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Innocent Woman Attacked By Vicious Police Dog in Minnesota

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A St. Paul police K-9 attacked an unsuspecting woman, knocked her out of her shoes and dragged her to the ground causing bites that required hospitalization, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.


St. Paul police officer Thaddeus P. Schmidt lost control of his K-9, Gabe, who repeatedly ignored more than 10 commands from Schmidt and another officer to release the woman, Desiree Collins, according to the suit filed Wednesday.

“What you have here is a completely innocent person taking out their garbage … and a K-9 simply wasn’t controlled,” said one of Collins’ attorneys, Andrew Noel. “It should never have happened.”

Noel and attorney Bob Bennett on Thursday released graphic police body camera footage of the Sept. 23 incident. The footage shows Gabe walking far ahead of Schmidt on a 20-foot lead. The dog disappears behind a dumpster and attacks Collins outside the sight of three officers at the scene. Collins screams in pain and falls to the ground with the dog latched onto her.

“What happened to Ms. Collins was a terrible accident that should not have occurred,” police Chief Todd Axtell said in a written statement issued Thursday. “I am sorry it happened and that she was injured. As a department, we wish we could go back and do things differently. Unfortunately, we can’t.

“What we can do is apologize and take responsibility … and learn from the incident so we can continue to work to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”

A St. Paul police officer’s body camera footage shows Desiree Collins’ attack by “Gabe,” a St. Paul police K-9. Collins was injured and is suing hte department.
Schmidt was suspended for a day for allowing Gabe to walk around a corner and out of his sight, and for not verbally announcing the dog’s presence, according to personnel records. The bite occurred while Schmidt and Gabe were searching for two males suspected in a home burglary in the 700 block of Minnehaha Avenue.

Collins, who was 52 at the time, was attacked about 6:30 a.m. while standing by a dumpster in the 600 block of Van Buren Avenue.

Schmidt is the only defendant named in the suit, which alleges that he violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free of excessive force and unreasonable seizure.

Collins suffered a bite wound to her lower left leg and multiple bites to her right arm during the 30-second attack, according to the suit.

“She’s struggling emotionally with this incident,” said Noel, adding that Collins would not be speaking publicly on the matter.

Collins was treated at Regions Hospital for her injuries, and required a return visit and outpatient care; she could not change her own dressings because her left hand was amputated when she was a child. She also receives ongoing counseling.

According to the suit, which chronicled some events captured on police body cameras: multiple officers responded to the burglary call. Schmidt and Gabe, a 5-year-old German shepherd who joined the department in 2012, began searching for the suspects without any “visual target” or “definitive information” about the suspects’ whereabouts.

Schmidt placed Gabe on a long lead, and gave two verbal warnings to “Announce yourself. Come out now. You will get bit” while located close to his squad.

“No reasonable officer would have believed that a warning given at this location, sheltered by homes and trees, and at this time would have been effective to anyone outside his immediate vicinity, including people more than a block away on the opposite side of the residential area, like Collins,” the suit said.

Schmidt and Gabe traveled through backyards, jumped fences and into alleys without providing additional verbal warning of the K-9’s presence.

Gabe then “pulled” Schmidt for seven minutes as two “cover officers” followed, the suit said.

Gabe’s long lead “greatly reduced” Schmidt’s control of the dog, who walked around a dumpster out of Schmidt’s view and attacked Collins.

One of the cover officers “calmly stated, ‘Oh, there’s a lady,’ ” the suit said.

Gabe bit Collins in the leg and then “viciously” clamped onto her right arm. The two cover officers tried and failed to pry Collins free, according to the suit.

“…per Gabe’s training, their actions only caused Gabe to exert more bite pressure and pull her arm harder in his direction on the bite,” the suit said.

Gabe ignored orders to release Collins, and Schmidt’s attempts to stop the attack using an electronic shock collar also failed before Schmidt was able to remove Gabe.

A St. Paul police officer’s body camera video show’s St. Paul police K-9 “Gabe” attacking Desiree Collins. Collins, who was injured, is suing the dog’s handler.

A St. Paul police officer’s body camera video show’s St. Paul police K-9 “Gabe” attacking Desiree Collins. Collins, who was injured, is suing the dog’s handler.
Collins is suing for unspecified punitive damages and changes in training, policies and procedures in St. Paul’s use of K-9s.

Linders said giving K-9s a long lead protects officers by creating distance between police and armed suspects they may come upon.

St. Paul police K-9s have been involved in 22 apprehensions this year where someone was bitten, he said.

Schmidt, who is paid $85,300, joined the department in 1998. He and Gabe remain on duty in the K-9 unit.

According to the suit, Schmidt was involved in a similar incident in 2016 when Gabe, who was on a long lead, bit an innocent person. The officer received “supervisory counseling” on leash handling.

