Police Accountability Report: Episode 125 – LRN.fm
This week, a couple stories that should cause anyone critically thinking to see that those wearing badges aren’t always operating with the best intentions.
Pembroke Pines Cop Accused Of Stealing Pricey Watch After Jewelry Store Heist
During the investigation of a burglary of $75,000 worth of jewelry at Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, the Pembroke Pines Police Department learned that, while supposedly investigating, Officer Kevin Burgs was caught on security camera taking a movado watch valued at $795.00 from the store.
The theft was captured by two of the store’s surveillance video cameras. The report says a store employee who was reviewing footage from the burglary spotted the officer stealing the watch. Detectives discovered the stolen watch inside the officer’s police vehicle.
Burgs was arrested and charged with Grand Theft earlier this month. Bond was set at $1,000, and after posting bail, he was released. Burgs, a nine year veteran of the Pembroke Pines Police Department, has been placed on paid suspension pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Police were called to the store Wednesday morning after a couple of cat burglars broke into the store overnight and got away with $75-thousand worth of jewelry. The two burglars got into the store by cutting a hole in the roof. Once inside, they smashed the glass cases and grabbed the high-priced goods. A roofer who patched the hole said this was not a haphazard job, noting that they brought a battery powered saw up there and knew how to cut the corrugated metal, perfectly square.
In addition to the theft of $75-thousand worth of merchandise, the burglars left behind $10-thousand in damage to the glass cases and the roof.
Kevin Burgs, who was called for help, apparently found it appropriate to steal even more from the victim of the burglary.
Former Arcata Police Officer Alleges Department Set Drug, Money Quotas; Declaration Part of Medical Marijuana Lawsuit
In other news, a former Arcata police officer is alleging that the department agreed to take officers out for dinner and drinks if they met a quota for seized marijuana plants and cash from drug busts.
In a declaration, Kevin Stonebarger, who resigned from the department last year due to a career-ending knee injury, claims Sgt. Todd Dokweiler agreed to buy the entire Special Services Unit dinner and drinks if they seized 10,000 marijuana plants, and at least $150,000 in forfeitable assets from marijuana growers in 2011.
Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman and City Manager Randy Mendosa said they are unable to comment on pending litigation.
Attorney Nancy Delaney, who is representing the city, said the city is satisfied that the officers acted appropriately.
”There are things in the declaration that Mr. Stonebarger signed under penalty of perjury that are false. Period,” Delaney said.
”Our policy is to try cases in the courtroom rather than media,” Delaney said.
Stonebarger’s declaration is part of a lawsuit filed by attorneys Peter Martin and Jeffrey Schwartz on behalf of Barbara Sage and her late husband Charles Sage against the city of Arcata and Sgt. Brian Hoffman. The suit alleges police officers conducted an unlawful search of their Zehndner Avenue home in 2011. Stonebarger alerted the attorneys to the alleged quotas after he left the department.
A motion for summary judgment hearing requested by the city was supposed to be held on Tuesday, but the date was vacated, Martin said. He said the case will likely proceed to trial at the end of 2014.
”One of our big issues in the case is that we want to establish that they need to respect the Compassionate Use Act,” Martin said. “If they don’t have any evidence that someone is violating the Compassionate Use Act, they can’t do a search of somebody’s house.”
According to Martin, the Sages had a legal marijuana grow under Proposition 215 — California’s medical marijuana law — that was raided by Arcata police searching for marijuana.
The lawsuit further alleges that officers, acting on an unlawful warrant, used excessive force and didn’t make their intentions clear while looking for evidence of illegal marijuana cultivation that was never found.
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.