Violent ‘Bacon Dispute’ at Georgia IHOP Raises Questions About Police’s Use of Force

“Reducing it to bacon is inflammatory, discriminatory and offensive,” said defense attorney Sarah Flack.

Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

Bettina Makalintal, Apr 3 2019

When local news stations picked up a story about a police altercation at a Georgia IHOP earlier this week, they wrote that a lack of bacon was to blame for the physical fight between the Marietta Police Department and local chef Renardo Lewis early Sunday morning. “Bacon Dispute At Marietta IHOP Lands Man In Jail,” wrote Patch; according to WSB-TV, Marietta police officers were called after Lewis allegedly “threatened to kill everyone inside over bacon.”

“Dispatchers advised officers that an employee from IHOP called 911 and stated a customer ‘had made threats, including gesturing like he (the suspect) had a gun,’” the Marietta PD wrote on Facebook. According to the department, Lewis’s wife had told them the issue “was not about threats, but that she needed IHOP employee names and their telephone numbers because she was upset they did not have bacon.” The department wrote that both Lewis and his wife became “more and more agitated” as the police gathered statements, and that they tried to place Lewis in handcuffs.

In the violent altercation that followed—which was caught on video and circulated on Facebook and Instagram—Lewis was allegedly “tased, punched, and kicked by up to six Marietta police officers,” 11Alive reported yesterday. According to Lewis’s attorney Sarah Flack, turning the fight into a “bacon issue” dismisses the department’s use of force.

“Marietta Police said it’s about bacon. This case has nothing to do with bacon,” Flack said in a press conference. “Reducing it to bacon is inflammatory, discriminatory and offensive.” (MUNCHIES has reached out to Flack for comment, but has not yet received a response.)

In response to the video, the Marietta PD has defended its use of force, claiming that officers were responding to a call that a customer “had made threats and motioned like he had a handgun.” The department further claimed that Lewis had attempted to strangle an officer while resisting arrest, which was why Tasers and punches were used. “While the video may seem shocking to some, we are very proud that all officers used only the force necessary to place Mr. Lewis in handcuffs,” the department added.

The Marietta PD characterized the fight as a “wrestling match,” but according to Flack, “It was a mob-style attack of five officers on one man. He never resisted.”

In a statement to WSB-TV, IHOP’s corporate office stated, “Our top priority is the safety of our guests and team members. […] The franchisee’s team quickly followed protocol and alerted authorities. We’re grateful to the police for their quick response and for keeping the guests and team members in the restaurant safe.”

Flack is pushing not only for the charges to be dropped, but also an investigation into the Marietta PD’s use of force, and an apology from IHOP. As Lewis’s wife told 11Alive, “He doesn’t even eat pork.”

Bettina Makalintal, Apr 3 2019, Vice.com, “Violent ‘Bacon Dispute’ at Georgia IHOP Raises Questions About Police’s Use of Force”,  https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/03/28/fairfield-cop-fired-for-sexual-misconduct-at-golf-course-was-called-creepy-joe/

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Police Tase 87-Year-Old Grandmother Cutting Flowers

Martha Al-Bishara.

Martha Al-Bishara. Photo: CNN

Police in Georgia are defending their use of force after tasing an 87-year-old grandmother who was cutting flowers.

Last week, elderly Syrian native Martha Al-Bishara was using a knife to slice dandelions — meant for use in a salad she often makes — in a wooded area near her house in Chatsworth, Georgia. Unbeknownst to her, it was property that belonged to the local Boys and Girls Club. Per CNN, a staff member called police to report “a lady walking on the bike trails, she has a knife and she won’t leave, and she doesn’t speak English.”

Multiple police officers arrived to find the 5-foot-2-inch grandmother, who has dementia and doesn’t speak much English. Police Chief Josh Etheridge says they pulled their guns out and that he threw his own knife on the ground in an attempt to communicate what they wanted her to do. When she didn’t understand, officers tased, handcuffed, and arrested her. Al-Bishara — who immigrated to States two decades ago and became a citizen in 2001 — has also been charged with criminal trespass and obstruction of a police officer.

“She’s seeing us, she hears what we’re saying,” Etheridge said. “She may not understand what we’re saying but we’re telling her to stop and there’s a taser pointed at her.” He elaborated to ABC News: “Lord help us if she had tried to stop the officer and held the knife in an aggressive manner, and then deadly force would have been used.”

