Seriously Injured in 2001 Police Beating, Victim’s $1.2 Million Judgment Will Stand

Qualified Immunity Claim

By Officers in 2001 Beating

Rejected By Appeals Court

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled three Metropolitan Police Department officers must pay $1.6 million for using excessive force on Charles “Chuck”  Barnard back in 2001. The court rejected the officers’ claims of “qualified immunity.”

The ruling stems from a  Dec. 8, 2001 incident which began when  Barnard heard the distinct knock of the police on his door. Confident in the knowledge he had done nothing wrong, the former Marine opened the door and was immediately confronted by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers Steven Radmanovich, Greg Theobald and Gary Clark. The officers were not looking for Barnard, but were trying to serve an arrest warrant on his brother. 

Not wanting to get caught up in whatever it was they thought his brother had done, Barnard immediately told the officers he would cooperate in any way he could. With his hands raised, Barnard was escorted from his apartment by Theobald, while the other officers began to enter the apartment looking for Barnard’s brother.

LVMPD's Greg Theobald

LVMPD’s Greg Theobald

Despite the fact Barnard had committed no crime and was fully cooperating with officers, Theobald began to handcuff him. That’s when things went horribly wrong. Apparently unable to focus on both handcuffing the innocent Barnard and watch where he was walking, Theobald tripped over a large flower pot sitting in front of the apartment. Rather than accept responsibility for his own clumsiness, Theobald began to treat Barnard as if he had caused him to fall. Mistaking Theobald’s inability to watch where he was walking for Barnard’s resisting arrest, all three officers began attacking Barnard. They coated him with  pepper-spray. One officer wedged a knee into his neck while employing a controversial choke-hold.

As a result of the incident Barnard was seriously injured, forced to undergo four spinal fusion surgeries and will most likely spend the rest of his life in constant pain. While the investigation conducted by Metro cleared the officers of any wrongdoing, a federal jury found that the officers had violated Barnard’s civil rights and awarded him $2.1 Million. A judge subsequently reduced the award to $1.6 million, which the  officers appealed, claiming they had “qualified immunity,”

Qualified Immunity shields government officials from civil liability if a reasonable person would not consider their conduct a violation of constitutional rights.  In a 21-page ruling the 9th Circuit Court denied the officers appeal, stating:

“a reasonable officer would have known it violated clearly established law to use a chokehold on a non-resisting arrestee who had surrendered, pepper-spray him and apply such knee pressure on his neck and back that it would cause the collapse of five vertebrae in his cervical spine.”

radmon

Steven Radmanovich

Theobald, the only officer still working with Metro, was one of three officers involved in the February 1, 2012 fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jason Baires. Theobald was shot in the hip during an exchange of gunfire which erupted when officers attempted to arrest Baires for the gruesome murder of his mother’s boyfriend. In 2012 Theobald salary and benefits cost taxpayers $149,342.65.

Radmanovich left Metro and joined the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office in mid 2012. Prior to moving to Winnemucca, Radmanovich cost Clark County taxpayers $97,635.78 in salary and benefits.

‘Cutting Edge Law Enforcement’ — Henderson and North Las Vegas Police Accused of Third Amendment Violations

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house,

without the consent of the Owner,

nor in time of war,

but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

So states, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution. While violations of this “forgotten” amendment are considered rare, leave it to members of Clark County law enforcement to show us all there isn’t a right protected by the United States Constitution they aren’t willing to violate.

At least that’s what the allegations of the Mitchell family lead us to believe. In a recent federal lawsuit filed by Anthony Mitchell and his parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell, against the Cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas, former Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers, NLVPD Chief Joseph Chronister and officers from both departments, the Mitchell’s claim their Third, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when officers responded to a domestic violence call to a neighboring residence, and demanded entry into Anthony Mitchell’s home in order to gain “a tactical advantage.” Mitchell, preferring not to get involved, denied the police entry.

Former HPD Chief Jutta Chambers

Former HPD Chief Jutta Chambers

The events the  Mitchells’ claim happened next are provided in detail at the Courthouse News Service, and are shocking enough to add Officers David Cawthorn, Christopher Worley and Sgt. Michael Waller to the CCCC’s Officer Hall Of Shame.

Let’s Hear It Once More About How To Train Police

Originally posted on improving police:

images (3)Training matters.

In fact, it’s a critical factor in improving our nation’s police.

Maybe I can’t get police leaders in the country to read my book, but will they listen to someone like Karl W. Bickel, a senior policy analyst in the COPS office?

I sure hope they will. Here are some of his more important findings about making community policing work. Bickel questions how we are training (and attracting) new officers in his article “Recruit Training: Are Preparing Officers For a Community Oriented Department?”.

“As many law enforcement agencies embrace the community policing philosophy and continue to strive to achieve the goal of full implementation, they may want to examine how their academies are preparing their new recruits. Are they developing collaborative problem solvers? Or, are they creating obstacles to their community policing efforts? Are they creating barriers to bringing their customers, the citizens they serve, improved quality of life…

View original 476 more words

The LVMPD Gets Some National Exposure, But Not In a Good Way

The Killing of Trevon Cole by

LVMPD Detective Bryan Yant is

Today’s “Raid of The Day

Rise of the Warrior CopRadley Balko, senior writer and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post, has extensively covered the erosion of our civil liberties at the hands of an increasingly oppressive criminal justice system. He is currently wrapping up work on his new book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.” 

As a prelude to the book’s publication, Balko has been featuring incidents of deadly police aggression he researched for the forthcoming book. Today, Balko took a look at the 2010 killing of Trevon Cole, by Metro’s most famous perjurer, Bryan Yant.

LVMPD's Bryan Yant

LVMPD’s Bryan Yant

Due out in July, but currently available for pre-order, Rise of the Warrior Cop, will take a look at how the implementation of SWAT teams by both the Philadelphia and Los Angeles police departments marked the beginning of a deadly movement by America’s law enforcement away from the friendly public servants of the 1950s to the cops of today who have increasingly come to resemble ground troops who no longer see the American home as the sanctuary our forefathers envisioned, and no longer see themselves in partnership with the community but been conditioned to see the citizens they serve as nothing more than the enemy. The type of police force we saw going door-to-door in Boston in  full combat gear searching homes without a warrant.