Feb 242017
 

Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……..

Policing democracy is tough. Tasked to ‘protect and serve,’ police carry out their work within a political system that often makes them an instrument of competing political and economic interests. Far too commonly, police take the fall for the irregular, shifting, and highly political expectations of government officials.  Case in point  ‘management’ of  the homeless.  “Economic development,” which of course includes building and protecting tourism, has a very specific aesthetic:  There should be no visibly homeless people in Key West’s “One Human Family”— as one upper-middle class informant once told me, they scare us. The police work to eliminate homeless visibility in Key West’s up-scale tropical landscape through what their administrators call, “quality-of-life” policing. But the police must sometimes resort to aesthetically unpleasant strong-arm tactics just to manage the unmanageable.  They get ‘burned out’ by what they do and the  “homeless squad” is not a police career builder.  Government officials know, although never admitting it publicly, that they need police to do the ‘front-line’ dirty work that politicos dare not do themselves.

Yet like almost no other institution of modern society except the military, the police have the legal right to apply deadly force.  (Although ‘Stand-your-Ground” laws have expanded that to common citizens.) It is therefore absolutely essential that those policed—even the weakest and potentially annoying of our fellow citizens—be allowed to question police actions. Rather, some police and their supporters treat any questioning of policing practices as improper, most recently seen in some comments by readers of the Blue Paper about a citizen’s video posted by the paper showing Key West police hog-tying a homeless man.

So when is it necessary and procedurally acceptable for police to restrain someone? The “Response to Resistance Matrix” was developed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and adopted in 2009 by the Key West Police Department. Police use of force—ranging from interrogating an alleged perpetrator to applying deadly force–is laid out in black and white by the FDLE:

Police Response to Resistance Matrix*

   Perpetrator’s Threat level                                            Permissible Police Actions

Level 1Presence—A person is where they are not supposed  to be; suspicious actions.

 

Police Officer’s arrival at the scene
Level 2: Verbal resistance: Verbal refusal

to comply with police; threatens the officer

 

Investigative communication

 

Level 3: Passive Physical resistance: Physical refusal  to comply or  respond to officer ‘Take downs,’ pepper (OC) spray, restraints, pain compliance, transport person

 

 

Level 4: Active Physical Resistance: Physically evasive movements to defeat officer’s actions; pulling away Use of ‘intermediate’ weapons:  Taser in cartridge or stun drive mode; ‘take downs,’ pepper (OC) spray, restraints, pain compliance, transport person
Level  5:  Aggressive  physical

Resistance: Overt hostile acts against officer without serious injury to officer

All of above, plus ‘incapacitating control.’

 

Level 6: Aggravated Physical Resistance: Overt hostile movements with or without weapon. Deadly force
  • 2009 Florida Department of Law Enforcement; adopted by KWPD

Policing the Homeless:  Four Examples from the Field in Key West.

CASE A:  Last Spring (2016), I saw a man sleeping in a contorted position on the Grinnell Street sidewalk near Fleming.   He looked as if  he had died and gone into rigor mortis.  Calling 911, I learned that, “An officer is already on his way.” Threat Level 1: Officer at the scene. A man sleeping where he ought not be:  after several attempts to awaken the man, using a calm voice and reaching down to gently touch him on the chest, the officer finally succeeded in waking him:  No heavy pushing or yelling, no loud announcement: “You are trespassing.” The police officer operated quietly and demonstrated confident police professionalism.  As he got on his feet, he swayed back and forth. The officer requested the man’s identification and asked him to pull out everything else in his pockets.  The man complied but then kept putting his hands back in his pockets, as if looking for something.  The officer each time told him to take his hands out of his pockets; the man did this each time and then again forgot and put his hands back in his pockets.  To Escalate or Not?:  I wondered at the time if some KWPD police officers might have ‘read’ this man’s continually putting his hands in his pockets as defiance to a policeman’s order.  I was initially concerned that the man might have a weapon in his pocket, but the officer’s confidence and calm reassured me that the policeman knew what he was doing, which certainly had an impact on the homeless man’s actions as well—a calm voice is more passifying than an aggressive shout followed by threats.  The latter can ratchet up the police-civilian interaction.

At no time did the homeless man verbally refuse to comply with the young officer’s directions. “Threat Level 2”: verbal non-compliance.  Nevertheless, a  policeman could have defined the man’s reaching in his pockets as a “Level 3 Threat.”  This, I assume, would have justified the lone officer’s using  pepper (OC) spray to force the man’s compliance.  Or the officer could have placed restraints on the man’s wrists.  And a  “Level 3 Threat” also allows the officer to apply such “pain compliance” methods as squeezing fingers until it hurts, although one wonders how creating pain stops a person from pulling away—with the latter defined by some police as resisting arrest.

However, in spite of the man’s continuing to do what the police officer told him not to do—putting his hands in his pockets–this exchange never  rose in that policeman’s assessment to a “Threat Level” 2 or 3.  No pain compliance, no pepper spray, no ‘hog-tying,’ even though the man–groggy and drunk–was not fully cooperative.  The officer allowed the man to walk away.  I congratulated the officer for an impressively professional and respectful investigation. The officer thanked me in turn.

CASE B: Sometime in December, 2016, around midnight in my quiet Meadows neighborhood I was awakened to the sound of people talking quietly outside.  Looking down from my second-floor porch, I saw “Threat Level 1” in process.  A police officer was attempting to wake up a man sleeping on the sidewalk:  “Wake up,” he repeated over and over.  When the man sat up, the officer asked him to stand and he did, while at the same time verbally chewing out the officer. “Threat Level 2”: The man persistently spoke disrespectfully to the officer, who remained calm and firm. The officer gave the verbally combative man a choice of going to “the Stock Island Jail or behaving” himself.  The man’s response:  ‘You can take me to the fu—-g  jail of you want; I don’t care.’ Then the officer employed a verbal de-escalation strategy:  He repeated calmly and quietly what the man had just said back to him:  “So if you don’t care about going to jail,  I will take you.”

That curbside investigation never progressed beyond “Threat Level 2,” clearly because the officer did not let himself get pulled into his opponent’s snarky rudeness. The police officer was in charge without having to prove it. Once the policeman had placed the man in the police vehicle—with the man continuing to be verbally abrasive toward the officer — I called down to the policeman and thanked him for his calm and effective professionalism.

CASE  C:  On December 24, 2016, two Key West police officers were called to the Circle K Convenience Mart on North Roosevelt Blvd.  I did not observe this event first-hand,  but looked at  KWPD video footage obtained by the Blue Paper.  The first footage–recorded by the body cam of Officer Michael Chaustit–recorded Officer Michael “Mikie” Malgrat’s behavior during “Threat Level 1.” Officer Malgrat pointed his taser at the sleeping man as Officer Chaustit ordered him–about four times—to wake up and get up:   “Key West police get up!”; “Key West police wake up!” “Key West police wake up!”, “Get up!”

Officer Malgrat’s ready-to-deploy taser, according to the FDLE, is not justifiably used until Threat Level 4, according to ‘best police practices, as defined by the “Response to Resistance Matrix.  A  “Level 4 threat” exists when an alleged perpetrator gives the attending police officer reason to believe that the person is a threat to the officer and/or others. The presence of such a threat justifies a police officer’s employing such “intermediate weapons” as a taser–in either cartridge or stun drive mode–and/or ‘taking down’ the perpetrator, or  pepper spraying him, and using body restraints or pain compliance to further demobilize the threat.  But when Officer Malgrat arrived at the Circle K shed, the homeless man was sleeping—a condition that clearly represented only a “Level 1 Threat,” albeit treated by Officer Malgrat as if it were level 4.

