Category Archives: Cape Coral / Southwest Florida

Chokehold Death Case Report Leaves out the Chokehold

NYPD and a couple of officers are taking a lot of heat over a video in which an unarmed man is choked to death by officers. The police report written directly after the death of Eric Garner makes no mention that a chokehold was used, perhaps because their use had been banned by the department decades ago. It’s poor policework that leaves significant details out of reports, and it’s all too common. Police reports are frequently persuasion pieces, written to justify an arrest or other action, instead of simply informative recitations.

This struck a chord with me, as I just noted the fact that in the recent Cape Coral situation in which the defendants family has alleged excessive force; officers neglected to mention they had broken the suspects leg. Travis Robey’s father alleges that not only was the leg broken, but that he was beaten after being subdued, and that officers then made him walk on the broken leg. Officers summarized, simply, that he was checked at the hospital and medically cleared before being taken to jail. Written that way, without knowing the details, it sounds like they may just have had him checked for alcohol poisoning before they put him in a cell. Yada yada yada the medical treatment he receive due to the force employed by officers. Before the validity of the force can be analyzed, the true extent of the force must be disclosed.

Cape Coral Police Face Excessive Force Allegations, Again

Travis Robey Mug Shot

Travis Robey Mug Shot

According to CCPD reports, 20-year-old Travis Robey was intoxicated and sitting in a parking lot when he was approached by officers. He got combative, struck officers, and tried to run away, and during his detention, got roughed up a bit and tased. His behavior sounds pretty outrageous, especially if you consider that at only 20, he wasn’t allowed to be drinking in the first place. Officers say they found marijuana in the vehicle as well.

Now, after some national press and a YouTube video, allegations have come out that officers continued to use force against Robey after her was subdued. Witnesses who happened to be in the area used their phone to record footage, which is not easy to see, due to darkness, that they say was the officers using excessive force, and then threatening the innocent bystanders themselves. Robey’s father says that officers broke Robey’s leg, then made him walk on it and laughed at his injuries. Troubling allegations, to be sure.

The biggest surprise for me was discovering that Georgeann Lytle is still a Cape Police Officer. She was involved in this incident, and has had previous professional complaints, at least one involving excessive force, and another regarding a false detention that led to her demotion. Here’s the irony, even if she was acting properly, her personnel record makes it that mush more likely that Cape Coral will be interested in settling for a monetary settlement. That’s more taxpayer money likely to be spent because the department let a known trouble cop stay on the force.

Robey could be facing more than ten years in prison, for two felonies and a couple more misdemeanors. He is innocent until proven guilty… as are the cops.

Kemar Johnston’s Request for New Trial Denied

Kemar Johnston on NBS-2.com

Kemar Johnston, convicted of a couple counts of first degree murder in the Cash Feenz murders several years ago in Cape Coral, had filed a motion for ineffective assistance of counsel. The primary error alleged in the motion was that his attorney prevented him from having a fair trial by admitting to marijuana use. Johnston was facing the death penalty for these crimes, and his attorneys managed to avoid a death sentence. He will appeal the denial of his post-conviction motion.

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/25583316/convicted-lee-co-killer-wants-new-trial#.U4lHn_ldXqQ

News-press Headline: “Wrath of Khan”

I missed this in the paper last month: Tariq Khan was arrested for multiple charges, including aggravated assault and assault on a law enforcement officer. He was angry, and his wrath was apparent. News-press.com covered the story with this headline: “Wrath of Khan? Cape man accused of assault on neighbor, officers”. Well played, News-Press!

Khhaaaaaann! Tariq Khan Mug Shot

Khhaaaaaann!
Tariq Khan Mug Shot

Judging by the booking photo, Cape Officers didn’t take to kindly to his waving a gun around when they arrived. He was charged with resisting an officer. By the looks of it, he may have been resisting the ground with his face when they took him in to custody (and then to the hospital). That said, if he pointed a gun at officers, they would have been justified in shooting him at that time. Ultimately, he put the gun down, and placed his hands on top of his head to surrender. According to the officer, he moved his hands from his head, at which point the officer threw him to the ground. The SAO declined to file on the resisting charge.

