Tag Archives: police corruption

police corruption

Douglas B.Chanco

Victim Arrested for DUI After Officer Crashes into Her Car

It may come as a surprise, but these type of incidents do occur more often than they appear in the news. One night in February 2013, a Wisconsin deputy officer rolled past a stop sign and crashed into 25 year old Tanya Weyker’s car, breaking her neck in 4 places. “It was a miracle I wasn’t paralyzed,” Weyker remarked. Even before the authorities arrived at the scene, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Quiles blamed Weyker for the accident claiming that she was drunk.

The officers questioned her and noted that her speech was slurred and her eyes were red and glassy. Of course her eyes were red and glassy —she had been crying from the pain of her injuries. Even though she was too injured to blow into a breathalyzer, they arrested her for DUI on FIVE charges!

tanyaThe only pretense the officers had to treat her as a suspected drunk driver, was Quiles false statement. Drunk driving defense expert Andrew Mishlove said “If Deputy Quiles hadn’t essentially blamed the accident on her,” Mishlove argues,” they never would’ve drawn her blood. They never would’ve arrested her.” After all, Quiles was the one who rolled at the stop sign and crashed into her car with such speed that she suffered fractures. In his official report, Quiles wrote that he made a complete stop at the stop sign and also looked both ways before continuing. He also wrote that he never saw the headlights on Weyker’s Toyota Camry, despite the fact that her lights always switched on automatically when the vehicle started. Quiles only suffered minor injuries at the time.

Later, however, he did file for permanent disability which is still pending, and he has not worked since the accident. Look at the time line of this case: Feb 2013- Tanya Weyker is severely injured by Officer Quiles and arrested for DUI Two days after the crash- Sheriff’s office obtained the surveillance video that showed Quiles was responsible for the crash. One month after the crash- Weyker’s blood test comes back negative for alcohol in her blood Five months after the crash- Weyker’s Chemical tests prove that she did not have any drugs in her body Five months after the crash- The District Attorney’s office declined to file charges against Weyker and Deputy Quiles had admitted that he was at fault. But no one informed Weyker of all this and she was left in the dark. Ten months after the crash- Sheriff’s Office interviewed Deputy Quiles who admitted that he “rolled” past the stop sign. Today (15 months later) – Weyker is still waiting for the County to pay her medical bills which could top a million dollars, but state law puts a cap of $250,000 on claims against government agencies. She has filed a separate complaint against the deputy who arrested her which could develop into a civil rights lawsuit against the County, for which there is no dollar limit on damages. Hats off to Tanya for fighting this all the way to court. Weyker has always been a fighter. At the age of 3, she was diagnosed with cancer. Multiple radiation treatments caused her spine to curve. Doctors attached metal rods to her backbone. Despite all this, she went through school and obtained a college degree. And she was a safe driver—without ever having a speeding ticket. Read the article here http://fox6now.com/2014/05/01/sober-driver-arrested-for-owi-when-deputy-crashes-into-her/ If you or someone you know was wrongfully charged with a DUI in Georgia, get a professional attorney to fight your case. Call The Law Offices of Douglas B. Chanco Today! 1-855-9-ATL-DUI

Douglas B.Chanco

Do Police Officers Work on Commission?

Law enforcement is supposed to be about keeping the public safe, not about lining pockets.

The recent reports from the Atlanta Police Department are very disturbing.

APD email says traffic money to fund future pay raises

ATLANTA —

Channel 2 Action News has obtained an email sent to Atlanta police that says traffic ticket money will fund future pay raises.

An Atlanta police source told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri there are concerns that linking pay raises to tickets creates an indirect quota system, but the Mayor’s Office and the author of the email insist there’s no push to write more tickets.

The email from police union President Ken Allen explains future police pay raises will be funded through traffic tickets and court revenue. It comes on the heels of the passage of the city’s budget.

Read more

Tying financial incentives to law enforcement will naturally create a push to write more tickets- not because its the right thing to do but because they want more money.  It creates an ulterior motive and a dangerous precedent.

Many people have spoken out in opposition to this and the people of Atlanta should not take this lying down.  This needs to be remedied.  There needs to be a difference between police officers and used car salesmen.

Douglas B.Chanco

Police Corruption is Nothing New

Last week we learned that 10 metro police officers have been charged in connection to helping to protect a drug trafficking ring.  We were appalled, but not surprised.

Whenever you give people power, with a severe lack of oversight your have created a petri dish for corruption.  Corruption in police departments is not limited to officers helping criminals.  One of the most common forms of police corruption which almost no one talks about is police lying.

