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Abuse of Power - or Much Ado About Nothing?


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Recently, a young lady was stopped hereabouts for erratic driving.  State Trooper, after calling in Trooper #2 for field sobriety testing, arrests the young lady for DUI.  Finds a heroin kit in her car; adds Operating under the Influence of narcotics.

 

According to the Trooper's report, the driver complained when her drugs were taken from her; "you don't know how many guys I had to _____ to get those" she said; she then offered to perform certain acts in exchange for leniency.  Trooper dutifully delivered her to the lock-up.

 

Now things get murky.  Trooper is called in off the road to a station 90 mile away, and ordered by his superior to delete the somewhat salacious quotations from his report.  He's told that it is an order; that everyone has a boss; and that his (the superior officer's) boss has ordered that this be done.  Trooper complies. 

 

The next day, the story hits the press; seems the driver is the daughter of a District Court Judge.  A judge who previously served in the DA's office.  His daughter was formerly a Witness Advocate in the same DA's office.  The whispers indicate that the call to the State Police that initiated the editing of the arrest report came from "someone" in the DA's Office.  News folks go bananas, suggesting that the Judge, or a shill on his behalf, used his power to get the report sanitized.   Press is sniffing everywhere, trying to figure out who gave the initial order.  Most folks in the know doubt the idea sprung from the brain of the State Police, at any level; suspicion runs primarily toward the DA, although the Governor (an unpopular Republican among Democratic state leaders) has a target on his back.  At about the same time, the 2nd Trooper is ordered to shred her notes regarding the field sobriety test.  She protests, but complies.  Trooper #1 files a Federal Court action, claiming he was forced to comply with an illegal order, and now lives in fear of dismissal or prosecution.  Trooper #2 follows suit.

 

Headlines for two days, and suddenly the commanding officer of the State Police, who had previously denied any involvement, takes responsibility for the order, resigns, and makes a public statement indicating that he ordered the edits for "humanitarian reasons"; that drug addicts deserve compassion; that the nasty bits were not material to any of the crimes for which she was arrested, and would simply hold her up to public ridicule and make her recovery from addiction less likely.  Sounds high-minded, but unlikely.

 

So now, finally, my question.  Doesn't look like anyone asked for the DUI to be dropped, and that's the only charge filed.  Are embarrassing statements from the mouth of the suspect, that do not have relevance with regard to the pending charges, "evidence", and so protected from politically-motivated editing?  Or are they just grist for gossip, personally embarrassing, and so extraneous, and no big deal when deleted?  The Trooper suggests that they are, indeed, evidence, as they tend to prove that she admitted to possession and ownership of the drugs - elements of a crime.

 

For LEOs and former LEOs - edit on command, or not?

 

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/11/top_trooper_resigns_amid_probe_into_altered_report

 

LL 

 

PS:  Please note that a different Judge, on motion by the defendant's attorney, has now ordered the subject quotes deleted from the arrest report, as "purely prejudicial"; no jury will hear them.  

 

LL

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If you are given an order you think may be illegal, ask them to put it in writing. If they are dumb enough to do that, keep a copy of your original report and submit the revision. The "revised" report should start, "This report is being written pursuant to an order received from Captain KnowNuts. This report is also being submitted as failure to do so would be insubordination. The penalty for insubordination is up to and including discharge from the police force. This report is submitted pursuant to such order, and the penalties that may result." That covers your ass and totally dumps it back on them. Seriously, what credibility would a report beginning with that disclaimer carry?

 

If they have the most archaic in-car video systems, they still have a good range on their wireless mics. And when this started, that mic should remain hot.

 

Most any police agency, when you reach a certain rank, you stop being a cop and start being a politician.

 

So glad to be done with this part of my life.

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22 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Tampering with evidence, is clearly seen here.

Was there no body-cams on the officers, or in the LEO's cars?

