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This is bad, really a crying shame.

Discussion in 'Legal' started by kbr80, Aug 13, 2005.

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  1. kbr80

    kbr80 member

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    My brother sent me this, he is a student there:

    Alleged police brutality prompts lawsuit

    Kelly Saxton
    Staff Writer

    August 11, 2005

    When Gus Elliott was a student at NT in 2003, he was a criminal justice major with plans of becoming a police officer. But because of an incident on Aug. 16, 2003, he has now filed a civil lawsuit against three NT police officers.

    The lawsuit claims the officers slammed Elliott's head, face-first, onto the trunk of his car and signed a false affidavit stating that Elliott assaulted them.

    Attorney Richard Gladden filed the lawsuit against officers Greg Prickett, Mark Linnell and William Hitt on July 29 at the 158 district court. Gladden said the jury would probably find damages up to or more than $50,000 and hopes punitive damages will be issued to deter similar actions in the future.

    "They didn't just assault a citizen," Gladden said. "They lied about it."

    Story image 2
    NT police wrestle with Elliott before pounding his face onto the trunk of his car.

    Prickett said, according to video evidence and his sworn affidavit, that he pulled Elliott over at 1100 Maple St. because he "failed to stop at a designated stop point" before a flashing red light.

    Elliott said he pulled out a little far to see around a metal box on the corner of Highland Street to establish it was safe to turn but was still very confused as to why he was pulled over.

    "I really just think he came after me because I was the only car out at that hour, and he was bored," Elliott said.

    Prickett asked Elliott to step out of the car, and in the officer's sworn affidavit, he stated that Elliott exited the car and "fell against the door." Police video showed that statement was fabricated.

    Elliott told Prickett that he had not been drinking that night. Elliott was given a field sobriety test and submitted to a hand-held breathalyzer. Prickett asked him again if he had been drinking, and Elliot stuck to his previous statement. Then Linnell and Hitt arrived, and Prickett asked Elliot to put his hands behind his back.

    Elliott recalls saying, "Oh man," and freezing up.

    "I just couldn't believe they were arresting me," Elliott said. "There was just no reason for it."

    In the police video, the three policemen surrounded Elliott and slammed him face-first onto the trunk of his car. There was a loud crack, and Elliot uttered a muffled groan of, "Oh god, my teeth, awww, oh god, my teeth!"

    A third of Elliott's tooth chipped off, and there was a cut on his chin deep enough to require five stitches. The medical expenses totaled $6,680.55.

    Elliot was handcuffed, put on the ground and told by Prickett that he had ended up on the hood of the car because he had head-butted Linnell. According to the video, that head-butt did not take place, but Prickett's sworn affidavit said, "Elliot began to fight, head-butting Officer Linnell."

    "I didn't head-butt him," Elliot said. "I hadn't done anything wrong."

    Elliott was then taken to jail where he was refused entrance until he was first taken to the hospital.

    "The police officers hadn't offered me any medical help or anything at all," Elliott said.

    The three officers are still employed by the university. Prickett, now employed at the NT Dallas campus, said he would love to talk about it, but had been advised against it by Renaldo Stowers, an associate general council at NT.

    NT Deputy Police Chief Ed Reynolds also declined to comment, saying it was against university policy to discuss matters of pending litigation.

    "There's no indication that the university chief of police has done anything to discipline them." Elliott's attorney, Gladden, said.

    The district attorney did not prosecute the NT policemen for the criminal charges of aggregated assault of a citizen or signing a false affidavit, Gladden said.

    "I found that a little discouraging," Elliott said.

    Elliot did not receive a DWI, and his aggravated assault charge was dropped to resisting arrest. The assault charge was dropped on when Lisa Decker, a prosecutor for the state, signed a motion to dismiss, which stated: "After reviewing the videotape, it has been determined that this case should not be prosecuted."

    Elliot, now 21, is no longer a student at NT. He relocated to Texas State University at San Marcos to put the incident behind him, and he no longer wants to be a police officer.

    http://www.ntdaily.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/08/11/42fb680c905fd
     
  2. TMM

    TMM Member

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    some people are not deserving of the oxygen they breathe, the space they take up, or the products they consume...

    (Grammaw dropped by...)

    ~TMM
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2005
  3. carebear

    carebear Member

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    The case SHOULD be prosecuted.

    Just not against the kid.
     
  4. NeveraVictimAgain

    NeveraVictimAgain Member

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    It would be helpful if posters would explain abbreviations like "NT" for those of us who don't live in the area.
     
  5. kbr80

    kbr80 member

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    NT= North Texas, as in North Texas State
     
  6. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I would be interested in hearing the other side of the story as well.

    Mike
     
  7. ajax

    ajax Member

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    were these guys cops or security guards with guns.
     
  8. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Sounds like sworn campus cops.

    Let me responsibly amend my statement to include. "If the tape in fact shows events as described."

    The prosecutor dropping charges sure leans it that way.
     
  9. jefnvk

    jefnvk Member

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    SO, why did he wait two years to press charges?

    In MI, campus securty is all sworn LEO's. Don't know if it is the same in Texas or not.
     
