Uvalde police employ bikers to harass media; Seattle PD stops investigating adult sexual assaults
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The Uvalde police department has taken a hostile response to the nation’s search for answers about the massacre at Robb Elementary School two weeks ago.
As funerals for the slain began last week in the town mourning the loss of 19 children and two teachers, police from across the state assembled in the area “to support Uvalde police.” What this looked like, in practice, was harassing journalists and steering members of the community away for reporters:
Outside Hillcrest Memorial Cemetery, where two of the slain children were interred on Friday, two police officers from Bedford, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, appeared to direct mourners away from two Hearst Newspapers reporters. The officers at one point urged mourners to “walk faster” so they could avoid the journalists, who were standing where police had directed them to wait.
Law enforcement officials in Uvalde have asked the media to leave the school district headquarters or they will be criminally charged with trespassing…One official tells reporters: “Just so that you know, Uvalde PD is en route and once they get here, they will start issuing criminal trespasses for the property.”
Outside police have been assisted by dozens of back-the-blue bikers who “physically obstructed cameras within designated media areas, followed reporters and harassed them as they walked closer toward the ceremonies.” According to the Houston Chronicle, one member said the group was “working with the police.”
Meanwhile, Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo has been in hiding since his role in the botched response to the massacre was revealed. City officials, too, have disappeared from public view:
In the week since state police singled him out for blame, Arredondo has hardly been seen. Police officers stand guard outside his home. He has declined to explain his actions, telling a television crew that staked out his office he would not do so until after the victims’ funerals. City officials, too, have assisted in the vanishing act. They canceled a previously scheduled public ceremony Tuesday and instead swore in Arredondo in secret for his latest role on the City Council.
The Seattle Police Department has stopped assigning detectives to sexual assault cases with adult victims according to an internal memo obtained by The Seattle Times.
The agency claims the decision is caused by a 60% decrease in staff, but police leaders have managed to commit a significant number of police officers to clear public spaces of homeless encampments:
Last fall, Seattle voters elected a new mayor who rejected calls to defund the police and campaigned on a platform to clear public spaces of homeless encampments and strengthen public safety.
Behind the scenes, police leaders confronting an ongoing staffing crisis shored up patrol and positions that respond to homeless encampments, while some investigative units shrunk.
Advocates and prosecutors doubt the official story:
Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, a senior deputy King County prosecutor who has led efforts in the Legislature to improve treatment of sexual assault victims, said the sexual assault unit’s problems were about priorities, not adequate staffing.
“I cannot really tell you how pissed I am about this,” Dhingra said. “Because it is completely unacceptable. This is 2022. We should not be having this conversation about allocating resources for survivors.”
Senior deputy prosecutor Ben Santos, chair of the Special Assault Unit for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, told Axios last week that Seattle PD have failed to take reports from sexual assault victims seeking treatment from Harborview Medical Center.
Andre Moore, a Minneapolis man who was arrested in a botched drug raid in 2020, has filed a federal lawsuit against several police officers involved in his arrest.
Moore’s story starts in December 2019, when Officers Partyka and Walsh pulled him over for allegedly failing to signal 100 feet prior to turning. The officers pulled Moore from the car, threw him to the ground, and beat him up.
In his report, Partyka said he thought Moore was reaching for a weapon. The officers searched Moore’s car and found a glass pipe on the passenger — but no weapon.
Moore was booked in jail and charged with obstruction of justice. When he got out on bail and visited the hospital, he’d sustained a broken nose, facial abrasions, a head injury and a black eye, medical records show.
Moore filed complaints against Partyka but no officer followed up. According to Moore’s lawsuit, “ both complaint forms were intentionally destroyed by the police before they were submitted for investigation.”
The obstruction charge against Moore was dropped. But a week later, Partyka—a patrol officer—led a drug raid on Moore’s home that netted methamphetamine worth 13 years in prison. Luckily for Moore, his public defender, Tanya Bishop, believed him when he said that the raid was retaliation for making a police brutality complaint against Partyka. Bishop went on to prove that Partyka invented an informant and lied about evidence of a “white powdery substance” found in Moore’s trash.
Granse asked about the bag of drug residue listed in the warrant to corroborate the informant…The judge examined the bags and confirmed it. There was no drug residue. “Is there any … explanation for why today the baggies … that you say in the warrant had powdery substance in it, why you don’t see that today?” [Judge] Scoggin asked. “I don’t have an explanation for that, sir,” Partyka said.
The judge ruled the raid on Moore’s home lacked probable cause and the evidence was inadmissible.
Scoggin said Partyka misled the court about his role in the traffic stop and by claiming he had a confidential reliable informant, whom the judge called just a “tipster.” …Scoggin cited Partyka’s inability to explain why the bags were now empty. “This is a material misrepresentation and, at a minimum, a reckless disregard for truth,” he said.
The charges were dropped, but only after Moore spent 7 months in jail.