Total Pageviews

Monday, October 14, 2019

Lick It or Ticket

Sounds vulgar, doesn't it?  That is because it is.  Our previous Chief of Police for Falkville is said to have used these words when stopping young ladies still in school.  Our children were not safe then and we are not comfortable that they are safe now.  We know that Sullivan is no longer the SRO for our school system and that is a blessing.

We know that the previous chief was allowed by the mayor and city council to continue his extra curriculum activities for several years.  He was never stopped because folks around here are afraid of the people running the town, or just can't believe that any of this could happen in our little town.  Falkville is a small town where the mayor brags of his romps with ALL the women of Falkville when he was a law enforcement officer.  A mayor who wanted some patsy they could control.  A man we know as mini-me who worked only under the previous chief and was involved in raids set up by wreaking havoc at a home and when the homeowners called for assistance it was "let the raid" begin. At least 40 percent of Falkville's population lives under the poverty level.  We are made up of a large number of folks who can't help themselves when they are involved in a raid such as that we just discussed.  Many teenage girls do not want to face their parents once faced with a ticket and intimidation went a long way on the force.  Unless Falkville weeds out the corrupt stagnant council and mayor along with their police chief that they just rewarded with another 90-day probationary period we can expect history to continue to repeat it's self.

The city council and the mayor rewarded bad behavior by giving the previous chief appx thousands of dollars for his bad behavior.  The young women who were preyed upon should file suit against the City of Falkville for their endorsement of illegal and corrupt behavior.

But wait!  What if the previous chief did not discriminate against youth?  Keep reading.  Have you ever heard of racking?  Keep reading.  It is disgusting.   Though Mr. Pipes may not have won his case the court believes there may be other remedies.

Naw! These good ole boys having fun.  Though the court ruled against Mr. Pipes move forward to what we now know.   For years incidents have been ignored.

PIPES v. CITY OF FALKVILLE

Case No. 2:12-cv-02885-MHH.

JADY PIPES, Plaintiff, v. THE CITY OF FALKVILLE, ALABAMA, Defendant.
United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Jady Pipes, Plaintiff, represented by Mary-Ellen Bates , BATES HETZEL PC.
The City of Falkville Alabama, Defendant, represented by Allison B Chandler , F & B LAW FIRM PC, Michael L Fees , F & B LAW FIRM PC & Stacy L Moon , F & B LAW FIRM PC.


MEMORANDUM OPINION

On September 30, 2015, Magistrate Judge Staci Cornelius entered a report and recommendation concerning defendant City of Falkville, Alabama's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 40). In her report, Judge Cornelius recommended that the Court enter judgment as a matter of law in favor of the City on plaintiff Jady Pipes's Title VII retaliation claim, and she recommended that the Court deny the City's motion for summary judgment on Mr. Pipes's Title VII sexual harassment claim. (Doc. 40, p. 27). The City filed objections to the report and recommendation. (Doc. 41). Mr. Pipes filed a response to the City's objections. (Doc. 43). Because the parties did not consent to dispositive jurisdiction by a magistrate judge, the Clerk reassigned this action to the undersigned to review Judge Cornelius's report and the City's objections. (Doc. 42). For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts Judge Cornelius's recommendation concerning Mr. Pipes's retaliation claim. The Court will grant judgment as a matter of law in favor of the City on Mr. Pipes's sexual harassment claim as well.

I. STANDARD OR REVIEW

A district court "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When a party objects to a report and recommendation, the district court must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id. The Court reviews for plain error factual findings to which no objection is made. Garvey v. Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050 (1984) ("The failure to object to the magistrate's findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of the factual findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of plain error or manifest injustice.") (internal citation omitted); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed. Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Title VII Retaliation

Judge Cornelius found that Mr. Pipes failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact concerning his claim for Title VII retaliation. (Doc. 40, pp. 16-27). Neither party objected to this portion of Judge Cornelius's report and recommendation. The Court finds no clear error in the factual findings on which the recommendation is based. Therefore, the Court will enter judgment in favor of the City on Mr. Pipes' retaliation claim.

