Police Accountability Report: Episode 116 – LRN.fm
This week, a couple of stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.
Seiling Police Chief Arrested For Child Sex Crime
In mid-November, an Oklahoma police chief was arrested and booked into jail for a child sex crime.
Dewey County sheriff’s deputies were called out to the home of police chief Kelly Meeks in mid-November.
“It shocked the entire community,” said Dewey County Sheriff, Clay Sander.
“It kind of makes me mad, because he’s been here in this town, and him doing something like that, it’s not right,” said Seiling resident, Tommy Varnell.
In a town of less than 1,000, it doesn’t take long for news to spread. Around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday November 16th, the Dewey County Sheriff’s office got a call for assistance in Seiling.
Sheriffs deputies arrived at the home of the police chief.
“I’m still in shock. I don’t know what to think, because I didn’t see him like that. I really didn’t,” said Varnell.
“This is kind of disturbing – really disturbing. I mean, we have kids running all over the streets,” said resident Robin Flowers.
Meeks was arrested on a complaint of lewd molestation. The victim was under the age of 16.
Sheriff Sander says the alleged molestation happened inside Chief Meeks home. The chief is married with five children, and well respected in the community.
“He has been a member of this community for several years, and has been in law enforcement most of his adult life,” Sheriff Sander said.
“It’s just kind of overwhelming,” said Flowers. “Who can you trust anymore?”
The Dewey County Sheriff’s Office will handle Seiling’s emergency calls while Chief Meeks is under investigation. His bond was set at $100,000.
Lawsuits Stacking Up Against Sheriff Byrd, His Department
Lawsuits against Jackson County, Mississippi sheriffs are common, but since Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd was indicted on 31 state charges August 30th, he’s been named in four federal lawsuits accusing him of violating the civil rights of people arrested by the sheriff’s department.
The most recent action is a wrongful death suit filed by the sister of a man who died while in custody on a shoplifting charge. She alleges her brother was denied daily medication to control his epilepsy for near three months.
The three other federal lawsuits were filed by people arrested on child pornography charges. All accuse Byrd of abusing his power, pushing his deputies to make false arrests and violating their civil rights.
In total, those suits seek more than $63 million in damages.
Since-Fired Western PA Officer Convicted of Beating Handcuffed Man in Police Holding Cell
A western Pennsylvania police officer who was fired after he refused a random drug test last year has been convicted of beating a handcuffed prisoner in a holding cell and then trying to cover it up.
Walter R. Johnson was convicted at a non-jury trial of simple assault and official oppression — the cover-up charge. An Allegheny County judge on Monday sentenced him to two years’ probation and two weeks in jail, though Johnson doesn’t have to serve that time until January.
Johnson was a patrolman in a tiny borough near Pittsburgh, when he threw the prisoner, 49-year-old Robert Szilagyi, into a holding cell wall so hard the man’s jaw was broken and his teeth loosened — including one later found lodged in his airway. Avalon police alerted Allegheny County detectives after they learned surveillance video of the April 2012 beating existed following Johnson’s firing last July.
The detectives determined that security video from the holding cell showed Johnson walking Szilagyi to the cell at which point he “literally throws Szilagyi, with his hands still handcuffed behind his back, into the cell … propelling the victim forward with such force as to cause him to leave his feet, hurtling head-first toward the floor and rear wall of the holding cell.”
Are these really the type of people you’d trust to protect you?
That’s this week’s Police Accountability Report brought to you by CopBlock.org.
I hope you’ll take a moment to consider just what it is that you are paying for via taxation – and speak out against the corruption.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights