Rogers, a 54-year-old regional sales manager for Georgia-Pacific, was sleeping under the stars when a large dog suddenly vaulted over a wooden fence and sank its teeth into his left arm. Shocked and disoriented in the darkness, and not wearing his eyeglasses, Rogers struggled desperately to free himself from the dog, to no avail.
A voice from the other side of the fence informed Rogers that the dog was the property of the Kennewick Police Department's K-9 Unit. “Stop fighting the dog and I will release him,” yelled Officer Bradley Kohn. Rogers, understandably, wasn't content to wait, and started punching the police dog -- later identified as “Deke” -- in the head.
Officer Kohn, along with Officer Ryan Bonnalie, tore down part of the fence. The two of them, along with Deputy Jeff Quackenbush, “entered the backyard and subdued Rogers,” as the excessively decorous language of a legal appeal filed by the officers describes the incident.
The TriCity Herald offers a more descriptive account: “Deke latched onto [Rogers] and in the struggle bit him several times on the hand, back, neck and face while three officers beat him.” Syndicated legal affairs columnist Jack Kilpatrick, citing an official report, offers another layer of relevant detail: “Officers Kohn and Bonnalie and Deputy Quackenbush struck Mr. Rogers with fists, knees and a flashlight, while Deke continued to bite and hold Mr. Rogers until Mr. Rogers was subdued and handcuffed.”
An even more candid description of the episode would be this: Ken was sleeping peacefully when he suffered a potentially lethal dog attack, and then was severely beaten by three armed men after they had vandalized his host's property.
Supposedly, all of this was justified because the police were hot on the trail of a criminal suspect. One would presume that they were seeking a burglar, a rapist, or some other practitioner of criminal violence. One would be mistaken: The police officers who beat Ken Rogers had been summoned as backup by Sgt. Richard Dopke after he had spotted someone riding a mini-moped without a helmet or turning on the lights.
After Dopke turned on his siren and running lights and gave chase, the “suspect” (whose behavior was foolish, but difficult to characterize as criminal) pulled into a nearby garage and shut the door. A man and two women at the residence, which was about a block away from the yard where Rogers was sleeping, claimed that the mysterious mini-moped rider named “Troy” had run half-naked through their backyard. Dopke later claimed that he didn't find the story convincing, but he called for backup and a K-9 Unit just the same.
The story gets even uglier from here.
Overkill is always the first option: Sure, they're heavily armed and already outnumber the protester, by why shouldn't the riot police let their attack dog have a little fun, too?
As it happens, Gary Hilliard, a Corrections Officer (jail guard) for Benton County, was the man who sent Officer Dopke off in pursuit of the mysterious moped man. And, it should not surprise us to learn, it was Hilliard who had actually been operating the vehicle illegally. Making matters all the nastier is the fact that roughly two years after this episode, Hilliard was fired from his job and served a three-month jail term “for having sexually explicit pictures of children on a personal computer,” reported the TriCity Herald.
I'm on record expressing misgivings about the way evidence is collected from computer hard drives in child pornography cases. I will point out that Hilliard's subsequent record does cast his actions on the night of July 13 in an interesting light.
Just as it was overkill for the police to beat someone suspected of a minor traffic infraction, Hilliard's actions in lying to the police and sending them after a fictitious fugitive could be seen as the product of a bad conscience. This makes me wonder if Hilliard was returning from an illicit assignation of some kind when he provoked the interest of Officer Dopke. In any case, Hilliard misdirected the police, and an innocent man was mauled by a police dog and severely beaten by several officers as a result.
Despite having to empty his bank account to pay for three months of physical therapy following the beating, Ken Rogers would most likely have let the matter go had the Kennewick Police Department displayed minimal decency and professionalism by contacting him, asking after his health, and expressing its regrets.
So Rogers sued the Kennewick Police Department for more than $2.35 million, complaining that he had been subject to illegal arrest, unreasonable search and seizure, and other violations of his individual rights.
On May 1, a US District Court jury upheld Rogers' claims, awarding him and his wife Mary Lou more than $1 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
En route to that verdict, the Kennewick city government made a ridiculously low settlement offer, called into question the extent of Rogers' injuries (subtly accusing him of fraud because he wasn't visibly disabled and continued to enjoy outdoor activities), and filed a petition to the US Supreme Court (.pdf) breathtaking in its assertions of official police impunity.
The petition was filed following a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last August that found Rogers had been subject to unlawful search and seizure. Seeking to overturn that ruling, attorneys for the Kennewick police claimed that Deke the police dog -- not Officer Kohn, the dog's handler -- was responsible for the injury to Rogers.
Don't blame me -- it's the dog's fault: Heroic Military Police use dogs to threaten helpless Abu Ghraib detainees.
Kohn claims to have released Deke after the dog's leash had become entangled “on the hitch of a boat trailer” in a driveway near the yard where Rogers was sleeping. Deke then vaulted the fence sua sponte and latched on to Rogers's left arm. Because Kohn did not specifically order this assault, the police petition claimed, he did not intentionally “seize anyone in the fenced backyard,” and thus there was no violation of rights protected by the Fourth Amendment.
According to the petition, “there can be no constitutional violation for a wrongful seizure where there is no intent to seize.”
Even if there were true regarding the attack by a trained police dog who was trained to act like (in the words of Diehl Lettig, Rogers' attorney) a “heat-seeking missile,” the fact remains that Rogers was swarmed, beaten, and handcuffed by three police officers.
This is an intentional “seizure” by any rational definition. In fact, one of the federal District Court rulings cited in the police petition, Cardona v Connolly, actually vindicates Rogers' complaint. That ruling held, in relevant part, that a “Fourth Amendment seizure” can be said to take place “only when there is a governmental termination of freedom of movement through means intentionally applied.”
Surely the liberal use of “fists, knees and a flashlight” by police against a prone individual being mauled by a police dog until the victim is “subdued” and handcuffed would qualify as “governmental termination of freedom” through “intentional” means.
Nonetheless, the petition for US Supreme Court review filed on behalf of the officers insisted that their actions were covered by the principle of “qualified immunity,” which is described as “an important constitutional protection for our public servants.”
"Qualified immunity," reduced to its essence.