Al-Bishara’s grandson, Timothy Douhne, told her story to ABC. “She told us she was smiling at them to tell them that she wasn’t a threat,” he explained. “She was trying to get closer to them to communicate with them, and that’s when they tased her.” Douhne also says police refused to allow family members to help interpret during the booking process.

“She’s still feeling pretty shook up,” he added. “Her body is still pretty tired. She has some symptoms, I think, of post-traumatic stress. She can’t go outside and look at the spot where it happened. She’s feeling really bad about the whole situation and really embarrassed, and has been crying on and off.”

, thecut.com, “Police Tase 87-Year-Old Grandmother Cutting Flowers”, https://www.thecut.com/2018/08/police-tase-87-year-old-grandmother-cutting-flowers.html

Cop caught on camera slamming 9yo boy to ground sparks police brutality debate (VIDEOS)

Cop caught on camera slamming 9yo boy to ground sparks police brutality debate (VIDEOS)
Harrowing footage of a US police officer slamming a nine-year-old boy to the ground has surfaced online. The shocking scenes sparked public outrage – leading police to share their own video of what went down in Athens, Georgia.

The initial video, released by Athens resident April Collins, went viral when she caught her nine-year-old cousin Eric being forced down and pinned to the ground by police when officers attended the residence to arrest the boy’s father over a domestic violence dispute. The footage, uploaded to Facebook on Sunday, caused fury within the community – but the video was not all that it seemed.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>This is the Athens Georgia, Clarke County police restraining a nine-year-old boy. The child was upset that his father was placed in the back of a patrol car and ran to see him. The child was slammed onto the hood of the police car and then onto the ground and restrained. <a href=”https://t.co/1jHUJ70ElW”>pic.twitter.com/1jHUJ70ElW</a></p>&mdash; Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TalbertSwan/status/1021595614906339328?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>July 24, 2018</a></blockquote>
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In response, police shared their own footage, which showed a frantic Eric losing his temper and launching himself at an Athens-Clarke County officer on the Friday evening. In the video, the officer can be heard screaming “stop resisting” at the boy and “back off” to his panicked family members.

April Collins’ footage, despite being removed from Facebook, is still available on Twitter. The two videos have caused outrage and debate on social media, with people both condemning the police response and questioning the boy’s behavior. Facebook user Anna Marie Bennett watched the bodycam footage and commented that she could “not see justification for the amount of force used,” adding: “this is a child.” Another Facebook user Ali Edwards pointed out that police “should have skills in helping children that are clearly distraught and emotional over the situation.”

“How hard is it to not use physical force on a 9 year old,” one Twitter user said. However, another social media user wrote that the bodycam shots painted “quite a different picture than the first short clip that was posted by the family.” One Twitter user simply said “context matters,” and others queried why the child’s family did not have him under control to begin with.

An Athens-Clarke County Police statement confirmed that Police Chief Freeman has ordered an internal affairs investigation into the matter, and the Athens-Clarke County attorney is reviewing the video footage due to juvenile involvement.

26 Jul, 2018, rt.com, “Cop caught on camera slamming 9yo boy to ground sparks police brutality debate (VIDEOS)”, https://www.rt.com/usa/434251-police-child-brutality-bodycam/

Police protected their own; now an innocent woman is dead

LEONARD PITTS JR., July 13, 2018, Miami Herald, “Police protected their own; now an innocent woman is dead”, https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article214880315.html#storylink=cpy

Defense: Badge not relevant in case of ex-DeKalb cop who shot nude vet

 

The vocation of the former DeKalb County officer charged with murdering an unarmed veteran is as irrelevant to the case as the victim’s many admirable qualities, defense co-counsel Don Samuel said Tuesday.

“This is not a police misconduct case,” Samuel said during the second and final day of a pretrial immunity hearing for Robert Olsen. Instead, this case turns on “the right of an individual to act in self-defense, whether he’s in uniform or not,” said Samuel on behalf of Olsen, who fatally shot Anthony Hill in March 2015. The 27-year-old Hill, who fought in Afghanistan, had stripped naked, a reaction to medication he was prescribed to deal with bipolar and post-traumatic stress disorders.

The state countered that Olsen couldn’t have acted in self-defense because he was the aggressor.

“The hypothetical (that Samuel) just gave — if someone in this courtroom, someone runs in and runs at them, they’re allowed to shoot and kill them?” prosecutor Lance Cross argued. “That is not the law and that can’t be where we are right now.”

The defense’s interpretation of Georgia’s self-defense laws is far too permissive, he said.

