Monday, April 25, 2011 – Week 2 thru Conclusion
The primary reason for this coverage being as in-depth as it is, is that if someone wanted to be there and could not, or thinks either the City and Police, or the Water Man is being treated unfairly, my account even gives you more evidence than the jury gets. So, read it, and you decide. I do not want any Rodney King riots around here.
I so far see a fair trial, but it has been all Plaintiff, as the Defense has just begun its case. I also see some really interesting things that it is too early to point out.
I am trying to become a daily newspaper, and this is proving to be impossible. A homeless person named Wayne, who lived across the street from San Diego City Hall was found dead this morning from exposure, on 3rd and C Streets. With the Water Man tied up at the trial, there is currently no one to do the funeral.
Ross, or as an alternative myself, is due to give a speech to the San Diego City Council tomorrow, and neither can do that. Starving people in Tijuana that I feed are having problems right now, as I needed the money to print the paper edition of the San Diego Homeless News, Extra Edition, which came out this weekend.
There have been misspellings, including of names, not yet corrected, as well as typographical errors. I am operating without a Copy Desk, plus without a Copy Editor.
Coverage today, first witness is Officer Noe Cordero, 11 years with the police, lots of experience around the Neal Good Center, and knows Dave Ross. He says it is pleasant to talk to Ross, and he never told him to park or not to park where he does.
He was part of the Cover Now request, where McLaughlin wanted backup, and responded, going the wrong way on 17th St., with his lights and siren.
He observed agitated people, McLaughlin dealing with a man, 10 people around the car of Mr. Ross. Ross was laying on the curb, next to his car. He asked Ross what happened, and Ross appeared to be injured. He was surprised to see him on the ground.
Asked if he had ever seen Ross angry or agitated, he said no. He insisted on calling paramedics for Ross. He was ordered to go to the hospital for further investigation.
He explained in cross-examination that Cover Now is an emergency. He admitted that there were a lot of drugs and homeless people in that area. Asked if he investigates when told there are drugs there, he said that they were encouraged to do so, but not required to do so.
Asked if he would try to grab a fleeing person when there on a drug tip, he would, but would first set it all up with other units, before arrival.
Next, a new video of Myron Hill, who on this tape looks clean, nice, presentable, talks coherently, and it was taped the same day as the other tape? Is this the same man?
He says police officers came up on Ross’ car and were standing behind him. He said to the officer, “What seems to be the problem?”, and the officer went into a “crazy rage”. Then he was on the ground, dazed, and the only thing I remember was being slammed into the wall.
Ross was sitting on his trunk and said “Why are you doing that to him?” He said that Officer McLaughlin grabbed Ross in an aggressive way. He asked Ross to get up, but he was hurt. The officer was very angry, and told Ross to get up 3 times.
Hill said his back and head hurt from being slammed, and he went to the Logan Clinic and was given aspirin and motrim. He saw the doctor, and says he now gets headaches, but never did before that incident. There was some talk about his ticket for interference with police, but that was dismissed.
Next, Roger Clark, who is a police lieutenant and expert witness. He is a retired Los Angeles County Sheriff Department lieutenant, with 27 years on the force. He works now as a consultant on police administration, investigations, tactics, training, and custody procedures. He spent much of his time as a field Sargeant and a Custody Instructor.
He described police training as a thorough process, with a lot of repeating so as to stick things in “muscle memory”. Heavy rold-playing, acting, every situation. Interactive videos, movie sets, very complex and sophisticated training. Every officer must react accordingly and properly.
He spoke of POST, Peace Officer Standards of Training, which requires certification in 42 learning skills and is required of every police department in the United States. Classroom work is 660 hours, plus hundreds of hours of field training. This involves a use of the Force Learning Skills book. The reason POST is nationwide is so that if officers from different jurisdictions, such as 2 different cities or county and state work together, each one understands the exact same procedures. Police receive training updates every two years for 24 additional hours.
There are evaluations of all officer decisions on tests, to see if those decisions are reasonable. He listed about a dozen different training documents that he felt had bearing upon the case. He said that all police contacat and encounters had to be either Consensual, involve Reasonable Suspicion, or Probable Cause.
POST, the police training and behavior standards, speaks of professional ethics, and public trust. Police and citizens are the same people, not 2 different classes working for a dictator. The military model of police is unacceptable. This is policing citizens by citizens. Police behavior must not be absurd, and the public must be confident in them.
