From WBAL Baltimore
View Full Story also at WBAL11
An encounter between a Howard County teenager and an off-duty Baltimore City police officer has led to a peace order against the officer.
Jawone Nicholson, 16, and a friend were waiting in a carpool area in their Columbia neighborhood Friday when a man approached them and started asking questions.
Nicholson said they walked toward the man when he made a taunting statement.
“And he pulls his gun out of his jacket pocket, held it right here. It wasn’t in a holster, it was outside the holster, and me and my homeboy put our hands up and started walking through there, and I called my grandmother,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson’s mother, Erica Hamlett, then encountered the man and learned he was a police officer.
“He then hollers out “Baltimore City.’ So we are all looking at each other like, what does that mean?” Hamlett said. “And he says, ‘I’m a Baltimore City police officer.’ So still my question is, why did you pull a gun on my son?”
Howard County police officers arrived, and video shows the officers removing the gun.
The city officer is Damond Durant, who lives half a block away. In a police report, he said, “The subjects then became confrontational. He felt threatened, so he removed his concealed firearm from its holster and positioned it in the low, ready position.”
Nicholson denied being threatening or saying anything that might be seen as threatening.
Durant told Howard County police that he didn’t have time to identify himself as a police officer.
Hamlett said her son was rattled by the encounter.
“He didn’t say he witnessed them committing a crime or there was illegal activity going on. Why did you pull your gun on my son?” Hamlett said.
Nicholson provided Howard County police with a written statement. Durant refused to give one, according to the police report.
The family got a temporary peace order against Durant. They go back to court Monday.
In 2013, Durant broke a man’s jaw during an arrest, resulting in a $55,000 payment to the man by the city. Durant is assigned to the division that helps oversee the consent decree.
The Associated Press reported that disgraced Cleveland Police Officer Michael Amiott has been FIRED for the August 2017 beating of Richard Hubbard, III. Amiott has previously been cited for loosing his temper last August when he forcefully used his gun as an impact weapon to subdue an alleged suspect. Also, he was forced to resign, in lieu of termination, from Mentor Police Department, for falsifying information in a police report. Despite these infractions, he was never terminated, disciplined or charged for his conduct.
Despite being terminated and the clear and unequivocal violation of Hubbard’s civil rights, the Euclid County Prosecutors Office has declined to file criminal charges.
It is anticipated that Amiott will appeal. The local Fraternal Order of Police has retained counsel on his behalf.
EXPERTS POINT OF VIEW
Brenton Butler was charged and subsequently acquitted of the murder of Mary Ann Stephens. The below video demonstrates overzealous prosecutors, corrupt police and victims who make up false identifications just to see someone pay for the murder of their love ones. The video also demonstrates the Zealous Advocacy of Public Defenders.
Ann Finnell, Esq., Butler’s Public Defender stated that:
“The only reason Brenton Butler was even stopped that morning was because he happened to be a black male walking in the neighborhood. Now think about that. That means for every African-American in Jacksonville, Florida – if they happen to be walking down the street, lawfully going about their own business, not doing anything wrong – that they are subject to being stopped and asked to get in a police car and driven away from what they’re doing and subject to being shown to the victim of a crime with the possibility that that victim would identify them under the most suggestive of circumstances, that being that they happen to be sitting in the backseat of a police car. And most victims would think that they wouldn’t be sitting in the backseat of a police car unless they’ve done something wrong, right? So that’s where we are today in Jacksonville, Florida. And I personally find that to be disgusting and reprehensible”.
This was a gross abuse of authority and boils my blood. This story is eye opening to say the least. Juan Curtis pleaded guilty to the murder in 2001, yes they actually found out who killed Mrs. Stephens.
Update on Detective Michael Glover
Detective Michael Glover (who beat the confession out of 15 year old Butler), was never charged. It was last reported that he was a patrolman and a private security investigator. He maintains that he did not beat Butler, however, the evidence as presented below, demonstrates, by the preponderance of the evidence standard; that any reasonable person would strongly disagree with his statement. In his testimony, he failed to explain, with any level of particularity, why he took Butler to a wooded area, how Butler received the bruising and knots on his face and how Butler received a busted lip. Butler, testified that Glover repeatedly struck him about his upper body, including his face. Interestingly, Glover testified that he was “Just trying to help Butler” into confessing.
