Texas

How do you murder someone and get away with it? Become a police officer.

Texas

Postby WaTcHeR » 26 Mar 2007, Mon 6:05 pm

Location: Austin Texas

Officer Involved: Julie Schroeder

Citizen Killed: Daniel Rocha

06/17/2005 - Austin- Federal authorities said Wednesday that they have launched an investigation into the shooting death of a man by an Austin police officer during a drug sting operation.

FBI spokesman Rene Salinas said agents in Austin learned about the incident shortly after it occurred and that the agency often investigates fatal police shootings.

He said investigators likely will interview witnesses and review reports and other police documents concerning the June 9 shooting near Quicksilver Boulevard and Pleasant Valley Road in Southeast Austin.

Daniel Rocha, 18, was shot once in the back after the Chevrolet Suburban in which he was a passenger was stopped by officers conducting a drug investigation. The Austin American-Statesman has reported that officer Julie Schroeder thought Rocha had taken her Taser stun gun during the altercation and was about to use it against her or her sergeant.

Rocha had no drugs in his system, according to a toxicology report released Wednesday.

The FBI's decision to investigate is part of an increasing involvement among federal authorities in the Austin Police Department.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the shooting deaths of two African Americans, Sophia King and Jesse Lee Owens, by Austin officers in 2002 and 2003. That investigation is not complete.

In March, City Manager Toby Futrell also asked the Justice Department to review practices and procedures of the department after several officers and dispatchers exchanged joking messages, including "Burn, baby, burn," during a fire at a nightclub that catered to African Americans.

City officials said Wednesday that they received a letter June 6 in which federal authorities said they are reviewing Futrell's request and had not decided whether to investigate.

The FBI's decision to investigate Rocha's death received praise from police leaders and community representatives.

Police Chief Stan Knee said the FBI told him about their investigation into Rocha's death Wednesday afternoon and that the department would cooperate fully.

Mike Sheffield, president of the Austin Police Association, said, "We welcome anybody coming in and looking at our work. I have full confidence that we will withstand the scrutiny."

Bobby Taylor, an attorney representing Rocha's family, said he has made several requests for a state or federal investigation. He said he also asked friends and other associates to do the same.

"The chief is being asked to decide whether his people did something wrong," Taylor said. "Do you honestly think he can make that kind of decision?"

Word of the federal investigation came hours after officials with the Travis County Medical Examiner's office released results of toxicology tests performed on Rocha.

Rocha tested negative for cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana and several other drugs, according to the report.

Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo said Rocha was not a chronic drug user and had not ingested drugs at least six hours before his death.

Taylor said he was not surprised at the toxicology report.

"We expected that," he said. "He was on probation, and as a condition of probation, he had to give urine samples."

Rocha was on probation for burglarizing a house in 2004 and had been charged with marijuana possession, court records show.

Police have reported finding a plastic bag containing a leafy green substance on the ground near the vehicle in which Rocha was riding.

Updates: Click Here

Here is a site on a recent community forum that was held in Austin Texas on the police officer that murdered of Daniel Rocha. Click Here

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Officers Involved: Arthur J. Carbonneau

Killed: Eli Eloy Escobar II

Location: Houston, Texas

Arthur J. Carbonneau stood in court and nodded as state District Judge Mary Lou Keel ordered him to serve the two-month term at the Harris County Jail as part of his probation.

A jury on Tuesday convicted the 25-year-old former patrolman of criminally negligent homicide in the Nov. 21, 2003, killing of Eli Eloy Escobar II. The jury sentenced him Wednesday to nine years, six months and 14 days on probation.

Keel also ordered Carbonneau to write a letter of apology to the Escobar family.

The judge declined a request from Assistant District Attorney Don Smyth that Carbonneau also be required to write an open letter of apology to the residents of Harris County.

"They think their police officers are gun-toting, trigger-happy fools," Smyth said afterward. "He's put everybody in fear and he owes everybody an apology. It's all his fault."

On Wednesday, the 25-year-old former patrolman showed no emotion when the jury settled on probation, but Escobar's mother, Lydia, broke down and sobbed.

"This is an injustice. This really hurts," said her brother, Arnold Perales.

The sentence recommended by the jury was called too lenient by some who saw the six-day trial as a symbol of the tension between the city's Hispanic residents and the Police Department.

"We're fed up," said Johnny Mata, a spokesman for the Houston-area chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
"This is outrageous. It's a disgrace," he said. But Hans Marticiuc, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, defended the outcome.

"It was a difficult case for the jury," he said. "You've got a young man, 14 years old, who was killed, and a young officer with little experience."

Carbonneau told jurors last week that his .40-caliber Glock pistol had fired accidentally when Escobar's hand or foot bumped his gun hand.

He was charged with murder, but jurors opted to convict him of a lesser offense, criminally negligent homicide with a deadly weapon.

Afterward, the jury of eight men and four women issued a brief public statement.

"This jury expresses its deepest sympathies to both the Escobar and Carbonneau families. This incident touched our hearts, and our thoughts and prayers will be with both families," the jury foreman read from the statement.

The shooting occurred after Carbonneau assisted officer Ronald Olivo in responding to a complaint in the 4600 block of West 34th. A caller reported that two teens had assaulted a 10-year-old boy at his home.

Police found Escobar and other teens playing computer games at a nearby apartment and told them to stand outside, witnesses said. The boy's father, Jesse Rodriguez, pointed out one teen who he said had harassed his son.

Escobar had not been involved in the earlier incident and began to leave, ignoring officers' orders to stop, police said. The struggle began when Carbonneau tried to detain him.

The teen thrashed his arms and legs violently and kicked Carbonneau in the groin, Carbonneau testified. He said he drew his gun, in part, because he feared Escobar had a weapon.

Carbonneau, who spent less than two years on the police force, resigned in April after being indicted.


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Officers Involved: Eric Hillman

Location: Conroe Texas

5/7/2004 -- A grand jury has indicted a Houston police officer on a charge of murder in the off-duty shooting of a 25-year-old man alleged to have been stalking him. Lt. Eric D. Hillman, 41. Hillman is charged with killing Kevin Leonard Lunsford, on Dec. 16, 2003, in a confrontation initiated when Lunsford drove past a no-trespassing sign and onto the officer's driveway in a rural section of the county. The dispute between the two originated after Hillman, who is also a lawyer, gave legal advice to Lunsford's wife about ending her marriage and seeking criminal charges against her spouse. Investigators said Lunsford, who later was found to be unarmed, was shot as he sat in his car. Investigators did not disclose how many times or where the victim was hit. Detectives said that Officer Hillman and Lunsford's wife, had been in a relationship.

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Officers Involved: Jeff Allen

Killed: Kelsey Morgan (11)

Location: Texas

03/17/2004 -Texas D.P.S. trooper Jeff Allen was going to pull over a vehicle inwhich Kelsey Morgan was an occupant, Kelsey's half brother was behind the wheel and sped off. The car overturned in a ditch killing Kelsey. The grandfather of Kelsey was arrested on Monday in connection with retaliation on trooper Jeff Allen. The grandfather was questioning other troopers on the incident as well as trying to get the video tape of the chase.

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Officers Involved: Richard K. Butler

Location: Houston, Texas

A Harris County grand jurors voted Friday not to indict a Houston police officer who shot and killed a 15-year-old boy last year, clearing the officer of criminal charges. Officer Richard Kevin Butler, who remains the target of a lawsuit, has been under investigation since the Oct. 31, 2003 death of Jose Vargas, who was shot while driving his mother's car. Butler thought thought Vargas was suspicious. The teen drove onto the street from a parking lot but had to stop for traffic, giving Butler time to catch up and confront him. The officer pointed his pistol inside the driver's window, and when Vargas accelerated, the vehicle's door frame struck his arm and the gun fired once.

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Officers Involved: Jason Lavastida and Donald Moore

Location: Corpus Christi, Texas

October 2003 -The family of a man who was shot and killed by Corpus Christi police officers filed a suit against the city in February. The city responded last week by denying any wrongdoing. The common-law wife and two children of Paul Silvas are accusing the city of violating Silvas' civil rights on the night he was killed by police. Deborah Golder and her two sons are seeking an unspecified amount of money, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi. . Silvas' family said he cooperated with police and died unnecessarily. The officers said the deadly shooting was in self-defense. Lavastida and Moore, both bicycle officers, said they smelled marijuana coming from his parked teal four-door Ford Taurus, according to a statement by Police Chief Pete Alvarez after the shooting. The officers ordered Silvas out of the car, according to reports. Silvas' family said the officers proceeded to beat him with batons "without provocation" and spray him with pepper spray when he sought safety in his car. The officers' said in their response to the plaintiff's filing that Silvas had tried to avoid detention by getting in his car, which necessitated the use of pepper spray. The officers said they then had to shoot at Silvas in self-defense when he tried to run them over. But Silvas' family said he was trying to escape the beating when officers started firing. Both the plaintiffs and defendants agreed the officers fired nine shots, hitting Silvas five times. Silvas died before he arrived at the hospital. Silvas' family said the shooting showed "malicious intent." The case is set for trial sometime in 2005.