He noted that the Golden Rule, which is either “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You” or “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” is the primary rule of police work. He said police reports are closely related to ethics.
A false report is a crime, and often an officer wants to change their report to get out of trouble. The two extraordinary powers the police have are to arrest and to use deadly force. These powers stem from the consent of the people, and must be used with care and restraint.
Did the police in any given incident use care and restraint? Community policing teaches tactical communications, also called verbal judo. Nearly all policing is done by mere officer presence, plus the correct verbal skills. Officers using those verbal skills must continually make assessments and judge responses. Does the suspect understand the command? Do they speak another language? Do they have an emotional problem? Any anxiety or intoxication?
Then the officer must focus on that impairment, for effective communication. People get anxious when being held by or talking to police. That is expected, and part of professional conduct.
Community policing also says that there is a need to enforce the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law, and the penal code demands this discretion. Police must never get the mentality that they are different from those they protect. Police are a part of the community, not part of an occupying force, and must exercise fairness.
The laws of arrest require a lawful foundation for any police action. The 3 levels are as follows: Consent, which means that permission has been given for the officer to interact, and consent is never to drive this interaction to a higher level. The person has the right to refuse.
Second level, reasonable suspicion, which means that there might be criminal activity here, and this person may be involved. They may then be temporarily detained, but must be dealt with as quickly as possible, questioned, and may be patted down.
The highest level is probable cause, which says that it is highly likely that a crime has been committed and likely that this is the person.
Actions may never elevate consent involvement to detention, and may not be the engine of reasonable suspicion. So, might there be drug sales? So upon seeing water being given away, and no drug sales, there was no foundation for any further police action.
If the police wanted Hill out of the street they must give him time for compliance, and must be low-profile and not confrontational. Communications in a nice way produces compliance almost all the time, but with improper commands or disrespect, the military barking of orders, this sets the downward spiral in motion.
There are consequences from unreasonable force, which consists of the parameters of type, degree, and duration. So, type baton, degree four blows, and duration two minutes. Was unreasonable forced used? Yes. Only verbal skills were necessary.
Imporant to note that people have a RIGHT to EXPRESS and RESIST VERBALLY. If the force used was unreasonable, they may lawfully resist and interfere with same. This is very significant, and is both the law and police expected behavior.
Patrol technique involves tactics, and there are consequences resulting from incorrect tactics. One officer is called the contact officer, and does all functions of contact, all the talking. The other officer, the cover officer, usually the trainer if in that situation, observes, watches, protects his partner, uses the radio, etc. Air attack concept of the wing man. In this case, McLaughlin is the cover officer and must avoid contact.
When McLaughlin grabs Hill, that changes the dynamic. Fatal error. People hurt. Impatience, intolerance, far too aggresive. The group was outraged because of having contempt for the behavior of the officer. He should have been impartial and professional.
The cultural aspects of a police department include values, attitudes, and beliefs. Often, the shortcuts which are actually personal prejudices, involve such awful statements as “I’m going to teach you what works.” or “Bend the rules.” This police curriculum evolved over decades. Another one is “What is said or done here goes nowhere.” That is, of course, the same thing as the Code of Silence, or Good Olde Boys, or Criminal Mentality. Every officer is taught to avoid this, and has a DUTY to intervene.
Asked about past testimony in court, he has been consulted in 700 cases, gave testimony or a deposition in 400, and been in 150 trials. He rejects many cases per week, and his professional standard is made by independent review of the facts of the case. If the officer did a reasonable job, he will not take the case. Police work is not easy. He is only interested in a case if something very different should have occurred.
He uses no advertising, no website, and never accepts a case without diligent investigation. He reviews and looks for things which violate POST standards or cannot be justified, such as excessive force. When it became apparent that there wer no narcotics, any further contact was consensual, so no force whatsoever was justified. If he was concerned for Hill, he should ASK. Placing his hand on Ross is the use of force, and not a consensual encounter, and that victimizes him. The use of force on Hill, Ross, and Britton are all separate issues, but all have the officer behavior as the cause of the problem. Officers mitigate solutions, not make things worse.
