Malicious Criminal Prosecutions by Peace Officers; Battery ON a Peace Officer is in the Real World, Battery BY a Peace OfficerLAPD Batting Practice in the Park

The law isn’t what is says; it’s what it does; what it “does” to real people in the real world. If the police can search you or beat you or falsely arrest you with impunity, they will, and they do. Any system of crime and punishment, even one well constrained by constitutional safeguards, is only as good as the persons acting in their various roles within that system; both the executive and the judicial branches.

If the District Attorney’s Office is a rubber-stamp for the police, the system breaks down; not in the number of prosecutions, but in the sense that justice is much less served. More importantly, the check on abuse of innocents by the Executive (the police and the District Attorney) is the jury. The police state isn’t the police; its the public. It’s what they accept as “reasonable” police conduct. Thirty years ago, juries would find police officers liable for shooting unarmed civilians. These days, the mere failure to do whatever the police order you to do, immediately, is sufficient justification to at least use substantial force upon you, and in many cases, sufficient justification to shoot you.

In that vein, malicious criminal prosecutions for “resistance offenses” are very common in these times. Sadly, the law surrounding whether one can sue for a truly malicious criminal prosecution by the police is shameful at best. Most people who have not experienced or witnessed unjustified police beatings and their accompanying false arrests and bogus criminal prosecutions, believe that the civilian must have done something wrong, or the officer wouldn’t have done them dirty. It is a programmed belief system that is supported by rather stark political reality; if you want to get elected to public office, claim that the police support you over your opponent. No one ever got elected to public office by promising to curb abuse by police officers. They do, however, get elected by claiming that they (as opposed to their opponent) have the support of the police, by lauding police officers as heroes and by taking their side when they commit atrocities upon civilians; unless of course there’s a video refuting the police version of events.

What do you do when a police officer walks up to you on the street, and orders you to prone yourself on the ground, and you have no idea what’s going on or why he’s asking any such thing? Do you think that you can place your hands up and ask “Why”, prior to proning yourself? How about if a peace officer orders you to turn around and place your hands behind your back, when you know that you haven’t done anything at all; do you think that you have the right to first ask him “Why” or ask the Officer “What’s going on” prior to doing so? How about if a police officer walks up to you and just grabs your arm; is it “lawful” to snatch your arm away from the officer and ask him what he’s doing, or verbally challenge his right to grab you? How about if the police tell you that they are going to search your house, your person or you car and you verbally object; telling them that they need a warrant to do that? How about if the officer then demands your car keys to open and search your car while you are protesting the same; can you say “No” without committing a crime? How about if you are standing inside of your doorway and the police are demanding entry? Are you committing a crime? How about if the police decide to handcuff you and demand that you sit on the curb? How about your insisting that the police officer stop pointing their pistol at you? Are you guilty of a crime; are you “in the wrong”.

The truth in today’s American society is that merely asking “Why” may be met with an immediate violent response; “for everyone’s safety”. Police especially hate people who claim to know their rights (which they usually had no accurate idea about), or those who even just verbally and calmly challenged their authority. They really do. When civilians express verbal remonstrance to seemingly unreasonable police orders, something bad usually happens to them. These actions ultimately often result in police beatings and false arrests, necessarily followed by bogus criminal prosecutions.

Photo of Innocent man beaten and falsely arrested for contempt of copWhen the police beat you and/or falsely arrest you, they create bogus police reports and those bogus reports contain the standard “buzz words” used to justify their outrages. These phony reports are then reviewed by the Detectives (who believe that any failure to immediately comply with police orders is a crime), “packaged” and sent to the District Attorney’s Office by the offending police agency.  You can rest assured that the police reports are not written in a manner that shows you to be the party in the right. They know that if you are convicted, that the conviction is a determination that you were the party “in the wrong”, and it generally insulates that offending officers from any sort of liability; administrative, civil and even criminal.

