Great News – Except the Part where We the People have to pay for cop’s abuse. Let this be a lesson to us all, and feel free to take this case before your local City Councils – Use is as a WARNING for not managing local police.
The City of Oakland has agreed to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement to Scott Olsen, the 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran who was critically wounded by Oakland Police on the night of October 25, 2011 during a chaotic confrontation between law enforcement and Occupy Oakland demonstrators. Police had evicted the Occupy Oakland encampment from Frank Ogawa Plaza that morning, prompting thousands of people to return to downtown that afternoon.
Olsen, who is now 26 years old and has permanent brain damage, was struck in the head by a shotgun-fired beanbag that consisted of lead birdshot wrapped in cloth. At the time, he was standing about 15 feet from police barricades at 14th Street and Broadway. The firing of the beanbag round was a blatant violation of OPD’s own crowd control policy. Then, while Olsen lay on the ground, an Oakland cop lobbed a “flashbang” grenade into a crowd of people who had rushed in to help the wounded veteran. Video of a dazed and bleeding Olsen being carried to safety by fellow demonstrators went around the world within hours. Occupy Oakland retook the plaza the following day and led a demonstration of thousands that shut down the Port of Oakland on November 2, 2011.
In 2012, this reporter and independent investigator Jacob Crawford identified Robert Roche as the Oakland police officer who lobbed the CS “flashbang” grenade” toward a prone Olsen and the group of people who rushed to his aid (Full disclosure: Jacob Crawford worked as an investigator for Olsen’s attorneys Jim Chanin and Rachel Lederman in this case. This reporter was not involved in the lawsuit). OPD fired Roche for his actions, but he is challenging the termination in arbitration. The Oakland police officer who shot Olsen has still not been identified, according to court documents.
“I’m grateful this is over,” Scott Olsen told me in a recent interview. “It’s been very difficult to think about or plan for a future during this lawsuit.” Olsen, whose current medical expenses are more than $200,000, said he is relieved that his injuries were not worse. After the shooting, he temporarily lost his ability to speak and to perform basic motor functions, and while he has improved significantly during therapy, his memory, concentration, and speech are still impaired. Olsen said he hopes OPD discontinues the use of flashbang grenades and less-than-lethal beanbags so no else gets injured liked he did. To this day, being at the intersection of 14th and Broadway makes him uncomfortable, as does being around police. “When I talk to police now, most of the time I’m shaking inside,” he said.
- Ali Winston
- Scott Olsen said he hopes that OPD will stop using beanbag rounds and flashbang grenades.
OPD’s response to Occupy Oakland on the night of October 25, 2011 was the subject of heavy scrutiny by both former compliance director Tom Frazier and Independent Court Monitor Robert Warshaw. In addition, an officer from OPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, which was tasked with investigating the Olsen incident, was accused of compromising the case in 2012. In Frazier’s report, he called into question the veracity of the Tango Team officers who unleashed the barrage of less-than-lethal munitions into the crowd of demonstrators. The officers claimed they did not see Olsen fall or the flashbang that was tossed at him. “After review of hours of video footage involving the injured party (who appears to be approximately 15-25 feet in front of the police skirmish line when he was struck and fell to the ground), the fact that no law enforcement officer, supervisor, or commander observed the person falling down or prostrate in the street during the confrontation was unsettling and not believable,” Frazier wrote in his report.
Tango Team officers commanded by Sergeant Roland Holmgren in particular were singled out for submitting use of force reports from October 25, 2011 that were alarmingly similar in their statement that they did not see Olsen lying in front of the barricade, the people who came to his assistance, or the flashbang grenade that was thrown toward them.
Then-City Administrator Deanna Santana attempted to redact portions of Frazier’s report that concerned details of OPD’s misconduct surrounding October 25, 2011, including criticisms of OPD’s inadequate planning before the October 25 raid on Occupy Oakland; the use of internal affairs officers during the raid, some of whom would later investigate complaints against OPD; failures by the department to follow its own crowd-control policy; a seriously mishandled criminal investigation into the wounding of Scott Olsen; revelations that Olsen was gravely wounded by a beanbag round identical to the ones used by OPD that evening; and serious misgivings from OPD officers who told Frazier’s team about the department’s lax attitude toward misconduct and discipline.
