Police are no longer like Car 54′s lovable Constables Gunther Toody and Francis Muldoun. In large part due to the Supreme Court’s willingness to slowly but surely replace the Fourth Amendment‘s “probable cause” requirement with “officer’s safety“, the police now believe that they are entitled to give you “commands”, and that your failure to immediately comply with any such “commands” entitle them to tase you, club you, spray you, arrest you, and, successfully procure your criminal prosecution for some “resistance offense”, such as violation of Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1); “The Boot of the Police State.” This is not some left wing propaganda. This is today’s world in the United States.
Because so many of today’s “peace officers” have actually been in “War Zones” for Uncle Sam (i.e. reservists activated for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars), many of them think like military combatants in a war zone. All too often today’s “peace officers” operate under the “rules of engagement” as if they were fighting a war. The problem is, that save the extremely rare exception, there’s no one shooting back. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shot 15 unarmed people to death in 2010; all of the slayings being justified as perception shootings; a shooting based on a police claim that they perceived some potential danger, so they terminated the potential threat. The public has been exposed to so many video recorded police shootings, and so many of their peers (i.e. social media) and the Media have either condemned or defended these police outrages, that these days, juries usually ultimately find that if you don’t immediately comply with police orders (and without protest), that the police can use overwhelming force upon you. Juries are deferential to the “plight of the police officer” (a fiction in the sense that their job is really all that dangerous; working construction is much more dangerous than being a police officer). As each case comes to verdict, and after jury after jury excuse what the judges, the lawyers and the police all know is unlawful and outrageous conduct, those outrages now as a practical matter, become the new acceptable standard for police actions.
In other words, as more and more police misconduct lawsuits get litigated, and as more and more juries approval these outrageous actions via their defense verdicts, the police have been given their seal of approval by the public; ergo, the creation of the police state. The police are only here to “protect and serve” you, when it’s in their interest to do so. When a fellow officer physically abuses you and falsely arrests you, don’t look to the police officer who eye witnessed your abuse, and who personally know that you’re being falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted. They won’t help you. They won’t truthfully testify about what their brother officer did to you, and they will perjure themselves to protect their fellow officer. Please don’t delude yourself into thinking that state perjury laws are enforced. They aren’t. If they were, the State would have to use it’s entire budget building new prisons.
The creepy cops actively perpetuate the outrage, by either conspiring with the abusing officer to concoct a fabricated story about what happened during the incident that resulted in your being beaten, and then falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted for being victimized, and claiming that you committed some sort of imaginary crime. You have a big black eye or broken bones, and the police have to justify that somehow. So, they put the blame on you, claiming that: 1) they either believed that some imaginary attack by you upon them was imminent, so they shot or tased or pepper-sprayed or clubbed you, or 2) that you did attack them, so that had to defend themselves. Either way, notwithstanding your having committed no crime and being the victim of one, you’re the one going to jail; probably for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1) (resisting / obstructing / delaying peace officer; the most ambiguous, and, therefore, abused statute in the Penal Code), or, more so these days, violation of Cal. Penal Code § 69 (threatening or using force or violence to prevent / dissuade public officer from performing duty of their office; a “wobbler”.)
The abuse of Section 69 has been going on in San Bernardino County for quite a few years now, but more and more police officials in other counties are realizing the benefit to them of arrested police abuse victim for violation of Section 69; it’s a wobbler offense. A “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony by the District Attorney’s Office, but the police always arrest their victims for felony Section 69 felony, so they can make them post bail to be released from jail. Many of their victims won’t be able to make bail, so they often plead out to get out of jail; either to Section 69, or to misdemeanor Section 148(a)(1). Such guilty or no contest pleas by innocents to such “resistance offenses” not only precludes the victim (you) from suing for you false arrest or malicious criminal prosecution (See, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) plea precludes false arrest claims), but also for the use of unreasonable force upon you via the doctrine of res judicata or collateral estoppel.
Understand this; when their interests call for protecting yours, they’ll protect you. When their interests diverge from your’s, they will protect them; not you. This is not a condemnation of any particular individual police officer or public official. This is a simple statement of political reality. So goes the politics, so goes the police. For example, take the case of you being mugged as you left a 7-11 Store. If you called the police and told them that you got mugged, and didn’t sound crazy, they probably will treat you like the victim of a crime, and pay you respect and courtesy accordingly.
