Colorado – Police forget to file domestic violence charges against suspect

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The good news is, they offered the victim free movie tickets instead.

The Westminster, Colorado Police it seems failed to file domestic abuse charges against against a woman’s violent ex due to a clerical error. The detective oddly enough failed to follow up on it in 2012 so it was missed until 2015.

The victim in this case Elizabeth Steadman, reported the abuse to police in back in 2012, the detective handling the case informed her that he would file an arrest warrant affidavit for felony menacing, third-degree assault, and harassment and then forward it to the Adams County DA’s Office for review.

As it turned out however, a police supervisor closed the case instead, by mistake of course. They didn’t discover the error until 2015.

The victim says that she called and called to get updates about her case until the detective that was handling the case told her that he would call when the DA reached a decision.

She waited until 2015 to reach out again, this time she was told by the detective that he had dropped the ball and that the case had fallen through the cracks and that it was never filed with the DA.

Which was really noble of the detective to own up to. I am also pretty sure that he was reprimanded for admitting to dropping the ball.

After that, around 6 weeks later the victim was called to a meeting and this is where things in her mind go even further south than they should have. It was in this meeting that she felt attacked and blamed.

She goes on to say that state documents show that police admitted to discussing challenges in the case that may have ultimately prevented prosecution. She was asked why she waited so long to check up on the case.

And she took issue with being asked why she waited so long to check up on the case.

Which is a really good question but before we get to that, it was what happened in the parking lot that left her feeling insulted. A commanding officer walked up to her and said “You deserve a day to yourself. Here’s a pair of movie tickets.”

I can understand mistakes, issues with filing charges, even dropping the ball, but movie tickets as a way to apologize for one of your officers dropping the ball on filing charges against a domestic violence suspect?

Really? Does the Westminster Police Department give all it’s victims movie tickets when they fail to actually file charges?

I bring this subject up because it covers two very real issues in today’s world. We have two sides, the police and the victims. Sometimes victims will over dramatize aspects of the crime or the events that followed, even interaction with police.

And then we have the police…

I’ve seen and met cops who tend to take a Laissez-faire attitude towards domestic violence, they show up with an attitude that clearly shows, “I have better shit to do than deal with a DV,” or they are sick of dealing with DV’s, sometimes if one or both parties have been drinking they have an attitude about that…and the biggest issue is that they become desensitized to it and treat victims like it’s not a huge deal, whatever, basically in a disrespectful, demeaning manner.

Sadly, those issues are all too common. Victims report it all the time and to be fair, if anyone bothered to look, officers who carry that crap attitude towards domestic violence victims or who are desensitized to it do in fact show clear and distinct signs of it.

Then, sometimes a detective will get so bogged down with other work that he or she fails to follow up on the charges they filed. They don’t have “time” to keep being bothered with calls from a victim awaiting word about a case being filed or not…and they let things slide.

Whatever the case, the bottom line is that there is no excuse for it.

To insult a victim with an offer of something free such as movie tickets for some “you time” is completely inappropriate when your department failed to do it’s job.

The victim in this case was not treated with respect or dignity, she was basically ignored and filed away in some drawer and forgotten about.

Now let’s look at the other side because in this case we have to. 

The victim waited 3 years to learn if charges had been filed in her case and for a trial date? This was not a murder investigation, police were not searching for a body, a head, a foot or a hand, this was not a bank robbery investigation, a drive by investigation, it was a domestic violence case where neither party had been hospitalized, severely beaten or killed.

If it was that important to her that she have her day in court and that the suspect paid for the abuse then…

Being an adult victim is not the same as being a 5 year old child victim, ignorance is not an excuse.

If you are a capable and able minded adult, who is no one else’s legal responsibility to care for, legally you can make your own decisions, then you too carry some level of burden.

As a victim it is up to you to find resources, the police out of habit do give out victim resource information, in that stack of paperwork that they give to you, you can find resources to housing, work, funds for things like medical bills, funds for therapy, legal resources and helpful tips about staying safe and seeking help.

The police don’t do that for you and neither will the court or the DA.