“Government officials performing discretionary functions are entitled to qualified immunity, shielding them from civil damages liability as long as their actions could reasonably have been thought consistent with the rights they are alleged to have violated,” insists the Kennewick police brief.
What this means, from that perspective, is that the police had an open-ended and unqualified right to beat and detain Rogers unless he can (quoting again from the brief) “demonstrate that the police officers, by their conduct, violated a clearly established constitutional right....” Furthermore, it wouldn't do, insisted the police petition, for Rogers to demonstrate the violation of “a generalized right, such as the right to be free from illegal searches or seizures or the right generally to be free from the excessive use of force.”
In this specific case, the police argued that unless Rogers, could prove that Officer Kohn intended for Deke to attack him specifically, he had no legal recourse. On this construction, the mauling, beating, handcuffing, and general mistreatment Rogers endured was all legal and appropriate, since those who inflicted it on him were clothed in “qualified immunity.”
Fortunately, this matter ended up being put before a jury of sensible people who detected in that argument the distinctive aroma of something very much like the sort of residue Deke deposits at the end of his canine digestive cycle.
A significant and relevant post-script to this matter:
Three of those implicated in this incident – Officers Dopke and Bonnalie, and Deke – were retired form the force between 2003 and 2006.
Officer Bonnalie, who helped vandalize the fence and had a hands-on role in beating Rogers, was fired in 2005 after an off-duty road rage incident in which he threatened a 63-year-old Meals on Wheels volunteer by shoving a handgun into his chest.
A parting thought...
Several people whose opinions I highly esteem and whose friendship I cherish have advised me to "balance" my reporting on the police. They have a sound point; I don't want to become monomaniacal on the subject of police corruption. I am searching for suitably inspiring stories about good police officers and and willing to run them when given the chance. And I am always receptive to news tips about stories of that kind (or any other, for that matter).
Please be sure to visit The Right Source.
Whether or not you find and write any stories on "good" police officers, please keep writing about the bad ones, since the mainstream media doesn't have the will, scruples, or honesty to do so, for fear that the citizens will realize the police state Amerika is currently in.
Yes, three of the officers were retired. Free to live the rest of their lives off the sweat of the tax payer's brow while they draw fat pensions. Free to double dip by picking up other government employment. In a just society, these "public servants" would have faced the gallows.
Well ... the gallows might be a touch extreme, even for my taste.
The pillory, on the other hand, strikes me as entirely appropriate.
To help assuage your friends and shed a more positive light on the story, you could add the number of Kennewick Police Department officers who did not beat the snot out of the gentleman that night.
I have a good story about a cop. On a trip to Vermont one year, I and my family were going through New Jersey and we were pulled over for speeding (the speed limits in NJ were draconian to say the least). We were in my Dad's car and when the cop asked for the registration my mother opened the glovebox revealing a handgun. Now in the People's Democratic Republic of NJ, as it's known on gun forums, having the means to defend yourself outside the home is a serious felony. The cop's light focused directly on it and he just said "You guys slow down, please." And that was it. So at least that trooper's heart was in the right place, and that was in PDRNJ.
In the top picture, if you put a swastika in the flag instead of the field of stars, it would look like Germany in the 1930's. Thanks to the OSS and CIA (William Donovan and the Dulles brothers) we now live in a truly fascists state. And I’ve got news for you, it’s not going to get any better. The citizens of the United States lost their country decades ago and just don’t, or won’t, come to grips with that fact. America died a slow and agonizing death and took us all with her.
Several people whose opinions I highly esteem and whose friendship I cherish have advised me to "balance" my reporting on the police.
What "balance" are they talking about, exactly? The true exposés you publish about real coppers in action OR your personal satire you sprinkle within those exposés (i.e. "paladins of public order," "tax-devouring class," etc.)?
I could maybe see a picopoint in perhaps minimizing the derision as a measure of "balance" perhaps. But then, the truth is often painful; besides, who would want to read a dry and staid presentation anyhow? Certainly, not most I would think.
You are providing the balance with these posts since it's clear that the bubble-headed bleach blondes on the booby certainly aren't keen on divulging stories that put the "paladins of public order" in a bad light. Just as they don't divulge the far greater use of firearms by law-abiding citizens to halt a crime in progress, they instead blast out the rare massacres.
The establishment media cartel has one primary purpose: to promote and sanction the establishment's myriad agendas. They are lapdogs nowadays, not watchdogs.
Therefore, naturally, virtually all "paladins of public order" already receive mostly "good" press and booby exposure as it is.
I disagree entirely with the idea that there should be any kind of "good police story" balance.
There should be a website dedicated specifically to chronicling official corruption, especially at the local level, and Will Grigg should be its chief (and highly paid) writer. I'm done with police being any sort of legitimate, and Will's articles are a constant reminder of the truth.
A cold, reasoned voice that echoes through the internet itself, the conscience that is Pro Libertate need not have balance - it is balance.
There is so much corruption and cronyism within what is called "public service" that it boggles the mind as it empties your purse.
Police don't want the dirty laundry aired because it would put into question their very existence. It also puts into jeopardy sweetly fattened budgets for SWAT and drug "task forces".
Sure there are good men and women throughout the country doing an honorable job within the corrupt carcasses masquerading as police departments etc., but thats like saying Ron Paul is representative of the entire Congress.... Not!
Since a dog can be a police officer, that obviously animals have citizenship, and my cat Toonces is eligible to vote, run for office, serve in the military, work as a police officer, get a passport, and *finally* get something he's always dreamed of having... though not having one has never stopped him... finally... get his driver's licence.
"To help assuage your friends and shed a more positive light on the story, you could add the number of Kennewick Police Department officers who did not beat the snot out of the gentleman that night."
With all respect, Mr. Bockman, for victims of the actual violence of a police state's policies it is cold comfort that there might be large numbers of decent, honorable men serving as its soldiers. This story wouldn't even be news if it featured merely rouge officers. But as the story is repeated over and over on a daily basis in this country, we need to hear these atrocities to see the developing pattern.
In my own community, a mentally challenged teenaged boy drove away from a gas station without paying $12. After a low-speed "chase," his car was stopped and surrounded by units from three departments. One of the officers shot and killed him when he refused to turn off the ignition. Also, recently here a veteran officer used information from several women, who had reported crimes to him at the police station, to find and rape them when he knew they'd be home alone. Should these stories be balanced out by numbering the officers who don't shoot retarded teens for nonpayment of gas? or the numbers of officers who don't use police reports to stalk and rape?
