Walking in Davis While Black or Justifiable Terry Stop?

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Daniel Carter was just released from a hospital where he was receiving treatment for a psychiatric ailment.  He was heavily medicated and missed his stop in West Sacramento on the Yolo Bus.  He reached the end of the line in Davis, was awakened by the bus driver and deposited on the corner of Chiles and Mace.

According to his mother, Janice Jackson, he did not know anything about Davis.  As he was trying to figure out how to get out of Davis, he went to a store to buy a can of beer.  Mr. Carter suffers from a mental disorder and he often carries all of his items on him.  That includes a pair of clippers and a knife that he used to adjust the clippers.  It is an old knife, worn down and dulled from the use, but it was in his pocket.

 

It was at this point that Mr. Carter, walking around confused and out of place as a black man in Davis, encountered Officer Sean Bellamy of the Davis Police Department.

He would be charged and eventually convicted of carrying a concealed dirk after the jury originally deadlocked on the charge.  In a separate hearing, the judge would hear on the enhancements and give him enhancements for prior prison and a prior conviction that he had been assessed back in 1998.  He will be sentenced on August 26.

Questions linger, was he racially profiled as his family and attorney claim?  Or did the Davis Police Department do the right thing approaching an individual who was stopped in the middle of the night because he was acting suspiciously, appearing to be casing a fenced and locked storage unit facility, on searchable probation, and found to have a concealed knife that legally amounted to a dirk/ dagger as the police and prosecutors claim?

This was not an open and shut case though.  While the trial itself lasted barely a day and a half, the deliberations by the jury lasted far longer than that and they came back deadlocked.  They were sent back and quickly convicted Mr Carter.

According to testimony from Officer Bellamy the defendant was walking near a storage facility at 10 pm.  Officer Bellamy made contact with Carter which then resulted in a lawful search. Upon his search, Officer Bellamy recovered a 3 1/2 inch folding knife with a locking mechanism from Carter’s jacket pocket. The knife was found in an extended and locked position and readily could have been used as a stabbing weapon.

Officer Bellamy asks Mr. Carter if he had anything on him and he told the officer that he had a pocketknife.  He had open pockets in his jacket, and he pulled out first the unopened can of beer which was vertically in front of the knife in the pocket.  The knife was opened with sharp edge facing downward.

The defense countered that Mr. Carter was stopped because he was the only black man on the street. That Mr. Carter never ran away. That he walked towards the officer.  The police report made no mention of the can of beer. Officer Bellamy also went through the backpack and found no contraband. The defense also points out that the knife has a dull tip and possibly could have been used as a screwdriver.

The defense also argued that the camera on the police car only faces forward, yet the interview started behind the car out of sight. Moreover there was no audio recovered – conveniently, implied Defense Attorney Public Defender David Mueller. So there was no evidence of the search for the pocketknife or the first contact with defendant.

Mr. Mueller asked Officer Bellamy on the stand, “What would you have done if Mr. Carter had ignored you?”

Officer Bellamy replied, “He could have walked away.”

In closing, Mr. Mueller pointed out that the officer intentionally omitted from his report the 24oz beer, which was the first thing he pulled out. The presence of beer was important in determining whether the pocket knife was readily available.  Moreover, Mr. Carter told the officer from the beginning he had a knife, he was not trying to lie.  The knife was used as a screwdriver, it was not intended as a weapon. The knife was old and worn, and the bolts were loose.  Mr. Carter did not know the knife was open.

He also questioned Officer Bellamy’s conduct during the contact implying that he made it a point not to contact in front of the police vehicle.  His reason was for procedure and police safety, but isn’t it safer, with the car camera and lights, to be in front of the car? Contact on the side of car ensures thatthe only thing that counts is his own testimony. 

Why would Officer Bellamy make things up?  Public Defender Mueller suggested that it looks bad on his record for a young officer to search a black man randomly without finding anything wrong

One of the interesting points here was that the defense argued that Mr. Carter has the presumption of innocence.  However, the DA argued that “once evidence is given, that eliminates the presumption of innocence.”

He continued by suggesting that the Defense was trying to show Officer Bellamy to be a racist lying cop.  He argued there was no evidence that Officer Bellamy was lying or racist.  If he wanted to intentionally deceive the jury, why would he testify that he did find a beer can?  He argued that regardless of the beer can, a knife like that can hurt someone and that the defense is simply trying to distract the jury with things that are irrelevant such as claims that the Officer was racist.