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01/25/2003 -- Garland Police Chief Larry Wilson asked the FBI on Friday to investigate his officers' fatal shooting of Jorge Cruz.

The request comes in response to complaints about the department's use of force against minorities.

On Wednesday, a Dallas County grand jury declined to indict the four officers who fired at Mr. Cruz on Aug. 31.

The officers also have been cleared by a Garland department shooting review board.

According to police reports, Mr. Cruz had threatened neighbors with a knife and attacked the officers after ignoring their commands in English and Spanish to drop the knife.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Bailey confirmed Friday that the bureau has initiated a preliminary civil-rights investigation.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the Garland Association for Hispanic Affairs, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP had a town hall meeting last week to address grievances against the Garland police, including concerns about the use of force.

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After two days of deliberating and listening to eyewitness testimony, a grand jury came back Friday with a “no bill” decision, saying the officers did nothing wrong when they fatally shot 29- year-old Paul Silvas after he tried to run the two bike officers over.

Throughout the hearing, the Corpus Christi Police Department maintained senior officers Jason Lavastida and Donald Moore shot and killed Silvas only after he tried to run them over with his car.

Assistant district attorney Mark Skurka would not tell us about the testimony, but he did reveal that all but one of the eyewitness' testimonies were prerecorded.

Skurka says police officers have been indicted by the grand jury in the past, but this time jurors felt a indictment wasn't warranted.

He says, “I don't think there's a perception that cops get away with things. I think the perception is we have 12 individual people on the grand jury to make this kind of decision so the police department doesn't have to make that decisions on their officers."

Since the grand jury found no indictments on the two police officers, the case has been closed and the officers are back on the job with full pay.

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Officers Involved: Arthur Carbonneau

Location: Houston, Texas

Prosecutors are still investigating a fatal police shooting that occurred Nov. 21, 2002 in northwest Houston. Officer Arthur Carbonneau was trying to restrain 14-year-old Eli Eloy Escobar, when his gun fired. The boy died of a head wound.

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Officers Involved: Bert Dillow, Mika Aldred, Rodney Evans, and Chad Belleaud

Location: Baytown, Texas

Grand jury clears Baytown Four January 2002 - A Harris County grand jury declined to indict four officers for the death of Baytown Luis Torres, the Mexican national who died in police custody earlier this year, after a videotaped beating that left him dead. Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced" was playing on the radio in the background as Mr. Torres was beaten, he died from asphyxia i.e., he couldn't breathe because the officers knee was across his chest. One of the four officers, patrolman Bert Dillow, remains on administrative desk duty, but not because of killing Torres. He is the subject of another police investigation involving use of force against someone who recently received a two year jail sentence. The other three Sgt Rodney Evans and patrolmen Mika Aldred and Chad Belleaud have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Torres case. Harris County in its history has never indicted an officer for killing a Mexican.

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Officers Involved: Lamont E. Tillery (30), David R. Barrera (28), Pete A. Herrada (28), David Perkins (30), James R. Willis (28), and Darrell H. Strouse (34)

Killed: Pedro Oregon Navarro

Location: Houston, Texas

07/12/2000 -- On July 12 Houston police officers arrested a suspect for drugs, the suspect told officers that he would take them to a "drug dealers" location. Officers without a "warrant" take the word of the "informant" and goto the otherside of Houston to Pedro Oregon Navarro apartment. Officers knock on the door and a occupant opens the door and force their way into the apartment. As officers go down a dark hall way Pedro Navarro comes out of his bedroom with a pistolto protect his family only to be met by all these goons. Officers fired at Pedro some even emtying their clips and reloading and shooting. Pedro was shot 12 times including 9 times in the back as he laid on the floor autopsy showed. During all the shooting officer Lamont E. Tillery was shot in the shoulder by one of his fellow officers.

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Location: Texas

October 2003 -The family of a man who was shot and killed by Corpus Christi police officers filed a suit against the city in February. The city responded last week by denying any wrongdoing. The common-law wife and two children of Paul Silvas are accusing the city of violating Silvas' civil rights on the night he was killed by police. Deborah Golder and her two sons are seeking an unspecified amount of money, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi. . Silvas' family said he cooperated with police and died unnecessarily. The officers said the deadly shooting was in self-defense. Lavastida and Moore, both bicycle officers, said they smelled marijuana coming from his parked teal four-door Ford Taurus, according to a statement by Police Chief Pete Alvarez after the shooting. The officers ordered Silvas out of the car, according to reports. Silvas' family said the officers proceeded to beat him with batons "without provocation" and spray him with pepper spray when he sought safety in his car. The officers' said in their response to the plaintiff's filing that Silvas had tried to avoid detention by getting in his car, which necessitated the use of pepper spray. The officers said they then had to shoot at Silvas in self-defense when he tried to run them over. But Silvas' family said he was trying to escape the beating when officers started firing. Both the plaintiffs and defendants agreed the officers fired nine shots, hitting Silvas five times. Silvas died before he arrived at the hospital. Silvas' family said the shooting showed "malicious intent." The case is set for trial sometime in 2005.

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04/07/2002 - Grand Jury Rules There's No Cause For Charges In Fatal Shooting A Travis County grand jury declined to indict a sheriff's deputy Wednesday for the shooting death of a 19-year-old man during a December drug raid.

Deputy Derek Hill shot and killed Tony Martinez during the Dec. 20 raid of a mobile home in Del Valle. Martinez was not the target of the drug raid and was not armed when he was shot. "How could they have no-billed him?" Gonzales said as she started crying on the phone. "My son was asleep." She declined further comment.

Travis County Sheriff Margo Frasier was not available for comment Wednesday.

Martinez was asleep on a couch when a Travis County SWAT team rammed open the front door of the mobile home on Cornflower Circle. The deputies were headed to the master bedroom to look for drugs when Martinez sat up, and Hill shot him once in the chest.

The target of the raid was 28-year-old Arturo Alvarez, who had a criminal history that included attempted murder and aggravated assault. A confidential informant had tipped off the department that he was dealing cocaine and methamphetamine from the home, as well as stockpiling automatic weapons.

Martinez, who was wanted in the burglary of a nearby convenience store, was related to Alvarez. Authorities arrested Alvarez at the mobile home.

Deputies found 540 grams of cocaine and 222 grams of methamphetamine in the mobile home as well as a bullet for an automatic weapon.

Martinez was flown to Brackenridge Hospital but was dead by the time the helicopter landed at the hospital.

Hill had been with Travis County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Ruiz during a drug raid in February 2001 in which the 36-year-old husband and father was killed. Edwin Delamora, 21, was charged with capital murder in Ruiz's slaying.

The sheriff's office decided to double the number of officers who participate in raids after Ruiz was shot.

The Drug Policy Forum of Texas, which was opposed to the police tactics that led to Martinez's death, held a March fund-raiser for Martinez's family, which includes his 13-month-old son.

The forum, based in Houston, advocates drug reform issues to local, state and federal lawmakers.



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Location: Austin Texas

Killed by Police: Steven Scottwas

March 2000 -- Steven Scottwas a black Austinite, beaten to death by up to eight cops while he was unarmed, handcuffed and shackled. Police officials claim Scott died of a heart attack, not the beating, but the coroner specifically ruled out heart
attack as the official cause of death.

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Officers Involved: Joseph H. Shackett

Location: Houston, Texas


8-24-1999 -- Colleen Beverly Kelly,37, was unarmed and mentally ill, and shot once in and killed by Houston PD officerJoseph H. Shackett. Colleen reportedly suicidal and having committed no offense, Shackett nevertheless hunted for and found her walking on a city street. Colleen told him she didn't want to talk to him, and continued walking as Shackett "kept an eye on her." Claiming he thought she had a gun, despite having been told by Colleen's mother less that 15 minutes earlier that she was unarmed and had no access to guns. Shackett then claims that Colleen approached his car with her hand inside her fanny pack, saying she was holding it as if it were a gun. Shackett shot her when she was just inches away. Despite an HPD general order that requires officers to "detain all witnesses," Shackett nevertheless ignores the numerous civilian witnesses to this murder and allows all traffic to proceed, thus ensuring that no witnesses other than police officers and EMS personnel remain. And despite the severity of her injury, Colleen lay on a gurney for 6 minutes before the ambulance left the site. Neither Shackett nor EMS personnel called for Life Flight, which likely would have saved her life since she died after arriving at the hospital 45 minutes later. Colleen was allowed to bleed to death, further ensuring no civilian witness to this incident. Shackett was no-billed.

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Officers Involved: Troy Brown

Location: Austin Texas

1999 -- Herbert Vences was a non-English speaking Mexican national killed by a APD Officer Troy Brown in 1999 because he allegedly pulled an 14- inch stick from a tree (in view of the officer) and threatened to stab him with it.