B. Title VII Sexual Harassment

Judge Cornelius found that material questions of fact exist with respect to Mr. Pipes's Title VII sexual harassment claim. (Doc. 40, pp. 8-16). The City has objected to this portion of Judge Cornelius's report and recommendation. Based on a de novo review of the record, the Court finds that the City is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Mr. Pipes's sexual harassment claim because Mr. Pipes, a former police officer and chaplain in the Falkville Police Department, has not identified a disputed issue of material fact that demonstrates that the City subjected him to discrimination because of his sex.
Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because of the employee's sex. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). "Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII." Gupta v. Fla. Bd. of Regents, 212 F.3d 571, 582 (11th Cir. 2000), abrogated on other grounds by Burlington N. & Sante Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53 (2006)). To establish a sexual harassment claim based on a hostile work environment, a plaintiff must show:
(1) that he or she belongs to a protected group; (2) that the employee has been subject to unwelcome sexual harassment, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature; (3) that the harassment must have been based on the sex of the employee; (4) that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment and create a discriminatorily abusive working environment; and (5) a basis for holding the employer liable.
Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798, 808 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Mendoza v. Borden, Inc., 195 F.3d 1238, 1245 (11th Cir. 1999) (en banc)).
Importantly, to prevail on a sexual harassment claim, a plaintiff must "prove that the conduct at issue was not merely tinged with offensive sexual connotations, but actually constituted `discriminat[ion] . . . because of . . . sex.'" Oncale v. Sundower Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 80 (1998) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2002-2(a)(1)) (emphasis in Oncale). For conduct to run afoul of Title VII, the conduct must "create a discriminatorily abusive working environment" and must place the employee complaining of discrimination at a disadvantage as compared to "`members of the other sex,'" such that the evidence demonstrates "that the harasser is motivated by general hostility to the presence of [the harassed sex] in the workplace." Reeves, 594 F.3d at 808 (emphasis added); Oncale, 523 U.S. at 80 (quoting Harris v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 25 (1993) (Ginsburg, J., concurring)) (emphasis added). A court reviewing a Title VII sexual harassment claim must be mindful of "the common-sense rule that the context of offending . . . conduct is essential." Reeves, 594 F.3d at 810.
In this case, the conduct at issue is "racking" — same-sex conduct in which one man hits another man "[i]n the groin, in the rear end or whatever they can get to." (Doc. 30-1, pp. 29-30). It is undisputed that a successful strike is physically painful, making it difficult to imagine any circumstance in which such vulgar, offensive conduct could be appropriate in the workplace. (Doc. 27-2, p. 25 (94)). It also is clear on the record in this case that Mr. Pipes found the unwelcome conduct embarrassing and emotionally disturbing. Nevertheless, for his Title VII claim to survive the City's motion for summary judgment, Mr. Pipes had to identify disputed evidence that would allow jurors to conclude that when his harasser, the police chief, racked him, the police chief meant to put Mr. Pipes at a disadvantage because the chief was motivated by a general hostility to the presence of men in the police department. The Court finds no such evidence in the record.
The first racking incident occurred in late November 2011 on the Monday after Alabama beat Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Mr. Pipes arrived for his shift, and he heard Alabama's fight song playing loudly in Chief Christopher Free's office. (Doc. 30-1, p. 28). Chief Free is an Alabama fan. Falkville's mayor in 2011 was an Auburn fan. Chief Free was "whooping and hollering about Alabama winning the Iron Bowl" and told Mr. Pipes that he "was going to let the mayor have it." (Doc. 30-1, p. 30). During Chief Free's celebration, he reached toward Mr. Pipes and tried to grab him on the genitals. (Doc. 30-1, pp. 29-30). Mr. Pipes jumped out of the way, and Chief Free's hand touched Mr. Pipes's left thigh. (Doc. 30-1, pp. 29-30). Mr. Pipes told Chief Free, "Oh, no, Chief. I don't play that. That's not going to get it with me." (Doc. 30-1, p. 29). Chief Free responded, "Okay. I'm still happy about my team winning the Iron Bowl." (Doc. 30-1, p. 29). Chief Free acknowledges the victory celebration but denies that he gestured toward Mr. Pipes. (Doc. 27-1, p. 27 (101)).
