Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Another Young Police Officer's Life is Destroyed

Here we go again. A young white police officer, Ray Tensing, is charged with murder, for just attempting to do his job. What did he do wrong? Well, discharging his weapon when the citizen he stopped was attempting to flee; he panicked when he thought he was being dragged with the car.

The citizen, Samuel DuBose, a black male, had been arrested and charged seventy-five times in the last twenty years. He is a lawbreaker, a drug user, a drug dealer, an irresponsible man who fathered 13 or more children with various women, none of which he married. But, hey, none of this matters as far as the traffic stop goes...well, yes, it actually does because the cop who stopped him, while not knowing his record, knows suspicious behavior when he sees it. It is not a matter of race but of recognizing behaviors.

First, he sees a vehicle without a front license plate. He stops the vehicle because it might be a) stolen or b) the driver is squirrelly or c) both. He stops the vehicle and asks Dubose about the front license plate. Dubose claims it is in his glove compartment but fails to produce it. Asked for his driver's license, he fails to produce it. When asked if it is his car, DuBose lies and says it is his which the officer knows is not true because he already ran it and it is owned by a female. Asked about a bottle Tensing sees on the floor, he hands the officer a bottle of liquor with questionable content. Okay. So, Officer Tensing asks about the license again, asks Dubose if he has a valid license. Dubose says, yes, but doesn't give him one and suggests the officer go run him in the system. Now, the officer is no dummy. He smells a rat. The rat was wanting the officer to go back to his car because he was planning to flee. He knew the officer was going to find that he was not allowed to drive (and he may have had warrants out on him as well) and he was going to be arrested again. The officer figured out this was what was in the cards so he wanted to get the man out of the car and away from the key and ignition. If he allowed the man to drive off, he knew he would then have to chase him which is always a dangerous situation for civilians. An innocent person could get run over by the speeding vehicles. All the talk about this man doing nothing violent is meaningless. The officer had no idea if the man was violent or not; he just knew that the man was lying to him and there may well be a serious reason for it. If he had gone back to his vehicle and the man sped off (perhaps with a stolen vehicle and under the influence of alchohol or drugs) and ran over two children crossing the street, the officer would be getting all the blame, now wouldn't he?

So, the officer tried to get the man out of the car. He resisted and attempted to drive off with the officer entangled in the car. The officer, having pulled his gun out because he could not be sure the man was not armed and dangerous, pulled the trigger, either accidentally, or in a panic, or to stop the vehicle. Things happen quickly in these situations and there is little time to think, just react. Clearly, the officer did not intend to kill Dubose and one can see he is pretty much shocked over the incident. He thought he was going to be run over and he pulled the trigger. The claim by the prosecutor that the car was just slowly rolling away is something one says AFTER the fact; you trying being the cop when you feel the car go into drive and see how long you want to take to think about how fast the vehicle is moving and if you are going to be seriously injured or not. The fact is, Dubose stepped on the accelerator while the police officer was partially inside the car and THAT is a threat to the life of the officer. The officer was being assaulted and he reacted in self-defense.

The video shows what happened but it is just amazing how many people are claiming Tensing purposely killed Dubose. This young officer has a stellar record and was polite when he approached the car. No officer wants to shoot anyone on duty; not only do officers  (excluding a rare psycho) not want to take anyone's life but the whole incident can jeopardize one's own life and family. The claim that Tensing committed a premeditated homicide is garbage and, for that matter, so are the charges against him and the zeal to convict him by a very politically motivated prosecutor. I feel damned sorry for Tensing because he may pay with his life for an accidental shooting provoked by the deceased.

Samuel DuBose wasn't killed because he was black man. Ray Tensing didn't pull the trigger because he was an privileged white officer. DuBose made a bad move and Tensing reacted.

I am at the point where I don't even think I can recommend anyone join the police force. It is one thing to put your life on the line against criminals FOR the community, but to put your life on the line for ungrateful citizens is another.

When we end up with the criminals running totally amok in our communities, we only have ourselves to blame for situation.

FYI: Due to the high numbers of ad hominem attacks calling me a racist and other slurs, I would like to clarify something whether it will cause people to behave more politely or rationally or not.

Yes, I am white but I am the mother of two bi-racial children and one black son (all adults now). I live in a majority black town and a majority black county.

I am pro good law enforcement., but I am anti bad law enforcement. I have spoken up many times publicly when I have seen police corruption even though I have and do work with and train law enforcement.