Finally awakened, the man–whose name is Kristopher Knight–responded, “Fuck man!” Officer Chaustit repeats, “Get up!”  “What the fuck — come on man.” At that point, Officer Chaustit said to Knight, “All right, I’ll tell ya – either you’re gonna get up or you’re gonna go to fucking jail — how about that?”  Within a heartbeat Chaustit grabbed Knight who cried out: “I didn’t do nothing,” leading Chaustit to yell loudly:  “Stop resisting! Put your hands behind your back! Stop resisting! You’ll be tased!” According to my own watch, about 42 seconds passed between the time that Officers Malgrat and Chaustit, encountered the man sleeping, repeatedly told him to “wake up,” threatened him with jail, and warned the man that he would be tased if he did not “stop resisting.” Knight, there upon, by my count, got three electrical ‘stuns’ from a taser in “drive stun” mode—meaning that no projectiles entered Knight’s body. Screaming and writhing in pain, Knight yelled out, “I didn’t do nothing man.”  “What am I going to jail for?” “Tell me what the fuck I did, man?”

The two officers then pulled Knight off the ground as he screamed in pain, yelling, “What did I do?” Please tell me what the fuck I did?” “Ow!!!” Ow!!” Telling him to, “Stop resisting or you’ll get hurt,” the officers led him to the police vehicle.  Placing Knight’s upper torso on the vehicle’s front hood, the two officers carried out their work documenting the event. One officer photographed Knight, since he had gotten scratches from rolling around on the ground as he reacted in pain from the stun gun’s electricity. A supervisor was called to record the officers’ stun gun actions; EMS technicians came because Mr. Knight had sustained facial cuts.  In the end, it had taken at least five public security professionals — two police, two EMS technicians, and one police supervisor — to arrest Kristopher Knight, who would require still more people managing him at the Stock Island jail.

CASE D:  Blue Paper readers have been well informed about the Kristopher Knight ‘take down’ on February 4, 2017 by Officers Michael Chaustit and Julio Gomez.  This began at the Publix Market in  Key Plaza, without incident. The “Level 1 Threat” intervention, as seen in Officer Chaustit’s body cam footage, begins with Officer Gomez leaning down and shaking Knight’s T-shirt gently, with the words, “Morning, Key West police” (it was actually after 3:00 pm). Getting no response from Knight, Officer Gomez said more firmly, “Key West police,” Knight apparently then opened his eyes; Officer Gomez said,  “Hi, how ya doing’?  Feeling, better?  I thought you went to Miami?”  Knight mumbles, “Yes, I did.” Officer Gomez then says, “You came back–Why?” Knight mumbles, “well….” but fails to complete the sentence. Officer Gomez then asks, “What are you wasted on?” Knight’s reply, “I don’t know.” Officer Gomez: “Let me see you stand up, then.” Knight does so, with difficulty. Officer Gomez: “let me see some ID.” An EMS vehicle arrives during Officer Gomez’s exchange with Knight, but Officer Gomez sends it away: “He’s going the other way. Thank you,  though.”

At no point during Officer Gomez’s information gathering during “Threat Level 1” did Kristopher Knight behave in a manner that would have elevated the threat level above 1—no verbal resistance to Officer Gomez (Level 2), no demonstrable passive physical resistance (Level 3), and no Active physical Resistance (level 4) to police commands.  However, the situation changes when Officer Chaustit joins the conversation with Knight. Officer Chaustit told Knight, still on his feet at Officer Gomez’ prior request, to “Sit back down!” When Knight failed to do so immediately, Officer Chaustit warned:  “Don’t make me fucking tell you again! Sit back down! Sit back down!” Officer Gomez added, “Just listen to what he [Officer Chaustit] said, please.”

A fifteen-year veteran of  KWPD,  Officer Chaustit seems to have been the unofficial head of the two-officer “quality-of- life” team in the conversation with Kristopher Knight on February 4, 2017.   Listed in a 2007 police recognition statement as a KWPD “Detective,” Officer Chaustit sometime later was listed as a policeman attached to a KWPD “special operations” group. He now seems also to be a go-to officer for “quality-of-life” homeless policing.  Officer Julio Gomez liberally mixed courtesy phrases — “please,” “thank you” — with his own commands to Knight.  Officer Chaustit, on the other hand, usually gave forceful commands to Knight, at least once peppering a command with the ultimate swear word, as just quoted.

Escalate the Threat or Not?  The conversation at Publix continued:  Officer Chaustit to Knight:  “Get your stuff and go…walk the shortest route off the [Key Plaza] property. If you refuse to [leave the property] you will go to jail for trespassing.”  Knight asked, “Who called the cops on me, I’d like to know.”  Officer Chaustit declared, “It doesn’t matter who called the police…just stop talking and walk.  Leave now.  If you refuse you will go to jail for trespassing.”  Knight, following Officer Chaustit’s order, walks toward North Roosevelt Blvd. But when he gets to about 30 feet from the police—with his back to them—Knight yells into the air in front of him:  “Fuck you’all, motherfuckers!”  Officer Chaustit responds, “Yep. O.K.”;  Officer Gomez asks Chaustit, “you gonna take him?  Officer Chaustit’s answer is to move rapidly toward Knight, yelling, “Stop!” “Stop!” while speaking into his shoulder Mic.  Uttering something like, “Mikey.” Officer Chaustit was presumably referring to his frequent police partner and his current business partner in “Man Crafts Key West”[i]— Officer Michael “Mikey” Malgrat.  They were the two officers who had, on Christmas Eve, rousted Kristopher Knight out of the Circle K’s shed area and taken him to jail.

What Was the Threat Level from Kristopher Knight at that point? From the standpoint of the FDLE “Police Response to Resistance Matrix,” the relevant question is what was the degree of threat from Knight to the officers or to the public in his yelling an obscenity as he walked away from the police? Officer Chaustit’s post-facto explanation for the subsequent violent ‘take-down’ of Kristopher Knight was to protect women and children shoppers from Knight’s bad language. As appalling as Knight’s language might have been for shoppers, even more inappropriate was for a sworn police officer, Michael Chaustit, to use gutter language in informing a person of a probable police action.  (Remember that Officer Chaustit had said earlier to Knight: “Don’t make me fucking tell you again! Sit back down! Sit back down!”)

The “threat level” that Officer Chaustit apparently assumed when he took off after Kristopher Knight, was “Threat Levels 4 and 5.” There is no evidence that Knight had manifested the behaviors associated with these threat levels, Active Physical Resistance (Level 4) or Aggressive Physical Resistance (Level 5),  yet the police actions used against him are consistent with assuming such threats.  There was a ‘take down,’ the alleged perpetrator was slammed against a wall, picked up and thrown onto the ground, his hands tied behind his back, and ultimately Knight was ‘hog-tied,’ before placing him in the police vehicle— using “pain  compliance” along the way against a man who had represented no real physical threat to themselves or others.  The real travesty of February 4, 2017, was that people out for a day of shopping had to see a man being tortured and police who were acting like common thugs.