Now take the case of a police officer who beats-you-up just like the mugger, but instead of stealing your wallet, the officer who beat-you-up arrests you, takes you to jail, makes a false allegation that you attacked or delayed or somehow obstructed him that results in you having to post bail to get out of jail. Even if the local Deputy District Attorneys know that the cop is a problem officer who they will not file “resistance crimes” for (i.e. resisting / delaying officer, threatening / using force on public officer to prevent performance of duty), the cop nonetheless doesn’t get either criminally prosecuted or disciplined in some manner.
Police Brutality, and it accompanying false arrests and malicious criminal prosecutions, is a common fact of modern American life. If you’re reading this article, chances are that either you, a loved-one, or a friend, have now been subjected to some sort of abuse by the police officers, that you really would not have believed unless you had experienced or seen it yourself. You consider yourself a law-abiding citizen and are proud of your lack of criminal record. That’s all gone now.
Most of you are now a changed person. For many, if not most of you, you now know the reality of modern policing; that you don’t have to either commit a crime or at least look like a criminal, to be beaten, falsely arrested, and maliciously prosecuted. Something that, prior to your particular involvement with the police, you just would not have believed. You have now made that leap from ignorant bliss, to the emotional burden of realizing that you live in a quasi-police state; a place that is becoming more Orwellian by the day.
When the police abuse you, they almost always at least attempt to procure your malicious criminal prosecution; to make whatever happened, “your fault”. If it’s “your fault”, a jury isn’t going to give you much, if any, money, if you try to sue in court to seek redress for the outrages perpetrated against you. If it’s “your fault”, some young Deputy District Attorney is going to fall into the abyss; to criminally prosecute you for a “resistance crime.” They prosecute you for crimes such as resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer; Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1); a crime that can be twisted to mean just about everything, as long as you have a creepy enough jury, who worship the police, and condemn those who fail to immediately, and without question or objection, police commands. These jurors believe that they personally have no reason to worry about them being subjected to police abuse, since they’re not doing anything wrong, and cops just don’t bother people who aren’t doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, these people, the one’s who sit in judgment of you, because of the juror selection process, don’t have a clue as to what police really do, and how they really act. You now do, as you, your loved-one or your friend, have experienced something that would have been previously unimaginable to you, prior to the violation by the police that you or your loved-one has now experienced.
If they beat you badly or outrageously enough, the police often falsely arrest you for a “Turbo 148″; Cal. Penal Code § 69; using or threatening the use of force or violence to prevent or deter a public officer from performing a duty of their office; a “wobbler” crime in California, that can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. So, the police can get many of their victims to plead guilty to some de minimis crime like disturbing the peace, or even misdemeanor resisting / delaying / obstructing a peace officer; otherwise known as “Contempt of Cop“.
These “creepy jurors” are “creepy”, because through the juror selection process, anyone who has seen or experienced a police officer beating-up a civilian, and then arresting the beaten civilian, has experienced such a life altering experience, that they typically will tell a trial judge that they are biased against the police, and don’t believe that they can be truly impartial to the police in that case. That prospective juror is then “excused for cause” by the judge.
When a juror is excused for cause, the side that would have used one of their peremptory jury strikes to reject that juror serving on the jury (either the District Attorney in a criminal case, or a police defense attorney in a civil case), now doesn’t have to use one of their strikes. By the time that jury selection is over, almost always, the people who actually get to sit on a jury, have never seen or experienced, abusive conduct by a police officer. This is the greatest determining factor in what happens at your criminal or civil trial, as a trial is “an exercise in placing blame.”
