Walker, LA Officer Arrested for Beating a Handcuffed Suspect


Officer James Dipuma overheard a call dispatched to the Livingstone Parish Sheriff’s Office about a child molestation with the suspect still at the location.  He got there first.  When deputies arrived, Dipuma already had Raymond Robison in handcuffs, but deputies noted that Robison was severely beaten.  When asked about it, Dipuma said that Robison resisted arrest.

Unfortunately for Dipuma, deputies were able to determine that Dipuma and one of the juvenile rape victim’s family members had beaten Robinson severely after Robison had already been handcuffed.

First, I’m not all that sympathetic to Robison – if he raped that young boy, he deserves whatever form of punishment that comes his way.  But it is not for the police to administer that type of justice, especially not on him while he is in handcuffs.

Second, I applaud the Livingstone Parrish Sheriff for pursuing this and putting a rogue officer behind bars.

Third, Dipuma should have never been a police officer at Walker.  Dipuma’s first police job was in East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.  While there he was suspended without pay for 30 days for the way he handled a suspect at a call, which included kicking the suspect in the head.  In 2009, a suspect suffered a severe facial injury.  Dipuma resigned following a polygraph test that indicated he lied.  Three years later he applied at the Livingstone Parish SO, and after some hesitation, the sheriff gave him a second chance, but terminated him within about a year for conduct unbecoming an officer.

Robison is still in jail on charges of Molesting a Juvenile, Aggravated Rape, and Resisting an Officer.  Dipuma was charged with Malfeasance in Office and second degree Battery.  The family member was charged with Simple Battery.

I understand how this happened.  You have an officer that is enraged by what the suspect did to the boy, and lacks the self control necessary to allow the system to adjudicate the matter.  So he figures he’ll apply a little street justice.  The problem here is allowing him a chance to do it again.  He was given a second chance by Livingstone Parish, and then a third chance by Walker PD.  I understand the thought process of the sheriff – it had been three years and he wanted to believe that Dipuma had changed and deserved a second chance.  The problem is that Dipuma should have learned that lesson after getting a 30-day suspension, but didn’t.  You can’t afford to take a chance when someone has had two excessive force cases like that sustained.  And I don’t have a clue what the chief at Walker PD was thinking.


Lakeland Police, Part V: Who’s on First? (with apologies to Abbott & Costello)


OK, the mayor set up a blue-ribbon panel to figure out what to do about the police department and the mess it has created.  It had fifteen members (or did, until the two co-chairs resigned).  Now, just before the first meeting, three more members have also resigned.  The committee hasn’t even had a meeting yet, and 33% of its members have quit?

But not to worry – the mayor says it will all be fine.

Now the State Attorney has dropped 38 DUI cases because the officers involved put false information in the reports.

There are numerous officers who the State Attorney will no longer put on the stand because of issues with their truthfulness.

And Poytner.org says the whole thing is like a script from Reno911.





Auburn, Ala. PD Officer Fired for Speaking Out Against Ticket Quotas


This is the type of police officer that a department should want working for them – but instead he is fired for speaking out against quotas.

It is clear that police officers have First Amendment protected speech rights for speaking out on matters of public interest.  For a list of representative cases, see 109 A.L.R. Fed. 9 (Originally published in 1992).  Ticket quotas are clearly a matter of public interest, and “a quota becomes the starting point for the abuse of police discretion.”  Illya Lichtenberg, Police Discretion and Traffic Enforcement: A Government of Men?, 50 Clev. St. L. Rev. 425, 443 (2003).

While some states have an outright statutory prohibition on quotas, c.f. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 720.002 (Vernon) (prohibiting formal or informal ticket quotas and providing for removal from office for a violation), Alabama does not.  Nevertheless, it is a poor police practice for the reasons noted in the video.

Chief Tommy Dawson who allegedly set the quota, retired effective July 1, 2013.  He has been replaced by Assistant Chief (now Chief) Paul Register, who has the opportunity to make this right.  He may be contacted at pregister@auburnalabama.org or 334-501-3110.

