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  1. #1
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    Question Police Providing Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Florida


    Hi, I'm a witness in an upcoming trial in Jacksonville, have worked 20+ years for the federal government, and I have a few questions...


    A neighbor of mine that I don't really know that well, got into a fight with a friend that had came over his house. Police evidently knew him from him having some kind of past, talked to him at his door for a couple minutes, and literally pulled him out of his house and slammed him on the ground arresting him. He was definitely getting mouthy with them, was intoxicated, and saying a lot of profanity, but certainly don't think that enables them the authority to pull him out of his house. What's more is that they charge him with battery on law enforcement officers and the only way any officers were even touched by him is by one officer reaching into his doorway and pulling him into other officers while he was throwing him to the ground. This happened so fast, but it was in plain sight of several other people as well.

    They then take him over towards the car, with one officer leading the way. The one officer turns around and slams him backwards that results in him cracking his head open. They then throw him in the back of the car. I've had to go to his attorney's office and submit my statements to all this. They said he was not injured before being put in the car, but photos actually show that blood is on the exterior of the car. Now I find out that they say that he injured himself in the back of the car by hitting his head on the seat or window, but pictures of the scene actually show that blood is on the exterior of the car. Again, they say that he was not injured in any way before being put in the car. Doesn't that prove that he didn't do that to himself and was injured before being put in the car?

    Also, everyone who was actually a witness to this event was left out of the reports, but myself and several other neighbors witnessed this as I was out in my front yard watering my lawn when they showed up and my other neighbors were out front when the police pulled up as they were having a birthday party out front. Every witness was left out of the reports though.

    So:

    (1) The one police officer literally pulled him out of his front door into other officers legs, and charge him with two battery on law enforcement officers. Is that legal?

    (2) They slammed him on the ground in the street, said he was not injured in any way before being put in the car, and that he did that to himself in the back of the car, but there's clearly blood on the exterior of the car. Doesn't that prove they're lying, assaulted this individual, and falsified reports?

    (3) All the witnesses that actually saw this take place were left out of the police reports, but all are going to testify. Is that normal, or just when they're trying to cover their butts?!


    Now don't get me wrong. I definitely respect police officers and the government in general as I'm a federal employee, but I do feel that I have a duty to actually tell the truth about what I saw. I don't talk to my neighbor really but word travels around my community. I know he went to jail, bonded out, was formally charged and apparently he's worried that he's going to be getting 10 years in prison for an arrest an reports that were fabricated. He hasn't even been to pretrial yet, but what do you think will happen with this case, and I am right for testifying regardless if my neighbor has a criminal past or not, right? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    Of course you are right to accurately testify to what you saw. If all witnesses are going to testify, it may go badly for the police officers, and it should.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    We first need to see what the police actually wrote in their reports before any conclusions can be reached.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    Quote Quoting tj51
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    (1) The one police officer literally pulled him out of his front door into other officers legs, and charge him with two battery on law enforcement officers. Is that legal?
    Maybe, or maybe not. It all depends on what actually happened in that doorway (or more precisely, what the officer(s) perceived happened). IF everything happened exactly as you perceived, then it sounds like it was a bit abusive and an unwarranted charge. However, you admit that you viewed this from a distance (I presume from across the street). How clearly could you really see into that doorway and how closely were you watching? Could your view have been at least partially blocked by the officer(s) standing at the doorway? Could you see straight into the doorway or was your view at an angle? Might you have missed something like your neighbor throwing a quick punch, shove, grab, or spit at the officer(s)?

    Quote Quoting tj51
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    (2) They slammed him on the ground in the street, said he was not injured in any way before being put in the car, and that he did that to himself in the back of the car, but there's clearly blood on the exterior of the car. Doesn't that prove they're lying, assaulted this individual, and falsified reports?
    Again, maybe and maybe not. Did you actually see any blood or obvious injury after they "slammed him on the ground" but before when he entered the car? Who took the photos you refer to and when were they taken - were they taken right then (before the cops drove away to take your neighbor to jail) or after he had already been booked? If after, isn't it just as likely that the blood got on the outside of the car as your neighbor was being taken OUT of the car is when he was going in? It is actually not at all unheard of for an arrestee to deliberately slam their head against the cage in the patrol car with the specific intent to create false "evidence" of excessive force by the police.

    Quote Quoting tj51
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    (3) All the witnesses that actually saw this take place were left out of the police reports, but all are going to testify. Is that normal, or just when they're trying to cover their butts?!
    The police would normally only canvas for witnesses and take their statements if the police thought their testimony would help identify a suspect or otherwise be needed in court. If an officer gets assaulted and immediately takes his/her assaulter into custody, he or she would have no reason to believe that witnesses from across the street would do anything to bolster the officer's own first person observation of the incident. So, yes, it would be perfectly normal in some cases (with no reason to suspect nefarious intent) for the police to not bother to identify and list other potential witnesses in the report. When an officer stops someone for running a stop sign, do they need to also stop every other passing driver to list them in the report as a witness?