Police agencies will almost always back the police officer who beat you, clubbed you, tased you, shot you, pepper-sprayed you, falsely arrested you, submitted false police reports to get you criminally prosecuted, or otherwise abused you. As a practical matter, the police really have to lie, cheat and obtain false convictions of their victims; that is, if they like
their jobs and want to keep them They will destroy evidence, conceal evidence, fabricate evidence, author false police reports, procure false and malicious criminal prosecutions, and suborn perjury. They will do (almost) anything that will tend to exonerate the officer who victimized you. Also, because of greater concerns about their civil / administrative liability, police agencies automatically take the “defensive civil position”, and decide to investigate in a manner only acknowledging their justification for their officer’s actions, and not any real effort to seek the truth. They gather evidence, under the bogus claim of a “crime scene” investigations. They unlawfully and knowingly conspire, to suppress evidence favorable to the civilian, and to neither seek nor give credit to, any evidence that implicates them.
With that in mind, please note the following:
When the police use excessive force on persons, they almost always arrest them on bogus charges of resisting or obstructing or delaying a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), assault on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 240/241(c)), or battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 242/243(b)); all misdemeanors. If the police really beat-you-up, they probably will charge you with Cal. Penal Code § 69; using or threatening the use of force and violence to interfere with a public officers performance of his/her duties; a felony. Since the police officers who used excessive force on you (or falsely arrested you) already know what happened, the only reason that they would want to question you, is to put words in your mouth; to coerce you or trick you into saying things that they will later attempt to use to justify their unlawful treatment of you. Supervisory officers (i.e. patrol sergeants and the like) will also want to interrogate you for the same reason. They are not interested in whether your side of the story is true. They are only interested in getting you to say your side of the story, with words that they coerce or trick you into saying; to protect their fellow officers and their police agency from you.
If you were arrested for armed robbery and were taken to the police station, the police would read you your Miranda Warnings, and, when you declined to speak with them, they would cease interrogating you and put you in your jail cell. You should know, that contrary to popular myth, in America, the police are not obligated to “read you your rights.” If they don’t, then any statement that you make after you’ve been arrested that is the product of police interrogation, cannot be used against you in court in the prosecution’s “case-in-chief.” However, if you take the witness stand at your trial, you can be impeached with those custodial statements that were obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966.)
The purpose that the Supreme Court handed-down Miranda v. Arizona in 1966, was to curb the use if custodial interrogation to obtain coerced confessions. Custodial interrogation at the police station is inherently coercive. The police have many techniques to get persons who are completely innocent of crimes, to either confess to a crime that they didn’t commit, or at least to get them to admit or state something that tends to incriminate them. When you’re scared, in a police interrogation room and the police bombard you with accusations for hours on end, that you deny for hours on end, people tend to get tired, and just want the questioning to stop. Sometimes the police place you in a cold room, making you uncomfortable, and you just want to get out of the room, so you admit to at least some of what the police want you to, even though your innocent. So, the Supreme Court created the Miranda rule, that requires the police to advise you of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and your Sixth Amendment right to counsel, prior to interrogating you after you’re in police custody, to prevent false confessions.
However, if you were arrested for resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer, the many police agencies, especially the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, ignore giving you your Miranda Warnings, and under the false pretense of an Administrative Force Investigation, proceed to interrogate you while your in police custody. You know that you haven’t done anything wrong, and the police have. You’re hoping that if you act cooperatively enough, that the cops will just let you go, or will at least give you a citation and let you be on your way, rather than require that you post bail; something that you know is going to costs you thousands of dollars; win, lose or draw. So, you say nice things to the police. You tell that you understand why the police officer did what he did to; that you can understand why the police officer did what he did to you, and are no longer complaining. You just want to go home. However, there really is nothing that will benefit you by discussing your incident with the police. Don’t do it.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take lots of photos of your injuries. Don’t take a photo two inches away from the injury. Take close-up photos, but also back-up and away from the injury to put it is perspective. Also, take photos of all persons and places and things involved. Make sure also to back away from what you’re taking a photo of, so you have close-up photos as well as photos from farther away. Also, keep everything. Keep the bloody shirt or skirt. Keep your broken glasses. Keep and secure anything that has to do with your incident with the police.
3) Get Legal Representation Quickly.
