Monday, October 17, 2016

What did required counseling and hospital tests show about Missouri deputy who brutalized my wife and broke her arm during unlawful eviction in Sept. 2015?

Missouri Sheriff Jim Arnott
The Missouri sheriff's deputy who brutalized my wife, Carol, and broke her arm during an unlawful eviction roughly one year ago (on September 9, 2015), was required to engage in counseling and visit a hospital for tests. Did such counseling and tests actually take place, and what did they reveal? Did they show that the deputy suffered any injuries, given that Sheriff Jim Arnott was on the scene and caused Carol to be arrested and imprisoned after pointing at her and stating, "She assaulted a police officer"?

Those are two of many questions raised by the Greene County Sheriff's Office Policy and Procedure Manual, which spells out a lengthy and detailed set of steps that must be completed to determine if a deputy involved in a "critical incident" acted reasonably and is fit to return to duty.

The manual calls for parallel criminal and administrative investigations to be conducted of any "critical incident" (use of force, involving any sheriff's department employee, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to any person.) Policy calls for a thorough examination of an involved officer's physical and emotional status. Consider the following required step (see page 113 of manual):

Involved Deputy will remain close to the scene with their Support Deputy until the Administrative Investigator directs them to the hospital for the required exams.

This also is from page 113:

Involved Deputies shall receive a mandated counseling from a GCSO appointed mental health professional. Additional counseling may be provided by the Sheriff or his designee.

According to the manual, any critical incident should produce a significant paper trail. Here are some of the required steps in the administrative process (see pages 110-119 of manual):

* Involved Deputies shall provide a brief Public Safety statement about the actions of the suspect(s) that shall aid investigators in the criminal prosecution of suspect(s);

* Involved Deputies will write an incident report to aid investigators in the criminal prosecution of the suspect(s). This incident report will be completed at a time mandated by the Involved Deputy’s Division Command, usually after two full sleep cycles;

* Involved Deputies will prepare a Subject Resistance and Control Report;

* Involved Deputies will be required to give a statement to the Administrative Investigator;

* Involved Deputies will submit to any/or all of the following: blood, urine, breath or other chemical test as requested by the Administrative Investigator;

* Involved Deputies shall submit to a polygraph examination if requested by the Administrative Investigator;

* Prior to returning to duty the Involved Deputy will be required to take a Fit for Duty Exam at the expense of the employer;

* The Criminal Investigator shall ensure the scene is properly documented, photographed and diagrammed;

* The Criminal Investigator shall ensure that all evidence is properly processed and collected, including any equipment or weapon belonging to the Involved Deputy that is needed as part of the investigation;

* The Criminal Investigator shall ensure interviews of witnesses, victims, Involved Deputy(s), and when applicable suspect(s), including providing Miranda warnings, even to the Involved Deputy.

By our unofficial count, that's at least 10 documents, statements, or objects (or groups of objects) that should be gathered in the investigation. But the Criminal Investigator's duties still are not completed. (And that does not include duties of the Administrative Investigator, which are spelled out on page 117.) As for the Criminal Investigator, the manual states that he . . .

* Shall review and ensure all involved/responding deputy(s) reports are accurate, correct and approved;

* Shall provide any and all material to the Administrative Investigator from the criminal investigation and will not expose themselves to the statements and evidence obtained during the administrative investigation;

* Shall assemble and prepare a case file for CID Supervisor, Major(s), and Sheriff’s review and approval;

* Upon the appropriate internal review and approval, shall contact and provide the Greene County Prosecutor a copy of the case file, with original probable cause statements where applicable.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson
As you can see, there should be a nice, neat case file for key officials in the sheriff's office, with a copy for the Greene County prosecutor.

It appears the county prosecutor receives a copy for purposes of bringing charges against the suspect (in this case, Carol). But the sheriff's own actions--releasing her from jail, upon learning she had a serious bodily injury; giving no indication since then that she committed any offense--suggest the county prosecutor has no role involving Carol.

But what about the officer's brutality against Carol? What about Arnott's decision to falsely claim she had assaulted an officer, causing her wrongful arrest and imprisonment? Those generally are considered civil-rights issues to be handled by federal law-enforcement.

Has the county prosecutor, a fellow named Dan Patterson, referred the matter for possible federal prosecutions against the deputy and Arnott? That appears to be what the facts and the law call for. Do facts and the law mean anything in Springfield, Missouri -- any more than they do in Birmingham, Alabama?


Anonymous said...