In essence, what you're suggesting is that bad acts by police not be reported. But then isn't that what the major media already do? (Do the names Chris Newsom and and Channon Christian ring bell? For most of America, no. Although the name Matthew Shepard probably does.)
In your comment, I can nearly see the words:
"Maybe Pol Pot's boys did murder 20% of the population, but to help assuage your friends and shed a more positive light on the story, you should add they didn't kill 80% of the people."
I really appreciate the comments contributed on this thread, and there are quite a few to which I'd like to respond, time permitting.
My request for positive stories about police officers should have been phrased a bit better: I'm looking for officers like Ramon Perez, who refused an illegal order to use his Taser on an elderly suspect who was subdued without violence.
1957Human, I'd really appreciate it if you could send me additional details about the atrocities you've described (WNGrigg@msn.com).
It should be said that Mr. Bockman's point was meant to be taken ironically. The line about imparting a positive spin on the Khmer Rouge, by the way, sounds like something that would be fed to students at your typical university, BTW.
Hasn't Toonces already used up his nine lives?
Zachary -- That WAS a good cop! I've met a few of his caliber, but none more recently than roughly a decade ago. I'm sure they're still out there, and I suspect most of them are ready to retire.
D.D. -- As always, you make a cogent point. For all of the plaintive protests we hear about the "liberal" ("statist" is a better term) media, VERY rarely do we see serious exposes of police misconduct anymore. Those exposes used to be quite common until, once again, about a decade ago. This evinces, at least to me, a significant social revolution: Why should statists in the Fourth Estate attack their comrades in law enforcement? This needn't be a conscious conspiracy; it could merely be the expression of a natural affinity.
And Jacob -- thanks for the very kind words, and please keep me in mind if you come across a libertarian cyber-mogul looking to set up that website.
Not a positive story about the fuzz, but good news nevertheless:
1957Human - I'm pretty sure Mr. Bockman was being sarcastic.
Do you have a link that verifies that
Ryan Bonnalie was fired after the "road rage" incident?
The only issue I have with your reporting is the photos you chose to dramatize the text.
If you have actual photos of the officers/dog/victim involved, please use those. If not, perhaps something a bit more neutral would make the reporting seem more credibile.
Linking the story to abuses in Iraqi prisons via the photos is justified I think.
I've never quite understood the point of attack dogs. They're entirely pointless if the police feel they have to defend their dog.
I wonder if the city of Kennewick will do the right thing and investigate what can be done to prevent incidents like this from happening again. Considering the callousness they have shown I suspect nothing productive will come from this. This is bureaucratic failure at it's saddest and Kennewick should be ashamed.
"Police State", "Nazi Germany", a "fascist state" trying to equate items of interest in this story with the OSS & the CIA. Are you people for real? Why dont you get out of your classrooms, put your picket signs down and try talking to someone who has lived in the real deal. Maybe try and take some travels to a few places that really have these issues.
This was a situation that was compounded by circumstances, and the element of human error. That is all this is.
Look at how we can help to eliminate these errors with proper training rather than your piss poor anger.
I would love to see those that are elevating the issues in this article to either put their selfs in the danger of the profession that they are so full of hate for, or as I mentioned earlier. Live in a country that TRULY is a Police state.
I am neither a cop nor someone that comes from a police state. But in my travels I have been to more than one.
I think a lot of the problems of police abuse stem from people pissing off police officers. Sure, they shouldn't over react, but then, how stupid is pissing this off to begin with? Just take you ticket, keep your big mouth SHUT, and move on. No problem.
JACK BOOTED THUGS
Another thought of police brutality.. I had an accident occur at my place of business recently where someone crashed through my fence. The officer was attending to his business of writing up a report and some guy proceeded to take pix of the car and the woman in the car who was clearly shaken up. Concerned for the womans privacy the officer asked the person to cease and desist. The guy reacted with a smart assed attitude and call the cop a nazi, and informed the officer that this was America and he could do as he damn well pleased. The officer go a serious look on his face and pointed off premises.. "Leave now!" The officer proclaimed. "Storm trooper", the guy replied as the walked away. "Asshole" he muttered to the cop as he walked off.
Personally I was expecting to see the cop cuff the guy and arrest him for interferring with a cop in the line of duty. Or kick the guys ass. Personally I was in favor of a good old ass whupping. Anybody that dumb deserves to have their ignorant ass kicked. But the office just shrugged it off and returned to writing up the incident.
Very professional behaviour of the cop and sophomorice bullshit from the civilian.
Froggy57, you are a fucking coward. If you were driving like an idiot, sure. Take your ticket, in other words, take responsibility for your actions rather than compounding your problems by talking shit to a police officer, and move on.
But if you are relaxing in your friends back yard and a police dog jumps the fence and tries to eat your arm, and then the police decide to kick your face in, then NO youshould not take your beating and move on like a goddamned coward, you should defend yourself, whether physically, or through the system.
Thank you for relating this story to us. Unfortunately, I live in a neighborhood where the police are often called and needed. While I'm usually glad to see the cops arrive, I realize that some people end up on the wrong end of the billy and that appalling violations of civil rights occur. Everyone can help by donating to the ACLU who work tirelessly to seek justice and recompense for victims who's civil rights were infringed upon.
I will continue to look for and read your stories.
I Love the pictures!
Anonymous, regarding Ryan Bonnalie's termination, see --
(I hope the link works.)
I have no way of knowing if I'm addressing the same "Anonymous," but with reference to the question of living in a police state, I offer the following observations:
Unlike many other Americans, I have lived under military occupation -- in Guatemala, following the coup that ousted Efrain Rios Montt in 1983. The country was locked down for several days, and a frigid sense of normalcy was restored within a couple of months. People were free to travel and conduct business as they pleased, but the military and police (pretty much the same folks) made themselves very conspicuous, and checkpoints sprang up all over the country.
Until I left in early 1984, Guatemala was very much a police state. And it very much resembled the contemporary United States.
