Posts Tagged ‘police officers’

ACLU sues over man’s arrest for videotaping police

August 14, 2009

By Jill King Greenwood
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, August 13, 2009

The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Hill District man who was arrested for recording an incident between his friend and police.

The suit, filed today, stems from an April 29 incident between a friend of Elijah Matheny, 29, and University of Pittsburgh police officers. Matheny and his friend, who isn’t named in the suit, went to Oakalnd to search for furniture and other items discarded by Pitt students leaving for the semester and were picking through a Dumpster outside Bouquet Gardens on Oakland Avenue when the University police approached, according to the suit.

The officers asked Matheny and his female friend for identification. His friend gave police her name but did not have ID and was placed in handcuffs after police could find no record of her in their system, the suit states.

Matheny took out his cell phone and began recording the incident. Police were able to verify his friend’s identity and she was released but Matheny was arrested for violating the state’s Wiretap Act, said Witold Walczak, ACLU-PA legal director and one of the attorneys representing Matheny.

Matheny was also charged with “possession of an instrument of crime” in regards to his cell phone, Walczak said.

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office is also named in the lawsuit because Assistant District Attorney Chris Avetta talked to Pitt officers and agreed that Matheny had violated the state statute and authorized the arrest, Walczak said.

In July, a judge dismissed all charges against Matheny.

A message left with University of Pittsburgh police Chief Tim Delaney and with Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. were not immediately returned.

Walczak said the state law is “absolute” in its terms regarding obtaining permission to record people in public but said case law states that public officials — including police officers — are exempt.

“This is a widespread misunderstanding among law enforcement and the staff at the District Attorney’s office,” Walczak said. “If the police are doing something wrong, a citizen has a right to record it. For the same reason the police want cameras on the front of their police cars, citizens should be able to record the behavior and actions of police officers. It’s for everyone’s benefit.”

Walczak said he worries that “dozens of lawsuits” will result in September if police arrest protesters and others recording interactions between them and officers at the Group of 20 summit.

“If there are problems at the G-20 you can bet people will be whipping out their cell phones and recording what is happening,” Walczak said. “The police will have enough going on with people vandalizing and breaking things, and they don’t need to be arresting people who are simply recording them. We need to educate local police before the G-20 or this is going to be a nightmare.”

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19 die in bloody siege at Pakistan police academy

March 30, 2009

By BABAR DOGAR, Associated Press Writer

LAHORE, Pakistan – A group of gunmen, some in police uniforms, attacked a police academy Monday and held it for hours, seizing hostages, throwing grenades and killing at least 11 people before being overpowered by Pakistani commandos.

Six militants were arrested and eight died in the eight-hour battle to retake the compound on the outskirts of this city in eastern Pakistan, said Rao Iftikhar, a top government official in Punjab province.

As the siege ended, black-clad Pakistani commandos fired their guns in the air in celebration at the top of the building, shouting “God is Great!” and “Long live Punjab police!”

Officials said more than 90 officers were wounded and that some of the attackers wore police uniforms.

The highly coordinated attack underscored the threat that militancy poses to the U.S.-allied, nuclear-armed country and prompted Pakistan’s top civilian security official to say that militant groups were “destabilizing the country.”

The attack on the Manawan Police Training School began as dozens of the officers carried out morning drills. About 700 trainees were inside at the time.

“We were attacked with bombs. Thick smoke surrounded us. We all ran in panic in different directions,” said Mohammad Asif, a wounded officer taken to a hospital. He described the attackers as bearded and young.

Another officer, Ahsan Younus, told The Associated Press that some of the attackers wore police uniforms and took some of the police hostage.

TV footage showed several frightened police officers jumping over the wall of the academy to flee. Some crouched behind the wall of the compound, their rifles pointed toward the parade ground where police said the attack took place. Farther back, masses of security forces and civilians monitored the tense standoff, taking shelter behind security and rescue vehicles.

