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Old 10-22-2009, 01:00 PM
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Default Police action ripped

Front page, San Bernardino County Sun 10-22-2009

Police action ripped

Quote:
Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer

10/21/2009

Lawyer: Beaten suspect held 'on ice'

SAN BERNARDINO - A San Bernardino barber shop owner who was the subject of a videotaped beating by police was held nearly two days without being booked into jail or charged, and denied a phone call, an attorney for his family said Wednesday.

It was only after the Mayor's office intervened on the family's behalf Wednesday afternoon that Darren Johnson, 43, was allowed to call his wife and tell her what had happened.

Johnson reportedly told his wife in a call from Loma Linda University Medical Center that he suffered a compound fracture to his hand, and has stitches to both legs and his head, among other injuries.

An iPhone video of his arrest taken by an eyewitness shows an officer repeatedly striking him with a
(YouTube video still)
baton while another officer holds him on the ground in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven at the corner of Highland and Mountain View avenues.

"His wife has been trying for two days to find out where he is," said Gary Wenkle Smith, the San Bernardino attorney representing Johnson's wife, Landra Santana. "The family has been in a state of shock because they know he was hurt but they didn't know the severity of his injuries."

The video was initially posted on YouTube but removed after the cameraman's employer asked him to take it down so it could be sold to television news agencies.

San Bernardino police have refused to discuss whether the beating was appropriate or why the man had not been booked or charged as of early Wednesday evening.

"It's under investigation so we will go from there once the investigation is completed," said San Bernardino police spokesman, Lt. Dan Keil.

As a result, it remains a mystery why Johnson was never booked into custody after being arrested about 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Before his arrest, Johnson, who his wife described as a U.S. Army veteran, took off on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to get a drink at the convenience store and never returned.

Department officials said Johnson was initially stopped for running a stop sign and a traffic signal.

"After being contacted, he became increasingly agitated and aggressive and struck one of the officers," Kiel said on Tuesday, after the video of the confrontation surfaced.

Police also said Johnson was in possession of cocaine.

Brandon Piddington, 38, who shot the video, said he saw officers talking with Johnson in the store lot as he entered the store, then saw the beating in progress as he walked out, so he started filming.

Piddington's video shows an African-American officer delivering blow after blow, while a white officer wrestles to hold down Johnson, who is black.

A search of county records found that Johnson has no criminal record other than an 18 month-old arrest in a domestic dispute - a charge that was later dismissed.

Early Wednesday afternoon, Keil, the San Bernardino police spokesman, said that Johnson had been booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. He later said he had been mistaken after sheriff's officials insisted he was not there.

San Bernardino police Chief Keith Kilmer is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Santana, Johnson's wife, said the police version doesn't add up. She said her husband, who owns The Shop barbershop in San Bernardino and served four years in the Army, didn't use or deal drugs.

"There is no reason he would strike a cop," she said.

And she questions why police failed to properly book him in jail so he could be charged and bailed out.

On its face, Johnson's case bears eerie similarities to two other cases in which suspects were allegedly hidden by San Bernardino police officers without being properly booked or charged, said Smith, the family's lawyer.

Earlier this year, Chief Kilmer hired an outside private investigator to probe long-standing claims that several officers have been illegally keeping suspects "on ice."

At least one "on ice" case is still winding its way through the court system. Former narcotics Sgt. Brad Lawrence was put on paid administrative leave for seven months last year during an Internal Affairs investigation before returning to work in March as a patrol sergeant.

"This stinks...," Smith said. "It appears as though a man who has been mistreated by local law enforcement has been put "on ice" and that only because of the intervention of the Office of the Mayor did we have any chance to communicate."
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:10 PM
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Here is an earlier report by the same reporter(s) posting Tuesday 10-20-2009, prior to further allegations of police misconduct posted above:

Quote:
SB police examining video of suspect being beaten

Melissa Pinion-Whitt and Stephen Wall, Staff Writers

Posted: 10/20/2009 05:58:52 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO - San Bernardino police on Tuesday were scrutinizing an eyewitness video which shows an officer repeatedly striking a motorist with a baton while another officer tries to hold the suspect down.

Police Lt. Dan Keil said Darren Johnson, a 43-year-old San Bernardino resident, was pulled over at about 10:30 p.m. Monday in the 200 block of West Highland Ave.

Two officers witnessed several vehicle code violations, including failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to stop at a traffic signal, Keil said.

"After being contacted, he became increasingly agitated and aggressive and struck one of the officers," Keil said.

Johnson was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of possession of cocaine, transportation of cocaine and assault on a peace officer, Keil said.

Keil said Tuesday that he did not immediately know whether the officers would be suspended, but that the incident is under investigation.

Keil said he didn't know the amount of cocaine that Johnson had in his possession.

The video, filmed by 38-year-old Brandon Piddington, appears to show one San Bernardino officer holding a man down on the ground and another striking the man in the legs about nine times with a baton.

"One officer had him on the ground on his back. They were telling him to get on his belly. I guess he wouldn't do it," Piddington said.