The Jury was deadlocked. Public Defender Davis Mueller argued that the jury had discussed the case for long enough, and that the court should accept the deadlocked decision.  If they go back to discussion, he argued, a unanimous decision will be the result of some people giving in.

Judge Thomas Warriner did not accept the deadlock and instead read the jury laws pertaining to a concealed dirk, a definition of a dirk, and example of when pocketknife is not readily used. For instance, if there are intervening manipulations, even if the knife is unscrewed, it would not be readily usable.

For the defense, obviously the beer can was the intervening manipulation.  Officer Bellamy himself had to do an intervening manipulation on the can himself before he could get to the knife.  Carter may have known he had the knife, but the People can’t prove that he knew it was open.

The DA argued that Mr. Carter knew there was a knife in his pocket because he put the beer can in his pocket and the beer can was cold.  Moreover he told the officer he had a knife. 

Finally the DA tried to re-read the law pertaining to a concealed dirk.  Mr. Mueller and the DA approached Judge Warriner and the DA pointed at Mr. Mueller and was overheard telling the judge that “he’s lying about the law.”

After being sent out the jury quickly returned with a guilty verdict.  Were they pushed into that verdict or was the re-reading of the law what convinced them?

Brief Commentary

This case raises a number of troubling questions. Sentencing will occur on August 24, and with the prior prison enhancements that date back a good amount of time, Mr. Carter is likely facing prison time.  And yet, clearly Mr. Carter suffers from mental ailments which directly led to his lifestyle and the fact that he carried a knife on him. 

According to his mother, this is not the first time he’s been arrested and the knife has never been an issue before. He simply uses it, as ill-conceived as it might seem, to adjust his clippers.  One has to wonder, of course, if Mr. Carter would be better suited getting psychiatric treatment rather than prison time. One might also reasonably wonder if a white person in his same place would have been approached by a police officer.  Maybe he would have, but it was clear, talking to his mother, that she knew Davis was not the place for a black man to be lost and wandering around as her son was.

Was this a textbook Terry Stop or was it as the defense claims, racial profiling?  That is a question perhaps that we need to ponder.  According to a definition of Terry Stop, “When a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him or her to reasonably suspect criminal activity may be occurring and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous, the officer might approach and briefly detain the subjects for the purpose of conducting a limited investigation.”

However, according to the testimony of Officer Bellamy, this would not be a Terry Stop which is a detention but rather a consensual stop.  As the Officer testified,  he could have walked away. A consensual stop makes it nearly impossible to prove racial profiling charges.  The problem is that we know what the Officer’s story was here, he looked suspicious.  Was he really looking like he was casing the storage facility or was he just wandering around where he probably seemed out of place?  The question is though, would he have seen out of place if he was a white man?  That is a question we can probably never answer.

The other question is whether this was the right verdict.  It was obviously a difficult verdict for the jury, given the fact that he freely acknowledged the knife in his pocket, which leads me to believe he was not intending to use it.  Also the dullness of the knife lends credibility to this not being an intended weapon.  The sense was that the jury had been going on for almost two days on a trial that barely last one day and they wanted to go home.  When the judge did not accept their deadlock, they may have decided they had enough.  We have seen shorter periods of deadlock accepted in other cases.  I think it was questionable for the Judge to send them back.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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52 thoughts on “Walking in Davis While Black or Justifiable Terry Stop?”

  1. rusty49

    Let’s see if I have this right. A man is walking aimlessly around Davis in the middle of the night and anyone has a problem as to why he was stopped? Then we go on to find that he was heavily medicated, bought a beer (great refreshment when you’re on drugs), has a mental disorder, had a concealed knife and clippers in his backpack, served prior prison time, had a prior conviction and currently is on searchable probation. I’d say the Davis cops did a great job. Instead of trying to make this racial one needs to wonder if we would even be hearing about this if the defendant had been white? Not a chance.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    “clippers in his backpack”

    As in an electronic shaver, not garden shears in case your are wondering.

    “Instead of trying to make this racial one needs to wonder if we would even be hearing about this if the defendant had been white? Not a chance.”

