The "Teflon Badge"
Hartford Connecticut Police Officer Robert Lawlor aka "The Teflon Badge"
Are White Officers that execute blacks in Connecticut able to get away with murder? The past policy seems to be for the prosecutor to purposely botch a criminal case involving an officer, so the racist officer skates on appeal.
Should an officer such as Lawlor, a White, shoot Blacks in the back, and then post his picture in front of a badge and an American Flag asking for donations on a website?
Conflict Seen In Account Of Key Figure In Officer's Trial
February 2, 2007
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
Significant details about a fatal police shooting that a federal agent reported to his supervisor seem to contradict testimony he later gave to a special grand jury that indicted a Hartford police detective, according to a report released Thursday.
And the special prosecutor who obtained a manslaughter indictment against Hartford Police Det. Robert Lawlor said Thursday that he had never seen the report written by the agent's supervisor at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Lawlor is awaiting trial in the May 2007 shooting death of Jashon Bryant. Lawlor was working that night with ATF Special Agent Daniel Prather on a joint anti-violence team. The two were questioning Bryant and a companion as they sat in a car outside a Hartford convenience store.
The apparent discrepancies involve whether Prather felt his life was in danger and where he was standing when the car began to pull away and Lawlor opened fire.
Prather told the grand jury he was standing at the side of the car and never felt his life was in danger when Lawlor fired into the passenger side of the car, according to the special prosecutor's report.
But in an ATF report released Thursday, supervisor Dennis Turman wrote that Prather said he was standing in front of the car, and when it accelerated, he dived out of the way, "fearing imminent serious injury or death." That statement on ATF letterhead was filed May 8, 2005 - the day after the shooting.
It was not made public until Thursday when Lawlor's attorney, Michael Georgetti, asked Superior Court Judge Thomas P. Miano for permission to interview Turman under oath.
New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington, who is prosecuting Lawlor, did not object to Georgetti's request. Neither attorney discussed the contents of Turman's report in open court. But its substance appears to be at odds with other officials statements attributed to Prather and his testimony last year before the special state grand jury.
According to a summary of Prather's grand jury testimony, he said, "at no time while he was at the car with Officer Lawlor did he believe his life was in danger, nor was Officer Lawlor's." That summary was written by Waterbury State's Attorney John A. Connelly, who served as a special prosecutor in the criminal investigation and oversaw evidence presented to the grand jury.
Connelly said Thursday that he had never seen the Turman report and was not familiar with any statements made by Prather that indicate that he was in danger at the time of the shooting.
"He gave a statement to Hartford Police," Connelly said of Prather. "We asked for all the statements from Prather from Hartford Police and the ATF. All the reports that were given to us were turned over to the grand jury," he said.
Connelly emphasized that Prather had never said he was in danger. "He said the opposite," the prosecutor said. "That's not what Prather testified to. That's not what Prather said to the grand jury. I never saw that statement."
Georgetti said he asked for permission to depose Turman because he wants "to know what Prather told him. ... Prather's testimony before the grand jury and this statement are diametrically opposites. One of them is the truth," he said.
"This evidence will establish that my client was justified in using deadly force," Georgetti said, adding that the contradictory statements will "impeach the testimony of Dan Prather."
After the hearing, Keith Thomas, Jashon Bryant's father, said he doubts Prather lied to the grand jury. "I believe what Prather said in the grand jury was true. [The Turman report] has been around since May. Why did they wait until now?"
Thomas added that he also hopes the trial jury in Superior Court in Hartford will believe Brandon Henry, who was driving the car and survived the shooting.
"I believe what Brandon said, regardless to what the agent has said," Thomas said. "He wasn't going to lie when his life was on the line."
Contact Tina A. Brown at email@example.com.
