Criminal get's settlement

This is a discussion on Criminal get's settlement within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This happened close to where i live. I don't know if i'm posting it in the right area ..sorry mods. This makes me sick. PERRY ...

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Thread: Criminal get's settlement

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    Member Array tapout1003's Avatar
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    Criminal get's settlement

    This happened close to where i live. I don't know if i'm posting it in the right area ..sorry mods. This makes me sick.

    PERRY TWP. A man paralyzed after being shot by police will be paid $100,000 under a settlement with the officer and the township.

    Perry officer William Watson shot Shay Neace during a drug raid in March 2003 at a house in the 1300 block of Tremont Avenue SW in Massillon.

    Neace and his mother, Michelle Neace, sued Watson, Perry Township and the city of Massillon in U.S. District Court.

    In February, the Neaces, Watson and the township reached a tentative agreement that was finalized May 9, according to a copy of the settlement obtained through state open-records law.

    Under the terms, Neace will receive two payments from the township's insurance carrier.

    Trustees voted Tuesday to pay a $2,500 insurance deductible.

    Massillon Law Director Perry Stergios refused to release documents early Wednesday with details of Massillon's settlement.

    Other city officials referred questions to Stergios, who did not return repeated calls later in the day.

    Plaintiff's attorney Dimitrios S. Pousoulides wouldn't discuss dollar amounts, but said he believes the case has changed police procedures for drug raids.

    A six-man team of Massillon and Perry police officers went to the house to arrest a man who sold drugs to an informant earlier in the evening. About 20 people were attending a party inside the home when it was raided.

    Watson encountered Neace, who was holding a gun, on the second floor. In prior court testimony, the police officer said he grabbed the gun and struggled with Neace before firing three shots.

    In court papers, Neace said he never pointed a gun at anyone. He also said he didn't know Watson was a police officer and tried to push Watson's gun away, but stepped back and put his hands up when the first shot was fired.

    Two bullets hit Neace. He was paralyzed from the chest down.

    A grand jury determined that Watson took reasonable action. In a separate case, a jury acquitted Neace of felony resisting arrest and obstructing official business.

    Perry Law Director Charles Hall declined to comment on the settlement. In the past he has said the township believes Watson acted within the law and in compliance with department policy. Neither Watson nor the township admit any wrongdoing in the settlement.
    "When you reload in low light encounters, don't put your flashlight in
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    Member Array nova83tx's Avatar
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    Sounds like Neace got what was coming to him . . . occupational hazard for drug dealers.

    I wonder what the officer was wearing during the raid though and what identification he had visibly displaying. At a party, and heard a crash downstairs and all these screams and commotion, I can see where some people may draw their gun upstairs and be on the ready.

    I wouldn't be in that type of house, so I am not very worried about this scenario, but let's say I was upstairs, had gun drawn, guy bursts into the room in full swat gear, police uniform with badge, even a police jacket . . . I am immediately dropping that weapon and complying all the way.

    But what if it was one of the Undercover guys that was involved with the case, had normal clothes on and no badge, or maybe just one of those hanging from the neck that is hard to see, he came into the room, didn't identify himself as LE and just said "drop your weapon". I would like to think I good use sound judgment and make a good call here, but how do you know it isn't a few experienced criminals robbing the house?

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Watson encountered Neace, who was holding a gun ... the police officer said he grabbed the gun and struggled with Neace before firing three shots. In court papers, Neace said he never pointed a gun at anyone.
    Hard to know with the details provided, but I'm assuming the police officers conducting the raid were all in uniform. If so, then it's hard to claim he didn't know the guy who grabbed him and grappled for the gun wasn't an officer. Uncertain whether any witnesses or video existed that refuted police testimony, but it's likely given the number of people at the house at the time of the raid.

