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A motorist was viciously beaten, tasered, and maced repeatedly, then charged with 24 separate crimes and maliciously prosecuted for every one of them. He was beaten four (4) times over the course of 11-hours, and not once had he acted maliciously. The incident stemmed from his driving while on an unusually high dosage of legally-prescribed bipolar medication and a subsequent fender bender. Dash-cam footage revealed the extraordinary exaggerations made about the case — 2 years after it took place.
The Traffic Stop
Around 8:20 p.m. on March 8th, 2010, police received a 9-1-1 call regarding a car that had failed to stop after a minor traffic collision. The accident resulted in no injuries and no damage, but one of the drivers did not stop to exchange information. Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) dispatched troopers to investigate this alleged hit-and-run.
A car driven by Robert Leone, 31 at the time, matched the basic description of the car in question. Mr. Leone was driving just across the Pennsylvania border from his home in Vestal, NY. He had just finished star gazing at the Kopernick Observatory and Science Center and decided to go for a ride in the country while listening to his favorite music. He had consumed no alcohol or illegal substances, but it seems that his decision-making abilities may have been affected by his legally-prescribed medication used to treat his bipolar disorder.
PSP attempted to pull over Mr. Leone, who was traveling at a speed significantly UNDER the posted speed limit — 10 to 30 mph under. Leone stated at first he did not think the trooper was trying to stop him as he believed that he had done nothing wrong prior to the encounter. Police dash-cam video clearly showed Mr. Leone driving very slowly and in a very controlled manner. The only vehicles ever seen crossing the center line or driving erratically were the state police cars that were involved in this low speed following — contrary to sworn statements later given by the troopers.
The five marked cruisers following Mr. Leone could have easily boxed in Mr. Leone at low speed and caused him to stop. Instead, the troopers deployed stop-sticks and rammed his vehicle. A “PIT maneuver” was used to smash Leone into a rock wall, while still at low speed.
Once his car was immobilized, the senior trooper on scene, Corporal Roger Stipcak, stood on top of Mr. Leone’s hood and ordered him out of his car while aiming a taser at him. Mr. Leone COULD NOT comply with the trooper’s order because a state police car was intentionally blocking Leone’s driver-side door.
Mr. Leone was then tasered through his open sunroof and forcibly dragged to the ground through the passenger-side door and beaten by fellow troopers. The senior trooper who was standing on the hood of Leone’s car was then seen jumping directly onto Leone’s back from the hood of the car.
“You’ve got a long f***ing night ahead,” the officer menaced. “Do ya hear me?? Do ya f***ing hear me?!”
This was but the first threat of many Mr. Leone was going to receive over the next 11 hours. It was also the mildest. At no time was Leone videoed resisting or attempting to strike the officers.
After his first beating he was handcuffed and questioned. At that point Leone was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol car. Without advising Mr. Leone of his constitutional rights he was questioned a second time and responded with respectful answers of “yes sir,” and “no sir.”
During the questioning, the trooper accused Leone of intentionally spitting in the trooper’s face and used that alleged behavior as a reason to beat Mr. Leone — who was still handcuffed. The trooper then hog-tied the victim.
“Who do you think you’re messing with?” one officer challenged. “We’re the Pennsylvania State Police… it’s not just some chumps.”
After analyzing the audio portion of the dash-cam it appears that the trooper fabricated the spitting incident in order to justify the beating, even though spitting does not allow an officer to beat a prisoner.
An ambulance had initially been called to transport Mr. Leone, who had suffered multiple injuries. Instead, the trooper who had broken his hand while punching Leone received medical attention, and Mr. Leone — who was handcuffed and hog-tied — was transported to the hospital in the back of a patrol car.
Beaten Again in the Hospital
Robert Leone was still hog-tied when he was brought into the Towanda Hospital; a fact documented in his medical records. Mr. Leone attempted to quietly tell the attending nurse what happened to him and begged her for help.
Unfortunately for him, one of the troopers overheard his plea. The exam room was ordered cleared of all medical personnel and a third round of beatings and taserings occurred while Mr. Leone was handcuffed to his gurney.
Police alleged that Leone “reached” at an officer — all the justification they needed for beating him with batons and using tasers multiple times.
