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Denied Noodles, Alexandria Cop Gets Taste of Department’s Own Medicine

Alexandria Police Chief Earl "Noodlehead" Cook

In an incident previously covered by Josh Hotchkin, a Noodles & Company employee allegedly refused to provide service to a uniformed officer with the Alexandria Police Department of Virginia on Monday, July 25. As reported by Fox5DC: At around 6:30 p.m. Monday evening, a female officer in full uniform walked into the Noodles & Company

VA Teen Faces Felony for Dog Death–Unlike Most Cops Who Kill K9s

Megan-Kurtz-Campbell

On Monday July 25, 2016, 19-year-old Megan Kurtz Campbell was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty for leaving her dog in a hot car outside of a PetSmart in Falls Church, Virginia. According to a news release from the Fairfax County Police Department: Police and fire personnel responded to the PetSmart located at 6100

Norfolk Cop Violated Policy, Drove 96 MPH Before Fatal Crash

Robert Crittsinger deadly Norfolk crash scene

“The impact was very loud. It seems like it shook the house to the point where you brace yourself like, ‘is something about to come through the house?” It sounded like a big large pop.” That was how the May 7, 2016 crash that killed 79-year old Robert Crittsinger was described by a man who

Killer Cop Adam Torres Gets Time Served for Murder of John Geer

Adam Torres smirks in court

A Fairfax County judge accepted a plea deal for Adam Torres today, meaning the killer cop will be released from jail on June 29th, after serving only 10 months for the murder of unarmed John Geer on August 29, 2013. Torres, a former officer with the Fairfax County Police Department, shot and killed John Geer

Denied Noodles, Alexandria Cop Gets Taste of Department’s Own Medicine

Alexandria Police Chief Earl "Noodlehead" Cook

In an incident previously covered by Josh Hotchkin, a Noodles & Company employee allegedly refused to provide service to a uniformed officer with the Alexandria Police Department of Virginia on Monday, July 25.

As reported by Fox5DC:

At around 6:30 p.m. Monday evening, a female officer in full uniform walked into the Noodles & Company on Duke St. in Alexandria when she was refused service while waiting in line, according to officials. The cook at the restaurant came out of the kitchen, walked to the cashier and said something in the lines of “you are going to have to take me off the line, because I am not serving that.” The cashier and the cook then exchanged a few words and started laughing at the officer. The officer decided to leave the restaurant when she realized what was happening, called her supervisor.

Instead of going to another restaurant (might I suggest Chick-fil-A?) to get her lunch, the offended cop called her supervisor. Why? To discuss their options for arresting the chef and cashier on bogus contempt of cop charges? To make arrangements for an impromptu regulatory raid? To get talked down from going back in and shooting the place up because she feared for her ego?

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VA Teen Faces Felony for Dog Death–Unlike Most Cops Who Kill K9s

Megan-Kurtz-Campbell

On Monday July 25, 2016, 19-year-old Megan Kurtz Campbell was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty for leaving her dog in a hot car outside of a PetSmart in Falls Church, Virginia.

According to a news release from the Fairfax County Police Department:

Police and fire personnel responded to the PetSmart located at 6100 Arlington Boulevard, around 12:23 p.m. for a report of a dog locked inside of a vehicle. Firefighters arrived and immediately determined that the dog was in distress. They entered the vehicle and attempted to cool the dog down but were unsuccessful. The firefighters then transported the dog, a 5-year-old Puggle, to the veterinarian’s office inside the PetSmart, where the dog was pronounced deceased.

Negligently leaving an animal to suffer and die horribly in a hot car is inexcusable and deserves punishment, but a felony seems excessive. If convicted, Campbell will lose not only her voting and second amendment rights, but will also have her ability to even earn a living drastically reduced. Aside from having to disclose her felony conviction on most job applications, she will also be cut off from positions requiring occupational licensing, which, in Virginia includes even interior decorators and nail technicians.

Perhaps justice would be better served by a lesser charge and a substantial number of community service hours where she could toil outside in the hot sun to experience some of the distress her dog experienced locked in the car in 100-degree weather and/or help care for and rehabilitate neglected and mistreated animals at a shelter. That option is more likely to result in rehabilitation than permanently impacting her ability to be a contributing member of society.

The felony charge seems especially harsh considering how leniently law enforcement officers are typically treated for the same exact thing. Their just “doing my job” policy of routinely executing our dogs is another subject entirely.