The forces had surrounded the compound, exchanging fire in televised scenes reminiscent of the militant siege in the Indian city of Mumbai in November and the attack on Sri Lanka‘s cricketers earlier this month in Lahore.

Armored vehicles entered the compound while helicopters hovered overhead. At times, explosions rocked the scene.

At one point, security forces cornered several militants on the top floor of a building on the compound, where the gunmen held about 35 hostages, Iftikhar said.

“The eight hours were like eight centuries,” said Mohammad Salman, 23, one of the hostages. “It was like I died several times. I had made up my mind that it was all over.”

Police captured one of the suspected gunmen six hours after the initial assault, dragging the scruffy, bearded man to a field outside the academy and kicking him.

Iftikhar confirmed that six militants were arrested. Of the eight dead, two blew themselves up, he said. Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said eight police were killed, while Punjab police spokesman Athar Khan said three civilians were also among the dead.

On the roof of the building where hostages were kept, an AP photographer saw body parts, blood and spent ammunition strewn about, and several police officers — apparently hostages — came out with their hands above their heads in fear.

No militant group immediately claimed responsibility, but Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik suggested it could have been Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Punjab-based al-Qaida-linked terrorist group that has been implicated in several other attacks in the country.

Pakistan has endured scores of suicide bombings and other attacks in recent years, and it faces tremendous U.S. pressure to eradicate al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents on its soil. Most of the violence occurs along the country’s northwest border with Afghanistan, but attacks have occurred in all the major cities.

Monday’s attack occurred close to the Indian border.

The attacks pose a major test for the weak, year-old civilian administration of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, which has been gripped with political turmoil in recent weeks. The Obama administration has warned Pakistan that militancy threatens the nation’s very existence, while U.S. officials complain the country’s spy agencies still keep ties with some of the insurgent groups.

Malik said Pakistan’s integrity was “in danger at this time” and suggested that a foreign country was interfering in the country’s domestic affairs, a possible reference to longtime foe India.

“Some rival country, or some hostile (intelligence) agency is definitely out to destabilize our democratic forces,” he told reporters in Lahore.

Earlier, he told state-run TV that Pakistan’s police were not equipped to fight the wave of terrorism.

“In our country, at our different borders, arms are coming in, stinger missiles are coming in, rocket launchers are coming in, heavy equipment is coming — it should be stopped,” Malik said. “Whoever the anti-state elements are, they are destabilizing the country.”

India’s Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters his country was “deeply saddened and shocked by the events in Lahore.”

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband released a statement condemning the attack.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad issued a warning advising Americans to avoid travel between Lahore and the Indian border and prohibiting its employees from doing the same.

Lahore, a vibrant metropolis considered by many to be Pakistan’s cultural capital, has become an increasingly alluring target for militants. The cricket ambush in early March sparked a battle that left six police officers and a driver dead and wounded several players.

Those gunmen escaped unscathed and have not been publicly identified.

The brazen assault used commando-style tactics reminiscent of measures used by the militants who laid siege to several parts of Mumbai last year for three days. The Sri Lankan attack also had similar features — including heavily armed, backpack-toting gunmen — but it was much quicker. Observers have since speculated that those attackers might have hoped to grab hostages as well.

India has blamed the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the Mumbai assault, and Pakistan has taken several of the outfit’s alleged leaders into custody. Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is largely based in eastern Punjab province, has denied involvement in both attacks.

Several militant groups operate well beyond Pakistan’s northwest. Some of them, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, have their roots in the Kashmir dispute with India, and Pakistani spy agencies are believed to have established them.

Pakistan’s stability is of paramount concern to the U.S., which is fighting a growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan more than seven years after the American-led invasion ousted the militant regime from power there. Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters are believed to hide out in Pakistan’s northwest while planning attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

In unveiling a new strategy for Afghanistan last week, President Barack Obama pledged more aid to Pakistan but warned it not to expect a “blank check” without any accountability. Obama pledged increased assistance to Pakistani security forces, specifically equipment for the military.