Linders said Schmidt and Gabe were looking for an armed suspect in 2016 when another man ran in front of the dog and was bitten. The man sustained “minor injuries” that included scrapes, he said.

Schmidt’s personnel file shows that he was suspended for two days in 2006 after he crashed his personal car while off duty. He also had a gun in the car at the time. He was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to drunken driving. He received a written reprimand in 2006 for drinking alcohol at least once on city property while assigned to the FORCE unit.

Noel and Bennett represented Frank Baker in another suit involving a St. Paul K-9 bite in 2016 that resulted in a $2 million settlement. Baker was mistaken for a suspect and was kicked by an officer. Police K-9 Falco also bit and dragged him around on the ground as several officers watched.

St. Paul police body camera footage shows K-9 “Gabe’s” attack on Desiree Collins. Collins, who was injured, is suing the K-9’s handler.
Baker spent two weeks in the hospital, underwent skin grafts and suffered broken ribs and collapsed lungs from the incident.

In March 2016, St. Paul reached a $20,000 settlement with a woman who was attacked by police K-9, Rebel, in 2013. Karen Shafer was in her backyard when the dog broke from its pursuit of a car thief, bit her and chased after her as she fled into her home, where the attack continued. The dog bit her several times, resulting in 17 stitches in her right hand, left leg and left arm.

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WATCH: Copwatch | Gang Unit Vehicle Stop Foot Bail | Tossed Gun | Man Tasered

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San Diego Copwatch April 10, 2018

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POLICE claim Man said ‘shoot me’ twice before he was shot to death by police, Audio Experts Heard Different

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Las Vegas Metro police shot and killed a 22-year-old man early Friday morning after he reached for a weapon and defied commands repeatedly, police said.

 

Officers Francisco Rivera, 28, and Padilla Mills, 23, were involved in the shooting in the 200 block of Madge Lane, near Charleston Boulevard and Sloan Lane.

Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Monday said officers were on their way to another call when they spotted Junior David Lopez driving recklessly with two women in a blue Chrysler 300.

“Hey, what are you doing? Stay in the car man,” one of the officers yelled. “Stay in the ****ing car! Don’t move! Do not ****ing move!”

When officers stopped the vehicle, Lopez got out of the vehicle with a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard .380 firearm in his hand then tossed it on the ground, police said.

Zimmerman said Lopez defied officers’ commands to put his hands up and step away from the weapon. Instead Lopez grabbed the firearm and raised it, he said.

“Hey, get away from the gun!” officers yelled. “Do not move! Don’t reach for the gun, man. Do not reach the gun.”

Officers believe the body camera footage shows Lopez twice saying the words “shoot me.”

“I don’t know what was going through his head, but he was given ample opportunity to be taken into custody and he wasn’t,” Zimmerman said.

Officers Rivera and Mills both fired their weapons. Lopez fell to the ground and rolled over. Police say he reached for the guns once more. Officer Mills fired one more round, striking Lopez.

“We’re going to need medical for the subject,” one of the officers said, over his radio. “He’s reaching. Don’t reach for it! … His 4-13 is about one foot from his left hand. Don’t!”

Lopez was taken to Sunrise Hospital where he later died at 5:15 a.m.

The two women in the car were not injured. One was Lopez’ girlfriend and the owner of the vehicle. The other was a friend.

Both women on Monday night.

“I remember when we got pulled over they told us to get the **** out of the car, for him to get the **** out of the car. Why don’t I hear that in the video?” said Lopez’s girlfriend, Amber. “He was the best thing in my life… He said, ‘Don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me.’ You can’t hear the don’t, but you can hear him. ‘Don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me.'”

Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said 22-year-old Junior Lopez told officers to shoot him, twice.

“I don’t know what was going through his head but he was given ample opportunity to be taken into custody and he wasn’t.”

Lopez’s girlfriend said he was yelling, “Don’t shoot me!”

Lopez’s girlfriend also says officers told him to get out of the car… before they yelled at him to get back in the car. She argues that the first portion was conveniently cut out of the video released today.

“Everything they said is not true,” said Jorge Luis Martinez, Lopez’s father. “The video is not complete. ”

Lopez had one prior charge for false statement to a police officer in North Las Vegas in 2016

Both officers have been employed with Metro since May 2016. They are both assigned to the Community Policing Division Northeast Area Command. They were both placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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Freedom of Speech Everywhere except a Courthouse so Says the US Attorney General

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How an anti-illegal immigration YouTuber turned a $280 fine into a federal criminal trial

How an anti-illegal immigration YouTuber turned a $280 fine into a federal criminal trial

Gary Gileno

Gary Gileno is shown outside the federal courthouse on Friday before his trial. Gileno was fighting a $280 citation for failing to comply with orders while trying to bring a video camera into a L.A. County Sheriff oversight meeting in 2017. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

 

It began as a $280 citation for using a video camera in a courthouse.