Continuation of Police Lieutenant Roger Clark, expert witness, from below. He says that the laws of arrest require first a lawful foundation for all police actions. Consent, provided that consent cannot drive the contact to a higher level; Reasonable Suspicion, the feeling that there may be criminal activity, and that this person may be involved (deal with them quickly when detaining, and may be questioned and patted down), finally Probable Cause, there is likely a crime that has been committed and this is likely the person.
He emphasizes that consent actions may never be elevated to detention. That is, they may not become the engine of reasonable suspicion. So, when McLaughlin saw there was no drug sales, there is no foundation for further police action. He said that the proper way to investigate a drug crime is to obtain crews of other officers to observe on the side and apprehend those fleeing. Then, stop the squad car in an offset position, behind the car of Ross but sticking out a little bit into traffic, with the blue lights of the squad on to warn traffic.
This creates a zone of safety in front of the squad car. He should have told Hill, who would then be inside that zone of safety, “We need to clear the street, so that traffic can proceed. Please step up to the sidewalk.” Asked about a reasonable time to comply, he said, “Well, it isn’t 5 seconds.” He said that the officer needs to be sure he is heard and understood. Then, if no compliance, a firm grip and escort the person to the sidewalk. This is part of “verbal judo”, the command in a nice but forceful way. “You are a hazard in the middle of the street, so go over there. I am no threat to you, and want to help you not get hit by a car. Understand?”
The one case for immediate arm-grabbing would be on a freeway. He also said that there is nothing in the police report that Hill interfered with traffic. As for Ross, he has a right to express his displeasure with police actions. Free Speech.
He was then asked about Penal Code 148, Interference With Police. He said that a verbal statement is not interference. Interference is usually physical, either by touching or by getting in the way. The arrest, detainment, or other action by the officer must also be reasonable and legal to begin with, without excessive force, for 148 to apply. It is also legal to interfere with police who are committing unlawful acts, including use of excessive force.
Ross angry, yelling, protesting, or even angering officers is legal, but police using excessive force is not. As far as inciting a riot, that must be intentional and encourage unlawful activity. McLaughlin had no reason to put his hands on Ross, as he was not non-compliant, not resistive, nor life-threatening.
Twisted logic, sometimes used by the police to justify their actions, creates different realities. Is this about narcotics? No, just a traffic issue. Is it urgent? No. Is it an emergency? Not. Five seconds for Hill to reply before he was engaged is not enough time for him to comply. Why not grab him right away if he refuses a police order? Police are obviously trying to make Hill angry by the way they treat him, then blame him for it. “Officers knew that they created the problem. No force was necessary here.”
He continues the following day, in separate testimony: Asked about POST police academy standards, he said that department policy may exceed those standards, but not fall below it. He compared David Ross to Father Joe Carroll, who retired recently, and ran Father Joe’s Villages, a Catholic charity (1-800-HOMELESS). He was asked if the woman running from police was Reasonable Suspicion, and he said not.
He was asked about the “No Parking 3 to 5 AM For Street Sweeping” signs, and said that if the whole area was no parking, a red curb, there would be no such signs. Those signs indicate there are some non-red curb areas which permit parking. He said that there is no red curb, nor curb at all, where Ross parked. Asked about it being illegal anyway, because of being a driveway, he replied that it used to be a driveway, but now there is none there, only a brick wall.
He complained that training officers in an area unknown by the trainer, who was new to the particular area, was a hazard. He does not know the area people, such as Mr. Ross. In Cross Examination, the Defense showed the “nasty” (gang member) photo of Hill, keeping it up on the screen a long time. Nobody pointed out the reverse order of the tapes shown to the jury. This is Hill now, not at the time of the event.
Remember what I said about the two tapes of Hill on April 7 could not possibly be the same man? One tape, shown first, is from April 7, 2011 , and Hill (photo in above paragraph) is very criminal in appearance. Defense is trying to make him look like that, a bad guy, at the time of the event. The other tape of Hill, also from April 7 but in 2009 , just after the event, shows a calm, nice, likeable guy, who helped Ross pass out bottles of water.
So, in the two years since the event, Hill went from being the nice helper of a missionary, a volunteer, to being a dope dealer in jail with gang tattoos, using gang talk, barely coherent, and obviously damaged from drugs. If that is what this event did to him, I think he has a damages claim in the millions. He is unfortunately, a real punk in the most recent video and pictures. Defense intentionally switched the first tape to last, the last tape to first, and now the gangster photo, who was not the man at the event. Am I the only one who noticed that?