  10. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    Many possible reasons: reluctance of his parents for him to do so, financial, etc. He's a student. Limited resources. It could have taken him this long to find an attorney who would do it on a contigency basis.

    I was assaulted by a police officer when I was a student. I was not arrested. I was left bleeding and temporarily paralyzed from a blow to the head from a riot stick in the middle of a road during the night. The only way that I found out what happened to me was that a report got back to me of the cop bragging of the hippy he had 'brained.' I didn't sue. Why not? 1) My mother did not want me to do so. She later claimed that she did not realize just how life threatening the assault was...a car came within inches of my head as I lay paralyzed in the road. 2) I took direct action in response.
     
  11. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Dropping of charges is not always indicative of a lack of PC for police actions, though it is generally a good yardstick. The presence of cruiser video is almost always a boon for truth-seekers. It has its problems (witness a couple of high-profile cases where the police acted appropriately but the situation just plain looked ugly), but by and large it is a good thing. I'd be interested in seeing the video.

    As to why he waited, there are several possible reasons. Many have to do with administrative procedures in the police department itself, as the outcome of any administrative investigation into the case is potentially good evidence for the plaintiff.

    Mike
     
  12. kbr80

    kbr80 member

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    Seems we know all we need to know about the LEO's in question. My main beef with this, is now a student, that wanted to be a police officer, will not, due to what was done to him. Bad PR for all LEO's, thanks to these officers in question.

    Yes, according to my brother, campus police are sworn LEO's.
     
  13. Drizzt

    Drizzt Member

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    They are sworn LEOs. They actually had some pretty good guys on the force during the summer when I worked there.
     
  14. HankB

    HankB Member

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    If the video substantiates the story as related in the first posting (that's a very important "if") then 3 cops should be former cops facing some serious criminal charges of their own.
    I'd love to hear the story behind 2) . . . but I have an idea what my response would be, and unless it happened a LONG time ago, I don't know that I'd want to post it in an open forum.
     
  15. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    Video proof that not only were these "Officers" lying about that action, but that they committed assault. They are STILL frelling LEOs. :fire:

    Nope, no "One law for cops, one law for the rest of us."
     
  16. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    Yes, just about all 4 years universities in Texas use sworn LEO's. I went to a junior college that just had security guards, but he was just to enforce parking violations and such. At my school, they were know as the KK or Kampus Kops. :) I don't think I have heard of a school where they had a good reputation with the students. Not necessarily a bad thing.

    I hope justice is done one way or the other.
     
  17. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    Really? A series of claims made in a newspaper article by the plaintiff's attorney is now everything required to form an opinion? If so, we've really lowered our standards as to burden of proof. ;)

    Now, if the video evidence does indeed support the accusation, they have a case. The fact that charges were dropped is encouraging in that regard, but not in and of itself indicative. As I said before, I want to see the tape.

    Mike
     
  18. silverlance

    silverlance Member

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    hm..

    don't know about texas, but here in cali campus cops (especially high school campus cops) almost always have reputations of being cops that opted for campus duty because it's easy and very lightly regulated.

    i don't know whether that is true or not about that job.
     
  19. Azrael256

    Azrael256 Member

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    Actually, the University of North Texas, or UNT, as it's usually called. It hasn't been North Texas State for quite some time.
    And I haven't heard of a school that wasn't full of kids who cannot take responsibility for their actions. Obviously this is a very extreme case, and I won't argue that abuses never occur. I will, however, argue that the vast majority of campus police I encounter on a daily basis are straight-up good guys who are doing their job to the best of their abilities. After watching them operate, and working closely with them on a couple of stolen computer cases (I'm the network security guy, so I can spot stolen computers on the network... yes, they do plug stolen laptops into the network), I can tell you that they're hated for doing what they should be doing. If the kids didn't cause so much trouble, the campus police would be out of a job.

    These idiots, however, are not examples of fine, upstandng campus police.
     
  20. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    Campus cops are like regular cops. Most are honest, dedicated professionals. Some are jackbooted thugs with badges.
     
  21. CARRY'IN

    CARRY'IN member

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    "were these guys cops or security guards with guns."

    Is there a difference?
     
  22. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    I suppose that the word of the States attorny doesnt shed any light either?
    The fact that the prosecutor looked at the tape in question and saw something different from what the officer says happened does a pretty credible job of calling him a liar.

    Lets just add this to the list of one more educated young adult that changed his mind about police work as soon as he met some actuall cops.
     
  23. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    As to why he waited, it was probably because he wasn't thinking straight due to the head injury he received when his head hit the car.

    John
     
  24. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Or he was waiting for the disposition of the charges against him to see if he would be making a criminal appeal or a civil lawsuit.
     
  25. cachwm

    cachwm Member

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    i met gus at texas state and he doesn't talk about this to anyone. i found out about this because i also know some of his fraternity brothers from unt and when they told me i looked it up. the video used to be viewable online as well as his mug shot in which he looks like he was hit in the face with a bat. believe me, this article is as close to the truth as i have seen yet. the video is very clear on what happened, everything that was said, and the outragious actions taken by the cops in question. i couldn't believe what i was seeing and this seriously screwed him up in more ways than just changing his professional interests.
     
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