#1085 Mar 17, 2011
South Carolina Deputy Shot, Gunman Killed
Posted: Thursday, March 17, 2011
Updated: March 17th, 2011 09:18 AM CDT
By FOX Carolina Staff Story by foxcarolina.com
A Greenwood County deputy was shot and the person who shot him was killed Wednesday afternoon, according to the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office.
The shooting happened near the intersection of Reynolds and Parker avenues before 3 p.m.
Investigators said the deputy was serving a warrant when a man inside fled the home. They said officers chased him into the back yard of a home on Jordan Street. They said that is when the man fired a gun, hitting the deputy in the leg near his groin. They said several Greenwood police officers returned fire, killing the man.
"There was a physical struggle when this person produced the gun, and I think they had no choice," said Greenwood Police Chief Gerald Brooks. "When a man pulls a gun and you're struggling with him, you've got no choice but to return fire."
Officials said the deputy who was shot, identified as J.T. Timmons, was taken to Self Regional Hospital and required surgery, but he is expected to be OK. The hospital told FOX Carolina that the patient was listed in stable condition.
The coroner identified the person who was killed as 26-year-old Daniel Phillip Chapman Jr. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning.
The officers who shot Chapman have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is protocol in an officer-involved shooting.
#1086 Mar 17, 2011
POLICE DEPARTMENT FOUND TO BE SEVERELY DYSFUNCTIONAL ON EVERY LEVEL IN DOJ 10-MONTH PROBE REPORT
REPORT FINDS WIDE ABUSES BY POLICE
Published: March 17, 2011
Justice Department officials on Thursday released the findings of a 10-month investigation into this city’s Police Department, revealing a force that is profoundly and alarmingly troubled and setting in motion a process for its wholesale reform.
The report describes in chilling detail a department that is severely dysfunctional on every level: one that regularly uses excessive force on civilians, frequently fails to investigate serious crimes and has a deeply inadequate, in many cases nonexistent, system of accountability.
Using the report as a guideline, federal and local officials will now enter into negotiations leading to a consent decree, a blueprint for systemic reform that will be enforced by a federal judge.
“There is nobody in this room that is surprised by the general tenor and the tone of what this report has to say,” said Mitch Landrieu, the mayor , at a news conference attended by city and federal officials.
But, added Mr. Landrieu, who publicly invited federal intervention in the Police Department just days after his inauguration in May,“I look forward to a very spirited partnership and one that actually transforms this Police Department into one of the best in the country.”
The city’s police chief, Ronal Serpas, said he fully embraced the report and would be going over its findings with senior leadership later in the day.
While the report describes an appalling array of abuses and bad practices, it does not address in detail any of the nine or more federal criminal investigations into the department. These inquiries have already led to the convictions of three police officers, one for fatally shooting an unarmed civilian and another for burning the body.
Justice Department officials chose to exclude the information gleaned in the criminal inquiries to keep a wall between those investigations and the larger civil investigation into the practices of the department. But there were more than enough problems left to uncover.
While other departments generally have problems in specific areas, like the use of excessive force,“The department has every issue that has existed in our practice to date, and a few that we hadn’t encountered,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
The report reveals that the department has not found a policy violation in any officer-involved shooting for the last six years, though federal officials who reviewed the records found that violations had clearly occurred. The department’s canine unit was so badly mismanaged — the dogs were so aggressive they frequently attacked their handlers — that federal officials encouraged the department to suspend it last year even though the investigation was still under way.
The report details a record of discriminatory policing, with a ratio of arrests of blacks to whites standing at nearly 16 to 1. Calls for police assistance by non-English speakers often went unanswered.
The report also found that the police “systemically misclassified possible sexual assaults, resulting in a sweeping failure to properly investigate many potential cases of rape, attempted rape and other sex crimes.”
#1087 Mar 17, 2011
The problems described in the report go beyond policy failings, depicting a culture of dysfunction that reaches all facets of the department.
The recruitment program is described as anemic, training as “severely deficient in nearly every respect,” and supervision as poor or in some cases nonexistent.
The department has attracted this level of scrutiny before. As bad as it appears now, the police force was far more troubled in the mid-1990s.
Two officers from that era are now on death row, and the number of murders in the city at the time soared above 400.
Federal agents conducted a similar investigation of the department, but there was less cooperation by local officials and, crucially, there was no consent decree.
While the department improved for a time, the structural problems remained and festered, as Thursday’s report makes clear.
This time, there will be federal court oversight, and there is already widespread consensus that systemic police reform is needed.
Confidence in the department is so low that prosecutors have trouble finding juries, as so many prospective jurors declare that they would not put any trust in the testimony of a police officer.
The robust citizen engagement that has been a significant factor. officials said.
Federal officials said the team of agents assigned to investigate the department worked with police leadership as well as rank-and-file officers. Investigators also reached out to community leaders to a degree that they had not previously done.
Still, officials acknowledge that changing the department’s ENTRENCHED CULTURE will be hard and will take years.
Though Mr. Serpas, who was an officer during the reform efforts in the 1990s, has already begun addressing many of the concerns, news reports of police abuses have come out in the past few weeks, and the number of homicides is still stubbornly high.
“I’m not naïve about the hard work that lies ahead,” Mr. Perez said, adding that he was still optimistic.“I’m certain that we’re in a qualitatively different position than we were 10 years ago.”
Community advocates viewed the day’s announcement with a mix of hope and skepticism.
Some groups had been trying to draw attention to police abuse in the city for years before their complaints were noticed by law enforcement.
“Nobody believed anything we said,” said Norris Henderson, a founder of a group for former prisoners called Voice of the Ex-Offender. He said he was encouraged that community groups were so involved in the federal inquiry, but was concerned about the level of involvement going forward.
“Will we be a part of the conversation?” he asked.“Just going to the quote-unquote criminal justice folks, well, y’all the folks responsible for this damn problem.”
#1089 Mar 18, 2011
TEXAS SENATE APPROVES EYEWITNESS ID LEGISLATION
Thursday, March 17, 2011
State Sen. Rodney Ellis' eyewitness ID legislation passed the Texas Senate yesterday unanimously, with Ellis moving to pass the bill in the memory of Timothy Cole. The bill grew out of the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions. Cole died after years in prison while trying to clear his name for a crime he did not commit.
THE BILL PLUGS A GAPING HOLE IN THE PUBLIC-POLICY LANDSCAPE AT LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS, REQUIRING THE CREATION OF WRITTEN POLICIES (88% OF DEPARTMENTS DON'T HAVE THEM) AND AIRING THE INADEQUACIES OF LINEUPS IN COURT WHEN AGENCIES DON'T FOLLOW THEM.
The bill would also commission the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute at Sam Houston State University to commission a model policy for guidance based on established best practices, BUT DEPARTMENTS ARE FREE TO DEVIATE AS THEY SEE FIT.
I know criminal defense attorneys who are disappointed with the "REMEDY" for noncompliance:
They can tell jurors, but there's not an explicit jury instruction, much less suppression of witness identification, if written policies aren't followed.
In that sense, it's a "weak" bill in terms of what new tools it grants the defense bar in court.
But in terms of actually preventing false identifications, putting established procedures in writing is a big deal, since after all the vast majority of criminal cases don't go to trial.
Changing what happens at the street-level in law enforcement can be as much about changing attitudes as rules.
IN MANY JURISDICTIONS, THE NECESSITY OF ENACTING A POLICY WILL FORCE DEPARTMENTS TO THINK CONCRETELY ABOUT EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION ISSUES FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.
As that happens, one hopes that discussion behind the scenes in agencies across the state will greatly assist in changing the ground-level culture of how lineups are handled. After all, it's not like most cops want to pick the wrong guy.
WILL THE BILL STOP MISIDENTIFICATIONS? NO. SUCH ERRORS OCCUR TOO FREQUENTLY, AND IN FACT ARE FAR AND AWAY THE LEADING SINGLE CAUSE OF FALSE CONVICTIONS.
Memory plays tricks and errors happen too often.
But the legislation would establish some baseline uniformity and professionalism regarding how lineups are handled, taking important first steps that wouldn't otherwise happen at most agencies without a law.
#1090 Mar 18, 2011
Another Isolated Incident
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
An 86-year-old D.C. man got a surprise visit earlier this month. Robert Smith heard someone banging on his apartment door on Randolph Street on the evening of March 4. But before he could unlock it, a group of D.C. Police officers battered the door down and knocked Smith onto the floor.
Smith said officers quickly realized they had the wrong apartment and called for an ambulance. Doctors treated Smith for contusions to his head and back.
