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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rogue cop gets fired in South Carolina for assault on student, but Missouri cop remains free of scrutiny after breaking my wife's arm during unlawful eviction



Video that went viral yesterday of a South Carolina sheriff's deputy body slamming and dragging a 16-year-old high school girl across a classroom floor probably was shocking to many Americans. But it was not shocking to my wife, Carol, and me.

For us, it was like living September 9, 2015, again.

That's the date a Greene County, Missouri, deputy shattered Carol's left arm during an unlawful eviction, one where officers had no lawful grounds to even be on our rented property. I saw everything the deputy did to Carol, from about 15 feet away, and it looked a lot like what you see on the video above from Spring Valley High School, near Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina.

The good news is that Ben Fields, the South Carolina officer, was fired this morning, and he remains under federal investigation because Sheriff Leon Lott quickly sought assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). MoveOn.org has launched a petition, seeking to have Fields charged with assault--and we strongly support such action.

The bad news is that we see no sign that anything has happened to the Missouri officer who brutalized Carol; we do not even know his name. We doubt that the DOJ or MoveOn.org even know about Carol's case.

Our understanding is that Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott is aware Carol's arm was broken, but no one from his department has contacted us or given any sign that the incident is being investigated. A Legal Schnauzer reader contacted Arnott and reported to me that the sheriff pretty much played dumb, acting like he knew nothing about the incident--even though he was standing about five feet away when Carol was assaulted.

What was Arnott's immediate response to the assault? He lied, immediately proclaiming that Carol has assaulted the officer. A deputy drove Carol, in handcuffs, to the Greene County jail and told her she was facing a felony charge and a $100,000 bond. That only changed when Carol finally got someone to pay attention to her cries of severe pain in her arm--and X-rays immediately showed the break.

The press in Springfield, Missouri, has shown no interest in covering the story--even though police brutality has been a national issue for more than a year. We've contacted several southwest Missouri law firms that supposedly specialize in police-misconduct cases, and they have either not responded or took our basic information and then quit responding.

X-ray of Carol Shuler's arm, showing
multiple fracture lines after trauma
surgery that required at least nine screws
and multiple titanium plates for repair. We
will be fortunate if she regains 75 percent use
 of  her arm.
Translation: A cover-up seems to be under way in the Missouri Ozarks--of a police brutality case that might be about as bad any we've seen in the United States over the past 15 months or so, at least among those that did not involve a victim death.

In cases where victims were injured, I'm not aware of many injuries that could be classified as more severe than Carol's. Ironically, the one exception that quickly comes to mind happened in Alabama--where a cop flipped a grandfather from India on his head, causing a spinal injury that might keep the victim from ever walking normally again.

As for Carol's injury, we had a follow-up visit yesterday with her surgeon, and we received X-rays of her original injury, before she had received any treatment. The images almost make me vomit, and we will be sharing them here at Legal Schnauzer soon. Carol is going to need at least eight weeks of physical therapy (three times a week, probably), and one caregiver today said the best outcome might be a return to 75-percent usage of her arm. An earlier estimate had been 95 percent, but the latest word is that we are highly unlikely to achieve that.

How do the South Carolina and Missouri cases compare? The Missouri deputy did not throw Carol backward on her head, as happened to the victim in the South Carolina case. But Carol was slammed to the ground, landing on her rear end hard enough that I still think she sustained a concussion. To my knowledge, she has not been examined for head trauma. Carol was not dragged across the ground, as happened to the South Carolina victim, but the cop jerked both of her arms in a backward and upward motion that was so severe one of her broken bones almost came through the skin.

Our understanding is that the South Carolina victim managed to escape injury, and we are grateful for that. We also are pleased that the victim is seeing some measure of justice already--and we hope more is headed her way.

For that, we suspect she can thank the classmates who used their cell phones to capture video of the assault and cause it to come to quick public attention. Without it, the South Carolina sheriff and his acolytes probably would be lying and covering up, just as we are seeing in Springfield.

