Ottawa police leaders are asking fellow officers who are wearing wristbands in solidarity with a colleague charged in the 2016 death of a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man to think carefully about the message it sends to the community.
"We must take into account the community perceptions of actions like these wristbands," Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau wrote Wednesday in an email to staff.
"There has already been a great deal of negative commentary and we should all be concerned about the long-term impact on public trust this could create," he wrote. "I am also concerned about how it may impact members during the course of their duties."
The message came after the CBC reported members of the Ottawa police were buying black-and-blue silicone wristbands in support of Const. Daniel Montsion, 36, charged in the July 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi.
Adbi was pronounced dead in hospital one day after a physical altercation with two police constables who responded to calls about a disturbance at at Ottawa coffee shop. Montsion faces charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
The wristbands, according to the CBC, bear Montsion's badge number and the message, "United we stand; divided we fall."
Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department used its oversight authority to push for fundamental changes in the way local law-enforcement agencies interact with the communities they serve. Now under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the federal government seems poised to pull back on that kind of enforcement — pleasing police officers but worrying activists.
Obama’s Justice Department greatly expanded both the number and scope of “consent decrees,” legally enforceable agreements with police departments on issues such as racial discrimination, use of force and unlawful stops and seizures. The Obama administration used the consent decree process to push for changes in places such as Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri, after high-profile killings by police.
The Justice Department’s authority to investigate police departments stems in part from an earlier high-profile incident of police violence: the 1991 Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. Congress later passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which, among other provisions, tasked the Justice Department with investigating systematic misconduct in law enforcement agencies. To do so, the Justice Department identifies police departments that have a “pattern or practice” of violating the constitutional rights of a city’s residents and then either reaches voluntary memorandums of agreement outlining how the departments will address the problems or, if those negotiations fail, goes to court to pursue a legally binding consent decree. In cases of court-ordered consent decrees, judges often appoint monitors to make sure the changes are carried out.
Sgt. Steven Frederick replies by saying he didn’t see Holthaus’ face, but he recognized her by her backside.
Holthaus, who was 18 years old at the time, went to the police to make a report about a fight she was involved in at a Holton Casey’s General Store. Barber, in the footage, describes the incident as a “mutual brawl.”
“What do they say when it’s not recording?” Holthaus said in an interview last week. “It made me lose some faith in law enforcement.”
In the video, Frederick goes on to say that Holthaus’ baby is “destined to be a (expletive) loser.” The dispatcher, Belinda Cashman, chimes in saying, “As (expletive) up as that family is, maybe it’s his,” implying that Ashley’s father is also her baby’s father.
Holthaus said that not only is the content of the video untrue, but she was disturbed her daughter was part of the discussion.
“My daughter’s innocent,” Holthaus said. “You can not like me, but bringing my daughter into it is sick.”
Since discovering the footage through her lawyer, Holthaus has wondered whether she can rely on the police department should she need to.
Her father, Doug Holthaus, said that when he first viewed the footage it left him in disbelief.
“It really puts a distrust in public service, in your public officials,” he said.
His lawyer contacted the city. In January, Doug and Ashley Holthaus received letters of apology from the three officials in the video and Holton police chief Gale Gakle, who supervises both officers and dispatchers.
“I agree that the remarks made by those employees were unprofessional, offensive and discourteous,” Gakle’s letter reads.
Barber wrote, “The comments were intended to be private, however private or public, the comments reflect poorly on myself, the Holton Police Department and the law enforcement community.”
“Sometimes in an attempt to be witty or interesting, I cross a line and hurt people who don’t deserve it,” Cashman said in her letter. “While I can’t take back my behavior, I can promise you that I will think hard about the repercussions of my words next time before I say them.”
In an interview last week, Gakle said the employees have undergone training to address the incident and are being monitored to make sure guidelines are followed. Gakle said he believes the situation has been addressed sufficiently.
Ashley Holthaus doesn’t think the letters are enough and that those in the video wrote them only to save their jobs.