“There’s a half million people in this city, so why did they have to pick on me?” Smith told FOX 5.
The retired federal government worker has lived alone in the same apartment for more than 30 years and said police never offered an apology for the mistaken raid.
FOX 5 viewed the search warrant which stated police were looking for marijuana, drug paraphernalia and anything related to drug trafficking.
The Director of Communications for the Metropolitan Police Department, Gwendolyn Crump, e-mailed FOX 5 saying that “The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating this matter.”
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 12:46 pm by Radley Balko and is filed under Police Militarization. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
29 Responses to “Another Isolated Incident”
#1 | C. S. P. Schofield | March 16th, 2011 at 1:03 pm
How about we establish an exception to the immunity rules so that agents of the State can be sued for “excessive incompetence”?
#1091 Mar 18, 2011
Still waiting. Please DO elucidate.
“Coincidentally”, the good officer died of a heart attack, after 30 some years serving his community.
He will be missed.
Just as your "journalist" and your response will be missed. Because there never will be one that makes any sense, if one is made at all, as usual .......
You owe an apology to that man and his family and friends.
#1092 Mar 19, 2011
We are still waiting "MPD loses cop".
(not really, LOL!)
#1093 Mar 20, 2011
TWO cops broke into the "journalist's" home?
WHAT department were they from - the MPD ?
HOW do you know how many people there were?
HOW do you know they were cops?
WHO is this supposed "journalist"?
DID she file a police report of the burglary?
WHAT was stolen from the "journalist's" home?
WHAT "documentation" is there?
ARE you admitting that we have serious problem with police corruption and incompetence around here?
Please do tell us all !!!
#1094 Mar 20, 2011
"They stole her mind.......... "
#1095 Mar 21, 2011
POLICE CHIEF FIRED FOR MISHANDLING INVESTIGATION INTO DRUNK COP WHO THREATENED MAN & LEFT BABY IN CAR
UPDATED: 5:40 pm EDT March 18, 2011
The police chief has been removed from the department over his handling of an officer accused of drunkenly arguing with a man in public.
Mayor Charles Henderson announced Friday that Chief Joe Pitcher was no longer with the department and that Assistant Chief David Mertz had resigned, 6 News' Joanna Massee reported.
Henderson said he did not like the way Officers Pitcher and Mertz handled the investigation of Officer Nick Dine in November.
Officer Dine was accused of un-holstering his gun and making disparaging comments toward a man who questioned the officer about leaving a baby in his vehicle when he was off-duty.
When police arrived, an officer said he smelled alcohol on Officer Dine and asked him to submit to a portable breath test, but Officer Dine refused, police said.
Henderson originally removed Officer Pitcher from the investigation after he said he told officers to bring Officer Dine to his house for counseling, but then offered him a drink.
Officer Pitcher, who had been drinking at the time, said he was trying to test Officer Dine, Henderson said.
An internal police investigation found that Officer Dine violated city rules and department policies, but Officer Pitcher dropped administrative charges against Officer Dine, Henderson said.
"I can only apologize for the fact that I had somebody in there that let these things happen and I'm fixing it," Henderson said. "I'm the mayor and I appoint the chief, so I have to take accountability."
The Merit Commission will now conduct its own investigation into Dine's actions.
Henderson said he felt Pitcher had an issue with a commission and that he was not good about sending them disciplinary information about officers.
Officer Pitcher failed to respond to a subpoena issued by the commission last week. He said he was out of town when it was placed on his desk.
Henderson said he will begin a search for a new chief and assistant chief.
#1096 Mar 21, 2011
COP ON STATE CHILD ABUSERS LIST BUT NOT CHARGED AFTER LIFTING 7YR-OLD SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENT BY NECK
March 19, 2011 7:00 am
The Department of Children and Family Services has placed a police officer on its State Central Register of “indicated” child abusers following the agency’s investigation into a December incident at Stevenson Elementary School.
By law, police officer Scott Oglesby will remain on the list for five years, said DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe. Officer Oglesby has the right to appeal the decision.
While DCFS notified officials Thursday, Police Chief Randy McKinley said Friday he had not formally heard of the DCFS action. Officer
McKinley said he would consider the agency’s findings and the results of an internal investigation when determining whether any disciplinary action will be taken against the officer.
The internal investigation is underway, he said.