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Officers Involved: Floyd Goodwin

Location: Texas

7/09/1999 -- Janette Rodriguez (11 months old) is killed and three other family members critically injured when DPS trooper Floyd Goodwin, without siren or emergency lights, hits family's car from behind as he races to another accident. Witnesses say Goodwin's speed was more than 100 mph when he hit the Rodriguez car. Goodwin was no-billed.

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Officers Involved: J.E. Lopez

Location: Houston, Texas

1/22/1999 -- Sheryl Sue Seymour, 40, mentally ill, shot once and killed by officer J.E. Lopez after calling for ambulance to take her to hospital. Police claim she lunged at them with a butcher knife. Sheryl was barely 5 ft. tall.

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A Houston police officer named Scott Tschirhart shot to death three black men in circumstances that led to protests and a grand jury investigation. Cleared by the grand jury, Tschirhart was eventually fired by Houston's black police chief shortly after the third killing in 1989.


It was well known to his fellow officers that Tschirhart was a user of anabolic steroids, and they had watched the drugs transform him as a bodybuilder and as a policeman. "The bigger he got … the worse he got about strutting around and bragging," a veteran officer recalled. "You could really see him changing." But the Houston Police Department had no policy against steroid use, so no one intervened until the third fatal shooting provoked the department to investigate this officer's unusually violent career.

>>>> Texas Deputy Sheriff Scott Tschirhart brutally beat two young Chicanos last July; Tschirhart had been forced off the Houston police after killing three Black men.

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Officers Involved: Stan Farris

Location: Austin Texas

1999 -- Johnny Cornell was a black Austinite with mental impairments killed by an APD Officer Stan Farris. Farris shot Cornell three times in the left side and once in the center of his back. Cornell was Farris fourth shooting victim , the second to suffer mortal wounds. Farris said Cornell madly rushed him head on with a knife wielded over his head, but civilian witnesses said Cornell was not running but walking, and toward his mother, not the officer.

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Location: Austin Texas

Officer Stan Farris, a 26-year veteran beat cop, told the city's Police Oversight Focus Group that "I wanted to work on the street so it's more likely I'll be involved in shootings." In that, he has succeeded. In 1999, Johnny Cornell became the fourth person who Officer Farris shot during his career, and the second to suffer mortal wounds. Each time Farris has been cleared both by the department (in this case Chief Stan Knee), by the District Attorney's office, and by the Travis County Grand Jury, which is convened and largely controlled by the DA.

In the Johnny Cornell case, Farris claimed that the mentally impaired Mr. Cornell rushed him with a kitchen knife, wielding it over his head as though he were planning to physically attack the officer. The only corroborating witness that Cornell "rushed" Farris was an EMS technician who Farris apparently knew prior to the shooting. Moreover, by Farris' own testimony, he compared stories with the EMS technician before other officers arrived on the scene: "Jason with EMS came up to me and asked me if I was alright," Farris said in a sworn affidavit. "I told him I was okay and I asked him if he had seen what had happened." Despite the availability of this testimony, all Farris' superiors accepted Farris' account, as did the DA, the grand jury and all of Austin's mainstream media.

To have reached this conclusion, police and the grand jury must have chosen to ignore testimony by the only eyewitness to the shooting who did not have a prior relationship with either the shooter or the victim: Yawar Abbas, the store clerk in whose parking lot the incident occurred. Mr. Abbas swore out an affidavit in the case contradicting Farris' testimony. For starters, "the body shop guy told me that the son had a knife but I didn't see it," he told APD Homicide detectives on 2-2-99.

Abbas said he "could see the son as the police officer got out of the car. The son was walking in the direction of the police officer. The police officer told the son to stop one time and the police officer backed up towards the back of the police car and he had his gun out. The son never did stop and continued to walk toward the direction of the officer and the mother's car. I was yelling to the police officer that the son was crazy. I yelled, 'He's crazy, he's crazy!' The ambulance guy had gotten out by now and was yelling for me to get out of the way. I backed up and I saw and heard the officer shoot the son three times. The son fell down to the ground face first."

Officer Farris told investigators he shot three times quickly, then once more when Cornell got to his knees and lunged at him. Examine the graphic below. According to Cornell's mother, Georgia Parr, who witnessed the shooting, the first shot hit Cornell at the base of the neck. Supporting this claim, the coroner found a bullet had entered Cornell's neck from the left side sloping slightly downward and forward, lodging near his right collarbone. The coroner determined that this shot to the neck had been the fatal wound. The second shot entered Cornell's left shoulder, and the third shot entered the left side of his chest, as though in his dying moments he were turning to face his assailant.

Farris told investigators he fired the fourth and final shot when Cornell got to his knees and lunged at him. However, as clearly depicted on this diagram, the last shot entered Cornell's body in the middle of his back. The trajectory of the wound indicates it went downward into his body lodging near his buttocks. For a bullet to take this angle, Cornell either would have to have been shot from above, or while he was prone on the ground. If this analysis is correct, then Cornell was shot from the left side, not the front as Officer Farris told investigators, then finished off with a shot to the back after he fell.

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Location: Austin Texas

On January 24, 1998, Rodney Wickware a 31 year old black Austinite, was walking near the 6900 block of North Lamar toward some fast food restaurants up the street from his apartment. He had gotten off work at 11 p.m., and according to his roommate Wickware had just enough time to grab a bite to eat before he met a date at midnight to go out. He was jaywalking across North Lamar when officers pulled him over because he looked suspicious and was allegedly walking erratically. Since that neighborhood is predominantly white, one naturally wonders whether some type of racial profiling might also have contributed to the officers' intervention into Mr. Wickware's affairs.

Though Wickware was unarmed, ultimately five officers arrived on the scene before the decision to arrest him was made. Police said Wickware stopped breathing during the fight. The autopsy indicated that Mr. Wickware's larynx had been crushed and that he died from lack of oxygen to the brain. EMS workers performed an emergency tracheotomy on Wickware when they arrived to facilitate breathing, but he never recovered. Even so, Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Elizabeth Peacock ruled that the crushed larynx had not cause this lack of oxygen, but instead theorized that Mr. Wickware had ingested antifreeze, a highly poisonous substance, likely in order to commit suicide or in an ineffably misguided attempt to get high.

Wickware's family and roommate dispute that Wickware would have ingested anti-freeze that night for either reason. A man about to meet a date after work had too much to look forward to to contemplate death. And Wickware's associates say he had no inclinations toward the type of extremist substance abuse which would be a necessary prerequisite for drinking deadly antifreeze to get high. Mrs. Wilma Wickware, Rodney's mother from Tyler, speculates that APD officers, knowing they'd strangled her son, might have forced antifreeze down him to provide an alternative cause of death and to get themselves off the hook. Whether or not that disturbing scenario is correct, it does seem unlikely that the crushed larynx was merely coincidental to the fact that Wickware passed out in an officer's chokehold and died from lack of oxygen to the brain.

No charges were ever filed against the five officers who assaulted Mr. Wickware, no apology or admission of wrongdoing has been forthcoming and his family has never been compensated for their loss. All these officers went back onto active duty.

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BELLAIRE FILES LAWSUIT TO FORCE SLAIN TEEN'S FAMILY TO ACCEPT OFFER

Two Bullets In The Back Of A 10th-Grade Boy, Travis Allen, In Bellaire, Texas, Killed In Police Custody While Allegedly On LSD - A $25 Million Lawsuit Filed By His Parents Against The Bellaire Police Department And Two Officers Alleging Excessive Use Of Force goes To Trial On August 17 - When A Grand Jury At First Absolved Police, One Juror Told The 'Houston Chronicle' That Another Politically Connected Juror Had Applied Pressure Not To Indict, Which Led To District Attorney Johnny Holmes Jailing The Reporter And Indicting And Prosecuting The Juror Who Spoke Out)

The city of Bellaire has filed a lawsuit in state court to try to force the family of a slain teen-ager to accept a settlement proposed during mediation of a federal suit.

Noel and Rebecca Allen of Houston, parents of 17-year-old Travis Allen, signed the $90,000 settlement on July 25 in the wrongful death suit they filed in 1996. But two days later, the Allens and one of their lawyers, Graydon Wilson, told U.S. District Judge David Hittner that the parents were bullied into accepting the ostensibly meager sum by the mediator and the opposing lawyers.

In December 1995, they filed a $25 million lawsuit against the Bellaire Police Department and officers Michael Leal and Carle Upshaw, alleging excessive use of force. The lawsuit has forced the Allens to relive their son's death, but has also uncovered many new details about it. Efforts to dismiss the case have been themselves dismissed. Last week, U.S. District Judge David Hittner scheduled the case for trial on August 17

The mediator, M.A. "Mickey" Mills, and Bill Helfand, the attorney for Bellaire and the two police officers who were sued, strongly denied the charges. Helfand told Hittner the agreement should be enforced like any other contract, but Hittner said a federal court does not have jurisdiction to determine the validity of a contract between two parties who live in Texas.

On Nov. 5, Hittner ordered the wrongful death case be delayed until a state court resolves the settlement dispute.

Helfand said Friday that he hopes the state suit, which was filed Monday in the court of state District Judge Pat Mizell, can be resolved before the end of the year. Helfand also represents officers Michael Leal and Carle Upshaw.