* * * *
* * * *
The below is from "The BrownWatch" website:
May 20, 2006
Jon Burge began his "house of torture" in 1973 and did not stop until he was 'fired' in Feb. 1993. [MORE]
A report from a four-year, multimillion-dollar investigation into allegations that Chicago police tortured black suspects should be released to the public, a judge ruled Friday. Attorneys for several officers involved in the case had argued against the release of the report, which addresses accusations that police tortured 192 black men in interrogation rooms during the 1970s and 1980s. But in authorizing special prosecutors to release the document, Chief Criminal Court Judge Paul Biebel wrote that "the public's right to be informed of the results of this exhaustive investigation outweighs the privacy rights of the individual officers." Allegations include officers using suffocation techniques, such as placing a typewriter cover over a suspect's head, electric shocks, beatings and mock Russian roulette to elicit confessions. Many of the accusers have pointed to officers who were overseen by Commander Jon Burge, who was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993. "After the third torture session, I understood that these guys weren't going to let me out of there alive if I didn't say what they wanted," said David Bates, who was among the people whose cases were investigated by the special prosecutor. Mr. Bates said police beat him and covered his head with a typewriter cover in 1983 until he confessed to a crime he says he did not commit. One of the prosecutors, Edward J. Egan, said the report would be reviewed for accuracy and not released before June 2. It is unclear whether the investigation will lead to indictments. Statutes of limitations could be an issue. [MORE] and [MORE]
- Pictured above: Jon Burge and Aaron Patterson. Patterson was sentenced to death in 1989 for the murder of an elderly couple. Patterson's conviction rested primarily on a confession obtained by a group of south side police officers later shown to have engaged in systematic torture of suspects in scores of criminal cases. Immediately after signing the confession, Patterson used a paper clip he found to scratch into a metal bench: "Police threaten me with violence . . . Slapped and suffocated me with plastic . . . Signed false statement to murders." He was pardoned by Illinois Governor George Ryan in January, 2003. [MORE] and [MORE]
- Pictured: David Bates talks with reporters after a Chicago judge ruled Friday, May 19, 2006. Bates has said he was convicted of murder and other charges in the mid-1980s due to a false confession he gave after being tortured by Chicago police, but he was eventually freed on appeal.
A four-year investigation into allegations of torture at the Chicago Police Department needs to go further, a UN anti-torture panel said today, calling on the United States to ensure punishment for law enforcement officials who mistreated suspects. A report by the UN Committee Against Torture said the multimillion-dollar investigation into the alleged torture of 192 black men in interrogation rooms during the 1970s and 1980s was "limited" and not yet led to any prosecutions. The UN committee says the United States "should promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate all allegations of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law enforcement personnel and bring perpetrators to justice." The committee is a panel of 10 independent experts who review nations' compliance with a 1984 global convention establishing a broad ban on prisoner mistreatment. Fernando Marino Menendez, an expert from Spain who chairs the committee, said the U.S. government needed to provide more information on what it was doing to ensure justice for people claiming to have been tortured by Chicago police. [MORE] and [MORE]
- Pictured above: Fred Hampton Jr., right, son of slain black panther leader Fred Hampton, listens to Joe Roddy, attorney for police officers, talk about a Chicago judges decision Friday, May 12, 2006, to delay the release of a report into allegations of torture by the Chicago police department.
