Tag Archive for Virginia Cop Block

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/

An Open Letter to Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring

Dear Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring;

It’s clear that you want to build a legacy as gun control trailblazers in Virginia. What’s not clear is why you both seem entirely disinterested in adopting or advocating for meaningful control measures for those who are entrusted with guns and the authority to take lives with near-impunity by the government. You can be counted on to stand with the grieving families of gun homicide victims…so long as they are not the victims of police abuse and overreach. In those cases you are nowhere to be found.  The hypocrisy is galling. And telling.

Furthermore, your recent move to end concealed carry permit reciprocity with 25 states targets a population that is known to be much more law-abiding than the general public, and does nothing to increase public safety. According to the Washington Post, the Attorney General’s office “could not say how many people are suspected of crossing into Virginia with concealed weapons to commit crimes office cannot even say how many people are suspected of crossing into Virginia with concealed weapons to commit crimes.”  The fact that you cannot provide the very information that should have informed your move to restrict CHP holders in the state implies that you either did not bother to research this because you knew it was a non-issue, or you did research it and found no evidence that there was an issue. Read more

Help Bring Yosue Joel Rios Home for the Holidays

The enduring popularity of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and recent proliferation of programs like National Geographic’s Live Free or Die shows that many people have a deep yearning to escape the consumerist hamster wheel we’re all trapped on by transitioning to living off the land and their own hard work. While watching the show it’s often struck me that, thanks to the state, such a lifestyle is not really possible for most people in this day and age.

Even if you have the formidable skill and character required for this lifestyle, and land of your own to work and live on, you still have to have the means to pay the property taxes each year, and manage not to run afoul of all the state and local restrictions most people aren’t even aware of. You most certainly are not allowed to Rewild on public lands either.

live-free-or-die

We grow, raise, scavenge and barter for everything we need, but still have to earn enough money to pay taxes to the state every year for the land we “own.”

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Virginia Cop Block T-shirt/ Hoodie Pre-Sale June 27 – July 15

Fellow Police Accountability supporters! After MUCH delay, we are finally releasing TWO designs for shirts/ hoodies.
This is a PRE-SALE only, similar to music artists who Pre-Sale albums. You MUST Pay for for gear upfront.
Pre-Sale Ordering begins today, June 27 and will END at the end of the day on July 15.
I’m told by the Shirt/Sign/ Decal business that products will be ready no more than 2 weeks after order is submitted to them – so you can potentially have your gear by the end of the month of July.

Shirts:
1 for $20 (+ $5.50 shipping)
Or 2 for $33 (+ $5.50 shipping)

Hoodies:
1 for $35 (+ $12 shipping)
2 for $60 (+ $12 shipping)



 

What you see in the picture, is Read more

VA State Trooper McKenney Sues VA Cop Block Founder Nathan Cox for $1.35 Million

Nathan Cox & Tom Roberts after the $10,000 VCU Settlement.

Nathan Cox & Tom Roberts after the $10,000 VCU Settlement.

Written by: Nathan Cox

In March of 2014, local Richmond media (along with Virginia Cop Block) reported that I was being sued by Virginia State Trooper Melanie McKenney as a result from a traffic stop that transpired on Memorial Day weekend 2012, nearly two years prior, in which I later wrote an article about. The initial suit was for “defamation” which was filed in small claims court and she was suing me for $5,000.

The initial “warrant in-debt” I received had no attached complaint or allegations and I had no idea what it was about. I later formed the opinion that McKenney was upset about something I perhaps wrote in the article about the stop. The article also included information I acquired by way of a Freedom of Information Act Request.  This information I received included electronic forms of communication, radio transmissions and her dashboard camera.

During this first go around, Read more

VIDEO: JUSTICE FOR WAYNE A. JONES RALLY A SUCCESS

Written by guest writer: Tony Soto

Had the pleasure to join with the people in City Of Martinsburg West Virginia today to Lead a Protest and Rally bringing attention back to Wayne A Jones an unarmed man who was murdered execution style by 5 Martinsburg Police Officers Known as MP5. As we gathered on the corners of 232 Queen Street we were quickly met with a heavy Police Presence. Yet that didn’t stop the individuals in attendance from gathering and demanding Justice on behalf of Mr.Jones and a transparent Police department that will equally apply justice not by ones skin color or job occupation , but by ones humanity.

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Vigil for Jimmy Higgins & Upcoming Funeral

Jimmy Collage2

Written by: Nathan Cox

 

As published on March 20th, James “Jimmy” Higgins, a good buddy of mine and an outstanding activist and volunteer with Virginia Cop Block who was helping spearhead Colonial Heights Cop Block and Petersburg Cop Block lost his life along with three others in a tragic car accident.