Original article: http://www.news-press.com/story/news/crime/2014/04/10/cape-coral-man-arrested-assaulting-officers/7553387/

Dane Eagle’s Arrest Video was Released

Dane Eagle's Arrest

Dane Eagle’s Arrest

I missed these reports when they came out last week, but a couple of news outlets have obtained the arrest video from Dane Eagle’s recent charge; Tallahassee.com has put the whole video online. Neither of them show much, as Eagle refused to participate in field sobriety exercises. The driving pattern is pretty bad, nearly striking the curb several times, and absolutely blowing a red light. Of course, Eagle could have been distracted, possible by the tasty Taco Bell *Gordita he had just purchased [*I don't know what, if anything, he really got at Taco Bell.]

You can’t see Eagle while the cop is talking to him. He actually denies drinking twice, and blames the odor of alcohol on people that had been in his car. The cop does stand him in front of the camera to go through his pockets, and he does not noticeably sway or stagger. There’s nothing on camera after the stop to support impairment, though he doesn’t sound great. It is a typical double refusal case, which is difficult for prosecutors to prove, as the evidence is fairly limited.

I did not know that legislators got special plates for their cars. The officer notes it right at the beginning of his stop. These prestige plates ensure that any legislator who is stopped has made the officer aware of his political position. Must be nice, but it clearly didn’t have any impact on this officer.

full video here: http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20140502/NEWS01/140502006/Video-released-Rep-Dane-Eagle-s-DUI-arrest

NBC-2 has a ‘highlights’ video: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/25417103/cape-state-rep-dane-eagles-arrest-caught-on-dashcam

Hooker Arrested at WalMart

  • It’s not what you think
  • She got TRIPPED up on the way out
  • She’s not a hooker, I’m just making bad jokes based on names
Brianna Hooker Mug Shot

Brianna Hooker Mug Shot

Brianna Hooker, of Cape Coral, tried walking out of WalMart in North Fort Myers with two 40-inch Vizio TVs. She was confronted by Jessica Tripp, a community service aide with LCSO. She then kicked Ms. Tripp several times. Tripp threatened to spray her with pepper spray, and she stopped resisting and was arrested. She was already wanted on a warrant for missing a court date earlier in the week (for driving on a suspended license).

Hooker has been charged with Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer, in addition to grand theft, and resisting a merchant/officer. The Batt LEO charge is interesting, because I suspect a CSA [Community Service Aide] is not a sworn ‘law enforcement officer’. I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve protection, but I have a concern that the statute does not apply to her for purposes of enhancing the battery to a felony. I’d like to hear input, if someone has specific details on that issue. Ironically, she would have that protection if she was an explorer.

via news press: http://www.news-press.com/story/news/crime/2014/05/02/cape-coral-woman-accused-of-tv-theft-at-walmart/8611427/

It’s a Bad Week for Local Law Enforcement

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s news of longtime SAO employee Warren Hamilton being arrested for 20 counts of possession of child pornography, a Cape Coral police officer has been arrested for sexual activity with a minor 16 or 17 years old. Officer Casey Ortiz, who got in trouble a few years ago in the raise for educational credits he never completed scandal (there were several Cape officers involved in that scandal a few years ago), allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-0ld.

First: I used to work at the SAO, and knew Mr. Hamilton, and am shocked, as are other employees I’ve talked to. Obviously nobody there had any idea. The State has already announced that they will ask the governor to appoint a prosecutor from another circuit to handle the prosecution. The SAO has already moved to terminate his eomployment. This should not affect any prosecutions handled by the office.

Secondly: the correct charge is Unlawful Sexual Activity with  Minor, a second degree felony and one that could subject the accused to sex-offender sanctions… and up to 15 years in prison. I don’t know why LCSO has the charge listed as a sexual assault, it’s a different section of the statutes.

Both individuals are innocent until proven guilty.