California Government Code Sections 26202.6 and 34090.6 provide for the retention periods of recordings of police radio and telephone communications (100 days), and for routine video monitoring (one year.) If your lawyer doesn’t make a formal demand that police radio and telephone communications regarding your case are located, maintained and preserved within 100 days of the incident, the police are generally free to destroy them; something that they will be more than happy to do. Many times, they destroy such evidence even if the agency is presented with such a demand for preservation of such evidence, but if they do so after having been served with such a preservation demand, chances are that you will be in a better position than you would have been otherwise. Also, your lawyer will usually make arrangements for a private investigator to locate and interview witnesses, and obtain evidence such as surveillance recordings. Many places that have video surveillance cameras have a 30-60 day retention time. If you don’t get the video evidence that can really show what really happened to you, you may be out of luck.
4) Make A California Government Tort Claim For Damages.
Under the California Tort Claims Act (Cal. Govt § Code 910 et seq.), you have six months from the date of the “accrual of the cause of action” (i.e. either the incident, or when a person is reasonably put on notice of the actions of the officer(s)) to file a Claim For Damages with the involved Municipal entity (i.e. State of California, City or County, or some other governmental entity, like a School District, a Water District, etc.; the entity that employed the public officer / official who violated your rights.) If you miss the six month deadline, you have up to one year from the date of the incident to file a Petition with a California Superior Court, to be relieved from having to have filed a Claim For Damages with the municipal entity (i.e. state, county, city, school district, water district, etc.) However, before you do that, you must request the permission of the municipal entity to file a Late Claim For Damages, and present the proposed Claim for Damages with the request. If you don’t file a Claim For Damages timely, you will lose your right to sue for claims that arise under California state law.
In California, you have two years from the date of the incident, however, to sue under claims against the officer and his/her employing municipal entity that arise under federal law; 42 U.S.C. 1983; the Ku Klux Act of 1871 (that allows persons to sue persons who violated their federal constitutional rights while acting under the color of state law.) That’s because Congress never enacted a Statute of Limitations for Section 1983 lawsuits. So, in Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261 (1985), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Statute of Limitations for lawsuit brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983, was the period of time to sue under the residual personal injury statute of the state in which the federal claim arose. Therefore, if the police beat you up and/or falsely arrested you in California, as the California residual personal injury statute is two years (See, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 335.1), you have two years from the date of the subject incident to sue under Section 1983. However, if you get beat-up and/or falsely arrested in some other state, that other state’s residual personal injury Statute of Limitations will be the Statute of Limitations for your Section 1983 claims.
Moreover, although Cal. Gov’t Code 945.3 tolls (postpones the running of) the statute of limitations for the filing of an actual lawsuit against a peace officer (i.e. police officer, deputy sheriff or other “peace officer” under Cal. Penal Code 830 et seq.) while a criminal case arising out of the same incident is pending against you, Section 945.3 doesn’t toll the requirements to file a Claim For Damages under the California Tort Claims Act
5) Make A Personnel Complaint To The Involved Police Agency, With Your Lawyer Present.
Cal. Penal Code § 832.5 requires police agencies to investigate complaints made to their agency about police officers. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t just going through the motions, and that the investigation is truly an investigation. In virtually all American police agencies, if there is a swearing contest between you and an officer, the officer will not be found culpable or otherwise in the wrong. However, having the police do even a bogus Internal Affairs Investigation, will require the agency to interview the involved officers and at least some of the witnesses. This may be helpful to your case, because liars cant remember all of their lies, and chances are that the statement that the officer gives to Internal Affairs will, in some material way, conflict with his report, the report of another officer, or later testimony by the officer. Moreover, finally, the Internal Affairs statements of the involved police officers are discoverable in California Superior Court criminal cases. See, Rezek v. Superior Court, 206 Cal.App.4th 633 (2012.)
Moreover, the mere process of making such a personnel complaint requires your complaint to be kept in the officers file for five years, and your complaint may just help out the officers next victim, or, if there are enough complaints, get the officer fired, or transferred to an assignment where he/she wont be in a position to goon other civilians.
Please also note that there are cases in which you may have committed a crime, and, in light of the charges and the evidence, you may be better-off not making any statements at all; even a Personnel Complaint. Seek the advice of your attorney on this issue.
6) If You Are Being Criminally Prosecuted, Be Careful Not To Plead Yourself Out Of Court In Your Civil Case.
