|The Idaho Falls Police Department: What we think we do...
“I don’t know why there would be [one],” replied Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride when asked if his department would apologize to Victor and Delosanto Madrigal and their family. “Just because a person is found not guilty doesn’t mean the officers were wrong.”
Actually, Chief McBride, that is precisely what this acquittal means, given that the charges in question were contrived by your officers to justify their own criminal behavior – and the only “evidence” supporting them was police testimony that the jury correctly determined to be entirely implausible, if not outright perjury.
The Madrigal family, which suffered greatly as a result of the privileged criminality of the IFPD, has filed notice of a $279,500 lawsuit against McBride’s department.
The Madrigal brothers, along with their elderly mother, Maria; a pregnant mother named Letty Hernandez, and a next-door neighbor, were criminally assaulted by members of McBride’s department during a full-fledged police riot last August 31. The police invaded the Madrigal home following a noise complaint called in by a distant neighbor who had a long history of hostility toward the family. This occurred at the end of a child’s birthday party that was held on a Saturday evening during the Labor Day weekend.
None of the immediate neighbors complained about the noise. Chantal Meek, whose home abuts the Madrigals’ house, later told the local newspaper that she wasn’t at all disturbed by the birthday party. She was severely perturbed, however, after two Idaho Falls Police Officers thrust their way into her home with guns drawn. The officers, who had been summoned by a call for “backup,” went to the wrong address. That home invasion was part of a general mobilization in which at least a dozen police vehicles were dispatched to shut down the entire block.
All of this happened, once again, because of a noise complaint phoned in by someone who lived a block and a half away.
Rather than knocking on the Madrigals’ front door and politely requesting that the family hold it down – which is how civilized people behave – McBride’s minions invaded their back yard and needlessly escalated the encounter.
As a cellphone video of the incident documented, after being informed that he would receive a citation for “disturbing the peace,” Victor complained about his treatment by the local police. Officer Clark Lund, dispensing with any pretense of professionalism, sneered: “If you don’t like it, you know how to leave.”
Victor and his brother Delosanto (also called Dindo) are natives of the Dominican Republic. They are naturalized, and gainfully employed, citizens of the United States. Lund’s taunt had unmistakable undercurrents of ethnic animosity – an attitude that would become overt once the brothers had been taken to jail.
After flinging that insult at Victor, Lund announced he was leaving – then called for backup and grabbed his Taser. He turned back and demanded that Victor provide identification. That demand was unlawful; it was a deliberate provocation. Yet Victor moved to the house to obtain his driver’s license. A few seconds later, Lund bellowed, “You’re under arrest” and barged into the home, flinging aside a pregnant woman and tasering Dindo in the back before he and two other officers threw an unresisting Victor to the ground.
While Victor and Dindo were handcuffed, one of the officers shoved their elderly mother. As Victor instinctively rose to protect her, his head brushed against the arm of Eric Rose, one of the officers restraining him. That act was described as “assault on an officer,” a charge that entailed a potential five-year prison term. Victor was also charged with “resisting and obstructing” and disturbing the peace.
|Victor (l.) with his son and daughters.
Earlier this month, a jury quickly acquitted Victor on all counts. Shortly thereafter, Idaho Falls City Attorney Randy Fife dropped all charges against Dindo.
The tort claim filed on behalf of the Madrigal family – hopefully the first of several that will be generated by the IFPD’s rampage – describes how the officers who kidnapped Victor and Dindo collaborated with the Feds to torment them once they were in jail.
“After the incarceration, Officer Rose … [contacted] federal officials asserting that Mr. Madrigal was possibly an undocumented alien and should be considered for deportation,” recounts the tort claim. This subjected Victor to “unfounded suspicion” and an unwarranted “investigation by the federal government.”
More importantly, it was an act of conscious malice rooted in deliberate dishonesty: Victor Madrigal, as the IFPD knew, has an Idaho driver’s license. Lying in official reports appears to be standard operating procedure at Chief McBride’s department.
Officer Rose lied in his report by claiming that Victor had “head-butted” and “grabbed” him. Under oath, all of the witnesses for the prosecution – that is, the officers who collaborated in the assault and abduction – admitted that Victor was handcuffed and couldn’t have assaulted Rose.
Officer Lund, the instigator of this episode, “testified at trial that Mr. Madrigal had the right to not provide [his] identification and that such [a] choice by Victor did not constitute obstructing or resisting,” continues the claim. He also admitted that Victor “entered his home and sat on his sofa awaiting the resolution of the events” and “did nothing to stop the officers from completing the investigations.”
Those admissions against interest demonstrate that on the night of August 31, Clark Lund became a serial offender.