    You forgot to mention the jury was split as to whether or not to convict. I wonder if they would have convicted a white person.

  3. biddlin

    This is really another story of the abysmal state of mental health services, exacerbated by either the ignorance, laziness or racism of the officer. Again, a judge takes the position that makes him look tough to the voters. This happens so often lately that it is hardly news, but certainly noteworthy. Thank you, David.

  4. rusty49

    “I wonder if they would have convicted a white person.”

    David, do you wonder when a white man is convicted if he would’ve got off if he was black?

    Give it up David, this is a nonstory. You’re trying to make something out of nothing. The race card is getting really old.

  5. rusty49

    “This is really another story of the abysmal state of mental health services, exacerbated by either the ignorance, laziness or racism of the officer.”

    I agree with you about the “abysmal state of mental health services” but you’re way off base about the officer. The officer just did his job as he should have. You’d be the first one crying that the officer didn’t do his job if this guy had gone on to harm one of your friends or family members.

  6. Avatar

    The police officer , should he of just ignored this guy , NO , then he wouldn’t be doing his job . They are paid to investigate and keep us safe , hopefully all Davis cops would of done the exact same thing !

  7. SODA

    Think the facts speak to the appropriateness of the stopping. Clearly the man needed assistance if only to help him get his bearings and get home. The criticism could be the rushing of him and certainly the trial charges. We do not need more mentally ill in prison.

  8. biddlin

    The officer could have talked to Mr. Carter, determined his situation and contacted a family member to come and get him, a typical scenario for dealing with alzheimer patients who are wandering. It is pointless to broach the subject of racism in Davis, as the majority of posters in this forum are convinced it only happens elsewhere, however, would the officer have bothered arresting a white fisherman with a potentially more lethal blade?

  9. revmlt

    It sounds more like, if anything (and that’s a big “if”), it was WWH (walking while homeless). He carried all of his belongings on his back.

  10. rusty49

    “would the officer have bothered arresting a white fisherman with a potentially more lethal blade?”

    If that “white” fisherman was heavily medicated, bought a beer (great refreshment when you’re on drugs), has a mental disorder, had a concealed knife backpack, served prior prison time, had a prior conviction and currently is on searchable probation I’d say yes, that same officer would’ve arrested that fisherman.

  11. biddlin

    BTW rusty49, many of us over 55 cringe at the phrase “just doing his job.” The cops in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 were just doing their jobs when they enforced Jim Crow laws. The Jewish police in Warsaw, Poland were only doing their jobs when they rounded up other Jews to work as slaves for their Nazi masters in April, 1941. Police are a part of the community and should not be exempt from the constraints of human decency.

  12. rusty49

    Biddlin,

    Let’s not get overly dramatic here. I mean really? Are we going to make comparisons with this to Nazi Germany? Take a breath and chill a little. Smoke one of those soon to be CA legal joints and listen to some Janis Joplin or Greatful Dead tunes and sit back in your VW bus and vedge while dreaming of the good old days of sit-ins and peace riots.
    “Peace riot”, there’s a self defeating phrase if there ever was one.

  13. biddlin

    “Let’s not get overly dramatic here. I mean really?” That’s almost exactly what Shimon Berkowitz said to his wife one year to the day before they were transported to different factories. He survived the war to tell their story. She did not. Never forget.

  14. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “The question is though, would he have seen out of place if he was a white man? That is a question we can probably never answer.”

    Based on the evidence, I suspect the officer would have arrested this man no matter his skin color. The defendant was wandering at night, looked as if he was “casing the joint” (storage unit), had a concealed weapon while on probation. Are you really arguing the police officer had no articulable legal reason to stop this man?

    dmg: “The other question is whether this was the right verdict.”

    I’m curious, what was the racial make-up of the jury? Also, are you saying the jury was absolutely wrong – there is no way they should have come up w a guilty verdict?

    dmg: “We have seen shorter periods of deadlock accepted in other cases. I think it was questionable for the Judge to send them back.”