“If I were to make a comment like that, my job would be gone, and they’re public officials,” said Holthaus, who works at a nursing home. “I hold myself to a higher standard than that.”
Rob Duke's insight:
Hubris, the downfall of many a Greek hero and many a cop.
The family of a military veteran who was fatally shot by a Eugene police officer two years ago has filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against the city, a number of police officers and an emergency call taker involved in the incident. Attorneys representing Brian Babb’s family filed suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A man arrested by Englewood police has died after suffering a head injury while trying to run from officers on March 5. The 38-year-old man, whose name has not been released, was reportedly taken into custody at 9:12 p.m.
NEW YORK — A class action lawsuit accuses Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police of targeting gay men who use the restrooms at New York City's main bus terminal.
Rob Duke's insight:
Few in the business really care about a person's sexual orientation any more; but, that doesn't mean that you can allow indiscriminate sex in public bathrooms--especially, in a place like a bus terminal where you might send your kid unattended.
Let's just examine how these investigations take place. Do they look like example A; or example B, below?
Example A: As the article and lawsuit implies, the cops profile and arrest "gay" looking men in bathrooms for no reason, knowing that they will plead to a lesser charge and pay a fine in order to avoid public embarrassment.
First: what does a "gay" person look like? Who knows today (and who ever knew)? Second: no prosecutor would charge a person based upon those facts. Now consider example B:
A plainsclothes officer sits down in a bathroom stall and waits (it doesn't take very long in a place that has become known as a place to engage in casual sex). When someone sits down in the next stall, the officer sits quietly (you know like normal) and often the person does their business and leaves. But, sometimes, the person in the next stall starts discreetly tapping their foot (it might even be random "nervous leg"), but then they angle the foot towards you and tap a couple more times, like "hey, you! hey, you boy!" (to quote Freddie Mercury from Queen's 1977: "Fight From the Inside" song). Now, here's where it gets interesting. All the officer need do at this point is tap his foot, which causes the other person to tap a couple times, and the officer copies that tap, then within a minute or so, a nude lower body slides under the stall expecting some sort of sexual conduct. The officer snaps a photo and says the coded word over their "wire", something cool and obscure like: "Ecclesiastes". Other officers swoop in and make the arrest.
First: what if a kid sits in a stall and inadvertently plays the foot tapping game? Second: did you know about the foot tapping game? What if you accidentally played along just by moving around trying to collect tp or your belongings? This is far from the harassment that the lawsuit implies.
Sorry, boys, but you have to get a room like everyone else.
In January, shortly after a jury had nearly acquitted the former Los Angeles County sheriff of charges that he helped obstruct an FBI investigation into abuses in his jails, Assistant U.S. Atty. Brandon Fox tipped his hand in a court filing. At the upcoming retrial, the prosecutor wrote, the government would not call several witnesses from the first trial who had testified that they tried to warn Baca about the inmate beatings and other corruption inside the county jails.
The ruling received relatively little attention at the time. But the judge’s decision and other rulings that limited Baca’s defense had a dramatic impact on his retrial and are likely to be the focus of the former sheriff’s arguments as he seeks to appeal last week’s conviction.
Preventing evidence of “good acts” shut down a line of attack that Baca’s lawyer, Nathan Hochman, had used effectively in the first trial to counter the government’s portrayal of Baca as the Machiavellian head of the plot to obstruct the FBI. No longer could Hochman paint a different portrait of the man — that of an “open, direct, and transparent” sheriff who had no reason to interfere with a federal investigation because he was trying to fix the problems in his jails.
With Baca’s defense hamstrung, Fox’s team of public corruption prosecutors was freed up to take a chance by calling two former sheriff’s officials who were already convicted of playing central roles in the 2011 obstruction scheme. Calling the new witnesses posed serious risks: Their credibility would come under scathing attack from Hochman. But they had firsthand knowledge of Baca’s role in the plot — something jurors from the first trial had said was missing.