I am anti law breaking. Lawbreakers should be treated fairly within the bounds of the law but they are responsible for any illegal actions that bring harm to the community and to law enforcement. Law breakers are a scourge on the community and without proper policing they will do more damage. If we keep up this war on cops claiming racism in cases where none exists or painting law enforcement with a wide brush of hatred, fewer good people will join the police force and fewer police will be willing to interact with lawbreakers because it will be too risky for their careers and lives.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Why I Haven't Gotten a Ticket in Four Decades

There has been much discussion over Sandra Blands reaction to being stopped for a traffic infraction and what she could have or should have done. I would like to share my tips for success with traffic stops of my own.

First of all, I haven't been stopped in the last decade because I finally learned a simply rule: stop breaking the law. Yeah, what a concept, eh? Like stop speeding and stop doing California stops and actually use those signals when you change lanes and turn corners. But, I haven't always been so stellar on the road; I liked to drive fast and having been a driving instructor, a delivery driver (which requires fast driving and skidding u-turns to make money), and a PI following people,, I kind of drove like an Indy 500 driver. Mind you, I have been accident free all my adult life because I also did follow the rule of very defensive driving, always expecting the other driver is not going to yield, is drunk, half asleep, yelling at the kids in the back seat, texting, or just zoning out. So, I drove a little fast but quite safely.

Now, to my traffic stops. I will list three I remember:

I was stopped for running four stop signs in a row. 

Me: Did I run a stop sign?
Cop: You ran four, lady!
Me: Ooooh....well, when you have a good thing going....
Cop: ::shaking head:: What's got you in so big a rush?
Me: I was late to the movie at the plaza...I HATE missing the beginning!
Cop: ::hands me warning:: Well, next time, leave earlier!"
Me: I will do that, Sir, thank you.

Speeding on Assateague Island (where you aren't supposed to go over ten or fifteen miles per hour because of the wild horses).

Cop: Do you realize you were going 20 miles over the speed limit?
Me: Oh, well, I can't deny that is probably true. I had a chocolate attack and, well, it was just calling me from the 7-Eleven!
Cop:: ::laughing:: Well, slow down, will you?
Me: Yes, Sir, I will try to control myself.

Going 90 miles an hour on a Wisconsin highway.

Enraged Cop: Why didn't you stop? I have been chasing you for miles!
Me: Stop? Sorry!I didn't see you!
Still Enraged Cop: Didn't you see those people pulling over in front of you?
Me: Oh! I thought they were just getting out of my way!
Cop Now Shaking Head: License, please.
Me: Hmmm....I think it is in the trunk....that's where my purse is. Can I go get it?
Cop, Still Shaking Head: Go get it and come back to my squad car.
Cop goes back to his vehicle and gets in.
I go to my trunk and toss stuff around until I find my purse and the license. I look back at him and triumphantly hold up the license.
Cop waves me back to the passenger side of the vehicle and I get in the squad car.
Me: I found it! Sorry it took so long. I am driving out to Minnesota from Washington DC and I have been on the road for too many hours.
Cop: Do you know you were going 90?
Me: know, I wasn't really paying attention. I think I was zoning out. The roads here are so straight and wide, I think I just was flying along, not paying any mind. ::sigh::
Cop: Well, okay, I am just giving you a warning, but, slow down, will you?
Me: Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!

If you notice in all cases, I fully cooperated with the police officer, I never denied what I did, I never told him he was wrong for stopping me, I kept my hands in sight and I was calm and cooperative. And, in spite of clearly breaking the law, the police officers just gave me warnings. This is what Sandra Bland would have gotten once he determined she was okay to be behind the wheel.

When stopped, cooperate. Even if the cop is an ass, cooperate. Be friendly and nonthreatening. Have your license and registration in sight in your hands and you hands on the wheel BEFORE he arrives at your door. If it is night, turn on the inside light. That way, when he approaches the vehicle, he isn't so worried about being shot. An uncooperative person with moving hands means that they may suddenly pull a weapon out and shoot the officer in the face. Sandra Bland's lack of cooperation and moving hand with a cigarette in it, meant that the officer couldn't be sure what she might do next. This is why everything escalated even to the point of threatening her with the taser; if she kept moving, she might suddenly come up with a gun and the officer would be in trouble. Police officers are always wary that a simple traffic stop might actually be an encounter with a carjacker or a drug runner or someone very dangerous with a warrant out on them.

So, next time you are stopped, stay calm, follow the simple rules above, and you won't end up in a jail cell.

And, of course, there is this classic, hilarious bit from Chris Rock on How Not to Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police!