It's possible video exists in Carol's case; we aren't sure if any of the half dozen or so officers was wearing a body cam. If such video is out there, it's under control of Sheriff Jim Arnott--and his department in Greene County, Missouri, seems to be doing its best to cover up the brutality inflicted on Carol.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope a video does turn up of the assault on your wife. Would be most enlightening I suspect.

e.a.f. said...

even when there have been video's American police officers have not been fired.

in the case of this child, the violence was so pronounced and when one of the other students objected, she too was arrested. I would suggest the police officer was fired because they know the law suits are on their way, from both students and perhaps some of the children who witnessed this.

What needs to be questioned, is why did the teacher/principal phone the school police officer for this. Surely a teacher ought to be able to "negotiate/talk" with the child to come to a resolution.

legalschnauzer said...

Good points, e.a.f. I also wonder why cell phones are routinely allowed in classrooms. Not trying to take the spotlight off the officer, but when I think about the old days, a bored or distracted student might just gaze out the window. Now he or she can do all sorts of stuff on a cell phone, and I can see where that could be distracting to the teacher.

The cop has been fired, and he needs to be prosecuted for assault, but I suspect the whole thing could have been avoided if cell phones were kept out of the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I'm betting the cop who injured Carol is convinced he will get away with it.

Anonymous said...

I understand why people tend to focus on race in situations like this. I believe blacks DO get unfairly targeted by police. But your wife's case proves it's not always about racism. White people can be targeted, too.

legalschnauzer said...

I agree with you @12:04. I have no doubt racism is a big problem among police officers--I also think use of steroids and amphetamines is a big issue, too. But it does go beyond race. Certain cops are just corrupt, and a classic example is the horrifying story of a revenge beatdown of a white man in north Alabama, near Huntsville. This case also involves a murder of the white man's vocal supporter, and that has not been solved:

http://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2014/12/alabama-deputies-put-revenge-beatdown.html

Anonymous said...

Has anyone in your family expressed concern about Carol's injuries?

legalschnauzer said...

Not one word, @1:42. My lawyer brother, David, said he couldn't bring himself to be concerned about Carol's injuries because she once said something about nasal spray that he found offensive. (I'm not kidding; I've got the e-mail.) What do you do with people who say outrageous garbage like that?

Anonymous said...

You must be kidding about the nasal spray stuff.

legalschnauzer said...

No, I'm not kidding @2:20. I've got it in writing. We're talking Whack-A-Doodle stuff here.

And this is one of the two brothers who claims Carol and I are incompetent? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I think your analysis is a bit off. The officer had a valid charge and was arresting a resisting offender. South Carolina has a charge of disturbing schools and when he went to arrest her, she resisted. She struck the officer and if you look closely at the other videos of the incident, she pushes with her feet and causes the desk to rock backwards. It's funny that you chose to use the worst video of the three that I have seen. He gave the girl a chance to walk out of the room and she didn't comply. When you resist arrest, the officer can use force to subdue you. He will get his job back. Without the charge, it would be a school issue, but with the charge of disturbing schools, it became a law enforcement issue. Whether you agree with the law or not, the law is good and students need to take responsibility for their actions. Bottom line, don't break the law and don't resist arrest.

Anonymous said...

October 29, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Will you show the context of those remarks? Was he really taking offense? Were her remarks about nasal spray in reference to some kind of abuse by a person she meant to disparage? Or was he pointing out an example of an irrational belief or fixation?

I have a feeling he wasn't trying to say your wife's injuries were insignificant, but that her mental condition was either a contributing or provoking cause.

Can you put his remarks in context?

Anonymous said...

Or was he possibly referring to the post she published after you had been jailed, about medication you were offered when sick with allergy symptoms?

legalschnauzer said...

