Thursday, March 9, 2017

The bogus criminal counts against my wife, Carol, are called "cover charges," and they are designed to intimidate her from filing a police-brutality lawsuit

X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken arm
There is a name for the bogus assault charge Missouri officials have brought against my wife, Carol, related to our unlawful eviction in September 2015. It's called a "cover charge," and I wrote about the subject almost exactly one year before Carol was arrested based on cover charges.

A cover charge can happen when a corrupt law-enforcement agency, like the sheriff's department here in Greene County Missouri, has abused a citizen and needs a way to ward off a civil-rights lawsuit. The idea is to bring false criminal charges against the victim, hoping that will intimidate her into avoiding civil remedies.

A reasonable person might say, "My God, I can't believe cops would be underhanded enough to do that!" But quite a few of them are, and published reports indicate cover charges are not uncommon. From our post on the matter, published on February 11, 2016; Carol's arrest, based on cover charges for assault on a law enforcement officer and trespass, came on January 30, 2017:

An Occupy Wall Street activist named Cecily McMillan was the apparent victim of a "cover charge" in May 2014 in New York City. Aviva Shen also covered the McMillan story for Think Progress:

"Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan has been sentenced to 3 months in jail and five years probation for assaulting a police officer, a charge that sparked outrage and protests earlier this month. McMillan, who said she threw her elbow up behind her instinctively after the officer groped her breast, faced up to seven years in prison for felony assault. The perceived injustice inspired multiple petitions on McMillan’s behalf and close public scrutiny — but could the 25-year-old graduate student’s case help bring attention to others like her?

"Despite medical photographs of McMillan’s bruises, including a hand-shaped mark on her breast, Officer Grantley Bovell said McMillan attacked him unprovoked, and prosecutor Erin Choi said McMillan’s claims were “so utterly ridiculous and unbelievable that she might as well have said that aliens came down that night and assaulted her.” Grainy cell phone footage of the altercation makes it unclear whose version of events is accurate."

McMillan almost certainly was the victim of a cover charge, but she likely was convicted because the officer did suffer an injury when her elbow made contact near his eye -- and she had the misfortune of drawing a clueless jury and a prosecution-friendly judge. In Carol's case, no one has alleged an officer suffered the slightest scratch -- not even in Deputy Debi Wade's probable cause statement, which is a work straight out of Fantasy Island. (More on that in a series of upcoming posts.)

Missori deputy Debi Wade
(From Facebook)
So how is it that my wife, the victim of an assault, is facing charges for assault? According to Aviva Shen, of Think Progress, it happens quite often. Our guess is that the worse the cops abuse you, the more likely they are to bring charges that you abused them. From our "cover charge" post, quoting Shen's work:

McMillan’s conviction sparked a flurry of media coverage and a protest in Zuccotti Park. But her predicament is unfortunately quite common. Police often charge victims of brutality with anything from assault to disorderly conduct to discredit their claims of police misconduct. While it is nearly impossible to compile exact statistics on this practice, sometimes called “cover” arrests, video recording has helped expose a number of cases where police have wrongfully charged people or fabricated police reports to justify violence.

For instance, another Occupy activist was cleared last year of charges that he “charged the police like a linebacker” after video footage showed cops tackling him as he was trying to get up. In another high profile case, police charged two University of Maryland students with felony assault, claiming they attacked officers on horses after a basketball game. A month later, a video emerged showing the cops beating an unarmed student with batons over a dozen times for no apparent reason.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott knows he has problems for what was done to Carol. He's only heightened his problems by causing her to be falsely arrested and imprisoned. Landlord Trent Cowherd and his lawyer, Craig Lowther, likely know they have problems -- especially since Missouri law requires rent to be late by at least one month before eviction proceedings begin, and our rent was behind by five days. That means Cowherd and Lowther had no lawful grounds to seek an eviction when they did (via a rent and possession petition), and Arnott's gang had no grounds to be on the property when they were.

Have cops and their associates ever paid a dear price for bringing a "cover charge"? We don't know, but we intend to make sure those responsible for Carol's cover charge pay a dear price, indeed.


Anonymous said...

This is one of the most disturbing stories I've read in a long time. Had no idea there was the concept of a "cover charge" among police agencies. What kind of people are being hired in such departments?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, @9:30, and don't forget it takes a corrupt prosecutor, like Greene County's Dan Patterson, to pull this off. You won't believe the outrageous "probable cause statement," upon which Carol's arrest was based. There are some twisted minds working in and around law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

People think ISIS is a threat to our democracy? Corrupt cops, like these, are a far bigger threat than ISIS ever will be.

legalschnauzer said...

Agreed, @9:35. And yet, Trump wants to throw more money at corrupt police departments. They can't responsibly handle the weaponry they have already.

Anonymous said...

How do these cops sleep at night?

legalschnauzer said...

