And people wonder why I can't wait to leave this city...


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SomeKid
February 24, 2007, 01:30 PM
It would not surprise me if this was completely true. That said, I would like to hear more details.

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_102382.asp

City, Police Officers Face $40 Million Federal Lawsuit
posted February 24, 2007

A woman who said she was humiliated by city police officers seeking to arrest her son for DUI at her home has filed a $40 million Federal Court lawsuit.

Patricia Turner Arbuckle sued the city, Officers Thomas Buttry and William S. Campbell and two unidentified officers.

The suit, filed by attorney Robin Flores, said a citizen, Lee Blake, told police on March 13, 2006, at 3 a.m. that he was observing a person erratically driving a pickup truck on I-24. He said the vehicle had hit a mailbox and a guardrail.

He followed the pickup to 3622 Conner St. - the Arbuckle residence. Officers said the pickup was registered to Benjamin Arbuckle, Ms. Arbuckle's son, who lived in a separate apartment at the residence.

The suit says Officers Campbell and Buttry rang the upstairs front doorbell of the residence and Ms. Arbucke awoke and approached the front door. It says she demanded to know who was at the door, and either Officer Campbell or Officer Buttry yelled, “open the door!”

The suit says Ms. Arbuckle again demanded for those at the door to identify themselves, and "they only yelled in response for plaintiff to open the door or that they would kick the door down."

It says she "again demanded for Campbell and Buttry to identify themselves and either Campbell or Buttry yelled they were the police and for plaintiff to open the door."

The suit says Ms. Arbuckle "demanded for Campbell and Buttry to show them a badge, and either Campbell or Buttry yelled they were going to kick down the door. Plaintiff could only see a hand holding a gun at the stain glass window of her front door.

"Plaintiff ran to her kitchen and began to call 911, but the call did not go through to the operators, and plaintiff believes this was a dropped call.

"Either Campbell or Buttry beat an object against the stain glass window of plaintiff’s front door, and broke the glass while shouting, 'Here’s my badge, now open the door!'

"As a direct result of the conduct of Campbell and Buttry, the plaintiff’s house alarm went off.

"At no time during this incident did any defendant officer obtain a warrant to search or enter the residence. At no time during this incident did any defendant officer have probable cause to believe that a felony had been committed in any fashion to require a warrantless entry into the residence. At no time during this incident did the officers engage in a “hot pursuit’ of anyone into the residence.

"Plaintiff opened the door, and Campbell and Buttry pushed the door open and pointed their guns at plaintiff.

"Campbell and Buttry demanded to know the whereabouts of her son while pointing their guns at her. Once her son opened the door, one of the officers jerked the son by his shoulders and threw him against the pickup with unnecessary force.

"Campbell and Buttry continued to pound her son against the pickup in the plaintiff’s full view and while her son was handcuffed.

"Plaintiff asked one of the officers, she believes Campbell or Buttry, why they were arresting her son and acting in the manner that they acted. The response from the officers was that Blake was a plain clothes policeman who saw her son hit a mailbox. Blake is not a law enforcement officer nor was he acting as a law enforcement officer during this incident."

The suit says Benjamin Arbuckle was charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and implied consent law violation.

It says General Sessions Court Judge Richard Holcomb dismissed the cases on Aug. 24, 2006, upon motion of the district attorney.

The suit says, "Plaintiff had not physically assaulted nor resisted the officers in any manner, and the officers’ force was unnecessary to affect the search of her home for her son, was unreasonable, and was excessive, and constituted an unlawful and unreasonable seizure of the plaintiff.

"None of these defendants nor the city have compensated plaintiff for her damages to the stain glass window."

It says, "At no time did any of the individual defendants come to the aid of plaintiff in any manner, nor render any aid to the plaintiff in any manner, nor report the misconduct of Campbell and Buttry. Campbell and Buttry had no probable cause to seize plaintiff in any manner whatsoever."

The suit asks $15 million compensatory damages and $25 million punitive damages.

What I found astounding was that she opened the door at all. It does however lead to the question of what would YOU do if such a thing occured to you.

(Posted in in L&P due to lawsuit and other political ramifications, might be better suited to S&T do to 'What to do at 3am' scenario.)