“What if they’re deaf? What if it’s a 17-year-old autistic kid?” Cross asked. “What if it’s a veteran who’s suffering from mental illness and identifies uniforms as help? What if he’s told people, ‘I need help,’ 911 is called, and when a uniform arrives he runs to it for help.”

“You can shoot and kill him, according to Mr. Samuel, according to these so-called experts,” he said. “That is wrong. That is not the law.”

It will be at least two weeks before DeKalb County Superior Court Judge J.P. Boulee rules on whether to grant Olsen immunity. That decision would result in murder charges being dropped against the 56-year-old ex-cop.

“I believed I was about to get pummeled and pounded” by Hill, Olsen testified Monday. He said he had little time (roughly 5 seconds) to act and, with the suspect closing in, he had no option but to use his firearm.

Robert Olsen and Anthony Hill (2018 COX MEDIA GROUP)

Olsen said because Hill was nude he believed Hill was suffering from excited delirium, a condition often cited when defending police accused of excessive use of force. Sufferers are said to be impervious to pain and capable of superhuman strength.

“That defense is ridiculous,” Cross said. “Think about the assumptions Officer Olsen would’ve had to make at the time. He killed someone based on a guess. That was wrong. He had no evidence for it. That’s not reasonable.”

A defense use of force expert who testified Tuesday disagreed. Citing Olsen’s “limited reaction time,” Darrell Ross, a sociology and criminal justice professor at Valdosta State, said an “intermediate weapon” such as a baton or Taser would not have provided adequate protection.

Revisiting a question the state posed throughout the two-day hearing, Ross was asked what distance does an unarmed man have to be before it’s appropriate to shoot him — 5, 6, 7 feet?

“Possibly,” Ross stated, citing self-defense.

Prosecutors criticized Ross for relying solely on Olsen’s account of the shooting. Olsen said that when Hill was approaching him, the younger man’s hands were not up in a surrender position. On Monday, witness Pedro Castillo testified that Hill’s hands were stretched out, waist-high as he approached the officer.

But in his deposition, Castillo told investigators he empathized with Olsen.

“If I was in (Olsen’s) place, I would’ve thought (Hill) would, you know, do something to me,” Castillo said. “I thought he was going to do something to the policeman.”

Former DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen (center) talks with his defense team — including co-counsel Don Samuel (right) — during a morning break in Olsen’s pretrial immunity hearing at the DeKalb County Superior Court in Decatur, Ga., on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.  (STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Samuel said his client is being victimized by Monday-morning quarterbacks who’ve placed an unfair burden on an officer “confronted with serious bodily harm.”

“It is unfair to Robert Olsen to say shooting a war hero was not justified,” Samuel said. “That shooting someone with a mental illness is not justified.

“He didn’t have the time. He wasn’t given the opportunity. He didn’t have the information ahead of time,” the defense attorney continued. “There’s no law that says you have to do that. It may be good policy.”

And then, in a dig at the DeKalb County Police Department, Samuel suggested that one hour of use-of-force training was insufficient. “Maybe they should train their officers better,” he said.

It was the testimony of a fellow officer that could prove most problematic to Olsen. Lyn Anderson, arriving as backup at the Chamblee Heights apartment complex moments after the shooting, said Monday that Olsen justified lethal force by claiming Hill had been “pounding on him.” Olsen said he did not remember that conversation.

“That makes Robert Olsen not credible,” Cross said.

Christian Boone, May 22, 2018, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Defense: Badge not relevant in case of ex-DeKalb cop who shot nude vet”, https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/defense-badge-not-relevant-case-dekalb-cop-who-shot-nude-vet/5GMRDvc0HJefNUhDyudnfK/

Toughguy Cop James Legg Likes Physically Abusing Geriatric Grandmothers, allegedly.

UPDATED: 2:13 p.m. EDT — The Georgia police officer accused of brutality against an elderly Black woman driver has quit after he was suspended, according to a new report. Alpharetta Police Officer James Legg was under investigation over the May 4 traffic stop that ended with him forcefully removing the 65-year-old grandmother from her SUV after she asked to speak with a supervisor, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Friday afternoon.

The offense of “driving while Black” recently took a turn for the worse when a 65-year-old grandmother accused of “failure to maintain lane” became the victim of police brutality during what should have been a routine traffic stop in Georgia.

Rose Campbell, who disagreed with the reason why she was pulled over on May 4, wouldn’t open her car door to sign the ticket she was issued because she said it would incriminate her for doing something she was innocent of. When she was ordered to get out of her car, she also refused.