Constitution for Dummies

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Fairly Good Job by Travis County, Texas Sheriff’s Deputies


Although the poster, Christian Perez, believes that he was harassed, the deputies in this case did a fairly good job in this case, at least from what was recorded on the video.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office is out on an intoxicated female, along with paramedics (Austin/Travis County EMS) and firemen (Manchaca Fire/Rescue) when Christian begins to videotape the event.  One deputy attempts to tell Christian that his filming is a HIPPA violation (it’s not), but Christian tells him it is not and continues to film.  The deputy does not push the issue, and none of the EMTs say anything.

Later in the video (at 2:35), a deputy takes a couple of pictures of the videographer but doesn’t try to interfere or stop him from filming.  Another deputy then asks for Christian’s identification, but does not press the issue when Christian refuses to provide it.  The deputy also talks about needing the information for a subpoena to obtain a copy of the video as evidence.  Christian does a good job of refusing, and tells the deputy that unless he is suspected of a crime, he doesn’t have to even talk to the deputy.  The deputy then moves away, ending the encounter.

One of the paramedics then comes over (about 7:30) and asks how Christian would feel if that was his sister or girlfriend being filmed.  Christian tells him that she is in a public place and the paramedic moves away.  The paramedic did make sure and tell Christian that he wasn’t telling him that Christian could not film, he was just making an appeal for him not to do so.

As far as the suspect, the deputy gives her two options:  she can either take a ride home with another individual, or she can go to jail for public intoxication (PI).  The deputy also gives her an option to go to the hospital.  Unfortunately, like many drunks, she thinks that she can create a fourth option.  When she tried to push that, she was arrested for PI.

Although Christian feels that he was harassed, he was allowed to film the entire encounter without being told to move or being ordered to stop.  Several times attempts were made to dissuade him from filming, but none of the deputies infringed on his right to film.  None of the deputies were overbearing, and none pushed the issue when Christian stood up for his rights.

Officers may ask someone to stop filming, to provide identification, or to engage in a consensual conversation.  Without something more than what they had here, they cannot order someone to stop filming, to provide ID, or to talk to them.  The officers stayed within the legal limits.

Sterling Heights Open Carry Confrontation


On July 18, 2013, James Baker and a friend were openly carrying in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

The officers contacted the open carriers with drawn weapons, immediately disarming and handcuffing the two.  According to the radio calls at the start of the video, there was no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, just that two individuals were carrying rifles.  One officer then searches Baker, removing his wallet and ID from the wallet.

This is problematic in a couple of ways.  First, as was noted in an earlier post, open carry in Michigan is legal and is not reasonable suspicion for a stop. Second, even if we assume for the sake of argument that the officers had reasonable suspicion, Michigan law is clear that this does not provide an officer the authority to search for and seize an individuals wallet, then enter the wallet seeking an identification card or drivers license.  People v. Williams, 234 N.W.2d 531 (Mich. Ct. App. 1975) (“Assuming the officer’s initial stop and questioning was proper in the present case,it is clear that the seizure of the defendant’s wallet cannot be justified as a protective pre-arrest search since the purpose of the search was not to seize a weapon.”).

Further, the officer knew that he wasn’t arresting  Baker, as he told Baker just a few second later that he didn’t have a right to an attorney or to remain silent because he wasn’t under arrest (at 3:40).  Additionally, the officer states later, on the radio that this is an “open carry issue” (at 4:30).

Later, when it is back to video, a sergeant is trying to sell the story that it is a “public safety” issue–but the police don’t have the authority to detain someone unless they have reasonable suspicion of a crime.  The officers clearly have no grounds to detain the individuals for open carry where open carry is legal.  The intent seems to be to chill the individuals from exercising their rights, which is a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  See generally Ctr. for Bio-Ethical Reform, Inc. v. City of Springboro, 477 F.3d 807 (6th Cir. 2007).

In the second video, the officer clearly doesn’t understand the law, asking if the individual has a permit for the firearms, apparently not knowing that no permit is required in Michigan to open carry.

The Chief of Police is Michael Reese, e-mail mreese@sterling-heights.net, phone 586-446-2810.


RIP Dennis Farina, a Real Cop Before He Became a TV Cop

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For those that aren’t aware, Dennis Farina was a retired Chicago cop when he became a TV star.  RIP brother.


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