Author Topic: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch  (Read 12881 times)

Offline Battle

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #120 on: September 09, 2019, 09:54:38 pm »
Monday, 9th September 2019
COPA Report Concludes CPD Officer Patrick Kelly Shot Friend Michael LaPorta, Lied About It For Nearly 10 Years
by CBS Chicago

(CHICAGO, Ill) — An explosive new report accuses a Chicago Police officer of pulling the trigger on a friend – and lying about it for nearly a decade.

It has been a long fight for justice for Michael LaPorta, who was shot in the head almost 10 years ago, in what police say was a suicide attempt.

CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini has been investigating this case for years, and had an exclusive report Monday morning.

“I can’t understand why it took so long,” said Patti LaPorta.

“I mean, Mikey lost 10 years of life.”

Mikey is Patti LaPorta’s son.

She said he has had to undergo nine surgeries.

Mikey Laporta was shot in the head in 2010.

He says Chicago Police officer and childhood friend Patrick Kelly fired the bullet.

Kelly and LaPorta had been out drinking the night LaPorta suffered the near-fatal wound.

The CBS 2 investigators have learned the Civilian Office of Police Accountability now believes Kelly was the shooter and is recommending he be fired.

“This was a bad cop,” Patti LaPorta said.

CBS 2 obtained a 74-page report, in which COPA says evidence showed Kelly pulled the trigger and then “gave false statements” to detectives investigating the shooting – trying to make it look like a suicide attempt.

The report said on Jan. 12, 2010, police were called to Officer Kelly’s home and found LaPorta – whose name is redacted in the report – with a gunshot wound to the head.

Kelly claimed LaPorta had shot himself with the officer’s gun in a suicide attempt.

LaPorta suffered a traumatic brain injury and spent two months in the hospital and two more at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago – and he was unable to speak and thus could not provide an account of what happened once he regained consciousness, the report said.

The former Independent Police Review Authority – which COPA replaced in 2017 – made seven allegations of misconduct against Kelly.

Five were sustained, but the questions of whether Kelly shot LaPorta and whether he gave false statements about it were not resolved, the report said.

LaPorta’s family also filed a civil lawsuit against Kelly and the city in October 2010.

A jury ruled in LaPorta’s favor, the report said.

After the IPRA investigation closed, LaPorta did regain some ability to communicate and reportedly began having memories of the incident – specifically that he didn’t shoot himself and had not been suicidal, the report said.

COPA launched a new investigation that included some new interviews and depositions with witnesses.

The report related that in a deposition on May 4, 2012, Kelly said sometime after 10 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2010, Kelly and LaPorta were at Kelly’s house following a night of bar-hopping.

Kelly claimed that LaPorta went into Kelly’s bedroom where the officer kept his gun in a nightstand – and Kelly saw him through the door holding the gun in his left hand and aiming it at his left temple.

Kelly claimed he went to grab the gun from LaPorta and it discharged.

LaPorta had different recollections about the same night.

LaPorta told investigators that Kelly had been punching and yelling at his own dog, which led LaPorta first to complain and quarrel with Kelly, then to decide to leave, the report said.

LaPorta was afraid Kelly was going to shoot something, “like a wall or something like that,” and said he flinched as he prepared to leave.

He said he did not see a gun before being shot, but said he knew Kelly had a gun and usually kept it in his waistband, the report said.

In an interview with COPA on Jan. 25, 2018, LaPorta likewise said he got into a quarrel with Kelly because Kelly hit his dog.

LaPorta said Kelly pushed him and he couldn’t remember if he pushed back, but he said he was leaving.

He again said he flinched because he thought Kelly was shooting the wall, then felt Kelly shooting, the report said.

LaPorta told investigators his next memory was of being in the hospital, and said he did not know initially that he had been shot, the report said.

He said before the incident, he was happy and never thought of suicide, the report said.

Others also testified that LaPorta was right-handed, despite Kelly’s claim that LaPorta had held the gun to his own head with his left hand.

“Based on the review of the available evidence, it is more probably true than not that Officer Kelly shot (LaPorta), without justification on January 12, 2010, in violation of the Chicago Police Department’s Rules and Regulations.

A discussed below, while (LaPorta’s) condition post-injury has affected his memory about the moments leading up to the shooting, COPA finds his testimony about not being suicidal to be credible,” the report said.

“Officer Kelly’s multiple objectively false statements about the events of the night coupled with his intoxication make him not credible.”

The report said various objective circumstances discredit Kelly’s account.

Among them was physical evidence that the gunshot wound could not have been self-inflicted, the report said.

When asked about the report, Michael LaPorta Sr. said,

“Finally, somebody’s doing their job."

For years, Kelly repeatedly declined to talk.

One time he even ran when CBS 2 tried to question him about the shooting – or his other misconduct cases while responding to police calls.

In 2014, while on duty, Kelly is accused of wrongfully shooting Hector Hernandez to death.

