“BLUE WALL OF SILENCE” IN MASON COUNTY, WA (continued from front page)

    Deputies and a jail guard testifying for the state said they found a plastic bag of marijuana in feces in Leffler's backside while he was taking a shower to wash off pepper oils that officers sprayed in his face after they entered his house and broke up an altercation between the defendant and his girlfriend.

    Defense Attorney John R. Scannell of Seattle suggested repeatedly one of the officers may have "planted" the illegal weed on Leffler.

    Deputy Prosecutor Dione Ludlow presented the state's case and argued that five men with a combined 50 years of experience in law enforcement would never risk their careers by fabricating evidence and then lying under oath. Sheriff's Sergeant Shawn Donnelly rejected Scannell's suggestion that police officers operate behind a "blue wall of silence" that prevents jurors from hearing evidence that might put another police officer on the wrong side of the law. The phrase has been used to describe New York Police Department officers who refused to testify against an officer accused of beating a black man.

    "It's a fictitious remark by dime-store novelists or people writing television programs," Donnelly said, adding later, "If your question is, 'Is there some sort of police cover-up in this case?' then the answer is no."

    Jurors were selected and sworn in Monday, July 8, and listened to three days of testimony July 9-11 before deliberating their verdict for most of last Friday. By the end of the day they announced the unanimous verdict that Leffler was not guilty of all charges filed in connection with the events of February 8.

    Deputy Bradley Mandeville of the sheriff's office was the first witness called to the stand Tuesday morning, July 9. He testified that he and deputy Douglas Smith responded at about 9:30 p.m. February 8 to the report of a disturbance on Cook Plant Farm Road, where Leffler has his home and a sawmill. "As we approached we heard what appeared to be a scuffle going on inside," Mandeville said.

    Mandeville said Smith looked through a window, drew his fire arm and ran to the front door. Mandeville said he also looked in and saw Leffler upright over a woman who was "down on the floor."

    He said Deputy Smith grabbed Leffler by the hair, told him to stop resisting arrest and sprayed him in the face with liquid pepper.

    After Leffler was handcuffed, the deputy said, he talked to the alleged victim, 29-year-old Rhonda Roberts, who he said bruises on her right arm and a cut inside her lip. Leffler had been named in a no-contact order that prevented her from seeing her. Mandeville said he took photographs of the woman and her injuries.

    The deputy told jurors he talked to Leffler the following day and was told that the defendant wanted to file a complaint against Roberts. The defendant, he said, told him Roberts had moved out of his house after the December court order was issued. He said Leffler had some bruises on his right arm and some redness around his left eye.

    Asked why he didn’t call the sheriff’s office when Roberts showed up at his house, Leffler "told me he loved Miss Roberts and that he did not want her arrested for being at his residence," the deputy said.

    Cross examined by the defense attorney, Mandeville talked about the use of pepper spray and said Deputy Smith told him Leffler had rushed at him after he entered the house. I did not see Mr. Leffler rush Deputy Smith," Mandeville said.

    Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prosecutor Ludlow called to the stand Tom Robinson, a corrections officer on duty at the Mason County Jail when Leffler was brought in around 10 p.m. February 8. He said Leffler appeared to be "highly intoxicated," ranting about his girlfriend’s addiction to drugs and his belief that no one seemed to care.

    Robinson said he patted Leffler down and took him to the shower area to wash off the pepper spray. He said he put Leffler’s clothes in a biohazard bag and gave him some baby shampoo after noting feces smeared from the defendant’s backside to the back of his knees. After he left Leffler alone in the shower for five minutes, he said he looked inside and saw a plastic baggie stuck in excrement on the defendant’s backside.

    He picked the bag off while he was "gloved up," Robinson said, adding later, "It was in plain view." He said the baggie appeared to contain four buds of marijuana which he transferred from the dirty baggie to a clean baggie, disposing of the one contaminated with feces. He said he and the other deputies did plant the drug on Leffler.

    Ludlow called Carol Ann Roberts to the stand to identify her daughter, Rhonda, from a photograph.