Mother's plea: ‘I want to know why’ - Family of Black Man killed by Glen Ellyn Police Files Federal Lawsuit
Black College Student- Unarmed & Naked Shot in the Face by Frightened Police
Portia Uwumarogie said she sent her son, Benjamin, to Glen Ellyn to get a college degree. Instead, the 22-year-old College of DuPage student died in a police shooting. Colleagues of Glen Ellyn officer Jason Bradley say he is a hero who risked his life to save a child, but the outraged Uwumarogie family isn’t so easily convinced. They filed a federal lawsuit Thursday alleging discrimination, undue deadly force, inadequate police training and that conspiring authorities are hiding the truth about the April 26 shooting. “Whatever happened that day, I do know my son well enough to know he would not harm anyone and was just trying to defend himself,” his mother said. “He was not the type of person to fear.” His father, Sunday, added: “I want to know why, why, why. How could he be shot in the face, in his own bedroom, while unarmed and naked?” As their lawyers filed the lawsuit, the parents, siblings and friends toted signs such as “Don’t cover up the truth” and “Justice for Benjamin” during a protest in downtown Chicago. They called upon DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett to prosecute the police officer. Detectives who interviewed the officer and Uwumarogie’s friends and neighbors report a far more violent and bizarre portrayal of Uwumarogie than his family said is possible of the south suburban native. He did not have a history of criminal or mental problems, but officials suspect Uwumarogie suffered an emotional breakdown that day. Authorities said he attacked a girlfriend, performed naked cartwheels, shouted religious rantings and tried to drown his own baby before attacking Bradley. Authorities described a violent struggle that led to a bedroom in which the officer was beaten, his uniform torn. The men were alone in the room when the gun discharged, fatally striking the man once in the head. Attorneys Douglas Hopson and Benjamin Nwoye said the unarmed, nude man did not pose a danger and called the notion that Uwumarogie was trying to kill his son “ludicrous.” “There’s no history of such conduct and, more importantly, we have an eyewitness who disputes that claim,” Hopson said. The lawsuit alleges police did nothing to try to save the man’s life, allowing him to bleed to death while denying medical care. It also seeks an unspecified amount in damages and for a judge to order the Glen Ellyn police department to better train members on racial sensitivity and use of deadly force. [MORE] and [MORE] and [MORE] and [MORE]
The Salt Lake City branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the FBI and the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union all have interest in the death of a man whom police purportedly wrestled to the ground, hit with clubs, and pepper sprayed all before being shocked with a TASER electronic control device. The Salt Lake NAACP branch called for a “full investigation” into the death Friday night of Alvin Itula, 35. Jeanetta Williams, president of the branch, said the organization will ask officials to determine whether Itula’s civil rights were violated. Itula, who was Samoan, may have been treated harshly because of his race, she said. Williams said she already has spoken with police Chief Chris Burbank and plans to ask the U.S. attorney’s office to review the case after the Salt Lake County district attorney completes his investigation. The FBI is “evaluating the situation now,” spokesman Patrick Kiernan said. “I can’t say we’ve formally opened a case yet.” The Utah ACLU chapter wants the mayor and police chief to review the guidelines governing the use of a TASER device. Police approached Itula after mistakenly believing he still was wanted on an arrest warrant. Police said Itula tried to flee and began to fight with the officers. The four officers involved in the incident are on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated by the police department and district attorney. [MORE]
Prosecutor recommends Arrest of Hartford Police in Fatal Shooting of Black Man: Jashon Bryant was Unarmed & Shot from Behind
The Waterbury state's attorney on Tuesday recommended that an arrest warrant be sought for a Hartford police officer who shot a city man to death last year. Officer Robert Lawlor should be charged with manslaughter in the death of 18-year-old Jashon Bryant, prosecutor John Connelly said. The report found the shooting of 18-year-old Jashon Bryant -- who is black -- by Robert Lawlor -- a white police officer -- was not justified. The report was completed after an investigation by a grand juror in which 48 witnesses were questioned and more than 200 exhibits reviewed. He made his recommendation to Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano. Lawlor also should be charged with assault in the wounding of 20-year-old Brandon Henry in the same incident, Connelly said. An arrest warrant was not issued by late Tuesday and Lawlor remained on administrative duty, police said. Bryant was sitting in the passenger seat of the car when Lawlor and his partner, Dan Prather, an agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, approached the vehicle with the belief that Bryant and Henry had a gun. Lawlor and Prather, who were part of a task force aimed at removing illegal guns from the streets, ordered Bryant and Henry to get out, but Henry started the car. Lawlor opened fire when Henry drove directly toward