Monday, July 27, 2009

Man Tasered in the Butt by Boise Police Plans to Sue

A man who was tased, and threatened with tasering between his genital and anal regions plans to sue the Boise Police Department for excessive use of force.

It all started on Feb. 14 of this year. Two Boise, ID police officers were called to a possible domestic disturbance between a man — the complainant — who had in fact just been released from jail, and a woman. A 3-year-old boy was also present.

The man was tasered, and subdued, but the complaint he filed involved being tasered between his buttocks and genitals. An ombudsman's report (.PDF) of the incident was completed by Boise Community Ombudsman Pierce Murphy. The report did not mention either the names of the suspect or the officers involved, but it did highlight this exchange:

Officer #3: Do you feel this?
Complainant: Yes, sir.
Officer #3: Do you feel that? That’s my -
Complainant: Okay
Officer #3: -Taser up your ass.
Complainant: Okay
Officer #3: So don’t move.
Complainant: I’m trying not to. I can’t breathe.

You can listen to an MP3 of the incident here.

While the report addresses the entire incident, it also clearly states that the suspect certainly was tased between the buttocks.

The evidence clearly proves that the Complainant was tased on the inside of his right, lower buttock. The Complainant had visible injuries there ten days after the incident. The same marks were photographed during a forensic medical examination conducted thirteen days after the incident.

Based on the preponderance of evidence, Officer #3’s second use of the Taser on the Complainant while he was handcuffed was neither reasonable nor necessary. For this reason, I have issued a finding of Sustained to this allegation of excessive force.

While the ombudsman did find that excessive force was used, he did not find that a criminal act took place on the part of the officer.

While the report indicates the officer has been disciplined, the complainant's attorney, Ron Coulter, noted that the officer is still on the job.

“I don’t think he should be back on the street, but then I’m not the chief of police. When you do things like he did I’m not sure that person’s even fit to wear a uniform.”

Coulter added that he plans to file a lawsuit, and that his client's name will be revealed then.
Other Information:

Univeristy Officer Matthew Brill Arrested for Illegally Obtaining Prescription Drugs

An East Stroudsburg University police officer has been arrested on charges of illegally obtaining and possessing prescription narcotics for his own consumption.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendant as 36-year-old Matthew Brill of East Stroudsburg.

“Prescription strength pain relievers are powerful and highly addictive substances,” Corbett said. “Just like illegal narcotics, these drugs can cause a normally responsible adult to do things seemingly out of character. However, addiction does not excuse someone of his or her crimes.”

Court documents state that from March 2009 through June 2009 Brill filled 40 prescriptions for large quantities of Tussionex, Azithromycin, Carisoprodol, Ultram, Vicodin, Avelox, Soma, Alprazolam, Vicroprofen, and Lorazepam.

Prosecutors say that during this time period Brill was able to unlawfully obtain 1,135 tablets and 1,240 milliliters of various controlled substances and 459 tablets of non controlled substances.

According to the criminal complaint, Brill filled the prescriptions at eight different pharmacies in the Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg area and saw nine different doctors in order to obtain scripts for the drugs.

Brill is charged with one count of acquiring possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful acts under the Pharmacy Act.

He was arraigned before Stroudsburg Magisterial District Judge Thomas Shiffer and released on $5,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26, 2009.

Brill will be prosecuted in Monroe County by Monroe District Attorney E. David Christine Jr.’s office.

Chief David Baker Arrested for Drunk Driving

The police chief of Alexandria was arrested Saturday night for driving under the influence of alcohol, Arlington County Police say.

Alexandria Police Chief David P. Baker was arrested around 11 p.m. after the unmarked city vehicle he was driving was involved in a car crash near the intersection of I-66 and North Fairfax Drive in Arlington County, police say. Officials say his blood alcohol level was 0.19, more than twice the legal limit. "According to Arlington County Police, Chief Baker's blood alcohol level was .19 percent," said Dana Lawhorne, Alexandria sheriff.

The driver of the other vehicle suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital and released, police say. When officers arrived at the crash scene they say Baker appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. It is unclear where the police chief had been and where he was headed.

The 58-year-old Baker has been with the Alexandria department for 19 years and was a D.C. police officer for 21 years before that.

The police chief says he is disappointed in himself. "I think we all feel heart sick about it, and the person who feels the worst about it is him," said Jim Hartmann, Alexandria City manager.

The chief was booked and released. He is now on paid administrative leave. Alexandria Executive Deputy Chief of Police Earl Cook has been named acting chief of police. Cook is a 30-year veteran of the police department.

Hartmann has the authority to fire Baker right away but says he will wait for the findings of an internal review before making a decision.

"For all the citizens of Alexandria...this is a sad, sad day for us," said Alexandria Mayor William Euille.

Meanwhile, as city administrators are launching an internal investigation, fellow officers and the public say they are shocked and concerned.

"He should be treated just like every other citizen of Alexandria would be treated, with, you know, no exceptions," said Kristin Buczek, Alexandria resident.

Chief Baker released this statement to his officers: "While I can only imagine the disappointment you feel, I want you to know how proud I am of each of you, how privileged I am to work side by side with you and how disappointed and angry I am with myself."