If a victim is concerned that his or her case is not moving, all they have to do is pick up a phone because point blank if you were smart enough to report this to the Victim Rights Act subcommittee, and also agree to an interview with the local media, roughly 3 years after the fact, then you knew full well you could have gone above the detective’s head a very long time ago.

If a victim wants justice sometimes it is up to you to keep things going. Know your rights, push for answers and don’t let someone shut you out because they are too busy to take your call, move up the ladder yourself, don’t wait for someone to notice you waiting. 

To wait even 6 months to see if your case is even going to get a trial date? That’s on the victim.

You will get no argument from me that the Westminster, Colorado Police Department added insult to injury.

I have to add however that the victim in this case bears some of the responsibility for the ball being dropped.

Cristal M Clark

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

@thecrimeshop

 

 

 

Portland Oregon getting rid of the Citizen Oversight Committee for it’s police

Portland

Portland will stop public hearings on appeals of Portland Police Bureau findings that stem from citizen complaints of alleged officer misconduct.

At least that is the latest proposal heading into Portland’s City Council next month by city officials. That proposal has left some with a feeling of unease to say the least.

If the proposal is approved that would mean that complaints would be heard behind closed doors before a Police Review Board.

Some are saying this is what the city needs while others seem to feel that if the proposal passes it will remove what some describe are the very elements that are crucial for promoting community trust in the city’s police force.

Those elements are transparency and citizen oversight.

But that really isn’t the case if one were to really dig into the proposal. Those who file police complaints with the city would be able to challenge a police supervisor’s findings. They would be able to make their concerns heard before the Police Review Board. That is the front of the line.

Currently the Police Review Board is made up of police and one citizen. They meet behind closed doors and make decisions that aren’t working…clearly.

The proposed board would be made up of officers and citizen representatives, more than one citizen. They would then recommend to the police chief whether to sustain a complaint and they could suggest the level of discipline. They would still meet behind closed doors because of union rules and it’s not a court of law and thus complaints are not trials because of criminal investigations.

This step would remove a lot of political red tape that simply is not necessary. Currently across the nation for every citizen oversight board, they are riddled with democracy and bureaucratic red tape.  

Both by the way are best described as the messy bedroom of a teenager.

They are mess, they make things difficult, such things like filing complaints, this move is a step to alleviate the mess and get to the floor, the bottom of the pile. It is designed to make the complaint process easier, more efficient and clean for the citizens who file complaints.

Of course the Citizens Review Committee is challenging this proposal and it is completely against it because it would take away the CRC’s right to hear public appeals of the Portland Police Bureau’s findings from complaints it has received.

What the CRC fails to mention is that This step basically if you paid attention combines the efforts of both committee’s working separately into one cohesive group which would be made up of both police and citizens. They are quick however to insinuate that citizens will become intimidated by being behind closed doors with armed officers, hence without actually saying it, they ever so quietly suggest that police are more like bullies with guns.

It’s a subtle suggestion, either way I hear it loud and clear.

Sometimes the need for change is met with a lot of resistance and fear, people don’t like change, they will go to great lengths to prevent it at times, but it’s 2016 and it’s pretty clear that what Portland has in place today isn’t working. It’s a bold move that should be made. As long as they pick the right players from each side, it can be a very big success.

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

 

 

 

Black Lives Matter Movement is out of control

BLM

Was it ever in control?

This past weekend several media outlets reported on the Black Lives Matter protesters getting out of control during protests across the US. I just saw a news clip out of St, Paul telling viewers that an officer has suffered serious spinal injuries because protesters dropped a cinder block on the officer’s head?!?!?

Are you kidding me? Not even a week after 5 officers were gunned down and killed in Dallas, TX some folks thought it would be a good idea to drop a cinder block on an officer’s head?

The leaders of this movement need to reign it in before the message gets lost.

To be fair however, the day after the shooting in Dallas, I had the TV on while getting ready for work and sneaking in an 3 AM workout, 4 hours of nonstop news coverage was dedicated to the shooting in Dallas. 4 hours of no other news but the shooting in Dallas, I think even the weather was cut short that morning to continue live coverage about the shooting in Dallas.  

The media was camped out at the hospital while hospital workers made a line blocking the media from actually filming the bodies of the officers being removed from the hospital.