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pacodelahoya
February 24, 2007, 01:36 PM
Hold up, I'm gonna go put on my slippers and make some popcorn, this is gonna be good!


As to what I would have done? If I thought that they were police officers, probably just as the plaintiff has done, prepare to retire.:D

Cacique500
February 24, 2007, 04:38 PM
Well...*if* the information is correct, I imagine the PD will be paying out a large settlement.

AFAIK, You can't go bustin' in peoples houses based on something a non-LEO tells you (with a few minor exceptions, this not being one of them).

Master Blaster
February 24, 2007, 05:41 PM
If they weere in uniform I might have let them in.

If they were in plain clothes and were pointing guns at me, screaming and trying to break my door in, making me fear for my life and they didnt look like police officers, Maybe I would have given them some 12 guage 00 while the wife dialed 911. :)

.cheese.
February 24, 2007, 06:10 PM
Holy crap.

First, I would have soiled myself.

Then I would have probably armed myself and dialed 911.

After that all I'm envisioning is repeated occurances of soiling myself. :what:

Deanimator
February 24, 2007, 07:27 PM
If they weere in uniform I might have let them in.

Nobody gets in my place without a warrant, unless _I_ called them.

I've got the documented death threats over a period of time to justify a reasonable fear for my life and limb, should somebody attempt to force their way into my home unlawfully, whether they CLAIM to be police or not. At that point I dial 911 and get my AR carbine ready. And as the saying goes, "The guy who calls 911 first gets to be the victim."

.cheese.
February 24, 2007, 07:31 PM
why so many death threats out of curiosity?

job-related or something?

Deanimator
February 24, 2007, 09:27 PM
why so many death threats out of curiosity?

job-related or something?
Neo-Nazis. For some reason they don't appreciate my reminding them of the history of pedophilia in their "movement".

They post what they think is my address and maps to my house.

I reply, "How come you're not here yet? Too dumb to follow your own directions, or just too scared?"

Geno
February 24, 2007, 09:34 PM
In all seriousness...think before you answer...what would you have done? Uniform or not, those can be bought or stolen anywhere! I would never open the door prior to authenticating the police. Here's the tricky part...if they kick you door in, unprovoked, un confirmed, what would you do? If all that appears here is accurate, this is really ugly! If accurate, and I were a jury member, I would award for the plaintiff. Not the requested amount, but I would be certain the officers and department never forgot. But, you have to admit, the overwhelming majority of police officers would not do this, or else we would be reading much more of it. I prefer to keep my focus there.

.cheese.
February 24, 2007, 09:43 PM
Doc - there have been cases I've read around those exact lines. Police come breaking down the door, sometimes even in cases where it was the wrong house for a search (I remember seeing that Shaq was involved in a case of that) - and all I can think is that there is a serious problem with how our police operate if they're doing that kind of thing.

I mean, if the police come breaking down the door to my place, I have no reason to assume it's the police because I'm not a criminal, and therefore I'm going to assume it's an armed home invasion. After that, I may very well get shot by the police when I am in my room with a gun thinking that they're some crooks here to rob and kill me.

Deanimator
February 24, 2007, 09:44 PM
But, you have to admit, the overwhelming majority of police officers would not do this, or else we would be reading much more of it.
We're certainly reading ENOUGH of it. After all, they're planning to indict a number of Atlanta PD officers for lying to obtain a warrant, committing a home invasion, shooting an elderly woman to death, then trying to get a confidential informant to lie to help them cover the whole thing up. I just wish the victim in that case had been better armed and a better shot.

.cheese.
February 24, 2007, 09:44 PM
Deanimator - that's messed up.

just totally messed up. :what:

Titan6
February 24, 2007, 10:35 PM
Ok I have never seen the game but from the tv commercials they play all the time when we are trying to watch COPS on G4 this is my mental image.

Life is so full of irony we often miss it in all the noise.

SiG Lady
February 25, 2007, 12:04 AM
"Then I would have probably armed myself and dialed 911."By that time I'd probably be too pi**ed off to soil myself... (but that was a funny line anyway).

One local shooting instructor here sez, "Whoever calls 911 first, wins." A sensible idea, I'm sure.