    One could argue that $100K is a paltry sum and doesn't reflect any actual benefit to the guy. Being paralyzed is going to burn through that in short order. It's easy to view the $100K as a lawsuit-avoidance sum, rather than any real statement by the city. And, I guess that in itself says one thing fairly loudly: messing with the police when you're the target of a drug raid doesn't pay.
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    Senior Member Array Free American's Avatar
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    Be careful, just because they had a warrant for the address does NOT mean they were at the correct address. More and more I suspect these "no knock warrants" as an approved (by the courts) deviation from the Fourth Amendment. I know the cops got a tough job...but don't you think they make it MORE dangerous by busting INTO houses instead of grabbing the suspect on a simple traffic stop and searching the house AFTER it is empty?
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Maybe I missed something but I don't see any indication that the house that was raided was Neace's. He could have been one of the party guests. If he wasn't the guy they were going to arrest I can see why the Township would be a little more willing to pay. Not knowing the specific circumstances (lighting upstairs, loud music etc) He could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and thought it was a home invasion. I also notice they don't give any info regarding Neace's criminal history (if he has one). That could be a factor too.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    Maybe I missed something but I don't see any indication that the house that was raided was Neace's...He could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and thought it was a home invasion. I also notice they don't give any info regarding Neace's criminal history (if he has one). That could be a factor too.
    Thats is exactly the same thing I thought and got from reading the story.

    Hell if I'm at a house party and I see some dudes in plain clothes bust in with guns I'd very likely react the same thinking they are bandits. I could see myself fighting back as well...until I hear someone yell 'we are the police' or uniformed po-po roll in as well. I can also see a police firing on him out of anger or even as a reflexive mistake upon Neace releasing his hand/firearm immediately after the struggle.

    I would not be so quick to right this off one way or the other.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Member Array tapout1003's Avatar
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    Sorry guys forgot to include my search showed a criminal record..and he was not legally armed. He had a felony pending when this happened. Why was he armed? Isn't the first thing police do when they kick the door is announce "POLICE ...WARRANT" ?
    "When you reload in low light encounters, don't put your flashlight in
    your back pocket.. If you light yourself up, you'll look like an angel
    or the tooth fairy...and you're gonna be one of 'em pretty soon."

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    Quote Originally Posted by tapout1003 View Post
    Sorry guys forgot to include my search showed a criminal record..and he was not legally armed. He had a felony pending when this happened. Why was he armed? Isn't the first thing police do when they kick the door is announce "POLICE ...WARRANT" ?
    "God is in the details" (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) ("On restraint in Design", New York Herald Tribune, 28 Jun 1959)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tapout1003 View Post
    Sorry guys forgot to include my search showed a criminal record..and he was not legally armed. He had a felony pending when this happened. Why was he armed? Isn't the first thing police do when they kick the door is announce "POLICE ...WARRANT" ?
    No, actually, we yell "Police, warrant" before we kick in the door. And in the VAST majority of services, we don't kick in the door at all.

    I doubt this was a no-knock warrant, based on the fact that it was approved "a few hours" after the drug buy. NKs generally take more time and special circumstances to get, and no mention was made in the article one way or the other.

    I am slightly surprised that they decided to serve the warrant in the middle of a "house party" like that, unless there were some serious exigent circumstances. Twenty-odd people in a house is bad ju-ju for that kind of thing. I (of course) don't know the totality of the situation, but from my comfy Monday morning QB chair it seems that it may have been better to wait for the suspect to leave and perform a felony stop or get him at his house (or, if this was his house, wait for the party to be over). Just a few worthless 20/20 hindsight musings....
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    Member Array tapout1003's Avatar
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    I'm reading into it but I think there was a higher level "guy" in the house. That makes the timing more right to me. This guy was far from an alter boy and at a dope house party. Maybe it was a sweep op trying to gather top guys in one swoop.
    "When you reload in low light encounters, don't put your flashlight in
    your back pocket.. If you light yourself up, you'll look like an angel
    or the tooth fairy...and you're gonna be one of 'em pretty soon."

    Clint Smith

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    Member Array S.O. Interceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjm5874 View Post
    ...but don't you think they make it MORE dangerous by busting INTO houses instead of grabbing the suspect on a simple traffic stop and searching the house AFTER it is empty?

    No, I don't think taking a dangerous felon on a traffic stop is safer. And there is no such thing as a "simple" traffic stop. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. It is far safer for us and for the public to take someone down inside a house. It confines them to an area. Yes they can run throughout the house, but they are confined to a set area.

    Our #1 goal is the safety of the public, followed closely by our safety. The safest thing for the public is to take them in their home.

