Thanks to your support, LELDF continues to assist worthy police officers who are charged for doing their job. In our latest case, four officers from the Fresno, California, Police Department have been indicted because they responded to a 911 call that a violent man was breaking into an apartment and threatening to kill his girlfriend. He was guilty as charged and plea bargained his sentence to only 9 months; the police officers who arrested him face 10-year prison sentences for allegedly violating the rights of this convicted felon, who was also an illegal immigrant.
Several of our cases have involved Title 18 of the U.S. Code, section 242, “Deprivation of rights under color of law.” Essentially this means anyone in a position of authority cannot willfully deprive a person of rights or privileges granted by the Constitution or other laws of the country. Unfortunately, this statute has been twisted to a new level when it comes to law enforcement. Stephanie Mohr, who was convicted in 2001 under this law, was attempting only to do her job — catch criminals — when she asked permission to release her police dog, Valk, to catch a suspect (and illegal alien) subsequently found guilty of burglary. Race was not a factor in her mind. She was a professional, a decorated officer in the canine unit. Now, after eight years of incarceration, this brave woman is finally being released from prison. How is she to explain why she was in jail to her son, Adam, now 10 years old?
We are pleased that the case against Torrey Thompson, formerly an officer of the DeKalb, Georgia, Police Department, has been dismissed.
Coming up soon is the re-trial of Connecticut officers Martin Praisner and Steven Craig of the Eastern Connecticut State University Police Department, who are facing charges of violating the rights of a man who was so violent that he began to destroy the holding cell and so intoxicated that he slashed his own wrists and threatened to commit suicide. Pepper spray seemed more than appropriate in this case, but not to the civil rights division of the Justice Department.
LELDF is heavily involved in both the Connecticut case and the Fresno case. You can be involved, too, by helping us with the le-gal expenses to bring in expert witnesses to help win these cases. LELDF is supported only by the donations of generous individuals such as yourself. Thank you very much for your support of these courageous police officers.
David Henderson Martin