On Aug. 13, Mills, the mediator, told Hittner that Wilson urged the Allens to sign the agreement after acknowledging he would have a difficult time winning the federal suit.

Wilson said the Allens realized they did not want the proposed settlement "probably within one hour of walking out of the (mediation) room."

He said there are several reasons the signed agreement is not valid:

Although it was signed July 25, the settlement said it would have to be finalized by Bellaire City Council on Aug. 3. This meant it was not a valid contract until Aug. 3, and the Allens withdrew their support of the
settlement on July 25.

The settlement was made on behalf of a third party who was not at the mediation, Gracie Allen, the Allens' daughter. According to Wilson, Gracie Allen rejected the settlement before the Aug. 3 council vote.

The language of the settlement was indefinite. One paragraph outlined the terms of the settlement, while a later paragraph said if any disputes arose, there would be further mediation.

Bellaire City Council violated Texas open meetings laws by conducting an executive session prior to the mediation and discussing the settlement in closed session Aug. 3 before voting on it in open session.

Helfand said Wilson's contentions are absurd.

Helfand said that according to state law, a contract is valid when "there is a meeting of the minds," which occurred July 25.

He said Gracie Allen's name is not mentioned anywhere in the settlement. He said the city later agreed to put the money that would go to the Allens under a trust fund set up for Gracie, which he assumed was established to avoid paying taxes on the settlement.

Wilson had accused Helfand of sending a letter to the Allens warning them they might have to pay the attorneys' fees for the city and the officers in the federal case if they lost. Helfand said he always advises adversaries in legal proceedings that they may have to pay his fees if he feels their claims are without merit.

Helfand said the real tragedy in the contract dispute is that under Texas law, the Allens will have to pay the attorneys' fees if they lose. He said if this happens, as much as $20,000 could be deducted from the $90,000 settlement.

Travis Allen was on drugs when he smashed through the patio door of a Bellaire home in the 4400 block of Acacia about 1:10 a.m. July 15, 1995.

The teen-ager was injured and bleeding on the floor when police responded to an intruder call from the homeowner, the Allens contend.

The family said Upshaw's foot was on the teen's back, immobilizing him, when Leal fired two shots into the boy's back. A grand jury declined to indict the officers on any criminal charges.

Helfand said Friday that the Allens received a $108,000 settlement this spring in a state lawsuit they filed against Sharon Reed, the owner of a house where Travis attended a party the night he was shot.


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Officers Involved: Robert C. Johns

Location: Garland Texas

1993 -- The family of a 26-year-old man shot to death by a Garland, Texas police officer during a 1991 drug raid has sued the officer in federal court for more than $1 million. The parents of the dead man, allege in the suit that Officer Robert C. Johns unjustifiably used deadly force and then fabricated a story in conjunction with other police officials, to justify the shooting. Kenneth Baulch was asleep in his trailer around 2 p.m. of February 14, 1991 when a group of police officers dressed in black and wearing ski masks burst through the door and aimed pistols at his brother. The officers then kicked down the bedroom door, yelling "freeze!" and almost immediately fired three shots, fatally wounding Kenneth Baulch. They later seized a small quantity of marijuana. Police said they shot Kenneth Baulch because he attacked Officer Johns with an ashtray. The suit specifically refutes this allegation, stating that "at no time did Kenneth Baulch attempt to strike anyone, or use the ashtray as a weapon."

====================

Officers Involved: Juan Rojas and Juan Moreno

Killed: Richard Ponce

Location: El Paso, Texas

09/27/1993 -- Officers Juan Rojas and Juan Moreno were on a ride along with two producers of the TV program "COPS".(TM) Richard Ponce's mother saw the whole incident and said yes her son had a broken knife in his hands and stood 25 feet from officers and wasn't a danager to the officers and they shot him.

=========================

Officers Involved: Wayne Denson, Stephen Orlando, and Joseph Janish


Location: Houston, Texas



1977- Joe Campos Torres, 23, unarmed, drowned in Buffalo Bayou after
being beaten so severely by HPD officers Wayne Denson, Stephen Orlando and Joseph Janish that a booking sergeant refused to accept him at the City Jail.
Torres was arrested when officers responded to a disturbance call at a bar. When the sergeant refused to jail him, the officers took him to the Bayou, beat him again and pushed him into the water. He was found dead in the Bayou two days later. His killers said they only wanted to beat into him a respect for the law.
They were sentenced to one year in jail for killing him, and ten years probation for beating him.

==========================



2000 -- Jaime Santiago Cruz, 23, shot three (3) times and killed by HPD officer M. S. Reutzel when he raises the volume of his stereo. Although police say Santiago reached for a toy gun, the only witness disputes that claim. The witness, who cannot read English, was threatened with imprisonment if he did not sign the statement prepared in English by HPD

Police say only three (3) shots were fired, and three (3) bullets hit Santiago; yet they also report that "bullets ricocheted off the à wall" of his apartment. Grand jury declines to hear witnesses, no-bills Reutzel. The Mexican Consulate then asks for new investigation into shooting death of Santiago, accuses prosecutors of failing to uphold rights of immigrants "who are the victims of police violence in the Houston area."
Last edited by WaTcHeR on 15 Jul 2008, Tue 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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Postby WaTcHeR » 26 Mar 2007, Mon 6:07 pm

Reginald LaVergne 18 Black

April 17, 1999. Tennessee Colony (Texas Dept of Criminal Justice):

Mr. LaVergne died while in prison look-down (administrative segregation).

Prison authorities claim he had been depressed and probably committed suicide by eating his mattress. But the victims family disputed this account and charged that he was murdered by prison authorities. When the family saw the body, they noted that his weight had dropped from 175 lbs. to 100 lbs. in five months (since Dec., 1998). They also noticed that his body had bruises on the shoulders and chest and holes on the bottom of the feet that looked like they were made with nails. All of his internal organs were missing. Mr. LaVergne had been sent to prison at age 15 for allegedly stealing a pair of shoes. An aunt described him as shy, sweet, kind, and full of jokes.

Donnie DeWayne Jackson2 3

January 14, 1999. Harris County, Texas:

Police arrested Mr. Jackson for possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and booked him into the city jail. About six hours later, an ambulance was called when Mr. Jackson allegedly fell. He was pronounced dead at the hospital an hour later. The medical examiner claims he found a gram of cocaine in his stomach and ruled that the cause of death was a cocaine overdose. But the victims relatives said they suspected foul play after viewing the body because they noticed several head wounds. The medical examiner claims this happened when Mr. Jackson fell.

Derek Jason Kaeseman 24 Anglo

October 25, 1998. Houston Texas:

Mr. Kaeseman was shot and killed by seven Houston police officers who were surrounding his truck, which had hit a guardrail after a short chase. The police fired 59 rounds, hitting the victim 14 times as he sat in his truck. Cops claim they saw him holding a shiny object, which later turned out to be a can opener. None of the civilian witnesses saw the shiny object. In Dec., 1998, a grand jury cleared all seven officers of criminal wrongdoing. Derek Kaeseman had started a landscaping business with a friend. He liked working outside with his hands and being close to nature. Mr. Kaeseman also loved good food and had gone to culinary school.

He was known as someone always willing to help out friends and family. His mother said, his light will always shine brightly in our family.



Stephanie P. Ryne 35

October 3, 1998. Houston Texas:

Ms. Ryne was shot once in the chest and killed by Houston Police Officer J.D. Hudson. She was reportedly intoxicated, despondent, and threatening to kill herself. Cops claim that she fired a pistol once into the ground as they tried to talk to her in the back yard, that she followed them as they retreated, and that she pointed a cocked gun at Officer Hudson and refused an order to drop it.

Charley Edward Cook 23

October 2, 1998. Fort Worth Texas:

Mr. Cook was shot and killed by Fort Worth police officers after he allegedly fired on them, wounding a cop and killing a police dog. Mr. Cook was being sought for a non-fatal shooting of a state trooper during a traffic stop the day before. Texas Rangers and Fort Worth police heard he was hiding in a wooded area and went to find him. A shootout allegedly ensued. The headline of the newspaper article about this incident referred to the dead police dog. Mr. Cooks death was mentioned in passing several paragraphs later, while most of the article talked about the police dog that was killed and the trauma suffered by cops when they lose a police dog.

Russell Robertson 27

October 1, 1998. Dallas County (Farmers Branch):

Mr. Robertson was shot once in the chest by Farmers Branch police in the home he shared with his girlfriend and her mother. He died a short time later at a local hospital. Three unidentified police officers were responding to a 911 call from Mr. Robertsons father, who said his son was suicidal and may have fired a gun. When cops arrived and knocked on the door, they got no response. After ten minutes, they entered through the unlocked front door and saw a body lying motionless under a sheet.