Only the California Attorney Generals Office and the County District Attorneys Office can file a criminal court case against you for any violation of California state law. In some cities like Los Angeles or Anaheim, the City Attorneys Office files and prosecutes any misdemeanor (state law) criminal charges in court, and the District Attorneys Office files and prosecutes felony criminal cases. Only a City Attorney’s Office can prosecute a violation of a City ordinance, and only the County Counsel’s Office can prosecute violation of a County Ordinance.
There are several reasons that police officers that beat-you-up and/or falsely arrest you, procure your criminal prosecution for crimes that you didn’t commit. First, although the police usually are not familiar with legal jargon such as collateral estoppel or res judicata, they know enough to know that if they can get you convicted of any crime, that, you cannot sue the police for false arrest (Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).) Moreover, if your conviction is for crimes such as resisting or obstructing or delaying a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 148(a)(1)), assault on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 240/241(b)), battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code § 242/243(b)) or Cal. Penal Code § 69 (resisting with violence), you may be precluded from suing the police at all; even for excessive force.
The gimmick in this situation, is that a common element of each of the four crimes mentioned above, is that the alleged victim officer must be engaged in the lawful performance of his duties for a criminal defendant to be found guilty of such crimes. See, People v. Curtis, 70 Cal.2d 347 (1969); See also, the California Criminal case standard Jury Instructions on this issue; CALCRIM 2670. Therefore, if you’re convicted of any of those four crimes, the jury must have necessarily found that the officer was not acting unlawfully; such as by using excessive force, by making an unlawful detention of an arrest, or by otherwise acting unlawfully.
Thus, because you have now been convicted of any of those four crimes, the issue of whether the officer was acting lawfully is res judicata; a thing decided, and you are collaterally estopped (precluded in one case because of an issue being decided against you in another case) from suing. In some cases where a person was convicted of one of those four crimes, it may still be possible to sue for excessive force if the case is of such a nature, that the criminal violation is sufficiently segregated from the use of excessive force. So, for example, one could have, resisted or delayed an officer by not complying with a lawful order him/her, and then the officer proceeds to beat-you-up. However, as a practical matter, most Judges will find against you on this issue.
The police also want to get you criminally prosecuted to beat you down; to mar your case and cut-it-down; piece by piece. The City of Santa Ana, California, used to have an extortion form; a plea agreement (and even a dismissal) form where the City Attorney checked-off the box that says: Stipulates To Probable Cause For Arrest. Entering a plea with that box checked-off will usually be upheld if you try to sue the police later on. If the prosecutor requires that you stipulate that there was probable cause for your arrest in exchange for dismissing one of more criminal charges, the prosecutor is guilty of felony extortion under California law; a violation of Cal. Penal Code § 518 / 519 (MacDonald v. . Such a demand is also a violation of the State Bar of California Rules of Professional Conduct 5-100; illegal to gain advantage in civil case by threatening to accuse another of a crime; guilty or not.
Moreover, notwithstanding Cal. Penal Code § 1016, that provides that a plea of nolo contendre (“no contest”) to a misdemeanor has no effect on a civil case, will not save your civil case from the Heck v. Humphrey bar to suing because of a conviction. See, Szajer v. City of Los Angeles, 632 F.3d 607, 610 (9th Cir. 2011) (holding that although a plea of nolo contendre / no contest is inadmissible evidence in federal court under Federal Rules of Evidence 410, that the district court may nonetheless take “judicial notice” of the fact of the conviction, sufficient to bar a civil plaintiff’s federal Constitutional claims.) Although Heck v. Humphrey is a federal case, the California Courts have adopted the Heck v. Humphrey bar to California state law claims; now precluding at least a false arrest claim, and also most illegal search and seizure claims, when the civil plaintiff was a criminal defendant over the same incident, and he/she pleaded guilty or nolo contendre to a crime. See, Yount v. County of Sacramento, 43 Cal.4th 885 (2008.)
If you’ve been falsely arrested or beaten-up by the police, please call the Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering for a free phone or office consultation, to get some justice. We can live without a lot, but we can’t live without justice.