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How the Sandra Bland Incident has Gone Off the Rails

I wasn't going to comment on the Sandra Bland incident because I know what I will say will get a lot of people pissed off and, really, I am tired of arguing over incidents that really have nothing to do with race in spite of the fact everyone is all up in arms about racism being the instigator of whatever happened.

Take the death of Freddie Gray. A local drug dealer gets arrested for like the twenty-first time (and this means he has probably been stopped twice as many times and not been arrested), resists arrests, and ends up with a freak accident taking his life. The six officers didn't do anything unusual, they were just bringing in a lawbreaker who always causes the police trouble when he gets caught dealing poison to kids in the community and now the six police officers have had their lives ruined and may end up serving time for doing their job. Baltimore broke out in riots over #blacklivesmatter when this lowlife drug dealer didn't give a damn about black lives and the officers who were required to arrest him weren't doing anything terrible to black citizens because half of them are black citizens themselves. A whole lot of foolishness with the country coming out - black and white - to make a local thug a hero. Makes me sick.

Okay, so now we have Sandra Bland. Here is a woman who has had a number of run-ins with cops and a bunch of issues with driving. She clearly has some mental issues and was all hyped up about #blacklivesmatter and was fixing for a fight if an opportunity come up.

And it did. The Texas cop saw her blow a stop sign and u-turned to follow her. He then saw her change lanes without a signal, so he pulled her over. Now, let me tell you why he did that and why he didn't bother to mention the failure to stop at a stop sign. He wasn't really trying to ticket her; he was attempting to determine if there was something going on with the person driving the vehicle. I doubt he even had a clue the driver was black or a female; he just saw a driver acting questionably and he pulled over the vehicle. Then he went up to the car and saw it was a female and he was pleasant and she wasn't. He went back to his squad car and ran her...whether he saw there were issues with her, I don't know. He went back and she continued to act unpleasantly. He began to wonder if there was something else going on, so he was extending his interaction with her so he could see if there was was any illegal activity going on that he should pay attention to; alcohol, drugs, etc.

Sandra Bland continued acting suspiciously and so he asked to her step out of the car and she refused to comply and then got more and more defiant. Yes, the cop became you know how frustrating it is to be a cop and have to deal with mouthy criminals, people spitting on you, trying to bite you...and, sometimes, trying to kill is nerve-racking. Could the police officer have done a better job handling Sandra Bland? Sure...I guess it wasn't his best day, but Sandra Bland instigated the incident and it was her fault she ended up in jail.

Now, we have a woman who can't seem to get bail. Family and friends aren't rushing to her aid. Is this because they have had issues with her behavior before and were fed up and ignoring her calls? Have they had to deal with her erratic and belligerent outbursts in the past? Yes, after her death, we hear how perfect a woman she was but it is not at all unusual for a family to only want to speak well of a loved one who is gone.

Then we have Sandra Bland's suicide . Yes, suicide (or an accident while staging a suicide in a bid for attention) . No question that she herself put her neck in the noose. The woman had attempted suicide in the past and she appears to have been a cutter which indicates she has some serious emotional issues. Her fellow jail-mate says she was distraught and crying and freaking out. The autopsy report comes back with no indications of any sign of trauma that would indicate homicide. The videos show no one entering her cell to kill her. No one had a good reason to do Sandra Bland in. One slightly obnoxious black woman is hardly a motive for murder. If you think the police and jailers haven't run into many like her, you live in a fantasy world. And if you think that mug shot of her is after she died, you need to stop trying to make her death into a homicide.

The type of hanging Sandra Bland did is very easy to accomplish. That she would suddenly just say "the hell with it" is not uncommon with depressed and emotionally unstable people. They can seem perfectly happy and positive and then kill themselves thirty minutes later. It is not rare for families of suicide victims to refuse to believe their loved ones would kill themselves and claim they were murdered. In this respect, Sandra Bland's family was no different.

#Blacklivesmatter, yes, they do but so do white lives, police lives, all of our lives. I have no problem with a fight for justice where there is injustice but I am sick of the flames of racism being fanned where no racism has occurred. Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland were not killed by racist cops. But Sandra Bland may have been killed by the firestorm of anger and protests which caused her to lose perspective on a simple traffic stop. Perhaps if she hadn't been up in arms about police doing in black citizens, she may have realized she committed a traffic offense and was stopped just like we all get stopped when we break the law. Only difference is, most of know we just have to sit there quietly, hope for a warning, and if we end up with a ticket, go to court and deal with it or just pay up.