Prosecutor Laura Starrett Update
From Public Linkedin
Laura Starrett, who has been a lawyer since 1980 and is also the overzealous prosecutor who unlawfully proceeded with this kangaroo court trial against Butler, is now an insurance defense lawyer, according to the Florida Bar Associations website for Liberty Mutual’s in-house law firm,”The Law Offices of Amy Warpinski”. It is unclear when Starrett resigned from the State’s Attorney’s office. In my opinion, Starrett should have been disciplined by the Bar for her egregious conduct in this case. In my opinion, she acted against Mr. Butler’s right to a fair trial and her oath to uphold the constitution. As can be seen in the aforementioned video, she was complicit in the cover-up to wrongfully convict Butler for a murder that he did not commit.
It begs the question, in her 30 years of practice, how many other innocent black men/women did she assist in wrongfully convicting? We will probably never know.
In a tortured effort to save face, all while casting Butler into a negative light and ridicule, Starrett gave several interviews regarding her involvement in this case. Below is an excerpt from an interview where she stated that:
The State Attorney’s Office would never use a confession in trial if we believed it had been coerced through physical abuse. Investigators from the State Attorney’s Office examined the circumstances that led to Butler’s confession. As the lead prosecutor in this case, it was, and still is, my firm belief that Butler was not physically harmed by the detectives. At least three people saw him within several hours of his leaving the custody of the homicide detectives in this case. Two of these were not employees of the Sheriff’s Office. None of these people saw any bruises or marks on Butler. Mistakes were made in the investigation of this crime. Hopefully, everyone involved in this case will learn from them. These mistakes did not include beatings and physical injuries to Butler.
In a subsequent interview, she is quoted as saying:
“Starrett said she was disappointed”.
”Whenever you don’t have any physical evidence, it’s always a problem and a concern,” she said.
As far as whether anyone else will be arrested, ”We have no reason to believe that the investigation should be reopened,” Starrett said.
Starrett statements flies in the face of the evidence and amounts to a perversion of logic. Even after a lengthy trial, the arrest and conviction of other parties, she still attempted to cast blame on Butler, somehow. It is uncontroverted that he was beaten, assaulted and wrongfully arrested. It is likewise uncontroverted that she failed to sway a jury that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The video, in my opinion, shows exactly how repugnant Starrett’s actions really were. She was completely complicit. She is disgusting.
Overzealous prosecution refers to someone instituting legal proceedings against a defendant for criminal behavior with the intention to support an excessive enthusiasm for some cause,rather than with any genuine basics for the suit. Unfortunately, overzealous prosecutors enjoy great protections. This was reaffirmed in the Supreme Court of The United States (“SCOTUS”) decision in re: HARRY F. CONNICK, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. JOHN THOMPSON. Scouts opined that:
Attorneys are trained in the law and equipped with the tools to interpret and apply legal principles, understand constitutional limits, and exercise legal judgment. Before they may enter the profession and receive a law license, all attorneys must graduate from law school or pass a substantive examination; attorneys in the vast majority of jurisdictions must do both. See, e.g., La. State Bar Assn. (LSBA), Articles of Incorporation, La.Rev.Stat. Ann. § 37, ch. 4, App., Art. 14, § 7 (1988 West Supp.) (as amended through 1985). These threshold requirements are designed to ensure that all new attorneys have learned how to find, understand, and apply legal rules. Cf. United States v. Cronic, 466 U. S. 648, 658, 664 (1984) (noting that the presumption “that the lawyer is competent to provide the guiding hand that the defendant [*65] needs” applies even to [**1362] young and inexperienced lawyers in their first jury trial and even when the case is complex).
