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Author Topic: SR police getting sued  (Read 21706 times)

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Offline sway-

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SR police getting sued
« on: September 27, 2007, 05:11:36 AM »

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A former Fort Leonard Wood soldier has sued the St. Robert Police Department in federal court, claiming that injuries he suffered at the hands of St. Robert police in the parking lot of a nightclub forced him to retire from the Army on medical grounds and were a violation of his civil rights.

Filed on Sept. 14 by Paul X. Brown, formerly assigned to the Army Chemical School, the lawsuit came to the attention of Springfield media on Thursday. St. Robert City Administrator Norman Herren said Thursday afternoon that he hadn’t seen a copy of the lawsuit and couldn’t comment. Brown’s local attorney, David Steelman in Rolla, did not return a call requesting comment.
St. Robert Police Chief Curtis Curenton, who was not serving as chief at the time of the parking lot altercation in September 2005 and is not named in the lawsuit, said Monday that he’s been advised by legal counsel not to comment on the merits of the case.

However, Curenton said the department’s side of the case hasn’t yet been told.

“I do feel confident that once all the facts are out, the story will be a little bit different than what you might be printing now,” Curenton said.
Curenton, whose father is African-American, said he wasn’t happy about allegations that his department is racially biased. The deparment’s assistant chief is a Hispanic woman; other officers include a second African-American officer and an officer who is part- Native American. Several road officers are also female, he said.

“I think we have the best culturally diverse makeup of any of the departments in Pulaski County,” Curenton said.

According to legal documents filed in Springfield, Brown and his wife are suing former Police Chief William Mitchell and three St. Robert officers, Bryant A. Murphy, Jayme D. Gettis and Chris Young, as well as the police department, the city, and other unnamed officers.
Brown alleges in his lawsuit that after completing a 14-month tour in Iraq, he was assigned to Fort Leonard Wood to attend the Army Chemical School and had been serving 17 years on active duty and in the National Guard. Now medically disabled, he lives in Waynesville.

After visiting a St. Robert nightclub on Sept. 18, 2005, “Brown and other soldiers stationed at Fort Leonard Wood were in the parking lot preparing to return to their base,” according to the lawsuit.

“Brown and other soldiers witnessed Spec. Vanetta Marino in the parking lot near her vehicle. With Marino was Sgt. James Riddick, who was making a pass at Marino and who attempted to grab her and/or get in her car,” according to the lawsuit. “Spec. Michael Kelly, who had witnesses the events in the parking lot, intervened on Marino’s behalf, asking Riddick to leavre. When Riddick once again refused to leave Marino alone, Kelly began to physically remove Riddick away from Marino. Riddick became visibly upset by Kelly’s efforts to remove him from Marino’s presence and was about to hit Kelly when Brown, who also had witnessed what had transpired, intervened by pushing Kelly behind him to prevent Riddick from hitting Kelly. Brown attempted to calm Riddick, telling him he needed to leave and allow Marino to get in her car. Instead of leaving, Riddick repeatedly attempted to come at both Brown and Marino. In an effort to protect himself and Marino from the visibly angry Riddick, Brown grabbed Riddick in the chest area and pushed Riddick away from Brown and Marino.”
That attempt to stop an altercation between a male sergeant and a junior enlisted female attracted police attention. St. Robert’s police officers routinely patrol local nightclubs around closing time to intercept potential drunk drivers and prevent fights, and were patrolling that night.

Brown was grabbed from behind by an unknown officer of the St. Robert Police Department and placed on Marino’s car, according to the lawsuit, where he was prevented by officers from explaining his role in defending Kelly and Marino from Riddick. Officers swore at Brown, threatened to mace him if he kept talking, and he was maced by Sgt. Jayme Gettis (now Lt. Gettis) when Brown “persisted in attempting to explain the situation.”