Using the Officer Down Memorial Page  and Police K9 Handler Review Facebook page, I found reports of sixteen K9s who have died due to the actions of their human handlers this year:

Yet another dog is mysteriously missing and a police officer has been fired for trying pass off another dog as the missing K9.

What has become of these human handlers? The vast majority certainly haven’t experienced the on-site arrest and felony charge that Megan Kurtz Campbell received. Examining only the nine cases involving dogs left in hot cars, I found four that resulted in criminal charges.

  • Dan Peabody of the Cherokee County School Police Department was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals for leaving K9 Inca in a hit car. He has also been charged with making false statements to police regarding retired K9 Dale, who he said choked to death, when he’d actually shot and killed the dog. He resigned from the department before charges were filed.
  • Former Richland Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy John Cummings pleaded guilty to one count of simple animal cruelty and one count of criminal mischief by making a false police report Tuesday……Cummings resigned from the RPSO on Wednesday, June 8. His resignation was accepted in lieu of termination pending other policy violations discovered during an investigation into Duke’s death.Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mack Lancaster said Cummings was required to pay full restitution of over $8,000 to cover the cost of acquiring a replacement K-9 deputy as part of the plea and paid on Tuesday.Lancaster said Cummings also received a six-month suspended sentence on each of the two counts. He will spend two years on supervised probation.”

As of July 13, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office was still investigating the death of K9 Robbie, but details of his handler’s past behavior makes one wonder why he was ever entrusted with another dog:

“Deputy Tommy Willcox was placed on paid administrative leave Monday for circumstances not directly related to the incident with Robbie, said ASO spokesman Lt. Brandon Kutner. Kutner declined to elaborate on the specific circumstances relating to Willcox’s administrative leave…

…Willcox kept Kozar, his second K-9 partner, after the dog retired. He was put down by a gunshot from Willcox during a K-9 training activity in 2008. Kozar was 13-years-old and was suffering from hip dysplasia and other medical concerns. Willcox faced criticism for this, but after an investigation, it was determined that no criminal violations were committed.”

This review shows a disturbing continuing trend of K9 handlers killing the dogs that were entrusted to their care through callous disregard and, in some cases, intentional disregard, and going mostly unpunished for their actions.

If we’re handing out felony convictions and harsh sentences for letting dogs die in hot cars, that’s certainly what these cops deserve in spades. They are, after all, the ones who want people who kill police dogs to be treated the same as if they’d killed a human officer.

Norfolk Cop Violated Policy, Drove 96 MPH Before Fatal Crash

Robert Crittsinger deadly Norfolk crash scene

“The impact was very loud. It seems like it shook the house to the point where you brace yourself like, ‘is something about to come through the house?” It sounded like a big large pop.”

That was how the May 7, 2016 crash that killed 79-year old Robert Crittsinger was described by a man who heard it happen and witnessed the aftermath. It was an accident the Norfolk Police Department (of Virginia) initially said occurred when one of their officers “was traveling south on Hampton Boulevard when a Toyota Prius pulled out from Surrey Crescent and collided with the cruiser.”

Now new details exposed by a city councilman during a public meeting show that it was actually the NPD officer who was at fault, and not the deceased victim.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, “Paul Riddick said the police chief told him an investigation found that the officer was going 72 mph at the instant his marked cruiser collided with a Toyota Prius, driven by Robert Crittsinger.”

The article describes how the still unnamed officer crossed paths with Crittsinger that night:

Just after 10 p.m. May 7, the officer had been dispatched to a call for a gunshot victim near the corner of Colley and Graydon avenues in Ghent, police said at the time.

The crash happened north of Old Dominion University at the intersection of Surrey Crescent, more than 2 miles from the shooting. The officer, whose name police refused to release, was coming from farther north.

The NPD officer was racing along Norfolk’s streets at speeds up to 96 MPH. This is despite the fact that: “a Norfolk Police Department general order issued in 2014 says officers on emergency calls should not exceed speed limits by more than 15 mph, except during pursuits. The speed limit on that stretch of Hampton Boulevard is 35 mph, and there was no police pursuit that night.”

Crittsinger's wrecked Prius at the junkyard

Crittsinger’s wrecked Prius at the junkyard

Even though the police department already knows that their officer blatantly violated their policy regarding proper speed, and certainly knew this back in May, the issue is reportedly still “under investigation.” The department refuses to even say whether the involved officer has returned to work.