Cops claim that’s when they announced their presence, Mr. Robertson moved from under the sheet, revealing a shotgun pointed at his head, according to the newspaper. As police approached, he supposedly sat up in bed with the shotgun and said, just shoot me. Cops claim that when they tried to grab the gun, which they admit was not pointing at them, a struggle ensued, during which the gun was supposedly pointed at the cops several times, perhaps in a threatening manner. Authorities claim the cops only shot Mr. Robertson because their lives were in danger and said the shooting appeared justified.

Unidentified Man

September 26, 1998. Fort Worth Texas:

The man, who was driving a van, was shot twice and killed by Fort Worth Police Officer B.W. Randolph as he allegedly dragged the cop alongside his van. The officer approached the van in front of a known drug house and ordered the passenger out while he questioned the driver. The cop allegedly saw crack cocaine in the divers hand and ordered him to drop it, which he did. But the driver supposedly refused to turn off the engine, and when Officer Randolph reached in to do so, the driver allegedly took off, dragging the cop.

Erick Costilla 20

September 24, 1998. San Antonio Texas:

San Antonio Police Officer Albert Marin shot and killed Erick Costilla.

Officer Marin claims that Mr. Costilla lunged at him with a three-and-a-half inch knife. This was Officer Marin’s second fatal shooting in the last six years. Mr. Costilla’s family described him as a caring person. The guys a real compassionate kid, said Scott McCrum, the families attorney.

Unidentified Man 40

September 17, 1998. Dallas Texas:

Police were on the scene in response to a report that a man was exposing himself. The cops saw the man expose himself and tried to arrest him, but he reportedly resisted and locked his car windows, keeping the police outside. One cop smashed a window with his baton and grabbed the man, who allegedly broke away and ran about 30 feet. Other cops caught him. One sprayed him with tear gas while another placed him in a neck hold. Cops handcuffed him, and the man stopped breathing and died. Cops allegedly tried to revive him using CPR.

Richard Jason Anderson 29

September 1, 1998. Dickinson Texas:

Dickinson Police Officer John Wilson shot and killed Mr. Anderson because the latter allegedly made a move. after a lengthy foot chase. Officer Wilson chased Mr. Anderson after another man said he caught Mr. Anderson trying to break into his house.

Edward Bradford 30

August 20, 1998. Northwest Houston Texas:

Mr. Bradford was reportedly a drug addict, wanted for killing his mother several months before. His brother-in-law went with police to the now-abandoned house where Mr. Bradford had lived with his mother. Houston Patrolman David J. Hilbert reportedly went around to the back while the brother-in-law waited in the front. The cop said he heard a gunshot, came around the house, and saw that the brother-in-law had been shot. Officer Hilbert shot Mr. Bradford in the head and killed him, claiming Mr. Bradford fired at him first. He was placed on administrative duty during an investigation.

Santos Rijos 35

August 20, 1998. Southeast Houston Texas:

Mr. Rijos was shot in the chest and killed in his home by a Texas Department of Public Safety Officer, O. Garcia, during an undercover drug operation conducted jointly with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Authorities claim Mr. Rijos showed undercover Officer Garcia a kilo of cocaine for sale, then supposedly pulled a gun and fired at the cop when the latter signaled the DEA team to enter and arrest Mr. Rijos.

Officer Garcia, who was not injured, claimed he was returning fire when he shot Mr. Rijos.

Unidentified Man & Woman

August 18, 1998. Fort Worth Texas:

An unknown man and woman died in a fiery crash after a high speed chase involving dozens of police cars. Cops had reportedly been called to the couples house by a family member saying the man and woman were having a domestic dispute. When police arrived, the couple was not there, but cops allegedly saw a pickup truck pull up and saw the man striking the woman inside it. The man, who was driving, then drove off, leading to the fatal chase.

Reginald Wayne Smith 32

August 18, 1998. Northeast Dallas Texas:

Mr. Smith was shot and killed by Detective Alan Foster as cops executed a search warrant of his home. Police claim that they identified themselves before forcing open the front door and that the victim fired one shot at them before Det. Foster fired on him. Authorities said that department policies were followed. Det. Foster shot another man in 1986. He claimed that this man (who was wounded but survived) had also opened fire on him.

Robert Jack Williams 29

August 10, 1998. Richmond Texas:

Robert Jack Williams was shot at least six times and killed by Fort Bend County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Woody. He was unarmed. The deputy claimed Mr. Williams jeep was weaving, so he followed him and pulled him over. Mr. Williams allegedly attacked Deputy Woody, who claims he fired in self-defense. But members of the victims family, who were with him shortly before he was killed, said he was never even near the Riverwood subdivision where the deputy supposedly started following him. The family also questioned how police could justify the number of shots fired, asking, why would you shoot an unarmed man that many times? Another family member found eight shell casings on the scene, indicating that the deputy fired at least eight shots. Deputy Woody was placed on paid leave during the investigation.

He had previously been the subject of an excessive force complaint, for which he was exonerated. In that incident, deputies followed a young man home late one night. When his father went out to ask what was going on, Deputy Woody told him to get your ass back in the house right now, then ran up behind him and choked him, forcing him to the ground. Mr. Williams is survived by a large family, including many brothers and sisters with whom he was very close. He had been out shooting pool with some of them the night he was killed. He worked six days a week as a cable installer for a cable TV company. His sister said, We’re family oriented. He’s not a violent person. It [the shooting] is unjustified, no matter what they say.

Paul Watson41

July 22, 1998. Houston Texas :

Mr. Watson was shot and killed by a Houston police SWAT team sharpshooter during a standoff that was broadcast live on TV. Mr. Watson had reportedly killed his ex-wife and was holding his two young daughters hostage. Police were negotiating with him, but Mr. Watson got angry as he repeatedly saw SWAT officers creeping closer to his house on live TV. When the TV showed cops on a nearby roof, Mr. Watson allegedly fired two shots, one through his own roof, before the police sharpshooter shot and killed him.

Emile Duhamel

July 9, 1998. Ellis Death Row Prison:

Mr. Duhamel died in prison from exposure to extreme heat. He was taking a medication for mental illness which makes people sensitive to heat. The extreme temperatures on Death Row ranged from 105 to 130 degrees over the summer.

Gabriel Demoise Ledet 22

June 28, 1998. Southeast Houston Texas:

Police report that Mr. Ledet was killed as he fell beneath a moving train as they pursued him. Officers claim Mr. Ledet was a suspected car thief and gave this as the reason for chasing him.

Dominigo Artea 24

June 6, 1998. East Fort Worth Texas:

Mr. Artea was shot in the neck and chest and killed by Police Officer C.L. Sadler and Police Lt. A.J. Allcon. Cops claim Mr. Artea tried to rob Officer Sadler at gunpoint and fired a rifle at them. They also charge that Mr. Artea and another man had robbed several people that evening.

After Officer Sadler shot him, Mr. Artea allegedly tried to force two people out of their pickup truck, so Lt. Allcon shot him. Both officers remained on duty while Mr. Arteas death was investigated.

William Euell Poynor 96

May 29, 1998. Gorman Texas:

Police responded to a 911 call from Mr. Poyners wife about a domestic dispute. When officers arrived, they fired ten shots, four of which hit the victim, killing him. Mr. Poyner was 96-years-old, half-deaf, nearly blind, and known for his friendly disposition and storytelling at the local gas station. His wife filed a civil suit saying county officials covered up the facts of the shooting.

Richard Young 72

May 5, 1998. Houston Texas:

Police went to an apartment complex in response to a call about a man with a gun. When they arrived, Richard Young allegedly threatened to kill himself and any cops who came into his apartment. A four hour standoff ensued. The elderly Mr. Young was reportedly suicidal and despondent over his ill health. After four hours, he reportedly laid down the 12-gauge shotgun. Cops claim Mr. Young grabbed the gun and pointed it at them as they rushed into his apartment. Two Houston SWAT police officers opened fire and killed him. Authorities refused to reveal the names of the cops who killed Mr. Young on the grounds that they did not know which officer fired the fatal shots.

Wilbert Martin Guidry 22

May 5, 1998. Fort Bend County (Fresno):

Mr. Guidry was killed in a fatal car crash while being pursued by police. Five other people in two other vehicles were injured in the crash. Cops had stopped Mr. Guidry for speeding, and a license check reportedly showed a drug suspension. The chase began when Mr. Guidry allegedly drove away after being asked to step out of his car.

Minh Nguyen 26

May 2, 1998. Southwest Houston Texas:

Mr. Nguyen was killed in a car crash while being pursued by Houston

police. Before he died, he was charged with evading police and possession of a pistol. A passenger in his car and the driver of a car he hit were injured in the accident.

Unidentified Male

April 30, 1998. near Floresville:

Wilson County Sheriff's deputies were called to a location near Floresville because a man was threatening to kill himself. According to police, when the man leveled his rifle at the deputy, a deputy shot and killed him. Police did not release the name of the victim or the cop who killed him.

