Express Yourself: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Thank You to Our Viewers

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Hammond Police Incident - Excessive Force vs. Video Force



If you think we are seeing a higher frequency of situations where police officers are engaged in activities that many deem excessive or crossing the line of common sense, it's probably not your imagination, from deadly incidents like in Ferguson or traffic stops like the recent one in Hammond.

However, both legal experts and law enforcement officials may agree on one thing...it's not that we have an increasing problem, but perhaps we just have increasing video of the problem that has already existed.

Most police officers are professionals, people who risk their lives to protect the rest of us and can be trusted to do the right thing.  Yet, there are police (and prosecutors and judges for that matter) who should never have the power of authority because they will misuse or abuse it.

Most citizens are also just trying to live their life without creating problems for others yet there are clearly bad people out there creating havoc and crime.

The video above from Hammond, Indiana shows a traffic stop for allegedly not wearing a seat belt.  For some reason (not explained thus far), the police not only ask the driver for identification, but the passenger as well.

Passenger says he has none because he got a ticket and says he offered to show the ticket.  Police say he refused to provide information they requested.

Note:  Lawyers representing the passenger and driver say Indiana law says police can ask a passenger for ID, but the passenger does not have to provide.

It's not clear why the police felt it necessary to break the window and use a taser on the passenger, but they claim in a report that they were concerned about safety.

Video was also taken from a police car of the incident, but police have not released that for some reason.

As technology and video becomes embedded in smartphones, clothing, glasses, watches and everything we use, these situations are going to increasingly become a matter of record.

What isn't clear is what the rules of engagement are, what are the lines that should not be crossed by police or the public and how we need to come up with a way to reduce these type of situations from happening.

Learn more on this story from the Chicago Tribune: Lawsuits, videos spark debate about Hammond police, civilian actions during traffic stop http://fw.to/OVhjlKi

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rosario DeLeon, the city of Aurora’s director of Public Properties, has been placed on suspension without pay for one month for failing to fix property standard violations in a timely manner on a property he co-owns.

While the situation is about a year old, the city on Aug. 21 set an administrative hearing for DeLeon’s rental property at 1021-1023 Pearl St., which he co-owns with his ex-wife, Elizabeth Carrizales, who also is a city employee.

At that time, Mayor Tom Weisner put DeLeon on administrative leave pending an internal investigation. With the investigation finished, city officials Tuesday publicly announced the suspension. They said it would cost DeLeon more than $10,000 in lost pay.

“As a top-level city executive, Mr. DeLeon should have promptly corrected the violations without the necessity of the administrative hearing process,” Weisner said. “His failure to do so is simply unacceptable. Although the city normally does not discuss personnel issues, I feel it is important for our citizens to be reassured that I have taken this matter seriously, especially considering Mr. DeLeon’s position and level of responsibility.”

According to city records, DeLeon failed to correct a property standards violation at the Pearl Street rental property for nearly a year after first being cited by the city’s Property Standards Division. Records show that property was cited for violations seven times in the last five years.

In August 2013, a city property inspector discovered a cracked driveway and other violations at the Pearl Street property that were not in compliance with city code. The city sent notice to DeLeon on Sept. 27, 2013, indicating the violation should be corrected by May 5, 2014.

The property was reinspected on July 7, and a notice was mailed July 18 notifying DeLeon of the continued violation and hearing date.

At the hearing, the property was found to be in compliance because work was done at the address after the July reinspection. City officials said it is common for a property owner to fix violations before the administrative hearing date.

DeLeon could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. He owns four rental properties in the city.

Jim Pilmer, director of the city’s Neighborhood Standards Division, has said he knew DeLeon’s property had been referred to administrative hearing. But Carie Anne Ergo, chief of staff, said neither Weisner nor anyone in the mayor’s office knew until Aug. 21.

Both Ergo and Weisner said DeLeon received no special treatment, and that in the end, he went through the system like any other rental property owner would.

“He corrected the property violations, though not in a timely fashion,” Ergo said. “In the final analysis, the system worked properly.”

