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Assualt and Battery of a Police Officer? Assault & Battery

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by t1donnelly, Sep 13, 2010.

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  1. t1donnelly

    t1donnelly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    INTRODUCTION

    I was arrested for assault and battery of a Police Officer! What should I do?

    SUMMARY OF EVENTS

    The night before my college graduation I was about to retire to bed when a person knocked on the door. He was clearly intoxicated and insisted that two girls were in my room. When I told him that they were not present, he became agitated and tried to force his way past me, into my apartment. I initially was shocked that he was trying to get in, but restrained him and pushed him back into the hallway. When he came at me again I stopped him and grabbed the first object I could to try and scare him off; It was a can of waterproofer for fabrics and boots. He relentlessly tried to get in, and I finally pushed him out into the hallway and sprayed him with the waterproofer. When he charged me again I threw the can at him; it missed rolling to the opposite end of the hall.

    The can missed him and rolled past the feet of two police officers who immediately arrested me without taking statements from the attacker, or my other roommate who had witnessed the entire incident from start to finish. They were called in by residents of the apartment down the hall, who initially called the cops because of the person who tried to attack and force his way into my room.

    HERE’S THE GOOD PART…

    The officers police report claims that I was in the hallway discharging the can of boot waterproofer onto the wall(which makes absolutely no sense, why would I spray a can of clear waterproofer onto the wall of my own residence?). When they yelled to me to stop, I threw the can at them, striking one of the officers in the foot, then ran and resisted arrest. This is all completely false.


    IN CONSEQUENCE

    I spent the entire night in New Bedford prison pondering what I was doing there. The incident make’s absolutely no sense.

    I was unable to attend graduation commencement disappointing my friends and family, and lost my department of defense security clearance that was necessary for my career as a mechanical engineer with my future employer Electric Boat. Since then I have been underemployed, unable to pass most background checks because of my pending criminal case.

    WHAT SHOULD I DO?

    Can anyone make recommendations of how to handle this?

    Is a civil litigation case a feasible way to resolve some of the financial and emotional losses I have succumb to because of this scenario?

    Can anyone recommend an attorney in the southern Massachusetts area willing to take on this case?
     
  2. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Hire an attorney.

    What you describe - a couple of rushes at the door - should have taken merely seconds. How could this incident have lasted long enough for neighbors to call the police, for the dispatcher to enter the call into their system, for officers to be dispatched, and for officers to have arrived on your floor and near your door? We are talking a LOW end of about 5 minutes unless they happened to be there already.

    Chances are they saw enough for them to believe that you had committed some kind of battery or assault on the guy at your door. The DA may decide that self defense was, indeed, present and may not file. if he does, you might have to assert that justification at trial.

    Did you turn/walk/run when they told you to stop?

    About all you can do at the moment is listen to your attorney.

    Who would you sue and for what?

    I suppose you can sue the drunk for assault ... does he have the money to pay a few thousand in attorney's fees if you win?

    Suing the police for arresting you would be tough because they do not need to be correct, they need only have probable cause to make the arrest. Unless you can show that they knowingly and intentionally lied in their report, or that the elements necessary to establish probable cause were not present to support an arrest, you have no good case against them for arresting you.

    And, of course, you cannot sue the DA or the judge for handling the case.
     
  3. t1donnelly

    t1donnelly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for responding.

    To answer a few of your questions:

    1. I reviewed the police log the next day. The police were dispatched there 15 minutes prior to my arrest because the drunk was harassing other residents of my apartment building. I do know the girls that lived next door and could have them testify if needed in court. I also found out who the drunk actually was through Facebook.

    2. When they yelled stop and began to sprint at me I immediately put my hands up fearing I was about to be tackled to the ground. Looking back to the incident, they may not have even seen me throw the can, they only saw it roll by there feet without striking either of them. My roommate who watched the entire incident could testify to this.