The question isn't whether the US is as bad as Nazi Germany, but whether the present trend would take us there, or toward the constitutional republic we are supposed to have. The trend line is as obvious as it is ominous.
If the dog were a properly trained police dog, then once the person was "down", the police should have told the dog to release and back off. Expecting someone in pain under physical attack to not defend themselves is arrogant.
Then, they would have told the guy to lay still, the dog would have been standing by; if the guy gave any resistance that they couldn't handle, the dog would be an option again.
Some police (not all) get off on the power given them by the badge and position. Given a choice between letting a dog attack or not, or physical restraint vs. polite "please present your wrists, you are under arrest" - they will go for the physical, to assert their power.
In this case, the judgement was appropriate. Physical assault by the police should be reserved for situations where it is obviously necessary.
Griggs: Re Guatemala, police state:
A story I heard from a neighbour - there was a mining company operating in Guatemala; at the time, there were various factions in the military government. The interior ministry was under one group (I assume were being paid) and the police and borders under another group (which wasn't being paid enough). He said they were told "when you get to the customs at the airport, don't tell them you work for ----, tell them you are just visiting."
Being from North America, this guy say, that was the first time they'd seen officials wandering around with machine guns. One started poking through another guy's suitcase with the barrel. That guy told him "stop doing that" and the conversation became more heated until the idiot said in full gringo anger, "Don't you know who I am? I'm important - I work for ---".
This raised the guards' level of attention; when they found no work permit visa on his passport, my neighbour says, "the last time I saw him, two guys with machine guns were dragging him off."
Apparently it took about 6 weeks for the company's government friends to retreive him from the other group. He was stashed on a prison island off the coast (Jurassic Park? Guantanamo lite?) and had lost over 30 pounds.
"...Until I left in early 1984, Guatemala was very much a police state. And it very much resembled the contemporary United States."
Oh, is that where Cheneyland is headed? Not much different from police actions in the published story - annoy the wrong people, and they assume they can retaliate with impunity.
That is disgusting - he was just defending himself
You are right to post the abuses by police.
I see police in two different aspects. The first are old school police who are about chasing pussy more than enforcing the law.
The second group is the neo-nazi police. That department qualifies.
Bad cops should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. And that Officers Bill of Rights is pure bullshit. Civil immunity indeed, I have it as a state employee. But police should not.
Here's my good cop story btw:
I was with a friend in his car and we get pulled over by a RISP Trooper. The inspection sticker was expired but it's no longer a big issue.
The main issue was my friends suspended license. Normally that'd be an arrest etc. but luck smiled upon my friend that day.
My license is good so the trooper simply asked we change seats. Blew my mind.
truthspew -- That's a terrific, nay borderline miraculous, story.
About ten years ago, shortly after Korrin and I were married, I rear-ended a car in front of us while we were driving home from church. I was distracted at the time -- y'know, Newlywed bliss and all that, and we'd just learned that Korrin was expecting our first child.
As we exchanged information with the driver ahead of us, a cop showed up. He saw that we were all right, noticed that very little damage had been done, and said, "Hey, if you guys have it covered, I'm not going to write a ticket for bent metal." Then he hopped into his cruiser and left.
As someone who lives in the next town over from Kennewick, and goes there for anything more than food shopping, I can say that I get bad feelings about the KWK police all the time.
Like the time I saw an officer sitting in his car writing up a report on an accident while the poor city worker who was supposed to be sweeping up the glass and debris was directing traffic! When I tried to reach anyone at the KWK police dept to complain I only got voicemail and computer menus. I guess they're too busy writing reports to answer their phone.
Keep fighting the good fight and don't listen to the people who want more positive police stories. You post what you have and let the ratio speak for itself. Maybe one day we can reverse the ratio.
Wow...this is totally predictable of the kennewick police department. Just a couple weeks ago, me and a few friends were out at the skatepark after hours, no one knew what time it was because we all left our phones in my car, so they wouldnt be crushed if we fell. So of course a cop rolls up and asks for our i.d.'s. Perfectly normal. But then he called for back-up for some reason and a k-9 unit was there along with another cruiser. That was totally overkill, for 3 teenagers on bikes. This city is so screwed up.....
We can pretty much all agree with the jury of our peers who found this to be a gross miscarriage of justice, and awarded substantial compensation to the victim.
That said, all you drama queens shrieking about "fascism" and "police states" need to put down the bong and read a few history books.
In a real police state, there would have been no repercussions against the municipality for these actions, and the victim would have been beaten again and perhaps jailed for making a complaint.
Moreover, the news would never have been reported, and if it had, the newspaper would be shut down and the reporter jailed or killed. Same goes for anyone who blogged about it. And nobody would have dared to speak in such hyperventilating, hyperbolic, seditious terms as on the comments page here.
There is an abundance of actual police states where you can go and play the heroic dissident if that is your desire. Good luck. Here, to those few who bother to notice your spittle flecked rants, you come off as paranoid blowhards at best, and gravely insulting to the memory of the victims of real fascism at worst.
So -- the logic, such as it is, of your position is that as long as we're free to complain, we have nothing to complain about. And we can't complain about tyranny until we have the permission of the torpid and complacent to do so.
Where reading history is concerned, I'd recommend the recent biography "Samuel Adams" by Buls (can't recall the first name at the moment)and David Ramsay's two-volume history of the War for Independence, both of which made some compelling points about the critical role played by "shrieking drama queens" like Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine.
Those guys didn't wait until "usurped power had strengthened itself in exercise, and tangled the question in precedents," as a third drama queen, James Madison, put it. "They saw the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle."
The Redcoats who committed the Boston Massacre were tried in America, and two of them found guilty. Yet five years after that incident, AFTER the British government had repealed many of the onerous acts that drove the independence movement, the Patriots went to war against a relatively moderate monarchy.
Buncha "hyperventilating, hyperbolic, seditious" drama queens, those colonial patriots....
The cops are out of control in this country. Everybody knows that. The question is--what do normal people do about it?
I would love to see those that are elevating the issues in this article to either put their selfs in the danger of the profession that they are so full of hate for, or as I mentioned earlier. Live in a country that TRULY is a Police state.
I am neither a cop nor someone that comes from a police state. But in my travels I have been to more than one.