The media is so goddamned classless they can’t even give the fellow officers, families, loved one’s or hospital any breathing room, while they try to broadcast live on TV the dead, lifeless bodies of the officers being wheeled out on a gurney and loaded up for the morgue.

Is that what we American viewers want to see broadcast whilst eating breakfast? The bodies of dead police being wheeled out to an awaiting vehicle?

Wouldn’t mainstream media be happier if they were allowed into the morgue to film the autopsy for all of us to see on live TV?

I was horrified to see the news about Dallas, my heart sank.  I was also horrified by the coverage by our media industry and I was disgusted by the lack of decency. They reminded me rabid dogs in the wild. 

That’s classy!

Two men were shot and killed by police last week, two African American men which is why the Black Lives Matter movement was protesting at the time of the shooting in Dallas.

So getting back to being fair, I did not see 4 hours of solid coverage of either of those two shootings and quite frankly that is part of the problem.

The movement feels unheard so in order to get heard, they become destructive and out of control in some cases. It matters not that the movements leaders ask that protesters remain peaceful, the followers want to be heard and when they feel unheard, they get out of control.

Some members of the movement see that a black man just shot 5 officers as everyone saw on TV nonstop for 24 hours the day after. That member then gets an idea.. If we want to bring attention to our cause, I have to do something risky in order to get it otherwise the media is not going to cover it.

As we have seen with every mass shooting in this country, they get bigger, bolder and dirtier. The reason’s get crazier, the shooters get crazier, and the reason why they did it get’s lost thanks to every live news broadcast on TV.

The media is as equally out of control and out of hand with its thirst for violence. I mean nonstop man, 24/7 the Dallas shooter is in the news, his picture, his name, this headline from Business Insider “The Dallas shooter was ‘ostracized’ by black power groups before he opened fire on police officers in Dallas.”

“Black” power groups. Again, I’ve said this before too, why do we always feel the need to highlight “black”  rather than just “power” group? By using words that lean towards racial division, we instill it into the reader’s mind.

The media released details about his military service, an image of a social media account he had was online the day after the shooting as the media was so thirsty for anything they could find out about the guy.

I’ve said this before as well, it is not the media’s job to investigate these types of situations and bring us the details until law enforcement is ready to release it.

I’ve hinted at this in my past pieces about the Ferguson Effect, the media should be held accountable for some of this violence because of the way they report it.

Countless headlines keep popping up about why the guy did it and the media is bringing in experts, blaming the cops, blaming things like radicalization, the Black Lives Matter Movement…let’s be honest and call it like it is.

Maybe the man felt alone, he wanted to be part of something, he felt held down, held back, he wasn’t getting anywhere with his life, finding a job that’ll cover the bills is not easy these days for anyone.

Maybe he was discriminated against not only for being black but because maybe being in the military messed with him mentally a little bit and no one would hire him. Yes employers do that, they just choose not to report that they do. Maybe he had a run in with police and he was angry about that, maybe he had a fine that he was upset about…

Maybe he did try to join some type of group that had a propensity for violence…

The point is, the media should stop trying to suggest reasons why he did it and let law enforcement tell us when they finish with the investigation. The media should stop trying to “help” us understand the shooter, they are hindering the outcome.

A lot of times when someone get’s to a breaking point, they will try to be part of a group that will help provide basic necessities for them, or bring them much needed resources, such as living expenses, food, even if that group is a radical one. When even that doesn’t work, well this is exactly how it turns out.

The goal of law enforcement is always to understand why, to get to that goal investigators go through the person’s life very carefully not in the course of a newscast or two or just a quick look at his social media. Investigations take so long because investigators actually investigate not grasp at any meat on the bone they can get to.

At least investigators make the effort to the understand the person and the why so they can better prevent shootings like this in the future. I am not even sure what in the hell the media is trying to do. All I know is that by the time investigators usually release the details as to why no one is listening any longer because the media painted the picture for us, the way they wanted to.

Someone should reign those guys in…while we are at it. 

I have also seen countless headlines that are really divided about whether or not our country is divided by racism or even if we have a problem with racism.  Even social media is deeply divided.