The mace spray caused Brown to “push up” from the car and he involuntarily covered his face as a reaction to the Mace, Brown claimed in the lawsuit. That led to a serious injury.
“After pushing up from the car, Brown was struck hard by an unknown officer in his upper body, and Murphy swept-kicked him in the back of the knee to tackle him to the ground,” according to the lawsuit. “Brown lost consciousness. Upon information and belief, Brown fell face forward onto the ground because when he regained consciousness, he was face-down on the ground in handcuffs, even though he had done nothing wrong. As Brown was regaining consciousness, the handcuffs were removed from his wrists and he was told by an unknown officer that he should not move because he was hurt and that an ambulance was coming.”

Brown’s lawsuit claims he never resisted the officers and “simply attempted to explain the situation to the officers” in the parking lot. That’s a key point to his lawsuit and the core of his defense against three citations for disturbing the peace by allegedly striking Riddick, failing to comply with law enforcement directions and resisting arrest.

“During the course of the incident at issue, Brown was never told by any of the officers that he was under arrest,” according to the lawsuit. “In fact, when inquiry was made as to Brown’s status as Fort Leonard Wood Hospital prepared to release him for transfer to the University of Missouri Columbia Hospital due to the extent of his injury, Fort Leonard Wood Hospital was advised that Brown had not been detained or arrested by the officers at the scene.”
Injuries sustained by Brown include a dislocated right knee, damage to all four ligaments that stabilize the knee, damage to the artery and nerve that control motion to the front of the foot, and a separate injury to his left arm, according to the lawsuit. Brown’s lawsuit claims that the injuries caused him to seek disability retirement from the Army after only 13 years of active duty, drawing substantially less retirement pay than he would have received if he had retired after the standard 20 years of service.

The lawsuit claims City Attorney Christy Bohrer refused to make an offer or recommendation to settle the city charges “due to the defendant’s interest in filing suit against the city.” Nothing happened with those charges for nearly two years, but on July 9 of this year, Brown was acquitted in municipal court on disturbing the peace and failure to comply charges but convicted on the resisting arrest charge; Brown has appealed that conviction to the Associate Circuit Court of Pulaski County for a “trial de novo,” which would require the city to prove its charges all over again.

Other allegations in the lawsuit include that St. Robert police “acting under color of law, conspired together and amongst themselves and reached a mutual understanding to take a course of action that violated Brown’s civil rights” by using excessive force, failing to intercede when the other officers were assaulting Brown, “conspired to ignore the policies and procedures” of the police department and city, and “prepared a false report regarding the incident so as to cover it up.” Those actions led to further cover-up attempts and false charges being filed, Brown claims.
The officers “failed to report the unauthorized use of force against Brown to the internal affairs division or other supervisory or command personnel,” Brown claims in his lawsuit, but he also claims it might have made little difference because “such conduct is so pervasive in the department and/or city and is so effective to insulate law enforcement personnel from sanction, civil, criminal or departmental” that the defendants “felt free to engage in the misconduct as aforedescribed, without any fear of sanction or retribution.”

According to the lawsuit, St. Robert police and city officials have “customs, practices and usages that are so pervasive that they constitute the policies” of St. Robert, causing them to use excessive force, “assault and batter citizens while being questioned,” ignore city policy, fail to write reports or write false reports, file false charges, fail to adequately train police, and to “negligently retain employees” who have violated city policies.

The lawsuit doesn’t ask for a specific amount of money damages, but repeatedly claims that Brown and his wife suffered physical injury and emotional pain and suffering because Brown had to retire from the Army early and forfeit his full retirement benefits. It also asks for punitive damages and for attorney’s fees.
 
 
I hope this guy wins!SR had this coming this islong over due!
Addiciting and expensive just like cocaine

Offline cayteaka

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2007, 06:23:29 AM »
As St. Robert Police department has yet to respond, I wonder why you are quick to judge with only having half the story printed.

Offline mommyto2boys

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2007, 02:28:03 PM »
Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to judge as to why Ms. Bohrer is leaving.  It has nothing to do with the case.

Offline qqqq

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2007, 02:34:57 PM »
I was under the impression that Ms. Bohrer was leaving because she was getting married,  why would people think it has anything to do with this case?