If police officers know that they can get away doing with they want with you, then they will. As a practical matter, save extraordinary circumstances (i.e. clear video clearly showing outrages conduct by peace officer) they can get away doing with they want with you, and they do. You may have not believed that before the event that drew you to this article, but chances are, that fact that you are reading this article usually indicative of you, the reader, having witnessed or experienced some sort of police abuse. You or your relative or your friend or associate is being prosecuted for some sort of “resistance offense” and they were the victim.

You are the one who was beaten. You were the one with the cuts, bruises and welts. All that you did is ask the officer “Why” or “What did I do”, or tell the officer that they need a warrant for him/her to enter your home, or search your car, or search you. So, all of that being the case, one might wonder why you or your relative or friend are the person being prosecuted, when the officer who beat you, falsely arrested you and is now attempting to frame you, gets support and “kudos” from the officer’s own agency and from the District Attorney’s Office.

When that happens, someone was “in the right” and someone was “in the wrong”. If the police were “in the wrong”, then they necessarily not only violated your constitutional rights, but they also committed state and federal crimes. If you, however, are the party “in the wrong”, then there is no violation by the police; only a violation of some sort of “resistance offense” by you. That determination of who was in the right and who was in the wrong is the reason that county District Attorney’s Officers falsely and maliciously prosecution persons for de minimis resistance offenses; notwithstanding the criminal defendant looks like he got into a fist fight with Mike Tyson with brass knuckles on.

These county District Attorney’s Offices bring these bogus prosecutions to protect the police. They see the police as their ally and as their client. Many of these Deputy District Attorneys have a great motive to curry favor with the police, as doing is usually a prerequisite to obtaining police support for an anticipated appointment as or running for Judge. They have every motive to persecute the innocent civilian. Moreover, their bosses, the elected District Attorneys, have great political pressure to find any police actions to have been justified; even the shooting of unarmed innocents.

Today’s police officer is basically trained that any failure to comply with any “lawful command” by them entitles them to taser you, or club you, or sometimes even shoot you. This is no joke. In 2015 the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shot 15 unarmed people to death; each time claiming that the dead man concealed their hands or reached their waistband / pocket area. The claimed that they had to shoot someone who posed a potential threat, and these claims are routinely defended by the offending police agency under the guise of “Officer’s Safety”.

The claim of “Officer’s Safety” has in the state and federal appellate courts, trumped your constitutional rights. Pat you down with no suspicion of person being both armed and dangerous (required by Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)); no problem, “Officer’s Safety”. Come inside and search your house because maybe there is someone inside who may be in danger of to the officers; no problem; Officer’s Safety (notwithstanding such behavior technically prohibited by Maryland v. Buie, 494 U.S. 325 (1990)). Prone you down on the ground at gunpoint and handcuff you for routine detention for investigation of whether you committed a crime, with no apparent cause for any such suspicion; no problem, Officer’s Safety (notwithstanding such conduct being prohitited; See, Washington v. Lambert, 98 F.3d 1181 (1996); can’t detain in unreasonable manner)

Detain you and cuff you at gunpoint because present at scene of execution of search warrant? No problem. The Supreme Court has not only authorized such conduct in Muehler v Mena, 544 U.S. 93 (2005) based on “Officer’s Safety” trumping that individualized suspicion, apparently / possibly still required by Ybarra v. Illinois, 444 U.S. 85 (1979) (individualized suspicion needed to detain at search warrant execution; merely warrant for another not sufficient to detain), without either case deemed to have overruled the other. So, what is the law? Can they detain you during a search warrant execution at a bar because the bartender suspected of selling heroin at the bar? Can they point guns at you just because it makes the police feel safer? Can the police prone out just about everyone who they come into contact with because it makes them feel safer? These are not easy or black and white questions.