The second incident occurred in early December 2011. Mr. Pipes, Chief Free, and other members of the Falkville police and fire departments had gathered for breakfast at the fire station, as they often did. (Doc. 27-2, p. 24; Doc. 30-1, p. 31). According to Mr. Pipes, as he went to the kitchen to get something to drink, Chief Free "thumped [him] as hard as he could and hit [Mr. Pipes] in the crotch." (Doc. 30-1, p. 31). Chief Free made contact with the head of Mr. Pipes's penis and left testicle. (Doc. 30-1, p. 32). Mr. Pipes almost fell to the ground. As Mr. Pipes raised his left leg, Chief Free "took his index finger and shoved it up into [Mr. Pipes's] rear end." (Doc. 30-1, p. 31). Mr. Pipes had on pants, but Chief Free's finger went about an inch and a half into Mr. Pipes's rectum. (Doc. 30-1, pp. 32-33). Chief Free laughed, but he did not say anything when he stuck his finger into Mr. Pipes's rectum. (Doc. 30-1, p. 32). Mr. Pipes left the kitchen and told Chief Free, "I cannot believe that you just did that me." (Doc. 30-1, p. 33). Chief Free's version of the encounter is different: he testified that he "grabbed [Mr. Pipes] on the back of his leg and yelled out to scare him, and that was the incident." (Doc. 27-1, p. 24 (92)).
For purposes of summary judgment, accepting Mr. Pipes's version of the two incidents and assuming that Chief Free's conduct had sexual connotation, Mr. Pipes has presented no evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find that the conduct constituted discrimination because of sex or that Chief Free was motivated by hostility toward men in the workplace.1 Mr. Pipes argues that Chief Free's actions "reinforce his superiority, power, and control over other males in his environment." (Doc. 29, p. 17). As support for this argument, Mr. Pipes cites a portion of Chief Free's deposition testimony in which Chief Free described racking incidents that occurred on his high school and college football teams. (Doc. 27-2, p. 25). Chief Free admitted that upperclassmen racked lower classmen as a form of hazing, and he did not rack players who outranked him. (Doc. 27-2, p. 25). Mr. Pipes also relies on Chief Free's admission that since he (Chief Free) has been employed with the City, he has racked other men, though he cannot remember a particular individual or a particular occasion. (Doc. 27-2, p. 25). Even assuming that this evidence demonstrates that Chief Free racked Mr. Pipes and other police officers to assert his superiority over them, the conduct still lacks the element of sexual discrimination indispensable to a Title VII claim.2
Moreover, Mr. Pipes's theory that Chief Free used racking to exert his power and control unravels when the incidents of racking involving Mr. Pipes are viewed in context. The first took place while Chief Free was celebrating a victory in a football rivalry. The second took place in a social setting while firemen and police officers gathered for breakfast at the fire station. The context suggests "male-on-male horseplay," conduct that Title VII does not regulate. Oncale, 523 U.S. at 81. Neither Chief Free's language nor his conduct in either instance suggests that he was singling out Mr. Pipes because Mr. Pipes is male. See Linville v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 335 F.3d 822, 824 (8th Cir. 2003) (per curiam) ("While Farnham's striking Linville in the scrotum [three times] and laughing was probative of crude, gender-specific vulgarity, it was not, by itself, probative of gender discrimination."); EEOC v. Harbert-Yeargin, Inc., 266 F.3d 498, 519 (6th Cir. 2001) (holding that a same-sex hostile work environment claim failed as a matter of law where a co-worker twice grabbed the plaintiff's genitals because the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that he was discriminated against because of his sex even though the conduct "was the classic example of men behaving badly").
Judge Acker has framed the issue in cases such as this eloquently. To paraphrase Judge Acker, the issue:
revolves around repeated churlish, childish, gross, sordid, vulgar, foul, [and] disgusting [conduct] in the workplace. The question in the case, however, is not how vile and obnoxious this workplace [conduct] was. It was vile and obnoxious enough to score nine on a scale of ten3 . . . The question for the court is rather whether this [conduct] morphed from [vile and obnoxious horseplay] into a cause of action under Title VII by an offended employee for same-sex sexual harassment.
EEOC v. McPherson Cos., Inc., 914 F.Supp.2d 1234, 1235 (N.D. Ala. 2012). The conduct at issue here did not. Mr. Pipes has every right to be offended and disgusted by the conduct he has described, but "[t]he real social impact of workplace behavior often depends on a constellation of surrounding circumstances, expectations, and relationships which are not fully captured by a simple recitation of the words used or the physical acts performed." Oncale, 523 U.S. at 81-82. However vulgar and offensive racking may be, on the record in this case and on the current state of the law in same-sex Title VII actions, "no reasonable jury could believe that [the two racking incidents in this case] constitute[] discrimination because of sex." Davis v. Coastal Intern. Sec., Inc., 275 F.3d 1119, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The Court must "distinguish between simple teasing or roughhousing among members of the same sex" and conduct that speaks of discrimination on the basis of sex. Oncale, 523 U.S. at 82; see also Harbert-Yeargin, Inc., 266 F.3d at 519 ("Since the conduct complained of in many of these sexual harassment cases is so offensive, it is easy to understand that a sense of decency initially inclines one to want to grant relief. It is easy to forget, however, that Title VII deals with discrimination in the workplace, not morality or vulgarity."). There is no admissible evidence of discriminatory motive in this case. Consequently, the Court finds that the City's motion for summary judgment on Mr. Pipes's Title VII sexual harassment claim is well-taken.4