    Judges do this consistently. It is perfectly legal and appropriate. Remember, if the jury is declared deadlocked, then a whole new trial may have to be conducted, which is an expensive enterprise. And if only one person on the jury was holding things up, it may have been reason enough to send the jury back…

  15. indigorocks

    David,
    I’m sorry but I don’t think he was racially profiled.
    Officer Bellamy was doing his job as we expect him to do.
    We need to stop unnecessariy attacking police for doing their jobs. We also need to make the distinction between good cops and bad cops. Some discriminate, but doesn’t mean that ALL discriminate and we are preventing these guys from doing their jobs. Quite frankly, there are too many rights for criminals to break the law. they can simply cry that they are being racially profiled and fear of being accused of this prevents officers from making sure that we are safe.
    Let’s stop these attacks on law enforcement. They should be held to a high standard of course, but not so much that their hands are tied.

  16. indigorocks

    ps.
    this isn’t about race. if that were the case, every person in jail would be either black or brown and there would be no white people in jail.
    you are asserting that skin color determines arrestability rather than the crime itself. while prejudice has been a factor in the pas, it’s quickly vanishing.
    there are plenty of white males and females that have been stopped or arrested because of suspicious behavior in Davis.

  17. wesley506

    “Daniel Carter was just released from a hospital where he was receiving treatment for a psychiatric ailment. He was heavily medicated….As he was trying to figure out how to get out of Davis, he went to a store to buy a can of beer.”

    A sure fire way to sharpen the intellect to enable you to more effectively problem solve your way out of an unfamiliar predicament.

    Ex-con with a mental illness shoplifts a $3 bag of Tillamook cheese and gets 8 years in prison. By this standard of justice, another mentally ill ex-con with a concealed weapon and open container of alcohol should get at least 5 years in prison.

  18. David M. Greenwald

    “Based on the evidence, I suspect the officer would have arrested this man no matter his skin color.”

    Remember the only evidence we had was the officer’s testimony about what happened. Other than the knife that was shown to be dull in court and probably not a threat to anyone, something that most people are ignoring. And it’s a pocket knife.

    “The defendant was wandering at night, looked as if he was “casing the joint” (storage unit), had a concealed weapon while on probation.”

    That’s again the officer’s claim. Is that what actually happened or is that his justification for stopping and then arresting the man.

    “Are you really arguing the police officer had no articulable legal reason to stop this man?”

    If he’s accurate about what happened, then he has a reason to stop the man.

    “I’m curious, what was the racial make-up of the jury?”

    I didn’t see the jury for that long, but from what I did see it looked like a typical Yolo County jury, mostly white, with a few people from eastern Asian countries and perhaps an Hispanic or two.

    “Also, are you saying the jury was absolutely wrong – there is no way they should have come up w a guilty verdict? “

    I think there was reasonable doubt which is why the jury hung, I think the Judge should have accepted the hang rather than push people to make a decision which they had not come to after two days of deliberation. I think that created an artificial verdict because people were pressured and wanted to go home.

  19. David M. Greenwald

    Rusty: I think biddlin asks the appropriate question. Would the officer have arrested the white person with a knife under those circumstances. To me, I can see a stop there more than I can see an arrest and a crime. It’s not as though the man exhibited aggressive behavior and he admitted he had a knife on him when searched. To me that indicates he did not have any intention to harm the officer.

  20. tansey thomas

    It is unbelievable to me that suposedly educated civilized people would expect a diagnosed mentally ill person to behave in a reasonable way. So mental illness is criminal behaviour or possesed by demons? Law enforcement in America is in the dark ages.

  21. biddlin

    tansey thomas- Especially disturbing is the fact that, according to NIMH, 26% of Americans will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. The cases we read about in the news of the mentally ill being killed by police in northern California should be more than sufficient cause to improve training for all public safety personnel and increase the public’s awareness as well. We should expect our police officers to act in a humane and reasonable manner to all with whom they have contact. We should demand that our judges act with such reason and humanity.

  22. rusty49

    Yeah all you lefties are right, how dare that officer arrest someone who’s walking around aimlessly in the middle of the night with an open knife in his backpack who has a criminal record and is on searchable probation. Sounds like Nazi Germany all over again.