A year earlier in 2013, he was accused of wrongfully using a Taser on Elaina Turner, who was pregnant.

Turner’s case settled for half a million dollars.

The Hernandez lawsuit is pending.

“A man died,” said Patti LaPorta.

“Turner, she lost her baby”

“One day, they need to name a hurricane after Patrick Kelly and call it Hurricane Kelly, because this officer, since he started in the department, has left, literally, a path of destruction,” said attorney Tony Romanucci.

“The right thing to do we get justice, he gets criminal charges,” Patti LaPorta added.

Ultimately, it is up to the superintendent and Police Board to decide whether Kelly gets fired.

In addition to wanting him terminated, the Laportas want the Cook County State’s Attorney to charge Kelly criminally.

The LaPortas’ lawsuit accused the city of enabling Kelly to remain on the force despite numerous prior misconduct incidents.

A jury awarded LaPorta $44.7 million two years ago.

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« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 11:40:41 pm by Battle »

Offline Battle

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #121 on: September 11, 2019, 04:20:22 am »
Monday, 9th September 2019
Dallas County DA’s Office Disqualified From Austin Shuffield Case
by CBS Dallas Fort Worth

(DALLAS, Tx) — A district judge has disqualified the Dallas County District Attorney’s office from a case that caught national attention earlier this year amid allegations of bias.

In a statement released by former Deep Ellum bartender Austin Shuffield’s attorneys, Scott Palmer and Rebekah Perlstein said they filed a motion to disqualify the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office due to the “bias” shown during the prosecution of the case.

"Due to the bias the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has shown in the prosecution of this case, the defense filed a motion to disqualify the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

The District Attorney’s Office has demonstrated that their office is unable to make objective decisions on this matter by their actions of clearly intending to enforce laws only when it benefits their cases.

District Judge Lela Mays granted the motion and former Dallas County Prosecutor Russell Wilson has been assigned as a special prosecutor.

The motion to disqualify was granted by District Judge Lela Mays.

Former Dallas County Prosecutor Russell Wilson has been assigned as a special prosecutor.

Mr. Wilson will now take over the case and the presentation of charges to the grand jury.

It is our sincere hope that Mr. Wilson will not be swayed by public pressure and will seek justice, rather than a conviction by any means necessary, as is required by law."

Shuffield, 30, was arrested on March 21, after a brutal assault over parking in Deep Ellum was caught on camera.

The video showed Shuffield and the victim, 24-year-old Daijohnique Lee, in a heated argument.

Initially, Shuffield was arrested on three misdemeanor charges — assault, interference with 911 and public intoxication.

But after activists began to demand the DA’s office to increase his charges, command staff reclassified Shuffield’s charge to a felony, making it a high-profile case.

Almost two weeks later on April 2, DPD issued a warrant for Lee for the destruction she caused to Shuffield’s car the night of the assault.

Before the warrant issued, Lee admitted to damaging Shuffield’s car after he provided documentation that the damage was over $3,000.

That same day, activists protested the decision to prosecute Lee.

One day later, District Attorney John Creuzot made the decision not to prosecute Lee for the felony offense.

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Offline Battle

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Re: Disappearing Excellence: The Senate & Loretta Lynch
« Reply #122 on: September 12, 2019, 05:02:56 pm »
Thursday, 12th September 2019
Officers Said They Smelled Pot. The Judge Called Them Liars.
by Joseph Goldstein

Police officers can often justify a search with six words:

“I smelled an odor of marijuana.”

Courts in New York have long ruled if a car smells like marijuana smoke, the police can search it — and, according to some judges, even the occupants — without a warrant.

But in late July, a judge in the Bronx said in a scathing opinion that officers claim to smell marijuana so often that it strains credulity, and she called on judges across the state to stop letting police officers get away with lying about it.

“The time has come to reject the canard of marijuana emanating from nearly every vehicle subject to a traffic stop,”

Judge April Newbauer wrote in a decision in a case involving a gun the police discovered in car they had searched after claiming to have smelled marijuana.

She added, “So ubiquitous has police testimony about odors from cars become that it should be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny if it is to supply the grounds for a search.”

It is exceedingly rare for a New York City judge to accuse police officers of routinely lying to cover up illegal searches, but Judge Newbauer’s decision does exactly that.

Her decision also shows how marijuana’s status as contraband remains deeply embedded in the criminal justice system, even as the police and prosecutors have begun to wind down arrests and prosecutions for marijuana.

At the height of the stop-and-frisk era, nearly a decade ago, the police were arresting some 50,000 New Yorkers a year for low-level marijuana offenses, more than 85 percent of whom were black or Hispanic.

The arrests have since plummeted, but the presence of a marijuana odor — real or purported — still serves as a justification to detain people and search them, sometimes leading to the discovery of more serious contraband, including guns, police officers and lawyers say.

