Local NFL player Nate Allen was detained for several hours last week, and it was falsely alleged that he had improperly exposed himself driving down US 41. Fortunately, the Fort Myers Police Department figured out that they had a problem, and released Allen before filing charges. Yesterday the State Attorney’s office announced that their review of the evidence shows unequivocally that Mr. Allen did nothing wrong. But that wasn’t until long after he had been held nearly 5 hours, and the press had picked up the story and his image tarnished. Apparently, the girl or girls who made the allegation described a similar vehicle to Allen’s. He says that the initial description was of a middle-aged man with long curly hair, which is not Mr. Allen. How does this happen? How does 27-year-old, short-haired Mr. Allen get misidentified as a middle-aged, long haired man? The most likely culprit is an unduly suggestive identification by law enforcement.
Philadelphia Eagle Nate Allen
Mr. Allen gave an extensive interview with the Fort Myers New-Press, which they have helpfully posted online, in full. We don’t have the police reports yet, but it appears from Mr. Allen’s account, that while he was detained on the side of the road, the police brought the accuser by in the back of a patrol vehicle, and he was apparently identified. The mis-identification almost certainly stemmed from this improper identification procedure by the Fort Myers Police Department. Such a procedure is wildly suggestive, and is disfavored for law enforcement. Any time a one-person show up is utilized for identification purposes, the procedure is inherently suggestive and carries the risk of tainting any identification. For this reason, one-person show ups are disfavored by Florida courts. The circumstances around this show up were particularly suggestive, as he was being held in custody, next to his truck, at the time it appears he was ID’d. Time and again the courts have discouraged law enforcement from doing this type of identification, but here we are, falsely accusing a local hero. It’s well known that eyewitness testimony is among the most unreliable to rely upon in court. Eyewitnesses are even less reliable when law enforcement utilizes inherently suggestive procedures to obtain their testimony or identifications. Clearly, the courts need to continue to discourage these improper techniques, to throw out testimony that is improperly obtained, and our law enforcement must better train its officers. Thank goodness they did their due diligence, and Mr. Allen was exonerated by phone records and surveillance video before they formally pressed charges. The fix is simple, identification needs to be done via lineup, preferably double-blind. This can be easily accomplished with modern technology and a photo lineup (called a six-pack). I am encouraged that FMPD has indicated they are going to do a review of their procedures, so hopefully the cops don’t continue to contribute to false identifications.
UPDATE: Allen and his attorney Sawyer Smith held a press conference today, urging police review of the errors that lead to his improper detention.
UPDATE 2: The News-Press article above confirms the unduly suggestive ID procedure by FMPD that I anticipated in my post. Also, the News-Press has updated their coverage with video from the press conference.
Posted in 14th Amendment - Due Process, 6th Amendment - Fair Trial, Cape Coral / Southwest Florida, Criminal Law, Florida, Fort Myers / Lee County / Southwest Florida #SWFL, Police
Tagged cape coral, eyewitness, fmpd, id, nate allen, show up, suppress
According to Wink news, Cape Coral is considering purchasing body cams for the police department.
Crimcourts recommends the cameras, for the quality of law enforcement and for the protection of officers. The people of Cape Coral will benfit from this kind of expenditure.
Cape Coral has approved the purchase of body cams for Cape Coral police officers. It’s a $300,000 purchase, but it will improve law enforcement and help protect officers. That’s a good move for the city and the people of Cape Coral. They hope to have the cams up and running by next summer.
- 14-Year-Old Pulled Gun at 7-11
- It’s Her Second Armed Robbery Charge This Year
- She Will Likely Be Charged as an Adult and Face a 10-year sentence under 10/20/Life
I was going to start this post with a “Meanwhile, in North Fort Myers… ” but my last post also took place in North Fort Myers, too. Deputies say a 14-year-old girl committed an armed robbery of a 7-11 on Pondella yesterday. That is shocking in its own right, but some intrepid commenters to the LCSO Facebook page pointed out that a child with the same name was arrested for an armed robbery in Cape Coral in July. The girl apparently lied about her age the first time around, and claimed to be 17.
The previous incident, the girl allegedly acted as a getaway driver for a young man who robbed a Marathon in the Cape, and wrecked the car in Collier County, where they were both captured and charged. Florida law does not permit bonds on juvenile cases, the courts can only hold a juvenile for 21 days, or until they are convicted, which can take several months. The State may decide to charge her as an adult, in light of the fact that they don’t want to release her, and since this is her second offense. They can also still go back and charge the first offense as an adult, provided she hasn’t been sentenced yet. She could be facing 10/20/Life on the latest charge, if she is charged as an adult.
Clearly there are some major issues here for such a young individual to have multiple serious charges… to even have access to firearms is generally illegal. Crimcourts has chosen not to name her, due to her age and that she has not been charged as an adult. The law enforcement press releases do name her age, and are linked below:
New arrest: http://www.sheriffleefl.org/main/index.php?r=news/index&id=12881
Earlier arrest: http://www.capecops.com/newsroom/2014/7/19/armed-robbery-in-north-cape-coral-ends-with-crash-on-alligator-alley
Posted in 10-20-Life, Cape Coral / Southwest Florida, Criminal Law, Florida, Fort Myers / Lee County / Southwest Florida #SWFL, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida, North Fort Myers / Southwest Florida
Tagged cape coral, collier, getaway, lcso, North Fort Myers, robbery
Cape Coral resident Micah Dailey was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. He was booked into the Lee County Jail, and by the looks of the shirt on his mug shot, he should have seen it coming…
Cape Coral Resident Micah Dailey
To make matters worse, even though the marijuana possession is only a misdemeanor charge, the cop charged Dailey with a felony possession of paraphernalia. Generally paraphernalia charge is a misdemeanor, but the cop alleged him with transportation of drug paraphernalia, which is a felony. He doesn’t say why it’s the enhanced charge, though theoretically, it’s possible, that the altoid box in which he found some leaves could be considered a use to transport a controlled substance (I have never seen the statute applied in that way). It seems silly to make the altoid box substantially more serious than the drugs contained therein. Sadly, the cop is a rookie and probably just typed in the wrong subsection of the paraphernalia statute. The end result being this kid is now facing a ridiculous felony charge because he has .025 g of weed.
via Gawker: http://gawker.com/this-poor-guy-could-not-have-picked-a-better-shirt-to-g-1652973448
Posted in Cape Coral / Southwest Florida, Criminal Law, Drugs, Florida, North Fort Myers / Southwest Florida
Tagged cape coral, drugs, lcso, lee county, marijuana, monopoly, mug shot, paraphernalia
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.
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.