AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB) – One year after being accidentally shot in the face Britteney Miles shares her story.
On May 5, 2012, the Agawam resident called 911 after she thought someone was breaking into her apartment. It turned out to be her boyfriend.
“If I had known it was my boyfriend I would have never called the cops. I would have went to the front door and opened it,” said Miles.
Miles was shot as she was at the door to meet the police.
“I walked over to open the door and before I could get my door open, she fired her gun and it went through the door and hit me in the face,” said Miles.
She was pregnant and holding her two-year-old daughter at the time. She didn’t know she was shot until an officer told her what happened.
“They had me laying on the ground and I was still bleeding,” said Miles.
The whole time she adds the focus was on her children.
“I was afraid they were gonna go to DSS or a foster home and I was gonna die and my kids aren’t gonna know what happened to me,” said Miles.
Britteney has scars on her chin and neck. She is still in pain and worries about going out in public.
“Anything could go wrong, any moment and it makes if difficult to be out doing things,” said Miles.
The officer who shot her was Danielle Petrangelo. She was cleared by the District Attorney of any criminal wrong doing, but is no longer with the department.
Miles may testify at a jobs status hearing for the former officer in October.
Meantime, her attorney Bruce Milikian is reviewing the police findings and medical reports to determine if civil action should be taken.
“In this particular case, while there was no criminal wrong doing, doesn’t mean there wasn’t wrongdoing,” said Milikian
For Miles, every day is astruggle as her anxiety continues to get worse and the pain is a constant reminder of that terrifying morning. “Anything could go wrong at any moment and it makes it difficult to be out doing things,” she says.
A hearing is set for October for Officer Petrngelo to determine her job status. Miles may be testifying about what happened during the shooting.
We reached out to the Agawam Police Department for comment, but have not heard back.
SWAT team rammed wrong man’s car, lawsuit alleges
Posted: 6:01 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2013
By Esther Robards-Forbes – American-Statesman Staff
Driving in the early morning hours to his job at a metal shop in Buda, Miguel Montanez at first thought the approaching lights were a school bus or a tow truck.
But Montanez says it was a Hays County SWAT truck that rammed his car head-on. As they collided, another police vehicle pinned him from behind, he says.
He heard a shot.
“I saw my windshield crack, and I ducked down as low as possible,” Montanez said. “I really thought I was going to die.”
Seconds later, he says, three deputies were pointing assault rifles at him. “That’s when I heard one of the officers say, ‘Oh, (expletive), we got the wrong guy,’ ” Montanez said.
Montanez, 39, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on May 6 against Hays County, the city of San Marcos and nine law enforcement agents for injuries he says he sustained that morning last summer, July 13.
Even after officers realized that he was not the suspect, he said, they kept him in handcuffs for half an hour while they questioned him and ran a warrant check that came up with nothing. Then they let him go.
Montanez, who lives in Guadalupe County, said that one of the officers told him they were looking for one of his brothers, who lives at a different address.
Sheriff’s officials in Hays County and San Marcos police declined to comment.
The county’s insurance company paid about $3,700 for the damage to the car, which was totaled, but has never offered an apology or to cover his medical bills. Montanez said he suffered a herniated disc in his back and other injuries during the stop, as well as psychological trauma. Most of all, he says, he wants to know what happened and why.
“It’s an example of government at its worst,” said Montanez’s lawyer, Adam Loewy. “The man was, I would submit, inches from being killed for no reason, and no one from the county or the city of San Marcos has ever come out here to apologize. The government is not supposed to attack its citizens.”
Hays County officials also declined to discuss details of the incident.
“We look forward to the opportunity to clarify some of the facts in the case,” said Mark Kennedy, an attorney for Hays County.
According to a heavily redacted report obtained by Loewy from the Hays County sheriff’s office, the SWAT team was in the area to find a suspect who had warrants out for his arrest. The report does not specify the charges or identify the wanted person.
According to the report, the suspect drove a blue 1993 BMW. Montanez drove a green 1992 BMW 318. When officers observed a dark BMW rounding the curve on Meadowbrook, they stopped the car, the report said.
“Due to the urgency of these warrants and the hazards to neighbors and bystanders, tactics were employed in order to maximize safety to community and swift apprehension of the suspect,” the report states.
The report does not include details about the stop or note whether any shots were fired.
The front end of Montanez’s green BMW is now crumpled from its impact with the SWAT truck. The windshield sports two spider-webbed cracks that look like bullet holes and burn marks that Montanez believes were from flash-bang grenades. The passenger window is gone, broken out during the stop, he said.
