Monday, August 1, 2016

A Hero Cop outs a Coward Cop

    We do enough stories that are critical of LEO so when we see a story of a cop going above and beyond we also like to report it.  In this story though the cop paid for his honesty.  Teax Police officer Michael Kelly reported that other local LEO attempted to cover up the facts in the Sandra Bland arrest last summer.  Bland allegedly committed suicide in her cell after she was roughed up and arrested.

The officer reported that supervisors edited his police report that was critical of the state trooper that had initially arrested Bland and that he had been threatened by the local prosecutor for speaking out about what had really happened that day.  Bland was arrested for assaulting trooper Brian Encinia but officer Kelly reported that when he arrived on the scene the woman was already in handcuffs in the back of the trooper's car.  Kelly overheard the trooper saying he didn't know what to charge the woman with but that he would come up with something.  The trooper had also turned off his body camera.  Officer Kelly told the media that the trooper had messed up, had no probable cause to arrest the woman after completing the traffic ticket.   Kelly's two page report was edited down to less than one page and entered into the record without his approval.    Attempts to testify before the grand jury hearing the case were rebuffed by the prosecutor with Kelly being told "it wouldn't be good for your career" and that he might wind up "beneath the jail" if he testified.

A few months later Kelly was charged by the same prosecutor for allegedly using a Taser on a local city councilman
Kelley, a 33-year-old officer with the Prairie View Police Department since 2014, is an embattled figure himself. He was indicted for allegedly misusing a Taser on a black Prairie View city councilman, named Jonathan Miller, who didn't comply with police orders in October last year. The body camera footage showed the city councilman attempting to defend some friends of his that were being questioned by Kelly and another black officer.  The councilman refused to step away and when told he was under arrest for interfering he refused to comply with both officer's demand.  After being warned Kelley used the Taser on the man and arrested him for interfering with a police officer.

The trooper  that arrested Bland was ultimately fired and indicted over lying about the arrest to the Grand Jury.  Kelly claims that the indictment over the Taser incident was payback for speaking out about the Bland arrest.

The Bland  arrest started out of an alleged failure to signal a lane change, an obviously patent fishing expedition by the trooper.  The trooper gathers license and insurance papers and goes back to write a warning ticket to Bland.   The trooper returns with the ticket for Bland to sign which she does and after the trooper asks if she is "okay" and seems upset Bland calmly explains that yes she is upset because she is being harassed, all done in a very calm manner.  At that point the trooper asks Bland to put out her cigarette, Bland says "No, I am in my car and I don't have to put out my cigarette."  At that point the trooper told Bland to step out of the car and Bland refused.

At this point the trooper had zero reason to detain Bland.   He had written the ticket that was for the purpose of the stop and had no lawful reason to ask questions or detain Bland.    Bland asks what she is being arrested for after being told she was under arrest and the trooper pauses for a few seconds but refuses to answer.    The trooper pulls his Taser and threatens to "light her up" and Bland exits the car.  At this point the trooper orders Bland over to the right out of the range of the camera and gets upset that Bland is recording the abuse on her cell phone.   Bland complies with the order to lay her phone down but continues to ask why she is being arrested over a failure to use a turn signal.

Bland is talking back, no doubt and it is obvious that she has gotten under the troopers skin because she is right.   Listening to the video it is obvious that she is handcuffed.   The trooper tells Bland that before she was getting a warning but now she was going to jail.  Bystanders gather and the trooper orders them to leave.   At one point the trooper tells Bland that she is going to jail for resisting arrest for a warning  ticket.  The trooper searches Bland's car after backup arrive, which was what he wanted to do in the first place.

Bland was transported to jail and her car was towed.  As the tow truck is loading the car you can hear the trooper giving his version of what happened, claiming she was flailing around with her arms and stomping around, causing him to detain her.   The fact is that the woman was sitting in her car when she was arrested.  

The trooper then lies to his supervisor on the phone, claiming the traffic stop was not completed, that they were in the middle of the traffic stop.  The fact is that he had issued the ticket and Bland was signing the ticket when the trooper demanded she put out her cigarette.   He continues to lie, claiming that Bland was cursing him before the arrest when in fact she was upset but very calm and professional up to the point she was ordered out of the car.  He starts talking about assault charges yet the arrest came before any alleged assault occurred.  Next the trooper starts reading from a list of offenses about resisting arrest, it is obvious that he is searching for a reason to arrest the woman.  But again, the trooper told the woman that she was under arrest when he pulled her out of the car.   Then he lies again claiming he never told the woman she was under arrest!  

  At around 30 minutes into the video the trooper claims the reason he pulled her out of the car was because she was upset over the ticket.  He repeats the claim that he didn't tell her she was under arrest until he had her over on the sidewalk.  At this point he is trying to cover his butt and provide an excuse for arresting Bland but the video shows it as clear as a bell, she was arrested because she was upset over the warning ticket and dared to tell the officer that.

At some point in the conversation de-escalation was brought up by the supervisor so it is good that the supervisor was asking and concerned that an attempt was made to deescalate.  But it is clear that contempt of cop was the reason for arrest.

Bland was definitely a confrontational person, not the type that would kill themselves after three days in jail.  She knew her rights and demanded they be respected and had no problem telling the trooper that he was scared, even called him a pu**y on several occasions.    It is hard to believe that she would commit suicide in jail.