Although OPD’s crowd control policy was recently revised as part of the Spalding et al v. Oakland settlement for a November 2010 mass arrest of Oscar Grant protesters, the department still has CS tear gas, blast grenades, and less-than-lethal beanbags as part of its crowd control arsenal. Other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, such as the San Francisco Police Department, do not use tear gas.
A press conference is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Update 11 a.m.: The Oakland City Attorney’s Office said in a statement this morning that the city will pay $1.8 million of the settlement with Scott Olsen, and that the city’s insurance carrier will pay the rest of the $4.5 million.
It is not just all about the money…..
New York police attack unemployed workers in Tompkins Square, 1874
You might not know it from watching TV news, but FBI statistics show that crime in the U.S.—including violent crime—has been trending steadily downward for years, falling 19% between 1987 and 2011. The job of being a police officer has become safer too, as the number of police killed by gunfire plunged to 33 last year, down 50% from 2012, to its lowest level since, wait for it, 1887, a time when the population was 75% lower than it is today.
So why are we seeing an ever increasing militarization of policing across the country?
Given the good news on crime, what are we to make of a report by the Justice Polivcy Institute, a not-for-profit justice reform group, showing that state and local spending on police has soared from $40 billion in 1982 to more than $100 billion in 2012. Adding in federal spending on law enforcement, including the FBI, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Agency and much of the Homeland Security Department budget, as well as federal grants to state and local law enforcement more than doubles that total. A lot of that money is simply pay and benefits. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the ranks of state and local law enforcement personnel alone swelled from 603,000 to 794,000 between 1992 and 2010. That’s about two-thirds as many men and women as the entire active-duty US military.
What these statistics make clear is that policing in America is ramping up even as the crime rate is falling.
To the advocates of militarized policing, this just proves that more and better-armed cops are the answer to keeping the peace. But former corrections officer Ted Kirkpatrick, like many experts in the field, warns against jumping to this conclusion: “Police will of course say crime is down because of them,” he tells WhoWhatWhy, “but they have a vested interest in saying that.”
Kirkpatrick has the credentials and training to look beyond statistics and simplistic answers to the underlying social forces at work here. In addition to his years of law enforcement experience, he is a homicide expert in the Department of Clinical Sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and Co-Director of the university’s Justiceworks program, a think-tank specializing in law enforcement and justice issues.
“When something goes sour, like an increase in crime,” Kirkpatrick says, “everyone looks for a way to explain why. Yet when things go well, like this long-term fall in the crime rate, nobody bothers to look at why.”
Surprising Reasons for Drop in Crime Rate
Militarized “pro-active” policing may have had some effect on the drop in crimes in the US. But Kirkpatrick says, “I don’t think it’s the big thing.” Crime is down even in many cities where police forces have been cut for budget reasons, and experts agree that the decline in crime began before the militarization of policing really started to take off.
Other factors likely play a bigger role. One is increased immigration since, contrary to common belief, communities with greater numbers of immigrant families show the biggest drops in crime thanks to those families’ “stronger social fabric.” Another factor is an aging population—older people commit fewer violent crimes.
So what’s behind the push to put more police on our streets, with ever more impressive military equipment, while training them to behave like occupying troops in Iraq or Afghanistan?
One might assume that the militarization of American law enforcement began after the national trauma of 9/11. But, in fact, its roots go back decades earlier, when media stories in the 1970s created the impression that the nation was awash in illegal drugs.
An aroused Congress passed a “no-knock” law in 1970. The law allowed police to conduct drug searches and arrests by entering homes without first presenting a warrant. President Nixon’s declaration of his War on Drugs a year later led to an exponential increase in warrantless drug searches, with an inevitable emphasis on military-style policing.
SWAT team actions soared from hundreds annually in the 1970s to thousands a year in the ‘80s to 40,000 a year by 2005, according to a report by the libertarian CATO institute. The author of that report, and academic experts studying the issue, now estimate there may have been as many as 70,000-80,000 such raids in 2013 alone. Hard figures are not available: the Justice Department does not keep records on SWAT-team usage.