Defense and the police are arguing that Penal Code 148, Interfering With Police, was violated by Ross, because one of the things it prohibits is “delaying police”. Clark pointed out that 148 does not apply at all if either excessive force is being used, which one police officer says it was, or improper police procedure was used, which is also almost certainly the case. At this point a lot of objections that the lawyer for the City of San Diego, John Riley, is continuously misquoting what people said.
Clark said that McLaughlin touching Ross provoked further confrontation, not mitigation. More objections that the City Attorney keeps putting things in his own words, misquoting witnesses. Jury caught that, but not the film clip reversal. Clark said that Ross should have been afraid of getting the same treatment as Hill, which he obviously did, and that Hill is no threat, as he is handcuffed and sitting on the curb. McLaughlin could walk over to Ross, but bringing Ross to the wall was incorrect procedure.
He said that, “Within the Police Force itself, as well as the Homeless Community, Mr. Ross is revered.” (In other words, attacking Ross is considered the same as attacking a police officer. The homeless will protect police and defend them, if necessary, until their backup can arrive. Under different circumstances, Marvin Britton may have been sent out to the street to protect McLaughlin from attack. In this case, Ross needed to be protected.)
City Attorney Riley suggested that there were “assaultive cues”, such as a man storming across the street, the exhibition of anger, heavy breathing, and getting to close to police work. A few feet of distance. Clark said that the officer was justified in pushing Britton away.
Riley said that the crowd management and control manual states that police “cannot allow an act to go unchecked”, and so were justified. Clark said that the statement refers to when the crowd itself does something, such as tears up a stadium. He said it is completely different when an officer starts a crowd conflict. There was discussion of the Rodney King riots, as Clark was one of the people involved in the cases. He said that this is all very different from that sort of thing.
Now the City Attorney goes back to the Use of Force Matrix, used by the San Diego Police. There are a few contradictions, and Clark states that many times he is involved in lawsuits against police departments, and their rules then change. There is some question of what constitutes resisting police, and Clark says, “When you are yanking on somebody and they tense up (referring to Hill) that is not resistance. Running away or trying to jerk free is.”
I should mention that I once wrote a letter (years ago) to the City of San Diego asking it to block off 17th Street, the scene, because the street is not needed, gets very little traffic, and the Neal Good Center is too small, so all sorts of pedestrian activity spills out onto the street. I also pointed out that there are no crosswalks nor traffic lights there.
Clark said that there must be a set of reasonable facts to justify this much force. None of this was necessary nor appropriate. City then asked him how much he charges, and he said $150 per hour, but $300 per hour for testimony. He has had a lot of cases against San Diego, and Riley asked him about other cases. He has been very busy and is also involved in a trial simultaneously across the street in Federal Court.
The day ends, Tuesday, with Clark saying, “There is no basis to use force against Mr. Ross. Only that force reasonable to overcome resistance may be used. Then, your Force Matrix may be used.” Clark testified in two installments, some Monday and more Tuesday, but I put both testimonies together for ease of understanding.
We now continue with Monday. New witness, Dr. Greenhill, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon 39 years, specializing in shoulder surgery. He handles 100 surgeries per year, or about 1000 the past ten years. He was trained by the University of California – San Diego, and teaches surgery to surgeons wishing to learn more advanced skills and techniques. He reviewed the medical records of Hill, to look into the possibility of neck and spine injuries from the incident. He said that Hill originally did not complain about some of his injuries until 5 months later.
He personally examined David Ross, who complained of shoulder pain, bruising, problems with consciousness, and head pain. He had a prior history of a torn rotator cuff, and had refused surgery for same. He had also a prior history of elbow and shoulder problems, and had PTSD prior to the incident.
In the lead pipe incident 4 years earlier, there was an arthrogram x-ray taken. Greenhill said that rotator cuffs never heal on their own, but only get worse forever and the tear gets bigger. He said that the event did not significantly worsen or re-injure the condition of Ross. He also said that nothing on the day of the event should worsen his ability to lift cases of water, except high above his shoulders. As far as tennis grip problems, he said that shoulder injuries involve different muscles and should have no impact on his grip.
