flashing and siren blaring, it took Watts more than seven minutes to pull the speeder over.
Not certain who was behind the wheel, she approached the car warily, with gun drawn, according video from her cruiser’s dashboard camera. “Put your hands out of the window! Right now!” she yelled. It turned out the driver was Miami Police Department officer Fausto Lopez, in full uniform. Watts holstered her gun but still handcuffed him and took his weapon.
“I apologize,” Lopez said, explaining that he was late for an off-duty job.
“You were running 120 miles an hour!” Watts barked back.
That October 2011 confrontation made national headlines and eventually got Lopez fired. But Watts’ actions involving a fellow officer didn’t sit well with many in law enforcement, and not long after she made that traffic stop, she says, the harassment began. Random telephone calls on her cell phone. Some were threats and some were prank calls, including orders for pizza. Unfamiliar vehicles and police cars sat idling in her cul-de-sac. She was afraid to open her mailbox.
Watts suspected her private driver’s license information was being accessed by fellow officers, so she made a public records request with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It turned out she was right: over a three-month period, at least 88 law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies accessed Watts’ driver’s license information more than 200 times, according to her lawyer.
Law enforcement officers have long been known to band together and protect each other, but Watts said in her lawsuit that these actions went too far.
Watts is suing those police agencies and the individual officers under the federal Driver Privacy Protection Act, a 1994 law that provides for a penalty of $2,500 for each violation if the information was improperly accessed. Watts’ attorney, Mirta Desir, said it’s clear most of the officers had no legitimate reason to look up her data. If all the searches were found illegal, Watts could receive more than $500,000.
“Ultimately what it comes down to is a violation of privacy,” Desir said. “It wasn’t for any legitimate purpose on the part of the police officers and it was done by people in a position of trust.”
According to court documents, most of the individual officers named in Watts’ lawsuit did face some disciplinary action, usually a written reprimand. But lawyers for the agencies have asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that under the U.S. Constitution, Congress cannot hold police officers liable for merely accessing the information, but only if they try to sell it. And some claim they did have a legitimate reason.
For example, a lawyer for fellow state Trooper Andrew Cobb said in court papers that he accessed Watts’ information after “hearing rumors that other troopers were threatening” her and that his actions were done “out of concern for a fellow trooper” and as “a matter of public safety.” Under Highway Patrol policy, employees typically are not permitted to comment on legal matters.
The challenge by some Florida police agencies to the driver’s license law has drawn the attention of the U.S. Justice Department, which is defending its constitutionality. In its own court November filing, the Justice Department insists that numerous courts have held that Congress can regulate such activity even if the items involved aren’t being sold.
“There is value in drivers’ information and a market for it,” the Justice Department lawyers said. “What the defendants fail to recognize is that there is value in drivers’ information whether or not it is actually sold.”
The legal clash over Watts’ lawsuit comes as some police agencies are seeking changes in the driver’s license law itself. Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Agencies, said law enforcement officials are concerned that lawyers are using the law to target individual officers who access the information. He noted that the $2,500 penalty per violation can add up quickly.
“In our view, it was not what the federal law was enacted to counteract,” Johnson said. “I think it would be unfair and outside the scope of the legislation to think individuals would get whacked like that.”
NAPO is lobbying Congress to remove the automatic $2,500 penalty and change the law so that a violation could only occur if there was “specific intent to secure an economic benefit,” according to the organization’s documents.
Desir, the attorney representing Watts, said anyone can ask the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for a report — known as D.A.V.I.D., for Driving and Vehicle Information Database — on who has accessed their driver’s license information and how many times. But it isn’t easy.
“You don’t even know you’ve been looked up unless you make a concerted effort to find out,” she said.
A judge is expected to rule on the law enforcement agency and officers’ motions to dismiss in the coming weeks, which will determine whether the lawsuit continues. Desir said Watts, who had been assigned to road patrol in Broward County, has relocated and is no longer driving a cruiser, although she still works for the Highway Patrol. Through Desir, Watts declined to be interviewed.
“She’s doing OK,” Desir said.