Korey Lavale Rawls 24

April 23, 1998. Southeast Houston Texas:

Mr. Rawls was shot and killed by Police Officer Scott X. Pena after the former allegedly opened fire on another officer during a drug operation in an apartment complex. This occurred in the 9200 block of Nathaniel Street around 10 a.m. Undercover cops claim they bought three kilograms of cocaine from Mr. Rawls. Another suspect was shot and wounded. According to police, the victims ran from the apartment after the undercover cops identified themselves and then supposedly shot back into the apartment at the officers. The officers opened, killing Mr. Rawls and the other man.

Unidentified Man

April 18, 1998. Harris County (Humble):

The man was shot once and killed by an unidentified Humble police officer while allegedly robbing a Home Depot with two companions around 5 a.m. The cop claims that the man pointed a pistol at him and that he ordered the man to drop the pistol before shooting him.

Kelvin Dewayne McDowell 25

April 3, 1998. Houston :

Mr. McDowell was shot in the chest and killed by Houston Police Officer R.L. Morris. The victim was allegedly on a balcony firing a weapon at a party when police came. Cops claim he refused an order to drop his weapon and made a threatening move. Children were in the apartment when police shot and killed Mr. McDowell.

Brendan John Hightower 34

April 3, 1998. Mesquite Texas:

Mr. Hightower, described as gravely ill with debates was killed by police gunfire after first being doused with pepper spray. The unidentified cop alleges that he shot in self-defense, claiming Mr. Hightower hit him over the head with a flashlight. Family members dispute

that Mr. Hightower was threatening police. The victims brother said, the effects of the diabetes were that he couldn’t stand on his feet for more than two hours. They [the police] screwed up. Police had been called to the apartment to prevent Mr. Hightower from committing suicide.

Gregory Ruiz 32

March 28, 1998. Fort Bend County Jail:

Mr. Ruiz was reportedly pounding on the doors of peoples homes in the pre-dawn hours, yelling for help and shouting they got guns and laser sights. Fort Bend County sheriffs deputies arrested him for public intoxication. He allegedly struggled with them as they tried to book him and suffered a heart attack. Mr. Ruiz died in the hospital. Cops claim he had cocaine in his system.

William Saldana 32

March 23, 1998. El Paso Texas:

Mr. Saldana was shot and killed by an unidentified Border Patrol agent. The agent was chasing Mr. Saldana and claims the victim tried to run him over.

Salvador Solis 17

March 21, 1998. Dallas Texas:

Salvador Solis was killed when the truck in which he was a passenger got into an accident while being chased by police. The truck reportedly ran a red light, hit another vehicle, and then hit a lamp post during the chase.

Mr. Solis and the trucks driver were supposedly suspects in an aggravated assault, and a 911 caller allegedly said they were waving or firing guns.

The driver of the truck, who was injured in the crash, was expected to be charged with manslaughter for his companion death. Two people in the vehicle they hit were also injured. A Police Department spokesperson said, There doesn’t seem to have been any violation of departmental policy.

Dolores Gallegos 17

February 8, 1998. Dallas:

Officer Francis Crump was speeding at over 70 mph (twice the speed limit) to another police officers call for help when he struck Ms. Gallegos car, killing her. She died at the scene. Officer Crump was not using his flashing lights or sirens, which is permitted in some cases under department policy. Ms. Gallegos was a junior in high school and left behind an infant daughter. Her mother and the father of her daughter each filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Crump for manslaughter. He was suspended without pay for four weeks in June 1998, after over four months on paid administrative leave (paid vacation) since the accident. This was described as one of the most serious punishments a cop has received in the five years that the current chief has headed the Dallas Police Department.

Julian Garcia 23

January 24, 1998. Pasadena Texas:

Julian Garcia was killed when a Pasadena patrol car driven by Police Officer B.C. Kelldorf collided with his Nissan. Officer Kelldorf was reportedly on his way to investigate a fight at a restaurant when the accident occurred. Authorities refused to say whether Officer Kelldorf was driving with lights and sirens on or to release any other information about the circumstances of the crash. The cop was treated and released at a local hospital.

Rodney Paul Wickware 31

January 23, 1998. Austin Texas:

Mr. Wickware died after allegedly fighting with five police officers who were trying to arrest him for weaving through traffic on foot. Cops claim Mr. Wickware stopped breathing suddenly during the fight. He was taken to the hospital with two broken ribs and a bruised throat and died the following morning. The five officers were put on administrative duty.

Brian Cloud 4

January 23, 1998. Houston:

Police officers with Houstons North Patrol gang unit tried to stop a speeding car. The driver of the car reportedly refused to stop and sped away, and police gave chase. The driver of the car being chased ran a stop sign and slammed broadside into a another vehicle that had just entered the intersection. Brian Cloud, age four, was ejected from the second vehicle and sustained massive injuries. He later died at a local hospital.

His aunt, who was driving, was hospitalized with broken bones and bruises.

Christopher Molina 32

January 4, 1998. northwest Houston:

Mr. Molina was arrested after he allegedly smashed the window of an apartment and then struggled with one of its occupants. When police arrived, they found neighbors holding Mr. Molina down. According to the newspaper, police reported that shortly after handcuffing Molina, the man quit breathing. An autopsy was scheduled, and the police department and the District Attorneys office said they would investigate his death.

Darnell Solomon 15

December 11, 1997. Dallas (Marvin D. Love Freeway):

Darnell Solomon, a ninth-grader, was struck by a pickup truck and killed as he fled across a highway during a police chase. He and a friend had been pursued by Dallas police as suspected car thieves. The car they were driving crashed through a fence near the highway and stopped. Darnell reportedly jumped out and started running. He was struck moments later.

His friend was arrested at the scene and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, evading arrest, cocaine possession, and vandalism. Darnells mother said, my baby wouldn’t do nothing like this - he had to be influenced into this. He was a wonderful kid. The principal at his high school described him as a pleasant kid who was good at drawing and aspired to be an architect. Classmates observed a minute of silence in Darnells memory and hung a banner with messages to him in the schools hallway.

Oliver Rodriguez, Jr. 33 Latino (?)

November 29, 1997. east Houston:

Oliver Rodriguez, Jr., was shot once in the chest and killed by Houston Police Officer A. Munoz. The shooting occurred in front of the victims parents, sister, and other family members, including children, at a family barbecue. Police were summoned by a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance at the Rodriguez home. When Officer Munoz arrived, Mr. Rodriguez came out of the kitchen holding a knife, but his sister said, [The knife was never meant for the police. He was cutting up ribs when the officer came. She added, he had got into an argument with our dad, but he had not touched a soul. The officer was only there a few seconds when he shot my brother. A Houston police spokesperson said cops are trained to shoot in the torso in life-threatening situations. This amounts to a shoot-to-kill policy. Officer Munoz claims Mr. Rodriguez refused an order to drop the knife and lunged at him before being shot.

Joel Marquez18

November 3, 1997. southeast Dallas:

Joel Marquez, a passenger in an allegedly stolen vehicle, was killed during a police chase at speeds of up to 70 mph. The 15-year-old driver of the car failed to make a sharp left turn and crashed into a tree near an intersection. Mr. Marquez died on the scene from a broken neck. The 15-year-old driver was hospitalized. He was charged with manslaughter and other offenses. Police said it appeared that proper procedures were followed and that they began chasing the car when they saw it stopped at an intersection and noticed that there were no keys in the ignition.

Rose Marie Treadway (a.k.a. Melody Ann Carson) 43

October 30, 1997. Houston (U.S. 59):

Ms. Treadway was shot at least twice and killed by Houston Police Officers J.R. Johnston and Matthew Lem. Railroad workers found her sitting on the tracks. She allegedly brandished an eight-inch knife at them, and they flagged down a cop. Authorities claim Ms. Treadway pulled a knife on the officer as he tried to talk to her, then jumped into the patrol car, which had the keys in the ignition, and drove off. She contacted a police dispatcher on the cruisers radio, reportedly ranting and raving. She crashed the patrol car into a concrete barrier on the highway and allegedly threatened another motorist who stopped to help her. Officers Johnston and Lem claim Ms. Treadway charged at them with the knife and refused several orders to drop it before they opened fire. Neighbors, who knew her as Melody Ann Carson, said she was a friendly person and a devoted mother who lived with her boyfriend and 12-year-old son and worked at a grocery store. She was a good mother, said a neighbor. When she came home from work, she would either read a book or if her son wanted to swim, she went out to the pool to watch him. Another neighbor said she wasreal quiet... a normal person. I never saw any signs of instability.... I thought I was having a nightmare when I heard about what happened. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I would wake up from it.

Paul Dickson Voncolditz 53

October 30, 1997. Montgomery County:

Mr. Voncolditz, an ostrich rancher, was shot and killed by Montgomery County police when he allegedly fired shots at arson investigators who were trying to arrest him for setting a fire at his Magnolia home. Cops claim he fled into an office and fired a pistol at police as they forced their way in and that they were returning fire when they killed him.

