Remember this video?
Angela Garbarino, the woman seen in the video, received a monstrous beating while being detained in the Shreveport Police station in connection with a DWI arrest in November of 2007. The video came to light in early 2008. It was certainly one of the worst cases of misconduct and brutality by law enforcement that I have seen.
See More Photos of Garbarino(click on "Show Thumbnails")
The officer involved in the case, Wiley Willis, was eventually fired after an internal investigation, but was not criminally charged. The case made national and even international news last year when the above video came to light. Being fired was an afterthought. Why there were no criminal charges is a mystery. Officials claimed that because the officer turned the camera off....that they didn't really know what happened. Oh Please!!! In other words...they are saying that they are complicit with an officer who tampered with evidence to avoid prosecution. They are accommodating him. It's as if they have never seen this before (an official tampering with evidence). For good investigators, and good prosecutors...and especially the FBI... cases like these, where there is obvious evidence tampering, are quite common...and are seen as just part of the job. Techniques, laws, and methods have been developed in law enforcement over the years to deal with cases exactly like this one. Good Prosecutors aren't stopped or discouraged by this.... it only gives them more resolve....and they charge the bastard(s) with tampering with evidence. That's the usual approach. It's not something that should stop or hinder prosecution...so I can't buy the argument by those who say there was not enough evidence because the tape was turned off.... that line comes from the enablers of rogue cops. The evidence is/was actually substantial.
But here is the kicker.... The officer has been reinstated. Yep. He was reinstated just last month by the Shreveport Civil Service Board and will receive back pay and benefits. According to the Board, officer Willis' rights were violated in this case. HIS rights were violated. He was reinstated because of a technicality exploited by his attorneys. Apparently the polygraph examiner made the convenient mistake of not recording his examination of Willis, which is required under Civil Service rules.
Even the Chief of Police is upset with the decision. And the ramifications could be serious.... life or death serious. This appears to me to be a situation where an American city has knowingly put citizens at risk. It's one thing to turn a blind eye towards rogue officers who may keep a few bucks from a drug arrest instead of storing all the money in evidence as required. We've all probably heard of those stories. There are also those cases where officers may make up phony probable cause to harass particular individuals.... happens all the time. But it's a much more serious and frightening situation when officials turn a blind eye to an "alleged" rogue cop who is brutally violent....and where the evidence of such tendencies is more than just circumstantial. Blatantly putting the public at risk in this way should be unacceptable. This is the kind of case that makes me question what kind of Country we are living in.
This is not the only case of misconduct that officer Willis has been accused of. He has been formally accused of misconduct in at least 2 other cases.(and those are the situations that we know about). There could be other violations that were never reported....or were swept under the rug by his enablers (bosses) in the City of Shreveport. In one case, he was accused of holding a gun to a man's head and threatening to kill him, even though he was not being threatened by the victim.
In the Angela Garbarino case, Police claimed that she fell down....(wow) and she somehow gave herself the black eyes, the broken nose, a gashed forehead, busted lip, and broken teeth. Obviously you can't get those kinds of injuries from simply falling down.... you get them from fists.... which is why Shreveport settled the Civil case out of court by giving Garbarino a whopping $400,000, and dropping the original criminal charges against her.
This case is disturbing because of the graphic nature of the beating....just monstrous.... and the fact that you have what could very well be not just a rogue officer.....but a rogue City government putting citizens at risk.... and they are doing it not under the table....or in a backroom....but out in the open. This should be one of the reasons why we have and need a Federal Government system....and an FBI and Justice Department...to do the job of protecting our physical well being and our Civil Rights when local and State governments fail. That's what I thought anyway. But so far.... the Feds have done little in this case.
There was an FBI investigation....but I don't know what the disposition was. But if history is any indication.... the case was probably swept under the rug. The Feds don't act on the vast majority of these cases. The FBI typically clears local police....unless the case is particularly egregious. But I think this happened to be one of those cases.
Interesting how the original story made national news....but the story about the reinstatement has basically flown under the radar.