    Sergeant Donnelly, the next witness, said he was in the jail on other business when Leffler was brought in and that he was asked to witness the seizure of "some suspected contraband."

    Donnelly said he saw a baggie near Leffler's anus and had not placed any contraband on the defendant's body. He said he talked to the alleged victim the next day and saw bruises on her forearm and neck.

    In cross examination by Scannell, the sergeant testified that he saw a baggie encrusted with feces protruding from Leffler's buttocks but didn't see other feces on the defendant's body. Under further questioning by Ludlow he testified that he did not ask Smith or Robinson or Deputy Luther Pittman to plant the marijuana on Leffler and didn't hear any of them ask anyone else to do that either

    Steve Ellyson, sheriff's evidence officer, told the jurors he is trained in the identification of marijuana. He said he tested the substance in the case, describing it as a few grams of pot.

    Ludlow then called Deputy Smith to the stand. Smith described hearing "yelling and screaming" when he and Mandeville arrived at Leffler’s residence. He said he saw Leffler "on top of the female with the collar of her shirt clutched in his hands." After the couple was separated, he said, the defendant "had his hands up in an aggressive manner," lunged at Smith and resisted arrest

    "At that point Mr. Leffler’s pit bull came in and I was trying to focus on him as well as Mr. Leffler," Smith said. He told the court he sprayed Leffler with pepper and then he and Mandeville put him in cuffs and took him to jail for decontamination. While he was at the jail, he said, Robinson informed him that he had found some marijuana.

    Under cross-examination Smith testified that he did not plant marijuana on Leffler. Asked if he smelled alcohol on the defendant, he said, "All I could smell was the pepper spray." Smith said Roberts was distraught and crying and that he did not get close enough to her to smell any alcohol.

    The deputy then testified about an earlier incident in which he confiscated a chainsaw that may have belonged to Leffler or his employee. To questioning by Ludlow he answered that Donnelly, Mandeville or Robinson did not order him to plant marijuana on the defendant.

    When the trial resumed on July 10, the state called Deputy Pittman to the stand. He said he and Donnelly were at the jail when Leffler was brought in, and testified that a jailer opened an area to the shower area and said he needed a witness. He described Leffler as "wet from taking a shower." He said he saw "a small plastic bubble that big," holding his thumb and forefinger a few inches apart," protruding from his anal area.

    Questioned further by Ludlow, the deputy testified that he did not plant the marijuana on Leffler and did not see any other officer of the jail or the sheriff’s office do so.

    Asked by Scannell if he had ever heard the term "blue wall of silence," Pittman said he had heard the term in training at the police academy "about the New York Police Department’s attempt on the part of some officers to cover up for other officers. When Scannell asked if there is a blue wall of silence in this county Pittman answered, "Absolutely not. Its ludicrous to even think that."

    After Ludlow rested the State’s case, Scannell then called Raymond Bisser of Belfair to the stand as the first witness for the defense. He said he picked Leffler up from the jail and took photographs of the defendant. In cross-examination by Ludlow he testified that he had a business relationship with Leffler.

    Scannell then called Raymond Bisser to the stand as the first witness for the defense. He said he picked Leffler up from the jail and took photographs of the defendant. In cross-examination by Ludlow he testified that he has had a business relationship with Leffler.

    Scannell then called Rhonda Roberts to the stand and she testified that she entered Leffler’s house without his knowledge to get some of her things and left when he came home and asked her to, but came back later.

    "I was drinking so I don’t really recall all of it but I remember I got really upset," she said. She told jurors Leffler grabbed her after she started throwing punches in the air. "He got me to the floor and held onto me for a while because I was so angry and then the police came, she said.

    She described how deputies entered the house, pulled Leffler off her and sprayed him with pepper. She said the house belongs to Leffler and that she lives with her mother now.

    When Roberts was late returning to court after the lunch break, Ludlow called Smith back to the stand. He testified that he has no reason to dislike Leffler and he would not risk a 17 year career in law enforcement for a bag of pot. Smith also said he had never heard the term "blue wall of silence."