The trooper later admitted at Leone’s trial that he was never hit by the defendant. But that did not stop Mr. Leone from being found guilty of assault for what took place in that room.
Mr Leone was discharged from the Towanda General Hospital in worse condition than he had arrived in.
Beaten Again at Police Barracks
After his treatment at the hospital, Mr. Leone was taken to the PSP Barracks Towanda for processing. While at the barracks, an arraignment was set up with an on-call judge who was located remotely and used a video-feed to connect with the police.
Mr. Leone was instructed not to look into the video camera during this arraignment and to only answer questions that he was asked. As soon as the video link was established, Mr. Leone looked directly into the camera and begged the judge for help. The trooper immediately disconnected the video link, claiming that a malfunction had occurred. With no cameras recording, Mr. Leone was severely beaten for a third time.
Beaten Again During Transport
While at the barracks, Leone stated that troopers told him that they could make it look like he committed suicide while in custody or they could throw him off of a bridge and state that somehow he got the rear door of the patrol car open and then jumped off of the bridge himself.
The prisoner was so sure the troopers were going to kill him that night, he tried to shuffle away when he was being escorted to the patrol car for transportation to the county jail, even though he was handcuffed and his feet were shackled.
His pathetic escape attempt gave police an opportunity to beat him once again, and this time douse him with pepper spray. His injuries were so severe at that point that he wasunconscious when he was delivered to the hospital for his second evaluation.
According to the hospital report, all of the injuries on Mr. Leone’s body were on his back and none were frontal, indicating that his injuries were not caused while being subdued because of any aggressive behavior. Apparently, the hospital staff themselves were so fearful of these troopers that they released Mr. Leone back into police custody only 26 minutes later — without treatment and while Mr. Leone was still semi-conscious. Mr Leone’s vital signs at this point showed him to be in serious physical distress.
Arrival in Jail
Mr. Leone was transported via patrol car in a semi-conscious state to the Bradford County Correctional Facility. He was received in such poor condition that the jail called their on-call staff physician to the jail to evaluate Mr. Leone.
“They put him on the phone and he starts screaming that he has been beaten within an inch of his life,” Robert’s mother, Joan Leone told WBNG. “They tried to kill him through the night. He has been threatened that they are going to kill him and make it look like a suicide or an accident.”
Numerous pictures of Leone’s injuries were taken by the prison staff in order to defend the prison — should it later be accused of mishandling the already-ravaged prisoner. (Subsequently, when the photographs were requested, the prison claimed that these pictures do not exist.)
A prison guard who befriended Leone told him that the jail administrators were lying because the guard saw the pictures for himself. The picture featured in this article is a copy of the actual booking photo taken by the prison.
Mr. Leone laid in a jail cell for days without proper treatment and probably should have died from his injuries. The prison would not release any information to Mr. Leone’s family about his condition for over 5 days. His family was not allowed to speak to him in person or on the phone nor would the prison allow any other visitors or legal counsel to visit him.
Since Robert Leone could not pay his outrageous $250,000.00 bail, he remained incarcerated for six months until his trial. While he languished in jail, he was denied any additional medical treatment — particularly for his head injuries — even though he had excellent private heath insurance to pay for it if necessary.
“The corruption in PA is so widespread that they’re going to keep him in for four years. Because they have no intention of letting him out because he’s going to be speaking about what’s happened to him,”Joan Leone said.
Railroaded With Charges
Robert Leone’s traumatic physical experience was followed by being charged with twenty-four (24) separate crimes: aggravated assault; driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; escape; simple assault; reckless endangering another person; resisting arrest; fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer; disorderly conduct; failure to stop at the scene of an accident; harassment; failure to provide the proper information following an accident; and failure to notify the authorities after an accident had occurred.
To go with his black eye and brutal beating,Mr. Leone was literally charged with breaking a trooper’s fist with his face— “aggravated assault” on a police officer. The 2 dozen charges included four serious felonies for which he could feasibly be spending the rest of his natural life in prison.
It appears that the cover-up of Leone’s beatings became so important that the Bradford County District Attorney personally took up the task of prosecuting the case. Despite having dash-cam video evidence in his possession — the same dash-cam video of which I made a documentary — DA Daniel Barrett attempted to prosecute all 24 counts against Robert Leone.