SCOTUS goes on to State,
The role of a prosecutor is to see that justice is done. Berger v. United States, 295 U. S. 78, 88 (1935). “It is as much [a prosecutor’s] duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.” Ibid. By their own admission, the prosecutors who tried Thompson’s armed robbery case [**1366] failed to carry out that responsibility.
Public Defenders’ Finnell and McGuinness Update
According to the Florida Bar Member website, Anne Finnell and Patrick McGuinness are now in private practice with each other at the firm of Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami, & Andux P.A., where they practice exclusively in Criminal Defense, Family Law and Personal Injury.
Ann’s bio: Ann Finnell’s Bio
Patrick’s bio : Patrick’s Bio
The YouTube video of Sunday Morning is listed below:
BALTIMORE — A Baltimore officer has been suspended after defense attorneys released a body camera video they said shows the officer planting drugs.
The 90 seconds of footage has police investigating their own officers, but officials say there is more to this story than a short video clip showing officers planting drugs, CBS Baltimore reports.
Officials have since released more video to back up their claims as they continue to investigate these serious allegations.
The footage in a Baltimore alley is clear, as it was recorded on police body cameras, but the reason why the Baltimore police officer appears to be planting drugs is not.
What we think we see, and if you slow down the video especially in the first five seconds, the officer appearing to place a red can underneath some trash, push the fence up, and hide it,” said public defender Debbie Katz Levi.
The footage was caught on camera in January, but not discovered by a public defender in Levi’s office until this month.
Levi says the alleged act of planting drugs was caught because Baltimore police body cameras capture the 30 seconds before an officer actually hits the record button, but without audio.
When the sound does kick in, “he then walks down the alley and miraculously goes to the same space where he appeared to have just planted the can with the suspected narcotics,” Levi said. On Wednesday, police fired back with extended footage tied to the same drug arrest.
It shows police searching the same southwest Baltimore yard minutes before, and finding another bag of suspected heroin.
Police are investigating if the officer planted the second set of drugs there or if he was recreating the discovery when his body camera was rolling.
“It’s certainly a possibility that we’re looking into, to see if the officers, in fact, replaced drugs that they had already discovered to document the discovery with their body-worn cameras on,” said Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Unanswered questions that could trickle down to other criminal cases on the court docket, as the officer in question is a witness in more than 50 other cases.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, a reporter asked Davis whether he was concerned that the video could jeopardize the other cases.
“No, I’m not concerned,” Davis said. “Obviously, we’re going to partner with them and look into those other cases.”
Following the discovery of the video, one officer was suspended, and two others are on desk duty while the Office of Professional Responsibility investigates.
The man arrested on drug charges tied to the video was set for trial last week, but the State’s Attorney’s Office dropped the case.
In the press conference, Davis said that they will look at “what happened, crimes committed, policies or procedures violated” and that he’s “convinced we’re going to get to the bottom of it, if evidence was planted and take assertive action if that’s the case.”
“This is a serious allegation of police misconduct,” David added. “There’s nothing that deteriorates the trust of any community more than thinking for more than one second that uniformed police officers — and police officers in general — would plant evidence of crimes on citizens.”
What a disgusting abuse of authority, for Hamilton County Ohio prosecutors to convene a Kangaroo Court to convict this Judge.
This amounts to a “Public Lynching”. Disgusting!!!
WE SUPPORT JUDGE TRACIE HUNTER
The untold story of Andrea Heath (“Officer Heath”), of the Riverside (California) Police Department, is one of the most saddest and heart wrenching stories of corruption, abuse and harassment that I have ever read.
According to her online obituary, Ms. Andrea Danelle Heath, was born on March 28, 1969, in San Bernardino, California. She was a graduate of the Redwoods Law Enforcement Training Center. On October 8, 2013, Officer Heath committed suicide, after enduring, what was alleged to be, years of harassment and abuse at the hands of her fellow Police Officers and various law enforcement personnel.
A copy of the Civil Complaint can be viewed here.
Below is the report from Kia Farhang, with the Desert Sun News. Kia Farhang is a local reporter for The Desert Sun. He can be reached at (760)778- 4625, kia.Farhang@desertsun.com or on Twitter @KiaFarhang. Continue reading