The 9/11 Effect
On top of the increase triggered by Nixon’s War on Drugs, President George W. Bush’s War on Terror in aftermath of 9/11 gave a dramatic boost to the militarization of American police forces.
“There has been a clear escalation of violence by police, particularly since 9/11,” says Brigitt Keller, who heads up the National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild. “The willingness of police to use very harsh measures against people has definitely increased.”
READ THE REST AT – Who What Why
So, the Feds expect citizens to “play by the rules”… but they don’t?
Uh huh, we’re learning.
Might as well replace ATF on those uniforms with SS.
“Just doing our job, sir.”
Yep… keep it up, and soon you’ll find defenders of liberty being forced to do theirs.
Ares Armor sells what are called “80% lower receivers” to allow a buyer to make his own AR-15 rifle. According to federal law,”The term ‘firearm’” includes “the frame or receiver of” a weapon, but one that is only 80 percent complete does not fall under that category.
When ATF agents began nosing around Ares Armor and started asking questions, the store obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the agency from seizing its product line and customer list. A hearing was scheduled for March 20 to litigate the issue.
However, on Saturday, ATF agents raided Ares pursuant to an ex parte order — an order obtained without notice to the other party, in this case Ares — and did just what Ares feared, according to the amateur video below.
In ATF’s ex parte application dated Friday, the agency alleged that it “is conducting a lawful criminal investigation of the illegal manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession of AR-15 variant lower receivers, which are considered firearms under the Firearms Control Act.”
What the agency’s application failed to mention, however, was that none of the items were a complete product — they were “80% lower receivers,” which remove them from the “firearm” definition to be classified as “parts.”
In August, U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., introduced HR 2910, the “Gun Violence Prevention and Reduction Act,” which would define “80% lower receivers” as firearms.
Unless and until that bill is passed into law, ATF had no business making Saturday’s raid. If they claim that the receivers seized don’t meet the definition of an “80% lower receiver,” the issue is one that should more probably be litigated in the courts before raiding a lawful business and seizing everything in sight.
This really bugs me… I have to emphasize again… the guys who put on SS uniforms… the ones who guarded the gate at Auschwitz were just the neighbor down the street… the guy who coached the community soccer team… the man who oversaw the town festival each year. But because they valued something more than principle—elevated “obeying orders” to a higher place than obeying God… Hell visited earth.
Federal employees have got to stop their short-term thinking, and read and re-read our Founding documents. Otherwise, Hell is going to visit the earth again very soon, and its acolytes will be wearing U.S. insignias.
This is how tyranny rises… guys with Federal paychecks just doing what they’re told—and violating their oath to the Constitution in the process.
Read more at Political Outcast
A number of East Williamsburg and Bushwick residents were surprised by a combined federal and NYPD raid on Devoe Street early Sunday morning. Some were disturbed by a loud, low-flying helicopter, while others were simply stopped from going home because the street was blocked off.
Witnesses spotted a big Department of Homeland Security truck as well as DHS agents toting machine guns as they raided 221 Devoe Street. The NYPD was also involved, and one officer told a resident that the bust turned up “kilos of heroin.” (Apparently the drugs may have been from out of the country, hence DHS.)
A resident in a neighboring building told us that he and his partner “were utterly confused and frankly terrorized…I literally had a flashlight-gun pointed at me from a sniper on top of the black armored truck the first time I opened our window to see what was going on.”
The neighbor added, “What woke us up was a cop yelling ‘POLICE!’ outside and hearing some sort of scream. Then I noticed the flashing lights of the armored black truck so I peeped out the window. There were two snipers on top of the armored truck with flashlight-guns and one of them pointed at me immediately. If I was them and I was doing my job, I probably would have pointed it at me, too, but at the same I wasn’t even in the building they were looking at. He immediately pointed it away but needless to say, I was terrified because I could have been picked off instantly. Then in our backyard we noticed the helicopter lighting it all up. After about 20 minutes, all the armed guards made it to the backyard of 221 Devoe and were pointing their flashlight-guns everywhere.”