There's more: http://www.policestateusa.com/2014/robert-leone/
Posted by MrScorpio | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 07:50 PM (87 replies)
3. I think that the job is way more trouble than its worth.
2. I'm not even remotely religious.
1. Would never get any work done, because I would spend entirely too much time telling motherfuckers to kiss my ass.
Posted by MrScorpio | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 01:51 PM (15 replies)
And The President usually ends up being the only adult left in the room, contending with the problems of the real world.
The shameful thing is that the GOP doesn't believe that it has a responsibility to all Americans, to the country as a whole and not even to its own future. It makes up a false narrative and tries to mold reality around it. The only people who fall for this are those who only live within the right wing fabricated bubble.
They think that they're playing a game that they can win, by only using as few pieces as possible and rewriting all of the rules.
They're painting themselves in a corner. In the end, they can only come out as losers. This game they're playing won't last forever.
Last night, The President made it clear that the Republicans all need to step out of their bubble and come face to face with the real world. He has more faith in them to be responsible adults than I do.
I don't think that the Right knows how to do that. Because if they ever did, it would mean that everything that the GOP has done since Obama became our president has been an abysmal failure.
Can you imagine what it's like to realize that everything you believe has been a lie? That's what it would take for Republicans to stop playing their childish games and, for once, exist in reality.
Posted by MrScorpio | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 08:40 AM (3 replies)
And the uber rich have been chipping away at that base for as long as anyone can remember.
But when that base crumbles in on itself, what does the rich think will happen to everyone above that base?
Or are they not thinking at all?
Posted by MrScorpio | Tue Nov 18, 2014, 11:20 AM (4 replies)
Posted by MrScorpio | Tue Nov 18, 2014, 10:35 AM (2 replies)
Bonnie Berman Cushing
I have been devoted to a white anti-racist path for close to a dozen years, but I still stiffen with fear and a state of heightened awareness when I find myself alone on a darkened street with one or more Black men nearby.
As a dedicated student of anti-racist facts and principles I know intellectually that white people are five times more likely to be attacked by another white person than by a Black one and that two-thirds of the rapes committed in our country are by white men. I am aware that the vast majority of corporate criminals are white and that most of our politicians who have declared war – bringing death and destruction to millions – also have the same skin color as I do. My own experience includes a mugging at gunpoint and a date rape – both at the hands of white men. And yet I have never found myself anxiously responding to a white male or males on an evening walk the way I do in the presence of Black men. Why, exactly, is that?
I believe there are several reasons for this disturbing phenomenon and that it certainly isn’t limited only to me, but also to most (if not all) white folks – and many people of color as well. History, psychology and media all play a significant role. The myth of the predatory Black man stands on the shoulders of centuries of stories and images shared from one generation to the next, sometimes directly and sometimes in coded messaging (such as admonishments to lock the car in certain neighborhoods or clutch your pocketbook closely on certain elevators and streets). Our collective fear of the Black man has a rich and detailed history, one that by this time has practically been encoded in our national DNA.
A Black woman, writing under the name M. Gibson, expressed this truth succinctly in a comment on a blog site shortly after a police officer killed Oscar Grant in Oakland, California:
As a nation we seem to have very short memories. Fear of the black man just didn’t start overnight, and it didn’t just happen during the course of our lifetime; like any singularity it has to have a beginning. Its origin has been embedded in this nation’s consciousness since the Nat Turner revolt; a pathological fear that the oppressed will one day rise up and inflict vengeance upon the oppressor.
Posted by MrScorpio | Mon Nov 17, 2014, 05:32 AM (33 replies)
After all, I've suggested that blue voters move into red districts in order to defeat GOP gerrymandering: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025765041
However, if anyone has any better ideers, I'll all ears.
Posted by MrScorpio | Sat Nov 15, 2014, 12:43 PM (42 replies)
Close a lot of prisons, pardon non-violent drug offenders and revert our entire law enforcement model back into the community policing phase, add to it a healthy dose of demilitarization as well.
Same goes for any of our other so-called "wars" as well. We're just not very good at this stuff. Or maybe we're the best at lying about them. Nothing is ever what it seems.
