Floriduh! Woman and Man: All That Glitter is not Gold Edition

Miami Herald take it away (emphasis mine)!

Miami-Dade police is on the hook for legal bills after cops illegally seized a cache of guns — and nearly $20,000 in stripper cash.

The department has agreed to pay more than $3,000 to defense lawyers hired by Ras Cates, 33, and his wife, Lizmixell Batista, a 20-year-old stripper at Cheetah Gentleman’s Club in Hallandale Beach.

Presumably, the legal bills won’t be paid in singles.

Back on May 15, an officer pulled over Cates and Batista, his passenger, when their car cut off a patrol car in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood. From the car, patrol officers seized six guns, three of them assault-style rifles, plus the cash, suspected marijuana oil and several bottles of powerful codeine cough syrup without a valid prescription.

Miami-Dade police touted the arrest to a local TV station, showing off photos of the guns. “It’s amazing how something as simple as a traffic stop can lead us to crack a lot of cases,” a police spokesman told WFOR-CBS4. “A lot of serial killers are behind bars because of traffic stops.”

The couple was charged with armed drug dealing, among other felony charges. But defense lawyers immediately challenged the arrest.

“What is most disturbing is that immediately following the arrest, the department went on TV and engaged in incendiary speculation without knowing the facts or even acknowledging the rampant violations of my clients’ constitutional rights,” said defense attorney Jude Faccidomo.

Faced with defense evidence, prosecutors moved quickly to dismiss the case.

Cates told cops he legally owned the weapons, and also had a valid concealed-weapons permit. His story checked out. And body-camera footage showed that an officer, while friendly with Cates, never got permission to search the trunk but instead “commanded defendant to pop the trunk,” prosecutors wrote.

“Search of the trunk was illegal,” prosecutor Johnathan Nobile said in a memo explaining why the state declined to press charges.

Who possessed the drugs or possibly illegal codeine syrup was never clear either, prosecutors said. Neither Cates nor Batista admitted who owned the marijuana. And whether the syrup was actually codeine was also unclear — Miami-Dade police never took the liquid to the forensics lab for testing.

Lawyers for Cates are still trying to get the guns back.

As for the money, the bills were discovered in Batista’s purse. Body-camera footage obtained by the Miami Herald showed she immediately told cops about her cash-only job. “I was supposed to go the bank to deposit the money. We got bills to pay, sweetie,” she told police.

The Miami-Dade police department’s legal bureau, suspecting it was dope money, asked a civil-court judge to allow the department to keep the $19,934 seized in the car. The department said a Miami-Dade police dog, Roxie, alerted that the cash had been “in close proximity” to large amounts of narcotics.

But at the hearing, a fellow stripper named Haley Heath testified that her friend, Batista, earned “significant cash tips” at the Cheetah club.

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rodney Smith agreed there was no probable cause for the seizure and ordered the money returning to the couple.

This is my favorite part:

“I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence, but apparently the police department disagreed,” said defense lawyer Faccidomo.

Ya think?

Stay supple!

Open thread.

 



Suddenly, The Picadors Despise Bullfights

I don’t know if Andrew McCabe was a shining beacon of apolitical law enforcement in the FBI, and it sure looks like a dick move to fire him a day before he could collect a full pension, but this part of his statement made me roll my eyes:

[…] The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

The FBI has always been at least a somewhat politicized institution, and their role in the 2016 election from the top down was to damage Hillary Clinton. My guess is that Comey’s memo and the New York field office’s leaks were probably more calculated to weaken the inevitable Clinton presidency than they were to elect Trump, but who knows. All I know is that these guys wanted to play a high-stakes game and now they’re getting fucked. I can’t muster a hell of a lot of sympathy for them, since their actions had some really shitty consequences for all of us.








I Bet Eric Garner Wishes He Got Just One of These

Thug life:

The city’s police-officers union is cracking down on the number of “get out of jail free” courtesy cards distributed to cops to give to family and friends.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.

The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets, the theory being that presenting one suggests you know someone in the NYPD.

Damn it’s good to be a gangster.



Here’s a Possibility- Maybe We Have a Policing Problem

Fer fuck’s sake:

The call to the police sounded dire: a violent dispute at a house in Wichita, Kan., a person shot to death, an armed man holding hostages and threatening to burn the place down.

Officers raced to the scene and surrounded the house. A man emerged and the police commanded him to put his hands up. Moments later, an officer fired a deadly shot.

The whole encounter on Thursday night had been based on a hoax: There had been no shooting before the police arrived, no hostages, no threat of arson. Instead, it was a fatal incarnation of “swatting,” in which people report fake crimes in hopes of getting a SWAT team to raid a rival’s house.

“If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there,” Deputy Chief Troy Livingston of the Wichita Police Department said at a news conference on Friday. The police did not say whether they knew who had placed the prank call, but said that it was a key part of their inquiry.