    On a traffic stop there is always the possibility of the suspect running in a 4,000lbs+ missile. As much as I hear about people thinking police chases are too dangerous, why would you want us to purposely arm the suspect with a vehicle and purposely set ourselves up for a pursuit? We always assume that suspects are armed, so our goal is to catch them by surprise and unarmed. If they are driving, we have no way to truly take them by suprise short of coming out of nowhere with a big truck and ramming them. And then people will scream police brutality. Plus on a traffic stop there are always going to be people around. We can't close off a road for a traffic stop.

    And then there is the matter of the different warrants. An arrest warrant is totally different than a search warrant. If a judge signs an arrest warrant that allows the suspect to be arrested first, then quite often that's the end of the investigation as far as the judge is concerned because if you've got enough to arrest, then you've got enough to finish the investigation. We have to complete an arrest warrant affidavit stating our probable cause to get an arrest warrant signed and quite often we need the search warrant to be served first in order to get enough information to justify an affidavit that supports the charges we need to file. A lot of judges won't sign a search warrant to be executed after the arrest. The search is part of the investigation. And if you serve the search warrant with the suspect at home and you find something, you simply arrest right then and there, no arrest warrant necessary.
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    Member Array tapout1003's Avatar
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    update...

    MASSILLON A man shot four years ago during a drug raid led by Massillon police will be paid $425,000 by the city's insurance.
    "When you reload in low light encounters, don't put your flashlight in
    your back pocket.. If you light yourself up, you'll look like an angel
    or the tooth fairy...and you're gonna be one of 'em pretty soon."

    Clint Smith

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    Member Array soflasmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tapout1003 View Post
    Sorry guys forgot to include my search showed a criminal record..and he was not legally armed. He had a felony pending when this happened. Why was he armed? Isn't the first thing police do when they kick the door is announce "POLICE ...WARRANT" ?
    A good portion of home invaders in South Florida where I live announce the same thing.

    No knock warrants are contrary to the constitution and common sense, especially when irresponsible LEOs burst into a house party like gang bangers would.

    I would be surprised if no one was injured or killed in a case like the one being discussed here.
    The Marshmallowist

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    Member Array soflasmg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.O. Interceptor View Post
    No, I don't think taking a dangerous felon on a traffic stop is safer. And there is no such thing as a "simple" traffic stop. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. It is far safer for us and for the public to take someone down inside a house. It confines them to an area. Yes they can run throughout the house, but they are confined to a set area.
    I'm no LEO but I've seen and heard of very effective "traffic stops".

    Some call them ambushes some call them car jackings. Depends on the venue and intent I guess.

    If LE can't figure out how to surveil a subject, take 2 vehicles and 4-6 guys and safely overwhelm and contain a subject and a subjects vehicle chop chop, then I must be missing something.

    3rd world bad guys and LE/Military do this all the time.

    No knock raids with lots o' personnel and equipment only seem to justify lots o' personnel and equipment.
    The Marshmallowist

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    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Legally this case is just fascinating (I know, I know, my family and friends tell me all the time that my line of work has warped my sense of what is and isn't interesting).

    Offhand, I'd say the city could have won a civil trial but decided it might save money (attorney fees and city employee and cop manpower hours) by paying out- it also eliminated the risk (however small) of an adverse jury verdict adding to those costs.

    I'd need a lot more information to do a really informed assessment here, though. The fact that the guy was armed is relevant - goes to the cop's state of mind.

    The fact that they guy wasn't LEGALLY armed, however, might not get to come in- depends on whether the cops knew his identity and that he couldn't have guns before entering.

    It doesn't say whether the search actually turned up any drugs or whether any drug charges got filed against anyone as a result. My guess is "no" to each question as the guy got charged with some mickey-mouse stuff instead "possession with intent to distribute"- and he skated on that.

    The fact that he skated in the criminal trial probably weighed very heavily in the City's decision to settle the case. If you lose to one jury, it's pretty hard to think you'll win in front of a second one.

    I'm also interested in the warrant. There are hoops you've got to jump through (but all good cops know them) in order to base a warrant on information from an informant. Was the warrant valid? Apparently so, or the criminal trial wouldn't have gotten started.

    I think I'll spend some of my morning trying to pull the case up on PACER and see what I can find out.
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