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July 2018
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Cop Costs Taxpayers $60,000 And One (1) Drug Bust After Lying About Almost Everything Related To The Traffic Stop

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Oh my. What fun it must have been for this officer to find out his lies were contradicted by his partner's body camera footage. Thanks to these lies, Officer Joshua Bates of the San Jose Police Department is now former officer Josh Bates, target of a federal civil rights lawsuit. But his troubles began during the traffic stop, culminating in this (first) judicial vindication of Cosme Grijalva.

Saying he was “troubled” by the testimony, Superior Court Judge Eric Geffon threw out the drug case in October against former suspect Cosme Grijalva, after the prosecution dismissed the charges. The City Council on Tuesday agreed to settle a civil-rights lawsuit filed by attorney Jaime Leaños on Gijalva’s behalf for $59,900.
No charges and a cash settlement. That's the way things break when officers lie. And lie Bates did. Several timesFirst, he trapped himself in a lie during cross examination. While seeking to obtain consent to search Grijalva's car, Bates used his phone to contact a translator to help bridge the language gap. Pushed for details on this mysterious translator -- one that had changed sexes during the course of his testimony -- Bates finally settled on calling the translator "she." Then he admitted it wasn't a department translator, but rather someone named Lilia... who just happened to be Bates' wife.
Body-camera video recorded by Bates’ partner, Ian Hawkley, who is also named in the suit, shows Bates telling his wife over the phone: “So what you’re going to do is you’re going to tell this person that I know there is methamphetamine in the car — crystal, and you are going to tell him that I’m going to get a dog who’s going to come over and is going to sniff and tear their car apart.”
Hawkley's video came as a surprise to Bates. Not a complete surprise, though. At one point in the recording, Hawkley let Bates know he was "in the red" (recording) and had been "for awhile." By that point, too much damage had been done. Bates had already called his wife to translate his threat for Grijalva and was engaged in a warrantless search of Grijalva's van without his consent. Bates did not activate his camera, violating PD policy. He also admitted to trying to get Hawkley to deactivate his body cam.Bates apparently had an ongoing aversion to complying with the Constitution and PD policies.
There is evidence suggesting this might not have been a one-time instance for Bates. According to court documents filed by Singh, the week before Bates’ encounter with Grijalva, he and another officer stopped and arrested a bicyclist on suspicion of alleged marijuana possession. Body-worn camera footage reportedly showed that Bates omitted mentioning a pat-down search in his police report on the incident.Other video from that case also shows Bates having a conversation with another officer about how to come up with probable cause to make an enforcement stop when there is nothing readily apparent.
Bates also fudged the paperwork in this case. He tried to align his testimony with his bogus police reports but got tripped up by his own faulty memory and his partner's recording of the incident. And that has netted him two lawsuits and an early exit from his law enforcement career. Bates resigned shortly after this disastrous courtroom performance. With any luck, he'll be employed by another law enforcement agency before too long. You know how it is with bad hombres like this. They get sprung on technicalities and are back on the streets (in uniform) within days or weeks of an unceremonious sacking/resignation-tendering.The only thing in this story that makes it an anomaly is the resignation. Other than that, it's par for the course. Cops lie. And the reason they do it so frequently is that they almost always get away with it. Cameras are changing that… slowly. But they're only slightly better than nothing at all at this point. The sad thing is, we'll just have to take what we can get because law enforcement agencies clearly aren't interested in upsetting the apple cart and letting all these "bad apples" roll into the nearest gutter. Change comes from within and law enforcement has proven itself highly resistant to change.

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posted at: 12:18am on 21-Jul-2018
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Wondering How Suburban Express Is Doing In Lawsuit Brought By Illinois Attorney General? Really Fucking Bad!

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Back in May, we wrote about Suburban Express, the comically awful bussing company that works the University of Illinois-Champaign to Chicago circuit and is owned by Dennis Toeppen, being sued by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Why it was sued by the state will require you going through the backlinks above, but can more succinctly be expressed in the following math equation:

(legal threats against a redditor for negative reviews) x 2 +(doxxing complaining customers) + (lawsuits filed against customers for complaining) - (rescinding those lawsuits) + (refiling those same lawsuits again) + (Toeppen being arrested for harassing his critics) + (filing more lawsuits) x (sending out a racist email advertisement promising that you won't see Chinese people on its busses) = well, hello there, federal court
Okay, fine, so the equation wasn't all that succinct. Still, the answer to why Madigan sued is essentially because Surburban Express likely violated all kinds of laws in doing the above. Madigan's suit alleged a dizzying array of violations of civil rights and consumer protection laws, as well as Illinois law on civil rights. Toeppen stands accused of harassment of customers for leaving the company negative reviews, arbitrary refusal of service based on not liking customers for a variety of reasons including racial reasons, and having internal and external communications, such as the advertisement that ridicules Asians and Jews, because every bigot entree basically just comes with a Jewish piece of parsley. In all, Madigan included 182 pages of exhibits backing up her accusations.So, how's it going?Well, pretty fucking bad for Toeppen and Suburban Express, it turns out. Ken White lays out a summary of what's occurred with the suit thus far.
It's not looking promising for Toeppen or Suburban Express in court. They agreed to a Temporary Restraining Order barring them from publishing the personal identifying information of customers, required them to take down the personal identifying information they already published, revise their lawsuits to redact gratuitously filed personal identifying information, and stop retaliating against customers for online reviews. Toeppen and Suburban Express agreed to have that order extended a few times, and now the AG wants to make it into a more long-term injunction. Meanwhile the attorney for Suburban Express and Toeppen wants to quit, citing strategic disputes and non-payment. Toeppen is falling back on the game-winning strategy of semi-coherent attacks on the media.
That last bit takes the form of a bizarre attack on The News Gazette. After reporting on the case, the News Gazette received a brief and vague bit of pushback directly from Toeppen as to its reporting about Toeppen's lawyer looking to exit the case. As per usual with Toeppen, the interaction was long on bombast and short on anything worthwhile.
After this article was published, Toeppen emailed The News-Gazette to criticize its reporting."Don't try to report on things you do not understand and are unwilling to research," he wrote. "Your reporting on this matter has been idiotic in the extreme."A News-Gazette email asking for clarification bounced back with an error saying the sender's email address had been rejected.
"You're wrong, but I won't explain how, and I'll block your email address right after I send this!" is about as useless an interaction as I can think of. None of that changes the News Gazette's reporting about Toeppen's attorney seeking to no longer represent Suburban Express over both strategic issues and a lack of payment from Toeppen, not to mention that Suburban Express' insurance company is asking the court to declare that it doesn't have to pay for the lawsuit, essentially because the policy doesn't cover Toeppen being an asshole.
The Hartford has denied coverage, Long said, and Manufacturers Alliance Insurance Company denied coverage and filed a lawsuit against Toeppen and Allerton Charter Coach, which operates as a contractor for Suburban Express.It's seeking a decision from the court on whether it correctly denied coverage, arguing that policies Allerton and Toeppen have exclude coverage when the damages result from intentional misconduct, as Madigan's lawsuit alleges.
Now, look, I know it might seem like I'm actively rooting against Toeppen and Suburban Express and for Madigan to at the very least make an example of them, but it only looks that way because it's absolutely true and I have no interest in pretending otherwise. The level of harassment and vitriol Toeppen has displayed, all because people don't want him to run his business as though this was Montgomery circa 1955.

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posted at: 12:18am on 21-Jul-2018
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