How about this for a daring guess. I bet no required counseling or hospital tests have been done.

HR Herman said...

Office manuals are meant mostly for looks. They aren't designed to actually accomplish anything.

legalschnauzer said...

I know what you are talking about, Herman. When I was "terminated" at UAB, it took awhile to figure out what I allegedly had done wrong. It turned out, UAB was claiming I engaged in "excessive non-work related" activity on my computer. In essence, they claimed I was writing my blog at work.

Their own IT expert, who followed my every keystroke for roughly a month, confirmed that was not true. But here is where the manual comes in. Computer-related issues are governed by the UAB Acceptable Use Policy. If there is a question about an employee's use of a university computer, it is to be handled via progressive discipline -- an oral warning, written warning, termination (if the first two steps do not work). Nowhere does the policy state immediate termination -- as happened to me -- is appropriate.

I never was given an oral or written warning, and that's because I wasn't violating UAB policy. UAB's failure to issue any sort of required warning shows they knew I wasn't violating policy. Political forces, the Riley Machine, wanted UAB to get rid of me for writing (on my own time, with my own resources) about the Don Siegelman case. And that's what they did. It had zero to do with work performance or policy violations, with UAB ignoring its own manual every step of the way.

Here is a link to a post I wrote on this subject. God only knows how many employees get suspended, cheated out of their jobs, etc. over company failure to follow simple policies, ones they write in their own manuals:

Anonymous said...

Employee manuals for law enforcement, with all these high-falutin' procedures, probably exist only for accreditation purposes. Once that hurdle is cleared, I suspect most departments never give the manual a second glance.

Anonymous said...

I agree with @10:43. No chance this department has taken any of the steps its own manual calls for. The sheriff is taking the "ostrich approach" -- sticking his head in the sand and hoping it goes away.

Anonymous said...

Don't miss this hot new Bentley Boogalaoo Bungle update.

"Those with direct knowledge of the events surrounding the first “document dump” say Mason hand-selected many of the so-called quotes to paint Collier in an unflattering light and chose which reporters should receive them."

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, @12:12. Important story from APR.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to publish the incident report?

Anonymous said...

Reference the latest APR report on Bentley:

It appears that someone may have an overly optimistic view of the cards they are holding and their ability to play the game.

If even half the APR story is accurate then one could conclude that her time would be better spent stroking the governor rather than trying to stroke the public and investigators.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:43 -- I will publish when I have it, but I don't have it and haven't seen it. I have strong doubts that one exists, and I certainly don't think an accurate one exists. The whole point of this post, and similar ones I've written previously, is this department doesn't follow it's own procedures. We were supposed to be interviewed as part of the investigation, and we were not.

legalschnauzer said...

I should note that several weeks ago I called Officer Scott Harrison, the guy who pointed an assault rifle at my head, and one of the questions I planned to ask was about an incident report. He hasn't returned my calls.

I also should note this, from a previous post:

"A criminal investigator shall ensure interviews of witnesses, victims, Involved Deputy(s), and when applicable suspect(s), including providing Miranda warnings, even to the Involved Deputy."

We haven't been interviewed, so that's one of many signs that the department is not following its own procedures. That's one reason I doubt a legitimate incident report exists.

Anonymous said...

More police craziness. This time, a black man is handcuffed for walking down the street:

Anonymous said...

are you planning to sue for damages to make this right?

Also - just curious if you ever fixed the bed bug problem. Still at that flea bag motel? I would think those conditions are part of the harm they caused you.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:14 -- I'm not going to discuss personal legal strategy here, but you might ask yourself this question: If you had cops burst into your home, with no lawful grounds for doing so, point assault weapons at you and your wife, slam your wife to the ground and snap her arm in two . . . what would you do?

You are correct that conditions at the flea bag motel are part of the damages we've experienced.

Anonymous said...

You and Carol in particular should see a lawyer. Legal aid may be of some assistance, or a lawyer may take your case on contingency, although there could be up-front costs to investigate it - or might review the facts as you report them and tell you there is no where to go with the suit (for example, if statutes of limitations have passed, or there is an underlying fact situation or set of disputed facts that makes the case unwinnable. Some up-front costs are costs which you would bear anyway, if you decided to bring suit pro-se. You can't represent Carol, only yourself.

If both of you decide to file a suit for any injury of Carol's without a lawyer, you can't represent her, she has to represent herself.