Under Idaho statutes (18-703), Lund committed an “illegal arrest,” a misdemeanor. Every subsequent act of violence Lund committed constituted an “unnecessary assault by an officer” (18-706), an offense punishable by a $5,000 fine and a one-year term behind bars.
By barging into the home without invitation or cause, Lund committed criminal trespass (18-7008). In the melee Lund precipitated, serious damage was done to the family’s furniture; this was “malicious injury to property” (18-7001).
The tort claim specifies that $2,000 in property damage was inflicted on the Madrigal home; this means that Lund’s actions were a felony punishable by a term of one to five years, and a $1,000 fine. Since Lund’s objective was an unlawful “taking” – that is, the abduction of Victor Madrigal – his forcible entry was an act of burglary (18-1401), which has a prescribed penalty of one to ten years in prison.
Under Idaho law, Lund’s act of shoving a pregnant woman constitutes aggravated battery (18-907), an act for which he could face a term of up to 15 years in prison. (He might also be liable to prosecution under the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.”) The act of shooting Dindo with a Taser was an assault with a deadly weapon (18-910), another felony with a 15-year prison term attached to it.
Lund, Rose, and their comrades conspired to commit kidnapping, defined in Idaho law (18-4501) as seizing or confining a person “without authority of law, to be secretly confined or imprisoned within this state”; and false imprisonment (18-2901), “the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.” In the course of that conspiracy, Lund and Rose committed perjury (18-5401), for which they should confront a prison term of one to fourteen years.
The whole affair was a “riot” (18-6401), as defined in the Idaho Code: “[An] action, use of force or violence, or threat thereof, disturbing the public peace … if accompanied by immediate power of execution, by two (2) or more persons acting together, and without authority of law, which results in (a) physical injury to any person; or (b) damage or destruction to public or private property; or (s) a disturbance of the public peace….”
According to Chief McBride, the conduct of his underlings on that evening was the very distillate of sober professionalism.
After the Idaho Falls Post-Register published a story in which some of the Madrigal family’s neighbors criticized the actions of the IFPD, Chief McBride was given space on the op-ed page to retail anonymous gossip depicting the family as a menace to the “community.”
That sophomoric little essay recapitulated the conscious lies composed by McBride’s subordinates, adding, as theatrical filigree, the claim that the anonymous accuser “never reported any of [the Madrigals’] parties because of fear of retaliation.”
Because of the assault on their home, and the resulting negative publicity, the Madrigals were nearly evicted by their landlord. This means that they suffered “public hatred, contempt, [and] ridicule” as a result – in part – of McBride’s dishonest published account of the incident. This comports with the definition of “Criminal Libel” in the Idaho State Code (18-4801), an offense that carries a $5,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence.
If McBride were a conscientious administrator, he would fire Lund, Rose, and probably several other officers, and file charges against them. If he were any part of a man, he would apologize to the Madrigal family and formally retract the defamatory remarks he published about them. Given the opportunity to do so, he retreated into sullen, adolescent petulance, defiantly owning his libel and the legal responsibility for the crimes committed against that family.
Mark McBride’s formal title is “chief,” but his actions reveal him to be the capo of a criminal syndicate – one whose actions are going to inflict considerable damage on the tax victim population in Idaho Falls. It would be entirely reasonable for other victims – such as Mrs. Hernandez (who was berated and threatened with arrest when she called the IFPD to protest the abuse she suffered) and Chantal Meeks – to file tort claims of their own. Allowing McBride to remain in his position could prove cost-prohibitive for Idaho Falls.
Since McBride clearly lacks the dangling anatomy to do what is necessary, the onus is on City Attorney Randy Fife to file charges and prosecute the chief and his fellow perpetrators. In a letter to a local resident, Fife – perhaps unwittingly – acknowledged that there are abundant legal grounds for such a prosecution.
Invoking the pernicious doctrine of “qualified immunity,” Fife informed the resident that “Peace officers do have certain privileges and exemptions directly related to lawful execution of their jobs that other citizens do not have (such as being able to utilize force, carry weapons and other equipment not generally available to the public, being able to view or process information not generally available to the public, etc.) Where they step beyond those activities, they are subject to civil and/or criminal liabilities, prosecutions, and punishments.” (Emphasis added.)
That “privilege,” note carefully, depends on “lawful execution” of a peace officer’s duties. As Clark Lund admitted on the witness stand, he had no lawful cause to enter the Madrigals’ home, let alone assault and abduct Victor and Dindo. Ergo, that invasion and everything done by Lund and his comrades as a result was criminal. As Fife admitted, “There is no particular immunity or special privilege granted to a peace officer in Idaho if he or she were to commit a crime.”
Attention, Mr. Fife: The foregoing paragraphs offer a template for the necessary indictments. You’re welcome.
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Dum spiro, pugno!