III. CONCLUSION

For the reasons discussed above, the Court adopts in part Judge Cornelius's report and accepts in part her recommendation. By separate order, the Court will enter judgment in favor in of the City on Mr. Pipe's Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation claims.
DONE and ORDERED.

FootNotes


1. In a same-sex harassment case like this, a plaintiff may establish an inference of discriminatory conduct by offering credible evidence that the alleged harasser is homosexual. Oncale, 523 U.S. at 80-81. It is undisputed that Chief Free is not homosexual. (Doc. 27-2, p. 38; Doc. 30-1, p. 39). A plaintiff also may establish an inference of discriminatory conduct by offering direct comparative evidence that the harasser treated men and women differently in the workplace. Oncale, 523 U.S. at 80-81. The record reflects that Falkville once had a part-time female officer. (Doc. 27-2, p. 19). It is unclear whether this female officer worked in the Falkville Police Department while Mr. Pipes worked there. (Id.). Mr. Pipes has not offered evidence about the number of female employees who worked for the police department, and he has not offered comparative evidence that Chief Free treated male and female employees differently. (See Doc. 29, pp. 16-18; Doc. 40, p. 12; Doc. 43, p. 2). Even if Mr. Pipes had presented comparative evidence, to maintain a claim under Title VII, he still would have to demonstrate that Chief Free gave preferential treatment to female officers because he was motivated by discriminatory animus against male officers. Mr. Pipes's failure to present evidence of discriminatory animus is fatal to his Title VII claim. See infra pp. 8-10.
2. Significantly, hearsay evidence on which Mr. Pipes relies undermines his theory that Chief Free engaged in racking to control subordinate officers. Mr. Pipes testified that Falkville City Councilman Lance Stidham told him that Chief Free also thumped him in the testicles. (Doc. 30-1, p. 34). According to Mr. Pipes, Councilman Stidham said that Chief Free "does it all the time, and guys at my work do it all the time, and they think it's funny." (Doc. 30-1, p. 34). Mr. Pipes also testified that Assistant Fire Chief Mike Butler told Mr. Pipes that he (Chief Butler) "had seen Chief Free do this to several of his firemen." (Doc. 30-1, p. 37). Mr. Pipes's testimony about what Mr. Stidham and Chief Butler told him is hearsay if Mr. Pipes offers the testimony to prove the truth of the matter asserted. A court may consider hearsay statements at the summary judgment stage if the statements could be "reduced to admissible evidence at trial or reduced to admissible form." Jones v. UPS Ground Freight, 683 F.3d 1283, 1294 (11th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "If, however, the declarant has given sworn testimony during the course of discovery that contradicts the hearsay statement, [the Court] may not consider the hearsay statement at the summary judgment stage." Id. In a declaration, Councilman Stidham states that he has "never seen Chief Free engage in conduct that [he] considered as sexual harassment toward any individual, male or female, including Pipes. Furthermore, Chief Free has never sexually harassed me or engaged in any behavior toward me that I considered sexually inappropriate." (Doc. 27-5, ¶ 13). Assistant Chief Butler states in a declaration that he has "no recollection of ever seeing Chief Free thump, `rack,' or otherwise sexually harass any individual male or female, at any time or place. Furthermore, Chief Free has never done that to me personally or in my presence." (Doc. 34-1, ¶ 6). Because Councilman Stidham and Assistant Chief Butler have provided sworn testimony that contradicts the hearsay statements, the Court may not consider Mr. Pipes's testimony on this point; the Court "cannot assume that [Councilman Stidham and Assistant Chief Butler] will change [their] testimony at trial and testify in conformity with the hearsay statement." Jones, 683 F.3d at 1294. Even if the Court could consider the hearsay statements, though, they would prove that Chief Free racks all men who he encounters at work, even city councilmen. The statements would not demonstrate generally that Chief Free acted with discriminatory animus based on sex or, more specifically, that he racked subordinate police officers to establish his dominance over them.
3. The conduct in this case musters a ten on a scale of ten.
4. Although Mr. Pipes has no Title VII claim, he may have other remedies, including possible state law claims. See Davis, 275 F.3d at 1126 ("[W]hile Davis has no cause of action under Title VII, we note that he may have remedies under local law (though they may not provide for recovery of attorney's fees, as does Title VII)."); Harbert-Yeargin, Inc., 266 F.3d at 522 ("I do not mean in any way to make light of Mr. Carlton's plight, but he had other remedies. Everything from a union grievance to a criminal complaint and a civil action for assault and battery. With a state civil action, the employer could still be a defendant and could have been liable under these facts for the actions of its agents and employees, particularly when those actions had been brought to the employer's attention. . . . The issue is not `no wrong without a remedy.' The issue is how far Congress can go or, more accurately, has gone to regulate conduct in the workplace.").

Comment


1000 Characters Remaining
Leagle.com reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.
Gene Hollon on Wed Mar 06 2019 commented:
The described conduct by CHIEF FREE is ATROCIOUS, DESPICABLE, and DEGRADING !!!!. Had I been the recipient of such UNUSUAL, QUEER, REVOLTING actions, CHIEF FREE would have had a FIST FULL of KNUCKLES , and A MOUTHFUL of his TEETH .

Saturday, October 12, 2019

1st in 10 Let's Do It Again

Oh! Wait.  That is a football play.  How about 1st and 90 let's do it again.  That's right folks.  Chief Burgess of Falkville was hired as the new chief mini-me after the previous chief was removed by the city council for disgusting charges.