It's hard to put someone else's remarks in context because I don't know what he's thinking--and his words are so nutty that I don't know where to begin. First, I don't recall Carol saying anything about nasal spray, and neither does she. If she did, her words didn't have the negative connotations that my brother attaches them. Plus, my brother claims it was in the context of some alarming statement I allegedly had made, and I don't recall making that statement to him.

My brother has zero knowledge of Carol's mental condition or mine. Until we came to Missouri in a crisis situation, he had seen both of us one time in roughly 23 years.

I think he doesn't want to acknowledge Carol's injury, which is severe, because he played a role in causing it to happen. He helped set up the unlawful eviction, and he wrote an ex parte letter to the judge saying he was going to do everything possible to help the landlord, Trent Cowherd. In other words, my own brother pledged in writing to actively work against Carol and me.

Is it possible he's trying to blame her, or me, for her broken arm because he knows he helped cause it? Yes, blaming Carol and me for harms caused by lawyers or law enforcement seems to be a go-to move for members of my family, whether it has any basis in reality or not.

I don't think it has anything to do with Carol's post about my allergy symptoms. That did not involve nasal spray.

Anonymous said...

It's what one who is disruptive should expect.

By the way, I need to ""borrow" the x ray pictures. Well, all of your pictures. And some of your text.

So I have.

Anonymous said...

You will know why when the time is right.

legalschnauzer said...

Two questions:

(1) Who are you?

(2) When did you ask permission to "borrow" my material?

Anonymous said...

He may not need to ask permission. You didn't ask Garrison's permission before using her FaceBook pictures. Turn about is fair play.

Anonymous said...

Police should ask themselves, 'The will of the government and the moral compass of all that's honorable, do they line up?' The police have allowed themselves to become paid thugs and strong arms of a near fascist government. They have a tough job made even tougher by corruption and pyscopathic leaders. These officials want men after their own filthy heart enforcing draconian laws and corporate interests.
You never see mayors, beaureucrats or senators get their ass kicked by a cop. Good cops who blow the whistle are probably shunned, harassed, fired or silence just like every other industry nowadays.

legalschnauzer said...

I didn't say he had to ask permission--I'm not familiar with that area of law. I just asked if he had. My guess is that a lot depends on how this person intends to use it--or if he intends to use it at all; might be hollow threats for all I know, although there is nothing remotely threatening about it to me. Also probably depends on whether I receive credit or not.

As for your other points, I doubt that you know whether I asked Garrison for permission or not. Aside from that, my guess is that permission would have to be sought from the person who took the photo, and there is no indication that I've seen of who that was. I don't anticipate this becoming a legal issue, but your old "turn about is fair play" argument is not a very sound one in a court of law.

Anonymous said...

I didn't ask for permission. And I will be using your material.

I will be calling the shots now.

Anonymous said...

Actually there is a version of "turn about is fair play" in courts. You have to be consistent with your actions. If you want to act like someone has wronged you, but you have done the same thing to others, it weakens your case or it strengthens a case the other people bring against you. I don't have time right now to look up the term, but I will try to get it for you later.

@2:28 - If you're not careful, you are going to look as crazy as you think Roger is. You can't "call the shots" because Roger thinks he is always right and won't back down. Trying to win an argument with a crazy man actually proves you are crazy too.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like @2:28 is dangerously unhinged. Either that, or he has watched too many cops & robbers shows. What a goof.

legalschnauzer said...

@2:28 has to "borrow" my work because he's not smart enough to come up with anything of his own. Good luck with your project, @2:28, because you will probably need it. Be sure to share with us your handiwork when you are finished. Can't wait to see it.

What "shots" are you calling, BTW? You don't sound smart enough to find your own rear end with a road map. Good luck on that "shot calling" thing. Have a feeling that's not going to work out real well for you.

Anonymous said...

I think @2:28 is concerned about winding up in a "pound me in the ass" prison for his role in breaking Carol's arm. I hope that's exactly where he winds up, and I want to reserve tickets now so I can cheer on the guys who do the "pounding." @2:28 will be some seriously raw meat when that bunch gets done with him.