Cop kicks DUI defendant in groin, shatters testicle; case dropped because cop erased the video

Here is a story from Arizona involving a smartass law student and an out of control cop.  From RawStory.com:

Charges were dropped against a drunken driving suspect who lost a testicle when an Albuquerque police officer kicked him in the groin, and the law student then filed a lawsuit against the cop.

Jeremy Martin, who studies law at the University of New Mexico, was stopped April 25, just days after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a harsh review of the police deartment’s use of excessive force.

Officer Pablo Padilla ordered the 25-year-old Martin out of his vehicle and told him to sit on the curb, but police said he refused.

One of Martin’s friends used a cell phone to record the encounter, and Padilla’s lapel camera also was recording video and audio.

“Sit down or I’m going to mace you,” the officer tells Martin, who dares him to do so.

“Mace me, please,” Martin says. “I would love for you to mace me, that would be fantastic.”

Martin initially sits down on the curb but then stands up and asks to “talk things out,” but the officer tells him “this isn’t a debate” and points a Taser at him.

The man’s attorney said Padilla lost his temper, and the lapel camera video shows the officer shove Martin into the side of the vehicle, kick him in the groin, and throw him to the ground.

“Stop using aggressive force,” Martin says. “Don’t kick me in the nuts.”

His attorney said the kick caused Martin’s testicle to shatter and break apart, and it had to be surgically removed the night of his arrest.

Martin appeared last month in court to face the charge of driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana, but a judge dropped the charges after Padilla’s own lapel camera showed him destroying evidence.

The video shows him grab the friend’s cell phone and delete the video, and a judge granted a motion last week to suppress Padilla’s testimony because he “intentionally and in bad faith destroyed evidence.”

Without the officer’s testimony, prosecutors were unable to make a case against Martin and dropped the charges.

Martin’s attorney said Padilla was suspended six weeks for his use of excessive force but has not been disciplined for destroying evidence.

A spokesman for the police department declined to discuss the case, saying it was a personnel matter, but he agreed that citizens are legally permitted to record arrests and that officers typically need a search warrant to look through the contents of a cell phone.

 

 

 

 

Setting the wrong example: Cop caught playing video poker while driving in snowstorm

This video has been making the rounds on youtube and facebook. It shows a Bolingbrook, IL police officer driving his squad car in the middle of a snowstorm, while playing video poker.  Talk about distracted driving!

According to the Chicago Tribune, the officer has been identified by Bolingbrook Police and an investigation is underway.

(I suppose I should remind everyone that videotaping the police is still technically a Class 1 felony in Illinois, although several lower courts have ruled that the law is unconstitutional).

Why the Federal Appellate Court entered an injunction in the Eavesdropping case

I am going to link over to Eric Zorn’s blog, where he provides representative quotes from both the majority and dissenting opinions from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling upholding a temporary injunction prohibiting the Cook County State’s Attorney from prosecuting anyone for video recording a police officer who is acting in his or her official capacity in public.

The highlights are easy to read (not in incomprehensible “legalese”) and are worth reading.

Here is the full link:  http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/11/highlights-.html

Update:  Zorn is at it again!  In a new post, he uses the example of a threatened “eavesdropping” prosecution by a Lindenhurst officer to shows how ridiculous enforcement of this statute can be as the police uses his “dash cam” video to surreptitiously record a citizen who is surreptitiously recording his traffic stop. Read it here:  http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/11/eaves.html

Law Against Recording Cops coming under increased scrutiny

Back on November 25, 2011, I blogged the following:

In Illinois, it is a class one felony, punishable between four to 15 years in prison, to photograph or video record police officers.

(720 ILCS 5/14‑4) (from Ch. 38, par. 14‑4)
Sec. 14‑4. Sentence.
(a) Eavesdropping, for a first offense, is a Class 4 felony and, for a second or subsequent offense, is a Class 3 felony.
(b) The eavesdropping of an oral conversation or an electronic communication between any law enforcement officer, State's Attorney, Assistant State's Attorney, the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, or a judge, while in the performance of his or her official duties, if not authorized by this Article or proper court order, is a Class 1 felony.

How can it be that you or I could be sent to prison for 15 years for the same activity that the police, city and local businesses conduct 24/7? The City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications operates over 1,500 surveillance cameras watching our every action like “Big Brother” from Orwell’s 1984, but we can’t record a questionable police stop?

Well, it looks like the Chicago Tribune is raising similar questions.

Illinois’ eavesdropping ban was extended in 1994 to include open and obvious audio recording, even if it takes place on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists and in a volume audible to the “unassisted human ear.”

[Defense attorney Joshua] Kutnick said the law makes no sense today, when so many people carry smartphones capable of shooting video and thousands of public and private surveillance cameras are stationed throughout the city.

“There’s no place for it in today’s sophisticated, technological society,” he said. “Now the first thing anybody does (is) pull out the phone, pull out the recorder. Laws should track what’s happening in the world, and this is a perfect example of where it is not keeping up.”

Perhaps the public’s increasing awareness of the absurdity and fundamental unfairness of this law will finally lead our spineless leaders in Springfield to do the right thing and remove this odious statute from the books.