CPD Lawsuit, Mr. James And 2 Juveniles

Thursday, June 17, 2021

As unpopular as I know this opinion will be, here it is for what it's worth.  For anyone interested in the minutiae of law enforcement the preferred response in policy of both CPD and the Sheriff's Office is to call the parents of juveniles unless the infraction is severe, like felony severe. Put yourself in the officer's shoes and decide, based on what you have been told by radio, witnesses etc., who is posing the greater threat. Speeding juveniles or a person brandishing a weapon and chasing after another vehicle? 

Almost crashing into my car is not a crash, is subjective and was not witnessed by the officer.  If there was damage to Mr. James' car then that would have to be taken into consideration.  No damage was noted in the arrest report.  What a reasonable person might infer is that if the females were speeding then it would also be probable that Mr. James was speeding to keep up with them.  Especially since the females claimed to have seen Mr. James brandish a weapon.

While the crash into the residence is regrettable it may also be understandable how someone could crash if they thought they were being chased by a person wielding a pistol.  If it were me I would want to know how close behind me they were, if they were going to overtake me and possibly force me off the road or if I had gotten away from them.  

What could be argued is the officer should have gotten a warrant to search the car if consent was not given by Mr. James, but it could also be argued that exigent circumstances existed and there was a fear that evidence could be tampered with or destroyed if an immediate search was not conducted.  A weapon, a pistol that could be held in one hand, was discovered. So as a reasonable person, what would your common sense be telling you?

There is one other principle in law that may or may not apply. The rule of inevitable discovery. Which basically means that given a little more time and investigation the weapon would have been legally discovered without consent or a warrant. Maybe Mr. Warren would like to shine some illumination upon this.

If I had been the judge that read the affidavit I would have signed the arrest warrant for two aggravated assaults. Then let the preliminary court appearance or the grand jury decide if it needed to go farther or be thrown out. 

Too bad the officer chose to resign, but look at what was going on last May and his decision is understandable.

This is a sad, divided country.  And it is true that abuses by law enforcement have happened and sometimes still do. What is just as troubling is if a white person makes a complaint or allegation against a person of color they subject themselves to being called a racist and ridiculed or worse.

The real problem with cops, robbers and a lot of others is the desire to work the system to their advantage for all that can be had. You see it with black and white cops, white and black crooks and numerous people in between.

Police procedure comes from basically three things.  Mere suspicion, which is the gut feeling from training or experience that something is not quite right with a given situation, that allows the officer to observe a person for further clues either from a distance or as an example walking down the street and saying hi to a citizen. If the citizen ignores you then there is nothing the officer can do.  Sure an officer can keep a person in sight just like anybody going about their business, but the officer can't make them talk and unless something more substantial is observed he is wasting his time.

Reasonable suspicion, this is where an officer can see and articulate something tangible.  A person with a visible wound standing next to a broken window, a burglar alarm and a person walking hastily away. The officer then can approach and detain until it is discovered if the facts he observes can be explained away as coincidence or if he has enough information for the third, probable cause.

Probable cause is facts that would lead a reasonable person (me and you, John Q. Public) to believe that a crime has been or is about to be committed.  That's pretty much it in a nutshell.  

Speaking of being worried about the future, as we as a country continue with this trend, on this path of distrust, selfishness and the desire to get all we can regardless of who we hurt, where will this lead when we no longer trust the police at all, or our elected officials?

I can tell you from a law enforcement perspective that when local law enforcement is unable to function for whatever reason the Justice Department of the United States comes in, takes over and runs the city in question however they want to.  Tanks on the streets, helicopter gunships in the sky, all of it is possible when chaos reigns.

Now some people already think it would be a good idea to federalize all law enforcement, every cop a fed and every law a federal statute. My question to those folks is when the feds have all the power and rule by decree and fear like some are accusing local law enforcement of, who will we turn to for help then? 

Say a prayer for us tonight and also try to understand why some of us nuts still believe in an unfettered 2nd amendment and more importantly the whole Constitution of the United States.

Mathew Hopkins         

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