Policy Implications.  First, Michael Chaustit, who has received commendations for saving a person’s life and for other contributions to police work in Key West, needs a break from homeless duty.  And he is not the only one.  If Chief Donie Lee or one of his senior officers does not cycle officers into and out of “quality-of-life” policing, they must begin doing so immediately. Second, police body cam videos need to be analyzed by a non-police and a police professional weekly for violations of police procedure.  Procedural violations must be discussed with police on an ongoing basis toward avoiding similar errors in the future.  Third, the homeless population is not best served by police and police are not well served by policing the homeless.  The City of Key West needs to set up teams of people, to include those from religious organizations, social workers, nurses, and one person from law enforcement to work with the homeless, perhaps, through SHAL.  The homeless must not be seen as a police problem when in fact they are a political consequence of how cities have been built and ‘developed’–to exclude those who are seen as unable or unwilling to ‘fit-in.’

~~~~~~~~~

Breaking News:  Dear readers of my article on policing the homeless in Key West (and the threat matrix).  Please read Police Chief Donie Lee’s memorandum [click here] regarding the actions taken by the KWPD in the case of the February 4, 2017 arrest of Kristopher Knight at Publix. I thank Chief Lee for the feedback and while I do not agree with all of the outcomes, I am content that something was done.  I invite Chief Lee to read all of your comments in response to my article.  These can be found below the post for my article on the Blue Paper’s Face book page as well as below.  You have all weighed-in with excellent ideas and suggestions.  I hope  to hear your comments about Chief Lee’s actions in this case of homeless policing. Thank you, Martha Huggins
 
Martha K. Huggins

 

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[i] On Twitter see: http://www.pictaram.com/user/mancraftskeywest/3588602498; Florida Corporate Registry, Man Crafts Key West, llc. # L16000149206 http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/SearchResultDetail?inquirytype=EntityName&directionType=Initial&searchNameOrder=MANCRAFTSKEYWEST%20L160001492060&aggregateId=flal-l16000149206-89924f88-eb54-4c27-a4bc-73f19dec899c&searchTerm=Man%20Crafts%20Key%20West&listNameOrder=MANCRAFTSKEYWEST%20L160001492060

 

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Martha K. Huggins
Tulane Professor Emerita and scholar of Brazil, Huggins has researched police violations of human rights in Brazil for 40 years. Huggins is now transforming that work to the US, where she is studying municipal government and the insurance industries' direct complicity in promoting, covering up, and hence rewarding police violence.
 February 24, 2017  Posted by at 1:10 am * Featured Story *, ~ Column ~, Issue #207, Martha Huggins  Add comments

  37 Responses to “Policing the Homeless: Following and Ignoring “Threat Matrix” Guidelines”

  1. Stop hurting these harmless people. You are fucking bullies with a Taser.

  2. Dear Martha,

    A downright brilliant, sensitive and level-headed outline of this issue! Thank you.

    Your conclusions as to potential steps toward improving the situation are equally commendable. Alas, nobody is listening. Nobody listens in any of the “homeless” communities across this country: It’s just much easier to have those “doughnut-deprived cops” pick up the garbage. And, to be fair…expecting any of these “derelicts” to “improve their life” doesn’t work, either: It’s a well-defined, seemingly unbreakable cycle.

    I don’t think that society has a viable solution.

    Dickford

    • Thank you Dickford, yes it’s tough to figure out how to stop the cycle. I do not know the demographics of the KW homeless population but I do know that in many cities, homeless people include war veterans, LGBTQ youth kicked out of homes by families, and runaways from sexual victimization in the home. These groups need services not best provided by police, who themselves are not best served by doing so. So I think that we need to stop globalizing homeless people. There may be a way to approach homeless folks as people that is based on their differences. War veteran needs one kind of assistance; LGBTQ youth needs another. What works best for each person and similar group? In the mean time, I would like to know that KWPD officers and their superiors are working to monitor those police on the ‘front lines’ so that they are acting respectfully toward each homeless person and then I hope to see such police cycled out of that service periodically to get recharged. And I DO NOT mean, cycle an officer out of homeless policing by assigning him/her to an OPS team, each one has high burn-out potential. That’s the best I can do. Martha

  3. From the diary of a redneck mystic …

    Homeless log date, Friday, February 17, 2017

    The homeless woman Kari Dangler came to me in a nap dream yesterday evening, and told me at 4, I would have a choice to go to jail, or not. I asked her if she would come see me in jail. She said, no. I had gone to see her in jail hundreds of time. I got really mad at her in the dream.

    Maybe 10 nights ago, I was woken up by Officer Blanco, where I was sleeping on my military roll up foam rubber sleeping mat at the rear of the fire station on Angela Street. Officer Blanco said there is no city ordinance against sleeping on the ground, but there is a city camping ordinance against sleeping on a sleeping mat, which is between me and the ground. I said I used the sleeping mat when I slept on the benches in the lobby of the police station. Officer Blanco said that does not violate the city’s camping ordinance, because the bench is off the ground, thus not covered by the camping ordinance. Officer Blanco said he had come to the fire station because someone had called in a report on me. I packed up and headed for the police station, where I had been sleeping nights for quite a while, and had felt I was getting in the way, because when people came there in the middle of the night to seek police help, the officer who came down to speak with them talked with them in the front lobby where I lay in plain view hearing everything they said.

    Just two nights prior to my conversation with Officer Blanco, two other KWPD officers, who said they were responding to a called in report on me sleeping at the fire station, told me, if I was banned for life from KOTS, the city’s homeless shelter, which I am, then I was good to go to sleep at the fire station, or at the police station, or in any public place. When the two officers had arrived, I was sleeping on the concrete, on top of my military roll up foam rubber sleeping mat a friend had bought online for me, in my lightweight fleece-lined sleeping bag another friend had bought online for me. Those two officers did not mention the city camping ordinance.

    After coming out of the nap and jolting Kari Dangler dream yesterday evening, I headed to the police station, to bunk in. I unrolled my sleeping mat and put it on one of the benches. Then, as a cold front was coming in, I unrolled my sleeping bag and unzipped it and laid it on top of the sleeping mat and crawled into it and zipped it up and waited on sleep to come. Sleep did not come, so I figured something was up.

    Two people came out of the police station front door, a man and a woman, KWPD employees leaving because their shifts were over was my take, because that’s about when that happens every night. They stopped out in the parking lot and started a conversation, which went on maybe half hour.

    Then, a couple came into the front lobby, speaking what sounded maybe like Russian. When I asked if they were speaking Russian, they said yes, they were Russians, wanting police help. They use the house telephone in the lobby to ask to see a police officer. They hung up the phone. The woman was in a talking mood. I thought, okay, I will pedal my bicycle to the fire station, to sleep on the concrete there, as per Officer Blanco. I did that.

    A little after 4 a.m., I woke up to a fairly gentle kick through my sleeping bag on the bottom of my right shoe. I opened my eyes and saw a KWPD officer standing at the end of my sleeping bag. First time a police officer had woken me up by touching me. All times before, police officers spoke to me, to wake me up.

    You can’t sleep here, the officer said.

    I’m banned from KOTS, I can sleep in public places, I said.

    No you can’t, there is no sleeping in Key West, he said.

    That’s unconstitutional, I will see the city attorney about it, I said.

    Go ahead, he said. Now, leave.

    Okay, I’m leaving. Do you know Lieutenant Tripp?

    Yes, the officer said.

    He told me I can sleep at the police station any time. That’s in the city.

    Then go there, the officer said.

    Did someone call in a report?, I asked.

    Yes, I didn’t sneak around, the officer said.

    What’s your name, Officer?

    Tony.

    That’s your last name?

    Yes.

    Thank you. I’m leaving. He was leaving.

    I bicycled back to the police station, laid down on a bench out of the cold wind the cold front was bringing in. On that bench, I did not need to unfurl the sleeping bag.

    I lay awake wondering if I should have just told Officer Tony to arrest me and take me to jail? Well, there would be other opportunities for that.