Just because the profession is dangerous (many are...yawn) doesn't mean they should act like a paranoid schizo about it and treat every non-State lifeform they come in contact with as a criminal, much less a violent criminal.
Life can and does suck for everybody at times, and you may die any day, anywhere, whether you're an electrician, a tree climber, a miner, or a paladin. Whether your death came via an electrocution, a fall, a cave-in, or a bullet, dead is dead. It happens, so why should we need to "feel" the danger of being a copper above and beyond any other profession?
Anyhow, Mr. Rogers was right to sue the city but, and I've said it before, the taxpayers end up paying for this nonsense and they shouldn't have to. And, of course, most who file high-dollar lawsuits, especially on behalf of a deceased third-party are really wanting to retire early and hit the beach since dough doesn't resurrect the dead. But this case is entirely different in my view. The guy who filed this suit is the injured party, not some third party.
When the individual paladins have civil immunity and pursuing a criminal case against the individuals in question (which would be the proper, though obviously not the pragmatic, approach to take, IMO) is a tall order at best, civil action against the department itself was the only feasible recourse. In addition, civil cases do not require the evidentiary burden of criminal cases that would otherwise prevent the plaintiff(s) from prevailing.
One of the key aspects of the United States' power is its subtlety. The subtlety in this case, absurd to some of us but increasingly common, is the Force's response, claiming what seems to be freedom to do whatever it wants.
The United States IS like other areas of limited freedom, but on the surface it seems different. On the SURFACE. We might lack the kind of open violence that other countries endure, we might not have to deal with curfews and the like, but it is obvious that control is held by the government, not by the people. The people are subdued without violence - society and culture do the job by themselves. Most of us do not fight, either because we don't think to fight or because we know it's futile. The solution isn't a simple matter of every citizen doing his part, of having everyone vote or pay attention to the news or what have you. The nature of our government has inevitably led to this, and will lead to much worse. In a republic, the people choose who will speak for them, but we're talking the desires of millions in the hands of a few who are equally capable and more likely to lie and be influenced by money and other forms of personal gain. Now I'm getting on my soapbox, but it's true: we've relinquished the power and now simply follow a few rituals that make us believe we still have that power. The government doesn't have to work very hard to keep us in line because we do it ourselves, and when it does take action, it does so with impunity for the same reasons: we're powerless to stop it.
I believe that I can safely say that every comment on this blog was posted by a norhtern liberal(statist) democrat! True, there are some bad apples out there, but are you all going to be crying in your nachos when you need the "paladins of public order" to come to your rescue when you are getting beaten, robbed, raped or shot? Would any of you be willing to put your sorry asses on the line day in and day out to help people who constantly bash you for the public assistance that you so lovingly have the PRIVILAGE of having? I seriously doubt it. You remember your rants and raves next time your getting the strong arm of your "good neighbors" terrorizing you, your family and your community. Don't call your local "pussy chasing, neo-nazi" public servants. For the record, I think that this particular case was a terribly ordeal for the vic and he desrved the restitution that he received if not more! Come on people, stop hatin' and start participatin'.
Those exposes used to be quite common until, once again, about a decade ago.
Oh, the establishment media mavens (and Hollyweird celebs...y-a-w-n) won't hesitate to slam the paladins publicly, if the need arises.
See, the issue is whether the paladin(s) in question violated, or simply perceived to have violated, an establishment mantra (i.e. racism is a scourge and it's everywhere).
For example, when the target of heavy paladin activity just happens to be a member(s) of a minority class, the media mavericks are all over it and they even parlay oftentimes a "brutality" aspect to whatever actions are in question.
IOW, the police could sic attack dogs, stomp, beat, pistol-whip, taser, or even kill members of an Aryan Nation white group encamped in the remote Idaho woods far away from any metro area, and it's no big deal, no brutality. If there's any clamor at all, it would be that neo-nazis/racists/"homophobes"/etc. everywhere need a beatdown, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
However, if those same tactics were to be used in, say, in a Compton gang nest, there'd be a media firestorm. I mean, look at how the media morphed the savages, Rodney King and Stanley "Tookie" Williams, into police brutality and death-penalty causes célèbres, respectively.
Never say never and never say "used to be," Will. It all depends on whether the issue in question promotes or opposes the socialist mantra.
"Balance" in journalistic coverage is a farce, scam, and fallacy. Balance does not exist nor should it be sought. All that exists is the truth of the story, and that is all that is relevant.
Those who cry for "Balance!" are those same who create the imbalance a good journalist is beholden to report. Cries of "Balance!" serve as nothing more than a desperate attempt to shield additional, ongoing, overwhelming amounts of bad behavior from the harsh light of exposure, a quick sheet hastily cast over dangerous knowledge soon to be exposed.
Balance? Bah. There is no balance to truth just as there is no justice to evil.
I must say - there is, absolutely, a single item that can be used in the balance with truth.
That item, is lies.
Those who call for "Balance!" merely encourage the use of lies.
Hey, I'm all for people to start participatin.' Too many people have become inert, and our present predicament owes as much to civic inertia as it does to motivated evil.
Police officers who come to the rescue of innocent people subject to violence perform an heroic service, but -- hard as it may be for people to understand this -- the police are NOT under civil or legal liability if they refuse to provide that service.
As one federal appeals court ruled in 1982: "`There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen.'"
So ... we do indeed have a "privilage" of police protection, meaning an empty promise of the same that can be revoked whenever those extending it see fit. And that "privilage" is shaken in our faces like some tribal fetish every time someone complains about hideous abuses of power committed against the law-abiding public with increasing frequency by our supposed protectors.
I have NEVER been subjected to "strong arm" tactics by anyone other than somebody wearing the costume of some government or another. Neither has anyone else of my acquaintance. Nor am I particularly concerned about this happening. And if it did, chances are my supposed rescuers wouldn't materialize until after the crime had been committed, and whatever violence the criminal intended had been done -- and then I would have no "legal" standing to sue the police for their inaction, even if they dithered and equivocated outside my home while some madman calmly dispatched several members of my family.
What people have been saying about balance here is true. The world doesn't work that way. You don't look at a record, let's say a police record, and think, "Well, you have 10 good jobs and 10 bad jobs. You're 50/50 - balanced. That's perfect!" Balance doesn't apply to everything.
