Allegations of Police Brutality

Courteney Stuart reports in the current Hook about a pretty stunning arrest that took place on Water Street a few weeks ago. A 27-year-old Iraq/Afghanistan veteran was crossing Water Street with his fiancee when a Charlottesville police vehicle came barreling through the crosswalk. The angry man shouted at the officer to slow down, and the officer promptly got out of the SUV and handcuffed him. His fiancee asked the cop why he was being arrested, and the officer knocked her to the ground in response. A dozen angry onlookers demanded that the officer let the pair go while one called 911 to report an incident of police brutality. Another officer arrived and arrested the female, and the two were taken into custody on charges of public swearing, intoxication and obstruction of justice. The woman went to the emergency room for her injuries. The two went before a judge on the charges back on the 11th. There’s no word on the outcome.

61 Responses to “Allegations of Police Brutality”


  • When I read this, I wondered what ever happened to the call that the first officer was presumably racing off to meet? Was stopping to arrest a frightened guy for yelling obscenities really a higher priority?

  • Troubling. Not the finest hour for the CPD.

  • Someone explain to me why the citizens of Charlottesville should continue to keep that police officer on the payroll. An assault is an assault: an assailant shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind a uniform.

  • One should not rush to judgment based on an article from a local tabloid and should let the process work itself though before forming an opinion of the officer or the police department. I read the article and only heard one side of the story…..

  • Hmm, seems like in addition to training police officers how to defuse situations with upset possible crime suspects as CIT is now doing, we need to have a program to train citizens how to defuse situations with upset police officers… Or just maybe police officers with anger management issues shouldn’t be on the job?

  • Dave’s got a point, we should all assume the police would never abuse their power, and if they ever do, we should assume the justice system that they are a part of will police itself and correct the injustice. Sarcasm intended.

    But seriously Dave, what are you smoking?

  • Here’s something that bothered me: One of the men was charged with “obstructing justice without force.” Since when does the CPD mete out “justice”? I thought they enforced the law, and left justice to the courts. What is this, Mayberry?

  • LOL Dandy. Uh yeh, the CPD has such a GREAT record.
    puleeeez. And not racist at all. Right.
    This latest story is just friggin typical.

  • I like that line from the Mel Gibson movie “Payback” that goes…”Crooked cops, do they come any other way?” But I guess I’d take a crooked cop over a crooked politian any day. At least the cops can be held accountable.

  • Generalizing here – but, I wonder what the motivation is to become a police officer. I realize the usual stated motivation is to “protect the public” or other suitable declarations, but still their must be others with motivations of power, control, etc, which may not be suitable for a police person. A great temptation to some unsuitable personalities.

    The authority to use force against the public at large is an awesome responsibility and the temptation and authority (given or taken) to act as enforcer and judge is great and routinely practiced (as in the leeway to arrest and charge versus “I`ll let you go this time” – an abused practice, I think, and which varies according to the whim of an indiviual offcer and “how his day has gone”. We cannot certainly believe any individual officer is without bias or prejudice of any kind.

    The existence and practice of the “solid blue line” or other description where officers, in general, will protect each other, is some evidence of abusive practices and miscarriage of justice.

    The use of awards and promotions by departments to glorify officers who make the most traffic stops or arrests for certain misdemeanors, is, I think, a questionable practice and may lead to “trumped up” charges to reach a goal with accompanying rewards.

    I have never researched what psychological tests or examinations are required to weed the unfit from enforcement roles – perhaps a knowledgeable reader may enlighten. My point is “Do we require sufficient tests of this nature or if we do, of what value?”

    The incident in question prompts this post but not local police behavior specifically.

  • Dave — I’ll take the word of a dozen impartial bystanders over a single police officer any day of the week.

  • Goodness, that does sound scary.
    I’ve never had a bad experience with a C-ville police officer, but I do often see them driving around town at really unreasonable speeds.

  • What is really scary is that some people seem to believe anything and everything that is in print. What part of the story in the Hook has been verified? What part is fact, opinion or hear-say? The outline of the incident provided above leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Since the names of the individuals appeared in the paper, hopefully, they or some of the bystanders will provide the follow-up story.

  • While I agree we should not rush to judgment – and The Hook has managed, EVERY single time noting the story of Sean Tubbs & His Pregnant Wife (ME!) and our encounter with the police recently, to get the facts really screwed up – STILL, the police need to at least learn THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ON “OUR” SIDE.