___

Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad, Sebastian Abbot, Nahal Toosi and Munir Ahmad in Islamabad and K.M. Chaudhry in Lahore contributed to this report.

Vigil held to show support for suspected Oakland cop killer

March 27, 2009

By Associated Press
Thursday, March 26, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. – As the city prepares for a massive public funeral for four police officers slain in the line of duty, dozens took to the streets in a show of support for the man authorities say was their killer.

Organized by International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, the march Wednesday evening took participants near a police substation within sight of the two locations where Lovelle Mixon allegedly shot the veteran officers before being slain himself.

Loved ones and supporters walked through the streets chanting, “OPD you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” There were no officers patrolling the march route.

“I don’t condone what he did, but it’s bringing to light the frustrations between the community and the police,” said Uhuru Movement member Kihad Deen. “This gives people a chance to speak their minds.”

Mixon’s cousin, Dolores Darnell, 26, addressed the small crowd, calling him “a true hero, a soldier.”

“This is the real Lovelle,” she said, holding a picture of a smiling Mixon with his wife. “We do apologize for what he did to the officers’ families. But he’s not a monster.”

Authorities say a day before the shooting the 26-year-old fugitive parolee was linked by DNA to the February rape of a 12-year-old girl who was dragged off the street at gunpoint.

The event took place a day after a city-sponsored gathering drew about 1,000 people to the crime scene to honor the slain officers: Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40; John Hege, 41; Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43; and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35.

Police said Hege and Dunakin were gunned down Saturday when the two motorcycle officers pulled over Mixon. In a manhunt that followed, Romans and Sakai died when the city’s SWAT team stormed an apartment where Mixon was hiding. Mixon also died in the gunfire.

Speaking at the event honoring the officers Tuesday night, Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan said the department was being sustained by an outpouring of public sympathy that included flowers, food, donations for the officers’ families and more than 3,000 e-mails, cards and calls.

“It speaks volumes for us. To see so many people here today, in the very same community we lost four officers, means so much to us,” Jordan said, noting that the condolences have far exceeded any hints of criticism. “We’re going to get through this, with the support of our families and with the support of you, the community.”

Meanwhile, the state inspector general said Wednesday that Mixon was properly monitored by corrections officials after he was released from prison in November. Mixon was wanted on a parole violation when the shootings happened, although it is not yet known whether that was the reason Hege and Dunakin pulled him over on Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association, said Wednesday that the rank-and-file is trying to cope with the tragedy while preparing for a public funeral Friday that is expected to fill the arena where the Golden State Warriors play.

“Everyone is devastated,” Arotzarena said. “Everyone is trying to seek answers to it all, including, ’Why did this happen?’

“Our reaction is no different than anyone else.”

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 133 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2008, a 27 percent decrease from year before and the lowest annual total since 1960

Oakland cop shot by parolee taken off life support

March 24, 2009

By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Writer

Undated mugshot of suspect Lovelle Mixon, who was involved in the shooting of 5 police officers resulting in 4 of their deaths, in Oakland, California Reuters – Undated mugshot of suspect Lovelle Mixon, who was involved in the shooting of 5 police officers resulting …

SAN FRANCISCO – An Oakland police officer shot by a man wanted on a parole violation was taken off life support after vital organs were removed for transplantation, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The officer’s death brings to five, counting the gunman, the number of people killed in Saturday’s confrontation.

Officer John Hege was taken off life support Monday night and his heart, liver and kidneys were removed, said Andrea Breaux of Alameda County Medical Center.

The 41-year-old officer had been declared brain dead on Sunday but the hospital kept him on life support so his organs could be donated, in keeping with his wishes.

Four patients received the organs, she said.

Police said Hege and his partner, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, were gunned down when the two motorcycle officers pulled over parolee Lovelle Mixon on Saturday.

In the manhunt that followed, two more officers died when the city’s SWAT team stormed an apartment where Mixon was hiding. The two officers who were killed at the apartment were Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35. Mixon also was killed.

