I’d better see heads on spikes in front of city hall for this

Further to the previous posts about the arrest of the “Hula Hoop Lady” on Granby street that I commented upon earlier.

For those who don’t like to click links, the gist of it is that there is a lady who was disabled in a car accident many years ago who gets her exercise by Hula Hooping in the median of Granby Street near where she lives.

Someone reported that she had her music up to loud several weeks ago. The lady is mentally challenged, has short term memory loss and has physical disabilities the preclude full range of motion in several of her limbs.

The Police responded to the “loud noise” call and, in the process, Charged the Hula Hoop lady with assault and resisting arrest. In the process of subduing this dangerous criminal, the Norfolk Police department found it necessary to employ a Taser and shock her “multiple times”.

This morning, the Virginian Pilot reports that the Prosecutor has dropped the charges against this vicious threat to society following release of the video shot by a camera on the Taser.

Oh.my.Lord.

She can CLEARLY be heard repeatedly telling the officer that her arm was fractured and pinned in an accident. You can also repeatedly hear the officer acknowledge that he knows who she is “You’re out here all the time…you can put your hands behind your back”, that he understands what she’s saying…and that he clearly couldn’t care less.

She finally gets frustrated and swears at him at which time he fires the Taser and starts shocking her.

Excuse my language, but this authoritarian Prick has no business with a badge and a gun.

If he can’t control a mentally and physically disabled woman, who may not even have a clear understanding of what’s going on, without electrocuting her…what’s he do when someone refuses to show ID when he stops them for legally openly carrying a firearm? Just shoot them out of hand?

The Norfolk Police Department has a serious problem. If the Chief of Police and the city council won’t do anything about it (and they have, thus far, proven unwilling to do so), then we need a new city council and a new Chief of Police.

I am absolutely sickened by this. I used to include a disclaimer in my criticisms of the Norfolk Police Department that I respect them and that I know that most of them truly try to do their best in a tough job.

That respect is waning daily with further incidents like this and the Dan Moore fiasco.

If there actually ARE any conscientious, caring Police Officers left in the NPD, they had better get a handle on the authoritarians and jerkwads among them if they hope to retain any shred of credibility into the future.

Further to the Hula Hoop Lady Incident

A few more details, but the Police still aren’t talking.

Here’s the part that got me:

Police say what started as a noise complaint led them to Brown and that she was shocked repeatedly with a Taser.

Feel safe now?

When Tasers were first becoming trendy, the Police touted them as a “less lethal” alternative to firearms. It is becoming increasingly apparent that that’s not what they’re used for. According to several reports over the past few years, the use of Tasers doesn’t decrease the incidence of shooting at all.

I’m not saying that Tasers don’t have their place. They can be a viable tool as an alternative to physical confrontation…but an alternative to shooting? Not so much. I do, however, think that they are employed WAY too readily by police in situations where they really were not necessary.

Case in point:

After her release Tuesday afternoon, Brown said she didn’t remember anything about Saturday’s arrest. Jail staff returned Brown’s possessions, including a medic-alert necklace reading: “Seizure disorder, metal rod in lower LT leg & pin LT shoulder, allergic to penicillin, aspirin.”

I simply fail to believe that this unarmed (unless you consider a hula hoop a weapon) mentally challenged, physically handicapped, slight of stature, middle aged woman posed enough of a threat to our city’s “finest” that they really needed to electrocute her “multiple times” in order to effect an arrest for the heinous crime of playing her music too loud while exercising.

I certainly hope that the brave Police Officers who “protected and served” the most vulnerable among our society so effectively are proud. I wonder if the city will give them medals.

I feel safer now.

Granby street “Hula Hoop Lady” arrested for excessive noise, assault and resisting arrest.

Pamela Brown, the Hula Hoop Lady of Granby Street, was being held in jail this morning after being charged during the weekend with making excessive noise and assault, police said.

Brown also was charged with resisting lawful arrest and is scheduled to have a hearing in court tomorrow, Robertson said.

Brown got her nickname because she hangs out and hula hoops in the grassy median near Wards Corner.

Brown’s car was hit by a tractor-trailer in the late 1970s and she spent several weeks in a coma. The crash left her with permanent brain damage and she had to relearn walking and speaking. She continues to have short-term memory problems and seizures.

My kids both went to Granby High School and my parents-in-law live on a street right off Granby. I’ve seen her happily hula-hooping there in the median and waving at passers by many times over the years.