This past Monday a vigil took place at White Bank Park in Colonial Heights that included the planting of a Dogwood Tree in memory of Jimmy that was donated by the Colonial Heights Home Depot.
Many folks wrote on the event wall and shared memories and pictures of Jimmy.

I wanted to share some of the pictures from the vigil and update everyone with the funeral arrangements for people who may be interested in going. You can also find videos of some of the various individuals that spoke and shared memories about Jimmy here.

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As for the funeral, I’ve gotten word that it’s tentatively set for this coming Wednesday, April 1 at 11am at St Ann Catholic Church in Colonial Heights.

We are raising money to help the family of James “Jimmy” Higgins with any and all costs associated with his funeral and memorial services. This is an extreme hardship for the family and we really want to show them how much Jimmy was loved and appreciated by helping remove this financial worry during their time of mourning. We sincerely appreciate your generous donation.

Jimmy’s life was tragically ended on the morning of March 20th, 2015 along with 3 others when the vehicle he was in collided, head on, with a tractor trailer. Jimmy was a life long supporter of liberty and the second amendment and was at the time traveling to participate in a second amendment event. Jimmy was also very involved in the cause for police and judicial system accountability and transparency.

Over the last 3 years he has helped educate literally more than 9 thousand people including his local friends in Colonial Heights and was very involved and active in his community. Jimmy was a well loved and respected member of the liberty community and society as a whole. Jimmy will be missed.

A Tribute to James “Jimmy” Higgins

Jimmy Collage2Written by: Nathan Cox
I sit here typing this, still in disbelief, completely shocked and deeply saddened. Today at around 7am, Jimmy Higgins along with 3 other Richmond area men and activists were killed in a horrific car accident in Ohio, as they traveled to Michigan for some sort of event or demonstration. The three other men were Jason Spitzer III, Stephen Kim and David Armstrong, all of which had made local Richmond news multiple times last year for their peaceful open-carry demonstrations, which were to encourage people to utilize their 2nd Amendment Rights to effectively protect themselves and not rely on other people for their security.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Jason, Stephen and David at several events – solid, smart, caring and seemed very genuine, much like Jimmy.
Maybe you disagree with their politics, but putting that aside these 4 men were truly outstanding individuals and I can confidently say that because I personally knew Jimmy and I am witnessing what friends are saying about Jason, David and Stephen on their respective Facebook Pages and on the status I posted when I heard the news. Great men seem to be a commodity in the wind these days and these men will never be forgotten and always be remembered as great men who stood up for their rights and the rights of others.

As for Jimmy, If I recall correctly, I first met Jimmy back in 2012 and it may have been around the time of the Brandon Raub was wrongfully detained because he was at several of the demonstrations we organized in Petersburg during that time frame. He and I connected very well and Jimmy was eager to get educated and get involved. Jimmy was a tremendous help with Virginia Cop Block’s Liberty Empowerment Project, as we distributed 9,000+ informational “Know Your Rights” packets, door to door/ person to person in more than a dozen Richmond housing projects. It was during this time period when I really got to know Jimmy, this was later in the summer of 2012.

Jimmy was a bright, genuine, determined young man. He was the same age as my little brother, just 2 days from now, March 22nd Jimmy would’ve turned 25.

Jimmy leaves behind a mother, father, two brothers and two sisters. But He’d tell you he has 4 brothers and 4 sisters, because each of his siblings is married and he doesn’t refer to them as inlaws, but brothers and sisters. That’s the type of family oriented person he was.From what I know about Jimmy, he loved animals, loved nature, very family oriented person and loved to help people, which is why he got so involved with Virginia Cop Block.

Jimmy had his own first and second hand encounters with police that apparently were questionable/ concerning enough to self-educate about his rights and ended up finding Virginia Cop Block and aspired to help make a difference – and that is exactly what he did. Jimmy was in the habit of sacrificing his time and even money some times to people in need and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Jimmy was a hard-working employee at Food Lion and would do anything to help his friends &/or family.

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My heart is breaking as I sit here in disbelief. After Jimmy was a tremendous help with the Liberty Empowerment Project he continued to stay involved. Jimmy was PIVOTAL in 2014 and even thus far in 2015. In 2014 a Petersburg teenager was brutally assaulted by a police officer for simply recording a traffic stop from a safe distance on private property. Jimmy played a huge roll in helping that young man Devin Thomas. He was the co-organizer for the demonstration we organized and offered any help/ assistance he could to Mr. Thomas during his legal matters.
I know he’s played a pivotal roll also in educating the circle of friends he has in his Colonial Heights/ Peterburg area, educating them about non-violence & their individual rights.

Just recently Jimmy played a KEY role in helping out a New Hampshire business owner and also activist who just happened to be passing through traveling to Georgia to briefly reunite with his family, when he was pulled over by Hopewell Sheriff’s Department and ended up being placed under arrest. Jimmy played a pivotal roll in coordinating with that man’s friends and helping him Bond out of Jail the following day of the arrest.