Offline kbohon

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2007, 02:42:12 PM »
I wouldn't tie that together, either. But I also wouldn't agree with Sway. The way it sounds to me is that Brown saw something that didn't involve him but decided to step in anyway. Instead of calming the situation, he escalated it. Then when the police came and he was "explaining" and they told him to stop, he didn't. I would guess that they told him more than once, since they probably would not have threatened mace the very first time they asked him, and he continued to see himself as all-important and got sprayed so that they could retain control of a situation involving two to three angry males under the influence of alcohol and one not responding to direct orders.
 
That's all the police did was spray him. Yet he STILL jumps up, hurts himself in the process, and wants the city to use our dollars to pay him a settlement for it.  &^&**(
Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

Offline Coyote

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2007, 02:48:04 PM »
Did I "judge?"  WoW...it was only a guess...an opinion....a thought.  And personally I don't think a bunch of cops should have broke a guys leg because he was talking.  I think they are (or should be) trained better than that.  That was criminal on their part.
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Offline BigRedHouse

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2007, 02:54:39 PM »
If his injuries were that bad that they made him retire then he should be getting paid a nice bit of change. Even normal retirement isn't really enough to retire on.  With all of the things the Army is doing to keep soldiers in to keep numbers up, he could have done the rest of his time and got a full retirement, and still claimed his injury at his retirement physical.  The Army has fixed my knees more than once and I made it through 20.  The chemical Corps (unlike the infantry)isn't known for walking ....they usually ride to the location they have to be in.  I was in the chemical school....they have students coming there from Iraq missing appendages...speaking to those soldiers they tell me that they will do their complete time to retire...I dint know any one on the SR PD, and have never had any dealings with them, but they patrol my neighborhood  often and I appreciate it.  I am sure the alcohol intake that night had something to do with it.

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2007, 02:56:37 PM »
Christie is leaving because of getting married. Holy cow people.
Women are Angels

And when someone breaks our wings....

We simply continue to fly.........on a broomstick...

Because we are flexible like that

Offline kbohon

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2007, 03:01:45 PM »
They didn't break his leg, although the injury he got was probably actually worse. The police saw him jump up from the car and didn't know what to expect. Some people have no reaction to the spray at all. In that split second decision, I doubt if they had time to differentiate whether he was jumping up from the mace or to assault them, and his behavior to that point indicated that he did not behave respectfully toward them.

Think about it. If the guy had a gun, even a second's delay could have resulted in someone's death if he'd been jumping up to attack. You don't have time in those situations to say, hey, wait a second while we frisk you to see if you could hurt anyone. And it doesn't sound like he was under arrest at that point, so there was no reason to have frisked him.
Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

Offline Coyote

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2007, 03:17:02 PM »
Are you the one who wrote the long story about the "what if" accident on the other side of the Crocker Bridge?  That was funny.  Anyway, If someone was disrespectful to me, why....I'd break their leg too!  Especially if I had 4 other people to help me do it.
 
Sorry, I looked back and see that it wasn't you, but sure sounds the same.
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Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2007, 03:28:36 PM »
This guy stepping to protect the woman is admirable,  but as soon as police arrived on site he should have stepped back and let them get the situation under control.  They would have eventually got to questioning the witnesses.

His lawsuit is just another example of societys "give something for nothing additude".  The bottom line is this guy made a bad decision which is gonna have an effect on the rest of his life and doesn't want to own up to it.

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2007, 03:36:29 PM »
clap clap clap, applaud for army guy
Women are Angels

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We simply continue to fly.........on a broomstick...

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Offline kbohon

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 03:37:55 PM »
LOL Coyote. If he was disrespectful AND I thought he was a threat, you betcha, and I wouldn't care how many people joined in or didn't.

Armyguy said it. The guy screwed up and now wants something for nothing. He's already getting paid for the rest of his life from taxpayer dollars, for an injury that does not prevent him from working a new job and collecting another retirement check.

Coyote, please feel free to make the payments to the guy so that I don't have to!
Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

Offline Coyote

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2007, 03:51:28 PM »
He doesn't want something for nothing.  He want's damages for his knee that THEY messed up.  That's one reason why the city has insurance.
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2007, 03:53:22 PM »
If he had sat down and shut his mouth, he wouldn't have a problem with his knee.
Women are Angels

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We simply continue to fly.........on a broomstick...