The Pilot ran a very positive story on her early this year.

SHE’S THE HULA HOOP Lady of Granby Street, an oasis of familiarity in a city of strangers.

Hang out with her for a while, and you get an idea what her day-in, day-out routine means to people, there in the grassy median near Norfolk’s bustling Wards Corner.

“Hey, Hula Hoop Lady!” waving passengers yell. More waves come from passing fire trucks; horns toot from delivery trucks.

A reader wrote The Warrior, asking for the Hula Hoop Lady’s “back story,” and readers have weighed in since.

“I miss her when I don’t see her out there, and I wonder about her welfare,” wrote Bev Allen. “It is a relief to me when she shows up again to Hula Hoop.”

Living at the edge of ever-encroaching thugsville, I completely understand the frustrations associated with loud music at unusual hours and I don’t necessarily begrudge whomever called in the complaint. However, I do believe that the Police could have addressed the situation in a much more level-headed manner. To any observer it would be quickly obvious that she is impaired and it has been reported by those familiar with her that she wears a medical ID bracelet that identifies her condition.

The big bad Police officers couldn’t handle a physically slight, mentally handicapped woman without arresting her and hauling her to jail? No wonder they quake in their jackboots at the thought of armed private citizens in public. It’s sure a good thing we don’t have any real crime to deal with here in Norfolk so they have time to keep our streets safe from the plague of mentally disabled ladies exercising in public.

There goes some more of our hard earned tax money to lawsuits, judgments and settlements.

A lot going on…

…on the VCDL front over the past week or so.

First a little background. VCDL member Danladi (Dan) Moore has been repeatedly harassed by the Norfolk Police Department for openly carrying his defensive firearm. For those who are not familiar with Virginia Law, open carry is perfectly legal with or without a permit. I believe that this is a longstanding precedent as set by Virginia Supreme Court ruling, but have no case citations to back that up, so take it for what it’s worth. Regardless, current Virginia law does not preclude open carry and localities are pre-empted from deviating from State law regarding the bearing of arms.

Dan isn’t the only one who has been harassed, but his case is relatively high profile because he sued the city and was recently awarded a $10,000 settlement. I mentioned Dan in this story about the City Council meeting at which we addressed the arrest of Chet Szymecki. The picture of the young black man wearing a black t-shirt in that post is Dan.

Just a few weeks ago, Dan was again harassed by the Norfolk Police Department. He was riding an HRT (public transit) bus. One of the bus drivers that noticed his firearm, called the Police and had him illegally detained.

As a result, VCDL members, including myself, Dan, Chet Szymecki, who was arrested during harbor fest a couple of years ago and currently has a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city pending, President Phillip Van Cleave and about 60 others converged on the City Council again to let them know that these violations of citizen’s rights will not stand.

I felt that the city council meeting went fairly well. I spoke as did several others. I posted about the meeting on The Sentinel last night after returning home. Here’s the Virginian Pilot Coverage of it. The photo that accompanies the article is of me…or, more accurately…my butt. My rear end is famous. At any rate…

After the meeting, I was invited to go to Hooters at Waterside for a bit of fellowship and food but I declined.

Boy do I regret that decision now. Guess what happened as Dan and another open carrying VCDL member were leaving Waterside:

Upon reaching the second floor and stepping off the escalator, a Norfolk police officer approached Danladi and his friend and told him that he couldn’t have a gun in a public building.

The officer then handcuffed Danladi, who is black, and issued a him summons with a charge of trespass at that point and released him. His friend, who is white and also open carrying, was escorted off the premises and not handcuffed or charged. Hmmmm.

I first became aware of the situation through the comments left on the Virginian Pilot article. I called the reporter and spoke to her about the latest developments. She said she was aware of it and was looking into it. I’ll update you if and when I hear more.

I have a feeling that it’s about time to move out of Norfolk. Not because of the harassment specifically, that I’d rather stay and fight…no, it’s time to move out of the city because I’m afraid our property taxes are going to have to go through to roof (so to speak) to pay all the legal costs, awards or settlements from the now inevitable lawsuits.

If only those could be assessed directly against the City Council members who’ve shown so little leadership, and the Police Officers who seem to delight in playing the role of authoritarian thugs, rather than against the taxpayers of this city.

I’d like to think that this would be impetus for getting rid of some dead weight on the city council, but I fear it would take more than this to stir the interest of the apathetic sheep that make up the majority of the population.