Because police officers who abuse civilians, typical arrest their victims (the innocent civilian) is becoming more common every day; notwithstanding the fact that most adults now possess the ability to quickly video record events that we confront (i.e. Smartphone video recordings.) However, so has public acceptance of the use of: 1) brutal and disproportionately excessive use of, or the threatened use of weapons; 2) disproportionately restrictive methods of immediate restraint (i.e. handcuffing for “officer safety” purposes, as general precautionary practice, in citizen street contacts), 3) shooting persons who the police say that committed a “furtive movement“ (usually the suspect moved his / her hands by or in the waistband nonsense; in 2010, the LA Sheriff’s Department killed 15 unarmed people this way, and they haven’t stopped), and the spectrum of “overkill” police techniques, that we’ve grown-up with over the past 30 plus years. We think that dispatching the SWAT team on a call of, “grandpa has Alzheimer’s and locked himself in the bathroom with a kitchen knife”, is normal. We see this as normal, because over the years, case by case, right by right, new weapon by new weapon, we have seen the Executive Branch of government, the police, just doing these acts; especially in the movies and television.
We also see, that when civil and criminal litigants challenge these acts, that our so cherished federal constitutional rights are usually are cast aside either:
* 1) By Issuing Appellate Court rulings that allow for the warrantless and often even suspicionless searches and seizures of persons, places and property, in the name of “Officer Safety.”
* 2) To further some sort of executive efficiency: The Supreme Court doesn’t want cops to have to learn their state laws; too difficult; notwithstanding the fact that the cops are not only responsible in their own states to know what state public offenses are, and are not, jailable under state law, but they actually do know. See, Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001) (‘The Fourth Amendment does not forbid a warrantless arrest for a minor criminal offense, such as a misdemeanor seat belt violation punishable only by a fine”); Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). Atwater is a repudiation of over 200 years of Supreme Court jurisprudence, holding that searches and seizures of persons must be “reasonable.” Atwater allows the police to arrest civilians for anything that the law prohibits; parking ticket, bald tires, taillight out, and the like. Justice Souter’s rationale for permitting admittedly “unreasonable seizures” of persons like Atwater (a soccer mom, arrested for violation of the Texas seat belt statute; the maximum punishment for violation of which was a $50.00 fine) is not grounded in reality, and really set the stage of the Rise of the Police State, following the World Trade Center Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.) Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001.) The Fourth Amendment no longer forbid a warrantless arrest for a minor criminal offense, such as a misdemeanor seat belt violation punishable only by a fine”; Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001); In her stinging dissent in, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the Republican Conservative first female Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by Ronald Reagan, on recommendation from Mr. Reagan’s mentor; Barry Goldwater (former Sen. R-AZ), warned about the import of Atwater:
“Such unbounded discretion carries with it grave potential for abuse. The majority takes comfort in the lack of evidence of “an epidemic of unnecessary minor-offense arrests.” Ante, at 33, and n. 25. But the relatively small number of published cases dealing with such arrests proves little and should provide little solace. Indeed, as the recent debate over racial profiling demonstrates all too clearly, a relatively minor traffic infraction may often serve as an excuse for stopping and harassing an individual. After today, the arsenal available to any officer extends to a full arrest and the searches permissible concomitant to that arrest. An officer’s subjective motivations for making a traffic stop are not relevant considerations in determining the reasonableness of the stop. See, Whren v. United States, supra, at 813. But it is precisely because these motivations are beyond our purview that we must vigilantly ensure that officers’ post stop actions–which are properly within our reach–comport with the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of reasonableness.
The Court neglects the Fourth Amendment’s express command in the name of administrative ease. In so doing, it cloaks the pointless indignity that Gail Atwater suffered with the mantle of reasonableness. I respectfully dissent.” O’Connor, J., Dissenting.
*3) To refuse to suppress evidence in criminal cases. There is a natural reluctance by any judge to exclude evidence of criminal activity at a criminal trial because the evidence was obtained in violation of the Constitution.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently found a way around Atwater to some degree in their recent case of Edgerly v. City and County of San Francisco, Case No. 11-15655 (9th Cir. April 10, 2013.) Edgerly held that since under Cal. Penal Code § 853.5, a police officer cannot take a person to jail for an infraction (i.e. simple speeding ticket, with no possibility of any jail time) unless the person fails to provide the officer with some sort of reasonable identification, then the Fourth Amendment is violated when an officer arrests another for any such infraction. However, Edgerly only provides that such a violation is grounds for a state court claim under California state law (i.e. a state law false imprisonment claim.)