It happens all too often.  They “embellish” the facts on a police report and some flat out lie.  Attorney McShane of Pennsylvania recently wrote a great post about police officers lying under oath in response to an article in The New York Times  which highlights this point.  Police performance has increasingly become incentive based and people lie to get incentives.  It’s part of human nature.  It’s like when you ask 6th graders if they did their whole science fair project by themselves.

Police lie.  The problem is that juries and judges believe them.  That is why you should find a defense attorney who will uncover the truth and call out their lies and hold them accountable in court.

Georgia Police Officer Faslifies Readings in DUI Cases

Recent revelations that a Georgia police officer falsified readings in DUI cases has once again called into question the credibility of members of the police.  This is especially troubling in DUI cases where often times the bulk of the evidence is subjective and relies on the assessment of the police officer as to whether or not the driver was impaired.  It’s a judgment call and even veteran police  officers are known to sometimes “take liberties” with the truth.

Charged with an Atlanta DUI?  Make sure your case is reviewed by a qualified Atlanta DUI lawyer.

Charged with an Atlanta DUI? Make sure your case is reviewed by a qualified Atlanta DUI lawyer.

DUI cases in jeopardy after Richmond County deputy admits falsifying readings

The forced resignation of a deputy assigned to the DUI task force could affect the prosecution of hundreds of cases, according to those in the legal community.

Erik Norman faced mandatory resignation from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 19 after a prosecutor reported that Norman told her he had falsified readings from a hand-held alcohol-testing device.

Norman told the department’s internal affairs division that he had done it only “once or twice” but couldn’t recall exactly which cases were involved.

This is yet another reason why you should not immediately plead guilty without a careful examination of the evidence and testimony against you.  DUI cases are very complex and there are set procedures that the police need to follow in order to have their evidence considered as valid.  As a former Fulton County Prosecutor, Attorney Doug Chanco has been involved with DUI cases in Atlanta for many years and knows both sided of the law and effectively uses that knowledge in the defense of his clients.

For a free detailed consultation, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI.

Police Mix up Names, Innocent Woman Spends 53 Days in Jail

Sloppy police work can have some really dangerous and damaging results.  Recently, Atlanta police arrested the wrong woman and she ended up spending 53 days in jail because of their error:

Atlanta Police make mistakes that land innocent people in jail.

Atlanta Police make mistakes that land innocent people in jail.

Atlanta woman wrongly imprisoned for 53 days because of name mix-up

An Atlanta woman says she was mistakenly imprisoned for 53 days because police confused her for someone else with the same first name.

Teresa Culpepper says she called police to report that her truck had been stolen in August. But when they showed up at her home, they arrested her for aggravated assault committed by another Teresa.

“All she has is the same first name. The only descriptions that match are ‘Teresa’ and ‘black female,'” Culpepper’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant told The Lookout. Culpepper, who is 47, didn’t have the same address, birth date, height, or weight as the Teresa who was supposed to be arrested.

It really is a shame that innocent, law-abiding citizens have to suffer such humiliation and trauma because of the sloppiness and laziness of our police.  The police are entrusted to protect our rights and our liberty and then they turn out results like this?  This is why you need to contact a qualified defense attorney as soon as you can to help clarify your case and prove your innocence.

If you are in th Atlanta area, please call 1-855-9-ATL-DUI for a free, detailed consultation about your case.

Woman Forced to Give Labor While Shackled by the Police

A woman screams out in pain as she goes into labor.  She begs the sheriff to release one hand from the shackles but he coldly refuses.  This could only happen in a third-world country oppressed dictatorship, right? Wrong! This happens to a number of women right here in The United States.

Their crime: being undocumented illegal immigrants:

Undocumented Women Forced To Give Birth While Shackled And In Police Custody

“When I was in bed, I was begging the sheriff, ‘Please let me free — at least one hand,’ and he said, no, he didn’t want to,” Juana Villegas said in an interview with a local Nashville television station. She was describing the experience of being shackled to her hospital bed as she went into labor. Villegas gave birth in the sheriff’s custody, after she was stopped by local police while driving without a valid license.

To me this isn’t an immigration question at all; it is a question of basic human rights.  She wasn’t a violent criminal. she wasn’t a threat to flee.  All she was asking for was to be treated like a human. But the police, the upholders of the law, could not bring themselves to such a level of humanity.  If this is not “cruel and unusual punishment” then please tell me what is?

 

 

But I thought the Cops were the Good Guys

When we were kids, we were taught to always trust and believe police officers. We were taught that the police were the good guys.  They were noble, brave upholders of justice who were there to protect the public against crime.  Fast forward to adulthood and you realize that those stereotypes were a naive fallacy.