We had a lot of trouble over the past 5+ years here with some corrupt cops. It ended up costing the City TONS of money in lawsuits. Seriously, TONS of money... which they could ill afford in this puny community.

Clipper
February 25, 2007, 12:41 AM
More armed homeowners, who are less easily intimidated, would eventually end this s**** by attrition. As I've said before, any LE that enters anyone's home without being absolutely legally entitled, is, by definition, a criminal and deserves what he gets...

I hope she gets every dime she's asking for, and I hope those cowboys learn the excitement of prison life.

TCB in TN
February 25, 2007, 01:10 AM
Well I hope she doesn't get every penny she is asking for, (it would be a shame to take that much money from the public), but what I believe would BE A REAL detterent to this sort of behavior, is to personally hold each individual involved responsible for their actions. Say we start with each officer involved losing his job, immediately, be required to personally pay a large civil settlement to the offended party, and have the chief of that particular department severely penalized (monetarily of course) personally for the first offense by his or her department, with the understanding that if something along these lines happens again in the department that he will then be banned from LE permanantly and penalized more severely. Hold the big dog responsible for the actions of the little dogs and he will be much more prone to hire better little dogs in the future.

Doesn't hurt the public at large and puts the offending parties in a position where they cannot hurt anyone else again.

SomeKid
February 25, 2007, 01:14 AM
TCB,

I am not opposed to her recieving every penny she wants, if the complaint is 100% legit. I do agree wholeheartedly with making the actual criminals (the cops in this case) pay restitution.

Regarding punishing the chief of police, I like the idea. It wouldn't be very fair in this case, as the man was placed in charge literally in the past few months. While I am not optimistic about him, I want to give the new Chief of Police a fair chance anyway. In this particular circumstance, I much prefer holding the scumbags on the city council responsible, as some of them are simply no good and never have been any good.

ProguninTN
February 25, 2007, 01:19 AM
If this is true, I hope the suit is successful.

SK: Are you saying that the Chief "inherited someone else's mess" ?

TCB in TN
February 25, 2007, 01:21 AM
I much prefer holding the scumbags on the city council responsible, as some of them are simply no good and never have been any good.

I have no problem with holding anyone in our local governments responsible for those they put into power. If you have new police chief then I would give him/her a chance to clean up the mess, maybe go back to hit up the person that hired them to begin with.

PennsyPlinker
February 25, 2007, 08:21 AM
I hope she gets every dime she's asking for, and I hope those cowboys learn the excitement of prison life.

If all this is true, the lady deserves some compensation, and the cops need jail time, but why in the world would you think she should get "every dime"?

The first problem is out of control cops, but the second problem is out of control citizens, juries, and lawyers. Where do you think that 40 mil would come from? Just in case you don't know, it comes from US! Not US as in United States, but US as in we the people who have to pay the taxes, and then pay the premiums to cover the charges made against our public servants.

Fix the lady's door, pay her cleaning bill, fire the cops, and put them in jail, but why should the entire town bear the burden of paying for bad judgement on the part of cops and enrich people who really don't need or deserve it?

Seven High
February 25, 2007, 08:56 AM
I would like to hear the police officers side of this story before making any judgements against them. :what:

pacodelahoya
February 25, 2007, 09:09 AM
The suit says Benjamin Arbuckle was charged with DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and implied consent law violation.

It says General Sessions Court Judge Richard Holcomb dismissed the cases on Aug. 24, 2006, upon motion of the district attorney.



Apparently, the judge didn't buy the police side of the story.

Geno
February 25, 2007, 10:24 AM
One of my graduate students is married to a Michigan State Police officer. A few months back I was speaking with him about some of these bad arrests, etc. He responded,

"Bad arrests lead to new laws. But, the police have only themselves to blame for 'stupid laws'. If the police hadn't made a stupid arrest, the Legislature never would have had to write new legislation to protect the people from the police's stupidity."

I thought that was shocking insight and commentary from a state trooper.