The Cops Are Never Wrong.
Plain and simple. If grandpa is held-up in his bathroom with a kitchen knife, it’s safer to come into a restroom with grandpa in it with a machine gun. But what’s the goal. The police routinely bust into the restrooms in such scenarios, and then shoot and kill grandpa, because grandpa raised his kitchen knife at officers wearing Kevlar helmets and stab-proof vests. This is no joke, and guess what? The cops get immunity in many cases in California, for police shootings that were caused by the police, because their use of deadly force is to be judged only at the time that the force was used; even if the cops created the need for the use of force to begin with. See, Munoz v. City of Union City, 120 Cal.App.4th 1077 (2004.) They certainly did their job. They prevented grandpa from committing suicide (the cops’ homicide of grandpa took care of that), but they also got to get home that night. Believe it or not, in most such situations just described, not only will the cops be exonerated from any departmental discipline, but the entity will back them all the way; lies and document destruction be damned.
Accordingly, because the courts have refused to restrain what used to be considered police outrages, the police have become “gang bangers with badges”. The days of the cop walking his beat with his .38 caliber revolver, and twirling his baton, are long gone. Even on police television shows such as Dragnet, Adam 12 and CHPs, the FCC banned the police drawing their pistols out, because the shows were shown on prime time TV during family hours. The Police used to be our friends. Now, anyone that they violate (i.e. beat-up or falsely arrest) is their enemy; a threat to them.
Modern Times; The Rise Of The Police State in America.
The Los Angeles Police Departments (LAPD’s) motto is: Were the badest gang in town. A recent study of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department (LASD) that was commissioned by the Board of Supervisors actually found that there is a culture within the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department of various “gangs of officers”, who routinely beat, torture, maim and kill members of the jails, and of the community, for fun; for the honor of the gang. Everybody is a scumbag, and have no rights. The recently forced-out Undersheriff, and recently one of the leading unsuccessful candidates for Sheriff of LA County, Paul Tanaka, is a Viking (at the Lynwood Sheriff’s Station; these gentlemen bore tattoos of the Minnesota Vikings Football Team logo on their lower legs, and were found by U.S. District Judge Jesse Curits to be a Neo-Nazi / White Supremacist gang within the ranks of the Sheriff’s Department; See, Thomas v. County of Los Angeles, et al; 978 F.2d 504 (1992).)
Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, along with a retired LASD Captain, were indicted on May 13, 2015 by a federal Grand Jury for Obstructing and Conspiring to Obstruct a federal Grand Jury investigation of the rampant torturing of inmates at the Los Angeles County Jail (See, Paul Tanaka Indictment of May 13, 2015.)
Some of the LASD gangs of these gangster cops are: The 3000 (the deputies who worked the third floor of the L.A. County Men’s Central Jail), The Grim Reapers, The Little Devils, The Regulators, The Vikings and The Jump Out Boys. After the FBI had announced that it had infiltrated the Los Angeles County jail and can now prove that the LASD Men’s Jail was essentially a torture chamber, with gangs of sick and sadistic guards, Paul Tanaka still showed his grit, as an LASD “gansta”, by addressing the command staff of the sheriff’s department, about the LASD internal affairs bureau. He mentioned that their were 45 LASD Internal Affairs Bureau investigators, and that was 44 too many (you’re got to have at least one to have a bureau.) One might think, why are these cops acting like Nazis? Why is this allowed to persist? Things have gotten so bad at the LASD that now the U.S. Department of Justice has indicted 18 LASD deputy sheriffs and supervisors, on charges ranging from Obstruction of Justice and torturing prisoners. See, “18 Los Angeles sheriff’s officials indicted, accused of abuse, obstruction”, LA Times, December 9, 2013″ “18 Los Angeles sheriff’s officials indicted, accused of abuse, obstruction”, LA Times, December 9, 2013″. These Indictments have also resulted in the resignation of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. See, “Embattled Los Angeles County sheriff to retire” (See, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/07/los-angeles-county-sheriff-lee-baca-to-resign-amid-federal-jail-investigation/ .)