@9:54 -- I think they sleep because a corrupt tribal culture has become engrained in their souls. America is infected with numerous tribal organizations -- the legal tribe, judicial tribe, law enforcement tribe, conservative political tribe, religious tribe, to name a few. A tribe creates, and operates under, its own set of rules. Its members are loyal to the tribe over all else, over the rule of law, over the U.S. Constitution, etc. Tribalism has made countries like Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan petri dishes for dysfunction. The U.S. is becoming more tribal with each passing day. The Trump movement is a classic example of tribalism, making up their own facts and rules as it goes along.

Anonymous said...

The full term must be "cover your ass charge."

Anonymous said...

Gee, and cops wonder why communities do not trust them.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people I know who became cops were among the worst kids in school, etc. They were thugs growing up, and putting on uniforms, didn't change them.

Anonymous said...

I hope certain cops wind up in orange jumpsuits over this.

Anonymous said...

Look, Carol has problems. There are people who have made sworn statements they are willing to repeat which implicate her. You have no witnesses other than yourselves (and you are an imperfect witness, not only because of your personal interest in the outcome, but having admitted you did not observe the full context of events in your blogging. So whatever you assert actually happened, statements of yourself and others put Carol in real danger of conviction.

As for "brutality," or excessive force, the mere fact of injury, severe as it is, does not speak for itself as proof of excessive force - is not enough to ward off a conviction, (although it will add to sympathy for Carol.) If she was resisting, force will have been necessary. It appears reasonable and prompt steps were taken to investigate Carol's apparent injuries.

It's been explained to you that her fall alone may have caused the break. Such falls are the most common cause of that exact injury. You have also said she fell hard enough to cause a concussion (Why you bring that up, or ever brought it up is unclear, but there are timing issues that suggest you brought it up to either explain confused mental status or an inability to perfectly recall events or a way to blot out statements as unreliable. And or all of that could be possible.) Such a fall, hard enough to cause concusison, could have caused the break. Such a fall, even resulting from a Cop bringing her to the ground, will not be treated as excessive use of force if she refused commands or resisted being detained or arrested.

The officer had a reasonable basis to prevent her entering the apartment, even if Carol believed she had a right to enter. It's not her apartment; she has to obey law enforcement commands not to enter as soon as they are given, even if someone else said she could go inside. She has to stop and get the matter cleared up.

You have described a situation where the officer is trailing behind her, speaking loudly to her; she won't have much excuse for ignoring him, if that's what she did.

She is not in a good position on this case.

legalschnauzer said...

Well, Mr. Lowther (AKA Mr. Apologist is back). Let's brush him off like the bug he is:

A. Who has made sworn statements? Are you talking about bad cops protecting other bad cops. I've seen the sworn statement of one bad cop and it's pure fantasy. These are the same cops who claim I made a 911 call I didn't make? Their credibility should be off the charts.

B. Who are you to know who has made sworn statements? You are Craig Lowther or someone inside GCSO. You have a vested interest in this, and your own words prove it.

C.I admitted I saw everything that happened when Carol was slammed to the ground and her arm broken. A witness can't get much better than that. What did you see, were you there?

D. Where is the investigative report on this, the one required by GCSO policy on any critical incident. Where are tapes, body cams, dash cams, etc. Look forward to seeing those.

E. Even Arnott did not say she was resisting. Your pea brain can't figure this out, but no one claimed Carol was doing anything wrong before she was slammed and brutalized. She wasn't resisting because no one said or indicated she was under arrest for anything. Does your pea brain get that?

F. Who explained anything to me about Carol's "fall"? Who is that person and what are his credentials? That will require you to ID yourself. Otherwise, your so-called explanation means nothing.

G. I've explained to you, under my own name, that Carol did not "fall." She was slammed butt first on the ground, and did not land on her arms. That's why I say butt first. An officer, apparently Lt. Conrad, yanked on her arms in an upward and backward motion, snapping her left arm in two.

H. The officer had no reasonable basis to prevent her from doing anything because he had no basis for being there under Missouri law, which you ignore.

I. Did I say she ignored him? No. I said she turned and engaged him in conversation.

J. With a good judge and reasonable jury, Carol is in fine position. You know that, which is why you are obsessed with a case in which you claim to have no interest.

K. Do you know a Lt. Conrad? How about a Major Phil Corcoran? Tell us everything you know about those two.

Anonymous said...

@1:05 --

LS has written multiple times that Carol was slammed to the ground, butt first, and then a cop yanked upward and backwards on her arms. Why do you persist on claiming she "fell"?

You assert that Carol was resisting. That means resisting arrest, right? Well, what was she under arrest for? What had she done? LS has written repeatedly that no officer suggested she had done anything to be arrested for. The narrative is clear: Cops put their hands on Carol when she had done nothing to warrant an arrest. It was only after she had been slammed and had her arms yanked that Arnott claimed she had assaulted an officer. But even he never claimed she had done anything to resist or be arrested for.