    I dozed off, finally. No dreams. Woke up just before 6 a.m. Got up, rolled up my sleeping mat, loaded up my bicycle and left.

    Postscript:

    There is no solution to homelessness, the question is, how does the city, society, wish throw at it? How many ways does the city, society, wish to try to fix what cannot be fixed?

    One Human Family is a cruel joke to the city’s homeless people. Yet, alas, many homeless people go out of the way to make themselves unlikable, to put it most kindly. Those homeless people make it worse for homeless people just trying to get by, stay out of trouble.

    But then, Jesus in the Gospels was homeless during his ministry, when he stirred up all sorts of commotion, rising, finally, to the highest threat level, and all he did was speak and give people hope who had given up hope, and fix people who had given up on being fixed.

    In the Gospels, Jesus respected the government, but he didn’t seem fond of the local religious leaders.

    I wonder from time to time how many police officers, who deal with homeless people, are Christian/Catholic? And of those officers, how many know Jesus was homeless? And of those, how many know Jesus told his disciples, as they did to the least of these people (the poor) around them, they did also to him?

    Dang sharp razor’s edge. No solution. Better karma for police officers to use restraint whenever possible. The city’s homeless policy is not set by the police force, but by the mayor and the six city commissioners. It’s been that way since I arrived here in late 2000, homeless.

    The city was far kinder to homeless people then.The mood shifted right after 9/11. The shift was palpable. The idiotic rich white men’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan created many homeless combat vets.

    Just today, i spoke with a city employee, who was in the war to get Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. He was in the Army, Big Red One, he said. He and his fellow soldiers all knew that the U.S. ambassador, a woman, had told Saddam that America had no stake in him invading Kuwait. But after he invaded, the ambassador’s boss, the first President George Bush, went pell mell to get Saddam out of Kuwait..

    The former Big Red One soldier said, all of the Iraq army’s tanks, trucks, etc., were older American military, had been given to Iraq by America, so Iraq could fight Iran.

    A heap of lore can be learned by hanging out on the street, which never will be learned otherwise.

  4. So , what I said last week seems to be true. Knight was leaving as ordered and did nothing to take this past level 1. What I see is a cop that needs arrested and charged with assault.

    And yes the cops foul words are more disturbing to me than those from a drunk.

    Now is this not the job of the chief of police to take action ?

    Key West has a homeless problem and given it’s size just might be a major problem. Many have gone but others will replace them. Seems like a cheaper solution needs to be found as this method is costing far too much and in time as I warned it will result in a homeless taking this to court and win. Can the tax payers afford that ?

    Sorry but I have no solution to offer.

    • Jim,

      RE: “Sorry, but I have no solution to offer.”

      That about says it all, doesn’t it? I don’t either…nor, apparently does anyone else here.

      Dickford

    • Hi Jiminkeywest, you were correct: Kristopher was walking away. He’s dysfunctionally annoying but does not deserve mistreatment by a professional police officer who represents our city. I hope to see our police professionals behave better than drunk, troubled youth. I hope never again to see police engaging in the violent drama that went down in a public place in Feb. 4, 2017. Those entrusted with protecting and serving must not dirty their badge, the city, and the public’ image of police work. Thanks for weighing-in, Martha

      • Sadly you will see this often simply because the police ARE ABOVE THE LAW and no serious actions will be taken on this officer even for the foul words he used. As to the assault charge if he pushes it at best will gain him little and on next arrest likely end up killed.

  5. The solution to how police behave needs to come from the police. Protect and serve. Uphold the laws of the land. Esprit de corps. Discipline their own when they stray and embarrass themselves and their brother and sister officers.

    Meanwhile, in this video, we again have a chemicalized-zombie homeless man, who was so far gone he could not, or would not, respond quickly to the officer’s intervention.

    Unfortunately, for I have tried to bring it off many times, homeless people are not inclined to discipline their own for embarrassing themselves and all other homeless people.

    It’s an awful problem. And, how do you tell homeless people to get sober, when there are so many chemicalized non-homeless people wandering on foot, bicycles, mopeds and in cars and trucks all over Key West? Without booze and other drugs, Key West’s economy would implode.

    I bet KWPD could make dozens of D.U.I. arrests a week by stationing plain clothes cops at each of the city’s parking lots, and those cops nab drunk non-homeless people who get into their vehicles and start to drive away. Drunk drivers are a far bigger problem in Key West, than chemicalized homeless people.

  6. We must at least try the cycling in and out of the homeless care. I’ve heard we lose existing officers and applicants out of their not wanting to deal with these unpleasant and unfortunate souls. The work is too morally painful to have to do for too long a time.

    • Agreed, Rick.

      However, there are some officers who should not even be assigned to the homeless “task force”, who should be steer away from having to deal with homeless people. Those officers have their buttons pushed too easily by homeless people. They probably do well in other venues police are needed.

      I recall when I lived in Boulder, Colorado, and hung out a lot on Pearl Street Mall, which is very popular there. An old street closed off, turned into a bricked promenade. Businesses on that promenade very successful. Pretty landscaping. Yep, homeless people were drawn to it.

      That’s when I first had close dealings with homeless people. I got to know quite a few. Most were much younger than I. A different mix than Key West’s generally older homeless people.

      One Boulder police officer was the primary cop on Pearl Street Mall. He had a very hard time being around the homeless people. He was causing problems because he could not deal with homeless people.

      There was a public meeting. I attended. The ACLU was there. Reporters were there from the local daily newspaper, which was kinda like the Citizen, but the letters to the editor were far more colorful, and were in each day’s edition.

      I spoke that that public meeting about constitutional rights, such as, freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness. I said that police officer was on the wrong beat, he could not deal with homeless people, he needed to have another beat.

      I got myself on the front page of the next day’s edition of the local daily. Next time that officer saw me on Pearl Street Mall, he was not happy with me, said some things that caused me to ask if he was threatening me? He backed down, left. We had been pretty okay with each other before that.

      I wrote a letter to the Boulder police chief about that, told him that officer should be given a different beat, he probably would do well there. The chief had an underling write back to me. I wrote back to the chief, said I did not write to him, so he could have his underling reply. I used to practice law, I knew how to turn on the heat in that way, I said. But it was not my style anymore.

      I suggested the chief watch the progress of the Colorado Buffalo football team’s head coach, who was winning a lot of games, and he was a national leader in the “Promise Keepers” movement, which was holding annual rallies in the Colorado U. football stadium in Boulder. Packed stadium events. Packed with Christian men, who had dedicated their lives to keeping their promises to their wives and children. The CU football coach was one of the main speakers. He was a national leader in Promise Keepers.

      However, his daughter was having sex with many of his football players. Perhaps because he was seldom home, and having sex with his football players was her way of being with her father.

      Now, a former Sports Illustrated sports writer had left SI and had come to write sports stuff for the local Boulder daily. So, I wrote him a letter and told him that i was hearing from my son-in-law, an assistant baseball coach in a Big 8 Conference college, that it was all over the NCAA that the daughter of CU’s head football coach was having sex with his football players. Maybe the sportswriter wanted to do an article about that, to balance all the glowing praise the coach was getting via winning so many football games, even a national championship, being given a life-time coaching contract CU, and the Promise Keepers medal of honors, too.

      Well, the little shit passed the story to his friends at Sports Illustrated, who wrote a major article which was published, to my chagrin, because I was only trying to get the coach’s attention locally. I wrote a letter to the editor, explaining it all and apologizing. That letter was published by the Boulder daily, which published quite a few of my letters to the editor when I lived in Boulder.