Burgess was hired to replace the last slug and given a 90-day probationary period.  Apparently, the 90-day probationary period wasn't enough so the council has now gone back and placed Burgess on an additional 90 probationary period.  Can you do that?  Even if you can, it stinks.  The council knew what they were getting before they hired Burgess as Chief of Police for the little town of Falkville.

Burgess, the mayor, and the city council is about as worthless are tits on a boar hog as it applies to the management of the city.  The mayor was well aware of what they were getting when they hired the new chief.  It appears that they wanted a chief they could control.  Keep their business close hold.

We really thought that Winkles and the city council would select a strong leader, would promote growth in our community, and turn the tide from our previous scandalous chief.  The guy should have been fired, arrested, and charged but instead, the council and mayor jabbed the knife in the victims even deeper by rewarding the chief.

We thought it is the job of the city aka the mayor, the city council, and the chief to protect our children and young women.  Remember the victims.  What is wrong with this picture.  Oh! We forgot the mayor is just one of the good ole boys just making noise.  Well! not according to his own words.

Falkville is a beautiful quaint little town.  We have a great school, churches, and you would think the council would be working on revenue, fix up the original sections of town.  There is so much that could be done to bring back the small-town charm.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to refurbish the city and open all the little shops, decorate for Christmas?  Oh! The dreams.  Instead, we have a bunch of men sitting around scratching and sniffing and the mayor bragging about the number of Falkville women he has been with.

Chief Burgess is riding around in his Chief mobile knowing he won.  Burgess may have won but the city would have been just as well off to leave the previous chief in place until he was officially charged by the Feds.  There isn't a dime's worth of difference.



Friday, October 4, 2019

Chief Allen on Higher Standards

BLOGGER COMMENTS:  That's today's headline and it's important and unarguable. Interesting, and not doubt coincidental, three dismissals in a four-month period, but six over three years is less eye-raising/  I'm certainly not questioning the decisions and it appears management followed procedures, unlike a certain previous sheriff waltzed into office with a hit list in hand

Allen: Officers required to have higher standards

  •  
A Decatur police officer who resigned last week rather than appealing his termination became the third officer in four months permanently removed from the department. Additionally, two other officers have been reprimanded for unprofessional conduct and a sixth officer transferred after admitting stealing from the evidence room during Nate Allen's three-plus years as Decatur police chief.
None of those six officers have been convicted of a crime, but Allen said he doesn't condone officer misconduct and took action because he holds them to a "higher standard."
“I require officers to do the right thing on and off duty all the time,” said Allen, who said he can’t comment on personnel issues. “That’s a hard task. Officers are human. They’re going to make mistakes. We’re all going to make mistakes. We don’t want their mistakes to be detrimental (to our department).”
“Our officers have to remember the decisions they make off duty also affect the decisions they make on duty,” he said. “For example, I don’t want the officer to be charged with a crime and then put somebody in jail for the same crime they may have been charged with. That creates a dilemma there.
"We are held to a higher standard than most citizens anywhere in the country. Not only do we have to enforce the laws, we have to abide by the laws, too.”
The incidents follow in edited form:
Police Lt. Archie Hoyt Letson submitted a resignation letter last week, the day before a hearing on the appeal of his Aug. 23 termination. Richelle Sandlin, personnel board director, said Letson was dismissed from the police force “on an internal performance issue.”
------------------------
In January, Mayor Tab Bowling made the decision to terminate police officer Brandi Leigh Reed’s employment. In July, the city’s personnel board voted 4-0 to uphold the mayor’s decision, saying Reed did not live up to “higher standards” as a police officer.
In May 2018, Reed and decorated officer Zachary Charles Blanton were accused of having an affair by Blanton’s sister-in-law Hailey LaMar of Hartselle. LaMar claimed the two officers assaulted her when she found them together in Blanton’s house while his wife was away. Hartselle Municipal Judge Michael Broom acquitted Reed and Blanton of the assault charge. The personnel board cited four other incidents involving Reed as reasons.
--------------------
n January 2018, Decatur police officer Jonathan Lowery was transferred out of the Police Department to become a city code enforcement officer after he admitted to taking a ring from the police evidence room. He said he traded the ring for ammunition at a pawn shop. The incident allegedly occurred in December 2013.
-------------------
Another Decatur police officer heard using an expletive on social media video "demonstrated an unprofessional demeanor" during a May 24 call involving a gun. Allen said the officer was given sensitivity training and reprimanded for his action. Allen would not say if any other disciplinary action was taken against the officer.
---------------------------
Two years earlier, an internal affairs investigation into comments made by then-Decatur police Lt. Proncey Robertson closed with the officer receiving sensitivity awareness counseling as a result, Allen said at the time.  Robertson has since retired from the department and was elected state District 7 House representative in November

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Bottom Line

Blogger Comments:  A lot of needless bickering could have been avoided if there had been open communications.  We are not taking sides.  As a matter of fact, we respect the Decatur Police Chief.  Communications is critical and immigration and ICE are hot topics across the nation.

https://www.decaturdaily.com/news/morgan_county/decatur/police-chief-policy-doesn-t-create-sanctuary-city/article_237de713-b1d2-5ed8-8757-a103996e3e59.