    When Roberts returned, she was called back to the stand and testified that she has had two altercations with Leffler since meeting him "I have serious mental issues that cause anger that is almost rageable. I have delusions", she said.

    Cross examined by Ludlow, she testified that Leffler was assaulted for assaulting her December 24, and he continues to give her financial assistance. Roberts said while she remembers talking to deputies, she doesn’t recall telling them that Leffler bent her fingers back or that he had punched her in the arm and hurt her lip.

    "Its really hard for me to believe that I would say things like that but I was under a lot of stress," she said, adding that Leffler "wants to protect me and I want to protect him."

    Scannell called Sergeant Donnelly to the stand for the defense and asked him about official contact he had with Leffler before February 8. Donnelly testified that he responded to a number of calls having to do with Leffler’s ex-wife and their children and had pulled Leffler over for "a violation of something" having to do with his truck.

    "Mr. Leffler expressed displeasure with the sheriff’s office," Donnelly said.

    Under cross-examination from the prosecutor, Donnelly said he had no ill will toward Leffler and no reason to plant pot on his person. "That would be foolish," he said.

    After Carol Roberts testified that her daughter has lived with her since Christmas, the defendant took the stand and testified on his own behalf. Leffler said the alleged victim has had more violent outbursts than he could count since they met one another at a Shelton motel. "Mainly she hurts herself," he said. She’ll pull her hair, hit herself, scratch her face.

    Leffler said he paid to have her see a psychiatrist and told the court "she was experiencing a severe delusional episode" on the night of his arrest. "She is very hard to contain when she has gone into a fit of rage," he said.

    Leffler described how he got "my hair pulled back and sprayed in the eyes" after deputies arrived on at his house. He said he didn’t have any feces on his body and he didn’t know anything about the marijuana that was introduced into evidence.

    At this point the trial adjourned for the day and continued on the morning of July 11 with more testimony from Leffler about his various encounters with the sheriff’s deputies. Under cross-emanination he said he doesn’t have anything against the deputies.

    "It’s not that I don’t like the sheriff’s department," he said. "In my opinion they’ve done nothing in my behalf."

    After the Defense rested its case Ludlow called Mandeville back to the stand where he testified that there is no "blue wall of silence" in the sheriff’s office. He gave a statement against another officer about three years ago, he said. "There had been an allegation that a specific officer had been driving in a manner that was not necessarily conducive to public safety and I had an observation that that was a true story," he said.

    This concluded the testimony in the case and the two attorneys made closing statements.

    Deputy Prosecutor Ludlow said, "There is not one shred of evidence of a blue wall of silence." And added that there was nothing to support Leffler’s claim that four deputies and a guard at the jail fabricated the evidence of the baggie of marijuana. "He would have you believe that those four deputies and a corrections officer would risk 50 years of law enforcement experience on one bag of marijuana by planting it there," she said of Scannell.

    But Scannell suggested another theory to support Leffler’s claim that the officers fabricated the case against him. He told jurors it had to do with the pepper spray and the 20 minutes that Leffler waited before he could wash out the substance in the jail’s shower. "Police officers aren’t going to jeopardize their careers over a bag of marijuana but they will try to not get sued for excessive use of force," he said.

    "There’s bad blood there," Leffler’s defender told the jurors, adding that the officers needed to have the pot "hanging out" of Leffler’s buttocks because they didn’t have the authority to search his body cavities. "Is there reasonable doubt in all this? Is there a blue wall of silence in Mason County?" he asked.

    The jurors, who announced their verdict at 3:15 p.m. Friday, were Ruth irish, Zella Bingen, Karen Haser, Brenda Andersen, Ruth Ann Davis, Jacqueline Stracke, Lance Talley Sr., Bonnie Miller, Donald Oars, Glenda Sewell, Ray Norton and Rebecca Collins. Marvin Lund was the alternate juror.