The Department of Homeland Security told us, “Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations assisted local authorities with a search warrant in an ongoing investigation. Because the investigation is ongoing, we will decline to elaborate.” The NYPD had no comment when we contacted them yesterday.
Read MORE at Gothamist
A driver recorded his stop during a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, TN and uploaded the video to YouTube. By this evening, just hours after it was posted, it had more than 190,000 views. The driver wrote on his YouTube page that the DUI checkpoint happened in Murfreesboro and the deputy told him “it is okay to take away my freedom.” The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating the video. “The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing this incident,” spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni wrote in an email. “We are looking into the matter to determine if there are any policy or procedure violations.” Our sister station, WKRN, attempted to contact the driver who uploaded the video to YouTube. He did not immediately respond.
A chilling video of Maryland police silencing an innocent student who was recording the arrests of two other people has civil libertarians outraged.
The arrests were made at night on the streets of Towson, Maryland. A University of Maryland-Baltimore County student who witnessed the arrests decided to record them using his cell phone. The student, 21-year-old Sergio Gutierrez, was soon approached by officers who objected — wrongly — to his actions.
Gutierrez repeatedly told the officers that he knew he had the right to film them, but the cops were prepared to use any excuse to shut him down. First they told him that he was hampering their investigation, even though he was standing well enough away while the arrests were being made.
The cops told him that he was diverting their attention and that he had to leave. When Gutierrez persisted, they told him that he would be arrested if he did not stop recording.
“I thought I had freedom of speech here,” he said.
The cop’s answer? “You don’t. You just lost it. Walk away and keep your mouth shut.”
Police shoved Gutierrez, told him to “shut your fucking mouth,” and eventually forced him to leave the area.
Many of the people who watched the video were disturbed by the officers’ behavior. So too was the Baltimore County police department, which has launched an investigation, according to WBALTV-11.
Gutierrez told local news that he was glad he recorded the incident. Police may have acted even worse if they knew the camera was off, he said.
COLUMBIA, SC — Two secretly recorded phone conversations involving the Columbia Police Department’s interim chief do not contain any mention of a “black ops” plot to frame another city official by planting drugs and a gun in his car.
The scheme was alleged by the now-fired captain, David Navarro, and launched a state and federal investigation when he hurled the allegations against interim Chief Ruben Santiago in July 2013.
But the audio recordings do involve profanity-laced conversations among Santiago, Navarro and one other police department employee about strategies for promoting and transferring people within the department, gossip about officers and their concerns about a former chief’s personal problems.
The city of Columbia released the audio recordings late Wednesday afternoon after the FBI and State Law Enforcement Division on Tuesday concluded their investigation into the allegations against Santiago and Santiago’s subsequent accusations against Navarro. They decided to charge neither with a crime.
The city obtained the recordings from investigators who had questions about their contents and also wanted administrators to know what had been discussed among employees, said city manager Teresa Wilson. The recordings were released with SLED’s permission because The State newspaper and several other media outlets had filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents related to the investigation, Wilson said.
The tapes are part of the FBI and SLED case file on the investigation. There could be more audio recordings once the entire investigative report is released next week by SLED.
Wilson said she has not received the full file and is waiting to review it before deciding her next step. But she told The State newspaper the two recordings are troubling.
“It causes me concern about leadership. Clearly, there’s a standard we hold city employees to, particularly department heads,” Wilson said. “These tapes give me pause and some disappointment when I listen to that type of language and discussions with subordinate employees.”
One recording is a 20-minute taped phone conversation between Santiago and Navarro. In that conversation, the two men begin by talking about their concerns with former Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott’s alleged drinking problem. The conversation then slides into a discussion of a decision made by Scott and Santiago to reassign Navarro to the city’s west region, which covers the Harbison and Irmo areas.