Police chief: Policy doesn't create 'sanctuary city'
  •  

    Be on the lookout




    A state inmate escaped Tuesday from his assigned job site in Decatur, the Alabama Department of Corrections said.
    Quincy Recardo Tisdale left from his job site about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the ADOC said Wednesday morning.
    Tisdale was an inmate at North Alabama Community Based Facility serving a two-year term for second-degree assault. He was sentenced Sept. 24, 2018.
    Tisdale, 38, is described as being 5-foot-9, 195 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He has numerous tattoos. He was wearing a bluish shirt, blue jeans with multiple colors along the front and back pockets and tennis shoes.
    ADOC requests that if you have any information on Tisdale or see him, contact ADOC at (800) 831-8825.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2019

    What can you do?

    Blogger Comments:  What can you do when inmates are dying in your jail?  The buck starts at the point of entry.  If we are not mistaken during the booking process, the intake officer is required to gather information to include any known medical conditions about the soon-to-be inmate.  It is easy to rubber-stamp these documents.  Often times individuals are none compliant and sometimes the individual may not know they have a condition, or the are high or drunk when they are booked.  Did the inmates who died complain of illness prior to their deaths?  Many folks like to say that they're in jail that that's the only reason they are complaining.  Not so fast.  Every individual that complains of an illness should be checked out.  It may be a logistical nightmare but none of the folks who work in the jails in Alabama are medical professionals.  They are not qualified to determine illness.  That responsibility should be placed on the physicians and nurses paid for by the sheriff's office.  These medical institutes that cater to jails should be doing their job.  The sheriff said they have medical staff monitoring the inmates in the drunk tank.  Now our question is how often did the medical staff check on the lady?  More importantly, is the medical staff the same staff the previous sheriff used? That would be concerning.

    As for the number of deaths, it is unfortunate that two inmates have died on Sheriff Puckett's watch.  If you are an avid reader of the blog you know that the previous sheriff had more problems with these type incidents than most.  The sheriff went so far as to ship a critically ill inmate from Morgan County to Marshall County to get rid of the problem.  Walls then shipped the inmate to Kilby.  Kilby realized the young man was gravely ill and sent him to UAB where he died shortly thereafter from his condition.  Our previous sheriff claimed she had a mental health ward managed 24X7.  She lied.  The SO has a contract with the medical staff and they should be utilized to determine medical fitness to be in jail or to be transported to a hospital.

    We do not have a sheriff running around like some of the sheriffs in Alabama releasing inmates because they are sick and the sheriff's office does not want to be stuck with the bill.  By the way, sheriffs, those releases require a judge to sign off on the release.  Sheriffs do not want to be stuck with hospital bills for sick inmates.  So! Change the laws for those inmates on SSI, Social Security, and Medicaid so their benefits continue while the are in jail.  The bottom line for sheriffs is that when you arrest and incarcerate them, you are responsible for their medical needs.


    https://www.decaturdaily.com/news/local/decatur-woman-dies-hours-after-arrival-at-morgan-jail/article_b8082fdd-67ca-5e43-a70a-7f21a6fdb5df.html

    Decatur woman dies 24 hours after arrival at Morgan jail


    •  

    Monday, September 30, 2019

    Just when you think you have heard the last of our previous sheriff - She's backkkkkk

    Blogger Comments:  Please take the time to read the attached article at URL below.  It appears that some sheriffs will go from one extreme to another.  They do this at the weakness or illness of sick inmates.  Our previous sheriffs should have several sick or dead inmates on their conscious.  Conscious, what conscious.  Thanks to the AL.com and ProPublica joint investigation

    We believe strongly in law enforcement and want the best for our law enforcement officers and sheriffs but how can some of these people live with themselves.  We are aware of several inmates who fell ill or died without adequate medical care and we reported on those.  We had inmates and jailers share those incidents with us.  

    We received a comment this morning in regards to two inmates that recently died in the Morgan County Jail. We hear we have a double standard when reporting on the current Morgan County Sheriff.  We work off of legitimate sources.   If you have first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing we will report it.  We have always used reliable sources and count on them to help set the record straight.

    If you know something report it.  All of the information we receive is confidential.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/these-sheriffs-release-sick-inmates-to-avoid-paying-their-hospital-bills



    These Sheriffs Release Sick Inmates to Avoid Paying Their Hospital Bills

    Inmates suffering heart attacks, on the verge of diabetic comas and brutalized in jail beatings have been released so sheriffs wouldn’t have to pay for their medical care. Some were rearrested once they had recovered.

    Falkville Mayor and the Chief - Is the honeymoon over?