      The sportswriter went to work for a newspaper in Denver.

      The coach resigned. Said he needed to spend more time with his wife and family. He denied his daughter had anything to do with it.

      The Pearl Street Mall police officer was given a new beat, and, as far as I know, he did fine with it.

    • Hello Rick. I agree with the dilemmas you cite. Only one observation, unless an officer moves to a small, non-tourist, rural, area, he or she will find homeless and will have to interact professionally with them. In such areas, however, salaries are likely to be low. In big cities, pay will be better but there will be even more than Key West has of “troublesome” homeless. The real irony for me is that some of the same “economic development” practices that helped to create people with no place to live also today burden the police who tasked to control the homeless. That is, the latter also cannot find a reasonably priced place to live and live safely. Yikes! What a mess. Best, Martha

  7. Any that can’t handle dealing with the homeless will not fit into any county or city and should not become a cop. It does not need be morally painful for the cop or the homeless. I knights case the problem turned nasty fast because of the way the cops handled it with profanity. Dish it out and you get it back. All that was needed was 1 or 2 minutes to wake him, explain the law and he left. And that was pretty much how it went down. The second part is where the problem began as he was leaving. So what was missing here. First the cop yells STOP , STOP. Note he did not say KEW WEST POLICE STOP. It place assumptions that knight heard him or even knew who was yelling stop. So next step was ASSAULT by pushing him before this even reached level 1. Note that the case as noted on cam was it was ended. So this is a new case not a continued first case. Even if he changed his mind over the insult it still was at level 1.

    So the city wants homeless off their island. So does every city. Go about it legally and they will still stay. Create some new laws and enforce them. Make life such hell that they will leave and never return. You already created the open container law with intent to only use on homeless not tourist. You stopped the pan handling (thank you) and mostly you moved them off Duval and downtown populated area. Seems you moved them to the North end near Publix. That simply puts them out of site to tourists. Push them to Stock Island and keep pushing them north. Maybe push them to an area they could camp and live. They will not simply go away.

    Many are homeless because of low wages and housing cost. The city created that problem. Your other poor are in projects like Bahama Village because they played the system and get help with the cost. Many on welfare or disability and just one step above being homeless. Notice the nice cars parked out front. Seems they must have some income legal or other.

    Total picture is ugly to tourist and hurting tourism. Until recent we felt safe visiting KW but maybe not near as safe as we think. Are these the same cops tourist deal with ? If true then we are not any safer than the homeless from such trashy talking cops.

  8. That sounds reasonable…and doable, Rick. But, it doesn’t solve anything. We push this behavior onto the police, regardless of who/what the miscreants are. As Sloan wisely points out, many a fine, upstanding citizen has ‘slipped’…winding up in the same predicament as any ‘homeless’ person.

    What would really work to reduce this problem?

    Dickford

  9. Hello!

    Well, Dickford, if by the problem, you mean homeless people, there is nothing that will fix that. Spend lots of money, put them in free housing, like Utah did. That will get them out of sight. But what happens in those apartments?

    Catholic Charities will find out about that when it builds all of that cheap new rental housing where the soup kitchen used to serve homeless people. The fellow ramrodding that for Catholic Charities told the city commission it will be drug free. I caught him outside with Peter Batty, who is the boss of that, for the Church, and I told him and Peter that was just not true. It would not be drug free. The tenants would be loaded with drugs, counting booze and whatever else. Drug free means you give pee tests and don’t even rent to people who flunk pee test, and get rid of those who flunk random pee tests.

    So few homeless people don’t drink, that it isn’t really a factor. Most of them are messed up in the head by drugs, including booze. Witness the star in the 2 videos. Today chemo-brained, due to booze and whatever else he’s being doing for years, and longer. He might never come out of it, even if he becomes sober. Brain damage permanent. And yeah, he may also be mentally ill, but you cannot treat that, if he ain’t sober.

    If, by the problem, you meant mentally wired/disturbed police officers, that’s on the chief of police and city commission to take care of, and good damn luck getting that past the police benevolent union, if the chief and the city commission became proactive, which I wish they would, the Charles Eimers case was their golden opportunity, those cops thought he was homeless, living in his vehicle, no way they treat him that way if he was homeless.

    But that the heck, the city has a $1,000,000 liability insurance policy, so it doesn’t cost the city much when somebody gets a nearly $1,000,000 settlement. That insurance company should have walked after paying off the Eimers family, told KW to get itself another insurance company.

    I swan, does anybody really think there is a cure to any of this? A human cure? Perhaps some tweaking, some improvement here, some slipping back elsewhere. Face it. Homeless people are never going to please mainstream. Ironically, a lot of homeless people gave up on mainstream, decided mainstream was a big fat lie, or impossible to make work, for them. So they just quit. Dropped out. Don’t want to come back, not really.

    There is only one person in this conversation who actually knows the beast, because he lives in its belly. And that person is me. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that the local mavens would talk with me about homeless stuff affecting their community. You’d think the blue paper and Martha Huggins would talk with me before they publish homeless articles You’d be wrong, if you think that.

    It’s darn easy to sit up in an ivory tower and spout off. It’s darn easy to sit at a laptop and spout off. It ain’t easy to stay nights at KOTS, or in the police station. But when you do that, you actually know what the subject is. Otherwise, you don’t know what the subject is. You only might think you know, because you have had some dealings with homeless people.

    KW Police Chief Gordon “Buz” Dillon was a very good friend of mine. He initiated the friendship after hearing me speak to the city commission about homeless people. He was distressed that his cops were being used to implement social policy, rather than do law enforcement. He did not like his police being used that way. But he was being ordered to do it that way by his bosses in the city government. The city manager, and the city commission.

    I imagine the current police chief, Donie Lee, is getting much the same orders from his bosses in city hall. the buck stops with the mayor and 6 city commissioners. I won’t be holding my breath they change the city’s policy with homeless people. They are getting great pressure from the one human family not citizenry to lean on homeless people, try to make them leave.

    As if Key West has a homeless problem. Cities all over Florida have a homeless problem. Cities in New England have a homeless problem. Birmingham has it. Kansas City has it. Denver has it. The western state cities have it. It is EVERYWHERE, and I imagine it is going to increase.

    The other day, the Pope said the Mafia had excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church, Wild. I would say the Mafia have excommunicated themselves from God, which is a bit more important than the Catholic Church. Well, that’s what we all do, if we continue acting like horses ass, and worse. We excommunicate ourselves from God.

    Homeless people should be put to ponder that. Police should be put to ponder that. Elected officials should be pushed to ponder that. What a wild time would be had, if all of a sudden, every person on this planet was tossed into a closet with God and left in there until their attention was got. Kinda reminds of Jonah being swallowed by God, until Jonah got the message. Much like Saul of Tarsus got his bell run on the Road to Damascus. Before that, he was persecuting Christians. Getting them arrested and crucified.

    Actually, homeless people are not a big problem, compared to, say, hmm, the amount of booze drunk and other drugs ingested in Key West by non-homeless people, who then get onto or into their vehicles and drive. Naja and Arnaud told me several times, just about everyone they know uses drugs, and they were not talking about booze. That’s mother’s milk, in Key West 🙂

  10. Does anyone have even a rough number of homeless ?