Because we are flexible like that

Offline BigRedHouse

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2007, 04:01:51 PM »
if he had stayed in the army...they would have fixed his knee....if he is medically retired, then he should still have access to the medical facilities on post....or get referred to another and get it taken care of. 

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2007, 04:03:25 PM »
"He doesn't want something for nothing.  He want's damages for his knee that THEY messed up.  That's one reason why the city has insurance"

He does want something for nothing.  They didn't mess up his knee, he did by making a bad decision to stay involved in the situation after the police arrived.  Was alcohol impairing his ability to make good decisions?  I don't know but this did happen in a club parking lot.

Offline Coyote

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2007, 04:13:00 PM »
It doesn't matter.  Do you know HOW MANY Army people claim so much fake crap to get a 30% disability?  I've never seen such a high percentage of migrains, hearing loss, sleep apnea, etc.  But I really don't know it's fake now do I?  But I do.  You talk about tax payers being cheated.  This guy has a legitimate injury resulting from a bunch of hoodlum cops and will probably get an insurance payoff and you all jump him and try to find out what HE did and find that HE deserved what he got and was alcohol involved and none of you know nothing for certain.  Well look around you at the sneaky, cheating soldiers taking your tax paying dollars every day. And plus taking them away from those who deserve them.
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2007, 05:05:48 PM »
By his own account in the lawsuit he kept trying to talk after being told not to by the police.  And no one has said he isn't actually injured.  I also don't think anyone thinks he deserved to be injured either, just that he could have avoided it by making better decisions about his own actions. Bottom line is once the police are on the scene let them control the situation.

What does any of this have to with soldiers getting disability?  I wish it were as easy to get as you claim it to be.

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2007, 05:29:32 PM »
hoodlum cops? do you know them? I do everyone of them mentioned, far from hoodlums!!!!!!!!!!
Women are Angels

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We simply continue to fly.........on a broomstick...

Because we are flexible like that

Offline Just_a_Biker

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2007, 05:39:27 PM »
Last I knew there was no law that says "Thou shalt not speak"... in fact, quite the contrary... If I remember correctly it's got something to do with the constitution of the United States and Free Speech or something... but, I could be wrong.  >>>>>

Police are SUPPOSED to be trained to handle these situations without escalating them.  I'm not saying they were justified or not, I wasn't there.  BUT, any police officer carrying "MACE" or "OC" or "Pepper Spray" SHOULD know what the effects are and how people react to being sprayed.  Just because they walk around with a gun and badge does NOT make them GOD!

Bad judgement on many parties involved, if not all.  Oh, and those of you that think it's EASY to get a MEDICAL RETIREMENT are poorly informed.  If he is medically retired that means the Army could NOT fix his knee and he could no longer perform his duties as a Soldier.

This is what we have courts for, let it ride out and see what happens.  $$$##@
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Offline kbohon

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2007, 05:50:05 PM »
Coyote, I agree with most of your last post. I find myself wondering why you think that the cops were overreacting, though? We've read the same article, yet have such opposite
views. I don't understand what would keep you from seeing that the guy brought it on himself.

I guess if I drew an analogy, it would be like a guy you've never met who is in a parking lot and asking you on a date. You say no. He keeps on, won't let you walk away, and you keep saying no. He is trying to explain why he wants to date you. It doesn't matter to you, and it's not going to change your mind. Yet he doesn't stop. How are you feeling at that moment?

Now take it a step further. You tell him to back off or you'll mace him. He says, "No, really... Just let me tell you why we should go out." He's repeating himself. Again. So you take out your mace, and even then he continues talking. So you mace him.

He bangs his head into a nearby car as he twists away from the mace, and then turns back in your direction and steps forward. NOW how do you feel? Do you feel afraid? Do you run? (Sorry, but cops can't do that...) You have, oh, about 1/4 of a second to respond or potentially get attacked.