One woman who served on a grand jury in Brooklyn late last year recalled hearing officers in three separate cases claim to have “detected a strong odor of marijuana” and use it as justification for a stop or a search.

“They said it very formulaically,” the woman, Batya Ungar-Sargon, who is the opinion editor at The Forward, recalled.

Such testimony can be the final word on whether a search was lawful or unconstitutional, especially in New York.

Some other states have more stringent rules.

North Carolina, for instance, does not allow the smell of pot to justify a search of the occupants of the vehicle.

In 2016, a federal judge in Rochester concluded that the rule in New York was unconstitutional and that New York judges had been wrong to allow such searches.

But that decision has had little bearing in New York City.

Lawmakers in Albany considered intervening this year:

A marijuana legalization bill under debate specifically forbade officers from relying on the “odor of cannabis” for some searches.

The bill did not pass.

Instead, lawmakers opted to reduce the penalties for possessing or smoking marijuana.

Car stops have become an increasingly important part of the New York City department’s patrol strategy ever since political pressure began forcing the department to back away from stopping and frisking black and Hispanic men in large numbers, police officers say.

Looser enforcement and more lenient penalties have made the open use of marijuana — along with its unmistakable, pungent scent — more common on city streets and elsewhere.

Still, several officers said in interviews that they had doubts their colleagues consistently told the truth about what they had smelled.

“Certain cops will say there is odor of marijuana, and when I get to the scene, I immediately don’t smell anything,” one Bronx officer, Pedro Serrano, said in a 2018 article in The New York Times.

“I can’t tell you what you smelled, but it’s obvious to me there is no smell of marijuana.”

In an interview last month, Officer Serrano said he still believed that to be the case.

Officer Serrano, who currently works a desk job and is not out on patrol, is one of several current and former officers suing the Police Department over what they describe as arrest quotas.

A Manhattan detective, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the department, said it would be very difficult to prove what an officer did or did not smell.

But the detective said he had come to believe that some officers, particularly in plainclothes units, lied about having smelled marijuana because of how frequently he heard it used as justification for a search.

In recent years, at least five other judges have concluded in individual cases that officers likely lied about smelling marijuana to justify searches that turned up an unlicensed firearm, according to court documents.

These judges came to doubt the police testimony for a range of reasons, such as discrepancies within an officer’s account or among officers, according to a review of the five decisions.

These judges have generally questioned only the credibility of individual officers in individual cases.

Judge Newbauer’s claim was much broader:

that there is widespread lying.

A Police Department spokesman, Al Baker, rejected that assertion as untrue.

He noted that marijuana “gives off a distinctive and pervasive odor.”

“We recognize that judges arrive at their decisions with their own sets of values and insights informed by life experiences,”

Mr. Baker said in a statement.

“Nonetheless, we categorically reject the judge’s baseless assertion in this case and refute her sweeping assertion that police officers routinely fabricate that the odor of marijuana is present in every vehicle they stop.”

The case that led Judge Newbauer — who was a public defender before ascending to the bench — to make this claim involved a car stop in the Bronx on March 24, 2017.

A plainclothes officer, Daniel Nunez, testified that “he noticed a strong odor of burning marijuana” while approaching the vehicle, according to the decision.

Officer Nunez testified that he observed three small bags of marijuana perched atop the center console — which the police photographed, according to the decision.

While searching the trunk, Officer Nunez discovered a gun.

Judge Newbauer concluded that Officer Nunez’s account was riddled with falsehoods.

She decided the photograph of the bags of marijuana neatly arranged was likely staged.

She noted that one of the two defendants, Jesse Hill, had testified that the marijuana had been discovered when officers searched the pockets of the other man who had been in the car with him.

Gaynor Cunningham, a Legal Aid lawyer who represented Mr. Hill’s co-defendant, said the ruling “recognizes an all-too-common practice of dishonesty that police officers employ to circumvent the law to manufacture a ‘legal search.’”

Mr. Baker, the Police Department spokesman, said Officer Nunez had acted lawfully.

Barry Kamins, a former New York City judge and an authority on search and seizure law in New York, said Judge Newbauer was “the first judge to really express an opinion about this type of scenario.”

He said the opinion brought to mind a court decision from 1970, in which a judge accused New York City police officers of lying in a similar fashion.

That case dealt with “dropsy” testimony, in which officers testified they had seen the defendant throw down a small bag of drugs in an attempt to ditch the evidence as the police approached.

Such testimony spiked after a landmark Supreme Court decision required courts to suppress evidence gained from an illegal search.

Officers no doubt did catch people trying to discard evidence.

But there was widespread suspicion that officers sometimes made up “dropsy” testimony rather than admit they had searched someone unlawfully.

Yet even though officers were likely lying at least some of the time, it was all but impossible to figure out if they were lying “in any particular case,” one judge, Irving Younger, wrote in the 1970 opinion.

“Our refusal to face up to the ‘dropsy’ problem soils the rectitude of the administration of justice,” he concluded.

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