Well, we do have a problem with racism, we also have a problem with sexism, we are divided over whether or not to treat those in the LGBT community as equal, women have to fight for the same pay a man gets for doing the same job…

So should BLM just get over it then?

The Black Lives Matter Movement provides a venue for those that are fed up, but because of the movements lack of control over its own protests, the movement provides a venue to those who are willing to behave violently just to get the point across. They are providing the perfect storm for those seeking to cause violence, kill or harm police and in general aren’t at the protest in an effort to make things better or so that they can be part of making sure the world hears the movements cause.

Things like blocking traffic on major roadways, impeding the passage of pedestrians trying to get somewhere safely, bringing guns to protests, dropping cinder blocks on the heads of our police, shooting our police, do not fall under the category of a peaceful protests.

Protesters are better served if they direct the protests to the appropriate parties, not interfering with the public’s right or ability to get to and from on major roadways or walkways.

By that I mean, a protest held at that cities capital, state building and the like, instead of interfering with the general public’s ability to travel by car or foot. That just makes the public decline to support your cause because you are causing problems.

So is the Black Lives Matter Movement out of control?

I’m not sure it ever was in control, it’s always been riddled with rioting and violent behavior. They seem to think that the general public has to hear their message and the message isn’t even clear.

Saying things like “Stop Shooting Unarmed African American Men” while some of those of those men were shot while committing a crime and failing to do as police instructed, well most people feel the shooting was justified and not racially motivated. That is because BLM has not provided any facts to say that it was.

So the message becomes lost because while BLM and it’s supporters want you to believe most police shootings of African American males are racially motivated, the statistics simply and undeniably never have supported that. To be honest, when you are asked to comply with orders from a police officer and fail to do that, you could potentially escalate the situation to the point where someone gets shot. Black, white, whatever race. 

Before anyone starts, we could argue that all day long because anyone can get google gun stats and police shooting stats all day until they find the one they want to use.

I get mine from the FBI because I enjoy things like drinking coffee, if I google searched the stats on officer involved shootings I’d have less time to make (I use a press) and then enjoy a delicious cup or two or more of coffee.

So in short no I do not believe that BLM ever had control, it’s message was never clear. They tried to raise awareness about officers shooting unarmed individuals and went about it by saying race had something to do with it. It didn’t. Cops shoot unarmed individuals of every race.

The leaders of BLM went about this whole idea the wrong way and lost complete control of it, which is exactly why no one listens to it. The point that they tried to get across is that black’s are more likely to get arrested, pulled over, serve longer sentences than whites. But clearly from the protests I have seen they centered the efforts around black males who were shot, some of which were shot while breaking the law, not complying with police orders, reaching for a gun or what appeared to be a gun after the situation had escalated. 

The point is, the reason people don’t respect or believe in BLM is because they have centered around individuals who were caught behaving badly. IF the individuals had not been, well the outcome would have been different.

All save for the media, they love reporting on the violence so that keeps the movement alive at least.

If it were me and thankfully it’s not, I’d scrap the movement or get my ass in gear and save it. Until then the police are now leary and untrusting of these large scale protests, who could blame them if they overreact then and whatever message, well it will get further lost.  

Again, I’ve said this before in my Ferguson pieces, cops are less racist than BLM makes them out to be. Racism in this country is being perpetuated by it’s citizens, the media and movements like Black Lives Matter.

While it racism is alive and well, so are other discrimination’s against others and they all deserve attention. 

I see this all over social media, “All Lives Matter.” Until we decide to understand that we will always be divided.
Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News

Oakland Police officer commits suicide

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Live together, Die Alone

In the wake of Brendan O’Brien’s suicide the Oakland Police bureau has been rocked by multiple scandals involving its police officers. His death seems to have lifted that long dark curtain of police corruption that has been allowed to run rampant and out of control.

Brendan O’Brien took his life 9/25/2015. He was found by his mother, he had shot himself in the head. The inside of his right arm bore the tattoo “Live Together, Die Alone.” Something he clearly lived by until the end.

It was never a question to investigators as to whether or not Brendan committed suicide, it was more a matter of why. That why was because he had been having an affair with a young woman, who at the time the affair began would have been underage.