A typical patrol officer these days is equipped with a taser, batons (usually collapsible) , pepper-spray, a pistol, handcuffs and a radio.Most of the patrol officers also wear body armor (i.e. bullet proof vests) and the M-16 machine gun has replaced the 12 gauge shotgun. They are ready for action, and some officers just cannot handle that much legal power and that much fire power. People who are not really drunk or high on PCP don’t attack these heavily armed police officers, and well over 90% of arrests for battery on a peace officer is really battery by a peace officer. Ask any cop off of the record and see what they say. Try it.

No matter what they do to you, even if your beaten raw and bloody, all that today’s state and local peace officers generally need to say to justify anything that they did to you, is that you failed to do what they told you to do. If you read police report after police report in “resistance offense” cases since 1981, certain methods of justification of almost anything that a peace officer does appear. They’ll say that the person took a bladed stance, or a fighting stance, or wouldn’t take their hands out of their pockets or wouldn’t take their hands out from underneath them, or the didn’t immediately belly flop themselves on the sidewalk when ordered to do so by a peace officer.

Criminal Prosecutions for “Resistance Offenses”, Such As for Battery on a Peace Officer, are Almost Always False and Malicious and the Prosecutors Know This.

Recently, three San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputies Sheriffs stood trial for using unreasonable force under color of authority on a man named Francis Pusok. See, “Jury finds 1 deputy guilty, deadlocks on 2 others in Apple Valley beating caught on video“.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deptuies beat Francis PusokMr. Pusok was being sought by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies in Apple Valley, California, in connection with a residential burglary and motorcycle theft in Lucerne Valley, California. When the deputies approached Mr. Pusok’s home he crashed his car through his picket fence and a vehicle chase commenced. During that chase Mr. Pusok ditched his car and stole a horse in Deep Creek Hot Springs, and fled through rugged terrain on horseback. The deputies pursuing Mr. Pusok couldn’t drive over the terrain to catch him, so they had to run and climb after him on foot.

Like the comedian Chris Rock stated in his infamous video “How Not To Get Your A_s Kicked By The Police”, “If the police have to come running after you, they’re bringing an a_s whooping with them”. Well, Chris Rock was right in Mr. Pusok’s case.

Knowing that any further efforts to evade the deputies were futile, as the deputies climbed the hill and approached Mr. Pusok, he proned himself out on the ground, placed him arms and legs out on the ground and waited to be handcuffed and arrested. However, what he got was getting tased, receiving a field goal style kick in his privates, followed by repeated and obviously sadistic kicks and blows to just about everywhere on his body, by just about all of the deputies there.

This is normal. Without the video from the NBC News Helicopter Francis Pusok would have been criminally prosecuted for felony using force and violence on the deputies, to shift the blame from the deputies to Mr. Pusok. This is also normal. This is routine. This is what happens every day.

What isn’t normal in this case, isn’t that there was a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department helicopter that was flying over the pursuit and the beating, but was that there was a NBC News helicopter flying over the Sheriff’s Department chopper. The deputies knew that there was a helicopter overhead and still beat Francis Pusok badly. They knew that there wasn’t a chance that the chopper pilot or crew, or their fellow deputies, would ever testify against them, or even tell their own agency what really happened. Not a chance. That is reality, and they were right.

However, the deputies didn’t notice the NBC News Helicopter over theirs, and the NBC chopper captured the beating of Francis Pusok (See, “San Bernardino Sheriff’s Deputies Beat Man (FULL VIDEO) Kick, Francis Pusok Hands Behind His Back” CNN broadcast.) Because of the NBC video, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos was forced to prosecute several of the deputies who beat Francis Pusok (See, “Jurors convict 1 San Bernardino deputy, deadlock on 2 others in televised beating case”. )

Mr. Ramos has his office routinely, systemically and rather proudly aggressively prosecute the victims of police beatings and false arrests (See SBDA Office Press Release 5/15/13). and KCAL / KCBS broadcast of 5/15/13.) He does this because it is common knowledge in the legal profession and otherwise (i.e. police officers) that a conviction of an accused for anything, even going one mile per hour over the speed limit, bars that person henceforth from being able to sue the police for false arrest (See, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) [barring federal constitutional claims] and Yount v. City of Sacramento, 43 Cal. 4th 885 (2008) [barring claims under California law; adopting Heck).