“This is the biggest tragedy ever to hit our department,” Oakland police Sgt. Mark Schmid said Monday. “We’re just numb and walking around like zombies. We feel each other’s pain but we don’t know how to explain it.”

Flowers piled up outside Oakland police headquarters. A vigil was planned for Tuesday evening at the corner near where the two motorcycle officers stopped Mixon.

The incident has prompted California’s attorney general to call for better monitoring of parole violators.

DNA found at the scene of a February rape was a probable match to Mixon, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said Monday night.

Investigators got that information Friday, the day before the routine traffic stop ended in gunfire.

California prison records show that authorities had issued a warrant for Mixon’s arrest after he missed a mandatory meeting with his parole officer on Feb. 19.

His family said Mixon, 26, had served six years in state prison for assault with a firearm during an armed robbery in San Francisco. More recently, he served several months in prison last year for a parole violation.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown said he will examine how Mixon was monitored following his release from prison in November. Mixon also was a suspect in a December 2007 murder but was never charged because of lack of evidence, officials said.

“Mixon was certainly a character that needed more supervision,” said Brown, the former mayor of Oakland. “In Oakland, the highway patrol has an office there, sheriff and police. And all those agencies should have a list of the more dangerous, threatening parolees so they can keep a watch on them.”

Mixon was one of 164 Oakland parolees in mid-March who had outstanding arrest warrants for parole violations, state prison records show.

The city of 400,000 residents had more than 1,900 total parolees at the time, including nearly 300 who had been returned to custody or whose parole was about to be revoked.

During traffic stops, police often check vehicle records to find whether the driver has outstanding warrants. But police have not disclosed how Saturday’s shooting unfolded.

Mixon’s family members said he was upset that he was unable to find work, felt his parole officer was not helping him and feared he would be arrested for a parole violation.

State prison officials said Mixon’s parole officer was responsible for 70 parolees. A caseload of that size is nearly unmanageable, but not unusual, said Lance Corcoran, spokesman for California’s prison guard union, which includes parole officers.

“There is no control,” Corcoran said. “It’s simply supervision, and supervision at distance.”

___

Associated Press writers Josh Dubow, Lisa Leff and Juliana Barbassa in San Francisco and Terry Collins in Oakland contributed to this report.

(This version CORRECTS that harvesting of organs completed late Monday not early Tuesday, reflecting change from hospital)

Gunman kills 3 officers, wounds 4th in Oakland

March 22, 2009
By TERRY COLLINS and LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writers Terry Collins And Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writers via YAHOO!News
This is an undated photo combo of images released by the Oakland Police AP – This is an undated photo combo of images released by the Oakland Police Department of Oakland Police …

OAKLAND, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered flags at California’s state capitol flown at half-staff for the three Oakland police officers killed by a gunman.

Police said a parolee with an “extensive criminal history” opened fire at a routine traffic stop Saturday in the city and hours later gunned down members of a SWAT team who were searching for him.

Schwarzenegger headed for a meeting with Oakland police on Sunday.

A fourth police officer who was wounded Saturday is hospitalized and battling for his life.

The gunman also was killed Saturday.

The Oakland Police Department says it was the worst day in its history. Never before had three police officers been killed in the line of duty on the same day.

Cop murder spotlights crisis of killer aliens

February 19, 2009

Posted: September 28, 2006
9:18 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily.com

INVASION USA
No government agency tracks crimes by illegals, not even attacks on police

 


Officer Rodney Johnson

WASHINGTON – Charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl, Juan Leonardo Qunitero had been deported back to Mexico in 1999 as an illegal alien. Nevertheless, last week, he was back in the U.S., living comfortably in a city that prohibited police from asking anyone about their immigration status.

Rodney Johnson was a 12-year veteran on the Houston police force. Married with five children, he was big, kind-hearted and unafraid of working the toughest gang beats or late-night shifts.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, around 5:30 p.m., he pulled over a white Ford pickup driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone in what should have been a routine traffic stop. The driver, Quintero, had neither a driver’s license nor any other identification so, after a pat down, Johnson handcuffed him and placed him in the back of his patrol car. But Johnson missed the gun in Quintero’s waistband. The prisoner pulled it out and fired four times at Johnson at close range.

