Family Court Judge Impeachment UPDATE

Here’s the latest information I’ve received on the status of the impeachment proceedings in the West Virginia legislature, seeking to remove Family Court Judge Louise Goldston. Apparently, political pressure is being exerted behind-the-scenes. Additionally, an anonymous letter was sent to eight legislators set to vote on the impeachment. I can confirm that at least two of those legislators received it. I’m told that as of now, the impeachment is proceeding, beginning as early as Monday.

This is the anonymous letter received by multiple state legislators:

At this link you can find the contact information for each of these legislators, as well as all other members of the West Virginia House of Delegates.

UPDATE: Family Court Judge Search Case – IMPEACHED?

Huge news this week. Apparently the West Virginia legislature has initiated impeachment proceedings against the family court judge we sued in federal court. More than that, the basis for the impeachment is actually the judge’s responses to my questions to her during her deposition in the civil lawsuit.

A West Virginia Family Court Judge is the subject of an impeachment resolution to be introduced by the WV House of Delegates on Monday following the commission of a warrantless search which violated, among other things, Constitutional rights of West Virginia citizens….

A March 1, 2021, deposition saw Goldston declare, under oath, “I don’t believe I violated the canons of ethics.”

When asked specifically whether she regretted physically entering Gibson’s home, Goldston responded, “Do I think I did anything wrong? No.”

https://www.lootpress.com/wv-family-court-judge-to-face-impeachment/

Watch the last update video:

Detained, Arrested and Beaten Over Cheeseburger Dispute

It’s happened yet again – this time in Ohio – where police arrive to a trespassing complaint at a business (this time at a McDonald’s) and instead of allowing the person to leave the business, they instead detain and forcibly ID the individual. Do police officers have the right to detain someone under these circumstances? More importantly, do they have NEED to do so?

From the Dayton Daily News:

An incident that led to an officer hitting a woman multiple times Monday began as a dispute over missing cheese on a Big Mac. Butler Twp. Sgt. Todd Stanley and Off. Tim Zellers responded at 4:20 p.m. to a call about a disorderly customer at the McDonald’s at 3411 York Commons Blvd., and on arrival, officers spoke to Latinka Hancock, according to a police report.

When the woman refused to provide her ID, the officers engaged in a brutal and violent use of force against her, which one customer inside the McDonald’s caught on video:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=691942075763580

Following the release of the footage to the public, the officer has been placed on leave, pending internal investigation.

$550,000 Verdict After 58 Year-old Woman Tased

Breaking news out of federal court in South Carolina, where a federal jury has just awarded a $550,000 verdict against a former Richland County Sheriff’s deputy, as well as the sheriff’s department itself.

Here are the relevant case documents, including the complaint, jury instructions, verdict form, as well as the full deposition transcript of one of the officers:

Video: Cop’s “Exhibition Driving” Incident Under Investigation

This footage comes to us from Birmingham, Alabama, where we see a police cruiser physically ramming a vehicle involved in a so-called exhibition driving event, which I take it means just doing donuts mostly, while people film. This officer is now under investigation by the Birmingham Police Department. Is that legal? Can a police officer ram a vehicle doing donuts, or whatever else “exhibition” driving consists of? What constitutional rights are at play?

Link to media report and raw footage.

WV Cop Overdose Caught on Video | Update?

Remember the video I posted a while back showing the West Virginia police officer appearing to overdose after a suspect allegedly threw narcotics at him? Is there an update?

Elderly Man With Dementia Protected and Served by Police

Earlier this year, deputies with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department in Virginia attempted a traffic stop on a 77 year old man named Ralph Ennis, who was apparently suffering from dementia. He didn’t stop, but instead drove to a gas station. An officer from a different agency, the Front Royal Police Department, captured what happened on his body cam. 

The footage shows a deputy slamming the elderly man’s head against a truck while pinning his arms behind his back. A second deputy then tackles the man to the ground, hitting the man’s head on the concrete.

“Please let me up!” the man cried out, with two officers on top of him. “Let me go!” Just prior to all the violence, the video shows that all the man did was to get out of his car and walk towards the deputies with his keys in his hand. 

The Front Royal officer was clearly shaken by what he saw and said so while his body cam was still recording, as he left the scene. USA Today reported on the aftermath. The elderly man was apparently then hospitalized with a brain bleed. He would never get out of the hospital. He died about two weeks later.