    The cops who were supposedly helping me and my husband by pointing a gun in his face in his house in the middle of the night b/c they were afraid of the acorns – well, maybe they were behaving properly (ahem), but they sure did not leave us feeling okay, safe, protected – instead, we were chilled and frightened.

    Same for this incident. If you have a crowd of people yelling at you to let people go, shouldn’t you, I don’t know, RESPOND somehow? Say, “Sorry” or something? BE NICE? They need training AT LEAST in how to not come across so adversarial – how about being polite, and wanting to HELP and PROTECT, not attack and harass??

  • Cville Eye, you ask “What part of the story in the Hook has been verified?”
    Umm, well, while I grant you that the weeklies occasionally struggle with accuracy here and there, I would say that mutliple sources confirming the account to the reporter counts as verification.
    You would perhaps prefer to wait for the accused cop to verify the account?

  • A comment to Elizabeth Mc:

    In regards to your comment:

    “One of the men was charged with “obstructing justice without force.” Since when does the CPD mete out “justice”? I thought they enforced the law, and left justice to the courts.”

    Police are part of the executive branch of the government. This means that they make executive decisions at the time of an arrest. These decisions can have huge implications on the process to follow the arrest. For example, if you are caught with marijuana, a police officer has the ability to decide how and what to charge you with upon arrest- one type of charge could lead to a trial in the city, the other to a trial in federal court. This is a reason that we should all be concerned with the type of people being hired by the police. The amount of power they hold is actually quite amazing.

  • Don`t the maqgistrates have a responsibility within the scope of Lisa`s post? If not, they certainly should and of course be other “than a rubber stamp”.

  • Not defending the cops here – if half of this story is true, then the CPD has some serious questions to answer – but let’s also keep in mind that cops have a VERY difficult job, and that, from what I have read, none of the localities can keep police jobs filled. All the local departments have vacancies they can’t find cops for, and are probably often forced to take whatever candidates turn up.

    You can make the argument that we aren’t paying cops enough to attract better candidates, but it seems to me like branding an entire police force as crooked or power-hungry doesn’t do anything to answer the question of how to improve the situation.

  • One day the witnesses to this event will end up on a criminal jury that must decide whether to belive a police officer or a defendant. When those jurors choose the defendant, the police only need to look to incidents like this to understand why they no longer have the credibility they once did.

  • This is why we need cameras everywhere, and why the feed from the cameras must be available to all of us, not just them.

  • In response to DUG1138: cameras have been shown to not be effective in the UK from a recent study, so I’d agree that the only way I’d want them around is if we all have access. Though the number and placement can still be a tricky thing with regard to privacy. I think in the center of town areas that are high volumn is certainly fine. I’m not sure about much more though.

    In response to police evaluations: I know some areas require psychological evaluations for hiring that includes an interview as well as some sort of evaluation exam all done by a psychologist. That can certainly help and can filter out the more obvious loonies. It’s also used to help guide hiring in other ways (if they’ll likely be happy doing this job, stay in the job, etc.). But I’m not sure a one time evaluation can really get at something more subtle. And I don’t know of many areas that have anything more than just the initial hiring evaluation. Well, unless someething really bad happens. I’m not sure about C’ville, but it’s probabaly similar.

    It would be nice to have some sort of mayor or BoS level review process that could be used to filter out problem officers. After all, the city (i.e., us) is who pays when the police do something really stupid resulting in a giant lawsuit. Maybe we have such a thing.

  • This story revolves around what the young man actually said to the policeman. If it was “Sir, you ran thru a crosswalk”, that’s one story. If it was “F*ck you *sshole”, it’s another story altogether, and not a very interesting one.

    As one who has thoroughly enjoyed recreational drinking for 39 years in 15 countries, I can’t emphasize how important it is for your own safety and convenience to avoid interfacing with the police. Whether you have had one drink or twenty four, if you anger a policeman, there is a law in every city, state, and country which will allow him to arrest you. If you have to deal with a police officer, be polite and deferential – it sure has saved my hide more than once. You cannot win an argument with a policeman on the street even if you are innocent. However, you have a chance of winning in a court room, even if you are guilty.

  • this story dovetails nicely w/ one i read the other day regarding our own CPD receiving training from Blackwater USA.

    http://www.rense.com/general78/blackwater.htm

    I, too, am curious as to what kind of call the officer was on that would be precluded by him stopping to arrest a guy who yelled the F word. Did he get a call to stand down at the very instant he was blowing through the intersection? Or was he simply abusing his power so he could drive fast? Hard to say.