Help copwatch fight police brutality. Bad cops must be reported and prosecuted. Police corruption is a major problem - copwatch fights bad cops. Dirty cops threaten the criminal justice system. Police misconduct is an epidemic. Police abuse innocent citizens all too often. Abusive police attack citizens with no provocation. Police harassment is a frequent occurrence. The blue wall of silence protects bad cops, and police culture must be reformed. Deviant cops must be fired. Police deviance cannot be tolerated. Last year saw a bad police officer arrested for rape, a dirty police officer charged with extortion, police corruption involving drug distribution, a criminal police officer jailed for brutality, a disgraced police chief sentenced for domestic abuse, a veteran police officer convicted of statutory rape, a police rookie convicted of official oppression, police on trial in a variety of jurisdictions, federal oversight of police departments implemented in a number of cities, a convicted sheriff guilty of theft, a moonlighting police deputy sheriff disciplined for misconduct, convicted cops fired for sexual assault, a guilty cop suspended for harassment, a discredited officer charged with perjury, and a law enforcement officer suspended from duty for being on the take. The police officer, suspended without pay, was reassigned to a desk job as a result of the internal investigation. The community was outraged when the police officer was reinstated. Activists were aghast when the officer returned to active duty. Police corruption is common across the country. It is rarely effective to file a complaint against a police officer. Many citizens don’t know how to lodge complaints against police officers. One of the primary objectives of Copwatch is to teach citizens how to get rid of bad cops. Bad cops are a disgrace to the badge- their motto is not “to serve and protect, but “to sleep and collect”. Bad cops are said to have a dirty badge. Hiding behind the dirty badge is something that good cops will not tolerate. At Copwatch, we advocate a zero tolerance policy regarding bad cops. Every corrupt cop is a dishonor to the uniform. Offending cops must, like Sgt. Jackson, be forced to turn in their badges. Subsequent reports revealed a state patrol officer investigated for arson, a highway patrol officer indicted for fraud, a state trooper jailed for assault, top cops ousted for brandishing their weapons, a Police Sgt. fired for bribery, (while another Police Sergeant quit the force), a Police officer pressured to resign (the Police Lieutenant is accused of murder), child-molesting police, and a Police officer crashed his squad car in a high speed pursuit, killing innocent bystanders. The police department engaged in a coverup to hide evidence of misconduct, refusing to release relevant public records and public documents, despite the open records law and the submission of a public disclosure request. Finally, Serpico breaks ranks. Police rape prostitutes. “Officer convicted of child molestation” is a headline you don’t want to see in your community. As the bad cops close ranks, good police put their lives on the line. An overzealous county mounty (or mountie) is an embarrassment to the force. An ex-cop turns in his gun. Learn how to prevent police brutality. Copwatch teaches how to videotape the cops. Copwatch educates the public using a variety of resources: expert witnesses, think-tank research, articles, studies, academic reports, metastudies, congressional investigations, blue-ribbon panels, and government commissions. Using your videocamera, Polaroid, or digital camera, you can capture the police as they break the law. It’s very hard for the cops to deny the facts when you’ve caught them on your videocam. Camcorders are the most effective means of monitoring police misconduct on the streets. The Police Benevolent Fund manufactures support for the police department - a department under fire amid accusations of misconduct. The Police Guild negotiates a new contract for its members. The Police Union demands a raise in overtime pay. Funds are increased with the seizure of drug money. Forfeiture proceedings are instituted, and the police seize the property of alleged drug dealers, including cars, homes, planes, real estate, guns, and drugs. At the same time, police raise funds for charity and participate in public service programs. Community policing resulted in ride-along programs for local citizens, and increased participation in police Explorer programs. But the broken-window, zero-tolerance program is difficult to evaluate. A gun-buyback program was successful, with cops collecting a variety of firearms, including assault rifles, handguns, Saturday night specials, automatic weapons, shotguns, tec-9, glocks, taurus, S&W, .45 caliber, .44 caliber, .357 caliber, 9mm, all military style. The guns were auctioned off or melted down. BATF agents were investigating the sale of