“I’m just glad my son wasn’t in the car with me,” said Montanez, who had been scheduled to drive his then 16-year-old son to his mother’s house that morning but had instead dropped him off the night before.
Loewy has represented plaintiffs in several high-profile cases involving allegations of police misconduct. He was the lawyer for the family of Nathaniel Sanders in a wrongful death suit against the Austin Police Department in an officer-involved shooting in 2009. The city settled with the family for $750,000 in that case.
Bravo to officer N Vasquez Badge 145
You win the “Dumb Pig of the Week” Award
Let’s hope you encounter a truly dangerous person real soon.
Ogden family distraught after police mistake husband for wanted man
Mistake » Officers were searching for a 23-year-old man wanted for desertion.
By Jessica Miller | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Dec 29 2012 01:01 am • Last Updated Dec 29 2012 01:01 am
Eric Hill woke at 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 20 to his scared daughter telling him she had heard knocking near her closet.
Hill thought the 10-year-old was hearing things, but then came the banging on the front door of his Ogden home.
He went from his basement bedroom to the front door and asked who was there.
Hill said he finally armed himself with a baseball bat and asked again who was there.
“Ogden Police,” a voice called out from outside the home, located in the 1000 block of Harrop Street.
“At that point, I didn’t believe it,” Hill said. “It took them so long to respond to me.”
But Hill opened his front door and was met with six men who he said were dressed in black, with no police identifiers that he saw. Three had assault rifles, Hill said; two were carrying tactical shotguns.
The men pointed their guns at Hill and told him to drop the bat and come outside.
“They just automatically placed me in handcuffs,” Hill said. “I [told] them my name, and they [kept] telling me my name is Derek.”
Hill said the officers told them that a felony arrest warrant was being served because he had gone AWOL from the military. But Hill, 28, had never been in the military.
The man police were looking for was a 23-year-old whom officers found a couple of hours later, according to arrest records. Second District Court records show the man has been charged with desertion.
While Hill was upstairs trying to reason with the officers that he was who he said he was, Melanie Hill, his wife, said she was in their basement bedroom with their two children, ages 4 and 10, trying to make out what the voices were saying upstairs.
She said she grabbed her phone to dial 911, thinking the voices were that of a distraught neighbor. But when she went to the stairwell, she was met with a man holding an assault rifle.
“I thought we were getting robbed,” she said. “I had no idea who the person on the stairs was.”
Melanie Hill said she was told to go downstairs and grab her husband’s wallet so he could prove his identification. She said her children followed her up the stairs and were terrified to see armed strangers in their home.
“After the [Newtown, Conn.] shooting that just happened, my [older] kid was already scared to go to school,” Eric Hill said. “They are just traumatized by it.”
Eventually, Eric Hill proved his identity to the officers, and they took him out of handcuffs, the couple said. But the couple said the officers never further identified themselves or explained why they had come to their house.
Melanie Hill said one of the officers made a comment about her husband coming to the door with a bat, saying that had it been a gun, the officers would have “blown you away.”
“It was a split decision to grab that bat,” she said. “They could have killed him in his house for no reason in front of me and my kids. There should be other tactics to handle this kind of situation.”
Ogden police Lt. Will Cragun said officers initially thought Eric Hill matched the description of the man for whom they were looking. He said once the officers verified Eric Hill’s identity, they released him and apologized for the error.
“These things are going to happen on occasion,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for Mr. Hill. His response [in holding a bat], I totally get. He has the right to protect his family. I would hope [the officers] are professional.”
Cragun said instances of mistaken identity are not common, but do happen. He said that the officers who went to the home were patrol officers working the night shift and would have been dressed in a patrol uniform, which includes a navy blue shirt with police patches, and tan pants.
Eric Hill said he received a phone call from police Chief Mike Ashment several days ago, explaining that the warrant was served at his house because it was the last known address of the man facing the arrest warrant.
The Hill family bought the house six months ago, Eric Hill said, but added that his neighbor told him the man police were looking for was the previous homeowner’s nephew, who had never lived at the home.
No formal complaint about the incident has been filed to the police department, Cragun said.
“If people think officers have done something in violation of our policy or violation of the law, they have the right to come and make a formal complaint,” he said. “We will do an investigation to make sure there wasn’t any violations or any wrongdoing.”
Here is look into the notorious stop and frisk program of NYC. There were close to 700,000 stop and frisks in the year 2011 alone and over 203,000 in the first quarter of 2012. The below video is a recording of one ’250′ (stop and frisk). It has commentary from different police officers who are hounded daily to perform these unconstitutional searches daily or face reprimands. While the department “technically” doesn’t have a quota, secret recordings of departmental meetings shows there is a set number of stops and arrests that must be met. The consequences of not meeting your quota can range from desk duty to being put in a notoriously dangerous sector midnight shift alone. The second video also touches upon the little known practice of manipulating crime statistics. Felonies are turned to misdemeanors so people in office can claim crime is down. One of the whistleblowers was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward after Internal Affairs would not act and he claimed he would go public.