    Regarding the contention that he was running w/ lights and no siren…that happens all the time if the sirens could otherwise alert a perp that the police were en route. I understand the need to catch some bad guys off-guard and not give them a chance to run, as that could open a whole other can of worms (high speed chases, hostage situations, etc.). Hopefully CPD will be forthcoming w/ info on this and not just bury it.

  • This isn’t the first time something like this has happened (obviously) and I’m sure Longo will take the same “defend his officers no matter what” attitude I’ve personally experienced.

    There was a Daily Progress article about my original “run-in” with the CPD in July 2004 but the Daily Progress seems to have removed that and the follow-up articles in 2005 concerning one of the officers in that incident being indicted on federal corruption charges.

    Here’s the Daily Progress article from 4/2005 written by Reed Williams:

    VA — At first, Brett Jordan was happy to read that the police officer he had filed a complaint against had been arrested on federal corruption charges.

    But Jordan quickly grew outraged when he discovered that Charlottesville Officer Charles Saunders was first suspended in 2001, after the police chief determined that he and another officer attended late-night strip shows at Max nightclub while on duty and in uniform.

    “I think he probably should have been terminated in 2001 … and he never would have had the opportunity to do what he did to me,” Jordan said.

    The 24-year-old George Mason University student filed a complaint against Saunders in July accusing the officer of acting violently, rudely and unprofessionally when he apparently mistook Jordan for a burglar, cuffing him and forcing him to lie down on the street. In fact, Jordan was the victim of the burglary and had been chasing one of the culprits.

    “With Charlottesville getting recognition for the No. 1 city in the country, sometimes officials are putting blinders on,” Jordan said. “The more I think back on it, the more it scares me. Who knows what crimes are being committed while he’s at Max’s enjoying some dancers?”

    In the past two years, according to Police Chief Timothy J. Longo, a total of five complaints have been brought against Saunders and Roy Fitzgerald, the other officer indicted on charges of corruption. Longo released the information in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from The Daily Progress.

    Longo said it is not unusual for police officers to be the subject of occasional grievances. Each complaint against Saunders and Fitzgerald was thoroughly investigated by the department, Longo said, and none resulted in punishment. In some cases, information reported to police could not be corroborated, the chief said. “Had any of the complaints yielded reason to suspect potential criminal activity,” Longo said, “they would have been referred for further inquiry.”

    The two officers were suspended last month after they were questioned in the federal investigation.

    The corruption charges against Saunders, Fitzgerald and two other men arose from a state police probe that Longo requested sometime between the two officers’ initial suspension and September 2002, when state police say they began an investigation that later drew the attention of the FBI.

    The indictment charges Saunders and Fitzgerald with ignoring drunken driving and other infractions by Charles M. Phillips, a former manager of Max who also ran an escort service, and providing Phillips with information on drug arrests and investigations into prostitution. In exchange, according to the indictment, Phillips bribed the officers with cash and sexual favors from women.

    The officers also are accused of trying to persuade Phillips and his associate, Jason Madison, to withhold evidence and lie to federal agents and a grand jury. Phillips has agreed to plead guilty to a bribery charge, authorities said, and Madison has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation.

    Longo has said that Saunders and Fitzgerald were not fired in 2001 after the strip-show incidents because he hadn’t verified other allegations of misconduct.

    In the middle of the night on July 20, Jordan chased two burglars out of his apartment on Cabell Avenue. Then he spotted a police officer with a flashlight and explained the situation. Moments later, the two thieves appeared. The officer told them to freeze, but they dropped several stolen items and fled, Jordan said.

    The officer chased one and Jordan pursued the other but lost him and started walking home. That was when Saunders appeared and told Jordan to freeze and put his hands up, according to his complaint. Jordan, who was wearing only a pair of mesh shorts and no shoes, obeyed and tried to explain that he was the victim of the burglary and not a perpetrator.

    “He didn’t want to hear anything I was saying,” he recalled.

    Jordan said he pleaded with Saunders to ask his roommate to confirm his story. Instead, Saunders cuffed him, Jordan said, and “laid me face-down in the middle of Madison Avenue,” digging his knee into Jordan’s back.

    Saunders announced into his radio that he had captured one of the burglars and put Jordan in a police wagon, according to his grievance. Jordan was released later, but Saunders never apologized and told him to shut up when he complained, Jordan said.