It seems extremely unlikely that an ordinary citizen who caused a fatal accident while recklessly traveling at nearly three times the posted speed limit would experience this sort of protracted investigation and considerate delay of criminal charges.  Fortunately, we don’t need to speculate on that matter.  The auto enthusiast website, Jalopnik, has covered Virginia’s treatment of reckless drivers extensively.

From an article by Patrick George, who served three days in a Virginia jail for reckless driving during his test drive of a Camaro ZL1:

Reckless driving is not a traffic citation, it’s a criminal charge, and a Class One misdemeanor at that. That means it’s the highest level of misdemeanor you can be charged with in Virginia, right below a felony. The maximum penalty for a reckless driving conviction is a $2,500 fine, a six month driver’s license suspension, and up to a year in jail.

They hand it out like it’s Halloween candy, too. You drive 20 mph over the limit, it’s reckless driving. They even charge you with it for failing to properly signal, or when you’re found to be at fault in a car wreck. I’ve heard of some cases where people get 30 days in jail if they speed over 100 mph.

Other Class One misdemeanors in Virginia include animal cruelty, sexual battery, and aiming a firearm at someone. This is how the commonwealth regards people who drive over 80 mph.

Another Jalopnik article gives an idea of how frequently Virginia slaps this charge on drivers who have not caused deadly crashes, or even any accident at all:

During the 2014 Thanksgiving weekend, Virginia State Police cited 2,312 people for reckless driving and 9,789 people for speeding. That’s not even including all the tickets issued by local sheriff’s offices and police departments. The summer holiday weekends can have even higher numbers, with 2,673 reckless driving tickets issued by the State Police from July 4 to July 6, 2014.

The unnamed Norfolk police officer who killed Robert Crittsinger was:

  • driving more than 80 MPH before the accident;
  • driving more than 20 MPH over the speed limit when he smashed into Crittsinger’s car;
  • not engaged in a criminal pursuit.

Since this officer broke the law and violated department policy, reckless driving should be the least criminal charge he will face. That would still not be sufficient since his negligent actions took the life of an innocent bystander. The most appropriate case here would be aggravated involuntary manslaughter due to conduct “that was so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.” The punishment for this class 5 felony in Virginia is “a term of imprisonment of not less than one nor more than 20 years, one year of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment,” and automatic revocation of one’s driver’s license.

We shall see whether blue privilege shields this officer from facing the consequences of his deadly reckless driving.

Meanwhile the only statement of responsibility Crittsinger’s surviving family will likely ever get has already come from Paul Riddick, the city councilman who took the department to task for acting “like it never happened.”

“It was negligence on our part, and as I said initially, I hope we’re not trying to hide behind sovereign immunity. It was clearly negligence on our part.”

As for the deceased Crittsinger, perhaps he is resting easy in the afterlife knowing that he helped provide an extended paid vacation for a police officer, and that the officer will likely retire with a handsome pension— According to the Virginian-Pilot, his house bears “a sticker showing Crittsinger’s past support of the Norfolk Police Pension Fund.”

Update:

Helpful readers reminded me of Virginia’s Ashley’s Law, enacted in 2011 after Ashley McIntosh was killed by Fairfax County police officer Amanda Perry, who raced through an intersection without her siren on. The law requires “emergency responders to use their flashing lights and sirens when entering an intersection against a red light or else yield to traffic.”

As the Virginian-Pilot reports: “A release said the officer had “emergency equipment” activated but did not specify whether that included both lights and siren.” Ashley’s Law doesn’t apper to be in effect here since there is no traffic light at the intersection where Crittsinger was killed. However,Virginia law does specify that emergency responders must show “due regard for safety of persons and property” while traveling above posted speed limits.

Additionally, a Facebook commenter brought up the impact of the vehicle’s speed on siren effectiveness:

“You need at least 75dBA of siren level to be audible through rolled up windows and over the car radio. In reality it might have to be 20dB higher if it’s a boom car, or a Mercedes, or some other vehicle with very good sound isolation. The maximum warning distance you can get with a siren that begins with a 100dBA at 10′ is about 160′.