But to Gary Gileno, at stake was much more than the couple hundred bucks he was told to pay.

An attorney for the anti-illegal immigration activist and prolific YouTuber told a judge Friday that the four-hour trial over the fine was really about preventing government abuse of power, protecting the rights of journalists and ensuring that citizens can hold public officials accountable.

“If he is convicted … it’ll chill speech, it’ll chill journalism, it’ll say the federal government has a superpower to do whatever it wants,” attorney William Becker said. “This is unprecedented. This is what we expect to see in a police state.”

A federal prosecutor dismissed the rhetoric, arguing the Class C misdemeanor charge was simply about Gileno’s refusal to follow a security officer’s orders.

The unusual legal battle came after Gileno, 32, tried to bring a video camera into a meeting of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission last year. California law specifically allows the public to use recording devices at such meetings, but the commission’s meeting in August was held at a federal appellate court building where filming is prohibited.

Someone just detained at federal courthouse, where public Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission meeting takin place, 4 trying 2 take pic

The commission, a civilian panel set up to monitor the Sheriff’s Department and listen to public concerns about the agency, had been gathering in different locations around the county since it began meeting in January 2017. This was the first time commissioners had met at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals building in Pasadena.

As Gileno entered the courthouse, deputy U.S. marshals told him he had to leave his camera in his car. Gileno insisted he had a right to record the meeting under the First Amendment and the state’s open meetings law, known as the Brown Act, and began filming the officers.

They responded by handcuffing and detaining him for about an hour.

After Gileno was cited, Robert C. Bonner, a former federal judge who chairs the commission, told The Times he wasn’t aware of certain provisions of the state’s open meetings law and relied on the county’s lawyers for legal advice.

Rather than pay the fine, Gileno opted to take his case to trial, facing a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and 30 days in jail if found guilty.

Gileno, who began his YouTube career after showing up at his local council meeting in West Covina, said he has made a living off of his channel in recent years. His copious videos — 3,237 and counting — focus primarily on denouncing illegal immigration and promoting supporters of President Trump. His criminal case may have been a boon for his channel — a recent screed on his own prosecution was viewed more than 10,000 times.

On Friday, two court security officers who clashed with Gileno took the stand and testified that there were signs clearly posted saying photography wasn’t allowed in the courthouse. They said Gileno grew belligerent and disruptive, turning on his camera after being warned several times that it was not allowed.

Testifying in his own defense, Gileno said he was a freelance citizen journalist who has attended and filmed local government meetings and legislative town halls for about five years.

“I believe in the United States of America, you should be able to keep tabs on the government,” he said.

In more than 250 other public meetings he attended, he said, he never had an issue with bringing in his video camera. He said the security officer all of a sudden “exploded” at him, so he turned on his camera “to document what I felt was a violation of my rights at the time.”

Assistant U.S. Atty. Benedetto Lee Balding said Gileno’s disruption of security officers working at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was no small matter. It was Gileno who escalated the encounter by refusing to go along with the officers’ orders, he said.

“He decided unilaterally he didn’t have to follow the rules,” the prosecutor said.

Becker, who primarily represents conservatives and Christians in free-speech cases, worked for free on Gileno’s case. He argued that the federal courthouse essentially became a “limited public forum” when it hosted the commission meeting, which Gileno should have been allowed to film under the state law.

Magistrate Judge Jean P. Rosenbluth said she could understand why Gileno was angry and frustrated given his past experience filming the meetings, but she said that didn’t excuse his failure to follow orders. Security at the appellate courthouse, where justices could be filmed without their knowledge, was a serious concern, the judge said.

“Even if these seem arbitrary or don’t make any sense to Mr. Gileno or anybody else, clearly they serve this very important purpose,” Rosenbluth said, finding Gileno guilty.

Acknowledging that a “misunderstanding” had led to the kerfuffle, the prosecutor recommended a sentence of no fine, which would leave Gileno having to pay just $35 in court fees. Rosenbluth said she felt the need for “some consequences” and ordered Gileno to pay a $50 fine, bringing his total penalty to $85 with the fees.

Gileno said he was “outraged” and “astounded.” After the verdict, he turned to nine supporters in the audience, including a man in a red “Make California Great Again” hat, and exclaimed, “I was never read my rights!”

His attorney said they would seriously consider an appeal and possibly a civil lawsuit against the government.

“What the judge just said is if a city council can move to a federal building, they can keep the meeting secret,” Gileno said. “That’s grossly illegal.”

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