As far as Hill, he said he sees no injury, except Hill was hit by a baseball bat previously, plus has a prior bullet wound. Regarding Britton, he finds that he had previous shoulder, hip, and back problems from military service
Asked what he charges, he gets $600 an hour for trials, and $800 an hour on examinations. He said that he is often used as the medical expert in cases involving San Diego City or County, about one trial a month for 6 years. He said the symptoms of Ross are consistent with a head concussion, but the rest may be old age, arthritis, or re-aggravation of previous medical conditions. Plaintiffs now rest.
Next witness is Gary Pence, traffic engineer for the City of San Diego. He is licensed as a Civil Engineer, and handles parking and traffic matters. With the City 21 years, he said that the curbs near Neal Good were painted red due to drugs being sold there. Note that in California, when a curb is painted red, it means that it is unlawful to park there at all, the same as a “No Parking At Any Time” sign in the rest of the world.
Photos were shown that the red paint on the curb by the Neal Good center was so faded that people may not have even been aware of it being red. Pence was also asked about a “No Parking 3 to 5 AM” sign, and asked why such a sign would appear on a Red Curb Zone, since there isn’t supposed to be any parking there in the first place. It would indicate that some places are not red, and it is okay to park there, except 3 to 5 AM for street sweeping.
He said that whether the driveway that Mr. Ross parks in is painted red or not, it is still a driveway, and therefore parking is illegal. The particular driveway had been abandoned as a driveway, and now connects the street to a brick wall.
Next, videos of David Ross, the Water Man, were shown, where he uses football “overhead pass” form to accurately throw water bottles. People and shopping carts were all over in the street, with luggage in the street, car doors open into the street, illegally parked cars, and an occasional passing car. Ross is also seen hugging his people.
New witness, Tom Musick, the private investigator who shot the above videos, working for San Diego and the police. He is licensed, with 36 years experience. His entire video is 52 minutes, but only about ten minutes was shown. In 30 years he has worked for the City of San Diego 15 times in 10 years. He spent 22 hours observing, and charges $65 an hour, $1430 total. He said he never observed David Ross at his tennis club.
Lots of disagreements as to jury instructions. Lots of forms available in lots of books, involving people injuring other people, or people injuring police, but none found for police injuring citizens. Will have to be custom-written, and both sides have until tomorrow to resolve this.
Next witness is Dr. Dominic Addario. He is a board-certified psychiatrist, M.D., trained at Reutgers, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Albany Medical Center (NY), and the Naval Hospital of San Diego. He was a Navy Commander, a part of the POW Refugee Project, and has practiced psychiatry for 36 years. He holds a full professorship at the University of California – San Diego.
He was asked the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a therapeutic social worker. He said that to become a psychiatrist requires becoming a Doctor of Medicine, plus 4 additional years in psychiatry. This is 12 years of college. Becoming a psychologist, which deals with behavior and illness but less so with drugs, requires 4 to 6 years and a Doctorate degree, a total of 8 to 10 years of college. A social worker spends one to three years after a 4 year degree to obtain an MSW degree, Master of Social Welfare. That is a total of 5 to 7 years of college.
Social workers are generally allowed to do therapy, counseling, and similar, but not allowed to prescribe drugs, diagnose medically, and there are other things that they are not allowed to do.
Dr. Addario said he examined all the medical, psychological, psychiatric, police, hospital, and legal documents related to Ross and Hill, whom he also examined. He spoke of the therapy of Terrell as being a valid one, often used by FBI and CIA. He saw Ross about a year ago, which is one year after the incident.
He gave a standard psychiatric interview, which lasted 2 hours. He said that Ross told him that he operated outside the Neil Good Center because he used to hand out water inside, but had a disagreement with them. He spoke of a series of warnings. He said that Ross has “admirable zeal, attachment, and love for the homeless.” He concludes that there were no psychiatric conditions either caused by, nor aggravated by, the incident.
He says that Ross has had a history of insomnia, depression, and has taken three times the average dose of Zanax, a drug similar to Valium, for his significant anxiety problem. He says Ross also has a significant personality disorder arising out of his strong ego, which he needs in order to survive his attacks and rough life. He has feelings that doing things his way works best, and despite good intentions ends up causing problems for others who are making the rules and giving orders.