#Blacklivesmatter and since they do, let's continue to analyze and fight for what makes #Blacklivesbetter....and let's stop the stupidity.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

July 28, 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

12 Angry Men, Bill Cosby, and the Civilian Jury System

Today two things happened: I watched the 1957 drama 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda and I read about the civil court case of Bill Cosby. In the movie and in real life, I saw the same thing: ignoring the totality of evidence in favor of emotions and hurried conclusions.

In 12 Angry Men, the jury is deciding the fate of a young man who is being prosecuted for stabbing his father to death. The case is pretty much a slam dunk. There are two eyewitnesses to the murder, the father has been stabbed with the exact kind of knife the son bought a day before, they had just had a fight, and the young man claimed that after the fight he went to see a double feature at the theater, neither movie which he could remember and no one saw him there. He claimed the knife fell through a hole in his pocket on the way to the theater. According to one of the jurors, the case was not fought well by the young man's attorney and so he took it upon himself to change the mind of the other eleven jurors that voted for guilt.

The entirety of the movie is spent with Fonda acting more like Jose Baez than a fellow juror manipulating the others to think more about the case, offering alternative theories to what might have happened like the woman who saw the boy stab his father may not have had her glasses on (but it was not determined if she really needed glasses or what her vision without them would have been), the man who heard the young man say "I'll kill you!" might have been making it up as a train going by at that time might have drowned out anything anyone said ("might" because they never had proof that depending on the walls of the building and how sound carried, he might have been able to hear voices just fine). The boy might have forgotten the films in the trauma of finding out about his father's murder.....and so on. While these are certainly interesting points to bring up and explore, what happened in the movie was each juror changed his verdict just because one piece of evidence was made a bit murky. Emotions ran wild during the discussion and the quick turnarounds showed how little the totality of the evidence was being considered. Just a few hours after entering the jury room to deliberate, eleven men changed their minds and voted "not guilty" along with Fonda, likely letting a killer back out into society.

Now, we have the Bill Cosby brouhaha. Today there is information that he admitted during a civil case to giving quaaludes in the 70s to women he might like to have sex with. Many have gone nuts with this claiming this proves that Cosby is a rapist just like those women said he was. But, they ignore that in the actual civil case, he does not admit to giving women quaaludes without their knowledge and the woman it is said the case is about admits to accepting the drugs willingly.

To date, there is NO proof that Bill Cosby raped anyone. There is pretty good proof he is not so moral and a sleaze as are a number of men in Hollywood - I know because I had been offered candy dishes with a variety of drugs in them and I refused to swallow any. I also refused to sleep with producers or actors to get work, but I know quite a number of women (and men) who did. I saw them take drugs and I saw them cuddle up to men they thought could give them a break in the acting world and I saw them go with them into the back room.

I am not saying that Cosby didn't rape any women and I am not saying these women are lying and I am not saying no woman has ever been given drugs without her knowledge and woken up to find a man raping her. I am simply saying, that if we are going to decide if someone is guilty or innocent, we ought to base our determinations on evidence, not emotions.

This is why the jury system fails. Untrained people often do not understand the evidence or even what evidence is, they often do not understand what the totality of evidence means (and it means that when you put all the evidence together there is not reasonable doubt that the person is guilty; it does not mean that you pick out one piece of evidence, find one very improbable but possible theory to explain it differently and ignore all the other evidence), and they often allow emotions and subjectivity to color their conclusions.

Is There a Serial Killer Out There in Ohio?

Recently, six women around Chillicothe, Ohio have either gone missing or been found dead: most were drug addicts and involved in prostitution. The families believe because so many women have had something disturbing happen to them (besides drugs and prostitution), there is a serial killer taking them down and the police are ignoring this possibility because the women's lifestyles are not so palatable to many. In other words, if these six women were college students, the police would be out in force trying to catch a serial killer.

Not at all true. Here is what really happens when a possible serial predator is on the loose: police either don't recognize the crimes as serial crimes or they don't want to excite the media, and, therefore, the public which, in turn, puts a huge amount of pressure on them to solve a very difficult to solve crime.

The truth is, most serial homicides go unrecognized as part of a series, regardless of whether the women are drug users, prostitutes, or churchwomen. Most of the time, serial killers take a long sabbatical between crimes and so the crimes are considered one-off crimes and not part of a series. I have fought for a long time to encourage law enforcement to not wait for a DNA connection between murders or for the bodies to pile up in the same place before they consider the possibility that a serial killer is on the loose.