  23. biddlin

    rusty49-I’m not sure how being in favor of civility and against totalitarian authority makes one a lefty. Perhaps you could illuminate me. By the officer’s own account, the defendant told him about the knife, which was in his jacket pocket according to the story, behind a 24oz beer. The officer removed the beer and then the knife, apparently without resistance from the defendant. The knife represented no threat at that time. The fact that the officer omitted mentioning the beer can in his report, along with the absence of video or audio of the encounter calls the officers veracity into question, as does this question and response;Mr. Mueller asked Officer Bellamy on the stand, “What would you have done if Mr. Carter had ignored you?”
    Officer Bellamy replied, “He could have walked away.” If you believe that, I need your help in claiming my Tongan lottery winnings.

  24. Superfluous Man

    “It was at this point that Mr. Carter, walking around confused and out of place as a black man in Davis, encountered Officer Sean Bellamy of the Davis Police Department.”

    I have no doubt that racism and racial profiling/stereotyping play a role-depending on the region, department and particular law enforcement officer-in how “justice” is carried out or how law enforcement officers execute their duties. However, we know the defendant is black, but we (or at least I) don’t know how he was dressed (ripped clothing w/the appearance of blood on them), how he was acting (was he yelling at the top of his lungs and swinging at the air) or if he was walking in manner that could place himself and others in danger (ie-not able to walk, which could cause him to fall or stumble into the street)?

    Was he just walking merrily along, exhibiting no signs or symptoms of someone who may need the assistance of the officer or medical personnel, for his own safety? Was he acting suspiciously? Does it matter at all how he was behaving, in this case? But, I digress; Officer Bellamy can lawfully contact a person on the street for whatever reason (ie “can I talk to you for a second”), which is what he claims took place at the outset (ie consensual contact.) He cannot detain a person for no reason, but he can ask someone to speak with him.

    The “problem” is that most people, by my estimation, don’t know or can’t tell the difference between a detention and consensual contact. What’s more, many think they do not have the option to decline to speak to, walk away from or end the contact with the officer, in the context of a consensual encounter.

  25. Superfluous Man

    “He also questioned Officer Bellamy’s conduct during the contact implying that he made it a point not to contact in front of the police vehicle.”

    What is it that prompted the defense to allude to the possibility that Officer Bellamy made a conscious effort to contact the defendant at the side or rear of his vehicle and not the front? Did the officer take the defendant away from the front of the vehicle so as to conduct his investigation and/or search off camera? Does protocol dictate that the contact and subsequent search be made at the front of the vehicle, on camera?

    “…Public Defender Davis Mueller argued…”

    Just for the sake of accuracy, his name is David Muller.

    “One of the interesting points here was that the defense argued that Mr. Carter has the presumption of innocence. However, the DA argued that ‘once evidence is given, that eliminates the presumption of innocence.’”

    So, if there is any corroborating evidence, the defendant no longer has the presumption of innocence? Just because the government charges a person and has produced ‘evidence,’ the defendant is no longer presumed innocent and the government no longer has the burden of proof? Evidence alone sufficiently eliminates the presumption of innocence and implicates guilt?

    “The DA argued that Mr. Carter knew there was a knife in his pocket because he put the beer can in his pocket and the beer can was cold. Moreover he told the officer he had a knife.”

    How does the beer can being cold strengthen the DDA’s argument?

    “Mr. Mueller and the DA approached Judge Warriner and the DA pointed at Mr. Mueller and was overheard telling the judge that “he’s lying about the law.”

    Are you suggesting the jury overheard the DDA claim the defense was being less than forthright about the applicable law and that perhaps this influenced their decision? Were you unable to get the name of the DDA arguing this case? I only ask because he or she is the only actor whose name is not mentioned.

    “Was this a textbook Terry Stop or was it as the defense claims, racial profiling? That is a question perhaps that we need to ponder.”

    As I mentioned before, a law enforcement officer can ask to speak with anyone in a public space or street without a reason. As long as that contact does not move to detention, without articulable suspicion, it’s a lawful contact. If there is a disparity in the contacts this officer has made, in that certain races and ethnic groups are overrepresented with no good reason as to why, then maybe that’s something his superiors should look into.

  26. Superfluous Man

    Yeah all you lefties are right, how dare that officer arrest someone who’s walking around aimlessly in the middle of the night with an open knife in his backpack who has a criminal record and is on searchable probation. Sounds like Nazi Germany all over again.

    What does the political left or right have to do with this case?

  27. Superfluous Man

    Other than the knife that was shown to be dull in court and probably not a threat to anyone, something that most people are ignoring. And it’s a pocket knife.