    “Had he used common sense, allowed me to explain and listened, the other assailant might not have gotten away,” he wrote in his July complaint. “But more importantly, my wrists would not be bruised, the back of my head sore, and my faith in the Charlottesville Police Department weakened.”

    Saunders, who is free on bond, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

  • IF this went down as The Hook and the parties involved have described then indeed this seems to be a problem. The Hook though is not known to be a bastion of journalistic integrity. Cville and this blog have it all over the Hook IMHO

    I know some “decent” young cops on the CPD and they are getting damn tired of being stereotyped themselves, not by the “criminals” they run into everyday, apparently most of the “criminals” know the deal and actually interact with the police halfway decently. Their approach a lot of times is “you’re just doing your job”.

    But the cops main irritation here are the supposedly educated idiots who brand the whole department for the actions of a few and some in City government who still continue to see the police as a “necessary evil”. Unfortunately there will continue to be issues with police misbehavior nationwide which can have terrible ramifications. This is true in many other jobs too, but let’s not screw over the entire force because some of these good folks just might find somewhere else to work, leaving conditions in a worse mess.

  • Jeeperman:

    The only way for the public (“supposedly educated idiots” as you call us) to NOT “brand the whole department” for incidents like these is if the police chief comes out and calls this officer on the carpet for being out of control. If they hide behind the blue curtain, there is no reason for reasonable folk not to think that the whole department is complicit in this kind of behavior.

    Longo has an opportunity here. Each day that it is not addressed increases our distrust in our police force.

  • BTW, UberXY may have hit this right on the head. I have been extraordinarily drunk many times in public, but when the MPs or the locals showed up, I always was able to get a grip and behave myself. Act cordially and certainly don’t tell them to f*** off.Wait until they leave for God’s sake!

    This was true in the 70s during my hellion stage and still is true today. Piss them off and they MAY piss on you back.
    They’re not here to BE abused…and of course they are not here TO abuse. I’m all for getting rid of officious pukes that may tarnish the badge or that can’t handle the strain, but the fact is there are still a lot of them doing the best they can.

  • Oh, and I want to say that I honestly believe that the vast majority of Cville cops are honest, reasonable, hard-working men and women. All the more frustrating for them to be called into question because one of their own is a loose cannon.

  • Maybe a better use for the money spent on $18,000 rain barrel systems, $150,000 design contest, $200,000 replacement signs to downtown, $15,000 decaying scultures, $7,000,000 bus stops and $17,000,000 websites, and God knows how much on locally-funded welfare programs could be better used for police training and recruitment. It’s a matter of government priorities matching real needs for government spending.

  • “$17,000,000 websites?” I must have missed that one. Waldo would have done it for $8,500,000.

  • Really Cville eye? You think this has to do with funding for training?

    A few things I should point out in the Saunders incident and ensuing internal “investigation”

    1)The first officer I ran into was actually responding to other calls about the burglars. However he COMPLETELY understood my situation and we were actually walking back to my apartment to have a look when we ran into the thieves.

    2)I was literally wearing a pair of green mesh shorts and THAT’S IT…not exactly professional burglary attire.

    3)I remained calm and followed his instructions because I knew he would need to process what I was telling him. However, it soon became apparent that he was treating the situation as though he had one of the two suspects (who’s descriptions weren’t even close to me) in custody.

    4)When it mentions that Saunders told me to “Shut up,” it was actually “shut the f*** up” before leaving me in the back of a police van unattended for nearly HALF AN HOUR. He then returned, got in the drivers seat (without a word) and drove me to my apartment for my roommate and girlfriend to ID me as one of the suspects. Needless to say, they had a good laugh when Saunders pulled me out of the van in cuffs. Then he refused to take them off until I “calmed down” because I TOLD HIM to take the cuffs off me now.

    5)”Longo has said that Saunders and Fitzgerald were not fired in 2001 after the strip-show incidents because he hadn’t verified other allegations of misconduct.” Really? Going to a strip club ON DUTY and IN UNIFORM is not grounds for dismissal? Oh, I guess they were just “blowing off steam.”

    6)I’ve had a few additional experiences with CPD after that but have never even considered filing a complaint because I know nothing will come of it…and honestly, I’ve never officially filed another complaint against any other individual/business/government official in my life.

  • Several people want this guy fired before the investigation is even complete, and then the chief can’t say what happened because of city, and I believe federal, employment record policy. Employment policies are kind of like HIPAA rules. Can’t do it.

