Posts Tagged ‘Police Misconduct’

Sandra Bland case – Too many inconsistencies & unanswered questions!

July 31, 2015

There are too many questions still to be answered – this is a very disturbingly confused situation, suggesting a need for an in depth and thorough investigation

As a retired research pathologist and physician the Sandra Bland case is very disturbing to me.

Sandra Bland was arrested after an officer stopped her for not using a signal to change lanes and then, although legally but questionably as he had no reasonable basis to do so, told her to stop smoking and then  got mad at her and made her get out of the car because she seemed to object to this request.

When she got out of the car and was verbally objecting to the officer’s requests, the officer then slammed her to the ground causing her to smash her head down.  Then she complained she couldn’t hear, which indicates she suffered a concussion.

She told the officers she had epilepsy and was on a medication, Kepra.

The jail then claims she committed suicide by hanging three days later with a plastic bag.

Yes it is possible to hang yourself by leaning in after securing your hands so you cannot get the bag or rope away from suffocating you even without any drop. Many prisoners have killed themselves in this manner called “leaning in hanging”.

If the jail denied her  the epilepsy medication, it is possible that she died from a seizure as the medication wore out of her system and then made her prone to a seizure. The stress of the situation and lack of medication could have contributed to having a seizure. Then they could have staged the hanging.  If this was true, then there would be no bleeding after death around the ligature (plastic bag) which was around her neck and no petechiae (pin point hemmorhages).  Petechiae however, are not always present with hanging or suffocation.

If she was strangled and then the hanging staged, the autopsy report, if it was done properly, should show that the ligature furrowing was concentric and not consistent with hanging.  A hanging will have non-concentric furrowing as the ligature has more pressure on one side due to gravity.

There was also plant matter in her abrasions on her back, consistent with the day she was arrested, having been thrown to the ground and dragged.  It is negligence for the jail not to have cleaned and treated her abrasions or allowed her to shower properly for three days to clean the wounds.

If the blood tests show she did not have her medication, then that also would be negligence, as lack of medication needed for epilepsy could have precipitated a seizure.

The reports say she told the officers she was suicidal, but the jail did not have her on a suicide watch. That would also be negligence. Suicide in jails often occurs during the first few days in jail as that is when the detainee is most upset about the situation. Ms. Bland certainly had reason to be upset as the circumstances of the arrest and slamming her to the ground seem excessive.

In addition, she had an unusually high amount of marijuana in her blood.  Therefore, she was given a large amount of marijuana in the jail which she either ingested or smoked. That needs investigation. I am not an expert on effects of marijuana so I cannot comment on whether this can increase suicidal ideation or depression or if it can trigger seizures.

The autopsy does not prove she hung herself.  There are too many questions still to be answered.

A senior well-known forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht , who is also an attorney agrees with the above assessment during an interview on the radio here.

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Fox News Megyn Kelly tries to smear cop victim Brown with false statement about autopsy

October 24, 2014

It is really disturbing to me for arrogant hate-mongers like Megyn Kelly to jump to false conclusions based on her layman interpretation of autopsy reports, as she did when she interviewed the Brown family attorney, Mr. Crump on The Kelly File on Fox News a few days ago.

The autopsy of cop shooting victim Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by Dr. Norfleet, says that he had a wound in his forearm from the back to front. Kelly said (and falsely assumed) based on some statement from another pathologist, Dr. Melinek, that this means he did not have his hands up. This is a false statement. (Note: that the front of the hand is the palm on an anatomic drawing with the arms down at the side of the  body). Also, Dr. Melinek states that she was misquoted in a pathology expert blog here.

Michael Brown could have had his elbow bent and his palm facing his face trying to reflexively protect his face and body from the volley of shots fired at him that seems clearly excessive and perhaps murderous by Officer Wilson.

Every shot is an isolated moment in time.  Each shot does not explain what happened before or after, nor does it explain motivation behind each shot or action.