Officer Oglesby was placed on paid administrative leave following the Dec. 21 incident, but returned to work after County State’s Attorney Bill Yoder announced Feb. 23 that he was not filing criminal charges against Officer Oglesby.
Yoder could not be reached for comment Friday.
Officer Oglesby is on restricted duty, McKinley said.
Police union President Todd Keil could not be reached for comment.
Shannon and Lorraine Allison, parents of the 7-
year-old Stevenson School child who was involved in the incident, think Officer Oglesby should be removed from the police force.
“He doesn’t represent what a police officer should be, especially with kids.
They are there to protect and serve,” said Lorraine Allison.
“I trusted the Police Department and don’t want abusers on their staff.”
Allison said her son, who is a special needs student at Stevenson, suffers from seizures that cause him to scream and act much like a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum. He had such a seizure on Dec. 21 and was with the school psychologist waiting for his dad to pick him up and take him home.
Lorraine Allison said the psychologist had her son in a restraining hold, which is common practice.
Officer Oglesby became involved after he went to the school after hearing of an unrelated incident involving another student. The school resource officer also was en route.
According to the police report obtained by the Allisons, Officer Oglesby “darted” into the room where the Allison’s son was, told the boy he was giving him a headache and then lifted the 65-pound boy by the throat.
He “was lifted off the floor so his feet were dangling … his head was close to the ceiling … his face was turning quite red,” according to the psychologist’s statement to police.
The psychologist left the room and told the school resource officer who then went into the room.
Officer Oglesby then grabbed the boy by the arm, lifted him over his shoulder and carried him to the principal’s office where, according to one witness, he “threw” the boy into a chair.
The report further states that Officer Oglesby went back into the classroom and said to school staff,“You got any more?”
Herschel Hannah, District 87 assistant superintendent of human resources, called the incident “very unfortunate.”
He said school officials followed district rules to yield to police, but added “the unfortunate thing is you have an officer who has no historical context” about the student.
Hannah said the school will review the DCFS report to determine if there should be any policy changes.
Meanwhile, Lorraine Allison said her son was “incredibly upset” after the incident and remains in counseling.
“THE FIRST THING HE ASKED ME WAS,‘MOMMY, DIDN’T THAT POLICE OFFICER’S MOMMY SAY HE SHOULDN’T DO THAT TO PEOPLE?’” ALLISON SAID.
#1097 Mar 21, 2011
(The Toll Keeps Climbing)
Wis. Officer Killed, Another Critical in Shooting
Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2011
Updated: March 21st, 2011 11:59 AM CDT
Story by wisn.com
FOND DU LAC, Wis.--
One Fond du Lac police officer was killed and another was critically injured when a man inside a home on the city's west side began firing.
Police Chief Tony Barthuly said 28-year-old Officer Craig Birkholz was shot in the upper chest by the suspect and killed. Officer Ryan Williams was shot twice in the chest and is in critical condition at a Neenah hospital.
Barthuly said Williams likely would have died had he not been wearing a protective vest.
"It's very sad that we lost an officer. It's my biggest nightmare and I think it's the biggest nightmare of any police officer or parent or family member of a police officer," Barthuly said.
Another officer, Zach Schultz, was injured and treated at the scene.
Authorities went to the house around 6 a.m. Sunday to investigate a reported sexual assault at the home. Investigators said when officers arrived, they were fired upon by a man inside.
That man, 30-year-old James Cruckson, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was found inside the house after a nearly 6-hour standoff.
Barthuly said Birkholz was on the police force for two years and also spent 5 years in the Army where he served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Birkholz is originally from Kenosha and went to UW-Oshkosh where he got his degree in criminal justice. He is survived by his wife and parents.
A K9 was also shot, but is expected to survive.
Copyright 2011 by WISN.com .
#1098 Mar 21, 2011
(Sadly, The Toll Keeps Rising.)
Ohio Officer Shot, Killed During Traffic Stop
Updated: March 20th, 2011 09:31 AM CDT
Sandusky Police Department
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
The Blade, Toledo, Ohio
SANDUSKY, Ohio -- A 30-year-old Sandusky police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop Saturday morning that involved a man on a bicycle.
Andy Dunn, who has worked for the department since 2003, was shot multiple times during the 3 a.m. traffic stop involving Kevin Randleman, 50, whose last known address was 909 West Adams St., Sandusky.
