The Stolen Lives Project determined that during the entire decade of the 1990′s, over 2000 deaths occurred at the hands of police officers. Seven years ago, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Justice released a similar report that focused only on the years 2003 thru 2005. That report indicated that over 2000 people died while being arrested by police officers during those three years alone, and that during each of those three years, the rate of such deaths increased by 13%. There is also myriad evidence to indicate that police officer deaths at the hands of suspects is increasing at an alarming rate; for example, the FBI determined that from 2007 to 2008, the rate of officer deaths at the hands of suspects jumped 25%.
One and a half years ago, DelShawn Crawford Sr. was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers in his girlfriend’s home. On behalf of Crawford’s estate, Madia Law has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against two Minneapolis police officers, Laura Turner and Chad Meyer. What follows is a summary of the allegations against the police officers in the Complaint filed on September 19 in United States District Court.
On May 12, 2012, Delshawn Crawford was spending a “family night” with his girlfriend Brandy Lewis, her children, her children’s friends, and cousins of Ms. Lewis. At approximately 1:30 AM, following the family gathering, there were still seven individuals in Ms. Lewis’ home. Mr. Crawford and Ms. Lewis engaged in a verbal argument; Ms. Lewis continued to clean the home while they were arguing. [click to continue…]
The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently agreed to take a case that could potentially lead to the Badger State becoming only the second state to require a warrant before tracking an individual based on their cell phone. In May, Montana enacted a bill that made them the first. See H.B. 603, 63rd Leg., Reg. Sess. (Mont. 2013).
In June 2009, Milwaukee police obtained video surveillance of a suspect purchasing a cell phone before fatally shooting a man. The police acquired the number of the cell phone and obtained a court order to track the phone’s physical location. This tracking led the police to Bobby Tate, who they found wearing the same clothes of the suspect on the video and also blood-stained shoes containing the same DNA as that of the shooting victim. Tate alleges that the police obtained evidence against him by violating his Fourth Amendment rights. [click to continue…]
A civilized society depends on a well-maintained police force dedicated to service and protection. However, when officers stray from the duties sworn in their oath, the citizens must have some method of redress. The current approach in Minneapolis ignores the importance of deterring unacceptable officer behavior and instead focuses on mitigating bad press and decreasing financial liabilities. Unfortunately, neither of these goals is being achieved and that is because the police department needs to refocus its goals and institute a system that encourages deterrence.
A recent article in the Star Tribune adequately summarizes the problems our police department has created for itself.  “Despite nearly $14 million in payouts for alleged police misconduct over the past seven years, the Minneapolis Police Department rarely concluded that the officers involved did anything wrong… Of 95 payouts from 2006 to 2012… eight resulted in officers being disciplined…” These facts show that the Minneapolis Police Department is not decreasing financial liability, nor is it avoiding negative media exposure. What is the cause of such large payouts? Finding this root will help focus a solution. Are Minneapolis residents overly litigious? Are Minneapolis police officers overly confrontational and unreasonable? Rather, if the root of the problem is not within the players, could it be the system in which the players must participate? What is that system anyway? [click to continue…]
St. Paul Police Officer Jesse Zilge is at home this week, pending the results of an expedited internal affairs investigation. Video uploaded to Youtube on August 28th shows Zilge kicking an unarmed man in what appears to be either the face, throat, or chest. While the video clearly raises concern with regard to the officer’s conduct, it is particularly disconcerting in light of Madia Law’s recent jury trial victory against St. Paul Police Officer Adam Bailey, as it also raises the serious question of whether there is a pattern and practice of excessive force and police misconduct in the St. Paul Police Department.
Based on the video, it appears the victim will have a viable civil lawsuit against Zilge for excessive force, a claim made possible by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution via Title 42 U.S.C § 1983. [click to continue…]
Minnesota police departments, like many across the nation, are rapidly expanding their use of video technology by individual police officers. Gone is the day when officers were limited to using traditional COPS-style dash-cams to record what was happening directly in front of their police cruiser. Individual officers can now wear cameras on their heads, which allow them to record virtually everything they see in the course of their duties. Police departments are also using a plethora of other technology to supplement video evidence. Such video documentation has been critically important in protecting police and providing crucial evidence; such as in this case from Burnsville, Minnesota.
Video screenshot: copblock.org
As video camera technology expands for police, however, so it does for the average citizen. Read More . . .
Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Clifford, 47, is the executive member of the SWAT team and a 19-year department veteran who has twice received the Medal of Valor. Last week, Clifford was charged with felony assault after he punched Brian Vander Lee in the head at Tanners Station in Andover. Clifford’s actions resulted in Vander Lee requiring life support and at least two brain surgeries. In addition to the serious criminal charges Anoka County has brought against Clifford, he will undoubtedly be named in a civil lawsuit as well. Although Clifford was off-duty, in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press his criminal defense attorney alleged that Clifford was responding to Vander Lee’s “out of control” behavior. Such assertions, if maintained by Clifford, may have liability implications for the City of Minneapolis in a civil lawsuit against Clifford. Read More . . .
On September 26, 2009, Deshun Carter was barbequing in front of his house with his mother, father, and wife. Two officers arrived and told him to turn down the music coming from his vehicle. Carter immediately complied and told the officers that he was sorry for the music and wasting their time. He identified himself as the owner of the house and the vehicle, and gave the officers his identification. When an officer turned to run warrant checks, Carter stepped back toward his grill because his meat was burning. The officer became irate and shouted, “Where the fu** do you think you’re going – I’m not done with you yet.”
The law firm Madia Law LLC is located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Madia Law's employment law attorneys and civil rights lawyers represent victims of employment discrimination, workplace retaliation, wrongful termination, civil rights violations such as excessive police force, and more. Madia Law practices in state and federal court throughout the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, and greater Minnesota, including: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth, Edina, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Eagan, Woodbury, Richfield, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Blaine, St. Cloud, Lakeville, Brooklyn Park, Rochester, Superior, Hudson, River Falls, New Richmond, Eau Claire, Madison, Menomonie, La Crosse, and more.