|X-ray of Carol Shuler's arm, broken|
by a Missouri deputy, before
Greene County PA Dan Patterson has charged Carol with -- get this -- misdemeanor assault of a law-enforcement officer (RSMo: 565.083) and first-degree trespass (Misdemeanor B RSMo: 569.140). Carol failed to appear at an arraignment on October 28, 2016 -- that's because we received no notice -- and Greene County Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto issued a failure-to-appear warrant for her arrest five days later. No one acted on the warrant until last Friday night.
Why did we not receive notice of the arraignment? The county, in all its brilliance, sent the notice to the address where the sheriff conducted an unlawful eviction. We can only assume county officials were stunned to learn we no longer live at that address.
If anyone doubts we are living in a "post-truth world," seemingly ushered in by President Donald Trump and his followers, this case should resolve that. If anyone doubts the capacity of law enforcement to not only abuse citizens, but also lie and cheat to cover it up, this case should resolve that, too.
We had no clue about the criminal charges until we heard knocking on our door about 6:30 p.m. last Friday. At the pay-by-the-week hotel where we currently live, it's not unusual to have individuals mistakenly knock on your door, so we didn't think much of it. We looked out the peephole and didn't see anyone, so we figured it was a person who was extremely short or extremely drunk (or both) and decided to ignore it.
When the knocking persisted, off and on, for about 20 minutes, we looked outside and saw two sheriff's vehicles drive by.
If they, in fact, were looking for one (or both) of us, what had we done to warrant such a visit? The answer, under the law, was nothing. But we had consulted a lawyer in late November 2015 about the eviction and Carol's injuries, and he warned that Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott might pursue criminal charges against Carol.
We were stunned to think something so unethical and criminal actually could happen. But the lawyer said he had seen it before, especially in a case where a sheriff or police department was likely to be facing a lawsuit over civil-rights violations for which they had no defense.
Well, the lawyer proved to be right on target -- law-enforcement thugs really can stoop so low as to file charges they know are false, against a victim of police abuse.
When the knocking continued on Friday evening, Carol reminded me of the lawyer's words and wondered if she -- the victim of an assault -- had been charged with "assault" on a police officer. I guffawed when the words came out of her mouth and said, "That's impossible. Even here, they surely wouldn't do something that stupid."
|X-rayof Carol Shuler's arm, showing|
multiple fracture lines after trauma
surgery that required at least nine screws
and multiple titanium plates for repair.
We first reported on the eviction and Carol's injuries on September 15, 2015, in a post titled "Missouri deputies break my wife's arm and aim an assault rifle at me during violent, terrifying 'eviction'" From that post:
Sheriff deputies broke my wife's arm and aimed what appeared to be an assault weapon at me during an "eviction" last Wednesday at the apartment where we've been living for the past year in Springfield, Mo.
Doctors told my wife, Carol, that the large bone in her upper left arm was broken when Greene County deputies assaulted her as she tried to retrieve some of our belongings from inside the apartment. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning -- and we are told it will be a five- or six-hour procedure -- although it already has been postponed twice.
Damage to Carol's arm apparently is so severe that a trauma surgeon has been scheduled to operate. The procedure probably would have already been completed if doctors felt an orthopedic surgeon could handle it.
What was Carol's condition after the incident? From the post:
How severe are Carol's injuries? That's unclear at this point, but she was given oxygen, possibly because she was in danger of going into shock, and doctors treated her for possible blood clots. Her neck and shoulders are sore from apparent whiplash, and she shows signs of having a concussion from being thrown violently to the ground. At least three officers surrounded Carol during the assault, and I saw one officer yank both of her arms in an outward and upward motion. Her left arm, the broken one, is so badly bruised that doctors asked if she had been on blood thinners. Her right arm also is extensively bruised, and I'm still not sure how it wasn't broken, too.
Why was Sheriff Arnott on the premises? We don't know. Our understanding is the landlord's staff usually carries out an eviction, with maybe one officer on hand to make sure a potentially volatile situation does not ignite. Arnott's flagrant dishonesty -- it's really more than that; causing false charges to be brought against someone is a crime -- was apparent at the scene, as I reported in the post:
As officers mauled Carol on the ground, handcuffing her and breaking her arm, Arnott stood a few feet away and pointed at the violent scene and said, "She assaulted a police officer." That's a classic example of how far some law-enforcement officers will go to lie and cover up wrongdoing.
We're not aware of any charges filed against Carol, although she was taken to the Greene County Jail before someone finally realized that her complaints about soreness in her arm might be serious. She apparently was not booked into the jail, and she was transported to one hospital for X-rays that revealed the break and then to another, where the surgery is scheduled.
I witnessed the assault on Carol, and I feel certain none of the officers involved has a scratch on him (or her)--one of the officers was a woman. I was seated in our car in the driveway and could hear Carol say, "I'm trying to . . . . " I lost track of her words after that, but she told me that she was trying to get our cat's litter box. The notion that she assaulted anyone is preposterous.
To be clear, I saw the entire incident from about 15 feet away, and Carol did not assault, or initiate contact, with anyone. As three officers surrounded her -- one of them is named Scott Harrison, another was female -- an unknown male officer grabbed her, slammed her to the ground, and yanked viciously on her arms, breaking one of them. As noted above, I distinctly heard her say, "I'm trying to . . .," and I heard other less distinct statements from her. Carol says she yelled, "Do not touch me," and I believe I heard a garbled version of that. If that is confirmed, it would show that officers initiated contact with Carol, and not the other way around.
Regardless of what was said, Carol and I know (from what we saw with our own eyes) that she did not initiate contact with anyone. We also know the sheriff's department has violated its own policy by failing to interview us as witnesses -- and apparently failing to conduct any investigation at all.
What are some of the legal and factual issues surrounding this latest turn of events? There are quite a few, and we will address them shortly.
(Note: To see the charges against Carol click here for case.net, click on "Litigant Name Search," key in her last name and first name, and it is case number 1631-CR07731. She also is listed on the Greene County Sheriff's Office list of active warrants, under the letter "S.")
(To be continued)