Police Abuse and Police Brutality
Napa police officer resigned Dec. 15 from the department following
misdemeanor criminal charges filed against him by the Napa County
District Attorney's Office on Wednesday.
Napa Police Sgt. Gil Gallegos is looking at charges of attempted
extortion and making harassing telephone calls.
Details of the charges against Gallegos, who has been with the
department for about 22 years, were not available Wednesday.
of Wednesday night, Gallegos had not been arrested. The district
attorney's office has sent a letter to him, ordering him to appear in
court, at which time Gallegos will be informed of the charges filed
The date of
his court appearance was not available Wednesday night.
months ago, an incident was brought to the attention of the Napa Police
Department involving Gallegos, Napa Police Cmdr. Steve Potter said.
investigation into the allegations against Gallegos were turned over to
the Napa County Sheriff's Department investigation bureau.
the sheriff's department finished its investigation, they forwarded the
findings to the district attorney's office and requested the
misdemeanor charges be filed against Gallegos.
"It's not our case any more. The matter is now with the district
attorney's office," Napa Police Chief Rich Melton said.
said when allegations of misconduct come to the department's attention,
"we are required to investigate the incident. It can be hard when it
involves a veteran officer, but the officer has to be held accountable
and held to the same standards as any other citizen."
tenure with the Napa Police Department, Gallegos has been a patrol
officer, a member of the detective bureau, a hostage negotiator and a
youth services officer. His latest assignment was as a patrol
12/21/2005 - SAN FRANCISCO - San
Francisco police Officer Michael Turkington, 35, was arrested Wednesday
night for alleged violations of oral copulation, false imprisonment,
and providing marijuana, the San Francisco Police Department reported.
allegedly committed these acts in late 2004 while on duty and `under
the color of authority,` according to the Police Department. Turkington
was assigned to the Taraval police station at the time of the alleged
female victim informed the Police Department about the alleged
violations in Nov. 2005. The special investigations divisions of the
Police Department investigated the case.
Turkington was booked at the San Francisco County
jail. His bail was set at $500,000.
is presently under suspension from the Police Department and is
awaiting trial in connection with separate charges related to
contributing to the delinquency of minors,
12/20/2005 - SAN DIEGO --
A former San Diego police sergeant will
spend one year of house arrest for having sex with two 16-year-old
Officer Toby Peale Freestone, 40, was
sentenced after pleading guilty Monday to statutory rape.
documents say the girls were given alcohol and one was unconscious when
the crimes were committed last year.
will spend five years on probation after his house arrest.
12/05/2005 - The weapons used by three Kern County jailers to kill a
defenseless inmate in August were simple, District Attorney Ed Jagels
"Boot. Fist. Elbow," he said.
officials arrested five of their own Thursday -- some on suspicion of
murder and others solely on suspicion of assault.
Moore of Bakersfield was bound, hand and foot, when three detention
deputies struck heavy blows to his head on Aug. 15, Jagels said.
Moore, 30, died of blunt force head
trauma six days later at Mercy Hospital, according to coroner's
on second-degree murder charges were Daniel Thomas Lindini, 48; Ralph
Contreras, 32,; and Roxanne Fowler, 41, according to Jagels and jail
is a 23-year veteran of the department. Contreras and Fowler have 11
and 10 years of experience, respectively, the department said.
other jailers, 34-year-old Angel Lopez Bravo and 20-year-old Lisa Diane
Romero, struck unnecessary but non-lethal blows to Moore's body, Jagels
face charges of assault under the color of authority and were released
after posting $50,000 bail Thursday, officials said. Bravo was hired by
the department 10 years ago while Romero was hired in June, according
to the department.
All of the suspects were booked into the downtown
jail where the beating occurred months ago.
was arrested Aug. 15 on suspicion of making threats after he got into
an argument with the mother of his younger son, his family and
sheriff's officials said.
said Moore got into a total of four "violent confrontations" with jail
staffers that same day, but the jailers' actions were only criminal
during the fourth incident.
Moore was acting extremely irrationally and violently. According to all
the witnesses, he was incredibly strong," Jagels said.
Jagels added Moore wasn't under the influence of
drugs because a test done at the time of his arrest ruled that out.
the first three incidents, detention personnel used a baton, pepper
spray and a carotid-artery hold to try to subdue Moore, according to
the investigation of the incidents, Jagels said. No criminal violations
were found in those incidents, Jagels said.