    3. I understand that I could not sue the police for arresting me, my attorney also agrees with this and says they could easily stick me with disorderly conduct just to avoid this.

    However, it is very frustrating that the police falsified the report in such a way. Both my roommate and the drunk(that very well doesn't remember a thing) witnessed that I was not assaulting the officer, and that the can did not strike the officer at all! It rolled by his feet.

    Additional questions:

    I am being charged with assault of a P/O and disorderly conduct. What are the chances of either of these charges sticking?

    Would witnesses alone, without video evidence be enough to open a case against the officer? The campus police at Umass Dartmouth have a record of over the top charges, and wrongful arrests.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    How long ago did this happen?

    Your charge of assaulting the officer is garbage. That will easily be beat in court, if it hasn't been already.

    If you get the charge dismissed then you should be able to get your clearance back.
     
  5. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Witnesses can certainly provide testimony on your behalf. Understand it may very well be possible that from the officer's perspective you threw something at them. Like I said, they do not have to be correct, only have the probable cause necessary to believe the crime occurred.

    Let your attorney handle the matter and I suspect a lesser charge - or no charges - will come your way.
     
  6. t1donnelly

    t1donnelly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The arrest occurred in late may of this year. Electric boat withdrew the job offer shortly after I was denied security clearance..
     
  7. t1donnelly

    t1donnelly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Pre-trial today was a waste of time. A trial date has been set for December 1st. The police department has conducted an internal investigation due to a complaint issued by the vice-chancellor after she looked into the case.

    With a court date in December, the case will be going on for 7 months. With my pending court case I still cannot get a job. What about a law suit against the university?
     
  8. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    You are free to pay an attorney to sue whomever you wish. However, it would certainly help your case to have a "not guilty" verdict or a dismissal of charges. Conversely, if you are found guilty or plead out to a related offense, that could torpedo it.

    What would you sue the university for? What did they do? If this was a university police department you might consider suing them for a false arrest, but that could be expensive ... and, again, understand that an arrest requires only probable cause and not absolute certainty, and such an arrest is a relatively low standard. So, you would have to prove that there was not only no grounds to arrest you, but that the officers KNEW - or reasonably should have known - that there was no legal grounds to arrest you. It's a tough hurdle.

    But, you can probably get free consultations with attorneys ... though most may want to wait and see how the criminal trial turns out before they act.
     
  9. t1donnelly

    t1donnelly Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Quick question. I have a job offer with another engineering firm in Massachusetts. If they run a background check and see that I have a pending criminal charge is that grounds for the job offer be retracted?
     
  10. FlaRiptide

    FlaRiptide New Member

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    Only the employer can answer that. The employer can retract the offer for any reason or no reason at all. Massachusetts is an "at-will" state, unless you have an employment contract.

    If this is a major concern to you, you may wish to be pro-active and tell them about the situation. If they find out themselves, they may drop you with no questions asked. If you tell them first, they may be more receptive to hearing your side of it.
     
  11. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    I agree. A prospective employer that has to dig up dirt may be more skeptical about the truth asking themselves, "What is he trying to hide?"

    Yes, you risk them running away from you, but you also get the opportunity to leave the first impression with them as opposed to responding after they find out ... IF they give you the opportunity to explain it at all.
     
  12. FlyBoy

    FlyBoy New Member

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    Doesn't it make a difference that they never talked to people who could have told them what happened and didn't happen? Probable cause seems like probable neglect from not investigating they were too quick to take him away.
     
  13. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It would be the responsibility of the defense to expose such an oversight. If there were witnesses available, then the defense would certainly bring them to court.
     
  14. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    There are practical reasons why the police are not going to interview everyone who might have seen something different. Sometimes it is impractical, and in this case the officers appear to claim to have seen the action themselves.

    As Mightymoose explained, your attorney can bring forward these witnesses to show that he is not guilty, or to try and prove the arrest shouldn't have happened, but the police are generally not legally obligated to hunt for anyone that might have seen something.
     

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