Erie County Sheriff Terry Lyons said Officer Dunn was pronounced dead at Firelands Regional Medical Center, Sandusky, at 4:33 a.m. Saturday. Randleman was shot at least once during the exchange of gunfire with Officer Dunn. He was transported to Firelands and later taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, former Medical College of Ohio.
Sheriff Lyons said Officer Dunn stopped Randleman while he was riding a bicycle on Tyler Street between Hayes and Prospect streets. The sheriff did not release a reason for the traffic stop.
Officer Dunn is married and has two young children. He is a 1999 Sandusky High School graduate who attended Terra Community College, where he received an associate's degree in law enforcement-police science. He previously worked as a part-time officer for the Clyde Police Department. Officer Dunn's father, Matt Dunn, has worked for the Sandusky department for 20 years.
He was hired as a reserve officer for the Sandusky police department in 2003, and he became a full-time officer in Sandusky in May, 2008.
Randleman has an extensive criminal background that includes offenses including retail theft, menacing, assault, and other crimes in Sandusky, Fremont, and Springfield, Ill., among other areas.
The Erie County sheriff's office is handling the shooting investigation at the request of Sandusky police. No charges have been filed against Randleman.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
#1099 Mar 22, 2011
MESQUITE TEXAS POLICE SGT TO PLEAD GUILTY TO FEDERAL THEFT CHARGES FOR STEALING $2K HE BELIEVED WAS DRUG MONEY IN FBI STING
21 March 2011 10:55 PM
( HAPPILY, THE TOLL OF VETERAN BAD COP SCUM GETTING WHAT THEY DESERVE – KEEPS RISING !)
The TOP NARCOTICS INVESTIGATOR for the Mesquite Police Department WILL PLEAD GUILTY Tuesday to federal theft charges after he pocketed $2,000 of what he thought was drug money in an FBI sting, officials said.
Officer John David McAllister, 42, could receive up to 10 years in prison on a charge of stealing government money. A sentencing date has not been set.
Officer McAllister, A 21-YEAR POLICE VETERAN who spent the last five years as a sergeant over the narcotics unit, resigned from the department on March 3, the day he was arrested. The department is reviewing cases in which he played a role, officials said.
FBI agents got a tip in December that Officer McAllister had been stealing money during searches. Undercover agents INSTALLED CAMERAS in a vehicle and planted $100,000 in it. On March 1, they asked Officer McAllister to help them impound it in the parking lot of a grocery store on Motley Drive, telling him the owner was a suspected drug dealer.
Cameras caught Officer McAllister stuffing money into his pants.
After he dropped off the vehicle at police headquarters, agents followed Officer McAllister to Town East Mall, where he bought a $480 watch with some of the cash.
He was arrested two days later but has been free awaiting trial.
P.S.: hey “journalist” we are all still waiting………………
#1100 Mar 23, 2011
Into the Darkness: Where Constitutional Illiteracy Is Leading Us
By John W. Whitehead
March 23, 2011
“Unless we teach the ideas that make America a miracle of government, it will go away in your kids’ lifetimes, and we will be a fable. You have to find the time and creativity to teach it in schools, and if you don’t, you will lose it.
You will lose it to the darkness, and what this country represents is a tiny twinkle of light in a history of oppression and darkness and cruelty. If it lasts for more than our lifetime, for more than our kids’ lifetime, it is only because we put some effort into teaching what it is, the ideas of America: the idea of opportunity, mobility, freedom of thought, freedom of assembly.”—Richard Dreyfuss
When Newsweek recently asked 1,000 adult U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29% of respondents couldn’t name the current vice president of the United States. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why America fought the Cold War.
More critically, 44% were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6% couldn’t even circle Independence Day (the Fourth of July) on a calendar.
Of course, civic and constitutional ignorance are nothing new with Americans. In fact, it is something that the public education system has been fostering for a long time. For example, a study in Arizona found that only 3.5% of public high school students would be able to pass the U.S. Immigration Services’ citizenship exam, a figure not significantly exceeded by the passing rates of charter and private school students, at 7% and 14%, respectively.
A survey of American adults by the American Civic Literacy Program resulted in some equally disheartening findings.
Seventy-one percent failed the test. Moreover, having a college education does very little to increase civic knowledge, as demonstrated by the abysmal 32% pass rate of people holding not just a bachelor's degree but some sort of graduate-level degree.