handguns. The FBI conducted a background check, so citizens interested in the militia movement attended gun shows, where they were able to purchase handguns from vendors. N-Copa tries to impose police accountability. A concealed weapons permit was issued, and this gun permit allowed the man to use his handgun for concealed carry in a shoulder holster. The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund is a beautiful tribute to our boys in blue who have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in the line of duty. Line of duty deaths have been increasing in recent years, as more officers put their lives on the line. To serve and protect is the police officers’ honorable motto. Duty and honor is another motto favored by the police. The LAPD scandal tarnishes public perception of police officers. Police brutality is a major issue in many areas, not just minority neighborhoods. In many instances, the behavior of the government, including cops, is indistinguishable from the behavior of terrorists. Assassination Politics is an interesting concept initially described by Jim Bell. Neighborhood watch programs are effective in reducing crime statistics and increasing neighborhood safety. The Great Speckled Bird is a loose affiliation of 1960’s era activists, the remnants of a left-wing undergound newspaper, who are involved with the newsgroup alt.thebird.copwatch. Cops shoot suspect, and then the cops shoot suspect again. The suspect is wounded, and then the suspect dies in police custody. This pattern is called custody death syndrome. Positional asphyxiation is often blamed for the death of prisoners, after the prisoners are pepper-sprayed, maced, beaten, handcuffed, and thrown in the back of a police car. Unsurprisingly, many pornstars are arrested and face legal trouble at some point in their careers. It is to be sincerely hoped that the current crop of erotic pornstars, including Kobe Tai, Jenna Jameson, and Brianna Banks, along with Chloe Jones, Sylvia Saint, and Jill Kelly, manage to escape the seemingly inevitable pornstar curse: a brush with the law. This sentiment should also be extended to erotic actresses Tara Patrick and Veronica Zemanova, as well as the hottest hardcore amateur starlets. It will be interesting to see whether this phraseology increases the number of visitors to the famous, or more appropriately infamous, website which is the subject of this report. NCOPA is an anti-police group. Suicide by cop is another term that is becoming popular, as police seek to blame the victim and excuse their unprofessional behavior. These police cover-ups are ineffective, and police brutality is found to be the cause of death. Cops and robbers is a nice game, but when the cops kill or fatally wound a suspected robber, the circumstances are often suspicious. Many cops are drug abusers, some police are drug addicts, many officers are alcoholics. Cops on steroids often exhibit roid rage when police abuse steroids. Amadou Diallou was sodomized by police on steroids. Police brutality and racial profiling are two issues that often arise at major metropolitan police departments. Bill Sheehan created a website revealing the social security numbers, home addresses, and home telephone numbers of Kirkland Police Department (KPD) officers. Civil rights abuses probed. The October 22nd Coalition is an anti-police brutality group working to stop police brutality, repression, and the criminalization of a generation, and seeking Justice for Abner Louima. The Stolen Lives project seeks to list all people killed by law enforcement. Refuse and Resist is a group that works on organizing a National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. Officer convicted of drunk driving. Man killed in police raid. At the N30 demonstrations, cops without nametags beat nonviolent protestors without provocation. Angela Davis Copwatch is a group of community activists. The direct action network, DAN for short, was created in response. During the Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday celebrations in Seattle, a roving gang of black thugs beat Kris Kime to death as he was attempting to assist an injured women, and the police stood by and did nothing. This murder is on the hands of Mayor Paul Schell, who refuses to prosecute the perpetrators for hate crimes. Some people have argued that a database of bad cops should be developed. Many authoritative academic studies examine the psychological profile of police officers. There are many deviant police officers. Some police departments foster a culture of police deviance. Where is a free punk music concert? Kids like to thrash on their skateboard. Snowboarding, or boarding, is enjoyed by straightedge skinheads. RATM is phat. The swat team, equipped with military gear, broke down the door and swarmed into the apartment with guns drawn. Dynamic entry police raids are dangerous to citizens. Police brutality is a growing problem.