Established for citizens, including our officers, to hold discussions, post news, share ideas and information intended to improve life and safety in our city and surrounding areas - - Est. Charlotte, NC

This forum is to open eyes, open minds, open records, and improve the way our justice system on all levels works in our city. Please write with information on things broken and ways to bring success to our communities.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Terrible Line-of-Duty Loss in Aiken, S.C., With Another Wounded

The Augusta Chronicle reported Tuesday the terrible loss of Master Public Safety Police Officer Scotty Richardson, 33, as he and fellow Public Safety Officer Travis Griffin conducted a traffic stop on December 20, 2011. 

Immediately after the stop, one occupant of the car opened fire, fatally wounding Officer Richardson and striking Officer Griffin in the chest.  Griffin’s bullet-proof vest saved his life, stopping the bullet that struck the vest.

These details and more, as well as a story written by Mike Rosier, a childhood friend of Officer Richardson, can be read at this story link at website. 

The Police Department released this initial statement:

Release from the Police Department regarding

Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson

It is with profound sadness I must report to the Citizens of Aiken, Master Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson 33 has succumbed to the wounds he received when shot during a traffic stop in the City of Aiken on 12/20/2011 approximately 08:28P.M.. Master PSO Richardson was married and had three young children. Master PSO Richardson was a graduate of South Aiken High and the University of South Carolina Aiken. Master PSO Richardson began his career with Aiken Public Safety on 09/27/1999 as a Cadet and worked his way to a Driver Operator position and then became a Public Safety Officer on 02/14/2005. Master PSO Richardson was a beloved husband and proud father. His constant smile was a pleasant sight at this office and to all those who knew him.

The State Law Enforcement Division has taken over the investigation into the shooting incident as standard protocol with an officer involved shooting.

A number of Law Enforcement Agencies have assisted us while we deal with our loss. We are grateful for the help from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol, North Augusta Public Safety, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken County Solicitors Office.

Also shot during the incident was Public Safety Officer Travis Griffin 28. Officer Griffin was shot in the chest and his bulletproof vest saved his life. Officer Griffin was treated and released late Tuesday evening and is with his family. Officer Griffin was also a University of South Carolina Aiken graduate and was hired by Aiken Public Safety on 11/09/2009.

The department will send another press release in Wednesday afternoon around 2P.M. with more details on MPSO Richardson’s career and accomplishments along with any funeral details we may have at the time of our release.

-- Lt. David Turno

Condolences to all of Officer Richardson’s Family, especially his beloved wife, Amelyn Sorell Richardson, his three sons, Zander, Chase and Maddox, his extended Aiken family, the Police family of Officer Richardson and in particular to Officer Griffin.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is this legal in Charlotte?

Brad J. Shannon photo, with tag line“Bad*ss bike lock award goes to this unknown officer”

see original

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ethics of Being a Cop

 “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.”

– Ayn Rand

This was the quote that led a story by writer Kelly James October 30th, 2011  concerning local corruption mixing political posts, the judicial system, and the police department in Quartzite, Arizona, and a group known as the Quartzite 10 who decided to stand up to the corruption.  Read the whole story, but here are some basics:

Proper ethics dictate that government employees avoid political involvement while on duty and policy of the Quartzsite, AZ PD reflects the same.

“Internally we’ve been battling with the chief for quite some time” Ponce explains. “We’re not supposed to get involved in politics in any way”.

Unfortunately, this didn’t stop Police Chief Jeff Gilbert from using his officers to target his political enemies. He claimed it was their responsibility because such people were trying to destroy the town.

Ponce and his officers were explicitly ordered to harass these particular individuals and either cite or arrest them for any and all possible infractions, but much to Gilbert’s dissatisfaction, they refused.

“I feel like I have that obligation…and the day I retire I want to be proud of my service.”

And what a shame it is when the good are punished for being the good. Sgt. Ponce and the Quartzsite 10 are now fighting not only corruption but suspension and possible termination from their positions.

“Look where we’re at. We decided we were going to do this because it’s the right thing, not because we wanted anything… as you know, our careers are on the line, and that’s the sad part. But we decided that we have to do this because it is the right thing to do. Not only is Jennifer affected, but the funny thing is the way (the police chief) treats the citizens is exactly the way he treats us, and that’s not right. You can’t treat people that way. We wanted everyone to know that, hey, he’s doing the same thing to us; we aren’t going to stand for it and neither should you.”

“In an advanced case of moral agnosticism, everyone from the governor to the attorney general are acting as though it is not their place to intercede. Perhaps they think if they ignore it, it will simply cease to exist.”