Prather and Bryant reached down in front of the seat and pulled up what the officer believed to be a gun, Georgetti has said. Bryant was killed instantly from a gunshot wound to the head, and Henry drove off despite being shot once in the chest. He continued for several blocks, eluding police before crashing into a parked car. But the suspected weapon was never found, despite an extensive search of the car and surrounding neighborhood. The ATF agent assigned to work with Lawlor that day testified he never saw Bryant reaching for a gun, and never considered himself in danger at any point. An analysis of the five shots fired from Lawlor's gun showed they were all fired as the car was driving away from him. The two shots that struck Bryant were both fired from behind him, including one that passed through the passenger seat headrest and struck him in the head. Forensic experts, including Dr. Henry Lee, found the tip of Bryant's right thumb had been grazed by one of the shots, suggesting at least one of his hands had been in clear view at the time of the shooting, and may have been raised as a defensive gesture. [MORE] and [MORE]
- Gathering, Memorial Is Dedicated To Teen Slain By Police Officer Year Ago Today [MORE]
What a Surprise. Racist Milwaukee Cop Exonerated in Jude Beating Also Gets Off in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man
A federal jury has found a former Milwaukee police officer did not use excessive force when he shot and killed man in 2002.Jon Bartlett testified that he shot in self-defense after he saw 31-year-old Larry Jenkins behind the wheel of a car accelerating toward him. He said he thought Jenkins was trying to kill him.But Jenkins' family testified he wasn't even behind the wheel when Bartlett shot him seven times.Bartlett was fired from the police department after he and two other officers were charged in the 2004 beating of Frank Jude Jr.Last month Bartlett was acquitted of charges in that beating. [MORE] and [MORE]
- Racist Milwaukee Police work to build relations with Hmong Community in Aftermath of Police Killing of Mentally Ill Man [MORE]
All in the Family with White Milwaukee Cops: Judge says Contact between Bartlett, union head ruled confidential
On Thursday (before the verdict), U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon ruled that Jenkins' family could not present testimony regarding their theory that Bartlett was coached by his attorney and the Milwaukee Police Association president about what to say to justify his use of force. After several hours of argument, Herndon ruled that Bartlett's conversations with attorney Jonathan Cermele and with former union President Bradley DeBraska must remain confidential. In the case of Cermele, the ruling was not a surprise, because conversations between attorneys and their clients must be kept private. Herndon went a step further, however, extending the attorney-client privilege to DeBraska, who is not a lawyer. On the night Bartlett shot Jenkins, DeBraska conferred with both Bartlett and Cermele regarding Bartlett's best interest, DeBraska testified Thursday outside the presence of the jury. Because of those actions, Herndon ruled that DeBraska was an agent of the attorney and therefore protected. [MORE]
Why Wasn't Officer Packard Charged in Jude Beating?
One of the lingering questions in the beating of Frank Jude Jr. was raised last week by a juror who voted to clear the three police officers: Why wasn't Ryan Packard charged? Packard, an off-duty officer and early suspect, was suspended along with defendants Jon Bartlett, Andrew Spengler and Daniel Masarik. By his own account, Packard took down Jude but said he left before the beating. Testimony on what he did was mixed. Two off-duty officers said Packard punched Jude. Two others said he wasn't there. District Attorney E. Michael McCann said that wasn't enough to charge Packard. Packard not only wasn't charged, he got the lightest punishment of 13 officers disciplined. Packard was given 23 days without pay - far less than two on-duty officers who have been praised by Chief Nannette Hegerty for testifying. They each got 76 days, unpaid. Hegerty fired nine officers, including three who had no contact with Jude. They were fired for not stopping the beating. Two ultimately got their jobs back. Hegerty declined to comment about Packard as federal agencies investigate the beating. She has testified that Packard hit Jude but acted appropriately. Possible federal charges include civil rights violations by off-duty officers, such as Packard, who claimed to be on duty. Packard, in fact, filed 9.7 hours of overtime for what he did on Oct. 24, 2004, but he didn't cooperate with investigators. It took five months before he told anyone from the department that he used force against Jude. Off-duty officers Michelle Grutza and Ryan Lemke, a couple who had also come to the party, backed Packard's story and denied seeing the beating. Other officers gave different accounts. Jodi Kamermayer, who worked with Packard, testified that he hit Jude. Bradley Blum said he "believed" he saw Packard hit Jude, according to an internal investigation. Bartlett testified that Packard hit Jude twice in the face. On-duty officer Joseph Schabel said Packard - along with the defendants - was on Jude when he arrived, but he didn't see him hit Jude. Another on-duty officer, Nicole Belmore, didn't see Packard on Jude. While the criminal complaint included allegations against Packard, McCann said there were too many different accounts to charge him.
NO GUARDS INVOLVED ARRESTED
Martin Lee Anderson, the 14-year-old boy whose death last January at a Panama City boot camp sent shock waves through the state's juvenile justice system, was suffocated by guards who held his mouth shut and forced him to inhale a fatal amount of ammonia, a medical examiner said Friday. The conclusion that the guards' actions killed the teen repudiated an earlier autopsy that found Martin had died of natural causes, a ruling that outraged family members and their supporters. ''Martin Anderson's death was caused by suffocation due to the actions of the guards at the boot camp,'' Dr. Vernard Adams, Tampa's chief medical examiner, wrote Friday. Adams performed an autopsy March 13 at the request of special prosecutor Mark Ober, who will decide if criminal charges will be filed in the case. 'The suffocation was caused by manual [blockage] of the mouth, in concert with forced inhalation of ammonia fumes that caused spasm of the vocal cords resulting in internal blockage of the upper airway,'' Adams said. None of the seven or eight guards seen manhandling Martin in a videotape shot by a security camera have been arrested. Adams' conclusion ends a bitter chapter in the tragic case, which began Jan. 5 when a group of guards at the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp punched, kneed and choked Martin hours after he arrived on his first day a the facility. The guards took control of the teen after he complained he was unable to continue running laps. Hours later, the youth was dead. The news Friday afternoon rippled through the state Capitol, where the Legislature was wrapping up a contentious session before going home. Before leaving, the Legislature passed the Martin Lee Anderson Act, to shut down the state's four remaining boot camps and replace them with a less militaristic approach. [MORE] and [MORE] and [MORE]
- Video | Boot camp beating (edited version) [MORE]
- Video | Boot camp beating (full unedited version) [MORE]
- COVER UP: Secretary Anthony Schembri told the Miami Herald that he was unaware of 180 use-of-force reports from the Panama City boot camp - including manhandling of teens for shrugging or smiling - and that he could not have done anything if he had known. Just why is he still on the job? [MORE]
Florida Attorney General, vying to be the state's next Governor, has asked the Florida Medical Examiners Commission to investigate autopsies conducted by Bay County Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Siebert that may have contained "fundamental flaws".
Siebert conducted the first autopsy in the death of Martin Lee Anderson, the 14-year-old boy who died in January at the Bay County Boot Camp. On Jan. 6, Siebert had made a determination that Anderson had died of complications from sickle cell trait which had not been previously diagnosed.
Anderson's family has charged that a cover up existed in boy's death and had the boy's body exhumed for a second autopsy after seeing a videotape showing guards kicking and beating the boy while he was being restrained, hiring renowned pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to participate.
7 Months Later: Austin Police Officers Caught on Video Beating Unarmed, Handcuffed Latino Man Given Light Punishment
An Austin police officer caught on tape beating a handcuffed suspect will face disciplinary action starting Thursday. This comes after a jury cleared him of any wrongdoing last month. It might sound like an about face situation, but starting Thursday, 28-year-old Officer Christopher Gray starts a 70-day suspension for his use of force. A police car dash cam captured video of three officers arresting and beating 25-year-old Ramon Hernandez after he left the scene of an accident, resisted arrest and reached for an officer's gun. In the video, you can see Gray punch Hernandez 14 times in the lower back while he's handcuffed. Just last month, a jury cleared him and a second officer of official oppression. Late Wednesday, the department's disciplinary review board took its own action, suspending Gray without pay for 70 days. Hernandez's attorney, Amber Vasquez Bode, said that Wednesday's disciplinary action is late. "I find it disturbing that it took seven months before APD took any measures at all," Bode said. She argues the system is plagued by accountability problems and that few knew the videotape existed. She also argues no Austin police officer has ever been convicted under the official oppression statute. "I don't think there is one solution for this. I think we're going to have to come together as a community and lay down the standards. This is how we're going to hold officers accountable in Austin," Bode said. After the suspension, Gray will be able to return to the force. Travis County prosecutors also dismissed the official oppression charge against rookie Austin police officer Joel Follmer, who had been indicted in the videotaped beating of a handcuffed suspect last year. Follmer, 38 was shown on the video delivering a series of punches to the back of Ramon Hernandez's legs on Sept. 21. Hernandez said during the trial that he is considering filing a civil lawsuit against the city. [MORE] and [MORE]