    Of course, if the cop(s) were trying to cover up their own wrongdoing, then they would also not want contradictory witness statements included in the report. However, obviously, that works both ways. You say that your neighbor was drunk, had just had a physical fight with a "friend" at his residence, and it appeared that the cops were familiar with him (presumably from prior incidents the neighbor had been involved in - implying a history of illegal behavior). Isn't it conceivable that this man, drunk, already in a violent or at least angry and aggressive state of mind, and (by your own admission) preemptively and actively hostile to the responding officers, might have actually done what he is accused of - assaulted a cop? If he had done so, wouldn't it be in his best interest to try to discredit the testimony of the cops with counter testimony from anyone he could find?

    With that in mind, I have to ask - did you and your neighbors all get together and say, "Wow, did you see what happened to Fred? We should report what we saw!" If so, did you and your neighbors think to contact the prosecutor's office or make a report to a supervisor at the police station?

    OR, were you and your neighbors contacted by the arrested neighbor and/or his attorney and convinced "in the interest of justice" to come testify on his behalf? If that was the case, take a minute and think about that conversation…were you told your neighbor's version of the incident and THEN asked if you could corroborate any of it? Who is really "trying to cover their butts" - the cops or your neighbor?
    Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    It was more than "a bit abusive", as you say.
    I could see very clearly in the doorway.
    I think it's irrelevant who contacted who and even 'IF' my neighbor had've contacted me asking if I saw what happened, isn't he entitled to the truth that would ultimately help his defense, being how these cops were wrong? If I saw it, I saw it. My neighbor is not my friend, but I was raised to always tell the truth, and I wouldn't lie for my Priest.

    Anyways, apparently his attorney pointed the blood out to the State Attorney this week and they dropped the case against my neighbor. His attorney says their credibility would've been shot by going to trail so that's most likely why it was dismissed.

    But I must ask, by your reply (which I do appreciate because you did take the time to reply), whose side are you automatically on? Do you think that cops do not do wrong and try to cover their butts? I watch the news, and I see cops covering their butts sometimes, but I never knew it'd be so close to home, and I'm glad that I don't have to testify because of the outlook some of my colleagues 'may' have. Don't know if you saw the beginning of my post, but I've worked for the Federal Government for more than 20 years and I don't want to say what branch because I may be able to be identified, but I did have to take an oath as well.

    Have a great day.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    Quote Quoting tj51
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    But I must ask, by your reply (which I do appreciate because you did take the time to reply), whose side are you automatically on?
    I think what he is suggesting is there are multiple sides to a story.

    Sometimes different witnesses will give different versions of what happened. Often this is based on the angle from which they viewed the incident, or limitations on what they did or did not see, or did or did not hear someone say, or did or did not know at the time. I have had five different people witness the same incident and give five conflicting versions as to what occurred. People often forget things or make mistakes in what they remember. Also, two people might see the same event but remember it differently. You may consider these differences, but just because one person’s testimony differs from that of another doesn’t mean it is deliberately false.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    Witnesses can perceive things different ways.

    I recall a time that I had to take a drunk into custody on a pier. I had him handcuffed and was standing behind him. He first arched his back and tried to head butt me, then he tried to kick me in the groin. I swept his leg out from under him and my partner and I guided him to the ground (we each had an arm and lowered him down). His friends surrounded us and started yelling they were going to come and get him from us. I kneeled over the guy with my knee hovering just over his lower back - even lightly touching it - to keep him on the ground as I drew my baton and ordered the crowd back. After help arrived, a woman came forward to say that I slammed the guy to the ground, drove my knee into his back, and then hit the guy with a baton while he was on the ground. I do not believe the woman was intentionally lying, I believe she simply misread the scene. But, from her perspective in the crowd, she likely truly believed she saw this - but it wasn't true! The defendant AND his sister corroborated my account of the events, and his sister even stated, "My brother was a dick," and then added that I showed great restraint.

    The point being that what we see is often painted by our own experiences and even expectations (our mind may fill in what we expect to see). The actions of the officers may, indeed, have been excessive under the circumstances. But, any evaluation of the use of force or a violation of the 4th Amendment requires a critical analysis of ALL the surrounding facts and the perceptions of the officers involved.

    As for the prosecutor not filing, there any number of reasons why they may not have filed, so I'd be cautious to read too much into that. Plus, it's possible they are waiting and will file later on.
    **********
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Police Proving Falsified Police Reports in Florida

    You also have no way of actually knowing what your neighbor said to the police officers in the doorway. Nothing excuses abuse, but it is possible that your neighbor said something that the officers took as threatening.

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