He has been disruptive at the Neil Good Center, cited, asked to leave, and cited again for refusing to leave. His zeal causes him to place himself at risk. He rises above situations except this can end up becoming conflictual because of his being convinced that his way to do things is always right. He has a compulsive and narcissistic disorder. He also has anxiety and depression contributing to personality problems, all of which he had prior to the incident.
Addario says Ross does not have PTSD, because within a few days of the event, he was back to being his usual self. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder requires a horrifying, life threatening event, and that causes avoidance of things similar to that event, and avoidance of things which trigger memories of the event. He said that it is his anxiety disorder that causes any nightmares. He also said that the nightmares of Ross regarding being chased by uniformed individuals also included Boy Scouts. He said that patients can claim anything, especially in litigation. He said that his nightmares are related to all of the trauma in his life, going back to childhood.
Addario said that the testing done by Ross’ therapist is not significant to any one particular event, so that his stress levels may have doubled, but that does not tie same to this specific police incident. He said that Ross simultaneously had a family member ill, was coping with his previous attacks, and has had a history of Depression. So, the testing done by Terrell would tell him nothing. He also mentioned that Ross is around mentally ill people constantly, plus he has authority issues.
He said that Ross dropped out of treatment with Terrell, and that treatment was probably for Depression and Anxiety, not PTSD. He said that there were no serious problems caused by the event. “His committment to do his work was being threatened.”
Regarding Hill, Addario gave an MMPI and NCSI test, the standard tests for Depression, personality and thought disorders, and PTSD. They also have controls in them to see if someone is faking. Multiple-choice and computer-screened, there is no opportunity for someone diagnosing them to add any bias. He says Hill’s psychiatric condition is ongoing and preceded the event, and includes hyperactivity, substance abuse, psychotic experience, jail, and multiple work problems.
In cross-examination by Plaintiff’s attorney, he said Hill has had no PTSD, either before or after the incident. The disease lasts only 18 months and then goes away, but can be triggered again later in life by other events. Asked of Ross and Hill could get significant distress from the police event without actually triggering all of the conditions for full-blown PTSD, he said yes.
He was then asked if he knew there was a San Diego City Ordnance making it illegal to hand out free water. Many other questions were also asked, in an attempt to trip him into possibly giving information not from sources that he was provided with, as a sequestered witness, but maybe things like this account of the evidence and testimony. It did appear that Addario knew a few things that he should not have about the trial, so I was not surprised to see this line of questioning.
Breach of sequestration, if it occured, can be grounds for a mistrial, but I also think it may be grounds for impeachment of a witness. I have not read the Depositions, so I can only go by the type of questions being asked. I do not think the jury caught any of this, but if either they or a sequestered witness answers a question about something they are not supposed to know about, how did that happen?
Asked for his fees, he is getting $8,000, which is 20 hours at $400 an hour. He has worked for San Diego City on 6 cases in 10 years, but has also worked as the psychiatrist in cases opposing the City. He was asked about the Ross therapy with Terrell, only 14 sessions after the incident, “If someone were trying to cheat the City, would not they have had as many treatments as possible?”
We are now up to the last witness. My earlier statements about Myron Hill come to mind, the videos being shown in the reverse order. Fooled me at first, and the sneakiest thing done in the trial. The last witness is Elmer Pellegrino, 26 years with the Los Angeles Police Dept., retired 20 years ago. He headed the Officer Involved Shooting section for his last 9 years, and lectures nationwide on use of force and police tactics. He also assists the US State Department regarding hostage negotiations.
Pellegrino teaches at the Police Academy of Fullerton College, a 10 months instruction course for police officers, with over 1000 hours of training. Looking a bit like Kojak, he said POST is a workbook for teaching police officers, not a department guideline for incidents. He said stopping Ross was reasonable because of his illegal parking, and officers used only necessary and reasonable force. He said there was reasonable suspicion to detain Ross because of his illegally parked car. He said the treatment of Hill was acceptable, because he created a hazard and then interfered with an investigation. As far as Britton, he came at the officer quickly, was pushed back, and then arrested.
Asked about Probable Cause (to arrest), Reasonable Suspicion (to detain temporarily), and Consensual (voluntary) contact with police, he defines them about the same as the other police procedure expert witness, Clark. Asked about Passive Resistance, he says that applies to peaceful demonstrations, where demonstrators lock hands or chain themselves to buildings and refuse to move. Crowds who resist passively are to be handled with batons and control holds.