At 30 MPH (44 ft/sec) closing speed that gives you about 4 seconds of warning for drivers ahead of you. At 60 MPH (88 feet per second) closing speed that only gives you 2 seconds of warning time. That’s just the warning time for someone to begin to hear a siren, they still have to react and try to locate the emergency vehicle and then do something about it.”

Furthermore, from EVOC and EMS:
“Included in my EVOC instructor’s manual is the statement that a 100W electronic siren has only 12 feet of forward penetration at 60MPH. I haven’t done the true research to see where this came from, but I feel confident that our Commonwealth wouldn’t have me deliver this information if someone hadn’t looked into it.”

http://www.firehouse.com/forums/t95954/

Killer Cop Adam Torres Gets Time Served for Murder of John Geer

Adam Torres smirks in court

A Fairfax County judge accepted a plea deal for Adam Torres today, meaning the killer cop will be released from jail on June 29th, after serving only 10 months for the murder of unarmed John Geer on August 29, 2013.

Torres, a former officer with the Fairfax County Police Department, shot and killed John Geer without provocation as Geer stood with his empty hands up above his head in the doorway of his own home. Police had been called to the house by Geer’s girlfriend, who had reported he was throwing her belongings out on the front lawn after she had announced she was leaving him and taking their teenage daughters with her.

When Torres was arrested last August and held without bond pending his second degree murder trial for killing John Geer, many speculated that this would likely be the only jail time Torres would serve for his crime.  A sweetheart deal offered by Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh ensured that would be the case.

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FOURTH AMENDMENT CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST “TONY SOTO” JAILED IN PHILADELPHIA ON $900,000.00 BOND

Tony-Soto

“IF YOU DON’T STAND FOR SOMETHING YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING”

[UPDATE 5/22/16] The jail is now reporting the Bond is $900,000.00 again but can not explain why the Court Documents explicitely state $300,000.00.

[UPDATE 5/23/16] Credible sources say THE GoFundME page started by Soto’s family has been removed at the direction of the Philadelphia Police Department.  Further updates on crowdfunding will be updated on the Tony Soto Facebook page.

FIRST: Soto’s family vehemently asserts the allegations by the Philadelphia Police Department(hereinafter “PPD”) saying that they are a “complete fabrication” and another attempt to set him up.  It should be noted that this is not the first time that the PPD has attempted to advance illegitimate charges against Soto to shut the outspoken civil rights activists mouth with trumped up criminal charges.

Have you ever met someone that can never get their [a]ct together because “The Man has got them down”; And your first thought is “this person won’t take responsibility for their actions?” Well, this isn’t one of those situations, so get some coffee and get ready to take a journey into the City of Philadelphia where  it appears “The Man” does have them down and moreoever, Soto with a $300,000.00 bond and incarceration after an incident outside his home on May 18,2016.

Before you read the Philadelphia NBC10 article, as stated above, Soto and his family contest the absurdity in these allegations. His mother witnessed the incident in question and after reaching out to her, it became very clear that NBC10 omitted the other side of this story and further, printed verbatim the entirety of the PPD’s allegations via a press release by the public information officer.  You may think this to be irrelevant but, as you will see, there is no love lost between the PPD and Tony Soto even though Soto has reached out with proverbial olive branches on many ocassions.

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Fairfax County Sends Its Killer Cops Packing…Heat

Home-Packing

Updates on Police Accountability in Fairfax, Virginia

On May 10th, Fairfax County held its second public safety committee meeting of the year, where the Board of Supervisors discussed recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum regarding the release of public information and also general use of force recommendations. Members of the ad hoc committee who served on the communications and use of force subcommittees again provided input on the same recommendations they provided six months ago. An audio recording of the meeting is available here: https://soundcloud.com/fairfaxcounty/may-10-2016-public-safety-committee-meeting.

While some might feel encouraged by the fact that the public safety committee has already met more times in the past six months than it did in the previous four years (before October, the last meeting had been in June, 2011), it’s obvious that the county is just putting on an extended dog and pony show to give the appearance of taking action, while doing precious little to address long-standing deficiencies with the police department and proper oversight of it by the Board of Supervisors. Read more

Plea Deal for Fairfax Killer Cop Adam Torres

torres-trial

On August 29, 2013, Fairfax County police officer Adam Torres shot and killed John Geer as he stood in his own doorway, speaking calmly with Officer Rodney Barnes and the other officers who had responded to Geer’s townhouse 40 minutes earlier. Geer’s partner, Maura Harrington, had called 911 because Geer was distraught over her announcement that she was moving out and taking their two teenage daughters with her, and was tossing furniture and personal effects outside onto the lawn.