Your own claim would be limited to loss of consortium or some kind of false imprisonment by deputies. I have to tell you that is a terribly weak case viewed from facts just as you present them. The eviction appears not to have taken place in bad faith, even if it technically occurred before the length of time allotted for the stay, related to when order was entered. The deputies appeared to have believed the papers they were given, and acted on that basis.

The equities aren't really on your side on that, now, because your appeal did not prevail, and you ended up in effect guilty of illegal detainer at the time you were evicted despite the stay.

In no way would the real estate company be liable for the improper actions of police outside the scope of their duties.

It is still not clear what happened - you reported you did not hear all the conversation and I am assuming could not see *every detail* of what transpired. You have reported two contacts between Carol and deputies and the sequence of events is not clear. The type of arm injury she has it typical of a "sit-fall" - handcuffing could have increased the injury, but its possible it resulted from the fall alone.
You also mentioned that she was hurt by being slammed into a wall when a door was forcefully opened, but I'm not sure exactly from your accounts, the exact sequence of events.

Did an officer attempt to stop Carol entering the home verbally before the altercation occurred? You mentioned verbal sparring but did not elaborate what you meant by that - or whether any instructions were given. Another issue in proving fault - Since Carol is the only witness to that if you didn't hear (and have said on this blog that you did not) you are going to have a hard time disproving that she was not ordered to keep out of the apartment.

Her injury was greivous. It is certainly out of proportion for someone just walking past an officer, and who didn't resist being stopped or resist being put into handcuffs. but you have hinted that there was some back-and-forth and that she was trying to enter the apartment. Someone apparently tried to stop her doing that - the question becomes what warning was given and whether she had pushed or pretended not to hear - or tragically, didn't hear.

YOu have said Carol landed so hard when she was pushed down (into a sitting position?) that she had a concussion. When she was taken to the jail, did they notice an altered mental status? Did they notice at any of the hosptical settings where she was evaluated or had treatment?

If she had a concussion, she, ironically, would have the added difficulty of being an unreliable witness, since short term memory is often affected by the event, particularly just before and just after the concussion.

I really think Carol, if she wants to press or even preserve a claim, should seek the advice of a lawyer.

legalschnauzer said...

Curious comments, @4:48. A few responses:

1. Statute of limitations is not even close to having passed.

2. Your third paragraph is off the charts. My claim goes way beyond loss of consortium, it will not be a weak case, and if this eviction was not in bad faith, it's hard to imagine what would be. It's a matter of public record that a notice of appeal had been filed and the eviction had been stayed. I'm not aware of law that makes bad faith an issue, and you have no idea whether they acted in bad faith or not. Not sure why you wrote this comment, but it seems you are a cop and landlord apologist.

3. You don't have any idea what the landlord would be liable for. You don't know the full facts of the case, which will come out in discovery. This all happened on their property, with their apparent consent, even though their representative was told the action had been stayed.

4. I doubt you have any idea about the technicalities of a broken arm like Carol's. I saw her arms being yanked and twisted behind her back. A trauma surgeon did the repair because it was not a "garden variety" orthopedic break. Look forward to his testimony.

5. The sequence of events are clear if you have read my posts. Maybe you need to read with a little more depth.

6. I've specifically said that I was sitting next to her when we both were told we could go into the apartment. Again, you simply have no clue what you are talking about.

7. I didn't say Carol had a concussion from when she was pushed down. I said I think it's possible, given the violence with which she hit the ground. The point is that the head does not have to take a blow for concussion to occur. It can happen when the body is slammed to a hard surface and comes to a sudden halt.

8. So Carol's injury -- her arm snapped in two -- was grievous in your judgment. Nice of you to admit that.

9. Like you, I look forward to testimony about what was and was not said. But I know Carol and I both were told we could enter to retrieve items, and I never heard any statement otherwise. I'm not aware of any law that gives cops authority to keep tenants from retrieving their personal belongings, and you have no indication you know of such a law. You conveniently ignore the fact that the officers had no lawful grounds for being on the property that day anyway. They abused Carol and me, with no grounds for even being there. Bad faith, off the charts. If you can't see that, you are morally compromised or not very smart. Sheriff Arnott was on the premises and appeared to be the "man in charge," and I know he didn't tell Carol she could not enter because I heard what he said, as I've stated in my posts.

10. Nice effort at trying to come off as a concerned knowledgeable objective party. But you can't hide that you are a cop/landlord ass kisser. Would be glad to discuss further, but only by telephone or in person, with your true identity. At this point, I can only assume you are a con artist -- and not a very good one.

Not sure you have made a single statement of fact or law that is correct. Nice try, though.