Rob Duke's insight:
The grounds for appeal in Baca's obstruction case.
ROTHSCHILD — Police in northern Wisconsin say an officer and three other people were killed in what apparently began as a domestic dispute in a bank. Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks said the slain officer was from his department. Sparks did not release the officer's name.
It just wouldn’t make much sense for him to knowingly fire a handgun at a raid team of a dozen cops. Even if he were the sort willing to kill a law enforcement officer over some pot, he was massively out-armed and out-manned.
And as it turns out, Betton didn’t fire on them. Ballistics tests later showed that his gun had never been fired. The cops then altered their story to say that Betton merely pointed his gun at them.
That still didn’t make much sense. The police claimed he did this after they made repeated knocks and announcements, and that they were wearing uniforms clearly indicating that they were law enforcement. This again would have had Betton knowingly taking on a well-armed, well-equipped tactical team with a handgun over a comparatively small amount of pot — but this time only pointing the gun at them. Also suspicious: The task force members gave strikingly similar, almost word-for-word accounts of the raid. The police also confronted one of Betton’s neighbor’s as they approached the house. That neighbor would later say he had no idea the raid team was law enforcement, and he thought he was being robbed. If the neighbor didn’t know the raid team were police officers, it’s hard to see how Betton should have.
Rob Duke's insight:
Be careful of this b.s. journalism. First, let's argue that it wouldn't be reasonable for a guy to fire a gun at a raid team of cops, then a couple paragraphs later criticize the cops for not being well-marked because that might lead the perp not to know they were cops....wait? you just argued that he didn't point a gun at the cops, but it would have been reasonable now for him to do so because the cops didn't all have uniforms? Which is it?
War on Drugs=stupid waste....and, this was a tragic ending for the guy who was shot.....but be careful of this type of shoddy journalism that argues against it. We can argue against a poorly conceived drug war with better logic and facts than this....
A California woman who was drugged along with her boyfriend and then dragged from their home described the "hell that we have survived" in emotional testimony Thursday before her abductor was sentenced to 40 years in prison in a crime so elaborate and bizarre that police initially dismisse
A federal magistrate has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by the family of an Oakland woman who was killed by Emeryville police after allegedly shoplifting from a store, saying a jury could find that she posed no threat to the officer who shot her as she lay wounded on the ground. Police said employees at a Home Depot in Emeryville reported they had tried to detain Henderson for shoplifting, but she fled. Williams and a second officer caught up to her in a parking area and told her to drop the gun she was carrying, but she refused and pointed it at them, police said. U.S. Magistrate Donna Ryu said Monday that eyewitness reports and other evidence conflicted with Williams’ account and could lead a jury to conclude that the shooting was unjustified. While Williams said he fired the fatal shot because he feared for his life, Ryu said a jury could reasonably determine “that Henderson did not pose an immediate threat to Williams because she was unarmed and wounded, and because although she had carried a gun, she had not previously fired or aimed it at him.” Emily Rose Johns, a lawyer for the children, said Tuesday that Ryu’s ruling “combats the narrative that police officers, when confronted by a person with a weapon, have the ability under the law to shoot and kill at will.”
From Wrbl.com: A little more than three years later, the dashcam video of Airman Michael Edwards being shot by Opelika, Ala., police officer Phillip Hancock on Interstate 85 has now been released to the public. A call came into the Opelika Police Department on the night of March 6, 2014 about an erratic driver on …
Rob Duke's insight:
What do you think? It doesn't look like a good shooting to me....
President Donald Trump has called for a return to “law and order” policing and shown support for stop and frisk and heavy use of force. Many modern police leaders aren’t buying in.
One non-member, nonpartisan organization conducts field studies with real cops to find more nuanced, data-driven ways to reduce crime. Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann says scientific evidence should be the criminal justice system’s first and only guide.
Rob Duke's insight:
My former Chief, Jim Bueermann, giving an interview to NPR as President of Police Foundation.
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