    There have been several incidents of skimmers being found on gas pumps around Morgan County and Falkville.  The Falkville Chief decided on his plan of action which did not please some local merchants.  The mayor claims that he will not allow the Chief's intended actions to be submitted.

    Time will tell who is in charge and how long the conduct that has been exhibited by potty mouths will be allowed to continue.  Until then.  Who is in charge?

    No Sanctuary City - Decatur, Alabama

    Blogger Comments:  We have posted portions of a must-read article from AL.com.  Please read the entire article at URL below.

    There are some very good reasons why Alabama or any county in Alabama should not be designated as a Sanctuary City.  It isn't the good people that we worry about; it is the bad.  Unfortunately, we already have a lot of the bad.  We should work with the federal government in weeding out the bad.

    https://www.al.com/news/2019/09/decatur-will-not-be-a-sanctuary-city-mayor-says.html


    Updated Monday at 1:31 p.m.: City officials in Decatur are working to “clarify” the immigration policy instituted by the police chief last week and protested Sunday in a Facebook post by Mayor Tab Bowling.
    Bowling has also apparently deleted his Facebook post in which he spoke out against the policy initiated by Chief Nate Allen.
    In a new post Monday afternoon on the mayor’s Facebook page, a press release from the city of Decatur said that the mayor’s office, police department and the legal department are now working together to reshape the policy.
    The full post from the city of Decatur statement:
    "In lieu of any press conferences and in response to concerns voiced regarding General Order 426.0 (Immigration Procedures), the mayor’s office, legal department and police department are working to clarify the policy to correct some misunderstandings or vagueness and to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.
    “The changes should be made quickly and will be released as soon as completed.
    “It is our desire in the city to fully comply with the letter and spirit of federal and state laws as we work together to protect the people of the city of Decatur.”Original story: Decatur’s mayor and police department are at odds over a new immigration policy introduced last week by the police chief.
    Mayor Tab Bowling posted on Facebook his strong objection to the new policy, saying “Decatur will not be a sanctuary city” for those in the country without legal immigration status. And the police department on Monday stood by its new policy in its own Facebook post.
    The dispute has captured the attention of Mo Brooks, an immigration hawk and north Alabama congressman whose district include Decatur. Brooks on Monday tweeted support for Bowling.
    Bowling said in his Facebook post that he would ask Police Chief Nate Allen to rescind the policy rolled out on Sept. 25. Based on the police department’s Facebook post Monday, that’s not happening.
    “We’re proud of the service we provide to our residents," Allen said in the police Facebook post. “We’re in the business of saving lives, helping the hurt, and comforting the scared. We’ll leave the governing decisions to those best versed to make them.”
    The police department post said it was following guidelines provided by Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
    The policy, which was included in the mayor’s Facebook post, said Decatur police will “refrain” from entering into “voluntary agreements” with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because they are “not consistent with furthering DPD’s community policing philosophy.”
    "Officers will not undertake any immigration-related investigation unless said operation involves an individual who has committed crimes directly related to public safety or as outlined in Section 5."

    What is going on in Eva? Mistaken identity and an arrest

    We believe we have an overzealous deputy working Eva patrol.  We recently heard of some incidents that appear to be downright stupid or incompetent.   We have T. Taylor who was stopped in Eva, his name run and according to our sources, the dispatch relayed the message to the deputy that he had the wrong man.  As a rule, you would apologize and let the man be on his way.  Not in this case. According to our sources, the man was arrested.  We hear that he is s good man who works for a reputable car dealership. 

    We believe the deputy is being a little overzealous and the man needs to be reeled back in.  We experienced first hand going through Eva that these things are happening.

    We encourage the people of Eva to contact the sheriff's office and report these incidents.  The sheriff will address these issues in a timely manner. 

    Note:  Should we find that we are in error we will make corrections to our blog.

    What The...

     Blogger Comments:  We hear the mayor has pulled rank.  Nate! What are you thinking?



    Thursday, September 26, 2019

    Do As I Say Not As I Do

    Blogger Comments:  Whoa!  Blakely is definitely a man's man now, isn't he?  Takes a big man to fire a female investigator after the complaints she's made.  Maybe Blakely thinks he is going down and he wanted a female investigator discredited before poop hits the fan.  

    https://www.decaturdaily.com/news/limestone_county/limestone-investigator-fired-months-after-filing-lawsuit/article_329e4964-c7ed-5a01-bc04-261fa5f3d38f.html

    Limestone investigator fired 8 months after filing lawsuit

       

    Wednesday, September 25, 2019

    TechDirt Article On the 11th Circuit Court Decision

    Blogger Comments:  We have here an example of national coverage from TechDirt, a podcast and website covering technology and free speech.  They approach stories like this as advocates, not journalists, which gives them the freedom to editorialize.  And do they!  Your attention invited to the final paragraph.  I've highlighted it so you can't miss it.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190913/09060742983/appeals-court-refuses-to-grant-immunity-to-sheriff-who-engaged-extortion-to-go-after-whistleblower.shtml