The writer goes on to explain some of the details about local people, politics, the fights going on between good law-abiding people, and police officers on the job who seem to be called in by their chief and local political leaders to harass and commit illegal acts against others who are interfering with their plans to make more money.

The officer talked about one sergeant receiving orders from the City Council to harass opponents, and how another sergeant in the town “so happens to be married to the town magistrate who for all intents and purposes serves as town judge, even trying misdemeanor and litigation cases with no actual background in law.”  The writer goes on to say, “The corruption in Quartzsite is seemingly endless with completely unethical individuals playing positions of power like musical chairs.”  But the officer she is talking with is resolved and tells her:

“I’m not going to play these games, I’m out here trying to make a difference. I’m not going to order my officers to do things that I don’t believe are constitutional or lawful….This guy [the police chief] is tarnishing my honor and the entire reason I became a cop”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"First 48" Tragedy in Detroit UPDATE

If you read the full post regarding filming of “The First 48” here in Charlotte (including the link to the detailed story contained inside), you also read about the tragic results of the death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit.  She was killed when a flash-bang device was thrown through her window, followed by gunfire from a police officer’s gun.  The lawsuit filed by her family’s attorney states that police did not even have a warrant at that time for the resident of the adjoining address, whom they were seeking, and that the commando-style raid was not necessary to arrest that person anyway. 

The allegation is that it was done for effect to make “good t.v.”

It’s tragic all around, but mostly for this innocent child.  Certainly nobody involved could feel okay about what has taken place.

Producers of the show have fought release of the tape of the show for years; it seems that someone from the show took it immediately and showed it to an attorney for the child’s family, though.

Here is an update on the case from AOL news.

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 5th 2011 6:50AM

A Detroit police officer is facing charges stemming from the shooting death of a child during a raid being filmed for A&E reality show 'The First 48.'

AP reports that Joseph Weekley, a member of the city's Special Response Team, was indicted Tuesday on involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless discharge of a firearm causing the death of seven year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

The TV show's principal photographer, Allison Howard, was also indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. She and Weekley have both pleaded not guilty.

The indictments come after a year-long investigation into the death of Aiyana, who was shot during a night-time raid on her home. Police officials have said that Weekley's gun accidentally discharged after he was bumped or jostled by the girl's grandmother.

Police raided the home looking for Aiyana's aunt's fiancé, Chauncey Owens, who was the suspect in a shooting death. (He has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.) Charges have also been filed against Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, who's expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and perjury in a court proceeding.

Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman, said his client "knows he was acting as a police officer in a dangerous mission." If convicted, Weekley could face 15 years behind bars.

According to the AP, Howard is accused of lying to prosecutors about showing or giving video footage of the raid to "third parties." The indictment did not specify who the third party was, but in a press conference last year an attorney for Aiyana's family told reporters they'd seen a few minutes of the video footage.

'The First 48' follows homicide detectives in various U.S. police departments as they work the critical first 48 hours of a murder investigation. The show's
website says it gives viewers "unprecedented access to crime scenes, interrogations and forensic processing."

Aiyana's death led Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to ban reality TV crews from tagging along with city police. He also admonished then-Police Chief Warren Evans for not telling him that he'd permitted TV cameras to be present during raids.

In a statement yesterday, Bing said "Our condolences remain with all affected by this tragedy. We must use this difficult moment to continue bringing our community and police department together."

CMPD remains silent on whether they will renew “First 48” in Charlotte, per contract option.  FOP (Fraternal Order of Police for those who don’t know) have not commented yet whether they were consulted before Chief Rodney Monroe signed a contract giving away their rights, both on and off duty, in perpetuity. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Friday's Promotion Ceremony Ought to be Interesting

Time has finally come for a promotion ceremony in what has to be the longest, strangest delay in announcement-to-ceremony in CMPD history (note: this is more of a guess than fact-checked).

Bigger note to reporters: you should attend, because the lead-in to Friday is filled with some very fired-up controversy from officers about promotions, transfers, raises, lawsuits, and what seems to be the loss of all the private records of the entire police force from the Training Center, location of the cermony.  The Police Department and several other agencies have so far refused to confirm this to multiple sources, but it seems an immediate denial would have been in order if it weren't true. 

Word is that all the missing files were discovered by an audit, but there have been requests by the Brass to all police officers to re-fingerprint themselves voluntarily... So these missing records are not a surprise to everyone.  What else is missing in this massive security hole?  Was it intentional or negligent or some other root cause that caused these records to be (allegedly) unaccounted for?  Finding out exactly when and who knew will be very interesting.  Finding out if it relates to recent promotions will be interesting. 