    The people who brand any profession as “bad”, based on the performance of a few, ARE in fact unreasonable idiots who are guilty of spewing bias and hate on an entire group. And it is much in vogue these days to bash the police…God knows sometimes they make it so easy…but remember that there are a lot of good ones out there too.

  • According to discussions a couple of years ago between Council and several citizens, the initial cost of $9 million for the City’s new website only included the price of the modules that were ready to be implemented at that time. This figure did not include the licensing fees, the cost of installation, maintenance and hardware, and the new staff. Once the two other modules are designed, coded, and implemented, the total cost was estimated to be between $15 and $17 million. This includes the annual fee paid to the hosting service for five years. I have seen nothing in writing.
    I am mystified why anyone who has summoned the police for a burglary would then take it upon himself to chase after the burglars once the police arrived. Perhaps Saunders was not the one acting irrationally that night. Perhaps being locked up in police custody for a half hour prevented someone from running up on a weapon carried by burglar cohorts. In both of these stories it seems the “victims” were wearing halos during their encounter with the police and experience has taught me otherwise. When I was young , cussing at an office may have meant a night stick whack.

  • “$17,000,000 websites?” I must have missed that one. Waldo would have done it for $8,500,000.

    Nah. I’m jaded in my old age. I’d want $16,999,999. :)

  • According to discussions a couple of years ago between Council and several citizens, the initial cost of $9 million for the City’s new website only included the price of the modules that were ready to be implemented at that time. This figure did not include the licensing fees, the cost of installation, maintenance and hardware, and the new staff. Once the two other modules are designed, coded, and implemented, the total cost was estimated to be between $15 and $17 million.

    I do believe that you’re conflating two different projects. The city was using 25-year-old software (written in COBOL, stunningly) on an HP mainframe bought before I was born. So they had to upgrade to something newer. SAP’s CityLink was their software of choice. The total cost came to $6.6M and, though there were allegations that it would actually cost $17M, I don’t believe that was ever borne out. Some small part of that overall cost is to hook the software into their website, allowing people to pay fees online etc., but I think that cost was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not “between $15 and $17 million.”

  • “I am mystified why anyone who has summoned the police for a burglary would then take it upon himself to chase after the burglars once the police arrived. Perhaps Saunders was not the one acting irrationally that night. Perhaps being locked up in police custody for a half hour prevented someone from running up on a weapon carried by burglar cohorts. In both of these stories it seems the “victims” were wearing halos during their encounter with the police and experience has taught me otherwise. When I was young , cussing at an office may have meant a night stick whack.”

    First, thanks to Waldo for pointing out how ridiculously off your estimates for the City’s website are…wow.

    Next, you don’t know me. I left my house on instinct, looking for people who were clearly stealing our possessions while we were asleep. I just happened to run into the first officer walking down the street. That officer RATIONALLY questioned me and after quickly determining I was not in any way a threat, proceeded to walk back to my apartment with me. We ran into the two burglars who ran in opposite directions. He followed one and I took off after the other only to give up the chase after a block or so. It was when I was returning to my apartment that I ran into Saunders.

    You’re really going to defend someone who plead guilty to (from the FBI release):

    “A five count indictment with Bribery, Conspiracy, Witness Tampering, and False Statement offenses. The indictment charges that Saunders and Fitzgerald received monies and women for physical sexual activity and sexually explicit entertainment purposes…The indictment also charges that in return, the officers overlooked illegal activities at Maxx’s Nightclub; allowed Phillips to avoid charges for traffic offenses and drunk driving, and passed on information to Phillips concerning law enforcement operations.

    The Indictment further charged that when Saunders and Fitzgerald became aware of the federal investigation, they attempted to persuade Phillips and Madison to commit perjury before the Federal Grand Jury and to withhold information from Federal Agents. It is specifically referenced in the Indictment that Saunders and Fitzgerald sought to cover up a situation where Saunders, Phillips, and Madison performed sexual acts with a blindfolded girl.”

    Really?

    I mentioned I’m not one to complain and although I’ve read many of the local blogs for years, this is the only time I’ve posted a response.

    I’m curious Eye, what “experience” has “taught you otherwise?”

  • Waldo, thanks for the link:

    Critics are saying Charlottesville is spending way more than a city this size needs to for its new $6.6 million computer system– and that the actual cost will be closer to $17 million over 10 years.