Jimmy had recently received his Private Investigating certificate and was eager to generate some business and also help some people out.
This is only a mere glimpse of who Jimmy is and what he was about. I encourage any friends or family to share your thoughts about Jimmy in the comment section below.

Jimmy reminded me of my self. He was very down to earth. Very genuine, caring and selfless. Only a minority of people are willing to stand up and fight for a cause and he was apart of that minority. I hope the example that Jimmy set for his peers will resonate within them and replicate the great qualities and characteristics of Jimmy.

I am organizing a vigil for Jimmy that will take place one day after his birthday, This coming Monday March 23rd at 5pm at White Bank Park in Colonial Heights which is a park Jimmy frequently took his dogs to.

You can find Details on the Facebook Event here.

We are raising money to help the family of James “Jimmy” Higgins with any and all costs associated with his funeral and memorial services. This is an extreme hardship for the family and we really want to show them how much Jimmy was loved and appreciated by helping remove this financial worry during their time of mourning. We sincerely appreciate your generous donation.
Jimmy’s life was tragically ended on the morning of March 20th, 2015 along with 3 others when the vehicle he was in collided, head on, with a tractor trailer. Jimmy was a life long supporter of liberty and the second amendment and was at the time traveling to participate in a second amendment event. Jimmy was also very involved in the cause for police and judicial system accountability and transparency. Over the last 3 years he has helped educate literally more than 9 thousand people including his local friends in Colonial Heights and was very involved and active in his community. Jimmy was a well loved and respected member of the liberty community and society as a whole. Jimmy will be missed.

Here are 2 videos that Jimmy recorded while interacting with the police.

This was taken at Food Lion when Jimmy witnessed what appeared to be an autistic young man pacing back and forth, he grew concerned and had a feeling the police would show up, which they did and he started recording. He did so because too many mentally disabled individuals have been shot and killed by the police – and as Jimmy says in the video, he’s recording for “everyone’s protection.”

Richmond Police to Hold Farce Public Forum

20150131_231254-1 Written By: Nathan Cox

Richmond’s NBC12 recently published

A date is now set for Richmond police to have a public forum with local protesters. The community meeting, planned for February 10th, comes after more than two months of rallies across the city concerning police conduct, and a slew of other issues.

Protests sprung up nationally since the officer-involved shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Protesters say they want to ask Richmond police about officer conduct and protocol.

No topic is off the table, according to demonstrators. They say they’ll be asking questions like “If an officer asks me to take my hands out of my pockets, do I have to?”

Both demonstrators and police say they want an open dialogue. The public forum will be held at the Police Training Academy on February 10th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.. Citizens will write in questions, which will be read by local radio personality Clovia Lawrence, who is acting as the moderator. Organizers are using the social media hashtag #PeepsAndPolice.

The goal is to create understanding and transparency among police and the people they serve, according to demonstrators. It’s something that local protesters say is lacking. Add to that a more serious, national concern of police profiling, harassment or brutality….

My problems, questions and concerns with this are: Read more

Northern Virginia Cop Block Presses for Accountability & Changes in Shooting Death of John Geer

By: Lorelei McFly

Christmas came a few days early for the many people seeking answers in the death of 46-year-old John Geer. On Monday, the Fairfax County Police Department was ordered to release information about why the unarmed man was shot and killed by one of its officers on August 29, 2013.

What is already known is that police officers were dispatched to Geer’s townhouse in Springfield, Virginia, after his partner, Maura Harrington, called 911 reporting that he was throwing her belongings out of their residence. After 24 years and two daughters, Harrington was moving out, and Geer was understandably upset at the prospect. Harrington says, “He needed help. He didn’t need the situation worse by having guns pointed at him.” She also denies reports that he had been drinking that day.

After the police arrived, Geer stood behind the storm door of his house, speaking with the officers for 50 minutes. Geer’s father and best friend, Jeff Stewart, were both on the scene during the incident. According to Stewart, Geer spoke calmly with the officers, saying ‘I’m not coming out, you’re not coming in.’ Harrington added, “He told them he didn’t have to come out. He has every right to stay in his own house, and they’re not welcome to come in.”

What is not known is why four police officers continued to keep their guns drawn and trained on an unarmed man who was alone in his house and had no history of violence, for the entire 50 minutes that they chatted with him, and why one of them shot him without provocation. Stewart recounts what he saw happen that day, “He’s got his hands on the top of the storm door, and it’s open about six inches. All of a sudden he starts lowering his hands. His hands move down the door, level with his face, and the cops shot him once in the chest.”

Geer standing in his doorway (photo taken by Michael Lieberman)

Geer standing in his doorway (photo taken by Michael Lieberman)

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