It is little wonder that a 2006 survey by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that fewer than one percent of adults who responded to a national poll could identify the five rights protected by the First Amendment—freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly and the right to petition the government. On the other hand, more than half (52%) of the respondents could name at least two of the characters in the animated Simpson television family, and 20% could name all five. And although half could name none of the freedoms in the First Amendment, a majority (54%) could name at least one of the three judges on the TV program American Idol, 41% could name two and one-fourth could name all three.
In a culture infatuated with celebrity and consumed with entertainment, it should come as no surprise that the American people know virtually nothing about their rights. They are constitutionally illiterate.“There was a depth of confusion that we weren’t expecting,” noted Dave Anderson, executive director of the museum.“I think people take their freedoms for granted. Bottom line.”
But it gets worse. Many who responded to the survey had a strange conception of what was in the First Amendment. For example, 21% said the “right to own a pet” was listed someplace between “Congress shall make no law” and “redress of grievances.” Some 17% said that the First Amendment contained the “right to drive a car,” and 38% believed that “taking the Fifth” was part of the First Amendment.
Think about this for a moment. How could James Madison, who depended on horses for transportation in his day, have placed the “right to drive a car” in the First Amendment?
#1101 Mar 23, 2011
Educators do not fare much better in understanding and implementing the Constitution in the classroom.
A study conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut found that while educators seem to support First Amendment rights in principle, they are reluctant to apply such rights in the schools. They support severe restrictions on freedom by forbidding student distribution of political and religious materials, thus endorsing a hypocritical double standard where belief and action collide. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the zero tolerance policies that expel children from school for innocent acts and speech without a hearing and regardless of circumstances. This obviously creates confusion for students when it comes time to learn about the Bill of Rights.
Government leaders, politicians and law enforcement personnel are also ill-informed.
Although they take an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution against “enemies foreign and domestic,” their lack of education about our fundamental rights often causes them to be enemies of the Bill of Rights.
Those who gave us the Constitution and the Bill of Rights believed that all citizens had rights that no government could violate—such as the right to free speech, the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents, the right to an attorney, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishments, etc. And if any of these rights were violated, the Founders (as we call them) believed that the American people had the right and the authority to resist government encroachment of their rights.
Abraham Lincoln’s famous declaration in the Emancipation Proclamation that we are a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” means exactly what it says. The government exists at the behest of its citizens. It is there to protect, defend and even enhance our freedoms, not violate them.
It was with those ideas in mind that our forefathers gave us the Constitution. As the Preamble proclaims:
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America.
It was no idle happenstance that the Constitution opens with these three powerful words:“We the people…” This, in effect, makes “the people” the guardians of America’s future.
Thomas Jefferson recognized that an educated citizenry is the only real assurance that freedom will survive—a citizenry educated on the basic freedoms. Jefferson wrote:
“I know of no safe repository of the ultimate powers of our society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.”
Jefferson wrote that pre-university education was to “instruct the mass of our citizens in…their rights, interests, and duties as men and citizens.”
As for university education, Jefferson said it was “to form the statesmen, legislators and judges on whom public prosperity and individual happiness are so much to depend.” Furthermore,“The People are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
But that’s where the problem arises for us today. Most citizens have little, if any, knowledge about their basic rights. And our educational system does a poor job of teaching the basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
#1102 Mar 23, 2011
So what’s the solution?
Children should be prepared to experience the beauty of becoming responsible citizens.
This will mean teaching them their rights and urging them to exercise their freedoms to the fullest.
Some critics are advocating that students pass the United States citizenship exam in order to graduate from high school. Others recommend that it must be a prerequisite for attending college. I’d go so far as to argue that students should have to pass the citizenship exam before graduating from grade school.
Anyone taking public office should have a working knowledge of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and should be held accountable for upholding their precepts.
One way to ensure this would be to require government leaders to take a course on the Constitution and pass a thorough examination thereof before being allowed to take office.
If this constitutional illiteracy is not remedied and soon, I agree with Richard Dreyfuss that the miracle that was America will become a “fable.” And the darkness of an authoritarian government will be inevitable. In fact, we have already travelled far down that road.
Thus, ignorant of the very basis of citizenship and overwhelmed by the informational glut of modernity, it is little wonder that many, ostrich-like, are allowing an out-of-control government to move forward unimpeded.
Yet while most may feel snug and secure in their technological wombs, they are only temporarily keeping the wolf at bay.
Hiding from reality is not the solution.
