Courts LAPD Law Enforcement

The Pressure on Cops Not to Snitch & A $1.7 M Settlement Against the LAPD

In the February issue of Reason Magazine, Radley Balko has a worthwhile feature
about the very real pressure on police and other law enforcement officers not to be whistleblowers.

Here’s a clip:

In January 2003, [Barron] Bowling was on his way to fill a prescription when Timothy McCue, an on-duty DEA agent, tried to pass him illegally on the right side of a wide one-lane street. Bowling accelerated to prevent McCue from passing, and the two cars collided. After the collision, McCue and another agent got out of their car. McCue drew his gun, threw Bowling to the ground, and beat him to the point of inflicting brain damage. McCue later justified the violence by saying Bowling “resisted arrest” when he lifted his head from the pavement. According to witnesses, McCue threatened to kill Bowling, whom he called “white trash” and a “system-dodging inbred hillbilly.”

McCue, the DEA, and officers of the Kansas City Police Department then conspired to cover up the beating. Bowling was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and assaulting McCue with his car during the collision. He was later acquitted on those charges but convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia—a marijuana pipe police found in his car. Witness statements incriminating McCue for both the accident and the beating were lost or destroyed, as were photos of the damage McCue inflicted on Bowling’s face.

Only one of the officers at the accident scene that day had any integrity. That would be Seifert, a cop with an exemplary record. Seifert took the witness statements that implicated McCue. He documented Bowling’s injuries and testified for Bowling in his lawsuit. He actively fought the cover-up.

As Judge Robinson pointed out, Seifert was forced into early retirement because of his actions. He lost part of his pension and his retirement health insurance. He was “shunned, subjected to gossip and defamation by his police colleagues, and treated as a pariah,” Robinson said. “The way Seifert was treated was shameful.”


Joseph Cruz, the officer who, in March 2008, shot and killed an unarmed autistic man, Mohammad Usman Chaudhry, then 21, saying Chaudhry pulled a knife on him, has since been fired from the LAPD for reportedly lying in two other excessive force cases.

On Wednesday a jury evidently decided Cruz was lying in the Chaudhry case too, and awarded Chaudhry’s family $1.7 million.

The LA Times’ Joel Rubin has the story.

Here’s a clip:

Since the killing, Cruz has insisted that Chaudhry tried to attack him with a knife and that he fired his gun in self-defense. On Monday, however, after four days of testimony, the jury rejected Cruz’s account when it returned a unanimous verdict finding that the ex-officer had used excessive force and acted in “a reckless, oppressive or malicious manner” when he shot Chaudhry.

During the trial, lawyers for the Chaudhry family presented evidence aimed at putting doubt in the minds of the jurors over Cruz’s account. Testing on the knife that Cruz said Chaudhry had used, for example, found one person’s DNA profile on the handle and blade but showed that the DNA was not Chaudhry’s.

Also, after Cruz claimed he had never met Chaudhry before the shooting, a man testified that he had been present on multiple occasions when Cruz confronted Chaudhry and called him by name.

I notice the Cruz had a partner with him when he encountered and shot Chaudry. One cannot help but wonder what the partner said—or didn’t say— about the shooting.


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