    Solution is to actively arrest every person caught sleeping on public or private property without consent of owner. Now that could easily be over 100 in a night. That would fill all the county jails real fast but very effective after a few days. In short be a pain in the ass and fill the courts up. Yes , huge price tag but within a month very few will remain without help.

    I do understand the reasons to remove all the homeless. They are a high cost to the tax payers and cops. They are using water they did not pay for and likely are a major portion of the criminal actions of theft . But we all know they will not actively go after them as the initial cost would kill them.

    Some like Sloan I simply do not understand. He has the education level so why homeless ? Yes jobs pay low but even a couch on someones porch would be better than living a life on the street. Others like Knight likely will be nothing but a constant customer to the KWPD and that is costly to keep arresting him and feeding him. He still was abused in this last case. So either clean up this mess once or keep toying with it day to day. Yes frustrating to a cop seeing the same type over and over till they break down and then violate the law and bring charges on to them self.

  11. Jiminkeywest
    Sloans easy to figure out He chooses to be homeless. His mental health issues cause him to believe he is anything more than just the exact same type person as Christopher knight. He is so busy blaming everybody and using imaginary friends he calls angels as Excuse for his behavior which causes his problems in life. There are 3144 countys in the USA he could live well in at least a few dozen of those. Yet Here he is because he Wants to be just like the rest of the zombiefied homeless that are pickled all day every day. Delusional dreams of grandeur And a inflated self worth. Never has he accomplished anything in his life. Except destroy that very life. Now he has become a lot like Gallum from lord of the rings crying about His precious. Go Bus is only 9 dollars outta here to a sustainable life somewhere he can afford but he is not educated enough to figure that out even! just another homeless person pissed at world for what they wrought on themselves! Must be sad to know nobody Gives a rats ass what you think? SMH

  12. Jiminkeywest: Sloan sleeps at the police station. He got a deal that must run the wrong way all police who are tasked go out and roust homeless out of public and private spaces. Hypocracy is demoralizing to police. Martha

    • Martha, as I imagine you know, the “deal” I have, which allows me to sleep nights at the police station, is due to Mike Tolbert, who runs KOTS, and Southern Assistance Homeless League executive director John Miller, who thinks he runs Mike, don’t want me at KOTS, because when I stayed there about a year in aggregate in 2015 and 2016, I was reporting regularly at goodmorningkeywest.com what I was seeing go down in zombie city (KOTS), and I was reporting plenty about Mike, too, which I was getting straight from him and from lots of homeless men and women and quite a few city employees, all of whom said they cannot stand him.

      I wrote plenty about SHAL, too, and about its former executive director, Randi Cohen Brown, and reporting about her led to her quick departure from SHAL, but it was painted in the Key West Citizen like she was leaving one great successes and moving on to new bright horizons. The day it came out in the Citizen, Mike Tolbert called me and told me Randi Cohen Brown is an idiot. I asked him if he would put that in writing with an explanation and email it to me? He said he would. He didn’t.

      By law, as I think you know, Martha, the Pottinger case, if I am banned from the city’s homeless shelter, the city has to let me sleep in public places (on city land). This got front page coverage in the Key West Citizen, when Alyson Crean, KWPD official spokesperson, explained it to the entire city and Florida Keys. I had offered that story to the blue paper. In face, Arnaud Girard drove me to the police station on his Moped, the first night I stayed there. But the blue paper did not run with it.

      About this braveheart who names himself, truth. Note, the small t. If he was Truth, his real name would be on his missive. Or, if a she is the author, then her real name.

      In printing truth’s anonymous missive, the blue paper descended to the slum usually monopolized by bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph bitch and sometimes praise public forum. “Deer Ed”, the publisher of that online rag, boasts that it’s anonymous, and that makes it different from all the other online rags.

      Deer Ed had fun publishing Sloan slams from truth and others recently, when I was sued by a woman in Alabama for publishing at my websites the truth about what had gone down between her and me, all of which she had instigated.

      Then, Deer Ed published a slam of the plaintiff sent in by Stephen Freer, but it was anonymous. I knew from the writing style and tone, who had sent it in and I said it was Freer when I republished it at my websites.

      I emailed Deer Ed, that when he publishes anonymous slams, he draws the scum of the earth to the Coconut Telegraph. Not long after, he sent that back to me, with a Florida Courts e-fling notice that the lady who had sued me, had sued him for publishing what Freer had to say about her on the Coconut Telegraph.

      By then, the lady had sued Naja, because I had published what Naja had emailed me stating her thoughts about the lady who had sued me. Soon, the lady had sued Rick Boettger, for sharing his thoughts about her with me, which I had published. Rick and Steve both had told me they hoped she would sue them.

      The lady also sued her neighbor across the street in the city where she lives, who had talked with me about her. She sued the city attorney of that city, for talking with me about her.

      Now Martha, how can it be that the weirdest lawsuit in the history of time on this planet, in which the plaintiff is suing a 74+year-old homeless man for his future inheritance, is only being reported by that homeless man at his new website?

      A new website, because the lady got Blue Host, which hosted my websites , to shut them down. I don’t know it for a fact, but I would guess she threatened to sue Blue Host.

      Mike Tolbert and John Miller were delighted my websites were shut down. If I had to take a guess, I’d guess truth is Mike, because truth sounds like Mike, but perhaps Mike has a twin running around, a doppelganger.

      As for my zombie state, well, I don’t drink booze, because just one beer or glass of wine makes me really sick pronto, and I cannot afford to drink on $740 per month Social Security retirement. I don’t use tobacco, because I can’t stand cigarettes and I can’t afford tobacco. I don’t do marijuana, spice or any of the other favorite zombie homeless drugs. I don’t do soft drinks, tea, coffee, because they really fuck me up and I cannot afford them.

      Imagine what it was like for me at KOTS, surrounded by homeless zombies (chemicalized former human beings) who are fed donuts and coffee for breakfast of zombies (addicts).

      I think the most wonderful thing that could happen to truth and his/her tribe, would be they are visited up close and personal, for a long time, by the angels truth says I make up. I would love to see that enlightenment. Meanwhile, I have plenty on my plate here in Key West and beyond, and, believe it or not,
      I have a whole lot of mainstream friends in Key West who cheer me on, encourage me.

      One, who presently doesn’t want me to know his name, maybe he doesn’t want to be sued by the lady suing me, went through a mutual friend, to buy me a new Hewlett-Packard laptop, because my old H-P was going on the blink. The benefactor wanted me to keep publishing what truth and his/her tribe and city and county officials and other people cannot stand.

      It is true I went through a lot of money in the past. All inherited money. Different inheritances. The bane of my existence is I do not earn a living wage. I did not do that when I practiced law, either. That’s one reason I stopped practicing law in Alabama. The other reason was, practicing law was killing me. So, I left that behind, I had hoped.

      Before long, two celestial beings woke me up in the wee hours, summoned by a desperate prayer I had made: “Dear God, I do not wish to die like this, failed. Please help me. I offer my life to human service.”

      I heard, “This will push you to your limits but you asked for it and we are going to give it to you.” I was then struck by lightning. Spiritual lightning. I saw the white flash. My body lurched. Then I was struck again. Then again. The angels dissolved. It was all over for me but the shouting.

      Right, I can’t prove that happened. So, what? I know it happened. And I know nobody can prove it didn’t happen. I was there, and my critics were not there. Oh, how I do hope they get to know those two angels like I came to know them. Jesus and Archangel Michael. What fun that would be for me to watch. Oh, what a great thing that would be for my critics, and for humanity.

      Meanwhile, tonight at new city hall, the Key West Police Citizens Review Board meets at 6 p.m., and outgoing (by his own choice) CRB member Tom Milone will ask the CRB to investigate KWPD in light of the 2nd video of the Charles Eimers case making the officers involved in that killing of a man thought to be living in his car (homeless), lied in their incident reports and depositions in the ensuing federal lawsuit against the city and those officers. Ya-ll come and watch your CRB in action, or inaction.