    Jim Moore, a former municipal database consultant, and John Pfaltz, a retired computer science prof at UVA, have appeared before City Council to protest the size and cost of the new system, which council approved 5-0 February 5.

    Moore also wrote a Freedom of Information Act request to the city for a copy of its contract with the system contractor­ e.a. consulting, inc.­ and is irked that the city won’t release the pricing details because the contractor has deemed them proprietary

    Yes, the City’s hardware was an old, old, HP 3000 running a lot of code in COBOL. Currently, the system is capable of doing what the fairly recently designed Halyard(sp?) Systems site was able to do and the billing modules are up and running, computing bills and taxes. However, the Finance, Revenue, Public Works and Building Permits are not integrated and the report writing modules are not functioning. Eventutally, when I go in for a building permit, I should be able to get that one person to issue the permit, generate a work order to connect the sewer line and update the real estate assessor’s database rather than travel around the departments. This is according to Gary O’Connell, as stated in his return-on-investment analysis. It was his hope to make the site truly a Content Management System. The contract to redesign the assessor’s software was advertised just a few weeks ago after the City changed its mind and decided to replace the old one. I don’t think the staff has been trained in the use of Crystal Reports and its extensions yet, either. I have also noticed that the City has advertised for additional IT staff who will be employees of SAP providers paid by the City, in addition to his current staff. Since the contractor isn’t interested in telling and nobody’s asking the City staff, I doubt if we will ever know what this system will cost after it is doing what was originally envisioned. That vision and new employees, new hardware and top-of-the-line software (no, they did not take you suggestion to use OpenOffice, but I did) add up to far more than a town of 40,000 can afford.

  • I’m not equipped to say whether CityLink was a good purchase. It’s a line of business that I know nothing about, I don’t know what the competition is, how much it’ll ultimately cost, or how the cost compares to what the average city of our size spends. My point is just that the website cost an order of magnitude less than the price of CityLink. And even that I’m not equipped to say whether they paid too much, since I know nothing of SAP.

  • Neither am I. All that is left is rumor, I’m afraid.

  • in my experience, the city cops are mostly decent folks. Certainly some of them could use some training in sensitivity (though plenty of them are very good with people, and have CIT training) and perhaps some have anger management issues. But, also, some cops have a strategy of acting forcefully in order to give an impression that they are not to be messed with, which they believe (rightly or wrongly) gives them an advantage in confrontational situations. And, even in our peaceful little burg, there are confrontational situations.

    It’s the county PD that I think has the most problems. In both places, racial profiling does happen–yes, right here in Charlottesville.

    As far as this incident: echoing UberXY and Jeeperman, drunk people can act like total jerks and not even remember that they’ve done so. a drunk person in high heels might not need a hard push to fall down flat. And witnesses are notoriously unreliable. As is the Hook–it’s really the worst in town for inaccurate/one-sided reporting.

    Who know if the officer in this case over-reacted, or responded as any cop would to someone yelling obscenities at him. if he was responding to a call, maybe he shouldn’t have stopped to make an arrest. But, we don’t know the full picture.

    what I like best about the whole story is the cop back at the department who blamed the situation on “liberal college students.” if the department is concerned about its image in the community, they need to inform their officers quick that political views are not an arrestable offense–but if they would like to be able to arrest people for their political views, there’s a great job waiting for them in Burma!

  • Or China, or Cuba, or North Korea, or Venezuela, or any number of liberal, workers’ paradises. Hell, they might even get to meet Sean Penn while they’re there!

  • Most teachers were not born to teach, most doctors were not born to doctor, and most police officers were not born knowing how to deal with the public. Teachers are trained in classroom management techniques, doctors are lectured on bed side manner and, yes, police offiers need training on dealing with the public. It is popularly called a necessary component of “community policing.” Unfortunately, most funds for police training consist of a few dollars from the State and sometimes-successful applications for federal grants. If the public feels there needs to be improvement in the way the police deals with the public, then it needs to let Council know before next Spring’s budgeting sessions. The police requests have fallen upon deaf ears. Yes, police officers can learn techniques on how to deal with trashy-mouthed and even combative drunks as teachers must learn to deal with trashy-mouthed or violent students. Complaining about people’s behavior on the street will never change anything.

  • Janis Jaquith wrote “Someone explain to me why the citizens of Charlottesville should continue to keep that police officer on the payroll. An assault is an assault: an assailant shouldn’t be allowed to hide behind a uniform.”