Doc2005

Clipper
February 25, 2007, 10:26 AM
The reason I hope she gets every dime is because the only thing that will change anything politically is to cut into the budget. The city's insurance carrier will pay any judgement, but the rise in premiums will get them in the wallet. And since the voters would have to approve any tax increase to pay 'em without departmental cuts, it puts them in control as to whether they condone this type of behavior or not...They don't like the cost of a cowboy department, don't support it! This isn't some idiot spilling coffee in their lap, this is a bunch of idiots carrying guns, and abusing the power of life and death over you and me...Yeah, I'd burn 'em at the stake if found guilty as charged. Too damn many stories lately about cowboy cops with a John Wayne complex. The way to make them and their bosses think is to make some real examples.

Deanimator
February 25, 2007, 11:09 AM
The reason I hope she gets every dime is because the only thing that will change anything politically is to cut into the budget. The city's insurance carrier will pay any judgement, but the rise in premiums will get them in the wallet. And since the voters would have to approve any tax increase to pay 'em without departmental cuts, it puts them in control as to whether they condone this type of behavior or not...They don't like the cost of a cowboy department, don't support it! This isn't some idiot spilling coffee in their lap, this is a bunch of idiots carrying guns, and abusing the power of life and death over you and me...Yeah, I'd burn 'em at the stake if found guilty as charged. Too damn many stories lately about cowboy cops with a John Wayne complex. The way to make them and their bosses think is to make some real examples.
This is quite true.

There was a SERIOUS problem in the Parma, Ohio PD with overtime fraud. A number of people went down for the count on that. Then it came time for tax levys for the Parma, PD. I think they were voted down 2-3 times in a row.

My solution to blatant criminality in police forces is to deduct the cost of any awards or settlements from their operating budgets until they're paid in full. If they have to lay off people or even sell property, tough. Personally, if I lived in Atlanta, I'd rather have the police force shut down until that old woman's family was COMPLETELY compensated rather than have segments of the police force running around committing crimes at public expense anyway. Call me eccentric, but I wouldn't feel very well "protected" by criminals, or those who tolerate criminal behavior in those expected to enforce the law.

SomeKid
February 25, 2007, 12:30 PM
PGTN, Yes. The local cops in the city of Chattanooga have been nothing short of terrible in their treatment of people these past few years.

A prime example happened a few years ago when an unarmed man was reaching into his glove box and was shot by the cop. (There was no weapon in the glove box, or the car, the man died at the scene. Cop was fired AFTER HUGE pressure from the community, but AFAIK, never seriously tried for anything, and never convicted.) Had it not been for the racial element (black man, white cop) I expect he would still be 'protecting and serving'.

Then there were the two cops (I think this was last year, at most the year before) who were literally stealing cash from people. (Largely against the Mexican community, who for whatever reason don't use banks.) The two black cops would use any excuse (or simply bully the people, they weren't found out until they bullied someone somewhat important in that community) to search the person, car, home and take whatever cash they had. Prior to the incident, one of the cops was considered a 'model officer', and was a Lt, as I recall up for promotion to Cpt. The other, a Sgt up for Lt promotion.

One of the smaller municipalities had a cop have sex with a teenage girl. And I could keep on going.

Regarding our current Chief, he is rather new, but has been with the city a while. He is probably dirty, and I have no faith or trust in him, but I can't honestly say he should be punished for this. Maybe next time he would deserve it though. Hopefully I am wrong and there won't be a next time. :rolleyes:

PennsyPlinker
February 25, 2007, 03:58 PM
The reason I hope she gets every dime is because the only thing that will change anything politically is to cut into the budget. The city's insurance carrier will pay any judgement, but the rise in premiums will get them in the wallet.

That would be nice if that was the way it would actually work out, but what usually ends up happening is taxes are raised to pay the penalty. A number of years ago I lived in Easton PA. Employees at the sewage treatment plant were falsifying records and dumping untreated waste into the Delaware River. The EPA came along and fined the entire city to the tune of $11 million! That money went straight to the feds, who also insisted that we spend a bunch of money to upgrade the treatment plant. Guess who paid for all that? It wasn't the people who did the deed, it was we the people.

Lawsuits like these only serve to enrich the lawyers and a few people who win in court. The costs are passed on as a tax increase and no one bothers to itemize it for the hoi polloi. They are just told the government (at whatever level) needs more money. What a surprise.

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