The fourth incident was another story.
began when detention deputies took Moore into the parking garage,
intending to put him in a patrol car and take him to Kern Medical
Center, Jagels said. They wanted him checked out because of the artery
hold and because of his behavior, Jagels said.
Detention officials cuffed Moore's hands to a waist
restraint and they restrained his legs, Jagels said.
was on the ground when one detention deputy kicked his head, Jagels
said. After Moore was strapped to a gurney, he said, multiple deputies
hit Moore in the head with their fists and elbows.
victim was completely restrained, could not present a danger to
anyone," Jagels said. "The amount of force was not justified."
investigation of the beating began when a sheriff's deputy who
witnessed part of the incident wrote a memo to a supervisor, Jagels
criminal investigation completed, Wimbish said, an internal affairs
investigation will proceed within the department.
Jagels praised sheriff's investigators for the
thoroughness of their work in the case.
"No stone was left unturned," he said.
The investigation took months to complete because
some tissue samples were sent to a private lab for analysis, Jagels
After more than three months of waiting, Moore's
sister, Josie Chapman, said she didn't know exactly how to feel.
don't want to say I'm glad someone was charged with murder because I
wish it had never happened," she said. "I have mixed emotions about
what these people's families will go through."
David Cohn, who represents Moore's son James Jr. in a lawsuit against
the Sheriff's Department, said he's not sure the public is getting the
entire story on the beating.
said he found it "perplexing" that Jagels differentiated between the
four incidents in August, which he described as "beatings," not
facts have not come out in this case. I think we're a long way from the
truth," he said. "How much can we trust the department to investigate
questioned the culture in the department, recalling an embarrassing
incident in 2003 when photos of joke Kern County sheriff's car decals
that read "We'll Kick Your Ass" appeared on the Internet.
"Apparently, that (kick your ass) message was a
message that was given to the jailers," Cohn said.
James Moore Jr. said he used to play video games
and fish with his dad, but he knew what he'd miss most of all.
"Just having him around," the 13-year-old said
Daniel Rodriguez, who represents Moore's young son Bryce in a lawsuit
against the Sheriff's Department, said the family wants justice. A
trial date in that case was scheduled Wednesday for July 2007.
just hope the District Attorney's office is as interested in
prosecuting killer cops as they are cop killers," he said Thursday.
second-degree murder conviction carries a penalty of 15 years to life.
An assault under the color of authority conviction carries penalties of
16 months, two years or three years, Jagels said.
The five suspects were scheduled to appear in court
on Monday, according to jail records.
Wimbish said the jailers remained on paid
administrative leave Thursday, but that could change after their court
"They haven't been proven to be wrong," he said.
publication of former OPD Officer Eugene Ralph Jennings’
about the murder of Robert “Li’l Bobby”
Hutton on April 6, 1968, will
never soften the blow that African American communities withstand when
their members are murdered at the hands of racist police.
Jennings, many Oakland police officers were recruited from Florida and
brought with them racist attitudes and the hierarchy of white male
privilege. Their arrogance was detrimental not only to the Black
community generally but especially to Black police officers.
In this respect, Mr.
Jennings’ experience with the police state was synonymous
experience of the Black community and Bobby Hutton. The major
difference is that Jennings was able to walk away with his life.
The abuse of African
Americans by police departments in the Bay Area was no secret. Police
officers walked tall in their locker rooms after whuppin’
Blacks were routinely shot by the police.
It was from these
conditions that the cry for Black self defense arose and the Black
Panther Party for Self Defense was born. Organizer Huey P. Newton,
originally from Louisiana, was no stranger to the practice of white
Li’l Bobby Hutton’s
family had fled Pot Liquor, Arkansas, from nightriders. Blacks moving
from the South to the Bay found hooded white sheets replaced by police
uniforms worn by the “Blue Meanies.”
The 1960s was a
decade for social disturbance and organizing. The Civil Rights Movement
was in full swing, and the Black Power Movement had come alive. Neither
movement, however, focused on the immediate urgency of police
occupation and brutality in Black communities.
The Black Panther
Party did. Chapters formed in major California cities, nationwide and
worldwide in response to the Black community’s plea for an
police brutality and murder within the community.