OLG

 

There are no dash cams or body cams in the State Police (or in most major departments in MA)

 

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2016/05/23/body-camera-cruiser-camera-boston

 

LL

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Never knew it to happen in Kansas City, Missouri. When a VIP arrested, the supervisor was advised who informed up the brass of the situation. When word would get back to the officer and the usual story was you better write every violation and file state charges if possible. Most VIP's knew our directive and would just keep their mouth shut, others would admit they screwed up, especially traffic, and be very cooperative. Been a few Chiefs (football) that messed up, would show up at the office with their attorney and if possible things would get worked out. If not, there was an understanding, and it could be worked out in court. Been a few DUI's, no accidents,  where the VIP got a ride home.  Also been a few that were not VIP's given the same treatment. Now-a-days, don't think that would ever happen. But, an officer on KCPD to my knowledge, was never asked to doctor up a report, and as far as language, you put every word in so the judge could see what was going on. I did not like using that language, but I would put it in and the judge knew I did not write reports like that, so when I did, seemed like the party got a lot of extra time.;)

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IMHO, this is not just an abuse of power, it’s criminal. Anytime an official report is ‘doctored’ to remove incriminating/ embarrassing statements or facts, it’s called Falsifying an Official Document. At the very least, it’s a misdemeanor, perhaps a felony in some jurisdictions. If the Feds get involved, it’s at the very least Conspiricy. Given the fact this originated at the highest of levels, Fed involvement might be within the realm of possibility.

 I’m calling out the alleged ‘supervisors’ on this one. What kind of boss throws his/ her subordinates under the bus because they lack the intestinal fortitude to follow the oath that they swore to when they first got on the job? I don’t mean to sound judgemental here, but if you sacrifice your integrity for whatever reason, you have nothing. Everything you accomplish from that point forward is hollow. I know that careers, family,houses, college, etc. are on the line here-I get that. Again, it’s the Blue-suits that are at the bottom of the s*** funnel because they chose to do their job with integrity. Sad.

Just my two pesos.

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2 hours ago, Lawdog Dago Dom said:

If you are given an order you think may be illegal, ask them to put it in writing. If they are dumb enough to do that, keep a copy of your original report and submit the revision. The "revised" report should start, "This report is being written pursuant to an order received from Captain KnowNuts. This report is also being submitted as failure to do so would be insubordination. The penalty for insubordination is up to and including discharge from the police force. This report is submitted pursuant to such order, and the penalties that may result."

 

 

What he said.  Also what OLG said.  

Defendant on the stand: "I also told them I had to **** to buy that stuff, but it isn't in the report."  Defense Attorney: "You are saying the police altered your statement?"  Defendant: "Yes, I am."
Throws the whole thing into question in my mind.

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5 hours ago, Loophole LaRue, SASS #51438 said:

Recently, a young lady was stopped hereabouts for erratic driving.  State Trooper, after calling in Trooper #2 for field sobriety testing, arrests the young lady for DUI.  Finds a heroin kit in her car; adds Operating under the Influence of narcotics.

 

According to the Trooper's report, the driver complained when her drugs were taken from her; "you don't know how many guys I had to _____ to get those" she said; she then offered to perform certain acts in exchange for leniency.  Trooper dutifully delivered her to the lock-up.

 

Now things get murky.  Trooper is called in off the road to a station 90 mile away, and ordered by his superior to delete the somewhat salacious quotations from his report.  He's told that it is an order; that everyone has a boss; and that his (the superior officer's) boss has ordered that this be done.  Trooper complies. 

 

The next day, the story hits the press; seems the driver is the daughter of a District Court Judge.  A judge who previously served in the DA's office.  His daughter was formerly a Witness Advocate in the same DA's office.  The whispers indicate that the call to the State Police that initiated the editing of the arrest report came from "someone" in the DA's Office.  News folks go bananas, suggesting that the Judge, or a shill on his behalf, used his power to get the report sanitized.   Press is sniffing everywhere, trying to figure out who gave the initial order.  Most folks in the know doubt the idea sprung from the brain of the State Police, at any level; suspicion runs primarily toward the DA, although the Governor (an unpopular Republican among Democratic state leaders) has a target on his back.  At about the same time, the 2nd Trooper is ordered to shred her notes regarding the field sobriety test.  She protests, but complies.  Trooper #1 files a Federal Court action, claiming he was forced to comply with an illegal order, and now lives in fear of dismissal or prosecution.  Trooper #2 follows suit.

 

Headlines for two days, and suddenly the commanding officer of the State Police, who had previously denied any involvement, takes responsibility for the order, resigns, and makes a public statement indicating that he ordered the edits for "humanitarian reasons"; that drug addicts deserve compassion; that the nasty bits were not material to any of the crimes for which she was arrested, and would simply hold her up to public ridicule and make her recovery from addiction less likely.  Sounds high-minded, but unlikely.