Here is a simple example: A woman is found strangled in her apartment. She is white and around age fifty. Her fiancé immediately becomes a suspect and because the police ignore strong evidence of a stranger homicide, the crime is never considered a possible serial homicide. Turns out, a guy who visited her condo doing work at the complex had contact with her an was later convicted of another similar crime of rape and strangulation of a black teen. However, to this day, the man is not considered a serial killer because the two crimes have never officially been linked together.

Another example: a woman goes jogging and is found raped and strangled and thrown into a river. However, the public is never told there is a serial killer at large because, since this homicide has not yet been connected to any other, it is not considered a serial killer. I object to this analysis because IF this murder was not committed by a man the woman knew who then staged it as a serial murder, then it was INDEED a serial murder even if you haven't found the other murders the serial killer has committed or is going to commit in the future. Since this woman was new in the town and had no boyfriend or husband, the crime should have been labeled a serial homicide and investigated as such.

So, what we have here are two white women, one a librarian and one an intern at a governmental facility - neither on drugs or involved in prostitution - both receiving little media attention and both not being considered victims of a serial killer.

Now, we go to Ohio where six women have had a bad year. Four women are dead and two are missing. They live in relatively close proximity and some even know each other. The police are denying there is proof a serial killer has offed these women and their families and the public are not up in arms claiming that there is CLEARLY a serial killer and the police don't care because the women are prostitutes and drug addicts.

Not so. It is actually true that police are often MORE willing to admit a serial killer when prostitutes and drug users are involved BECAUSE of their lifestyles; in other words, the "regular citizens" aren't all that worried for their safety and won't cause so much of a stink. Also, it is a bit easier for them to surmise that a john might possibly be killing these women because he has contact with them. It is easier to put together a list of suspects when known johns might be involved than when joggers get killed in the middle of the woods and the police have no clue who could have done it.

But, the police in Ohio have not yet stated that there IS a serial killer in the community. Why? Is it because, as it often is, they don't want the pressure to solve this difficult crime or because they don't care about the women? I can honestly say I think they are having problems connecting the crimes, even proving that they ARE crimes. Unlike the Long Island Serial Killer victims, these women haven't been proven to be raped or physically assaulted nor have their bodies all ended up wrapped in burlap on the side of the same road. Two are missing and no one knows if they are dead or have just relocated (as sometimes happens with drug users and prostitutes in spite of the families who claim they would never have left they children). The others are victims of varying circumstances which could be anything from suicide to overdose to overdose with someone moving their bodies so that they aren't connected with the drugs that did the woman in to possibly a drug deal gone bad to a bad boyfriend or bad pimp or a serial killer. It is possible there IS a serial killer but he is only responsible for one or two of the deaths of these women and not the others.

Until the police can even figure out what happened to these women in each circumstance, they have a difficult investigation to deal with. Hopefully, they WILL treat these deaths as POSSIBLE serial homicides and, therefore, do all the best investigating and interviewing they can to be sure they cover this ground and not find out, too late, that there indeed was a serial killer involved in  some of these deaths.

However, I concur with the police at this point as I cannot say, for sure, that a serial killer is operating in Ohio, at least not in this set of crimes. In reality, as I write these words, there are serial killers are operating in ALL major cities in the US and the public is not aware of this. Serial homicides are the least solved of all murder cases of all because most are stranger homicides, the cases are rarely linked due to the time in between killings or the distance between locations (sometimes, they may be in different jurisdictions; killers know law enforcement in different districts rarely cooperate with each other), that the victims are dissimilar in looks, and simply because they are not labeled serial homicides. So, if you look back through the news in your area, you will see there are a number of women raped and murdered right down the road whose cases have never been solved and, this means, there is a serial killer living in your area right now, not just possibly in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Now that the media has opened the door to the possibility that there is a serial killer active in this one area of the country, everyone is jumping on board to "find similarities" that, quite frankly, may not be  indicative of a serial killer. Suddenly, we will see people saying the women looked alike, or there is a triangle connecting the murder locations, or there is a symbol at more than one location that is similar, etc., etc. What happens once the idea is introduced that there is a serial killer is that people forget to focus on the evidence and start coming up with numerous theories that have nothing to do with the actual facts of the cases.

What we need is levelheaded thinking - in the law enforcement agency, in the community, and in the media. Look at the facts and don't veer from them. And, hopefully, then, the proper investigative avenues can be pursued without wasting a whole lot of time and resources going the wrong direction.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

July 7, 2015