Unbelievably, but not surprisingly, the government medical examiner ruled that the death was of natural causes. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that the man’s son filed a lawsuit against the government. 

Here’s the complaint:

Let me repeat what I just said a few videos ago: there are two kinds of people in this world; those who support the “he deserved it defense,” and those who support the Constitution unconditionally. Those who are willing to allow police officers to bend the rules, so long as the victim deserved it, in their eyes, haven’t fully thought things through. 

Case in point: Your usual Fourth Amendment Fudd, who is the same guy that thinks the Second Amendment protects his bolt action .30-06, but not your AR-15, is okay with the police beating someone unnecessarily who chose to lead the cops on a pursuit. The same Fourth Amendment Fudd who is okay allowing police officers the discretion to mete out their version of justice with no due process, however is NOT okay with the cops beating his elderly father with dementia who had no idea what was actually happening. If you allow one, then you have chosen to allow the other. By definition. You either protect all constitutional rights, or you protect none. 

This is just one of many recent incidents involving police officers and elderly people with dementia. Police officers have been enabled to fly-off the handle at the slightest perceived threat to their authority. They have been enabled to fly-off the handle on the basis of perceived threats to officer safety. They have been authorized to act like robots; to attack at the slightest provocation, without compassion for those they’re entrusted to serve and protect.

The law assumes that police officers will make mistakes; that they will have bad information, or misunderstand the situation. The law judges them objectively – not based on what they actually thought or intended, but based on how a reasonable officer would act in the same circumstances. 

And here’s the problem. Most of us would look at those circumstances, including good police officers, such as the guy wearing the body cam in this footage, and say, “hell no.” We are not robots. We are supposed to be able to adapt; to deal with different types of people in different scenarios. What would happen if a confused old man walked into a bank, holding his keys in his hand. Would he be immediately tackled and handcuffed by security? Or would any competent person recognize that they’re dealing with an elderly man who might be confused? Does it ever cross the mind of a reasonable police officer that a vehicle may not be stopping because it’s an elderly driver who is confused or suffering from dementia? I would argue that a reasonable officer should be concerned first with protecting and serving an elderly man. 

As the U.S. population ages and more people develop dementia, older people are increasingly running into problems with the police. There’s no national count of how many people with dementia are arrested each year. But an analysis of U.S. crime data by The Marshall Project shows that the number of arrests of people over 65 grew by nearly 30% between 2000 and 2020 – at the same time that overall arrests fell by nearly 40%. The number of elder arrests is growing faster than the population is aging. National data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates that from 2010 to 2020, more than 12,000 people 65 and older ended up in a hospital emergency room for injuries caused by police or private security.

Unfortunately, police officers are not taught to think about the citizen. They are taught to only think about officer safety. It’s drilled into them. Citizen safety is last. That’s our problem. But “officer safety” is not mentioned anywhere in our Constitution. Where it exists is in police officer training. Instead, police officers should be trained in how to help people. They are the ones who wanted to be in a public service job. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about them being scared. If they’re scared, go find another job. 

Freedom is scary. Deal with it. 

“Mr. Black Man, I’m Asking You a Question” | Another Military Vet Harassed

Here’s yet another video showing police officers mistreating one of our military veterans for absolutely no good reason. Gee, I wonder, what’s the common theme? Some of you are quick to criticize me anytime I bring up race. Here’s the thing. The Constitution requires police officers to have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed before detaining an American citizen. 

Does the Constitution allow police officers to pull people over based on a hunch? No. Does the Constitution allow police officers to pull people over based on their skin color? No. Does the Constitution allow police officers to pull people over and detain them for any reason at all, short of actual reasonable suspicion that some crime or traffic law has been violated by the driver? No. Do we see them do so in video after video, after video? We sure do. Let’s take a look at this one from Jacksonville, Florida, showing the traffic stop and warrantless arrest of Navy Veteran Braxton Smith.

Media Report here.

The driver’s cell phone footage:

5 Cops Charged After Bodycam is Released

On May 10, 2019, officers attempted to stop Ronald Greene over an unspecified traffic offense around midnight. A high-speed pursuit began, ending in brutal treatment at the hands of police officers. They did everything in the book to Mr. Greene, who repeatedly cried out that he was scared. Just this week, the other surviving police officers involved in the death of Ronald Greene were criminally charged in Louisiana State Court with crimes ranging from negligent homicide to malfeasance.

Raw Footage here.