Ihre Papiere gefallen

Mount Vernon to set up gun checkpoints

MOUNT VERNON – Police will begin staging gun checkpoints at the city’s borders tonight as a way to curb violence in the city, officials said yesterday.

Teams of mobile police units will set up checkpoints at various city borders in areas where police have dealt with incidents involving guns and violence, Mayor Clinton Young and Police Commissioner David Chong said yesterday.

Shades of Nazi Germany.

Catching up

I need to get caught up on the Ryan Frederick story as it has been coming hot and heavy over the past week.

First, the VA Pilot confirmed Radley Balko’s assertions that there is a current inmate claiming to have been one of the burglers in the Frederick case who broke into Frederick’s garage a few days before the Police raid. He further claimed that they were being paid by the Chesapeake Police Department to report evidence found during their crimes. They Pilot identified the person in their piece as Renaldo Turbull Jr. which Balko declined to do.

Within days another story came out wherein the Police denied that Turnbull was one of the informants in the Frederick Case and that they have some mysterious evidence of a motivation for Turnbull to have misrepresented himself as one of the burglars. Conveniently, under “confidential informant” rules, they don’t have to reveal the identities of informants, so they can just make that claim without having to prove it one way or the other.

This morning’s story simply reports that Frederick’s laywer has taken the obvious step of petitioning the court to force the prosecution to reveal the identities of the “informants’ since they are not simply providing a tip, but are material witnesses in the case. Personally, I don’t understand how this “confidential informant” angle can be Constitutional in the first place…the sixth amendment is pretty clear on the matter: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted by the witnesses against him [and] to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor…”

Doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room there. But this practice has been going on for quite some time so I imagine that they’ve found some way to creatively interpret the sixth amendment just as they have all the others.

At any rate, that’s where we stand.

We have a witness telling reporters that he was one of the burglars and that he was in the employ of the Chesapeake Police Department, we have the Police denying that he was one of the informants but declining to tell us who those informants were and we have the defense petitioning the court to force the prosecution to reveal the identities of the informants as material witnesses in the case.

Some other coverage:

Disloyal Opposition
Kayak2U Blog
Reason Online

Click on the Ryan Frederick label below to see older posts on this subject.

Another Good…

Post on Ryan Frederick, with something unverified but new that I hadn’t heard anywhere else.

Remember the .223 shell casing listed on the search warrant as found at the scene and the alleged hole in the wall of Ryan’s alleged home allegedly patched by the alleged Chesapeake Police Department?

The police ‘clear up’ the speculation of a .233 calibur shell that was found at the scene. They claim that the shell fell out of the pocket of a SWAT team member that arrived at the scene the after the shooting. Wait. What? The Chesapeake Police ADMITTED TO CONTAMINATING THE CRIME SCENE and they still expect the people of Chesapeake and Hampton Roads to believe them?!? Why does SWAT carry spent shells around with them? If they carry those, how do we know they dont carry baggies of weed as well? They obviously were on something when they carried out this raid. [emphasis in original]

Tidewater Liberty

Has the best synopsis of the Prosecution’s charges against Ryan Frederick that I’ve seen to date:

What we are being asked to believe is that the informant/burglar who was working with the police for two months spontaneously decided to break into Frederick’s garage three days before the raid, and stole half of the still unspecified amount of marijuana he found there but left the rest.

Frederick was smart enough to deduce from this that the police would be coming but dumb enough to warn the informant before the raid that he would resist. He was smart enough to get rid of the plants before the raid, but dumb enough to keep the magazines and misdemeanor amount of pot in his house. Having gotten rid of the felony evidence of cultivation, he decided instead of letting them search and write him a ticket for misdemeanor possession, he would go to war with a large number of heavily armed policemen with a low powered handgun, with no hope of gaining anything by doing so.

No wonder the prosecutor is looking for a different venue, the people of Chesapeake are not idiots.

Said it better than I ever could have.

Ryan Frederick Update

Now the Prosecutors are claiming that the people who broke into Ryan Frederick’s detached garage stole half of the illegal grow operation he had going on…that he knew that he’d been ratted out to police and, so, got rid of the rest of the evidence…and was lying in wait for the police to break down his door.

Talk about grasping at straws.

I guess it will come down to how credible the testimony of convicted criminals…aka “confidential informants”…comes across to the Jury.