The second recording is a taped conversation among Santiago, Navarro and Bridget Caffery, a crime analyst at the department who resigned last month. Once again, a discussion of Scott’s personal problems leads off the conversation. But the discussion evolves over the course of an hour and a half as they talk about Navarro’s reassignment, relationships with other officers and strategies for Scott, Santiago and Navarro to rise through the ranks of city administration.
Throughout that longer conversation, Santiago talks about wanting Scott to move into an assistant city manager slot at City Hall, in part to relieve the former chief of mounting stress.
“My only motivation for getting him promoted is so that we can reduce the stress level,” Santiago said. “Get him in an area where he can manage things and we can take care of him. There will be less eyes on him, you know, professionally.
“(Expletive) being police chief, you know that,” he continued. “Obviously, I want it if he goes up. That (expletive) us all if some stranger goes up.”
On Wednesday, Scott, now a Richland County sheriff’s deputy, told The State newspaper that it was against the sheriff’s department’s policy to speak to the media without permission from the sheriff or public information officers. He said he would ask the department for permission to speak but didn’t call a reporter back.
In both conversations, it is clear that Navarro was not happy about his new assignment, which would have him supervising patrol officers. He had commanded specialized units such as the drug suppression team.
The conversations also illustrate the once-tight relationship among Santiago, Navarro and Scott, who all had worked together at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department before joining the city’s department when Scott was named chief in 2010. Repeatedly, Santiago and Navarro call each other “brother” and talk about their love for each other and Scott.
But the relationship was splintering, and Navarro was threatening to leave the department because of his new assignment. Navarro said he believed that Scott and Santiago had planned his transfer without his knowledge.
At one point in the second recording, Navarro told Santiago that he would go wherever they wanted.
Santiago asked, “Why you making it feel like it was a bad thing?”
Navarro answered, “I didn’t say it was a bad thing. I said it was handled very, very unprofessionally, though. I never would have done that to you. I never would have done that to Randy, not being part of the (expletive) A-team. The dream team.”
It is unclear when the recordings were made. There was no time stamp on the compact discs provided by the city.
Santiago told The State on Wednesday he could not remember exactly when the conversations were held, but he said they would have taken place more than a year ago. Most likely, they were held in late December 2012 and early January 2013, Santiago said, when Scott took an early retirement and then re-applied for the chief’s job 15 days later. Santiago was running the department in the interim.
In April, Scott went on an unexplained leave of absence and then resigned, citing post-traumatic stress disorder.
While Santiago said he regretted the tapes, he said they support his claims that he never plotted the so-called “black ops” scheme.
When people listen to the recordings, they “will find there were no unethical or unlawful discussions or anything malicious toward anyone,” he said.
But the recordings are not something that Santiago is proud of, either. He said he regretted the foul language.
When asked what the public perception might be when people hear two police commanders hold those discussions with a crime analyst who is not an officer, Santiago said, “There are going to be people out there who are going to see negative where they want to see negative. We’re not talking about sports or anything unrelated to the department.”
As for the goal of moving Scott into an assistant city manager’s position, Santiago said those conversations were being held as former city manager Steve Gantt was retiring. Everyone in the city knew that several assistant city managers were applying for the job and that one of those positions likely would become vacant, Santiago said. He had hoped Scott would apply and be hired to fill that spot and then he could get Scott’s job.
“I had ambitions to be the police chief one day,” Santiago said.
Navarro insisted to The State on Wednesday that his report of a “black ops” plot was true even though 13th Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins determined there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Santiago.
“I didn’t make anything up,” Navarro said.
Navarro also said he had not heard either recording and that he did not secretly record anyone’s conversation.
However, he was fired last summer by Wilson, who said he had secretly recorded conversations, spread rumors and failed to report to duty. It is against city policy to secretly record conversations between city employees, Wilson said.
Santiago said Navarro recorded their 20-minute conversation. The recording begins with Navarro’s voice saying to an unidentified person, “Is your phone off? That one. Sitting on your lap.” The next sound is a ring tone and then Santiago answering his phone.
When pressed to answer more questions, Navarro referred a reporter to his attorney, Glenn Walters. However, Walters’ voice mail box was full Wednesday night.