“My administration will not tolerate anything less than the highest standards of conduct,” Weisner said. “Hopefully, this lesson is not lost on Mr. DeLeon or any other city employee who owns rental property in the City of Aurora.”

DeLeon started his career with the city in 1985 as a parking meter checker. He was promoted through the years to director of Public Property, director of Neighborhood Standards, and eventually to Chief Operation Officer, overseeing divisions that include Property Standards. He was reassigned as director of Public Properties in October 2013, managing city-owned buildings and properties and overseeing the Maintenance Services and Street Services divisions.

His salary would be about $140,750 for 2014.

When DeLeon was reassigned last October, it was partly due to a department restructuring and also to a property standards scandal last year.

In June 2013, three city of Aurora employees were placed on administrative leave for the mismanagement of a property code violation case that cited one of the Property Standards Division’s own employee, Reymundo DeLeon, who is Rosario DeLeon’s brother.

Anonymous said...

DeLeon back on the City payroll at over $150,000/year with that nice benefit package. As a taxpayer, it is reassuring to know that the City of Aurora has people of such remarkable character on its top executive team. He's such a marvelous City treasure they ought to name a street after him.

Now that he's working, time to do what he does best. There are still DeLeon family members out there that need to get on that City payroll. He and Alexandrou along with the other twits need to get at it and hire more relatives.

I've heard that the family pets need work so let's not discriminate against them. The Animal Control Department needs a dog and a cat as mascots and that'll be worth at least $20,000 in a paid consulting contract.

Anonymous said...

The police in Aurora routinely stop, question and harass people simply out for a late night stroll. I have been stopped several times in my own neighborhood when simply out to enjoy the night air. The demand to know what you are doing, demand ID and extensively question you.

I now just tell them my name and keep walking, when they ask me to stop I ask them if I am being detained and then tell them I chose to invoke my 5th amendment rights and want my attorney. They shut up then.

The ACLU needs to look at Aurora. It is becoming a police state with a dictatorial mayor and a weak kneed city council and a gutless newspaper.

Anonymous said...

9:04 = IDIOT

Anonymous said...

9:04 is rather have the police out there questioning people. May stop some crimes.

Anonymous said...

Rosario and Alex-- C'mon, with the suspension now over, get the rest of that DeLeon family on the City payroll! As overpaid executives, get to work and sustain the legacy.

Set up DeLeon Dog and Carrizales Cat with three year consulting gigs to roam Aurora encouraging pet adoption from the Animal Control Center.

The DeLeon Dancing Ducks can train migratory waterfowl while they stop in Mastodon Lake on proper social interaction with the "home birds." With Rosario's and Pilmer's proficiency in Park administration, this would be a vital public service and a welcome boost to Aurora tourism, sure to be well-received by the City Council and worthy of a generous contract.

Don't forget the rest of the family not yet sheltered by the warmth of Municipal employment. There still must be others out there with meager work skills fending for themselves alone in the cruel world. Deliver them and uphold the tradition of using the City as an employment agency.

Better get these pets and people hired fast while there's still no nepotism ordinance in Aurora. Someone with integrity might start campaigning on the screaming need to put an end to family hiring.

Anonymous said...

Pulled the plug?

Anonymous said...

Rosario and Alex-- C'mon, with the suspension now over, get the rest of that DeLeon family on the City payroll! As overpaid executives, get to work and sustain the legacy.

Set up DeLeon Dog and Carrizales Cat with three year consulting gigs to be ambassadors and roam the City encouraging pet adoption from the Animal Control Center.

The DeLeon Dancing Ducks can train migratory waterfowl on proper social interaction with the "home birds" while they winter at Mastodon Lake. With Rosario's and Pilmer's proficiency in Park administration, this would be a vital public service and a welcome boost to bird tourism in Aurora, worthy of a generous contract and sure to be well-received by the City Council.

Don't forget the rest of that family who are not yet sheltered by the warmth of Municipal employment. There must be others with meager work skills fending for themselves in the cruel world. Deliver them and uphold the tradition of using the City as an employment agency.

Better get these pets and people hired fast while there's still no nepotism ordinance in Aurora. Someone with integrity might start campaigning on the screaming need have some professional standards in place that prevent embarrassments.