 

So now, finally, my question.  Doesn't look like anyone asked for the DUI to be dropped, and that's the only charge filed.  Are embarrassing statements from the mouth of the suspect, that do not have relevance with regard to the pending charges, "evidence", and so protected from politically-motivated editing?  Or are they just grist for gossip, personally embarrassing, and so extraneous, and no big deal when deleted?  The Trooper suggests that they are, indeed, evidence, as they tend to prove that she admitted to possession and ownership of the drugs - elements of a crime.

 

For LEOs and former LEOs - edit on command, or not?

 

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/11/top_trooper_resigns_amid_probe_into_altered_report

 

LL 

 

PS:  Please note that a different Judge, on motion by the defendant's attorney, has now ordered the subject quotes deleted from the arrest report, as "purely prejudicial"; no jury will hear them.  

 

LL

Her statement goes to possession and ownership of the drugs otherwise her attorney would argue the drugs weren't hers. The fix is in

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In my hometown one year many years ago the city manager was pulled over on suspicion of DUI and arrested after he miserably failed the field sobriety tests. When the arresting officer realized who he had in his car he called his supervisor. The supervisor agreed he should be arrested. That supervisor notified his supervisor who also agreed. But word kept going up the chain of command, through lieutenants and captains and finally a deputy chief. General consensus from the rank-and-file was that the city manager should have been arrested and prosecuted. The deputy chief told everyone to shut their damn mouths and took him home in his personal car. This of course never made the news but those of us employed by the city at the time all new the story. That kind of cronyism is bad enough but it exists. Everywhere. The city manager being known to be a massive a$$hat getting off scot-free was even worse. Many many people lost respect for some of the upper level echelon inter workings and personnel overnight.

 

Unfortunately this was long before there were video cameras everywhere. If just some of that video evidence would have slipped out to the public, the story would probably have a totally different ending, and a much happier ending for most people involved.

 

:angry:

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Admissability of statements in a report are subject to review by the trier of fact (typically a judge) and one has ruled on the statements in this case. Just as there are cops that do not deserve to wear a badge, and preachers that have no place in a church, there are judges that should not be allowed within a mile of a courthouse. Sadly, we have political relationships in our society that have more influence on cases than what actually happened. Reality, and the truth, is sometimes up for grabs. It becomes a liars contest and the side with the best legal financing usually gets what they want. Sorry, this is not what is taught in Civics or Poli Sci 101, but it is there. It is not a sterile system. Lawyers golf with judges, judges and lawyers have kids that go to school together, etc. And there are grudges like in any other relationship. I watched it for 25 years, working in 5 counties. Sometimes the facts find their way out, and sometimes they do not.

 

You expect a bonehead ruling from a judge now and then, or a prosecutor fresh out of law school to blow an issue in a pre-trial hearing. If I was ordered to write ANYTHING other than what I saw, heard or smelled, I would be on the phone with my PBA/FOP attorney real quick. Whatever chess game is being played by those in power will not have me as one of their pawns. I can say with a clear conscience that I could look myself in the mirror after I turned in a report.

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Back when I was prosecuting cases, I would have wanted the statements for exactly the reason the trooper stated. Her statements eliminate any attempted defense regarding knowledge of the heroin, or claim that the drugs were not hers. As I recall, that was claim was par for the course when drugs were found during a traffic stop, even if the driver was alone.

 

Will the Judge who ordered the statements be redacted be the judge trying the case?

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It reminds me of Paul Newman’s movie, “The Verdict “.   While the official trial record will not include certain facts, it’s hard to imagine a jury ignoring common knowledge while making a decision.

 

To the question, is it an abuse of power, of course it is.  This case is unusual only because we know what happened.  How many times does this occur and we don’t realize it?

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2 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

To the question, is it an abuse of power, of course it is.  This case is unusual only because we know what happened.  How many times does this occur and we don’t realize it?

 

In today's DNC, every second of every day of every week of every month of every year.

 

:blink:

 

 

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I would think her offering the officers the same "service" she claimed to have had to do to obtain the drugs would be considered an attempt to bribe an officer, or a charge of prostitution.

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Permissible edits to the reports are spelling, grammar and opinion.  Otherwise, bad news to order and officer to edit a report.  Looks like the Commandant of the State police fell on his sword.  Probably will get a nice gig in the private sector.

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