When Johnson was laid to rest this week after his execution-style murder he joined a growing list of law enforcers gunned down by foreign criminals. Meanwhile, in Florida, a sheriff’s deputy was killed and another shot in the leg yesterday after they pursued a motorist who ran away from a traffic stop.

Deputy Vernon Matthew “Matt” Williams and his K-9 unit were shot dead, officials said. Deputy Doug Speirs was shot in the leg but was expected to recover. Polk County sheriff’s deputies early today said they shot and killed a suspect, described as a black man with a Jamaican accent with dreadlocks.

Though no government agency in the U.S. – not the FBI nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement – tracks violent crimes by illegal aliens, even murders of police officers, a search by WND of news reports in the last three years shows law enforcement personnel are hardly immune to deadly carnage wrought by untracked, undocumented armed predators inside the country.

Less than a year ago, Nov. 12, 2005, Dallas police officer Brian Jackson met the same fate.

It seems Juan Lizcano, an illegal alien who worked as a gardener, had a few too many drinks that Saturday evening before heading to the home of Marta Cruz, according to a witness who accompanied him.

Again, police responded early Sunday morning to a domestic disturbance call at Cruz’s home and were told that Lizcano had threatened his ex-girlfriend and fired a handgun inside the house. He was gone by the time officers arrived.

About 45 minutes later, officers were notified that Lizcano had returned to the home. Officers pursued him on foot as the suspect jumped over fences and ran through yards.

Officer Jackson died of a wound to his right underarm, near his protective vest, suffered in a gunfight with Lizcano. He and his wife, JoAnn, a respiratory therapist, had been married less than four months.

In Denver, Raul Gomez-Garcia, another illegal alien charged with shooting two police officers at a crowded party where both the gunmen’s wife and 2-year-old daughter were seated, was convicted last week.

Gomez-Garcia, 21, faced trial in Denver District Court for second-degree murder of Denver police officer Donald “Donnie” Young and attempted first-degree murder of Detective Jack Bishop. The two officers were shot in the back May 8, 2005, as they worked security at an invitation-only baptismal party.

The officers had turned Gomez-Garcia away from the party. He returned later, intent on shooting the two officers.

Gomez-Garcia has almost no education, is illiterate and explained to investigators that he had carried a loaded gun since he was 13 years old. He came to the United States when he was 8 and lived in south central Los Angeles.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic stories of a police officer being shot by an illegal alien is the case of shooting Arizona sheriff’s deputy Sean Pearce, an 11-year veteran of the force who served a search warrant Dec. 16, 2004, at a Mesa trailer home.

Hiding behind a Christmas tree inside was Jorge Luis Guerra Vargas, a 22-year-old illegal alien who opened fire on Pearce.

Ironically, at the time of the shooting, Pearce’s father, Russell, an Arizona legislator, was in Washington giving a speech about illegal immigration at the Brookings Institution when he got the message to call home. His wife, he knew, “wouldn’t be calling if it wasn’t important. It had to do with the children.” Pearce excused himself from the podium and found a phone to hear the tragic news.

A WND investigation of local news reports found dozens more cases of police officers slain by illegal aliens. They include:


Deputy Brandon Winfield

 