Leonard Lewis

October 28, 1997. east Fort Worth (I-30):

According to his sister, Mr. Lewis had been acting erratically for several days. The newspaper account portrayed an apparently disturbed person and captured his erratic behavior. After an argument between Mr. Lewis and his sister, he jumped off a second story balcony and headed off. Minutes later, he was injured by a tractor-trailer. Then, he reportedly went up to a pickup truck stuck in traffic, demanded a ride, climbed in the back, and told the occupants that he had a gun. The occupants of the pickup truck managed to attract the attention of the police and pulled over next to an Arlington police officer waiting on the side of the road. The cop claims that when he ordered Mr. Lewis, who was lying down, to get up, Mr. Lewis allegedly jumped out of the truck, waved a hatchet at the cop, jumped into the officers patrol car, and drove off. Other police chased him in rush hour traffic along the center shoulder of the highway near the guardrail at speeds of over 100 mph for about five miles. Just across the Fort Worth City line, Mr. Lewis crashed head-on into a concrete bridge support. The car exploded instantly, killing him.

Phillip Raymond Garcia 27

October 26, 1997. Dallas:

Mr. Garcia was shot twice and killed by Cockrell Hill Police Officer Anthony Hogan, who claims Mr. Garcia pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger after a routine traffic stop. The officer tried to pull Mr. Garcia over for driving without lights and pursued him across the city line into Dallas. Mr. Garcia’s 15-year-old fiancee, who was a passenger in his car, said in an affidavit that Mr. Garcia got out of the car with a handgun and pointed it at Officer Hogan. The cop repeatedly warned him to put the gun down before firing one shot, which struck Mr. Garcia in his left leg below the knee. The fiancee ran to Mr. Garcia’s aid and pushed the gun about eight feet away and into the street. She repeatedly asked the two cops to get the gun lying in the street. When the wounded Mr. Garcia tried to roll over on the pavement, Officer Hogan shot him again, hitting him in the side and killing him. Officer Hogan was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a grand jury. The victims family said they might file a lawsuit against Officer Hogan and the city of Cockrell Hill. An uncle said, We want to take this as far as we can because this is wrong. We’re not going to stop right here. He added that the family thinks the first shot to Mr. Garcia’s leg was justified but that the second shot constituted excessive force. We think that Phillip should be in jail right now with a bullet wound to his leg, maybe on charges of attempted murder. But he shouldn’t be dead. It’s the second shooting that we say shouldn’t have happened.

Darrell Barnett Britton4 4

September 17, 1997. Houston:

Mr. Britton was shot in the head, face, and neck and killed by off-duty Police Officer Christopher Allen in a park near his home. Mr. Britton was reportedly threatening to hit his six-year-old nephew with a chunk of concrete and then a wooden board if the child did not go home. Officer confronted Mr. Britton, reportedly identifying himself as a cop and telling Mr. Britton to calm down. Mr. Britton supposedly said, Today’s a great day to die, then allegedly lunged at the cop and grabbed his arm. Officer Allen shot and killed him. The victims sister said she was upset that the cop brought his gun into the park, which was filled with children, and killed her brother in front of their nephew instead of trying to restrain him physically. Mr. Britton is survived by his wife and small son. A civil suit was filed on their behalf. Officer Allen remained on active duty, and a grand jury declined to indict him. An autopsy showed that the victim had water on his brain, a condition that can cause erratic behavior.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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WaTcHeR
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Postby WaTcHeR » 26 Mar 2007, Mon 6:07 pm

Robert Lee Castillo 36

August 11, 1997. Fort Worth (North Side):

Mr. Catstillo was shot once in the chest and killed by Officer D.P. Shipp at his house on Oscar Avenue. His relatives had called 911 after an argument in which, according to one family member, He went crazy, had been drinking, and was possibly high on cocaine. Cops claim that Mr. Catstillo came out of the house with large kitchen knives in each hand and several more stuck in his waistband, waved the knives, made threatening statements to the cops, and went back inside. This supposedly happened three or four more times, and the cops pepper-sprayed him. The pepper spray presumably had no effect. According to police, Mr. Catstillo came out of the house again holding a large barbecue fork instead of a knife in one of his hands, and held it to his own neck as if he were going to stab himself. Cops claim that when they told him to put it down, he pointed it at them and lunged, at which point they shot and killed him. The family disputes the police version of events, saying that the knives were only in his waistband, that his hands were empty, and that the barbecue fork never left the sink inside the house. Mr. Catstillo’s niece said, the barbecue fork was inside the house in the sink. I had just used it to cook steaks.

He [Robert Castillo] didn’t lunge at anybody. He was walking toward them [the cops], but slow. His sister said she had begged the cops not to kill her brother and if they had to shoot, to shoot him in the leg. Police officials felt that this request was unreasonable. According to a Police Department spokesperson, cops are trained to shoot at a suspects trunk in life-and-death situations. These are high-stress situations and to control a weapon and hit a small target like a moving hand or leg is asking too much of a human being, according to the police spokesperson.

Cops claimed that other non-police, non-family witnesses confirmed that Castillo lunged, but they did not specify who these witnesses were (if they even really exist). The police department spokesperson portrayed Officer Shipp as a victim, saying it [killing someone] is a tremendous stressor in their lives. Officers commonly have nightmares, second-guess themselves, and question if they did the appropriate thing. Its a grieving process not too dissimilar to the loss of a loved one.

Randy Redd 38

July 8, 1997. Odessa Texas:

Randy Redd, a mentally ill man, was shot and killed by police in his front yard when he allegedly came out of his house swinging a metal pipe after a standoff. A grand jury declined to indict the cops. The victims family filed a $2.75 million wrongful death lawsuit against the police department and two officers.

Willie K. Friday 34

June 6, 1997. San Antonio Texas:

San Antonio Police Officer Ernest Trevino shot and killed Willie Friday after the victim allegedly made a sudden movement which the police chief claimed put Officer Trevino and his partner in fear for their lives. Mr. Friday was unarmed. Cops claim he refused their orders to move his left hand from behind his back. They also claim hospital staff later found 19 grams of crack in his underwear. The incident is be investigated, but the police chief said that Officer Trevino followed procedures in this fatal shooting, his second (that we know of) in his four years on the force. Six months earlier, Officer Trevino was one of four cops who shot and killed Tony Reyes. The media reported that Mr. Fridays death was, so far, the second fatal police shooting in San Antonio in 1997 (in addition to two non-fatal ones) and that in 1996, there were seven police shootings in San Antonio, three of them fatal.

Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. 18 Chicano

May 20, 1997. Redford Texas:

Out herding his families goats after school, Mr. Hernandez was stalked for 20 minutes by four camouflaged, heavily-armed U.S. Marines patrolling the border. He was carrying a .22 caliber rifle handed down from his grandfather to protect the goats from wild animals. Mr. Hernandez was shot in the back from 200 yards away by one of the Marines with an M-16. The Marines claim he pointed his rifle at them and fired several shots, but Mr. Hernandez was shot in the back and probably did not even know he was being stalked. A grand jury refused to indict his killer, citing military rules of engagement.

Mike Matson 48 white

May 5, 1997. Fort Davis area:

Mr. Matson was a member of the Republic of Texas, a right-wing militia group seeking independence for Texas. After a week-long standoff with law enforcement agents in which members of the group held two hostages, most of the group surrendered but Mr. Matson and an associate escaped into the woods. Two days later, Mr. Matson was shot and killed in an alleged gun battle with police. His associate escaped and was arrested several months later.

Brian Daniel Arledge 22

April 16, 1997. Houston:

Mr. Arledge was shot in the abdomen and killed by Hedwig Village Police Officer Scott Ashmore. Cops reportedly stopped Mr. Arledge for suspicion of drunk driving and discovered that he had a suspended license and an outstanding assault warrant. Mr. Arledge allegedly broke away while being handcuffed and ran into a residential back yard. Officer Ashmore claims he saw a glimpse of something shiny, so he opened fire. Officer Ashmore was not suspended and remained on active duty. The killing occurred just over the city line in Houston.

Edwards Seth Rogers, Jr.

April 7, 1997. Corpus Christi:

Mr. Rogers, a mentally ill man, was shot four or five times and killed by three police officers while walking in his neighborhood around noon. Cops claimed he had a gun, but no gun was found, nor was Mr. Rogers running away. Police say they pursued him at a fast walk. A toy gun was later recovered a block away by police. The three police officers were suspended with pay pending an internal investigation.

Gary Lee Crenshaw

January 25, 1997. west Texas Prison:

Mr. Crenshaws family says he was brutally beaten by prison guards and then denied medical care for over ten minutes. He died from the beating.

Part of the incident was recorded on videotape.

Eli Montesinos Delgado 44

January 1, 1997. San Antonio:

Mr. Delgado suffered fatal injuries during an alleged struggle with off-duty San Antonio Police Officer James A. Smith, who was working as a security guard at a Dillards department store. He died five days later on Jan. 6. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Smith.

Joe Lee CallowayBlack

October 7, 1996. Grand Prairie Texas:

Mr. Calloway, a mentally ill man, was shot and killed by Grand Prairie Police Officer Blake Hubbard. Officer Hubbard, who claims he thought Mr. Calloway was lunging at another cop with a pocket knife, was charged with murder but was acquitted in Aug. 1997. Officer Hubbard was placed on indefinite suspension and filed a civil service complaint about this. His complaint was settled with the following terms: the city paid Officer Hubbard $150,000, and he was allowed to resign with a clean employment record. The city originally tried to keep the terms of the settlement secret. This was the first time in 24 years that a Dallas County police officer was charged with murder for on-duty actions, according to the newspaper. The victims family filed a lawsuit charging excessive force.