Cops assaulter, tased, and beat tiny Asian woman for buying too many iPhones.
Admin Note: This is a small victory against The Police State and its goons. Only two more things could make this have a fairy tale ending: 1. Massive judgment against Richard Schoen 2. Richard Schoen is forced to sell his ass on the corner to pay the judgment.
Officer fired in unanimous decision by Fire and Police Commission
By Gina Barton of the Journal Sentinel
In an unprecedented move, the city’s Fire and Police Commission voted Tuesday to discharge a Milwaukee police officer who punched a handcuffed woman in the face, reversing its original determination that he should be suspended for 60 days.
The decision to fire Officer Richard Schoen came after residents vocally protested at a commission meeting last week and several elected officials criticized the commission’s earlier finding that the officer should keep his job.
The woman Schoen punched, Jeanine Tracy, said she was happy Schoen will no longer wear a badge but remained afraid of the Milwaukee police.
“I’m going to stand strong,” she said, surrounded by a crowd of supporters after the decision was handed down. “Things will change, hopefully, and I’ll be standing for others’ rights because they have been stand ing for me.”
Michael Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association, of which Schoen is a member, said it was unfortunate the commission had reversed its initial decision to suspend Schoen, which he characterized as “fair and responsible.”
“On behalf of the membership of the Milwaukee Police Association and the family of Officer Schoen – we are extremely disappointed in the Commission,” Crivello said in a statement.
Schoen, who said last week he still believed his actions were “somewhat justified,” already has filed an appeal with the Circuit Court, according to commission Executive Director Michael Tobin. Under state law, Schoen is not being paid while the appeal continues.
Schoen arrested Tracy in September 2011 after she became argumentative after a traffic stop, according to the Police Department. A squad car video shows Tracy stomping her feet, spitting and cursing before Schoen punches her, drags her out of the car by the hair and strikes her in the stomach with his knee after she is on the floor of the police garage.
The fired officer did not attend Tuesday’s proceedings, which were billed as a continuation of the disciplinary hearing against him. After some 14 hours of testimony, the initial hearing resulted last week in a panel of three commissioners voting 2-1 that Chief Edward Flynn’s firing of Schoen be overturned. However, the public outcry began before the panel made its choice official by issuing a written decision.
Schoen’s attorney, Jonathan Cermele, decried the commission’s decision to reopen the proceedings as illegal because they already had publicly announced that Schoen would be suspended instead of fired.
“I understand people are upset. I understand that politicians are demagoguing the decision,” Cermele told the commissioners. “They did not hear the evidence. You did.”
Cermele argued that commissioners were required by law to stand firm in their previous decision.
However, Commissioner Michael O’Hear, a professor and associate dean for research at Marquette University Law School, said he had misinterpreted the law and commission rules last week when he voted to let Schoen keep his job.
Disciplinary hearings are similar to trials. Two attorneys, one from the city attorney’s office representing the chief and one on behalf of the disciplined officer, question witnesses and make arguments to a three-member panel of commissioners, whose role is equivalent to that of a jury. However, the regulations governing disciplinary hearings are different from those used during trials.
The problem occurred because commissioners received only a summary of the disciplinary regulations rather than the full text before the vote, O’Hear said. After he reviewed the full text, he realized commissioners had used incorrect legal standards in reaching their initial decision, he said.
A disciplinary hearing contains two phases. First, commissioners need to determine whether the officer broke department rules. Then, they need to decide whether the punishment handed down by the chief was appropriate. O’Hear said he originally thought the chief needed to prove both of those things by a preponderance of the evidence. Upon further review, O’Hear realized that standard applies only to the first phase.
He also said commissioners had received incorrect information about what standards they must use in evaluating the punishment. There are two: reasonableness and the good of the service. Commissioners were told only about the reasonableness standard before voting the first time, O’Hear said.
“Deference to the chief is preferable and maybe even required” when it comes to the punishment, he said.
O’Hear and Commissioner Paio Lor, who also previously voted for Schoen to be suspended rather than fired, changed their votes after less than an hour of deliberations Tuesday morning. Commissioner Richard Cox, who originally voted to fire Schoen, did so again, resulting in a unanimous vote.
Hearing Examiner John Carter said that while there was no precedent for the commission’s actions Tuesday, he believed they had legal authority to change their decision. He cited several court opinions authorizing judges to change their rulings or to overturn jury verdicts based on the interests of justice. Because commissioners serve as fact-finders in disciplinary hearings, they have the same standing as judges, according to his interpretation of the law.