    A couple of years ago, we covered the story of an exceptionally corrupt Alabama sheriff. Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin -- picking up where her predecessor, Sheriff Greg Bartlett left off -- was accused of starving prisoners to pad her personal checking account.
    This is a thing in Alabama. Sheriffs are allowed to use leftover food funds (obtained from both state and federal sources) as a personal source of income. Use it they did. One sheriff bought himself a house with the "excess" funds. The sheriff Ana Franklin replaced was so notorious for cutting food costs, he earned the nickname "Sheriff Corndog."
    Sheriff Franklin went further than the man she replaced. She went after a whistleblower who caught her taking $160,000 from the prisoner food account and handing $150,000 of that to a shady car dealership run by a convicted felon.
    Franklin also targeted the whistleblower -- former Morgan County jail warden Leon Bradley -- with bogus criminal charges. To do so, the sheriff's office went after a local blogger who was publishing the warden's allegations, paying the blogger's grandson to install a keylogger on her computer. Using evidence gleaned from the keylogger, the sheriff then went after the former warden, hitting Bradley with misdemeanor government records tampering. These charges were dropped by the presiding judge -- the one that had issued the search warrant -- who said the Sheriff's office had "deliberately misled the court" to "cover up their deception and criminal actions."
    Bradley sued the Sheriff and a handful of deputies. The lower court refused to grant immunity to any of the Sheriff's Office defendants on any of the 14 counts in Bradley's lawsuit. Not only was qualified immunity denied, but so were the state-level forms, including state-agent immunity and absolute immunity.
    The defendants appealed. The Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court has taken a look at the allegations and is no more willing to extend immunity to Sheriff Franklin and her deputies. (h/t Eric Goldman)
    The sheriff hoped to have the state's expansive absolute immunity doctrine applied to her abuse of power, but the appeals court isn't interested in turning Alabama state law into a shield for bad cops. The sheriff tried to persuade the court that anything done while officers were on the clock cannot be sued over. Yeah, we're not doing that, says the Eleventh Circuit [PDF].
    According to the defendants, even if their activities were ill-intended, the actions occurred during the course of police investigations, evidence seizures, and the like, such that absolute immunity still applies. This view requires an extraordinarily broad view of absolute immunity that would effectively immunize any conduct when the sheriff flashes his or her badge. The district court correctly rejected this view because Alabama law does not provide such infinite immunity. The allegations in the complaint extend well beyond the negligent mishandling of an investigation or sloppiness in executing a search warrant, or any other number of activities that could fairly advance the objectives of the sheriff, even if the sheriff’s actions suffered from procedural defects. Rather, the alleged activities paint a picture of a lengthy conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer, use public funds for personal gain, and punish anyone who threatened to publicize their activities. As the district court noted, the defendants cannot explain how these allegations would fit within the scope of their employment.
    The same goes for the defendants' attempt to have qualified immunity applied to their actions. The working theory here is the same: that anything done with a badge out while on the clock shouldn't be subject to civil lawsuits.The Appeals Court rejects this attempt to expand immunity protections.
    The same goes for the defendants' attempt to have qualified immunity applied to their actions. The working theory here is the same: that anything done with a badge out while on the clock shouldn't be subject to civil lawsuits.The Appeals Court rejects this attempt to expand immunity protections.
    The defendants urge us to find that Bradley’s Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims are barred under the doctrine of qualified immunity. The district court rejected this argument, finding that the defendants were unable to meet their burden of showing that their alleged acts fell within the scope of their discretionary authority. Rather, Bradley alleged that the defendants had engaged in extortion to collect information on him, then knowingly violated the law by lying to a judge to secure a search warrant.
    [...]
    [T]heir argument is unworkable in practice. If qualified immunity applies to these allegations, then it is difficult to envision any limiting principle, similar to the problem noted in the absolute immunity analysis, where any malfeasance does not receive immunity owing to the presence of a sheriff’s badge.
    There's no good faith shown here either. Immunity protects the actions of "reasonable" officers. Nothing here approaches "reasonable."
    It is harder to think of a better example of knowingly violating a plaintiff’s constitutional rights than the allegation, which we are bound to accept as true, that the defendants facilitated the installation of an unauthorized keylogger on Bradley’s computer, misled a judge to secure an invalid search warrant, then raided Bradley’s home. Said another way, these allegations are the antithesis of the type for which one might be entitled to “good faith” immunity.
    The lawsuit lives and Sheriff Ana Franklin will have to face all 14 counts brought against her. The same for two of her deputies. The sheriff could have stopped starving inmates and enriching herself at their expense, but instead she decided to engage in extortion and illegal searches. It seems like corruption may be the only thing she knows. Too bad for her that she sucks at it.