To the anonymous who declared us all "liberals," as if that necessarily indicates something bad, I say this:
Firstly, we aren't condemning police services or any other services, just certain trends among them. Secondly, you can argue for safety, but that shouldn't come at the price of our rights, be it those of one person or those of everyone. Unless I'm mistaken, the United States still calls itself a democratic nation, so its failures should be pointed out and dealt with to undo any hypocrisy. Lastly, you speak of participation, but different people participate in different ways. We can't all be policemen. Furthermore, participation is only so helpful. You can do next to nothing if you aren't in a position of leadership, and once you're in that position, you have to deal with other leaders, and so on and so on... There is too much corruption where the power lies for the powerless to do anything, and the numbers are against anyone who rises to become a leader.
Things might not be as bad as some people say, they might not even be as bad as I'm portraying it, but it's all about the potential for bad things to happen and the alarming realizations of this potential that have been occurring for many years and will only continue.
I'm in favour of providing more balanced reporting. These cops cited in the article may not good examples of law enforcement. Good cops still exist in great numbers, however. The corrupt, the lazy, the incompetent still need to be exposed, but so do those who take the time to make sure your parents get home safely, that your family members are safe when they call for assistance, and that when a good cop dies, their name isn't being insulted because some whinging weasel who's still PO'd about speeding ticket from the previous week is out for blood.
Some people seek to be come cops because they're drawn to power, and any department with brains and an adequate candidate pool will pass them by, because they recognise them as a liability and future lawsuit.
The officers I served with were, as most departments are, a varied lot. Some I found bigoted, others lazy, but most just wanted to be of service and feel like if they died on the job, that they'd made a difference.
I agree that the pillory is an excellent suggestion for these bozoes, all the same.
Oh my, I would have given that dog so much damage (or atleast tried too). Aggressive dogs makes me so f.ckin mad! I just want to punch them in the head with all my power over and over again until they dont respond any more..
sorry, just had to let it out. One day, that dog is going down.. all the way
I am not bigoted against police officers as a group. However, the profession of policing has largely lost any legitimacy or moral authority as the result of corrupt and inept police DEPARTMENTS.
While individual policemen are held responsible for their actions, departments, and the officials who run them are held harmless but are actually the root of the problem.
Police department policies are increasingly irrational, and frequently bizarre. For instance, for several generations of police officers, screening of applicants to police academies has resulted in the rejection of people of high intelligence, the official argument being that intelligent people are bored by police work and leave the force resulting in a wasted investment in training. It used to be that there were some intelligent police officers that others could emulate. The broad application of this one insane policy (there are so many) has resulted in a diminution of intelligence across the board at all levels of responsibility (as dummies advance in rank).
Poorly educated, unintelligent people can not be expected to exercise good judgement, particularly in adrenaline charged incidents involving use of force.
However, this suits the needs of the 1-2% of the population that matters, since they have their own private security services, and count on "public servants" to suppress and intimidate the rest of society on their behalf.
Welcome to the modern version of feudalism.
Oh this was an amusing read, thanks Mr. Grigg.
So let me see. Your formula is:
1) Find stories about individuals who act inappropriately in the line of duty.
2) Cast these individuals as accurate representatives of entire institutions or establishments, thus making the institutions COMPLETELY responsible for the behavior of the individuals.
3) Bask in delusional glory.
I like this formula. So should I start digging up stories about irritated and rude librarians and make a blog that condemns the institution of public libraries as corrupt and oppressive?
Your article's singular focus on Officer Kohn suggests to me a potentially Anti-Semitic tendency to the article.
Smile, you're on Digg!
Over 330 comments so far.
"[S]hould I start digging up stories about irritated and rude librarians and make a blog that condemns the institution of public libraries as corrupt and oppressive?"
Given that I don't favor "publicly supported" (that is, tax-funded) libraries, have at it!
Next time a librarian tases someone needlessly, or sics an attack dog on someone for talking too loudly, or beats a handcuffed patron, or guns down someone on a flimsy pretext, you'll have your opportunity.
When someone wears the costume of the State, and carries the supposed authority to inflict violence on innocent people, the first person is not acting as an individual, but as a representative of the Institution whose insignia he wears.
It is a grave matter to detain, imprison, assault, or kill another human being, and ANYTIME this is done to ANYONE serious questions need to be asked. Episodes of that sort are occurring ever more frequently, and people appear to be increasingly reluctant to ask the relevant questions.
Re: Officer Kohn -- Who knew?
Honestly, d'ya think that this officer's role as the DOG HANDLER in this story might have SOMETHING to do with his prominence in the story?
Naaaaaaaaah. Gotta be some other motivation, of course.
And as far as a "singular focus" is concerned" -- seems to me that Deke sort of eclipses his handler in this whole matter, at least as I've reported it.
That's all. You're dismissed to wallow in your obsessions.
"When someone wears the costume of the State, and carries the supposed authority to inflict violence on innocent people, the first person is not acting as an individual, but as a representative of the Institution whose insignia he wears."
I have yet to hear a compelling argument from you why we should blame solely the institutions for the behavior of the individuals. Are cheating students cheaters SOLELY because of the education system?
Oh no, Mr. Grigg. Don't go! Right when you were about to convince the masses of a government conspiracy to turn our police force into the American SS! But you were so close to your glorious destiny!
Talk about obsessions.
I've neither said nor implied that institutions are SOLELY responsible for abusive behavior. The problem here is one of impunity -- specifically, the concept of "qualified immunity" for LEOs, even when their actions are as egregious as those described in my article.
In fact, that immunity was successfully invoked a few years ago to justify the summary execution of a woman -- a nursing mother holding her infant daughter -- by a head-shot fired by a federal sniper at Ruby Ridge.
The INSTITUTIONAL problem with contemporary law enforcement, as opposed to the discrete problems of particular officers, is a subtle but unmistakable shift in the LEO's mission -- from "To Protect and Service" to "Shock and Awe." That mindset has to be challenged wherever we encounter it.
If a dog is biting you and won't let go, use your thumb to quickly gouge out the eyeball. Use both hands on both eyes if able. This will critically injure the animal and greatly hinder it's ability to further attack you. It can be a rather good defense against a human attacker, as well. The eyes are one of the weakest points on any animal.