    Does the law differentiate between a dull knife and a sharp one? Do they pose separate threats?

    So, it was a folding knife? How long was the blade?

  28. civil discourse

    Unfortunately, if you carry a pocketknife in the open position in a concealed manner (in a pocket) then it appears you are breaking the law.

    The beer can seems a bit of a stretch. Two items in a pocket doesn’t necessarily mean one is not “readily available”- the fact is, the knife was open and it was “concealed”

    The dull tip also has nothing to do with it. How dull is dull enough?
    http://www.justia.com/criminal/docs/calcrim/2500/2501.html

    I think the dude was just unlucky, to be honest. Not sure he deserves prison time- obviously he lacked intent to harm- but he was carrying a concealed weapon as defined. My friend got busted for carrying a baseball bat under his seat. Officer said it had to be on the seat and visible. I haven’t forgotten that.

    So, I guess the take home message is wear your knives on your belt.

    As far as walking while being Black, it sounds to me like the guy had no problem being approached. If he had known his rights, he could have pressed his luck, refused to be searched, and asked what cause the officer had. Then once the incident passed, he could have folded up his knife and thanked the stars for not being caught.

    Instead, he submitted to the officer and was unlucky since his trusty pocketknife was open. Bummer for him.

    There is probably more potential for harm with a gun in a high schooler’s car, than with a dull pocketknife in a lost fellows pocket. But what can you do? The law is pretty clear.

    It is even possible that the racism charge made things worse overall. Maybe the lawyer should have just admitted the mistake with the knife, and gone for sympathy for the poor man.

  29. Fight Against Injustice

    There are two big issues here that people are missing.

    1. Whether the police should have pulled this guy over or not is not really the issue. Police should check out anything that looks suspicious. The issue is how did this escalate to a trial. Once the police learned about this person’s background, why wasn’t this man taken back to the mental institution or have some responsible party pick him up. Why is jail the best alternative?

    2. The jury took longer in deliberation than the entire trial, and then they came back with a split decision. Rather than have a hung trial, the judge did two things we should discuss. First, he allowed the prosecutor to call the defense attorney a liar in front of the jury. (This is where the attorney was overheard saying that the defense lied about the law). The judge should have addressed this to the jury and said to ignore that, but instead, the judge did not which gives the jury the impression that the defense has lied. Second, the judge pushed the jury back into deliberation, and they returned immediately with a guilty verdict. Did the judge’s attitude push the jury into getting a guilty verdict?

  30. E Roberts Musser

    sm: “How does the beer can being cold strengthen the DDA’s argument?”

    The only thing I could think of is the DDA was trying to show the defendant quickly placed the beer can just purchased in front of the knife to hide it. It counters the defense argument that the beer can had been in front of the knife all along, so the knife was never intended as a concealed weapon. Oh the subtle nuances of trial work…

  31. Superfluous Man

    “The only thing I could think of is the DDA was trying to show the defendant quickly placed the beer can just purchased in front of the knife to hide it.”

    With the intention of ‘hiding’ the knife or as a result of the beer being cold, he hastily placed the beer in his pocket…which in turn ‘hid’ the knife? How can the DDA prove the defendant “knew” where the knife was located, how heavily medicated was the defendant? Did the officer’s report indicate that the beer was cold, because I’ve retrieved warm beverages from coolers many times.

    The cold beer can argument is pretty lame. Seriously, what does it being cold have to do with his intent?

    “It counters the defense argument that the beer can had been in front of the knife all along, so the knife was never intended as a concealed weapon. Oh the subtle nuances of trial work…”

    I must be missing something, what difference does it make when the cold beer was placed in his pocket and in front of the knife. Obviously, at some point after he purchased that beer, he put it in his pocket in such a way that the beer needed to be manipulated in order for the officer to reach the knife.

  32. Superfluous Man

    FIA,

    “Whether the police should have pulled this guy over or not is not really the issue.”

    Well, it shouldn’t be, because the defendant was not “pulled over.” The nature of the contact was “consensual.”

    “First, he allowed the prosecutor to call the defense attorney a liar in front of the jury. (This is where the attorney was overheard saying that the defense lied about the law).”

    Did the judge “allow” the DDA to claim that? Do we know he didn’t instruct the jury to disregard what the DDA said? Also, as far as I can tell, nothing in the article indicates that the jury did in fact overhear what the DDA said about the defense attorney.

