When Police Lie, the Innocent Pay.Some Are Fighting Back.

This is about  the issue of police who lie and distort the true circumstances of their interactions with people they come in contact with of color or otherwise, when they think that no one is watching or bears witness to what actually happened. In such circumstances, like the one described here, they may be tempted to lie and distort to their own nefarious end. 

Police reform such as now required body cameras, plus strategically placed security cameras, in addition to ubiquitous cell phones that can catch events unfolding almost anywhere, have changed the equation for at least some victims of police over-reach, exaggeration and misinformation, where once there was only the word of the officer in question.. 

This article points out one such example of how things are shifting from total domination of a police officers explanation of how events unfolded to a more even playing field. While it may not be viewed as such, it is a positive step forward for all concerned.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/28/us/false-police-statements.html?smid=em-share

The statement from the Rock Hill Police Department was unequivocal about what Travis Price did: He belligerently obstructed officers as they arrested his brother on a gun charge; he shoved them and knocked them with his body; he refused to follow orders.

He was charged with “hindering police,” and the congressman in his district in South Carolina piled on with a statement of his own, describing Mr. Price as a “suspect” who “rolls up and starts interfering with things.”

Fifteen days later, after Mr. Price spent about 36 hours in jail, the truth came out. Body camera videos of the June 23 incident showed that Mr. Price had been calmly following the instructions of officers in the seconds before one officer, Jonathan Moreno, pushed him against a kerosene tank outside a gas station and took him to the ground.

“He had done nothing wrong,” Kevin Brackett, the region’s top prosecutor, acknowledged during a news conference last month. Mr. Brackett announced that he was charging Mr. Moreno, who was fired from the Police Department, with assault and battery. And in a dramatic moment, Mr. Brackett called Mr. Moreno to the podium, where he apologized.

“I did make a mistake,” he said. “I’m here to own it and I’m here to make it right.”

The gas station in Rock Hill, S.C., where Mr. Price was arrested. “He had done nothing wrong,” the region’s top prosecutor later said.
Credit…Cornell Watson for The New York Times

There have long been instances in which the police have provided false accounts of arrests, but disparities between officers’ descriptions and what people see have become more common with the expansion of body cameras and cellphone videos and as police departments’ public accounts draw more scrutiny.

The Minneapolis Police Department’s initial description of George Floyd’s death, in May 2020, said he had died after a “medical incident during police interaction.” That account was challenged within hours as a teenager’s gruesome video of his death flooded the internet, igniting the largest protests in a generation.

Across the United States, people who have been the targets of false police statements are increasingly working to correct the record, sometimes investigating their own cases, interviewing witnesses and filing defamation lawsuits.

“There’s a widespread search for tools to make the police more accountable,” said Lyrissa Lidsky, the dean of the University of Missouri School of Law and an expert in defamation law. “These lawsuits are part and parcel of the search for police accountability tools.”

But, Ms. Lidsky said, winning lawsuits is difficult in many cases.

“People shouldn’t think that it’s easy to bring a defamation suit against the police, because it’s hard — really hard,” she said. Suing a city, government agency, police officer or member of Congress often comes with additional challenges for plaintiffs, such as the qualified immunity doctrine that shields government officials in some situations.

In many cases, citizens who are mentioned in a police department’s false account have sued over other matters, such as civil rights violations or negligence.

Last year, the Detroit City Council approved a $75,000 payment to the owner of two dogs that were shot and killed by a police officer during a drug raid.

A police supervisor wrote in a report that the officer had seen one of two pit bulls “charging” and “attempting to bite” the officers. The supervisor also reported that he examined the body camera video and “found no discrepancies” with that account.

But when the graphic body camera video was released, it showed that the officer had shot the dogs one after the other without any provocation in a hallway of the home. A puppy could later be seen walking over one of the bloody bodies.

In some cases, people have read false accounts of their interactions with the police and tried to set the record straight.

In Central Florida, Chris Cordero was driving his tan Saturn through his neighborhood in Lake Wales early this year when, he said, he noticed a police cruiser following him. Mr. Cordero, 37, grew nervous, and then the officer pulled him over. What could have been a routine traffic stop ended with Mr. Cordero on the ground, in handcuffs. He would face several years in prison, accused of assaulting a police officer.

In his report, the officer, David Colt Black, said he had pulled Mr. Cordero over because he was not wearing a seatbelt and had ignored a stop sign. The officer said Mr. Cordero got out of his car and immediately charged at him.

“Cordero continued approaching me with closed fists, yelling, ‘You can’t stop me, you don’t have the right,’” the officer wrote, adding: “Cordero continued to charge towards me with closed fists.”

He said Mr. Cordero kept resisting arrest and seemed to be reaching for a weapon in his waistband, and so he used his elbow to deliver a swift strike to the side of Mr. Cordero’s head. Mr. Cordero was arrested and taken into custody.

But Mr. Cordero said he never charged the officer and was certain that the strike to his head was unprovoked. He decided to conduct his own investigation.

“I had to go door-to-door, because they were trying to give me from four to seven years in prison,” he said. “The officer said I charged his vehicle and I tried to attack him. I know I didn’t. I got out of the car and remained there.”