My opinion is training an animal to serve in that line of duty is criminal animal abuse. It puts that animal in a situation where it does not understand the kind of danger it is in and it does not have a choice in the matter. I have also read cases where drug-sniffing dogs have ingested cocaine and heroine through the nose and suffered greatly. It is disgusting and tragic for those animals to be exposed to that kind of thing.
I'm inclined to agree that it is abusive to use dogs in law enforcement contexts. Perhaps I would have seen things differently before I became the owner of a beautiful German Shepherd, a breed frequently (ab)used in that fashion.
Incidentally, amid all of the cut and thrust over this story, everybody seems to have forgotten that the REAL villain of his piece, the mysterious guy operating a moped illegally, was ALSO a "law enforcement officer." I'm not put out by the fact he wasn't wearing a helmet or using his headlight, but if he had been a stand-up guy when his fellow LEOs came knocking, NONE of the ugliness involving Ken Rogers would have happened.
I'm sorry, but that doesn't qualify as a compelling argument. In fact, you didn't even make an argument at all.
I'm not going to waste anymore time with this high school-level political theory.
Keep building castles in the sky so your readers can live in them.
Both the individual and the institution should be punished. I do not agree with this idea that the individual represents the institution so completely, but at what point does the institution become responsible for something? The harshest penalty should fall upon the one who committed the crime directly, but as the writer of the article said, the department fought in court using illegitimate means. If the department actually believes what it was trying to argue - that it has immunity - then we have a real problem that could escalate into something much worse.
I would like to point out that contrary to the Police Chief's claim there is NO provision for "qualified immunity" in the US Constitution. I invite everyone to go look it up.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Nowhere does it say, unless the officer is chasing somebody (which they did back then) or unless the officer is using a dog (which they did back then) or unless the officer is chasing a spy (which they had back then).
"There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen."
But there is a constitutional right to have the means to defend yourself. Our founding fathers saw the wisdom in giving the power and responsibility to the people, and not the state.
"I have yet to hear a compelling argument from you why we should blame solely the institutions for the behavior of the individuals."
I think that one of the great things about this blog is that there are so many freaking stories about this one topic. How many is it going to take before you realize that this is an institutional - that institution being government itself - problem?
It's not one rogue cop going off. If there was just one story, that'd be a good explanation. Maybe two stories about 2 cops. Or 10 cops. Or a couple dozen cops.
The sheer amount of corrupt bastard thugs of the state that WNG has written about - not even counting the fact that HIGHER UP types are using their power to cover up trains of abuses by ENTIRE DEPARTMENTS (is that not institutional?) - should be enough to convince anyone who isn't an idiot that this aren't atypical examples.
Alot of people say "one bad cop gives a bad name to the other 99 good cops". I say the 1 good cop gives the other 99 too much credibility so as to cover up their sadistic actions. Much as I'd go ahead and assume that every and any other armed thug wearing gang colors and going up and down the streets looking for trouble is a worthless drain on society, I likewise assume that about every cop I see. Let's implement some real homeland security - abolish the Police State, reinstate the 2nd amendment, and start taking responsibility for our own well-being. After all, cops aren't going to be able to help you anyway, not if you're an unarmed teenager on the campus of Virginia Tech, not if you're an unarmed postal worker, not if you're an innocent guy trying to pump gas in or around Washington DC. Cops can't get to you as fast as an attacker's bullet. Quite honestly, an otherwise law-abiding citizen like me, who keeps a concealed weapon on him at all times even when its illegal, is more likely to be hurt/killed by a law enforcer than a criminal (since I can probably defend myself against the criminal without committing a felony).
Meh, it's late, I'm going to stop typing. Down with the po-po.
True, there are some bad apples out there, but are you all going to be crying in your nachos when you need the "paladins of public order" to come to your rescue when you are getting beaten, robbed, raped or shot
Gee, you watch WAY too much TV. Who's coming to your rescue? They don't "rescue," they come after the fact, slap up the crime tape, inspect the body. then zip ya up in a body bag and send your corpse to the coroner for some slicin' and dicin' to determine (or simply to certify officially) your cause of death. YOU are responsible for your own individual safety and safety of your family, not the "paladins of public order." As that caricature suggests, their primary mission is "public order" not "personal safety and security." What about this is NOT crystal clear?
See Will, this is a part of what I'm talking about when I say the problem is "us," the commoners...sigh. Many, if not most, commoners(or rank and file folk), like the above, see the police as their protectors and safety guarantors despite the boatload of evidence demonstrating otherwise. You can tell someone until you're blue in the face and it's like they flip a switch and shut down their brain receptors. They selectively receive what, if anything, they desire to process and that's it, period.
I've mentioned this previously, Will, but I'll reiterate it again: I'm just not at all optimistic about America (the country) restoring itself upon its original foundation. It just ain't gonna happen, it cannot happen with the moral backbone of the populace becoming increasingly osteoporotic. In fact, for our system of government to function properly, it critically depends on the majority of the commoners, the rank and file (not the elitists, not the media, not the headmaster, not department heads, etc. since they reflect the rank and file) having a healthy moral backbone. The elitists, the media, headmasters, department heads, etc. can't make happen what the commoners collectively refuse to make happen, based on their genuine collective discernment of right and wrong, good and evil, and on what's constitutional and unconstitutional.
The people have lost this ability, as is painfully apparent by the squabbles and rants you hear/read about what quantities of largess is acceptable rather than stating unequivocally that the largess itself is unconstitutional. This same inability is apparent when the subject is government-sanctioned and/or protected behaviors as well. Again, as I've said numerous times in the past, the rulers come out of the ruled in a constitutional republic so that, however government is operating, the people themselves are of that same mindset! It's not like our government from its inception was a Stalinist Leviathan right away, as Crockett's saga clearly demonstrates. Sure, mistakes and missteps will be made, but the people and the rulers (if both are worth their salt) will eventually discern, or be made aware of, those missteps and rectify them on the next go around, again as Crockett demonstrated. Rarely, if ever, does this happen at all anymore.