  • Deputy Brandon “Brandy” Winfield, 29, of the Marion County, Ohio, sheriff’s department, was murdered Oct. 17, 2004. Winfield was on routine patrol when he stopped to assist what he thought was a stranded motorist. Winfield later was found shot in the head in his vehicle, which had hit a guard rail and flipped into a ravine. Both of those charges in the crime were illegal aliens. 
  • Detective Hugo Arango, 24, of the Doroville, Ga., police department, was murdered May 13, 2000. Arango was shot and killed after having been flagged down by a club patron who indicated that some men had been breaking into cars outside of a nightclub. Detective Arango located three suspects and detained them. As he searched for weapons, Bautista Ramirez, an illegal alien from Mexico, shot Arango four times. The first shot took off one of his fingers, the second went through his thigh. As Arango lay on the ground helpless, Ramirez intentionally fired one round through Arango’s badge, and then executed him with a shot to his head that severed his brain stem. 
  • National Park Service ranger Kristopher “Kriss” Eggle, 28, was murdered Aug. 9, 2002. Ranger Eggle was shot and killed in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument while pursuing members of a drug cartel hit squad which fled into the U.S. after committing a string of murders in Mexico.

    Deputy Saul Gallegos

     

  • Deputy Saul Gallegos, 35, of the Chelan County, Wash., sheriff’s department was murdered June 26, 2003. Gallegos was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle in a routine traffic stop. Jose Sanchez-Guillen, 22, who had been deported three times to Mexico, was found guilty of aggravated first-degree murder.

    Deputy Sheriff David March

     

  • Deputy Sheriff David March, 33, of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department, was murdered April 29, 2002. March was on routine patrol when he made a traffic stop. The driver, Armando Garcia, shot March in the chest and the head – execution style. Garcia had been deported three times, had a long history of drug charges, violent crimes and weapons charges. The illegal alien from Mexico was already wanted for two attempted murders. 
  • Officer Tony Zeppetella, 27, of the Oceanside, Calif., police department, was murdered June 13, 2003. Zeppetella stopped Adrien George Camacho for a traffic violation. Camacho pulled out a gun and shot the officer. Camacho then pistol-whipped the injured officer before shooting him again, killing him with the officer’s own gun. Camacho is an illegal alien and gang member from Mexico with a criminal history that includes five previous felony convictions and several deportations. 
  • A Huntsville, Ala., police officer, Daniel Howard Golden, 27, was shot multiple times by Benito Albarran, 31, an illegal immigrant in August 2005.

While no government agencies specifically track crimes by illegal aliens, there have been some efforts to quantify the loss. Last December, Mac Johnson set out to investigate the number of homicides perpetrated by illegal aliens. Since the federal government would not provide any useful information, he contacted all 50 statehouses. Three months later, he had fewer than a dozen responses. Only one state, Vermont, provided any useful information.

He then set out to statistically estimate the number of murders by illegal aliens based on available crime data and conservative estimates of the actually number of illegal aliens in the country – which, of course, nobody really knows.

He found that between 1,806 and 2,510 people in the U.S. are murdered annually by illegal aliens. If he’s right, that would represent between 11 percent and 15 percent of all murders in the U.S.

In one study of a sample 55,000 illegal immigrants serving prison sentences in the U.S., it was discovered that they are responsible for over 400,000 arrests and over 700,000 felony crimes.

According to Heather McDonald of the Manhattan Institute, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two-thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.

Court sides with police officers in search case

January 28, 2009

The Associated Press, Wednesday January 21, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police officers in Utah who searched a suspect’s home without a warrant cannot be sued for violating his constitutional rights.

In ruling unanimously for five officers attached to the Central Utah Narcotics Task Force, the court also abandoned a rigid, two-step test that it adopted in 2001 to guide judges in assessing alleged violations of constitutional rights.

Trial and appellate judges “should be permitted to exercise their sound discretion” in evaluating such claims, Justice Samuel Alito said in his opinion for the court.

Under the 2001 ruling, courts first had to determine whether an action amounts to a violation of a constitutional right and then decide whether the public official, often a police officer, should be immune from the civil lawsuit.

Officials can’t be held liable in situations where it is not clearly established that their actions violated someone’s constitutional rights.

The case grew out of a search of the home of Afton Callahan of Millard County, Utah, in 2002.

An informant contacted police to tell them he had arranged to purchase drugs from Callahan at Callahan’s trailer home.