The autopsy report is also consistent with an innocent person being grabbed by a wildly violent and bullying cop who threatened Brown by pulling out his gun while he had Mr. Brown at his car door, and then Brown with his hand trying to push the gun a way, before getting away from the car.

The witnesses said Brown had his hands up and was 20 feet from the officer’s car when he was hit by a volley of shots, after getting away from the car where the first shot to his hand occurred.

Witnesses said Brown was facing Ofc. Wilson at that point. The two shots to his chest and shot to his upper arm are consistent with that story.

If his right elbow was bent and his palm faced his face then the forearm wound would be “back to front”. It proves nothing about the position of his arms just before being shot by the volley from Ofc. Wilson’s weapon.

The fact that the chest wounds were somewhat  downward and both head wounds were clearly from the top downward means that Brown was either falling down with his head below the level of Ofc. Wilson’s gun or nearly crawling towards Wilson when Brown was shot in the head twice (one bullet at the top of his head downward and one from the forehead down through his face and out his jaw – not straight on backward, but downward).

The pathologist who made statements about the autopsy by Dr. Norfleet, Dr. Judy Melinek, cautioned that her statements were not definitive and that there were many possible explanations for the wound to his hand and arm.

The forearm wound could also have occurred if Brown was running away from Ofc. Wilson and had his arm down at his side, but who runs with their  palms facing forward?  This is unlikely.

The wound to his hand does not prove Brown was trying to grab the gun and shoot Ofc. Wilson.  It could also mean that Ofc. Wilson was trying to shoot unarmed Brown and Brown was trying to save his life by pushing the gun away!

Brown could have had his hands up, but when he started to be shot with the first bullets then turned his palm towards his face as he was falling down on his face.

The autopsy report can only collaborate the reports of witnesses.  I believe a half-dozen witnesses would not all lie about what they saw.

Clearly, the only way Brown could be shot in the very top of his head downward (as a tall man) by an officer, is if  his head was lower than the gun or at the level of the gun, which would have easily occurred as Brown was collapsing from the chest wounds and falling on his face.

Why would the  Ofc. shoot a man twice in the head when he is nearly on the ground after already shooting him five times?  That to me is homicide.

If Brown was committing a crime is not the issue. The degree of force used by Officer Wilson is the issue. Brown was unarmed! Whether Brown was 100 lbs or 300 lbs should also not make too much of a difference if, as the witnesses appear to be saying, Brown was not within arms reach of Wilson, so did not pose an immediate threat to him after he ran away from the police car.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that it is not legal for an officer to use lethal force against a nondangerous suspect running away in the following case where police shot a 15 yr old in the back of the head and killed him, when he was trying to climb over a fence and flee after attempting a buglary: Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985).

Memphis, Tennessee, 1974. Police are looking for a prowler. They spot an unarmed teenager in the back yard. He tries to get away, climbing over a chain-link fence. A policeman shoots the boy in the back of the head.

“The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so. It is no doubt unfortunate when a suspect who is in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot does not always justify killing the suspect. A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead.”  Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985).

Police Taser Abuse and Execution of Teenagers – Inadequate Police Education

April 28, 2009

Tasers have become as common as candy with police departments and are claimed to be a safe and harmless way to subdue the unruly. Unfortunately, they have been overused, misused, and appear to be causing more harm than good.  There have been at least five deaths of teenagers this year due to taser.

I believe the laws need to be changed so that tasers are a last resort, used only by the most experienced officer and the guidelines as to when to use them must be re-written to include at least:

1. No use on children; 2. No use on a handicapped person unable to flee unless they are in imminent danger of death by shooting themselves, etc., including people in wheelchairs; 3. No use on a person who is handcuffed or already restrained; 4. No use on a person who is face down on the ground or up against a wall; 5. No repeated use on a person who is smaller than the officer; and perhaps many other guidelines.