  33. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “He would be charged and eventually convicted of carrying a concealed dirk…”

    To superflous man: The defendant was charged with carrying a CONCEALED weapon. So obviously the DDA has to prove CONCEALMENT – which I take to mean “hiding” the weapon out of sight. If the DDA presents evidence the beer can was cold, the DDA might convince the jury the defendant quickly placed the cold beer in his pocket to hide the weapon as the police approached (especially bc he was a parolee), to damage the credibility of any story the defendant put forth that the beer can had been in his pocket for a while in front of the knife which he had forgotten was there. Now mind you, I’m not saying this is strong evidence – as you point out it could just as easily be argued the guy didn’t want to hold on to a cold beer so put it in his pocktet to warm up (but that isn’t all that plausible either – is it really hard to hold onto a cold beer can? People do it all the time!)

  34. indigorocks

    “rusty49-I’m not sure how being in favor of civility and against totalitarian authority makes one a lefty.”
    Biddin, I’m a liberal lefty and am against totalitarian authority, whether it comes from the LEFT or the RIGHT, and the officer’s actions were NOT totalitarian. He was doing his JOB and he did it WELL. The man was suspicious, walking around on meds, drinking, and yes probably casing the joint.
    Calling every act by law enforcement a “totalitarian” act is totalitarian in itself.
    Yesterday, two latino/black males were arrested on J street for a home invasion. In fact there has been a string of home invasions in the past two weeks. The same people were shooting guns in their back yard. Should they have not been arrested for their actions or should the police not have investigated the shootng incident for fear of being called “totalitarian”?
    what about MY rights as a law abiding citizen who wants to be safe in my house?
    Did you know that recently there was a home invasion where two black males, and two latino males held a woman up at gun point in her own home while they stole from her?
    give me a break with your knee jerk left wing reaction.
    it’s lefties like you that make it embarrassing to be politically or ideologically affiliated with you.
    good god what an embarrassment

  35. indigorocks

    and David, you need to stop calling the officer a liar. Everything he says is a lie to you.
    you’re alleging that the officer was fabricating his report. there are some serious implications to calling cops a liar. if you can’t back it up, don’t say it David

  36. Superfluous Man

    “The defendant was charged with carrying a CONCEALED weapon. So obviously the DDA has to prove CONCEALMENT – which I take to mean “hiding” the weapon out of sight”

    I don’t think that the beer can being in his pocket is a necessary element to be met (proved) to find the defendant liable for carrying a concealed weapon. Clearly, the “dirk” was on his person, but was he “knowingly” carrying the dirk? I don’t see how the beer being cold helps the DDA prove his case that the element of “knowing” was present.

    I can see the argument making a little more sense this way: he knew the knife was in his pocket because he had to manipulate the knife in such a way so that both knife and beer could fit in the same pocket. Was there a surveillance video of this, I wonder? Was the beer in a bag?

    “the DDA might convince the jury the defendant quickly placed the cold beer in his pocket to hide the weapon as the police approached”

    Sure, that makes sense that the defendant would do that, still not relevant to the crime, as I see it.

    “as you point out it could just as easily be argued the guy didn’t want to hold on to a cold beer so put it in his pocktet to warm up”

    Who in their right mind would want to warm their beer up…evidence of the defendant’s state of mind right there.

  37. Superfluous Man

    Indigo,

    “you’re alleging that the officer was fabricating his report. there are some serious implications to calling cops a liar”

    I don’t think David alleged as much anywhere in this piece, did he? Maybe you meant to say he suggested that the officer was not being candid in his report?

  38. biddlin

    indigorocks-I never said every act of law enforcement is totalitarian. I do think that this officer’s actions are highly suspect. I must also observe that you bring two entirely unrelated incidents into the discussion, pointedly stating the race of the suspects. What conclusion can be drawn from this other than that you are afraid of minorities and want the police to protect you even at the cost of others’ civil liberties? Who is an embarrassment to the left?

  39. Primoris

    SM, indicated: [quote]Who in their right mind would want to warm their beer up…evidence of the defendant’s state of mind right there.
    [/quote]

    Try people in Germany, Mexico, and other parts of our world?