In fact, non-participation by the citizenry only makes matters worse.“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote,” the drama critic George Jean Nathan once remarked. I would add that bad officials will run roughshod over citizens who are clueless.
Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org
#1103 Mar 23, 2011
Sadly, the Toll Keeps Climbing)
Ga. Officer Gunned Down, Another Injured
Updated: March 23rd, 2011 10:18 AM CDT
Manhunt for Athens Shooting Suspect Continues: MyFoxATLANTA.com
AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton
Ty Tagami; Staff
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One Athens police officer was shot to death Tuesday and another was wounded following a carjacking incident on the city's east side.
The dead officer was identified as senior police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian, a father of two, according to Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin Sr.
The surviving officer was identified as senior police Officer Tony Howard.
A murder warrant was issued for Jamie Hood, 33, who police were still searching for Tuesday evening. Hood was described as a 5-foot-8, 175-pound black man who was wearing blue shorts and a white T-shirt.
The shootings came on the same day that police chiefs from around the country said they supported LONGER PRISON SENTENCES FOR GUN-CARRYING FELONS AS A WAY TO COMBAT A RECENT RISE IN LINE-OF-DUTY DEATHS. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder directed U.S. attorneys nationwide to identify repeat offenders for possible prosecution under federal law that would make them eligible for stiffer sentences.
Before the Athens shootings, so far this year, 49 OFFICERS LOST THEIR LIVES, A 20 PERCENT RISE FROM THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR.
Hood was released from prison in 2009 after serving more than 11 years for an armed robbery conviction in Athens-Clarke County, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.
Lumpkin said the shooting stemmed from the investigation of an alleged shooting and carjacking involving Hood.
The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. near Sycamore Drive and Atlanta Highway, about three miles west of the University of Georgia.
Howard spotted a red Chevrolet Suburban driven by a known relative of Hood. When he stopped the SUV, Hood stepped out and fired at him and then fled, Lumpkin said. He later shot at Christian when he encountered him in his patrol car, Lumpkin said. A third officer arrested the driver of the SUV.
Though the shooting was not far from UGA's campus, the university was unaffected, according to campus police Chief Jimmy Williamson.
The Department of Corrections said Hood had several distinguishing tattoos, including the word "job" with a female on his chest, the words "Robert/dad" on his right arm and the words "mom Azale" with a heart on his left arm.
Athens police said he may have escaped in a silver Chevrolet Prizm, which was located several hours after the shooting.
Includes information from The Associated Press.
#1104 Mar 24, 2011
COP PLEADS GUILTY TO USING OVER $1000 OF PUBLIC ASSETS FOR PERSONAL GAIN AFTER RACKING UP $1,500 PHONE BILL
March 24, 2011
THE POLICE OFFICER charged with a felony after racking up a $1,500 bill on a town-issued cell phone has PLEADED GUILTY to a lesser charge, according to court documents.
Officer Jamey William Puckett, 32, a patrol officer was indicted in County Circuit Court on a charge of using more than $1,000 of public assets for personal gain. It was a felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
Officer Puckett pleaded guilty last Thursday to petty larceny, a misdemeanor, according to court records. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail and fined $2,500. All the jail time and $2,000 of his sentence were suspended upon several conditions, including good behavior, substance abuse screening, six months of probation and payment of fines and his $1,500 restitution.
Officials wrote the court that they would draw his owed $1,500 from the vacation and sick days Puckett has accrued.
Officer Puckett still works for the town.
According to police, 22 days after his indictment, Officer Puckett went to retrieve his rifle from a pawn shop and claimed on the federal consent form that he was not under indictment.
He was also charged in January with making a materially false statement on the firearms consent form, which is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Those charges are still pending in County General District Court and scheduled for hearing April 20.
#1105 Mar 24, 2011
POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS JAIL IN PLEA DEAL FOR SENDING EXPLICIT TEXTS & VIDEOS TO 15YEAR-OLD GIRL
March 24, 2011 5:35 AM ET
A police officer was sentenced to jail for sending sexually explicit text messages and videos to a 15-year-old girl.
Prosecutor Dawn Elshere tells KOKK radio that 38-year-old Officer Tony Beerman PLEADED GUILTY Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of disseminating harmful material to a minor.
Elshere said Officer Beerman was fined $500 and sentenced to 120 days in jail, with 90 days suspended.
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