Police credibility plays a large role in DUI and criminal cases. If you feel the police have wronged you contact Attorney Chanco in Atlanta

Police credibility plays a large role in DUI and criminal cases. If you feel the police have wronged you contact Attorney Chanco in Atlanta

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I’m not passing judgment on every police officer because there are a number of very good and professional cops who act in a moral and upright manner.  However, after working closely with the police in my capacity as a Fulton County Prosecutor as well as confronting them in trials as an Atlanta criminal defense attorney,  I have come to realize that the “noble sheriff” is a unique person and has overall become dying breed.

Take for example the ticket-fixing scandal in New York City.  Investigators uncovered widespread corruption involving dozens of officers who reportedly took bribes and other favors in exchange for reducing or eliminating the charges on traffic tickets.  Corrupt acts like this throw a blanket of doubt over these officers and brings into question their credibility.  Their decisions, arrests and testimonies are all tainted because of these unlawful acts.

Officer credibility is particularly sensitive issue when it comes to DUI cases because most of the time, the testimony of the officer is the main or only piece of evidence to prove that the driver was impaired.  Police corruption is a very serious issue that deserves our attention and concern because it rips apart the very fabric of trust that serves as the basis of the relationship between the police and the community they are commissioned to serve.  One of the worst crimes is blatantly charging innocent people with crimes and robbing them of their dignity, liberty and freedom, all for the pursuit of personal gain (raises, overtime, awards).

Stop the Execution of Innocent People

One of the main criticisms of capital punishment is that innocent people are put to death.  Out of the 270+ exonerations secured by the Innocence Project, many of the falsely accused had been serving on death row only to have their innocence proven through DNA testing.  It is clear that the system is broken and innocent people are dying because of this.

Stop the Execution of Troy Davis

Stop the Execution of Troy Davis

This brings us to the case of Troy Davis.  Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail based largely on eye-witness testimony.  Out of the nine people who identified Davis, seven of them have recanted their testimony.  One of the two remaining witnesses, Sylvester Coles is widely believed to be the real killer.  Many of these witnesses have cited police coercion as the reason they implicated Davis.

In addition to the dubious witness testimony no physical evidence has been found to link Davis to the crime.  When taking all of this into account, there is clearly reasonable doubt over whether or not Davis committed this crime.  Despite the large clouds of doubt shadowing over this case, Troy Davis was unjustly put to death on September 21, 2011.

As Amnesty International states:

The U.S. justice system was shaken to its core as Georgia executed a person who may well be innocent. Killing a man under this enormous cloud of doubt is horrific and amounts to a catastrophic failure of the justice system. While many courts examined this case, the march to the death chamber only slowed, but never stopped. Justice may be blind; but in this case, the justice system was blind to the facts.

This case really brings capital punishment into question.  While few will mourn the execution of murders whose heinous crimes were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, I find it hard to accept the way many have shrugged off the execution of an innocent man.  I, like many others, have been really moved by this case and vow to fight even harder for the rights of the clients I represent.

To learn more about this case and what you can do, please visit Amnesty International’s Coverage of the Troy Davis case.

A Call For Transparency in Atlanta Law Enforcement

Atlanta Police Departments Have Their Own Slush Funds?

It’s called civil asset forfeiture and under the law, Georgia law enforcement agencies are allowed to take and spend seized money or property which is believed to have been obtained illegally. For example, officers may seize sizable amounts of cash in a drug raid and keep that for their department. The problem is, very few law Georgia enforcement agencies are reporting these funds as required by law. According to a recent report, the Fulton County Police and Sheriff’s departments, and the Atlanta Police Department, were among those agencies not reporting; and these are the agencies sued by Institute for Justice on behalf of five Fulton County taxpayers.

For criminal defense and DUI attorneys like myself, this comes as no surprise.  The concept of policing for a profit has been around for quite some time.  Basically what happens is law enforcement agencies focus more on those crimes that earn them the most money.  Take DUI for example.  The more DUI arrest departments make, the more they are praised by politicians and lobbyists and the more they earn in the form of grants to go along with what they earn from fines.  Between the fines and court required costs, DUI is  really a cash cow for many law enforcement agencies in Georgia.

According to this report:

These funds are often used for less than noble purposes, such as tickets for football games, and one sheriff purchasing a $90,000 Dodge Viper and a $79,000 boat. Another local police chief used 10 vehicles obtained through civil forfeiture for personal use.

This is outrageous and a vile abuse of the law and what it means to be a police officer.  What we learned in grade school about the police being our friends and about them protecting us is really a fairytale.  Unfortunately, there are corrupt police officers who abuse the law and may wrongfully arrest people for their own gain.  Understanding this helps to explain the all too familiar cycle of once a citizen admits to having consumed one drink, they have started down the road to being arrested for a DUI.

The many competing interests that exist is the reason why criminal defense attorneys play such an important role in society, to protect you from unlawful prosecution.