Had the NBC Helicopter not been there and not have been obscured, Mr. Pusok would have been the victim of a malicious criminal prosecution for felony use of force and violence on a public officer to prevent them from performing duty of their office (Cal. Penal Code Section 69) and/or resisting / obstructing / delaying a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code Section 148(a)(1)) and/or battery on a peace officer (Cal. Penal Code Section 242/243(b)).) He also would have likely been convicted for using violence on the police.

The worst part of all of this is that the District Attorney’s Office knows that these “resistance offense” case are bogus and that the deputies are violent, dishonest and would never implicate a fellow deputy.

During his closing argument in the criminal prosecution of three San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department deputy sheriff’s, veteran prosecutor San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Robert Bulloch told the jury the Sheriff’s Department fosters a “culture of violence” perpetuated by a “code of silence,” and that “We have to have the will to take on the machine of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.” See, “Prosecutor’s comments spur backlash by San Bernardino County law enforcement”. Mr. Bulloch was right and the rest of the District Attorney’s Office know this. Nonetheless, they march on and continue to prosecute the victims of serious crimes by peace officers.

How Police Officers So Easily Procure Your Malicious Criminal Prosecution.

When you are beaten by the police, they have taken that step from which there is no return. If they don’t arrest you, then they are tacitly admitting that your beating was unlawful. Therefore, if the police beat you, you are the one going to jail; not them (of course, unless there’s a video).

Moreover, that officer who falsely arrested you now has to justify the arrest by submitting a crime report falsely reporting that your committed a crime against them. The Detectives pick up the reports, look them over and submit them to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. The reports are usually a collection of fiction and material lies and omissions; the goal being to falsely and maliciously procure your bogus criminal prosecution. The street cops may not know fancy legal terms like “collateral estoppel” or know the case name of Heck v. Humphrey, but they know that if your convicted of committing some sort of crime against them, then you generally cannot sue them. They know that and that’s enough.

Moreover, personal, peer and institutional / administrative pressures, demand that the peace officer neither admit his/her mistake of law, nor apologize for same. Police agencies never admit that they’re wrong, and never apologize. Most of the times these frame-ups by police officials are simply the officer shifting the blame for his use of force upon you and his false arrest of you (i.e. “The suspect strike my fist with his chin”).

Nothing personal, but sorry, someone is “in the wrong” and a conviction shows that it’s you. That’s the malicious prosecution game. Deputy District Attorney’s who are typically assigned to reviewing cases submitted to the DA’s Office for criminal case filings almost always make that decision to file based on the police reports only. They don’t have time to review audio or video recordings of the incident; often having to review between 20 and 50 cases per day for decisions on criminal filings on those cases. These Deputy District Attorney’s who are assigned to case filings don’t have time to interview witnesses, or listen to audio recordings, or to even watch a video of the very incident that they are making that decision on. In largely populated judicial districts, these “filing deputies” usually have about twenty minutes to read the police reports submitted to the DA’s Office, and to make a decision to file whether or not to file a criminal action, and, for what crimes. That’s it.

The DA’s who file these criminal cases don’t call you on the phone and ask for your side of the story. They don’t care. They indulge the police with an undeserved strong presumption of honesty, and based on the (sorry folks) lies in the police report, they file and persecute the crime victims. It’s really pretty simple. What the heck; if the DA finds out that the constable is lying, nothing will happen to him anyway. The DA has already chosen sides, and it’s not your side.

What You Can Do If You Are Being Maliciously Prosecuted for a Resistance Offense, Such as Battery On A Peace Officer

If you are being maliciously prosecuted for a Resistance Offense, Such as Battery on a Peace Officer, we can help you. Call the Law Office of Jerry L. Steering about your bogus criminal prosecution.

Jerry L. Steering, Esq.