You aren't fooling anyone here. You clearly have a dog in the hunt, and you are worried, to the point of obsession, repeating the same unsupported claims over and over. I'd say you should be worried.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:05 mentions sworn statements. Well, their should be sworn statements from Carol and me, as victims/witnesses to this matter. The GCSO manual requires investigation of any "critical incident" involving use of force. Part of that process is interviews and sworn statements from victims and witnesses. Yet, we haven't heard from any one. That means either no investigation has been done at all, and certainly a thorough one hasn't been done. That goes to a thoroughly corrupt department, and 1:05 has no answer for that.

legalschnauzer said...

Memo to @3:05 etc.

Until you ID yourself and state your credentials, I have no interest in any "explanations" you might have. The "explanations" of someone who hides behind an anonymous wall mean nothing.

You claim to know of sworn statements, which suggests you are a police insider in Springfield, and you have an interest in the outcome of this case. Thus, until you show proof otherwise, you have no credibility.

On top of that, I asked you to provide information re: Lt. Christian Conrad and Major Phil Corcoran of GCSO. You failed to do so. Until you do that, plus identifying yourself, your comments will no longer see the light of day. I'm sure you know Conrad and Corcoran, and you are covering for one or both.

I've cut you more slack than I should have. But you continue to lie over and over, on the same subjects, so "I'm done" with you. Ever heard that phrase "You're done, you're done"? The guy who broke Carol's arm used it over and over. He was like a talking parrot, and that's all he could say. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about. His career, and the career of his enablers, is on the line.

Have a good one. I look forward to kicking your corrupt ass. Debi Wade already has put herself on the path to criminal sanctions. I look forward to seeing other corrupt cops in this matter, heading down the same path.

legalschnauzer said...

Memo to readers:

Mr. Apolgist/Craig Lowther has gone completely out of his mind. He has sent seven comments in the past 45 minutes, none of which will be published, but they reveal a deeply disturbed mind. He has gone particularly nuts since I asked him about Lt. Christian Conrad and Maj. Phil Corcoran in the Greene County Sheriff's Office. I feel certain he didn't know that I knew about these gentlemen, and their role in the beating of Carol.

That I know of this apparently has caused him to become unhinged, like Donald Trump on a late-night Twitter binge.

legalschnauzer said...

Hey, Lowther:

Why has the Greene County Sheriff's Office Policy and Procedure Manual gone off line? Did you order someone to do that. It describes the investigation that must be done in a "critical incident" involving use of force. But it's no longer online. Should we take that to mean no investigation has been done? Is that because any legit investigation would look real bad for the GCSO. Gee, that sure enhances your credibility, and the credibility of the thug cops you are trying to protect.

legalschnauzer said...


Just got three more comments from Mr. Lowther/Apologist. That makes 10 in roughly two hours, maybe less. The references to Lt. Christian Conrad and Maj. Phil Corcoran have made him lose it completely.

Funny to see a veteran lawyer melt down this way.

legalschnauzer said...

Hold the phones, Lowther just sent another comment. That's 11 comments in two hours, none of which I've posted -- all of which repeat the same BS he has been pushing for weeks/months. The guy is stark-raving mad. Never seen a meltdown like this on the Web.

Anonymous said...

I remember when you wrote about that manual and all the tests it required -- like drug and blood screenings for involved cop, etc. You mean to tell me that manual no longer is on the Web, since you wrote about.

legalschnauzer said...

@7:49 --

Yes, that's what I'm saying. Here is URL to where the manual used to be:

legalschnauzer said...

Just got another comment from Lowther. That makes 12 in past four hours or so, and I've not published a one. He's getting close to 20 comments send today -- in one day!

We have a lawyer cracking up, right here at Legal Schnauzer, in real time. Never seen anything like it.

BTW, he hasn't denied he's Lowther. Even he seems to know how obvious it is.

We're talking cray-cray here -- big time.

Anonymous said...

Manual disappears off Web. Gee, that's not suspicious.

legalschnauzer said...

The manual calls for parallel criminal and administrative investigations. Here is a key component of it:

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

Were one or more of the cops present at our eviction high, drunk, bombed, or other?

legalschnauzer said...

Just got another comment from Lowther. That makes 20-25 comments in the roughly 24 hours. Never seen this kind of bizarre behavior from a so-called professional. He clearly is trying to intimidate victims of police abuse, and I think that might merit a bar complaint. He's getting close to harassing communication, which is a crime.

legalschnauzer said...

Got five more comments from Lowther, attached to another post. That's getting close to 30 comments from a lawyer in roughly 24 hours. A complete legal meltdown since I reported that Missouri law requires rent be late by one month before eviction begins -- and raised the names of Lt. Christian Conrad and Maj. Phil Corcoran.

legalschnauzer said...

Just got two more comments from Lowther, which means he's averaging about one comment per hour over the past 32 hours or so. And he hasn't made a valid point yet. Unreal?