    You have GOT to be kidding me. You just convicted this officer over one side of the story. He should now lose his job over what a weekly rag reporter wrote after interviewing only the victims?

    The police aren’t going to release but so much because they have an investigation to do that will focus on the facts. Let them do their job. If the officer is found to have committed this act, then Longo will take appropriate action. His record speaks for itself when it comes to dealing with corruption, etc. I agree, that if it went down exactly like the rag reported, then there needs to be action taken. Many police cars nowadays have cameras in them, so maybe this car had one and can provide evidence into what happened. Or it may show some drunk asshole being just that. Who knows. I wasn’t there and neither was the Hook.

    You know, I check out this site now and then and can’t believe some of the crap that I read. So many people on here are so anti-police its crazy. I am not a police officer but work in Charlottesville and know many of the officers there. And, believe me, I hear all sorts of stories from them about how they are mistreated by the public. Sure, some cops get into the job for the wrong reasons. That’s with any profession, especially politicians. The majority signed on to be a service to their community. With any public service job comes abuse, but this city is very liberal and its citizens think its the center of the universe.

    Oh, it is the center of the universe but hush we can’t take our out of town visitors on a tour of Friendship Court, Westhaven or other low income areas. We like to talk about how great Cville is but we don’t dare speak of “those” areas now do we??

  • And/Or, duh……, I am an ardent supporter of Longo’s; however, I’m not guilty of blind adoration. The public can not go by his record on officer discipline because the public does not know his record on officer discipline. Why? Because complaints are handled internally, not publicly.
    Whether there is any truth to the allegations or not, the chief, city manager, and Council should be made aware that everyone is not totally happy with the police department’s functioning so that they can make improve. I do know of an instance an officer was accused of assaulting a small, sober lady in her seventies who was being questioned at a crime scene as a witness and I do know the same officer was accused of assaulting a husband and wife who had called for assistance a few months later. The officer was jailed about a year later for prescription drug fraud. How was his behavior handled locally? Who knows? Everyone knows in Charlottesville that the house must be burning down before Council pays any attention. So, Ms. Jacquith, who crafts her words very well on NPR, may have a reason for her cryptic statements above.

  • Being in the business of developing high-profile websites like that for my day job, that price is really not grossly overinflated. The website is pretty nice and easy to use, even with the untraditional “I want to .. ” navigation.

  • No Cville Eye, while most of your observations are spot on, Janis ran her mouth off before thinking this time. To fire cops because of allegations made in a weekly RAG? Is that what due process has come to for law enforcement in this City? If so, good luck finding people to take the job. A lot of cops I know are getting sick of the “guilty until proven innocent” mentality that way too many people have. That’s a large part of why many agencies are having a hard time filling jobs now.

    As for Longo, there is NO question that the CPD and other agencies have had their share of f*** ups, but Longo has done a pretty decent job of weeding those people out…but you will never hear about it. Human resources issues cannot be made public, unless the cop goes to jail or gets charged, etc.

    Longo has done what he can to meet with people and address concerns when they arise, a lot more than any other Chief the city has had IMHO. The problem is he cannot do it alone.

  • Longo has NOT done what he can to meet with people and address concerns when they arise. I attempted a pretty serious discussion with him. He asked if it was OK for him to pass it along to Captain Bibb. Captain Bibb never contacted me. It was a concern about officer safety and the safety of citizens at the same time. I was placed in a situation where the outcome could easily have been my shooting and killing 3 cops or they could have killed me. and this was on my own property after dark. There was NO excuse for it whatsoever.

    Citizens are also guilty until proven innocent. Their names are dragged through the mud in official police press releases to as many outlets as they can. Even after a finding of not guilty and successful lawssuits against the police, their integrity, character and honesty is still questioned by the police. You think not? Want to see a few depositions of city cops running their mouths off about an innnocent citizen?

  • To fire cops because of allegations made in a weekly RAG?

    This is a point that has been repeated several times here, and it’s simply wrong. The implication here — if not the direct statement — is that The Hook has made a claim without any supporting evidence. In fact, the author talked not only to the two people who were arrested, but also to impartial witnesses and the CPD. The CPD confirmed that the incident took place, and volunteered that they had launched an internal investigation into the matter.

    The venue simply doesn’t matter, whether “a weekly RAG” or otherwise. All parties here agree that something unusual has taken place. You don’t need to place an ounce of trust in The Hook to see that. We have a dozen witnesses saying one thing and a single police officer who is saying nothing. Though it’s probably best to wait for the result of the internal investigation, I can sympathize with those who see the evidence as overwhelming. After all, imagine if this simply some guy — not a police officer — accused of the same behavior. There’s nothing about putting a uniform on him that makes it any better.