That’s when Alpharetta Police Officer James Legg decided to take matters in his own hands, literally, by opening the door and forcefully trying to remove her from her SUV.

“All I felt was his whole body over me and I could feel the weight over me, grabbing at my belt,” Cambpell told local WSB-TV reporter Mike Petchenik.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>EXCLUSIVE: Officer suspended after traffic stop of 65-year-old grandmother in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Alpharetta?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Alpharetta</a&gt;. <a href=”https://t.co/Zm4PShhRR3″>pic.twitter.com/Zm4PShhRR3</a></p>&mdash; Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MPetchenikWSB/status/994706872769839104?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>May 10, 2018</a></blockquote>
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When she again refused to get out, Legg told her she was being arrested for disorderly conduct and called for backup — for an elderly woman who was not being combative.

Eerily reminiscent of Sandra Bland‘s arrest, the entire episode was captured on dash cam video, which showed Legg yelling curses in the face of Cambpell, who, at that point, was screaming out of apparent fear for her life.

“Hey, you’re not in charge,” Legg yelled in response to Campbell’s demand to see a supervisor. “Shut the f–k up and get out of the car!”

There were at least three officers manhandling Campbell and trying to subdue the woman, who, again, is a 65-year-old grandmother.

“Am I in a movie?  Is this a movie? I couldn’t believe it. It was surreal. I didn’t expect that in America,” Cambpell said. “I was scared. I felt like I was ganged up on.”

Legg has since been suspended for his actions, which “do not represent who we are as an organization,” Alpharetta Police Chief John Robison said in video posted to Facebook video on Thursday.

Campbell’s violent encounter with police came on the heels of multiple recent instances of racial profiling that have led to questionable confrontations of Black people for doing what non-Black people typically don’t get bothered for doing.

Those “offenses” include – but certainly are not limited to – sitting in Starbucks without buying anything while waiting for an acquaintance; asking for plastic utensils at a Waffle House; a student napping in a common area in a building on a college campus; and just being in a shopping center parking lot.

Now, sadly, we can add driving while elderly to the growing list of things police don’t like Black people doing.

May 11, 2018, “Grandmother Who Was Forcefully Removed From Her Car During A Traffic Stop Feared For Her Life”, https://newsone.com/3798359/alpharetta-police-brutality-video-grandmother-traffic-stop/

Former NFL player Desmond Marrow claims police brutality during arrest in Georgia

 

Desmond Marrow, who played briefly in the NFL, posted a video to Facebook on Thursday of his arrest by police in Georgia back in December.

The video shows Henry County police officers push a handcuffed Marrow into the back of a truck and then pick up his legs to slam him to the ground. Marrow can be heard saying, “I am not even fighting back.” He also yells, “I can’t breathe” as an officer has his hand on his neck.

In the post, Marrow says, “I Was Falsely Arrested & taken into custody in #Atlanta #Georgia #HenryCounty by the Henry County Police. I Only Had My Cell Phone in my possession & they claimed to be scared for their lives. I had No type of weapon in my possession, I was arrested for having a Gun that turned out to be my Cell Phone.”

Marrow continued, “During the arrest the police knocked my teeth out, slammed me on my head and choked me out until I was unconscious. In addition I suffered a shoulder strain and a concussion… This has affected me mentally and impacted my life in a way I can’t even humanly describe . This isn’t a cry for sympathy, I just need it to be known . . . My cry is for JUSTICE.”

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith posted on Twitter after watching the video.

“This is why there is a place for both activism and action,” Smith tweeted. “I certainly don’t have all of the facts but the video warrants a full investigation into what occurred.”

Henry County Police said in a post on social media that it “is reviewing the events surrounding the arrest of Mr. Desmond Marrow, who was arrested by Henry County Police on December 2, 2017.

“Although at the time of arrest an initial use of force review was conducted by Internal Affairs, earlier this month, Police Chief Mark Amerman ordered an Internal Affairs Investigation to be conducted. As of today, the officer involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation,” the statement continued. “The criminal case against Mr. Marrow is currently pending in the Henry County District Attorney’s Office. The Henry County Police Department takes any charges of excessive use of force very seriously and wants to assure the public that this event will be fully investigated.”

On Friday, Henry County District Attorney Darius Pattillo posted on Facebook, “The portion of the video distributed is graphic and violent, and we understand why people are disturbed by this.”

Pattillo said his office is investigating the charges against Morrow “of felony obstruction, misdemeanor reckless driving and misdemeanor aggressive driving.”