Mr. Cordero’s door-knocking produced quick results. He obtained a doorbell security video from the house across the street. The footage was from a bit of a distance, and it was hardly clear what was happening, but it was obvious that Mr. Cordero had not done what he had been accused of.

Video in hand, he started making phone calls, accusing the officers of brutality and of making racist slurs. Within a day, Officer Black submitted a supplemental report saying that he realized, after watching the surveillance footage, that his “perception was altered due to the high stress of the incident.”

“Based upon the video, I could see Cordero did not get as close to me as I originally thought he did,” Officer Black wrote, acknowledging that what happened did not justify a charge of assault on a law enforcement officer.

Officer Black later told investigators that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from an incident several years ago when he had been beaten by a suspect and required hospitalization. After the revelations in Mr. Cordero’s case, Officer Black resigned from the department and began treatment, according to an investigative report by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators closed the case with no action, and the prosecutors did not charge the officer.

“He lied on a report,” Mr. Cordero said. “What did I do wrong? Nothing. I told the truth.”

Sara Jones, a lawyer who initially helped Mr. Cordero with the case, said she believed him from the start, because his account of being sucker-punched from behind during a traffic stop mirrored what she had heard from other clients.

“That is what made me believe he was telling the truth before I even saw the video,” Ms. Jones said.

Security and cellphone footage served as key evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd.
Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The Lake Wales Police forwarded a reporter’s request for comment on the investigation to Officer Black’s father, a deputy chief at the department, who did not respond. Officer Black did not respond to a request for an interview.

In the case of Mr. Price in South Carolina, the Police Department never explained the false statement it gave reporters about what happened during the arrest. Mr. Price is suing the City of Rock Hill and Representative Ralph Norman, the Republican congressman, saying that both slandered him in their public statements.

A day after The New York Times contacted him, Mr. Norman’s office updated the statement on his blog and Facebook page to remove the false information.

Mr. Price, a father of two who works at a chemical plant, said he worried about what would have happened if there had not been a public outcry that led to the release of the body camera footage. Whose story would people have believed?

“How they degraded my name, it just ain’t right,” he said. “I just don’t want, everywhere I go, people looking at me all different, and it’s already that way. I want my character to still be the same.”

Mike Baker, Lucy Tompkins, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio and Will Wrightcontributed reporting.

When Police Lie, the Innocent Pay. Some Are Fighting Back.

When Police Lie, the Innocent Pay. Some Are Fighting Back.


Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

Video Shows Louisiana Trooper Beating a Black Man With a Flashlight

Video Shows Louisiana Trooper Beating a Black Man With a Flashlight

Is it true that “What Goes Around Comes Around”? We may be getting close to another prime example of how that particular law of nature and physics plays out in the life of all humans, even those who have seemed impervious to its reach.

Now that the lengthy inquiry into accusations of sexual harassment and other improprieties related to the Governor’s handling of Covid, nursing-home data and state resources he may have illegally used to publish his book so quickly has advanced significantly, we’ll soon know the results of what at least appears to be a thorough and exhaustive investigation. There is always the risk of jumping the gun and assuming the worst, which we want to avoid in fairness to all parties, including the Governor.

From the current perch we all share of only having publicly available sources of info, it appears that Mr. Cuomo’s bluster and denials and the support he still has from political allies may see him through what appears to be the most significant threat he’s faced to his political career and legacy. If not, we’ll soon see another Governor’s career go down in ignoble flames due to their disbelief that those words applied to them, in spite of their use of them on many occasions to describe the plight of other people.

Drake Bell Given Two Years of Probation

Drake must have felt a sense of empowerment, the big star over the impressionable fan. It’s been called intoxicating and at the right time and place, with the right profile of a fan it might indeed have been just a “good time!”

But when that person turned out to be a minor it was a whole other ballgame and now Drake is someone who has been charged with the felony of attempted child endangerment. It lead to a plea deal including financial penalties, probation with various conditions for a minimum of two years and registration as a sex offender!

Have to ask though as we always should, is it possible its not so black and white? Were there mitigating circumstances? Had Drake himself been a victim of child abuse? Was this a one-off mistake or just one of a series? Does it indicate a much deeper problem and need for help, but with the proviso to also keep him away from other potential victims?

A deeper analysis might answer those questions and let us have a dose of sympathy. But in the end, sympathy or not, he made the choices! He lured her in! He pounced!

There’s at least one thing we can be pretty sure he didn’t have, which is the insight that whether there seems to be someone watching or not, that there IS something taking note.That something is the universal Law of Cause & Effect which explains every action/reaction in the physical universe and nature, but also applies to all human thoughts, words and actions and their consequences.

In our time and culture, the common vernacular for this principle in action is the expression “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Most of us use those words, perhaps many times, but only when describing someone else’s misfortune. We didn’t understand at first, but when the facts came out we could see why it happened!

However another truth is that, what is so easy to see in others can be so hard to see in ourselves. Unfortunately for Drake, he didn’t either! If he’d only read the book I wrote with that title he might not be in this fix!

The former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” had pleaded guilty to two charges related to a girl he met online. She attended one of his concerts in 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/12/arts/television/drake-bell-sentenced-child-endangerment.html?smid=em-share