  13. Jiminkeywest, probably 250+ homeless on the ground on Key West, Stock Island, up to Boca Chica Bridge, not counting homeless in jail, Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, Samuel’s House, Battered Women’s Shelter, Peacock House, Catholic Charities where the soup kitchen used to serve, sleeping/living in vehicles, living with relatives and friends.

    There is no way to understand me, if you are one-dimensional in seeing, hearing, sensing.

    I think if the people in this discussion actually lived on the street, they would be less wound up about the videos. More wound up about the far more serious threat to people posed by mainstream locals and visitors loaded to the gills with booze and whatever else, driving mopeds, cars and trucks around Key West.

    When something punches your buttons good, that tends to mean there is something about you that needs to be examined for what in your past the thing punching your buttons reminds you of, consciously or unconsciously.

    There used to be, not sure if he’s still around, a police office here who hated homeless people, viewed it has his sacred duty to make them miserable as possible. An X-ray of that officer’s soul would have revealed something every bit as terrible as he viewed homeless people.

    I imagine that homeless man in the videos was punching a heap of that officer’s buttons, which, actually, had nothing to do with that homeless man, sorry a person as he, the homeless man, was, is.

    For his own sake, that officer should be reassigned to avoid homeless people.

    The only help for that homeless man is he get sober, and hope that turns him around.

    Putting active homeless in same shelter with homeless not using is cruel and unusual punishment of the homeless who are not using. I can attest to that from staying many nights at KOTS in 2005 and 2006, and reporting that at goodmorningkeywest.com. And what was going on with KOTS staff. You think that might have something to do with them banning me for life from KOTS for life?

    SHAL and KOTS said it was because I threatened to kill homeless people. I never threatened to kill anyone, homeless or not. Naja and Arnaud thought that allegation was ridiculous. As did a lot of people who were reading goodmorningkeywest.com, where the alleged threats were made.

    It is true, I believe homeless people who behave and live the way that homeless man in the video behaved and lived, would be better off dead, than continuing to live and behave in that way. But to twist that into a threat to kill homeless people is pure psychosis, or pure lying.

    You folks, including Martha Huggins, Arnaud and Naja, really should spend a good stretch of nights at KOTS, and in that way get your perspective set in a reality you cannot possible grasp without doing it.

    Same for Key West police officers, city officials, and, well, just about anyone who feels moved to hold forth about homeless people and what they endure.

    And what cops endure dealing with many homeless people. It could be said it is a wonder more homeless people are not beaten up, tased, shot, by police officers in Key West. You’d believe that, if you have seen and heard what I have seen and heard.

    You want saints for cops, then pay them a whole lot more money. Regular officers living in Key West, or up the Keys commuting into Key West, are stretched and stressed over the cost of living here. Their families are stretched and stressed. You don’t want stretched and stress cops dealing with the public.

    Nor should the mayor or city commissioners want that. But that’s what they have, and they are the reason for it, to the extent they are not paying officers enough wage to take that stress off of them and their families.

  14. Why not get a food truck, park it in a area designated away from the masses and you will draw the homeless to that area. Give them one meal a day and am sure this idea would be cost effective in the long run.

    • Earth to Bozewell, Earth to Bozewell. There is no such place in Key West, nor on Stock Island, but where KOTS now is, and the Sheriff is just dying to get KOTS relocated as soon as it was built in 2004. KOTS is where the soup kitchen now serves homeless people, who stay the night at KOTS. Homeless people who do not stay the night at KOTS, by ch oice or by being banned, cannot eat there.

      Earth to Bozewell, Earth to Bozewell. When the soup kitchen was a Mary Star of the Sea Church on Truman avenue, maybe 1/2 of Key West’s homeless people ate there.

      When the soup kitchen was moved to the Flagler Avenue location, maybe 1/3 of the area’s homeless people ate there.

      If the soup kitchen at KOTS was open to all homeless people, about 1/2, maybe, of the area’s homeless people would eat there, and that’s because most of them will be at KOTS anyway for the night.

      If you put a food truck on the county side of Stock Island, say in Bernstein Park, about 1/5 of the area’s homeless people might eat there.

      If ypu put a food truck above Stock Island, maybe 1/20th of the area’s homeless people would eat there.

      What about putting the food truck in the K-mart shopping center? That will draw in about 1/2 of the areas’s homeless people.

      Mothership to Bozewell, out.

    • That solves nothing unless free and sells cheap beer. They eat then walk back downtown. Nothing solved.

  15. Gee! Guess what? Mr. Knight has been released from custody today (2/27)…after bein incarcerated for 21 days. Exactly as I predicted.

    Dickford

    • And just how long will he be out before he is back in ? He could pull a cute trick now that he is out and file a police report for assault. With that they would be forced to respond to it. Could get real nasty fast. But if what we been told is he is a regular then likely he will just return to his old ways.

      Bottom line is unless he files the charges nothing can or will become of it.

      • Jim,

        RE: “And just how long before he is back in?”

        Dunno. I think that is up to him. He knows the system…and knows that the Sheriff’s Dept. did benefit by his 21 days rent.;-)

        As I stated previously, he could have filed his complaint at any time during his confinement…and still can. The likelihood that it would succeed is remote. Particularly due to the existence of those “tapes”. Hindsight is always 20/20…

        Dickford

  16. Martha Huggins came to me in a dream last night and welcomed me back, said she really liked me talking about “bold police”.

    Hold that thought.

    How many bold blue paper readers, critics, fans, commentators, editors, publishers did I see at last night’s Key West Citizens (Police) Review Board (CRB) meeting?

    Take a wild guess.

    In the audience was City Commissioner Margaret Romero.

    And a candidate to replace outgoing CRB member Tom Milone, who had told the CRB he was resigning. I know from Tom why he is resigning. That would make a great bold story for the blue paper or Martha Huggins to seek their teeth into. Definitely not a pretty story. If Tom wants to tell it.

    And me, although, shamefully, I arrived about 15 minutes into the meeting, and Tom had already presented his case for the CRB boldly reopening the Eimers investigation based on what the plaintiff lawyers had unearthed: the second bystanders’ video had conclusively proved several police officers had perjured themselves in their depositions, civilian witnesses had not been interviewed, and there had been a kWPD cover up.

    Now, you’d have thunk the bold CRB would have been all over that. But since you were not there, and I was, for I got there in time to hear the rest of the CRB’s response to Tom Milone’s bold indefensible charges, you would have learned that you had thunk wrong.

    After a KWDD officer liaison with the CRB said the officer who had caused the most trouble had been dismissed some months prior, that would be Gary Lee Lovette, responses from the other CRB members ranged from silence to let’s just adopt the Department of Justice/FBI finding of insufficient evidence to prosecute for CRIMINAL violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws.

    The CRB’s attorney, Robert Cintron, cautioned the CRB against going down that road. Cintron said, the burden of proof for CRIMINAL violation (beyond a reasonable doubt) of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws is very steep. Cintron said, there very well could be lesser infractions, which require a lower burden of proof, which would be civil violations of the U.S. Civil Rights Laws. Cintron said, that was the same thing the Department of Justice/FBI had faced in the Ferguson, Missouri case, which the Department of Justice/FBI had declined, for the same reason, to prosecute.

    I was sitting out there in the peanut gallery, having arrived, shamefully, too late to make citizen comments, thinking, what a bunch of panty-waisted horseshit. The plaintiff lawyers had boldly nailed it in the depositions. But for Tom Milone, the CRB, including Cintron, had boldly sold out; had boldly become KWPD’s first offenders, as I wrote in an earlier comment under Martha Huggins article.