Tobin said he didn’t expect the decision would have an impact on three other officers whose firings have been reversed by the commission this year.
“In the other cases there have been written decisions rendered and I’m not sure if the same issue arose in those previous cases,” he said. “Since they have already issued written decisions, I don’t anticipate those being revisited.”
The commissioners’ willingness to reconsider Schoen’s discipline showed the system works, Tobin said.
“Even Aaron Rodgers throws an interception once in a while, and when that happens you go back and look at your performance and make the necessary adjustments to try to prevent it from happening again,” he said. “The community speaks through the citizen board, and we will continue to strive toward continually improving police-community relations through appropriate accountability of our officers.”
But Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said Schoen’s case exposed the system’s flaws.
“There clearly is a serious problem,” he said. “Either training for commissioners is wanting or else those presenting the chief’s case and those offering support to commissioners are not doing an adequate job.”
Nonetheless, Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. said the decision to fire Schoen is a step in the right direction.
“It’s my sincere hope that this is only the beginning of a bigger movement toward accountability and transparency in our Milwaukee Police Department,” he said in a statement.
James Hall, president of the Milwaukee NAACP, said he hoped it also would help to repair the damaged relationship among the commission, the department and the community.
“It is significant that the community’s voice was heard and that the commission, as well as other officials, recognize that they serve the community,” Hall said in a statement.
Ald. Bob Donovan, who reprimanded Tracy’s supporters after Tuesday’s hearing, disagreed, calling the reversal “mind-boggling.”
“Very simply, what happened today is akin to a jury changing its verdict because certain individuals stood up in the courtroom and raised their voices in disagreement,” he said in a statement.
The people who spoke up at last week’s commission meeting were disruptive, and some of them should be cited for disorderly conduct, he said.
Ald. Milele Coggs said any further legal proceedings should instead focus on Schoen.
“Perhaps it is . . . time for the Milwaukee County district attorney to take a fresh look at the case of Officer Schoen and explore the possibility of charges,” she said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said he stands by his decision not to charge the officer.
Lovern concluded the use of force was inappropriate but decided it could not prove a criminal case against him. Lovern’s decision not to charge Schoen stands in stark contrast to his prosecution of former Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Krause, who was convicted of a felony and sentenced to 18 months in prison after an incident civil rights advocates described as strikingly similar to Schoen’s treatment of Tracy.
Commissioners are expected to issue a written decision further explaining their decision as soon as Wednesday.
Vernal couple file suit for $2 million in civil rights case
Former officer accused of stealing pills
By Mary Bernard, Vernal Express
A Vernal couple filed a lawsuit Monday against the State of Utah, Vernal City, and a former police detective, alleging significant civil rights violations.
Russell Smithe and Candy Holmes claim Ben M. Murray, formerly with the Vernal Police Department, used a state computer drug database to unlawfully detain them and repeatedly steal pain medication prescribed to them.
They are seeking $2 million in compensatory damages for illegal searches and seizures of their property.
The suit alleges that Murray used the State prescription drug database in his formerly official capacity to access the types of drugs, quantities of drugs, purpose of the drugs, and when the drugs were prescribed.
Between January 2011 and August 2011, on at least 30 separate occasions, Murray used the database to determine when to visit Smithe and Holmes “to steal their prescription pain medication and convert it to his own illicit use,” cites the complaint.
Once in the home, Murray illegally detained the couple in order to conduct a “pill check,” which allowed him to review the vials of recently filled prescriptions and count the pills.
While counting the pills, he would interrogate the couple to distract them, so he could pocket pills, cites the complaint.
Murray is alleged to have taken Oxycontin and Percocet pain medication from them.
The complaint says he took advantage of the couple’s vulnerability as poor people who have criminal history, mental health issues, and little education — “he hoped they would be too dumb to notice the pills were missing.”
Additional claims against Vernal City and the State of Utah allege negligence in hiring, training, and supervision failed to adequately monitor the prescription database.
Given Murray’s action the couple say they “suffered physical pain, severe emotional distress, fear and humiliation” and seek damages to be assessed in a jury trial.
Murray was arrested last year after an investigation by the Utah Attorney General’s Office alleged he had committed two burglaries. He resigned from the Vernal Police a day after his arrest on Aug. 11, 2011.
RT talks to William Binney, whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician, who served in the agency for decades.
Virtual privacy in US, the Petraeus affair, and whistleblowers’ odds in fight against the authorities are among key topics of this exclusive interview.
“Nothing has changed under Obama”