The four-minute video, which was posted on the Web site Youtube.com, begins with the man on the ground with police and does not show what led up to his arrest. The video has since been removed from Youtube by Piddington for unknown reasons.

"It's a partial rendering of what happened," Keil said.

Piddington said he was at the 7-Eleven at the corner of Highland and Mountain View avenues to buy a Vitaminwater. He noticed two officers talking to the motorcyclist in the parking lot.

When he exited the store, the officers had the man on the ground and one was striking the man with a baton.

Piddington pulled out an iPhone and began filming the incident.

Several people at a neighboring laundromat came outside when they heard the commotion. He said one of the officers had blood on his neck and arms, but he did not know where the blood came from.

Once the man on the ground was handcuffed, a third officer who arrived at the scene approached Piddington and asked if he witnessed the incident.

When the man said he did, the officer asked him his name. Piddington asked why the officer needed that information.

"Because I want to know what you saw," the officer said during the video. "It could be pertinent to this, all right?"

Piddington said the number of times the man was struck seemed excessive, but he acknowledged he did not know the reason police were arresting him.

"To me it was about documentation and not passing judgment," he said. "I know nothing about the guy's history. He could've been a two-strike felon, he could've had something on him - drugs, a weapon."

Last edited by ilbegone; 10-22-2009 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:49 PM
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This stinks.

Johnson was arrested on Monday.

Tuesday LT. Kiel tells the press that Johnson has been booked into West Valley detention center.

Then Wednesday:

Quote:
A San Bernardino barber shop owner who was the subject of a videotaped beating by police was held nearly two days without being booked into jail or charged, and denied a phone call, an attorney for his family said Wednesday.

It was only after the Mayor's office intervened on the family's behalf Wednesday afternoon that Darren Johnson, 43, was allowed to call his wife and tell her what had happened.

Johnson reportedly told his wife in a call from Loma Linda University Medical Center that he suffered a compound fracture to his hand, and has stitches to both legs and his head, among other injuries...

..."His wife has been trying for two days to find out where he is," said Gary Wenkle Smith, the San Bernardino attorney representing Johnson's wife, Landra Santana. "The family has been in a state of shock because they know he was hurt but they didn't know the severity of his injuries."...
It seems they denied Johnson medical care for compound fractures and took Johnson to the hospital only after the Mayor was involved in the issue two days later..

I've heard of this crap going on in San Bernardino for a loooong time:

Quote:
And she questions why police failed to properly book him in jail so he could be charged and bailed out.

On its face, Johnson's case bears eerie similarities to two other cases in which suspects were allegedly hidden by San Bernardino police officers without being properly booked or charged, said Smith, the family's lawyer.

Earlier this year, Chief Kilmer hired an outside private investigator to probe long-standing claims that several officers have been illegally keeping suspects "on ice."
What it has been used for before is to keep someone illegally in custody while a search warrant on the prisoner's residence is obtained and executed. I believe there were other reasons as well, perhaps not the least to "teach a lesson".

I am not an attorney, but I believe this is a violation and evasion of Habeus Corpus.

Quote:
Habeas Corpus is an ancient common law prerogative writ - a legal procedure to which you have an undeniable right. It is an extraordinary remedy at law. Upon proper application, or even on naked knowledge alone, a court is empowered, and is duty bound, to issue the Extraordinary Writ of Habeas Corpus commanding one who is restraining liberty to forthwith produce before the court the person who is in custody and to show cause why the liberty of that person is being restrained. Absent a sufficient showing for a proper restraint of liberty, the court is duty bound to order the restraint eliminated and the person discharged. Habeas Corpus is fundamental to American and all other English common law derivative systems of jurisprudence. It is the ultimate lawful and peaceable remedy for adjudicating the providence of liberty’s restraint...

...Today the Writ of Habeas Corpus is used in many different ways. It applies to post conviction relief in criminal matters even where the judgment of judge and jury is final. It applies to those who are in police custody but who are not charged with a crime. It applies to those who are awaiting trial but who have not been able to make an excessive bail. It applies to death row prisoners who challenge their death sentence. It applies to prisoners who remain in custody after the expiration of their lawful sentence. Additionally, Habeas Corpus applies to both adults and children who are restrained of their liberty in some meaningful manner but who are not in the actual custody of police or other public authority...

http://habeascorpus.net/hcwrit.html
I know for a fact that a police report is usually just so much creative fiction, and there's lots of cocaine in the evidence locker to pilfer and manufacture into evidence against Johnson.

Things are really crooked in San Bernardino County.

I wasn't there, but it is my belief that those two cops were a couple of a-holes looking for something to do, and they did it in a pushy, arrogant, demeaning, and provoking manner. And Johnson was played into their game.

Last edited by ilbegone; 10-22-2009 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:37 PM
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SB Police: Ambulance re-route slowed booking process for beaten suspect


Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
10/22/2009

Video: Second eyewitness video surfaces

SAN BERNARDINO - A decision by ambulance dispatchers caused the subject of a videotaped police beating to be transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where officers were unable to book him into jail for three days, police officials said Thursday.