    After CRB the meeting, I told Tom Milone that our new re-hired State Attorney Dennis Ward should boldly step in and take over where the bold plaintiff lawyers had left off. But then, I mused to Tom, Dennis had started out as a police officer, so would he boldly prosecute KWPD officers for perjury, not interviewing witnesses, covering up? When Dennis was State Attorney the first time, I had watched him boldly let a law enforcement officer skate, who had doctored a Wisteria Island trespass charge file, which news the blue paper had unearthed.

    I recalled the blue paper reporting my telling the mayor and city commissioners during citizen comments at a city commission meeting, that their police had believed Charles Eimers was homeless, living in his vehicle, and that’s why he had died. If their police had thought Eimers was a tourist, which he was, those police officers would not have murdered him.

    Commissioner Mark Rossi nearly leapt off the dais at me, he was so agitated and red in the face, that I thought he might explode. Commissioner Tony Yaniz was close behind. The rest of the city commissioners and Mayor Craig Cates looked at me like was out of my mind.

    Had truth been there, he would have loudly amended. truth, who boldly chimed in using a fake name in this reader discussion under Marth Huggins’ article. Little t. For little truth.

    So, what was the cosmic message in all of that, this redneck mystic former practicing attorney wondered?

    Hmmm.

    Voila!

    A fellow well known in spiritual circles, J. Krishnamurti, once said, “The solution to any problem is contained within the problem.”

    Right.

    It is time to disband the CRB. It no longer is needed, because it no longer exists. It mutated into something else. It went the way of KWPD’s Internal Affairs, the Police Benevolent Union, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Monroe County State Attorney, and the Key West City Commission, which is where the buck really stops, since the mayor and city commissioners decide who will be the city manager and police chief.

    Ah, but this awful thought keeps nagging, which has to do with a comment I submitted under Martha Huggins’ article, which Naja did not clear from moderation. My comment, in which I explained what Key West Police Chief Gordon “Buz” Dillon told me his own self had really gone down between him and Dennis Reeves Cooper, the prior publisher/editor of the blue paper, who had led the charge in the fall of 2002, to get the CRB on a referendum ballot.

    Now, I’m not going to say again here what I already submitted and it was rejected by Naja, I suppose, because it was not in Cooper’s and the blue paper’s favor, when it was run by Cooper. I leave that for Cooper and/or the blue paper to boldly tell it true, where journalism is a contact sport, unless, hmmm, you happen to be the past editor and publisher of the blue paper, and it is your ass being whacked.

    No, I’m headed in an entirely different direction today.

    That different direction is, the CRB referendum was based on a bold half-truth foisted onto the public by Dennis Reeves Cooper, who did not tell the public the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about what actually went down between him and Buz Dillon, which caused Buz to have Cooper arrested, which led to Cooper suing the city and getting hisself and his lawyers, several hundred thousand dollars, which Cooper then boldly crowed about for quite a while.

    Cooper’s boldly told half-told truth was what fueled the bold petition drive for the CRB to be passed by the voters, against tremendous opposition from the Key West City Commission, boldly led by then Mayor Jimmy Weekley. Also fiercely opposed was KWPD, including Buz Dillon, and the Police Benevolent Union.

    It was a hell of war, in which I was a loud proponent for the CRB to come into being, I was in on that at the ground level, as yet unaware of what had really passed between Dillon and Cooper, and between Cooper and District Court Judge Wayne Miller, who himself had signed and approved the illegal arrest warrant. But that part of the story Cooper never told, he let Miller skate.

    After we became good friends, I told Bus it was KWPD’s job to put the CRB out of business, by not giving the CRB anything to review. KWPD be the police force that boldly polices itself. Be the police force that boldly does not tolerate officers embarrassing the police force. Be the bold first responder to deal with police officers who messed up. Buz was boldly taking that to heart, he was boldly transforming KWPD into a homeless tolerant police force, when he was fired by City Manager Julio Avael over the Dennis Reeves Cooper lawsuit.

    That, folks, is the cure. KWPD boldly resurrecting what Buz Dillon was doing. That will put the CRB out of business. That will put the blue paper out of business, too. For it is the sordid police misbehavior stories that draw to the blue paper much of its readership. Which is a crying shame, because there are so many important matters the blue paper covers. Yet it’s bad cop stories that make blue paper readers juices really run. So, KWPD, the absolutely meanest thing you can do to the blue paper and its readers is boldly starve them to death J.

    I do not see in today’s Key West Citizen any mention of last night’s CRB meeting.

  17. Public or private is a tricky . Yes Publix is private ownership but because of being a business open to the public while open it is public property. For that reason you can get a ticket for any violations the same as if on city owned property. So yes could get ticket for parking , speeding , expired tags.

    How ever as the owner a store can ban you from the property with a warning. After that has been done then you are trespassing. So seems Knight received the required warning to leave and he attempted to do just that. He was given the warning by KWPD.
    Now we move to the next charge and that was not trespassing. It was disturbing the piece and was not warned or arrested for such. That is where the cop screwed up. He can not just continue a case he already closed. He could have stopped him again by ordering him to stop by loudly saying KEY WEST POLICE STOP and the charged and arrested him for disturbing the piece and yes guilty of that charge. But the cop did not follow the law to the letter. Had he used the words POLICE, STOP or KWPD POLICE STOP then and only then could he use force.

    We all know this was not about disturbing the piece but simply got pissed off for being cussed at. Note that it seems fine for a cop to use file words but not others…

    As to your so called chief we all know he is a not allowed to do anything the mayor does not want him doing. And am sure he has been ordered to keep his mouth shut unless in court and ordered to talk by a judge

    • Jim, you have the sequence of events…and the subsequent charges, slightly wrong: Mr. Knight was charged with failure to leave the property upon order -and- resisting arrest without violence, NOT for “disturbing the piece”.

      The “resisting arrest” charge (obstruction) suggests that this incident was ongoing…Mr. Knight was NOT complying in an orderly fashion: Instead, he was seeking to (and did) commit further infractions…namely his publicly-witnessed verbal assault. IOW, the two charges resulted from the same infraction…a very common occurrence.

      Dickford

  18. Dickford and Jiminkeywest, can he file criminal or a civil suit once he has pled guilty in court?

    • He can file a criminal complaint (misdemeanor) and/or a civil complaint, if he so chooses. Remember…he pled guilty only to his infraction(s), not withstanding the actions of others.

      I would be highly skeptical of his chances for success in even being heard, however.

      Dickford

    • Yes, Martha, he can file a compliant. Officer misbehavior is a different issue from the arrestee’s misbehavior. But what lawyer would take this case and file a lawsuit for damages under either criminal or civil sections of civil rights acts? And what would be the damages awarded, given this arrestee’s behavior in the video? A lawyer certainly would look at al of that, unless he was just hankering to poke the police, and maybe end up getting himself poked back by the police, after painting a big bulls eye on his front and back. Dennis Reeves Cooper learned about that when he was trailed and watched and was gotten for D.U.I.

      What the city needs is its own drunk tank, paid for by the city, not by the Sheriff and the entire county taxpayer base, since it’s the city that’s putting drunk homeless people in the Sheriff’s jail.

      I don’t see how a trespass charge stood up in this case, unless the man had been previously trespassed and the came back after receiving the warning. And then, the officer giving the warning would have had to have the FLORIDA STATE STATUE-required written authorization from the owner of the shopping center, or from the owner’s property manager. That was the Kari Dangler cases, which the State Attorney dismissed because the written authorization had not been given by the land owner or the land owner’s property manager.

      A store manager in a shopping center cannot, I don’t think, issue a trespass warning for the entire shopping center, nor give police authority to issue trespass warnings for the entire shopping center. Perhaps for the sidewalk area immediately in front of a store can the store manager issue a trespass warning, or give police written authority to do that, and then arrest people who had been warned, who came back.

  19. FIXATING UPON IMPERMANENCE…CAUSES SUFFERING & DYSFUNCTION…