Wearing a microphone provided by police, the informant entered the trailer and signaled police that a deal had been made. They entered the trailer without a warrant and arrested Callahan on charges of possession of methamphetamines.

Utah courts ruled that the evidence that was seized from Callahan’s home could not be used against him. Other courts have allowed prosecutions to go forward under similar circumstances.

Callahan later sued the officers for violating his constitutional rights. A federal judge ruled the officers could not be sued because there is disagreement in the courts over whether the search was illegal.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver said the lawsuit could proceed because the officers should have known that people have a right in their home to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The high court said Wednesday that the officers are entitled to immunity from Callahan’s suit.

The case is Pearson v. Callahan, 07-751.

 

US Supreme Court Holds That Non-Suspect Passengers Can Be Frisked

January 28, 2009

Associated Press, January 26, 2009

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police officers have leeway to frisk a passenger in a car stopped for a traffic violation even if nothing indicates the passenger has committed a crime or is about to do so.

The court on Monday unanimously overruled an Arizona appeals court that threw out evidence found during such an encounter.

The case involved a 2002 pat-down search of an Eloy, Ariz., man by an Oro Valley police officer, who found a gun and marijuana.

The justices accepted Arizona’s argument that traffic stops are inherently dangerous for police and that pat-downs are permissible when an officer has a reasonable suspicion that the passenger may be armed and dangerous.

The pat-down is allowed if the police “harbor reasonable suspicion that a person subjected to the frisk is armed, and therefore dangerous to the safety of the police and public,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said.

The case is Arizona v. Johnson, 07-1122.

 

Louisiana Citizen Shoots, Kills Man Attacking Officer

December 17, 2008

From “The New American” magazine page 41, April 3, 2006 by Kurt Williamson

 A Baton Rouge, Louisiana citizen wearing a neck brace and using a cane shot & killed a man who was attacking a police officer who had pulled the man over for a traffic violation.

 Perry Stephens, no age listed, said he heard Officer Brian Harrison yelling for help followed by gunshots. Upon responding to the officer’s calls for help Stephens found the officer on the ground with another man on top of him punching the officer.

 Stephens told the man attacking the officer to “get off” the officer and when the man refused, Stephens shot the man 4 times in the chest, but the man continued attacking the officer causing Stephens to shoot the man in the head killing him.

 The attacker, George Temple, had also been shot in the abdomen by the officer prior to Stephens coming to the officers aide.

 A witness at the scene told WAFB Channel 9 that Stephens “probably saved the officer’s life”, but also said he didn’t hear Stephens tell Temple to get off the officer prompting the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Temple was a negro, while Stephens is white, to claim racial bias in Stephens decision to shoot Temple.

 Temple was not armed, but he was a large, athletic man who competitively boxed, and he was definitely the aggressor in the incident.

 The District Attorney’s office is investigating to determine whether a reasonable person would think it was necessary to shoot someone a fifth time, in the head, after shooting the person 4 times in the chest.

 According to the article, Louisiana law allows the use of deadly force in defense of others to “prevent a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or great bodily harm.”

 It seems to me that Stephens acted properly if not heroically and should be given an award for his actions. Had George Temple not chosen to feloniously  attack a police officer he may just be alive today.

 For additional information visit these web sites:

www.thenewamerican.com and www.2theadvocate.com

Fed’s Are Not Police Officers

December 11, 2008

 There has been some confusion pertaining to the arrest authority of Federal law enforcement officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 Federal officers, or agents as they are sometimes referred to, are not general police officers and do not possess the authority to to affect warrantless arrests for traffic offenses or for misdemeanor crimes.

 In the case of Commonwealth v. Price, 543 Pa. 403, 672, A. 2d 280 (1996) the court held, citing Section 3052 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code (18 U.S.C. 3052), that Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are not authorized under either State or Federal law nor under common law to make warrantless arrests for traffic offenses or for misdemeanor crimes. Federal Agents are “authorized to make warrantless arrests only where they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person  has committed or is committing any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States (federal law).