After Navarro’s dismissal, Santiago had asked SLED to investigate the former captain for alleged mishandling of a petty cash fund and for shredding documents. Wilkins also said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Navarro.
Caffery made the other recording of the three of them, Santiago said.
Efforts to reach Caffery Wednesday were unsuccessful. She resigned last month from the police department.
For months, city officials had hoped that Wilkins’ decision on whether to prosecute anyone would clear the air and allow the police department to move forward and focus on crime fighting.
However, questions remain open, including how forthcoming Santiago and Caffery were with investigators.
On Tuesday, Wilkins said their actions had caused investigators to broaden their scope. He could not prove either had obstructed justice or committed misconduct in office but he was clear that they had not been forthright with investigators.
While Wilkins would not offer more details about their actions, the audio recordings most likely are involved in those accusations.
On Wednesday, Wilson, the city manager, said she had heard one version of the conversation between Navarro and Santiago last summer when the allegations were first raised.
“It turned out that the investigators ended up bringing us an extended version of that tape,” she said.
Will know who’s “naughty” or nice…..
By James Smith
Prepper Podcast Radio Network
12 Feb 2014
Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have solicited for Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technology that allows DHS employees to track citizens by using license plate tracking readers on government vehicles in a system known as the National License Plate Recognition Database (NLPR).
DHS/ICE intend to track license plate numbers that are pass through the camera’s range, or are entered into the database by repossession companies and others. This data is then shared with all law enforcement, as there are no limits placed within the solicitation.
Law enforcement officers will be able to search the NLPR database, presumably for an investigation, however, safeguards are frequently bypassed with regards to LEO access to LEDS/NCIC access. License plate tracking will be the next LEO abuse.
The officers will be able to determine where and when the vehicle has traveled, and is touted as providing an extra layer of “Officer Safety” to allow for arrests away from a suspect’s residence. It is further espoused that this will reduce needed man-hours to conduct surveillance.
LICENSE PLATE TRACKING
Presumably, this is just for Homeland Security. But the truth of the matter, this system is to be used by every law enforcement agency within the US.
Data will be compiled from metropolitan areas, which can be searched from Smartphones, such as the Android/iPhone/BlackBerry that are currently in use by DHS/ICE, thus allowing for license plate pictures to be taken, and uploaded – cross referenced and then alert the officer/agent of a positive match.
While the government would insist on Originating Agency Identifiers (ORI), the solicitions requests:
The Government would prefer the ability of the NLPR data service to allow communication between users (anonymously, via alias, or with full identity) to share information amongst the User group based on specific “Hot-List” “Target Vehicle” records.
And DHS/ICE would like to keep some agencies out of the loop, by being able to conduct searches anonymously so that other law enforcement agencies may not have access.
Local police departments have been using plate readers, primarily to locate stolen vehicles or absconders from justice. There is even a Grant Assistance for agencies to purchase license plate readers from ELSAG North America.
The following is a partial lists of agencies that currently use plate readers:
- Denver and Colorado Springs, CO;
- South Portland, MN;
- Gwinnett, Douglas and Cherokee counties in Georgia;
- Clinton, CT
- Newark, Albany County, N.Y
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Portsmouth, VA
- Norwalk, CT
- Louisville, KY
All of these agencies, and about 40 more, will be adding their photographs to the next monster database.
Do not kid yourself. This is tracking of an individual that can be accessed at a whim. Yearly, officers are terminated for accessing the LEDS/NCIC database for looking into the histories of ex-lovers, future spouses, and potential son/daughter-in-laws.
And with license plate tracking toy (not a tool), they will know where you are, as long as you have driven into the cross hairs of this new weapon for tyranny.
READ MORE AT Prepper Podcast
All I can think, over and over, is: What if this were my house? With no legitimate reason for police to enter my home in this way, I would absolutely assume whoever did this must be criminals intent on harming me or my family—no matter what they are wearing, and no matter what they are claiming with their words.
This was, it turns out, is not a theoretical matter for some people. Specifically, it happened to Henry Goedrich Magee. Unlike the raid Bob wrote about, which was not even supposed to be a no-knock raid and was premised on the fact that a person living in the house had a handgun permit, even though he was not a suspect, this was an official no-knock raid. And Magee was no innocent (though he hasn’t been convicted in court yet). Rather, he was growing marijuana plants at his house.