[Read Tom Jackman’s excellent recap of the John Geer case from beginning to end]

On January 5, 2015, nearly a year and a half later, Fairfax County officials finally released Torres’ name to the public, something they refused to do until forced by a court order. Adam Torres was not charged with second degree murder until August 17, 2015, almost two years to the day after he killed John Geer.

Thanks to a plea deal, Torres will almost certainly be home enjoying his freedom and the love of his family when John Geer’s family marks the third anniversary of their loss this coming August; Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh has accepted a plea deal for involuntary manslaughter with a sentence of 12 months. Torres has already spent 8 months in county lockup as he has been held without bond since the day he was charged.

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Scenes from an Execution — India Kager Video Released

Kager-video

After 6 months of pressure and an emotional plea from a grieving mother that became a viral video, the Virginia Beach Police Department has finally released the video of their lethal assault on India Kager. The surveillance footage comes from the 7-Eleven where Kager and her boyfriend, Angelo Perry, were shot and killed. The blurry video was released to the public the same day as the report from the prosecutor’s office declaring no charges would be brought against the SWAT team members involved, officers S. Ferreira, K. Ziemer, J. Thorson, and D. Roys, because the shooting was deemed justified.

Kager’s boyfriend (see update below) Angelo Perry was a homicide suspect who, according to a confidential informant, was going to be in Virginia Beach to carry out a hit on an unidentified person. Despite “watching the location of Perry’s phone as it moved south from Maryland toward Virginia Beach (with what? Stingrays?),” and having “surveillance units deployed at different locations throughout the city in an attempt to spot Perry,” it was up to the confidential informant to tip off the cops that Perry was actually in town. The report also states “it was confirmed that Perry was armed,” but not how they knew this prior to the shooting.

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SB 552: the Dawn of Virginia’s Secret Police

secret-police

We’ve been hearing a lot about criminal justice reform, a movement with support from both republicans and democrats who acknowledge the myriad problems with the huge numbers of people we spend to jail and prison each year, why we send them there, and how we send them there. However, this is a movement that has apparently not reached Virginia, a state whose legislative body seems to be intent on doubling down on costly (in financial and human terms), ineffective, and harmful “tough on crime” bills that undercut government accountability and transparency and attack our civil liberties.

One of the worst examples of this is Senate Bill 552, which aims to exempt the “names, positions, job classifications, and other identifying personal information” from being released under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. This bill has already been approved by the Virginia Senate, and if the Virginia House of Delegates passes it, it’s likely Governor McAuliffe will happily sign it into law, based on his previous actions regarding law enforcement and release of information.

The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reports that this “Secret Police” law would be the first of its kind in the nation. What an ignoble distinction for a state that so proudly refers to itself as a commonwealth, “a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people,” and boasts “Sic Semper Tyrannis (Thus Always to Tyrants)” for a state motto.
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Tragedy Compounded by Travesty – Stafford Family Prosecuted for Not Euthanizing Beloved Dog “Soon Enough”

Buxton

Many of us who have lived with and loved household pets have unfortunately faced the heart-wrenching decision to put a cherished companion down as they get older and fall into poor health. Imagine having to face the pain of losing a furry family member, while also being charged with animal cruelty for not saying goodbye to your pet “soon enough” in the eyes of the state.  That’s exactly the type of inexplicable double whammy that the Evans family of Stafford County, Virginia is dealing with right now.

This past summer, Travis and Aaren Evans learned that their 9-year-old labrador retriever, Buxton, had terminal cancer. Over the July Fourth weekend, Buxton had a seizure related to the cancer. They called their regular veterinarian, who told them to take Buxton to an emergency animal hospital since they were closed for the holiday. However, Buxton’s seizure subsided while they prepared to go, and the dog seemed to recover; They decided to keep him home and monitor his condition. “He was fine for the next two days after the seizure. He was eating ground beef, and he seemed to really be rebounding,” Aaren Evans said.

The Evans family in happier times. " He guarded her crib and slept in her bed. He played dress up. He listened to her stories. He was our companion."

The Evans family in happier times:  “Buxton guarded her crib and slept in her bed. He played dress up. He listened to her stories. He was our companion.”

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