Officers need to be trained to back off, so they can better assess the persons mental state and level of understanding and let a person calm down before trying to wrestle with them to get instant compliance if they are cornered in a room and there are clearly no weapons within their reach. The level of force used by police should be ratcheted down a bit and the level of training required of police before they can use a taser or a gun must be greatly increased including training about psychological problems, deafness, and mental retardation or autism.

Others have recently described death by taser as pre-judicial electrocution and execution. I believe they have a point. See:

http://chicagocopwatch.org/2009/04/at-least-five-seventeen-year-olds-suffer-police-pretrial-capital-punishment-by-electrocution-this-year/

More info about Taser abuse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zorL1QfDOi0

There needs to be a commission at the federal level to evaluate the use of tasers, police excessive force, the use of SWAT teams, and the training and education of officers. Our country has gone way too far in becoming a police state with thugs and bullies instead of professional officers enforcing and abusing the laws.

Cook County Jail Staff Daily Commit Assault with a Deadly Weapon

March 23, 2009

Jerry Brown, the Attorney General of California has indicted a doctor, a nurse, and a pharmacist for elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon for forcing high doses of psychotropic medications on Alzeimer’s and other patients to shut them up and keep them in a zombie like state. Three patients died due to results of these wrongful acts.

In Illinois it is illegal to involuntarily force psychotropic drugs like Haldol, Zyprexa, Ativan and even Benedryl by injection on patients unless they are an immediate danger to their own life or someone else’s life and then a court order must be obtained to continue the medication involuntarily.

Cook CountyDept. of Corrections (Cook County Jail or CCDOC) officers constantly request nurses to give such medication to shut up complaints by inmates, to quiet them even though they are not harming anyone and are locked in their cells, and in retaliation for disagreements with the officers. Nurses call doctors on the phone and ask for prescriptions and the doctors illegally prescribe the medication without examining the patients. Even if they examine the patients doctors at CCDOC under the direction of the Director of Psychiatry, Dr. David Carrington, continue to violate ethical standards and the law with such prescriptions when they are not needed and when there has not been adequate evaluations or diagnoses that require such medication. Even if the medications may be indicated, they cannot be given involuntarily except under strict guidelines.

I complained to the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commissions Human Rights Authority Branch that by law must investigate complaints of violations of the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code. They sustained my complaint that psychotropic drugs were being given illegally to inmates to shut them up. After the HRA warned Dr. Carrington that this illegal practice must stop, Dr. Carrington and his staff with assistance of the officers are continuing to violate the law. Each act of forcing psychotropic drugs on an inmate/patient without proper diagnosis and without documentation that they are a danger to their own life or the life of others is a class A misdemeanor.

For more details about this “Haldol Menace” see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA2S-oOOJyY&NR=1

Dr. Carrington should be disciplined, his license revoked, the nurse’s involved licenses revoked, and the officers retrained to understand the law and how to properly help in the mental health care of mentally ill persons without assaulting them.

If this was California, Dr. Carrington would be charged with abuse of patients and assault with a deadly weapon and face up to 11 years in prison. Why is State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez doing nothing? Why is the United States Attorney who came to the same conclusion about this medical battery and malpractice doing nothing? We need a public outcry, legislative hearings, and indictments and action by the Illinois Department of Professional Responsibility.

Please complain to:
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney, 50 W. Washington, Room 500, Chicago, IL 60602,

Patrick Fitzgerald and Joan Laser, Asstant United State’s Attorneys at 219 S. Dearborn, 5 th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604, and

the press.

This barbaric medical battery and abuse must stop! Injection of these drugs into asthmatics or others without careful review of their medical records and careful diagnosis is malpractice, assault with a deadly weapon, and medical battery. It may cause death in certain persons (fatal laryngospasm in asthmatics) and permanent brain injury. Haldol has now been documented to cause brain atrophy in long term use and has a half life of 8 days in the brain – and leads to serious complications in at least half of people it is given to.


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