For example, public schools were not always full of sex-crazed teachers preying on students, or stuffing youthful minds full of socialist dogma and materialism. Once upon a time, when my now deceased grandmother was a public school teacher in N.C. she could bring to school, read, and recite passages from the Bible to the students, and pray with them from 1934 when she began until 1962. The culture had changed and that had migrated into government and then it appeared to be "suddenly" unconstitutional? No, the culture of commoners had evolved and the same mindset migrated into government. Now, of course, it would be abhorrent and young folk today obviously will have no recollection whatever of a Bible even being in the classroom, much less being read by the teacher. "Surely, you jest!" would be the probable response from the thoroughly secularized youth.
Yes, it was really different in a long ago era. When Crockett voted for a bill authorizing $20,000 for women and children who were victims of a Georgetown fire, he was subsequently set straight the following year by a farmer (commoner) about the unconstitutionality of the largess. Again, the people themselves have to be vigilant and make those constitutional (and moral) positions felt at the ballot box in the matters of government in a constitutional republic.
But judging by some of the comments about we should not blame individuals for actions performed in accordance with immoral and/or unconstitutional departmental policies. Please, do YOU as an individual know what's right and what's wrong? If you do, why would you patently do a blatant wrong simply because it's da policy?
That said, I'm well aware that we're ALL too prone and tempted to allow pragmatism to overrule principle when the stakes are high enough whereby life gets hard, but until we're all ready to stand firm, the cultural slide into the multicultural diversified depravity pit will continue to progress until parens patriae is fully and completely realized. Perhaps, it's our ultimate "manifest destiny" to do so.
Since this is a highly passionate incident, I would offer two options. Either forgive these men and move on or kill them and all others that would harm citizens of the United States.
You are the balance.
The general assumption that all law enforcement officers are good and just is as wrong as saying they are all evil and corrupt.
Stories such as yours, keep the balance in the media, please continue.
These policemen are scum
KILL POLICE DOT COM
CHECK IT OUT!
FIGHT POLICE BRUTALITY AND CORRUPTION!
FUCK THE POLICE COMING STRAIGHT OUT THE UNDERGROUND...
Outstanding journalism. I have been a victim of extreme police brutality in post-Katrina New Orleans and am in the midst of litigation against the state for acts of police torture. I am a lawyer who has tried to be a good citizen but quickly realized that more police equals more problems. I know first hand how sadistic, testosterone-infused men can become when given a machine gun and the blessing of the law.
Anonymous (the most recent one) -- Thanks so much for your kind words. I am sorry to hear about your mistreatment, and sorrier still that what you describe surprises me not at all.
Would you be willing to contact me directly, at WNGrigg@msn.com? If not, I certainly understand. God bless you, and may He prosper your efforts.
If the officers were not at fault since they didn't direct the dog to attack the victim, then the dog should be destroyed for the attack and the handler/owner should be fined/imprisoned like any other civilian owner for not keeping the dog in control.
Certain states and the Feds have determined that certain acts against employees of the state are worse than if you commit the act against a non state employee.
This creates problems.
If everyone was subject to the same standard there would certainly be less problems, but there is a trend away from that.
Many cops are bad. The days of the old cop that used discretion is gone for the most part. Today, it's use lots of force and let the courts sort it out. Gee, now the person has an arrest record for life and it has probably cost them thousands in legal fees. Not guilty or charges dropped and want to get it expunged from your record? Not really possible, arrest records are forever. Just because the court says it can be "expunged" doesnt mean all traces of it are gone. Same with juvenile records.
I work as a legal investigator and have first hand experience of just how bad some of these people are. They brag about it and dare anyone to do anything. Then if they get a complaint, the people charged with investigation are an arm of the agency. Way too much incest going on!
Imagine if he'd been armed and killed the dog or a cop! It would have been understandable and justified. Problem is that thr others wouild have executed him, now he'd be dead and they'd have gotten by with it.
Here locally we had a mentally ill teen tazed to death for holding a bible and a cordless phone walking on the street in front of a Sonic fast food place saying that he wanted to talk to Jesus. The cops who showed up tased him to death. That's right, they TASED him until his heart couldn't beat properly.
The body was sent to the local big city medical examiners office and many months later they still have never released any reports as to toxicology or anything else other than it could have been a state of excited delirium. This was a small kid set upon by several small town officers with new tasers they just had to try.
Kid is dead and NOTHING has ever been done. State police have done nothing and won't. It's all about covering up problems.
I made a complaint once about an officer harassing me. It was ignored until I contacted a well known writer with connections and then they took it seriously. I was later told that the officer causing the problems tried to get the local states's attorney to charge me with submitting false police reports about him. Poor baby! Hard to charge someone for telling the truth though and the state's attorney didn't want to touch it with a 10 foot pole.
I was told that if I am ever pulled over that I should immediately call 911 and ask for another officer to come as this officer really wants his pound of flesh. Go for it buddy is all I can say!
We have a new home with a wired ethernet network and network cameras that the authorities know about. it seems to have really helped de-escalate things. We live in the middle of nowhere and between the electric gate and cams, no problems.
It's about understanding your rights and letting the opposition know you will do WHATEVER is needed to enforce them. Bullies go after those that they know arent going to fight back and I'm not one of them.
The city appealed and the 9th circuit upheld the judgement including payment of all attorney's fees, damages and so on. The victim finally received his money a few weeks ago. The court cited that Officer Kohn was negligent. Why was'nt the case reviewed for criminal charge against him? If he had shot the victim, would he have still not faced an investigation?
The truth is Officer Kohn could not control his dog and used poor decision making and handler technique. This was not the first time he was
not able to control his dog. He should have been removed from the K9 unit- butinstead he was given a new dog.
That is right. Officer Bradley Kohn now has a new dog, which he can not control any better than he could his first one so I guess even the large settlement did not teach them a lesson- after all is wasn't money out of their pockets or even the city's pockets- it came from the insurance company. Wonder how much the tax payers are paying in premiums now?
Stand by for the next law suit.
Will said: "Several people whose opinions I highly esteem and whose friendship I cherish have advised me to "balance" my reporting on the police. They have a sound point; I don't want to become monomaniacal on the subject of police corruption."
I think you are doing just fine Will. If anything you go too easy on the thugs. As far as I can tell there is no such thing a a good cop because it there were he would be spending all his time arresting his fellow officers and I don't see that being done. The facts may be hard for some to accept but that's what we are dealing with.
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