ST. LOUIS (AP) — Four journalists arrested during last summer’s Ferguson protests over the shooting death of Michael Brown filed a federal lawsuit Monday against St. Louis County police and 20 of its officers, accusing them of violating the reporters’ civil rights and unjustifiably detaining them.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in St. Louis, alleges the arrests for the journalists’ failure to disperse as demanded by police on Aug. 18 and Aug. 19 were “undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring, and retaliating against (the) plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally protected speech, newsgathering and recording of police activities.”
The plaintiffs include Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept online investigative publication, as well as Ansgar Graw — a correspondent with the conservative German daily Die Welt — and reporter Frank Herrmann, who writes for German regional papers. The other plaintiff is freelance journalist Lukas Hermsmeier.
The lawsuit, which identifies the journalists as U.S. citizens and says they spent hours in custody, seeks unspecified damages and a court order barring county police from future alleged infringements of media access “to policing activities.”
Peter Krane, the county counselor, said Monday he had not seen the lawsuit and deferred discussing it publicly until he had an opportunity to do so.
Police in Ohio seem to not be able to understand the job very well. Local news got a story of a Toledo cop punching a handcuffed suspect in the face. The female officer walks over and hauls off and hits the handcuffed man right in face as he bends down to allow the officer behind him to adjust the cuffs. “Police brutality captured at its finest,” says Brad Bollinger, the neighbor who shot the cell phone video. Even the Toledo Public Relations officer agrees it is police brutality just from looking at the video!
I was in Toledo not to long ago and thought I made it crystal clear with the protest and the Robin hooding video, and the interaction I had with Toledo police that they understood they were being filmed. I guess we’ll have to get David Evans and Toledo Cop Block out there to hook up with Brad and make sure they get the message loud and clear!
This is not the first time TPD has been in the spotlight. I was there in October of last year at a rally to arm the police with body cameras. The people of Toledo felt the need for such an outcry in light of recent TPD brutality and misconduct cases. While I was there I decided to do a little Robin Hooding with Larry Kiddey of Ohio valley Cop Block, and we got to speak to a few TPD officers and informed them of the public’s right to record them. They agreed we had that right and we went on our way.
You can even see that when he is struck, the folks on the sidewalk start to react and the cops go rushing over as if they are going to do something to that officer. And they should expect that the family of the victim would want to retaliate against the attacker! Especially when eight cops stand around and do nothing when one of theirs assaults their brother or father, or whatever! These people then have to watch a gang of thugs that just allowed one of theirs to assault their family member, take that person to the police station, out of their sight, and trust that he will make it there alive? I call bullshit!!
To emphasize this point even further. As I write this, I am informed by a Toledo Cop Blocker that another person has died in TPD custody last night. So we are supposed to trust police with all this information we have about the bad ones? Especially when we are finding out daily how this is not a once in while occurrence.
INKSTER, Mich. (AP) — A pastor leading a protest Wednesday outside a Detroit-area police department threatened to shut down the city until white officers are fired for the bloody arrest of a black man who was pulled from his car and repeatedly punched in the head.
The march in Inkster came a day after TV station WDIV aired police dashcam video of the Jan. 28 arrest of Floyd Dent, 57. In it, an officer punches Dent many times in the head while another officer tries to handcuff the motorist, who is on the ground. Dent’s face and shirt were bloodied.
Police say Dent disregarded stop signs and refused to pull over, then resisted arrest and threatened them. They also say they found a bag of crack cocaine in his car.
Dent, who said he spent three days in the hospital with broken ribs, blood on his brain and other injuries, told reporters at a news conference that he was defending himself as an officer was “nearly choking me to death.”
“I wasn’t resisting arrest,” he said. “When someone is beating your face, you’re going to protect yourself.”
Hours earlier, Rev. Charles Williams II and about 50 protesters were told to leave the police department because they were blocking the door. Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost met them outside and said Michigan State Police would investigate the arrest. She told The Associated Press the department also was conducting an internal probe.
“I understand your concern,” Yost told Williams. “Again, we’re going to let the investigation play out. … We’re going to act accordingly. We’re not hiding from this.”
Both Dent and Williams say the officers should be fired. Yost told The Associated Press that one is on “administrative duty” but declined to elaborate.
“We will shut Inkster down until we get justice,” said Williams, who added that the video “made me sick.”
In the police report released by defense attorney Greg Rohl, Inkster officer William Melendez wrote that he was patrolling for “narcotics activity” when he saw Dent’s Cadillac pull into a hotel parking lot. He wrote that Dent went into a hotel room for a few minutes, came out and pulled away.
Melendez said in the report that he turned on his lights after Dent failed to use a proper turn signal and disregarded a stop sign. He said Dent failed to stop for some distance. When Dent pulled over, Melendez said he approached the car with his weapon out and raised it when he thought Dent, who was unarmed, was reaching for a weapon.
An auxiliary officer pulled Dent to the ground and Melendez put the motorist in a hold and punched him in the face after Melendez said Dent bit him on the arm; Dent denies biting Melendez. Another officer used a stun gun three times to subdue Dent, the report said.
A judge has dismissed charges of fleeing and resisting police, but Dent still faces a drug charge. He says he was visiting a friend, and that the officers planted the drugs in his car. He also said he was tested at the hospital and was “clean” of alcohol or drugs.
In 2004, Melendez and seven other Detroit officers were acquitted of lying, falsifying reports and planting evidence. Federal prosecutors had accused him and another officer of being the “masterminds” of a conspiracy to “run roughshod over the civil rights of the victims.”
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A veteran Las Vegas police officer has been suspended and accused of misdemeanor battery after a body camera he was wearing provided evidence that he injured a woman he arrested for littering and loitering for the purpose of prostitution, authorities said Tuesday.
An expert said it might be one of the first cases in which a body camera has led to criminal charges against a police officer.
Officer Richard Scavone, 43, used “not only excessive, but also unreasonable” force in the 5 a.m. Jan. 6 scuffle in a neon-lit industrial area one block west Las Vegas Strip resorts, Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters outside Las Vegas police headquarters.