  • A good son SHOULD side with his mother Waldo :)
    But the Hook has taken the side of two probable drunks and some bystanders who may or may not have seen anything and who probably have:

    1. Never seen true violence in their short, protected little lives.

    2. Who have been so inured by media bashing of the police that they will believe anything.

  • Cville cops in Maryland

    I just watched the UVA v. MD game on TV. Why at the end of the game when Al Groh was being interviewed do I see a uniformed Charlottesville police officer in College Park, MD. Is the city paying a city police officer to provide security to the UVA football coach? If I remember correctly, UVA has a police department. Shouldn’t they be doing this? Does the city’s authority now cross state lines?? Someone PLEASE explain that!!

  • Ah, maybe the punishment for the bad behavior for the CPD officers was that they would have to go to MD to watch the game. Bad cop, bad cop.

    Sounds like something inappropriate to me. It might sound a bit petty to some, but our tax dollars shouldn’t be going to that. Just my $.02. Who am I kidding, just my $100.00 in taxes…

  • Cops get free food, coffee, discounts, free admissions to events, and other perks when in uniform and known to be a cop. Maybe the cop wore his city police uniform to Maryland so he could get in free?

  • UVA pays the overtime for this.

  • The problem with C-ville, is the cops don’t knock people in the head more often. When they do, people get bent out of shape about. I don’t see what the big deal is, some loud mouth white drunks staggering in the street get arrested, and you would think the sky was falling. The miranda ruling and Rodney King made our streets unsafe for everyone.
    When I was a kid, the police got respect or they hit you with a blackjack or a flashlight, we didn’t have to worry about thugs with white t-shirts beating on innocent people. The cops took care of business, back in the good old days.

  • Yeah, Old School,I remember well those days long gone by when you could sit in an aluminum lawn chair in front of your trailer, sipping a long neck Bud and listening to Elvis on the radio on a warm, Saturday afternoon, before going down to the Brass Rail and popping somebody over the head with a pool cue. Ah, those days long gone by.

  • I think Miranda and the videotaping of statements is a GOOD thing overall…but it is very true that cops in general have had their cohones cut off after the Rodney King incident. While King was indeed a bad situation, cops across the country have been lambasted by the media and in turn many police administrators have become much more liability adverse. The cops I know say the bosses tell you what you can’t do much more than what you can do. There is also much more emphasis on “mistakes” rather than encouraging good police work.

    Some people need to have their ass handed to them on occasion, but a lot of cops are scared to death to deal with anything since the threat of suit has become of more concern than the other dangers of the job.

  • I have just watched Mystic River, and it reminded me that part of the reason that so many bruthas stay in jail is that so many white people have connections in the halls of justice that will help them get over. Nobody wants to see their cousin/college buddy/frat brother in jail so they will game the system to get him out. More whites in power…more whites connected to them will get over. Less black and latinos in power in the justice system, less connections to get off.

    That’s what cops got. Connections up the ying yang when it comes to the justice system. Judge X doesn’t want to see the life of a buddy he’s known for 10 years go down the drain, so he’s lenient. Officer X doesn’t want to see his partner’s family suffer, so he looks the other way when his partner tazes with a little too much gusto. Patrolman X doesn’t want to lose his chance at making detective, so he let’s his superior off with a warning when he responds to a domestic violence call at his house.

  • The cameras need to be on cop dashboards, not on lamposts on the mall. A security camera in every badge, I say. The only cops against this are those with something to hide.

    And I say take away the guns and replace them with tasers. Cops don’t really want to kill people, they just want them to stop moving so they can arrest them.

  • Hey I posted a 3rd post but it disappeared. Anyway…I just suggested that if Flaherty had not been a cop, the fact that he stopped and got out of the car to take the incident to a physical level would definitely make him guilty. By Judge Judy standards at least.

    I think I also suggested that we can’t just arrest everyone who is drunk and in public, otherwise we’d be breathalyzing everyone walking on the Mall after 9pm. Don’t you have to be disorderly, too?

  • I think I am supposed to thank Cville Eye for the link but I feel sick after reading it. This is especially so after originally thinking Miss LaGrape was a little over the top in her first post. She may be completely right with the “connections up the ying yang” viewpoint – which is pretty damn scary.

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