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Help. What can you do if you are treated badly by the police?

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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:07 AM
Original message
Help. What can you do if you are treated badly by the police?
What recourse do citizens have against out of control police officers?

A friend of mine made a mistake yesterday. She tried to get a stray dog into a no kill shelter and to do that she told them she lived in the town where the shelter is. She doesn't. She lives a couple of miles outside the city limits.

Well, you would have thought she just murdered someone. A detective showed up at her house. The detective was from Parkville - the town where the shelter is. Her home, however, is in Kansas City so he was out of his jurisdiction.

This guy was absolutely awful. He threatened to have her arrested. And was just generally verbally abusive. She told me she felt like she was up against the SS - not the police in small town Missouri. She was crying and her husband was trying to keep from doing something stupid that would make things worse.

Then the Chief of Police showed up. The whole thing was horrible. They took all of their personal information - license plate numbers, work info, phone numbers. This police force has a reputation for just plain harrassment of people - making them pull over for no reason - that sort of stuff.

There has to be some sort of way they can move to protect themselves.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
1. We have had good luck working with city council reps
We have dealt with some insane KCMO cops. (One drove by us with his lights and siren on and held his finger out the window at us, while going through a red light.) I mentioned this to a council member who came to our DFA meeting and was told to call anytime the cops did anything like that again. So we did and the police dept actually responded and took us seriously.

So tell her to contact the elected officials in Parkville.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. That is kind of what I was thinking, too. Maybe the Mayor.
That asshole filmed the whole thing from his car so they have a film of the whole thing.

This poor woman is disabled and has brain damage. She was just devasted by this whole mess. I think this detective was just royally pissed off because he was sent out on a stray animal call and he was just being a total jerk.

And the Chief of Police showing up? Like was this just a completely boring day in Parkville so he went out because he had nothing better to do?

This kind of stuff just disgusts me.
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Aristus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:15 AM
Response to Original message
2. Contact the ACLU. They're always looking for potential high-profile cases
that uncover civil rights abuses.

You know the "Why do you hate America" meme the repukes love so much? Next time you hear someone spouting off about the ACLU, ask him: 'Why do you hate civil rights?"
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
3. How about reporting it to the Internal Affairs Dept.? Or the state attorney general?
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
4. SUE!! Go to the city/town lawyer and file a complaint!
I did !! I won!!
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tuckessee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
6. Tell your friend not to talk to the police at all.
This is very important. Cops will lie and misconstrue her words. For them it's routine.

Not a word other than "Am I under arrest? If so, handcuff me and read me my rights. If not, I'm going back inside. I have nothing to say to you. Bye"

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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. The police filmed the whole thing. She could use that to prove
what assholes they were.
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tuckessee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. Was the false hometown done by word or in writing?
Maybe this shelter has some connection to city/county gov't and they're looking to nail her for falsifying offical documents.

If it was done only by word, and she hasn't admitted as much to the cops, she should be OK.

If she admitted it on the tape, she could be in trouble.

Obviously, the cops are making a big deal out of this. She needs to be extremely cautious.

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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. They will probably erase the whole tape
That's pretty much SOP these days.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. WTF!?
The chief of police?

For a stray dog!?

The only recourse I can think of right now, is the power of the internets!

Bad Cop News is a web site that allows people to post dirt on bad cops in their area.

Click on that link and see if those assholes aren't already there.
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I know. This whole thing is just unvelievable.
Parkville is kind of an up and coming place around here. Lots of new construction and kind of upper middle class housing going in. They really don't need a police force full of incompetent assholes.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Sounds like California's most famous and embarrassing suburb...
...Simi Valley.

Remember Simi?

It's home to every retired racist LAPD cop and the Ronald Reagan Liberry.

Oh, and where they acquitted the cops for beating the shit out of Rodney King.
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ThatsMyBarack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Amazing site. Thanks for the link!
Like a train wreck I can't look away from--or rather, several.
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ColbertWatcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #14
18. You're welcome.
Until they take it away from us, the internets is our best friend/tool against the GOP machine.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
11. Good luck with that.
Since the act took place in Parkville, the cops aren't outside their jurisdiction. You could possibly get a lawsuit together, but it would be awfully hard to do without video of the incident, and a very sympathetic jury. Unless they continue to hassle your friend, a lawsuit is out of the picture. Your friend could go public, but that's a rough route too, especially without graphic film of the incident. Besides, in many of these towns, KC included, the local media is usually colluding with the local cops.

Even if your friend somehow was successful in one of pursuing one of these remedies, they would best be advised to move out of the area immediately, since from then on, the cops would make their life a living hell.

I've run up against this before. I lived in Springfield Mo during the mid-eighties for four years, and got pulled over for the standard hassle(who are you, check ID, where are you going, etc.) eight times during that period either walking or riding my bike. The reason being was simply that I had long hair at the time.

There really isn't much that can be done with these "everyday" sorts of police abuse. They don't rise to the level of a legal matter, the cops cover their own, and the ordinary citizen is at their mercy. I hate to be cynical about it, but that's the way it is. And if you raise too big a stink about it, you're personally targeted by the police, and can then expect increased speeding tickets, parking tickets, zoning "violations" and other such harassment.

Welcome to the world of modern law enforcement, where the attitude of the police is no longer that they're public servants, but rather guards at an outdoor insane asylum. Many longtime police officers have pointed out this attitude change, and suffered for such candor(my cousin included, who's retiring from the force next year in utter disgust).

And people wonder why the majority of Americans fear and distrust the police, it is things like this, both big and small, that have led to this situation. You can't continually abuse the people under your care and still think that they will aid and/or respect you.
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
13. File a complaint. First obtain representation.
A lawyer is the best option in these situations. They can advise you how to navigate the complaint process and where to go from there.
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
15. An incident like that can make you lose total respect for the police
and I have.
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NewEnglandGirl Donating Member (602 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
17. Call either the ACLU
or if you know a good civil rights lawyer. It's good to be prepared with a plan in case it ever happens.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-13-08 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
19. Call the FBI.
In L.A., that's our only recourse.

Other than that it's shut up, or move to a new town and still shut up.

Cops are great, huh.
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