He said that Hill was actively resisting arrest, because his refusal to comply with the order of a police officer conveys with it a “threat or physical opposition to officer strength”. He said force used must be reasonable, but always based upon the type of force used against the officer. He said that McLaughlin could have used a lot more force and still been within the San Diego Police guidelines.
Next, the subject of Crowd Management and Control, which Pellegrino says deals only with riots and demonstrations. Police are to watch for overt acts, such as breaking a window, and then quickly arrest a perpetrator. He said that the event was not a riot situation. The other police procedure witness, Clark, testified that Crowd Control is about something that happens before police arrive, not as a result of their handling of a situation.
He was then asked that if Ross complained, would it not have been better to walk over and ask him what the problem was? He said Ross was resistant to being investigated, so he should be guided to the sidewalk, and that is a use of force. He gets $125 an hour for case reviews, twice that for trial testimony, and works almost exclusively for Defendants. He has turned down cases when he felt that officers acted improperly. Asked about Britton, he was asked if he had ever heard the term “assaultive cues”, and he had not. He said that the officer would have been justified in using a taser on Britton, but did not.
In Cross Examination, Attorney Scott Dreher compared Hill in the street to valet parking. You are in the street to get in your car, may have to wait to pay and pick up your keys, and how is this different from getting a bottle of water? Pellegrino replied that people were spilling into the street. He was then asked if it is routine that people “spill” into the street in La Jolla (San Diego’s “Beverly Hills”), and he said he has seen that. So, being in the street is only okay if you are wealthy? Otherwise, you get a ticket, or maybe even your head pounded against a brick wall?
He was then asked about having to summon 12 police officers and 2 paramedics to a scene was proper police procedure for illegal parking. He said that he did not know what was in Officer McLaughlin’s mind. He was asked about the delay between the drug tip and the officers investigating same, and said they may have been busy. He says that the mean tone of the officer was justified. He is then asked why the officers took no notes about the drug tip, implying that it was police “evidence” concocted to provide a reason for them to be there.
Asked if showing up an hour later, the drug sales are likely to still be going on, he said that in his neighborhoods of Los Angeles, drug sales are continuous. He admitted that the police patrol car should have had its flashing lights on, especially if they were concerned about the safety of people in the street, like Hill. He has no trouble with the police vehicle not being parked offset, sticking out just a little into traffic. He is then told by Dreher that San Diego has no City Ordinance about being in the street, only about specifically blocking traffic so that it has to stop or swerve out of the way, and no one anywhere mentions anyone doing that. So, Hill broke no law.
He was then asked the names of many witnesses that he read the Deposition of. He was asked why the story given by only one witness was different significantly from the rest, that of the officer being trained, Stephens. He was asked if it was routine for an officer to pad the truth to help out a superior officer, and he admitted it was. And, Dreher said, McLaughlin himself, along with everybody else except Stephens uses the word “grabbed” to refer to the treatment of Hill. Stephens says “touched”, and McLaughlin changed his next testimony to also use the word “touched”. What does someone changing their story generally mean to a police officer?
He said that police were justified in handling Ross, due to their illegal parking investigation, but had to admit that Ross was never cited for same. Then, the last piece of evidence in the trial, where Scott Dreher asked Officer Pellegrino about bunches and bunches of evidence, trial testimony, Depositions, and more. He kept going on with all of the information of the case, until he reached some that Pellegrino had never seen. Not only that, the information supported Dreher’s case, not the City. So, he asked the ultimate question. “Were you not provided with all of the case evidence, before giving this testimony?” He answered that he only received whatever he got from the City, his client.
End of testimony and evidence. I do not cover closing arguments, same being lies told by both sides, and there is not even a court record on what was said. I will give a full analysis, editorial comments, and the verdict, later. Anyone personally involved in the trial itself, not the incident but rather the courtroom (judge, jury, attorneys, police specialists, plaintiffs, defendants, etc.) is welcome to comment on anything, and will be published within length limits. I will not go to you, however, you e-mail me. All other comments may also be made by clicking the appropriate box on the publication page.
My comment that cannot wait is that one of the City lawyers used wording in this trial that would probably be considered grounds for disbarment in the State of Florida, which has hate crime and hate speech legislation regarding the homeless. I therefore do not identify this attorney, but did directly quote. My next installment will be an analysis, editorials, and the verdict.