Herbert Caldwell

August 26, 1996. Arlington Texas:

Mr. Caldwell was shot in the stomach and killed by Arlington Police Sgt. Jeff Petty. Sgt. Petty and Sgt. Tom Wood were allegedly responding to a 911 call from a gas station reporting that Mr. Caldwell was harassing customers. Cops claim they tried to restrain him and only shot him after they were unable to subdue him. But the victims family says he was merely using a pay phone when the cops confronted him and demanded ID. When he refused, police pepper-sprayed him and Sgt. Wood struck him with his baton. Mr. Caldwell tried to run away and was struck again, then shot when he struggled with the cops. The two officers were placed on administrative leave for three days. They were cleared of wrongdoing by an internal police investigation and were not criminally charged. Sgt. Petty was later promoted to supervisor. The victims wife and daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police and the city of Arlington, charging excessive force and lack of probable cause.

Otis Charles Cooks 21 Black

August 8, 1996. Houston:

Mr. Cooks was in a vacant apartment with some other people when police arrived and shouted for everyone to come out. Others left, but Mr. Cooks did not hear the cops and remained inside. When police ordered everyone out a second time, Mr. Cooks looked out the window and saw the cops outside. He put his hands up. It is unclear whether he had left the apartment or remained inside when the fatal encounter occurred. Police Officer L.C. Thompson shot Mr. Cooks to death as the victim stood with his hands raised.

Katherine Findley 18

Megan Jones18

February 17, 1996. Northeast Dallas:

Senior Police Cpl. Tommy Ames was speeding to the call of another officer without using flashing lights or a siren when he slammed into the victims jeep, killing both of them. A grand jury declined to indict the officer.

An autopsy supposedly found that Katherine Findley, the driver, was legally drunk at the time of the crash. Megan Jones family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

Matthew Morgan 29

August 15, 1995. Houston:

Mr. Morgan, a mentally ill man, was shot in the abdomen and killed outside his parents house by Houston Police Officer Steven C. Riegle, a member of the special weapons team. Mr. Morgan, who was manic-depressive, reportedly had an emotional outburst and began destroying his parents property shortly after discontinuing his medication. Cops arrived and a three hour standoff ensued as the victim allegedly paraded up and down the driveway carrying an ax and shouted] obscenities and [told] officers to shoot him. Cops claim Officer Riegle shot Mr. Matthew only when the latter supposedly raised the ax over his head and charged another officer. The victims parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit, which was dismissed by a federal judge, who ruled the shooting justified because an officers life was presumably in danger.

Travis O’Neill Allen 17 Anglo American

July 15, 1995. Bellaire Texas:

Mr. Allen was shot in the back and killed as he lay on the floor under arrest by Bellaire Police Sgt. Michael Leal and Officer Carle Upshaw. The officers found him injured and bleeding on the floor of a house after he had allegedly smashed through the patio door. Mr. Allens parents filed a $25 million lawsuit against the two cops and the city. They charged that

Sgt. Leal shot their son twice in the back while Officer Upshaw held Travis down on the floor with his foot. The victims parents said their son was under the influence of LSD but that he obeyed police commands and laid down before he was shot. He weighed 126 lbs. and was unarmed. Cops claim Mr. Allen was resisting arrest and put his hands in his pockets, which the police took as as threatening move. Cops testified that they shot him because he gave them a stare as he rolled to the side with his hand in his pocket, even though they said he never raised a hand nor said a word.

The physical evidence showed that he was totally face down when shot with his right hand under his chest. A grand jury declined to indict the cops, but two jurors later said they felt pressured not to indict by a politically connected fellow juror. The city and the two cops tried to get the parents lawsuit dismissed, but the judge ruled it would go to trial on Aug. 18, 1998. The cops were never charged by the state or federal government. And the cop who killed Travis was later given a promotion.

Francisco Javier Campero 20 Mexican

November 8, 1994. El Paso Texas:

Unarmed as he started to flee on foot back to Mexico, Mr. Campero was shot twice in the back and died. A Customs agent said he fired on Mr. Campero after he tried to drive his truck through the Juarez/El Paso border checkpoint.

Chanel Andrade 1 white American

Jennifer Andrade 19 white American

Katherine Andrade 24 white American

April 19, 1993. Waco Texas:

After a 51-day siege that began with a raid by federal agents, 74 people, including 22 children, were killed in the now-infamous Waco incident when the compound of the Branch Davidian religious sect was attacked by federal agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). Tanks knocked holes into the walls of the compound and inserted tear gas. Wind helped dissipate the gas but fanned flames that broke out inside the compound. Authorities blamed the Branch Davidians for setting the fires, but survivors of the raid deny this, and many people believe that federal agents are responsible for the fires.

The deaths of the 74 Branch Davidians resulted from several causes, including gunshot wounds, smoke inhalation and asphyxiation from the fire, and falling debris from either the tank assault or the fire.

No law enforcement agents or government officials were held accountable for the deaths resulting from the initial raid or the final assault on the compound. Eight surviving Branch Davidians were convicted of charges including voluntary manslaughter. Seven were sentenced to 40 year terms, one got five years, and another received a three year sentence after testifying for the government.

For over six years after the incident, the FBI strenuously denied that they had used any potentially flammable devices in their final assault on the compound. Finally, faced with mounting and increasingly public evidence to the contrary, FBI spokes persons and Attorney General Janet Reno admitted, in late Aug. 1999, that pyrotechnic military CS gas canisters were fired at the Branch Davidian compound. But they continued to insist that these canisters, which are known to explode and cause fires, did not cause the fire at Waco. They insisted that the canisters were fired six hours before the fire broke out and that they bounced harmlessly off the roof of the compound and fell into a puddle. They continued to insist that the Branch Davidians had set the fires themselves. The newspapers reported that Attorney General Reno was upset about the six years of deception because it damaged her credibility.

Cody Underkofler 13

March 23, 1993. Dallas (west Oak Cliff):

Mr. Underkofler was run over and killed by a speeding police car being driven by Officer Alfred Nunez on a darkened street. Officer Nunez was not using his flashing lights or siren. A grand jury refused to indict Officer Nunez.

Winston Blake 28 Black (British)

Peter Gent 24 white (Australian)

Peter Hipsman 28 white American

February 28, 1993. Waco Texas:

Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) arrived at the compound of the Branch Davidian religious sect to serve arrest and search warrants as part of an investigation into possible illegal possession of weapons. A gun fight erupted. The feds claim the Branch Davidians fired first. But one ATF agent initially reported that an agent may have fired first when he shot and killed a dog at the compound (he later retracted this). The Branch Davidians maintain that they fired in self-defense after the federal agents fired at them. Six Branch Davidians were shot and killed by ATF agents during the raid. Four federal agents were killed and 16 were wounded. David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, was wounded. This was the beginning of the now-infamous Waco incident. A 51-day siege ensued. The compound was surrounded by federal and local law enforcement agents and patrolled by tanks.

Authorities cut the phone lines, permitting access only to negotiators. They cut the electricity, shone bright lights, and played loud music at all hours of the night. The siege ended on Apr. 19 when federal agents assaulted the compound, killing 74 people.

Julio Cesar Galicia26Mexican

November 5, 1990. Lower Rio Grande Valley:

Mr. Galicia was shot to death by the Border Patrol.

Ernest Moore 25

July 1998. San Benito Texas:

Mr. Moore, the son and brother of police officers, had reportedly committed a double homicide. While making a get-a-way, he allegedly became engaged in a shootout and killed two Border Patrol agents. He was also killed in the shootout.

Tony Reyes

December 1996. San Antonio:

San Antonio Police Officer Ernest Trevino was one of four officers who fired at Mr. Reyes after he allegedly came to the door with an assault rifle. Mr. Reyes was shot and killed. An investigation cleared Officer Trevino of wrongdoing, and he returned to active duty. Six months later, he shot and killed Willie Friday.

Wendell Baker, Jr. 21

March 1992. Galveston Texas:

Mr. Baker, of Waller, was shot and killed by Galveston Police Officer Mike Putnal. The cop claims he only shot Mr. Baker after the latter allegedly fired a pistol into the air on a crowded beach, re-loaded, and pointed the gun at him. In Jan. 1998, a federal lawsuit over Mr. Bakers death was settled for an undisclosed amount.

Copyright 11999 by the Stolen Lives Project. All Rights Reserved.

If you quote, reference, excerpt, insert, transmit, or copy any part of this edition, you need to acknowledge the Stolen Lives Project.
"Cops that lie, need to die!" A police officer that lies to get an arrest or send someone to prison should be shot.

"In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt."

"The U.S. Government does not have rights, it has privileges delegated to it by the people."
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