He woke up next to his pregnant girlfriend hearing intruders breaking into his home. He grabbed his gun and shot one, killing a deputy sheriff.
Magee is now awaiting trial on drug charges, but a grand jury refused to indict him for homicide.
According to the Daily Beast:
Magee’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin of Houston, called the fatal shooting a tragic accident, noting that Magee believed his home was being robbed and his pregnant girlfriend at risk of harm.
“In my opinion, the Burleson County Sheriff’s Office did nothing illegal by securing and executing a “no knock” search warrant that day,” said Julie Renken, 21st Judicial District Attorney, in a statement. “I believe the evidence also shows that an announcement was made. However, there is not enough evidence that Mr. Magee knew that day that Peace Officers were entering his home. The events occurred in a matter of seconds amongst chaos. The self-defense laws in Texas are viewed in the mindset of the actor, not the victim, which allows for tragedies to occur when one party is acting lawfully, but it can be reasonably seen as a threat of deadly force by another.”
What is missing from the Daily Beast’s text of the story, but included in the news video they embedded, is Magee’s attorney asking the question: Why a middle-of-the-night, no-knock raid in the first place? This raid was not after a small amount of illegal drug that could possibly have been flushed if the Peace Officers had knocked. Marijuana bushes cannot fit down a toilet. He could have been detained when he was outside his home so the sheriffs during the day.
The sheriff’s department issued a statement blaming Magee for choosing the criminal career that brought them to his mobile home that night. They are right. But they could also choose less dangerous tactics. It isn’t logic that is dictating midnight raids. Some other assumption or expectation is figuring into the decisions of law enforcement to prefer such methods.
There was no need for this tragedy to happen.
Read more at Political Outcast
Eight Los Angeles police officers who violated department policy when they mistakenly opened fire on two women during the hunt for Christopher Dorner will be retrained and returned to the field, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a department-wide message Wednesday.
The message, sent on the LAPD’s internal computer network and obtained by The Times, notes his disapproval in the actions of the seven officers and one sergeant.
“While I understand supervisors and officers were required to make split-second decisions regarding the perceived threat presented before them I found it to be very concerning that officers fired before adequately identifying a threat; fired without adequately identifying a target and not adequately evaluating cross fire situations,” Beck said.
Beck’s decision to retrain the officers does not preclude him from imposing discipline on some or all of them, although several police sources said it is unlikely he will do so.
If Beck does discipline the officers, the penalties are expected to be warnings, written admonishments or similarly light punishments, the sources said.
His message is clear that the officers continue to have his support.
“I have confidence in their abilities as LAPD officers to continue to do their jobs in the same capacity they had been assigned,” Beck said. “In the end, we as an organization can learn from this incident and from the individuals involved.”
In response to the chief’s message, Steve Soboroff, president of the police commission, which oversees the LAPD, expressed disappointment that Beck did not issue more severe penalties for the officers.
Soboroff acknowledged that the authority to discipline belongs to the chief, but said, “With that said, I would have expected more significant discipline for the actions of most of the officers in this incident. I trust that the training will be extensive and the Department and officers will move forward from this tragic incident.”
Beck sent the message a day after the Police Commission followed his recommendation to find that the officers violated department policy. Beck faulted the officers for jumping to the conclusion that Dorner was in the truck they opened fire upon. Beck said the officers compounded their mistake by shooting in one another’s direction with an unrestrained barrage of gunfire.
“This was a tragic cascade of circumstance that led to an inaccurate conclusion by the officers,” Beck said at a news conference after the commission’s action. “I sympathize with the officers, but I have a very high standard for the application of deadly force, and the shooting did not meet that standard.”
The findings come after months of internal debate over whether the officers should be excused in light of the intense pressure they were under as they kept watch for Dorner, a former LAPD officer who had killed three people and vowed more bloodshed as he sought vengeance against the law enforcement officials he blamed for his firing.