Pattilo also stated, “In addition to the criminal case, my office will conduct an investigation parallel to the Henry County Police Department’s Internal Affairs’ investigation…. We are looking at the full video of the incident captured by witnesses, as well as police dash cameras, witness statements, police reports and all other evidence.”

John Connolly, April 27, 2018, NorthJersey.com, “Former NFL player Desmond Marrow claims police brutality during arrest in Georgia”, https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/04/27/former-nfl-player-desmond-marrow-claims-police-brutality-during-arrest-georgia/560355002/

Cop Broke Innocent Shopper’s Leg over a Tomato, Filed a False Report

By Melina Delkic

An off-duty police sergeant in Atlanta, Georgia was trying to stop a shoplifter at his local Walmart one afternoon in October 2014.

The problem? He broke the man’s leg over one tomato; he made up a story to cover his tracks; and, as it turned out, he was wrong about the theft in the first place.

Former Police Sergeant Trevor King of Stockbridge, Georgia was convicted by a federal jury on Friday of using excessive force on Tyrone Carnegay, and breaking two bones in his leg with a baton. King, 49, wrote a false incident report, alleging that the shopper had assaulted him (which was not true).

Jury Convicts Former Atlanta Police Sergeant for Using Excessive Force to Break Walmart Customer’s Leg https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/jury-convicts-former-atlanta-police-sergeant-using-excessive-force-break-walmart-customer-s 

When the police officer, working off-duty as a security guard for Walmart, noticed Carnegay weigh a tomato and walk toward the store’s exit, Carnegay said he had a receipt for it, prosecutors said. Ignoring him, Carnegay struck him seven times with the baton. As Carnegay lay bleeding on the floor of the Walmart, King searched him and found the aforementioned receipt, according to the Department of Justice. However, King proceeded to make up the assault story, charging Carnegay with obstructing a shoplifting investigation and assaulting a police officer, and he took him to jail.

“It is extremely disheartening when a law enforcement officer abuses his or her authority and the public’s trust,” David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, said in a statement about the incident.

Carnegay, who now has a titanium rod in his leg, told local station WSB-TV that, after the assault, he was chained to a hospital bed in Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a ruptured artery and broken bones. Carnegay’s charges weren’t dropped until one year later.

“When he found the receipt and the money and everything,” said Carnegay, “he just stared at it like he hadn’t done nothing.”

After a July mistrial, a recently retired Atlanta Police Officer is back in federal court, charged for excessively beating a man over a tomato that wasn’t stolen. How his APD history played into this off-duty incident @wsbtv 4:55

“This defendant violated the law and his oath as a police officer when he unjustifiably beat a man with a baton, breaking the man’s leg, because he wrongly believed that the man had stolen a tomato,” Acting Attorney General John Gore, of the Civil Rights Department, wrote in a statement.

Carnegay is suing Walmart and King. King retired from the Atlanta Police Department in January of 2017, and the trial began in July of 2017.

Melina Delkic, “Police Officer Broke a Shopper’s Leg for Stealing a Tomato, Realized He Was Wrong, and Filed a False Report”, http://www.newsweek.com/police-officer-broke-shoppers-leg-over-tomato-743414

 

Officer allegedly showed up to firearms training with alcohol in system

by: Mike Petchenik Updated: Jul 7, 2017 – 7:51 PM

“FULTON COUNTY, Ga. – A Roswell police detective is serving a 30-day suspension after investigators said he showed up to a firearms training class with alcohol in his system, and records show the stresses of his job might have led to the incident.

Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik obtained Detective Zackery Kowalske’s personnel file and the internal affairs investigation into what happened.

On May 31, records show Kowalske showed up late for a firearms class at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Ga.”

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/records-show-officer-suspended-for-showing-up-to-firearms-training-with-alcohol-in-system/552910025?ecmp=wsbtv_social_twitter_sfp

Macon deputies fired after alleged sex and bribery violations

  • By JACQUELYN CARLISLE Community News Editor Jun 29, 2017
 Andrew Dixon

In recent weeks county jailor Andrew Dixon and a deputy/investigator Jason Whitt were arrested on sexual misconduct and bribery charges, respectively.

Dixon, a correctional officer in the Macon County jail, was arrested in early June after the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) was called by Macon County Sheriff Andre’ Brunson upon receiving information that Dixon possibly having unlawful sexual contact with an inmate.”

http://www.thetuskegeenews.com/news/macon-deputies-fired-after-alleged-sex-and-bribery-violations/article_8271c796-5c0e-11e7-a465-df02ee535b80.html?platform=hootsuite