Someone jumps in, knocks him to the ground, and while landing he breaks his elbow. Is that person someone you think should be sued? Perhaps you should be? In fact, that guy probably deserves to get paid for his injuries for the rest of his life by you AND the other guy. That makes no sense to me.
 
Biker, yes there is free speech. But there is also police power. Officers are trained to use "minimum force necessary" to control a situation. Mace and pepper spray are reasonably low-risk options that cause discomfort rather than permanent injury. When I was in training for the prison, we were taught to use it in exactly these kinds of situations, and to first give a verbal warning, which these officers did properly, according to the report above. The guy jumping up was perceived as a physically threatening situation, I'm pretty sure.
Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2007, 05:52:07 PM »
"Thou shalt not speak"...  LOL ..... I'm pretty sure not complying with police officers is against the law ...... but I too could be wrong

Offline kbohon

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2007, 05:57:28 PM »
He was acquitted of some charges, but guilty of resisting arrest, correct?
Heck is where people go when they don't believe in Gosh.

Offline Just_a_Biker

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2007, 06:11:01 PM »
aaaahhhhh.... "Police Power" and non-compliance.  If you ask me THAT is what this whole situation is about.  I'm sorry, but spraying someone with a chemical irritant (OC or MACE) because they won't shut up IS NOT "minimum force necessary"! (note: prison is different than LE, prisoners have given up many of their rights, one of which may be "speach") Now, INTERFERING with a police investigation or state is a completely different set of circumstances, but that's not what happened here.

Again, just because someone is an Officer of the Law does NOT give them absolute power over an individual because they won't stop talking.  Police Power is to enforce laws, NOT to suppress the rights and freedoms of citizens because the Officer doesn't like what he/she is hearing.  All too often WE as citizens give up our civil rights to those who are supposed to be protecting them, and we do it willingly!  Just in case you can't see the writing on the wall, that is a recipe for disaster, because the more we give up our rights the more they expect us to.  Ever tried telling a Police Officer "No, you can't search my vehicle", or "No, you can't look in my trunk"???  WOWZERS!!  You'd think you had just committed a felony because you are exercising your reasonable right to privacy.

Again... This situation is exactly what the court system is for.  If the city is found guilty, negligent, etc. then that's why they have insurance.
The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. Cicero - 55 BC, Rome

Offline tpgunbiz

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2007, 07:10:37 PM »
Not knowing the whole story.........I cant judge either way. I know though what biker means, I was pulled over in kentucky and I guess bieng a heavily tattooed person with around 9 hundred bucks in my pocket in that area was probable cause for search. The officer TOLD me he was going to search my vehical. I told him I didnt believe he had a right to search without consent. Boy was I wrong. not 10 minutes later there was 3 squad cars and 3 more cops tearing my car apart while I sat handcuffed in the back of one of the cars. After finding nothing they left me with putting all my stuff back in my car myself..........and no charges or tickets. They explained to me though that carrying anything over a hundred bucks was probable cause. I was never arrested or told my rights.  So I Know that at times cops step over the boundries of our civil rights.
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Offline Coyote

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2007, 07:15:25 PM »
Lucky they didn't mace you or taze you or sweep kick you and break your leg.
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline tpgunbiz

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2007, 07:25:06 PM »
no kidding. Of course Ive always been pretty polite to the police even if I think they are wrong. That whole getting clubbed in the head thing doesnt sit well with me...lol
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Offline ncchick

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2007, 07:42:30 PM »
I dont know either side of this store either, So i cant say one way or the other Nor was I present when it happened.
But what I do know for a FACT is that Ms Bohrer is leaving because she is getting married to a Army Man and Is relocating to another state. I do know that for a FACT!!! I got that info straight from Ms Bohrer. And to ASSUME other wise well lets just say ASSUMING does make ASSes out of U and ME!! thats why I never assume.....
 


Offline ncchick

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Re: SR police getting sued
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2007, 07:48:28 PM »
also she is still employed by the city and is still the city attonery until she relocates. So she HAS NOT quit, she gave her notice!!!! I know Ms Bohrer personally and she could handle this case in her sleep,this case by no means a challenge for her and she would never quit because of some case........ she is a great lawyer and a great person and she will be missed.......