Obviously, this does not excuse the evil behavior of those who called in the hoax, but jesus fucking christ, maybe we have a policing problem when they show up and start shooting before they even know what the hell is going on? What if that had been a hostage coming to the door (as it was, it was already a completely innocent person)? Why bother calling the cops in a hostage crisis if they are just going to open fire, kill ’em all, and let god sort it out.

Just thinking outside the fucking box, here, but maybe decades of pretending the police are infallible and deserve our complete unflinching support and that we bow down at their feet for people who have a job less dangerous than a lumberjack combined with shitty pay, long hours, no chance of punishment for fuckups, and arming them to the teeth with weapons they do not need is also a problem here?








It Ain’t Murder If You Got a Badge

Another day, another cop gets away with murder:

Police in Mesa, Arizona released disturbing body camera video on Thursday hours after a former officer was acquitted of a murder charge in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

The verdict cleared Philip Brailsford, 27, of criminal liability in the 2016 death of Daniel Shaver, of Granbury, Texas. He was also found not guilty of reckless manslaughter, reports CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV.

The shooting occurred at a hotel in the Phoenix suburb where officers responded to a report of someone pointing a gun out of a window. The video, obtained by KPHO, shows Brailsford pointing a gun at Shaver as Shaver lies on the ground, holds his hands in the air, cries and begs the officer not to shoot.

I don’t know how jurors could watch that and not convict of at least reckless manslaughter.








File This Under Rape Culture

A NY teenager was arrested and handcuffed by NYPD cops, allegedly raped, the cops claim it was consensual (which is impossible when you are under arrest), and the NY Daily News then writes it up and adds a picture of the raped teen but not a picture of the two NAMED cops.

Awesome work, media. Obligatory “Why don’t women come forward more often…”



Heartbreaking Read(s): The Participant Who’ll Never Tell Us His Story

A news story about a police officer (in Salt Lake City!) manhandling an ER nurse for RESISTING HIS AUTHORITAY!!! seemed almost too on-the-nose as an analogy for life during the Trump Occupancy. But there are real people at the heart of this metaphor, and the Washington Post followed up:

William Gray, a commercial truck driver and reserve police officer, died late Monday of the injuries he suffered when a fiery July 26 crash left him with burns over nearly half his body, University of Utah Health spokeswoman Suzanne Winchester said.

Gray was unconscious at the Salt Lake City hospital when police detective Jeff Payne asked to draw his blood hours after the crash.

Nurse Alex Wubbels refused because hospital policy required a warrant or patient consent. Payne handcuffed her and dragged her outside.

Gray was hauling a load of sand in northern Utah when a pickup truck speeding away from police crossed the center line and hit his truck head-on, causing an explosion. State police had been trying to pull over the pickup driver after several people called 911 to report he was driving recklessly.

Gray was not suspected of wrongdoing.

The pickup driver, Marcos Torres, 26, died in the crash, and Utah police routinely collect such evidence from everyone involved in fatal crashes.

Dramatic video of Wubbels’ arrest caught widespread attention online amid national scrutiny of police use of force. Payne and the supervisor who backed him, Lt. James Tracy, were placed on leave amid internal and criminal investigations…

Gray, 43, served with police in the southeastern Idaho city of Rigby. Chief Sam Tower said he was dedicated to the community of about 4,000 people and plowed snow from a sidewalk last winter so neighborhood kids wouldn’t have to walk in the street.

“Bill was truly the best of mankind,” Rigby police said in a Facebook post. “Always willing to help, always willing to go the extra mile. Bill was a big man, with a bigger heart. Everything about him was generous and kind.”…

Amy Davidson Sorkin, in the New Yorker, explains “What the Utah Good-Nurse, Bad-Cop Video Says About Medical Privacy”:

The story began on July 26th. That day, the police had engaged in a high-speed chase on a highway that ended with a deadly multi-vehicle crash. But this was not a cinematic case of, say, fugitive armed robbers. It began around 2 P.M., when the police received reports of a Chevrolet Silverado driving erratically. As the officers began their pursuit, the Silverado, now on US-89/91, swerved into a semi truck that happened to be on the road, causing an explosion. The driver of the Silverado, Marco Torres, who was twenty-six, was killed instantly. The truck driver, William Gray—who, in one of this story’s many byways, was a reserve police officer in Rigby, Idaho—staggered out of his semi, his clothes and body on fire. He was airlifted to the burn unit. One might wonder why the police wanted his blood, when he was, essentially, a bystander. The Utah police have said that it was meant for Gray’s protection, but Payne, in his report on the incident, obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, said that the officers who were dealing with the crash wanted to know whether Gray had any “chemical substances” in his system. Another, troubling possibility could be that they were looking for something that might place some of the responsibility for the crash on Gray, in case he complained that the police had been reckless in their pursuit.
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