The CMPD paid at least $10,000 for an outside agency to get their CALEA certification recently. 

CALEA stands for Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.   If you look up the CALEA certification folks, the first item that comes up says "As evidenced by many other recent initiatives, CALEA is working smarter to ensure its services complement the needs of agencies participating in CALEA Accreditation programming. To this end, CALEA remains the Gold Standard in Public Safety, and we invite you to visit the general conference webpage at," so they are definitely interested in promoting their conferences.  When the city-wide citizen input meeting was canceled by snow earlier this year, they were not interested enough to stick around for an extra day and take in information, or to re-schedule.  Wonder if they looked around the Training Center for records? has the announcement of all the promotions released and also some other moves being made.  Check out the list here.  But you'll want to read the "CMPD Shake Up" story, which explains the list--but check out the comments.

Pattern and practice.  Wow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Read the City's position on A&E Show "First 48" and Then Weigh In

See this extensive article regarding the "reality television" show filmed last year here in Charlotte, and in several other cities across the United States.  Then please use the comments to share how you feel about the issues. 

Did Charlotte's officers know ahead of filming what they were signing up for? What about after? Did the Fraternal Order of Police have any review or input? Is this show part of the reason the CMPD liability insurance premiums were increased by 25% this year, for cause?

Does this affect the way police to their jobs, for the sake of the show?  Is there pressure for a "good show."
What about hours or 'special consultants' to the show... there are just so many questions about a contract that was apparently signed and approved by no one but Police Chief Rodney Monroe, and according to his attorney, he did it all with only one e-mail to the troops when it was done, congratulating them on a "Great Arrest" featured on an episode.  Very Strange.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heat is on Chief Monroe

Four shootings in 24 hours here in Charlotte, NC -- that we know about at this time.  Several dead.  Gang units are on the scene.  It seems that Rodney Monroe's statements after the Memorial Day riots and murder explaining that our Bloods and Crips were good roommates here and got along just fine were possibly delusional?  Or should we say overly-optimistic?  Maybe it was a clownish attempt at PR to shut down the appearance of, well, the truth.

It's hard to be sure when the majority of local network media doesn't seem to hold up a strong light of accountability or do the research that would yield answers and action.  That's what I hope you will all join in doing. 

We deserve a better government, police department, justice system, and home life for ourselves and our neighbors.  Our taxes are paying for this mess.  Demand accountability and call for explanations when necessary.  If you know now of stories that need to be researched and told, please write here.  Help our good officers.  Help yourselves.

The heat is on in Charlotte, and it's on Police Chief Rodney Monroe.  As the spotlight heads his way again and he gets within range of a microphone, lets ask him how this has happened.  Four more shooting victims...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Justice in Charlotte?

Criminal Justice in Charlotte...  have you experienced "the system" directly?

Behind a badge?  Behind the bench?  Behind bars?

Many in Charlotte are not paying attention to crime until it becomes necessary in their lives, often with tragic consequences of different degree.  Too often, network news coverage focuses on sensationally tragic stories with morbid glee unil there is nothing left to talk about, while they ignore the root causes of the problems in our community.

Where were the questions for Mayor Foxx at the end of May following the Memorial Day gang-related riots and murder on our streets when he stood up and stated that there was no fighting here?   Where were the questions for Police Chief Rodney Monroe--or his boss, City Manager Curt Walton--when Monroe stated that "at no time, at NO time, did we ever lost control" after he said they had undertaken careful strategic planning and had adequate staffing levels?  He also made a presentation to all of City Council claiming there had not been a riot, presenting in writing a definition of riot that did not match CMPD's definition, not to mention common sense.  Monroe had told press that Charlotte's gangs are not bad--our gangs get along well with each other (GOOD NEWS!).

The truth is that a man was murdered.
There was gunfire on our streets downtown.
Downtown should not be the only area of concern, even if it will be the site of DNC2012.

On the Fourth of July, how much extra money was spent to flood the streets with police officers trying to ensure the real state of affairs in Charlotte and Rodney Monroe's Police Department was not exposed?  Politicians and Public Affairs personnel claimed victory with the assistance of community volunteers.  While the volunteers' efforts were certainly positive and commendable, any honest assessment would assign victory to Nature and Numbers: the largely peaceful July 4th was mostly due to wild lightning storms just before festivities were scheduled to begin, combined with a huge additional police presence and the relatively minute number of people ambling down the sidewalks. 

Attendence was radically down.  What was the Police OT budget for that night?  How many businesses lost money because they had to close for the night?  And how much did all the specialized police equipment cost?  What about peace of mind?

The PR machine is tearing this town apart instead of addressing the problems.   What do you think?  What do you know?