There are several reasons for this. In 1968, in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time allowed the seizure of persons by police officers, without a warrant, on less than probable cause; the standard settled upon for police seizures of persons, at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1791 (“To give the police greater power than a magistrate is to take a long step down the totalitarian path.”, Douglas, J. Dissenting.)
This has turned-out to be the most prophetic dissenting opinion of the Warren Court era. It deals with the basic relationship between innocents and their police / regulators.
This author watched a 1998 C-Span reunion of the United States Supreme Court Law Clerks, who actually wrote the majority and dissenting opinion in Terry v. Ohio, 391 U.S. 1 (1968.) Although “Terry stops” are as much a part of what is considered normal and basically universally accepted part of proper police practices, those law clerks all stated that Terry v. Ohio, was supposedly to have been a “stop and frisk” case (of persons reasonably suspected of being, armed, dangerous, and presently involved imminent criminal activity, and not some generalized authority to detain civilians on less than probable cause.
In the 1980s the U.S. Supreme Court starting chipping away at our basic liberties, such as the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement and the Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause (the right to cross-examine your accusers). The television show S.W.A.T. and its progeny caused the American people to accept the militarization of the police as normal in American society.
In Anaheim, California, there were seven shootings of persons by the Anaheim Police Department in 2012. The Orange County District Attorneys Office won’t criminally prosecute any of these officers, because that’s something that they just don’t do.
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in “perception shootings“ ; shootings where a police officer shoots a civilian, and claims that the thought the person who he shot, was armed and some danger to him, who turn-out not to be. In fact, in 2010, the Los Angels Sheriff’s Department shot 15 unarmed people to death, who they claimed were reached for their waistband; that’s 15 people; dead. There has never been a criminal prosecution in Orange County, California of a police officer for an on-duty shooting. There have been a few criminal prosecutions of police officers in Orange County for a “duty related activity” (i.e. using force on persons during detentions or arrests) but, they were either “token” prosecutions (i.e. prosecuting an officer here and there to appease the body politic), or video and/or audio recorded so as to be simply undeniably outrageous behavior, such as the Fullerton Police beating Kelly Thomas to death. However, the Fullerton Police Department officers were acquitted of even using unreasonable force upon Kelly Thomas, because the jury pool in Orange County, California, simply will not convict a cop of a crime for even murdering a civilian, so long as the cops murdered the civilian in the course of his police duties.
Moreover, there is an inherent conflict of interest in every public prosecution for crime. If the District Attorney’s Office actually went after police officers for criminal conduct, they would eventually have to show how creepy and crooked the entire police community is. For example, when they went after the audio and video recordings and records that the police routinely destroy if they had arrested you or me (i.e. “My batteries must have been dead”), they would find them altered, stored under phony case numbers [to secrete them from location], lost, destroyed and otherwise concealed from location. That is the real world police system. If the cops want it lost, it gets lost, and in the real world, no judge or politician, is going to do anything about it. That’s reality.
Thus, the DA’s office would eventually destroy the credibility, and future usability at all, of the very persons that it depends upon to criminally prosecute you and I. The District Attorney represents one party (i.e. The People of the State of California), and it is not out to destroy the the credibility of the very system and police agencies, upon which it relies in being able to successfully prosecute you and I. Guess who wins the allegiance? It’s not you and I.
The fact is, that if a cop beats you up for fun, while on duty, and arrested you for some imaginary failure to immediate comply with an outrageous “police order” (i.e. “get down on the ground now”, when you have no clue as to what’s going on), and you have a black eye and your teeth knocked-out for daring to question the peace officer about what is going on, don’t be looking to the government to go after your oppressors; the police. Remember; they are the police. If you are reading this article, you probably would have never believed that the police really are “gangstas with badges”, if you or your loved one had not personally experienced police outrages.
If you’ve been falsely arrested or beaten-up by the police, please call the Law Offices of Jerry L. Steering for a free phone or office consultation, to get some justice. We can live without a lot, but we can’t live without justice.
Jerry L. Steering, Esq.