However, given our track record as a nation to conduct counter-intuitive wars for fun and profit, perhaps we should use our well established skill-set and flip the script?
I can think of several "wars" we can launch that all have to potential to reap a mountain-load of beneficial results:
- Let's declare a War on Niceness:
"A True American is a Complete Asshole," our newly appointed Anti-Niceness Czar could declare. Well since people in this country all seem to have an instinctive urge to rebel against authority, I would say that the positive vibes would start perking up in a heartbeat.
Folks would think twice before shooting, beating and stabbing each other, simply because the government said that they should.
Not just that, but based on our own well worn and precedented patterns of policy creation, the government's own anti-niceness efforts would quickly have the opposite effect. The huge Anti-Niceness Industrial Complex would actually develop into mankind's greatest purveyor of human niceness ever.
The society would develop an entire underground economy of niceness. Roving gangs of rebelliously friendly youth would roam our streets in order to commit unwarranted acts of human kindness against completely unsuspecting strangers.
This country would become sweeter than a four week old puppy in an instant.
- Let's declare a War on Smartness:
"It's your duty as an American citizen to be a complete moron," so would say the newly appointed Ignorance Czar. "The greatest threat to this country is a well informed an thoughtful populace and we pledge to do everything within our power to end this scourge."
The response to such an announcement would be almost immediate, of course. All of the sudden, it wouldn't be as fashionable as it is today for a lot of Americans to look and sound like utter doofuses.
At elections, well informed voters would be wiling to stand in lines for hours on end to vote for the best candidates and most productive and positive choices on various ballot measures as a citizens protest.
Our newly developed Ignorance Industrial Complex would become the single most important engine of rational decision making, because of all the profit that it generates by perpetuating itself.
At kitchen tables all across this great land, dumbass parents would scold their children for getting good grades and reading books instead of playing video games, and those kids would act out against their parents by becoming well-informed and productive individuals, because as we all know, kids hate being told what to do.
The arts and sciences would become very attractive endeavors to the counter-culture crowd. Learning about history and civics would become acts of civil disobedience.
An American War on Ignorance would have the potential to turn this country into the most educated and well informed society on the face of this Earth.
- Let's declare a War on Healthy Living:
Our experience with First Lady's campaign for healthy eating and exercise has been highly instructive. Many Americans actually came out against living and eating well. Perhaps an opposite approach would have better results.
Since the vast majority of complacently sedentary slobs in this country all elicit a visceral reaction against people unlike themselves, it would be most helpful to appoint someone that they would loathe to identify with.
Thus, our Anti-Healthy Living Czar should be an unkempt and obese ethnic minority woman (immigrant perhaps). Announcing anti-healthy dictums from the comfort of her La-z-boy chair, she would encourage her fellow Americans to do absolutely nothing that would be beneficially strenuous or nutritionally helpful.
Pointing a Doritos stained finger at America, she would impart that a life filled with diabetes, high-blood pressure and morbid obesity was our civic responsibility and the best thing ever and she would encourage all citizens to live their own lives accordingly.
The spontaneous protests against the government suggested paradigm would be explosive.
Fresh fruits and vegetables could be reclassified as "junk food" and the prices would fall. Salad delivery franchises could pop up overnight.
Running, walking and biking would become popular to the formerly Fat Lazy Bum set.
"I don't like the government telling me what to do," could say the winner of a local marathon, a former 300 pound couch potato who was incensed when an overweight brown woman with a funny accent told him that he was just like her.
If you have spent some time trying to figure out why this country seems bound and determined to do the complete opposite of the rest of the Western Industrial Civilization, you'll come to the conclusion that our fault lies in exhibiting a rebelliously contrarian streak a mile wide.
It's that thing about us which makes actual common sense all too uncommon against other countries in term of standard of living, equality and fairness. Too many people in this country believe that that foreign crap is for suckers and respond accordingly.
We're Americans, Gawd dammit! We hate being told what to do, even it's ultimately for the common good.
Perhaps it's time to declare a War on Common Sense as well, since it's all too uncommon these days.
Posted by MrScorpio | Sat Nov 15, 2014, 03:01 AM (13 replies)