Darren Johnson, 43, underwent surgery Thursday on a compound fracture of his hand suffered when he was struck repeatedly with a baton while being arrested about 10:30 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven on the corner of Highland and Mountain View avenues.

He also suffered a broken back and gashes to his legs and head, according to a lawyer working on behalf of his domestic partner.

San Bernardino police on Thursday said the delay in booking Johnson was not their fault.

[I saw the video and would say it was their fault: "struck repeatedly with a baton" I thought they would break his ribs, they got his spine instead]

"The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department does not allow absentee booking outside of (the county jail ward at) Arrowhead Regional Medical Center," San Bernardino police Lt. Dan Kiel said. "Circumstances beyond our control prompted him to be placed at Loma Linda."

Johnson was stopped by police Monday night after allegedly running a stop sign and traffic signal while riding his Harley-Davidson motorcyle. The barbershop owner, who has no criminal record in the county, became agitated while talking to police and struck one of the officers, touching off the baton-swinging scuffle, department officials have said.

[I believe they are either lying, or manipulated Johnson into movement which could be construed as offensive in nature]

The beating was captured on cell phone video by at least two eyewitnesses.

Johnson was arrested for the traffic violations, resisting arrest, assaulting an officer and possession of cocaine.

[Lots of cocaine in the evidence locker to submit as contrived "evidence"]

Kiel said he did not know why the ambulance was dispatched to Loma Linda instead of the county facility in Colton.

He said Johnson was expected to be booked Thursday at either Arrowhead Regional Medical Center or West Valley Detention Center.

Regardless of the circumstances, Johnson should have been set free if criminal charges weren't filed within 48 hours of his arrest, said Gary Wenkle Smith, a San Bernardino attorney representing Johnson's domestic partner, Landra Santana.

"He has certain constitutional protections that everyone is afforded and those were not given to him," Smith said. "You cannot take a person off the street and keep them from lawyers, from family, and deny information. This is not the kind of conduct we expect from modern-day law enforcement."

Kiel said that Johnson was allowed - and made - phone calls very shortly after his arrest, but the spokesman did not know whom he called.

[Yeah, right]

Smith, the lawyer, said Johnson did not contact any family members until the San Bernardino mayor's office intervened on Wednesday afternoon, nearly two days after the arrest.

The case remains under investigation, police have said.

Meanwhile, prosecutors on Thursday began reviewing police reports to decide on potential charges.

[A police report can be award winning creative fiction]

And family members were eagerly waiting for him to be booked so they could find out his bail amount and possibly get him released.

"We are on pins and needles," said Pamela Johnson-Dickinson, Johnson's sister.

Santana, his domestic partner, was allowed a visit for the first time Thursday.

"He's hurt badly, as we all knew," said Smith, the lawyer. "Anybody who's seen the video knows that he took quite a beating."

Last edited by ilbegone; 10-23-2009 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:48 AM
Rim05 Rim05 is offline
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Of course we do not know the details which are very important but this is shades of Rodney King all over again. That baton swinging cop did not appear to have any thing good in his mind. The part that seems so weird is to say he struck one of the cops.
The SB police dept. has had some very good press lately concerning the HD problems, drugs and the check points. I hope this will not curtail the good they have been doing.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:27 PM
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I don't think they can defend this at all. It's pretty important that you book someone, somehow. That's how they start tolling the timeframe for arraignment.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:34 PM
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Man whose beating by SB police was caught on videotape is released from custody

Quote:
Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
10/24/2009

SAN BERNARDINO - The barbershop owner who was the subject of a videotaped police beating was released from custody Friday, according to the lawyer who is representing his longtime girlfriend.

Darren Johnson, 43, who was struck repeatedly with a baton while being arrested at a 7-Eleven on Monday night, was at home recovering as of Saturday, said Gary Wenkle Smith, a San Bernardino attorney.

Smith said sheriff's deputies went into Johnson's room at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center on Friday and told him since no charges had been filed by the district attorney's office that he was being released from custody.

Cindy Beavers, public information officer for the sheriff's department, said if time is up for someone in custody and the district attorney has not filed charges, it's their responsiblity to release the person.

Because of the extent of Johnson's injuries, including a broken right hand and bruises and cuts from head to toe, he remained in the hospital Friday night and was taken home by Smith on Saturday morning, the lawyer said.

Johnson was booked Thursday morning into the jail ward at Arrowhead on suspicion of resisting arrest, transportation of cocaine and possession of cocaine.

Bail was set at $50,000.

He was arrested in the parking lot at the 7-Eleven at Highland and Mountain View avenues after allegedly running a stop sign on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

San Bernardino police say he was uncooperative and hit one of the officers, sparking a struggle that was taped by two witnesses on their cell phones.

The district attorney's office could still file charges, said Smith.

http://www.sbsun.com/search/ci_13635405
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