According to Eugene
Jennings, he joined the police department as a result of witnessing
police brutality upon Black people. His motivation was to become a
better officer who could serve the needs of Black people.
At the time that he
joined the Oakland PD, Black police officers numbered fewer than 15 out
of approximately 680. Women numbered fewer than 10. Recruitment of
officers was concentrated in the South, and recruits had to have served
combat duty. The combination of these two elements – racist
and combat experience – resulted in daily deadly consequences
that racist statements were a mainstay in the locker rooms. The
shooting of Charles Evers, brother of Medgar Evers, was frequently
commented on: “Yeah, if that nigger walked into my
would have shot him too.” Predicting Black reaction to the
police officers said, “The natives will be restless
The assassination of
Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, prompted the Oakland Police
Department to begin to hire more Black officers, many of whom were also
recruited from the South. Due to the racism in the department,
eventually these Black officers formed their own police
association. They owed their jobs to the Black community’s
against police brutality.
When Denzil Dowell
was killed in April 1967 in Richmond by an officer with the Martinez
Sheriff’s Department, his death was labeled a
An investigation by the Black Panther Party, however, determined that
Dowell died unarmed and with his hands raised in surrender.
As Black people
turned away from traditional forms of protest, the Black Panther Party
became an icon. With the rapid growth of the BPP in Oakland, the
Oakland Police Department began to aggressively suppress their efforts
Research shows that
Cointelpro and the OPD collaborated in conducting illegal wire taps,
surveillance, search and seizure and general harassment of Party
members and supporters. Jennings mentions that because the police had
the names and license plate numbers of members and supporters, many
were arrested and harassed.
The police also
utilized informants and snitches in their operational attacks upon the
Party. These tactics resulted in unnecessary injuries, unjustified
imprisonments and untimely deaths of Black people.
On the night of April
6, 1968, police officer Eugene R. Jennings witnessed the murder of
Bobby Hutton by Oakland and Emeryville police officers. Eldridge
Cleaver and Bobby Hutton were engaged in a gun battle with the police.
Jennings states in
his deposition that he arrived at the scene at 1218 28th St. in Oakland
and took a position across the street on top of a brick building
building that is still standing. He did not see who was actually
shooting, but he saw “flashes coming from the
basement” from the house
across the street.
From his observation
point, he could see that the house had caught on fire. Jennings
testified that Cleaver and Hutton were surrounded and had surrendered
to the police. The police brutalized both panthers.
deposition, police investigators attempted to coerce Jennings into
stating that Hutton was trying to escape or run. But according to
Jennings’ testimony, Hutton stumbled after being pushed from
not trying to escape.
At this point an
officer stepped forward and shot Hutton in the head, and other officers
followed suit. Jennings’ description of Hutton’s
murder mirrors the
version told by Eldridge Cleaver.
It is interesting to
note that Jennings’ testimony is similar to that of another
police officer, Gynne Pierson, who was present at the scene. But
Jennings’ statement was discarded, and he was labeled a
In fact, Jennings’
testimony was not presented to the Grand Jury. He faced hostility at
work – he had a gun pulled on him by a fellow officer.
Two questions must be answered:
1) Why was Jennings’ testimony not
presented to the Grand Jury?
2) Why did Jennings take so long to come forth with
The answer to the
first question is the longstanding police cover-up regarding
murder. The answer to the second question is that Jennings felt that
since his life was threatened, he faced an audience that was not ready
to reveal the truth.
Although this case is
37 years old, our quest for justice has not been delivered. Recently,
grand juries in the Bay Area have been investigating incidents
involving Black activists in the 1970s. Instead of focusing on witch
hunts, they need to investigate the case of Bobby Hutton’s
this is a case of justice undelivered.
11/30/2005 - HEMET, Calif. - A
Riverside County sheriff's deputy was charged Tuesday with multiple
criminal counts including assault by an officer, kidnapping and sexual
Keith Sanders, 33, was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center
on $50,000 bail. A court hearing was scheduled for Nov. 28.
who resigned from the department immediately following his arrest, had
been employed there since 2000. He had been assigned to the Hemet
department said in a news release that it began investigating Sanders
following a complaint from a Hemet resident. The woman described
inappropriate sexual conduct involving Sanders, the department said.