The young woman who was 18 at the time of his death, met him while underage working the streets as a prostitute and that by legal definition, in and of itself made her a victim of child sex trafficking.

Brendan saved her from a pimp when she was just 17 and they began a relationship, one that was sexual in a nature and it was no longer a secret at the time of his death. He stood to lose his job over it should the accusations be proven true, additionally, it also would mean that he broke the very laws he was to have been enforcing during his time employed as a police officer.

Investigators did find proof of this young woman’s sexual relationship with Brendan, they also found insurmountable proof that she had relationships with 28 other officers. Over a dozen from Oakland, the rest are from Richmond, Alameda County, Livermore and Contra Costa County.

Interestingly, a year and 3 months prior to Brendan’s suicide police were at his home to investigate the death of his wife. She was found with a gunshot wound to the right side of her head.

Her death was ruled a suicide, however some of the evidence paints a much different picture and her family does not believe that she committed suicide.

In fact it has been reported that after Brendan’s suicide, someone pushed the federal monitor and the compliance director to investigate and examine everything further so as to ensure that Brendan’s wife did in fact commit suicide and that the police were not guilty of some sort of cover up.

A US district Judge was notified by Compliance director Robert Warshaw that he found irregularities and potential violations with regards to an old negotiation settlement agreement that the Oakland police were supposed to have been following because of an entirely different case involving the department. He discovered this while he was investigating the death of Brendan’s wife.

That agreement required the department to report to the monitor in what is reported to be, “a matter of days” any matter involving an internal investigation. The monitor was never notified of any sexual misconduct allegations involving the now 18 year old female and 28 officers. The department’s internal investigation had been going on for 6 months before the monitor got wind of it.

This sex scandal however, it goes from the top brass, down the through the ranks of the Oakland Police department.

When a Federal Judge ordered that the internal investigation be taken over by the Federal Monitor on 3/23/16, one could see a huge difference in how things were being handled.

It was at that point that officers were being walked out of the building. Several suspensions have occurred and a couple of resignations came about.

In the 6 months that Oakland handled the investigation, not a damn thing happened.

And that, is the mob mentality that the public refers to when calling out police departments as a whole. The inability to be accountable, hold your fellow officer accountable and do something when something needs to be done. The cops who are breaking the law both on and off duty while the department ignores it, well it’s never a good thing to be doing in this day and age…

While police departments don’t much care for federal oversight, it is a necessary evil at times. Sometimes, the cop mentality runs through the entire department and it can truly be thicker than blood and water.

All cops see each other as family, like the rest of us might, we would do anything to protect our own.

They live it, breath it and are it.

And in the case of this young woman, multiple cops from several agencies exploited her, they acted in inappropriate ways, they became predictors, they became the very thing they spend every day at work trying to get off of the streets.

Together, many covered it up by ignoring it, not investigating it and kicking it under a carpet of lies and deceit.

Live Together, Die Alone.

The error most often made:

Police are built up mentally, they are made to believe that they are above us somehow, they cannot and do not make the mistakes the rest of us do, they cannot and will not behave like the rest of us because of the profession they have chosen. Some of you refer to it as the “cop mentality.”

Whatever you choose to call it, it is unfortunately, virtually impossible to be factual because one critical factor still remains, they are human beings and human nature after all, is so very predictable.

It cannot be changed, no matter who you are or what your profession is.

Hence, the police are no different than the rest of us. They just do a better job of hiding it than most of us and when they fall, they tend to fall much harder than the rest of us.

The fall from grace for a cop is much harder than a fall from grace is for the rest of us. By default that is because of the very pedestal we choose to put them on. 

The mental trauma is overwhelming for them which can bring about even worse behavior, breaking the law, lying, cheating, murder and of course suicide.

They will go to incredible lengths to break that fall. Which they can’t, because it is always inevitable.

Whenever we look back at cases where good cops fell from grace so publicly, you can always see them when they begin to slip and it all starts with a lie, something they have done and the lie they tried to tell in an effort to cover it up.

In the case of officer Brendan O’Brien, his fall began when he started his affair with a 17 year old girl, he began to spiral with the death of his wife and it ended when he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

 

Cristal M Clark

@thecrimeshop

IOS users can find The Crime Shop on Apple News