The 46-minute clip shows one trooper wrestling Greene to the ground, putting him in a chokehold and punching him in the face while another can be heard calling him a “stupid motherf——.”

Greene wails “I’m sorry!” as another trooper delivers another stun gun shock to his backside and warns, “Look, you’re going to get it again if you don’t put your f——- hands behind your back!” Another trooper can be seen briefly dragging the man facedown after his legs had been shackled and his hands cuffed behind him.

https://apnews.com/article/louisiana-arrests-monroe-eca021d8a54ec73598dd72b269826f7a

Facing the most serious charges from a state grand jury was Master Trooper Kory York, who was seen on the body-camera footage dragging Greene by his ankle shackles, putting his foot on his back to force him down and leaving the heavyset man face down in the dirt for more than nine minutes….

The others who faced various counts of malfeasance and obstruction included a trooper who denied the existence of his body-camera footage, another who exaggerated Greene’s resistance on the scene, a regional state police commander who detectives say pressured them not to make an arrest in the case and a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy heard on the video taunting Greene with the words “s—- hurts, doesn’t it?”

Associated press, 12/15/22

Law enforcement attempted to coverup their misconduct and to suppress the body cam footage from the public.

Greene’s May 10, 2019, death was shrouded in secrecy from the beginning, when authorities told grieving relatives that the 49-year-old died in a car crash at the end of a high-speed chase near Monroe — an account questioned by both his family and even an emergency room doctor who noted Greene’s battered body. Still, a coroner’s report listed Greene’s cause of death as a motor vehicle accident, a state police crash report omitted any mention of troopers using force and 462 days would pass before state police began an internal probe.

All the while, the body-camera video remained so secret it was withheld from Greene’s initial autopsy and officials from Edwards on down declined repeated requests to release it, citing ongoing investigations.

But then last year, the AP obtained and published the footage, which showed what really happened: Troopers swarming Greene’s car, stunning him repeatedly, punching him in the head, dragging him by the shackles and leaving him prone on the ground for more than nine minutes. At times, Greene could be heard pleading for mercy and wailing, “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!”

Associated press, 12/15/22

Not surprisingly, this wasn’t the first time. Now the DOJ has instituted a broad investigation into the Louisiana State Police.

The AP later found that Greene’s arrest was among at least a dozen cases over the past decade in which state police troopers or their bosses ignored or concealed evidence of beatings of mostly Black men, deflected blame and impeded efforts to root out misconduct. Dozens of current and former troopers said the beatings were countenanced by a culture of impunity, nepotism and, in some cases, racism.

Such reports were cited by the U.S. Justice Department this year in launching a sweeping civil rights investigation into the Louisiana State Police, the first “pattern or practice” probe of a statewide law enforcement agency in more than two decades.

Associated press, 12/15/22

Another ANGRY WV Cop Caught on Video | Sparks Investigation

Here’s a new West Virginia video I received out of Morgan County, West Virginia, showing an interaction between some young guys and multiple sheriff’s deputies outside a bar. What it shows is troubling, but not surprising: police officers who can’t control their temper when interacting with someone who is running their mouth – or as the courts call it, “mere words.” Here in the Fourth Circuit, police cannot use violent physical force in response to someone’s “mere words,” – even if they perceive them as obstruction or threats. See United States v. Cobb, 905 F.2d 784, 789 (4th Cir. 1990).

This clip started making the rounds on Tik Tok and now it just popped up on the news here in West Virginia that the agency has ordered an independent investigation into the footage by an outside agency:

Morgan County Sheriff KC Bohrer says, “I have requested an investigation into the matter by an independent agency to be totally transparent and through.”

He says the issue will be ” thoroughly and impartially investigated” and asked for patience during the investigation. “As in any investigation it takes time to gather all the facts.”

This happened on December 3, 2022. The guy they’re talking to had been assaulted in a bar Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. His friend called police. After they arrived, it became clear that they didn’t intend to help. So one of the men began to film.

Apparently, after the video turns off, both men were placed in the rear of a police car for a while. Shortly afterwards they were released with no charges. The one guy was finally able to go to the hospital and receive medical treatment. 

There does appear to me to be some constitutional violations in there. I really need to see the police report and the 911 communications to gather all the facts before giving a more informed opinion. In fact, I already submitted a FOIA request. Not surprisingly, given that an investigation was ordered, they’ve already denied my request:

Hopefully this isn’t one of those situations where an investigation is ordered and then… nothing is ever released. There seems to be an awful lot of those in West Virginia.