During the investigation, additional victims
reported similar allegations involving Sanders, the department said.
was not known how many victims were involved. Sheriff's officials
refused to comment beyond the release, referring questions to the
District Attorney's office, which could not be reached after hours.
Investigators believe there could be additional
victims who may be afraid to come forward.
11/30/2005 - Former Sutter County sheriff's deputy Michael Slayton has
pleaded guilty to a felony charge of stalking his estranged wife,
according to Assistant District Attorney Fred Schroeder.
will undergo an evaluation by a forensic psychologist before he is
sentenced at 9 a.m. Dec. 22 in Sutter County Superior Court. Sentencing
possibilities range from probation and a jail sentence to four years in
prison, according to Schroeder.
“The psychological report will be important in what the judge
chooses as a sentence,” said Schroeder.
stalking, Slayton was charged with three counts of spousal abuse,
battery, making a death threat, burglary, six counts of violating a
restraining order, and installing unauthorized wiretaps and video
cameras in the house he had shared with his wife.
arrested near the house in August and has been in Sutter County Jail
since then. Judge Chris Chandler refused to reduce his $1 million bail
after prosecutor Diana Bermingham said Slayton was still a danger to
When ordered to surrender his numerous pistols and
long guns, Slayton gave some to a relative. He felt he could still have
telephone contact with his children despite a court order, said
Slayton “just doesn't get it,” Bermingham said at
Slayton entered the guilty plea without conditions, meaning a prison
sentence is possible, said Schroeder.
Slayton also is eligible for up to five years' probation and could be
sentenced to as long as a year in jail instead of going to prison, he
employment with the Sheriff's Department ended Sept. 7. A department
official declined to say if Slayton was fired or resigned.
he was arrested in August, Slayton had been on paid administrative
leave for disciplinary reasons unconnected with stalking, the official
Sacramento County probation officials will prepare a
pre-sentence report on Slayton and recommend a sentence. Sutter County
probation officials will not be involved because of their professional
involvement with Slayton while he was a sheriff's deputy, said
11/22/2005 - An LAPD officer who called 911 early Sunday to report a
fire at the Los Angeles Police Academy was arrested on suspicion of
intentionally setting the blaze, authorities said Monday.
fire damaged part of the gymnasium and burned a small portion of a rock
garden before firefighters could extinguish it, said Mary Grady, a
spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department.After the Fire
Department put it out, they became suspicious about the cause," she
said. "Arson investigators believed it was deliberately set and began
to question the statements by the officer."
Officer Jonathan Sugar, 41, was taken into custody that morning.
fire consumed a 20-foot by 40-foot area of brush in the rock garden
often used for weddings, and caused about $5,000 in damage to the
exterior of the gymnasium at the Elysian Park facility, said Jim Wells,
a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.
In addition to
fire officials, LAPD internal affairs detectives also responded to the
scene and are undertaking their own investigation into the matter,
Officer Sugar, a 15-year veteran of the department, was
booked Sunday night and released without bail early Monday.
said he is an officer at the Devonshire Division police station in the
San Fernando Valley but was on loan to the LAPD's Training Division,
which operates the academy.
Department officials could not say whether Sugar was back on the job
It is usual, however, for an officer arrested in a crime to be assigned
to home duty pending a resolution of a crime allegation.
Sugar could not be reach for comment.
The 21-acre Los Angeles Police Academy was the setting for the 1932
Olympics' pistol and rifle competitions.
facility includes fountains, waterfalls and flowers, and is home to
classrooms, a gymnasium, track, athletic field and obstacle course, as
well as a firing range.
Grady said the fire did not affect operations at the academy.
Grady nor officials at the Los Angeles Fire Department, which is
leading the probe, could say what the motive for the fire might
11/18/2005 - A former Fresno County Sheriff's deputy, charged
stealing money, is paying for his crime through a plea deal.
Guidici walked out of a Fresno County courtroom Friday morning with two
charges were reduced to a misdemeanor after the judge decided Guidici
had paid back his victims and is currently getting help for his
former eight-year deputy was charged with stealing several personal
checks from friends and relatives a year ago.
At one time,
he was on the run from his own co-workers at the department.
the judge decided Guidici is truly sorry for his crime.
to paying back his victims, Guidici was ordered to stay away from all
casinos and even on-line gambling.