  40. Primoris

    SM, [quote]Indigo,”you’re alleging that the officer was fabricating his report. there are some serious implications to calling cops a liar”

    I don’t think David alleged as much anywhere in this piece, did he? Maybe you meant to say he suggested that the officer was not being candid in his report? [/quote]

    No, but David a mis-identifies a legal term of art, by asserting Terry [V. Ohio] stop when the matter is clearly a consensual contact or perhaps someother contact?

    It’s too bad the Investigative Eye does NOT write into the “story” whether or not the contactee was trespassing.

    At this time I’ve got to run, but will return later.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    “No, but David a mis-identifies a legal term of art, by asserting Terry [V. Ohio] stop when the matter is clearly a consensual contact or perhaps someother contact?”

    That came from my conversation with Chief Black, but I do think you’re right.

  42. Superfluous Man

    Primoris,

    “Try people in Germany, Mexico, and other parts of our world? “

    Ahhh…I guess my jocularity is lost on you. You are correct, many people enjoy a frothy warm mug of suds in America and abroad.

    “No, but David a mis-identifies a legal term of art, by asserting Terry [V. Ohio] stop when the matter is clearly a consensual contact or perhaps someother contact?”

    Agreed.

    “It’s too bad the Investigative Eye does NOT write into the “story” whether or not the contactee was trespassing.”

    I gathered he was not trespassing, but peering into a fenced area from the public street/sidewalk.

    “At this time I’ve got to run, but will return later.”

    Thanks for the heads up?

  43. Superfluous Man

    David,

    “That came from my conversation with Chief Black, but I do think you’re right.”

    Why would he bring that up, just to explain what it is? Did Chief Black believe the officer’s contact with the defendant was a “Terry stop?”

  44. Primoris

    [quote]I gathered he was not trespassing, but peering into a fenced area from the public street/sidewalk. [/quote]

    Great, and the primary reason your original “story” did not indicate such is?

  45. Primoris

    DG wrote;[quote] The problem is that we know what the Officer’s story was here, he looked suspicious[/quote]

    Interesting how some are conclusory when it comes to the officer’s actions. Defendants are presumed innocent, but that standard is not provided to officers?

  46. biddlin

    Primoris-That’s why Internal Affairs exists. Most public employees are subject to an arbitrary proceeding known as “fact finding.” They are called into an office by a superior, read a statement similar to,” You are going to be asked some questions. You must answer each completely and truthfully. Failure to answer a question may result in discipline up to and including termination.” Then, frequently without representation of any kind, the employee is read an anonymous charge or account of an incident and questioned. Then they are told not to speak with anyone about the meeting under the same threat of penalties. Just part of the gravy train public employees ride.

  47. Primoris

    [quote]Most public employees are subject to an arbitrary proceeding known as “fact finding…[/quote]

    Your reply is humorous at best. Permit me to assist you biddlin.

    Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act

    Government Code Sections 3300-3312

    Ever hear of Garrity Rights or the Lybarger Rule, for starters?

    As an aside, if you are seriously interested in knowing more try reviewing DPD’s policy on Complaints against officers (I’m sure it’s akin to most depts.). What you’ll find is a protocol that is quite distinct from your humorous portrayal.

  48. biddlin

    Primoris-Thanks for your thoughtful response. The code sections and rules you cite principally refer to protection of peace officers and by extension, other public employees, from self incrimination in criminal proceedings, not administrative. Of course, I have the advantage of real experience in this matter, and appreciate the opportunity to illuminate you.

  49. Primoris

    biddlin, You are welcome, but govt code section 3300 et seq applies to non-safety personnel?

    Comment: With your real experience I find it puzzling that your post seemed to indicate otherwise cf “arbitrary proceeding.”

    And do I understand you correctly to mean that the codes do not apply in non-criminal investigations, is that what you mean, truly?

  50. biddlin

    Primoris- I’m not an attorney, but my understanding of the codes you bring to the discussion is that they insure a cop’s right to wear a US flag pin on the job, the right to run for political office, and specifically relevant to my point, answers and statements made during an administrative “fact finding” may not be used to undermine the protection against self incrimination granted under the fifth amendment to the US constitution. At least in California, they have been extended to include most public employees, or so I have been informed on the several occasions that I have been required to participate in such proceedings.

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