Ventura Police Harrass Taxpayer Again
From citizen to inmate, just like that
I have maintained that our police departments are no longer the police we knew as kids, the good guys who you knew would save you if you were in trouble, or if you got lost. The words on their cars say protect and serve, yet, and I have written about this recently, they have been trained to collect evidence against you from the very second they come into contact with you. Policemen actually refer to us, taxpayers, as "the bad guys" as opposed to them the good guys.
I am going to tell you what happened to my brother in law about two weeks ago, and what has happened to him since, and you all can tell me what you think about it.
Todd, my brother in law, is almost homeless. He has a van, and he sleeps in it nights, or sometimes he stays with friends or other family members. He is about 48 years old, and has worked on the oil platforms, and also does painting and carpentry. Sometimes he is between jobs, but he pretty much stays busy.
He also has disabilities. He is extremely ADHD, and has obsessive compulsive issues. This is in addition to back problems as he broke his back in a car accident about a decade or more ago. About 3 or 4 months ago, he had his van pulled into the yard of a friend who lives out in the country. The property is large, having 3 small houses on it, and plenty of room for the van. Todd felt it was better to be parked there if he was going to sleep in his van, instead of on city streets. He went to bed, and several hours after that he was awakened by the police pounding on this window with his flashlight, yelling at him to get up and open the door. He asked what they wanted, and they were looking for his friend, and said they had a warrant for him.
He felt obligated to open the door and talk to them and did so. When he did, they pulled him out of his van, and patted him down. They began searching the van right by the door, without entering it. Todd said "Hey, I am not on probation or parole, and you do not have a right to search my van."
The policeman said to him. "You appear to be under the influence of a narcotic, when is the last time you used?"
Todd was flabbergasted. He said to him, "I'm not under the influence of anything, I haven't used anything, and I was asleep. How can you think I am under the influence of speed, when I was sleeping when you got here?"
They took him to jail, charging him with under the influence, and after he was cuffed up, took the liberty of searching his van anyway. He went to court a couple of days later, and plead not guilty, and told the judge and his lawyer that he wanted to take it to a jury trial, for the whole incident was a violation of his rights. They never did find his friend, and he did not ever see the warrant they had. He got out of jail after 4 days, and was lucky to still have his job.
He has been going to court on this matter, and has had about 3 or 4 appearances so far. Well, the other evening, he had been at my house for a couple of hours, and when he left he went over to his other brothers house about 6 blocks from here. From there he went to a friends house and parked in the drive. He was going to stay at this friends house for the night and possibly for a few nights, for they were going to have him do some remodeling to their house. He had been there several hours, and it was late afternoon early evening. He had been getting tools and things ready for the repairs, and had the garage door open and his van doors open, and he was going in and out of the garage and house.
He was inside, and he heard someone yell, Todd, get out here, some one's here to see you. He went out and there stood the police, again. Again he got bullied, and they proceeded to handcuff him, and went into his van, opening drawers, toolboxes, looking around under and around things. One of them asked him for his license and when he pulled out his wallet, they took the whole thing, removing all of its contents onto the hood of their car, until the wallet was emptied. They had found a small amount of marijuana in the van, and Todd provided them with his medical marijuana license. Eventually they pulled a small plastic bag out of the van, with what looked like residual traces of drugs in it.
"Here t is, I knew it." the cop proclaimed.
"Here it is what? That is an empty bag, and besides that, I haven't ever seen that before. I don't know where it came from." Todd insisted to them.
The next thing he knew, he was under arrest, for under the influence, and possibly possession. They brought a dope dog in, and he found nothing but small amounts and traces of pot. This made three times that they had arrested him for under the influence in 3 months. Even thought his urine test came back clean the last time, they arrested him again anyway. They cl;aimed that someone had informed on him that he was selling drugs in this neighborhood.
They charged him with both, UTI and possession, therefore his bail was high, and unreachable for us to get him out. Therefore, Todd ended up staying in jail for two weeks, waiting for his second court date. They threatened him at the first one with 7 years state prison time. In the end, they dropped the possession charge, for there was not enough drugs there to test.. They told him that the UI charge is normally a misdemeanor, but because he had 3 of them in such a short period of time that it made it a felony. They then OR him after court, and when he came out of the jail with his property, he opened it to find that a lot of things were missing. His wallet was not there. Neither was his DL, his credit card, his food stamp allotment card, his medical marijuana certificate, all the things that he would need to go to work, drive, or do anything. It was going to cost him several hundred dollars, and quite a few days or weeks to replace everything from his wallet. He did find in his property a slip of paper with the name and phone number of the cop that arrested him. He did not know why that was, but decided to call him and see if he could locate his wallet. No, the cop had told him, he left his wallet in his property.
So, by brother in law, who had in the past had a drug problem, but was not using now, was arrested even after giving them a clean test the last time, and the police managed to lose every single important document he had.They had not locked his van up after they were through searching, and when he got back to where it was, found that his bike, his tools, and a lot of his clothing was missing. They also managed to get him back into the system even though he had been off of probation and had been drug free for over two years. Now he was back, all the way back, and he had done nothing at all.
My kids have told me, that if I was not doing anything wrong, than I had nothing to worry about. Just the fact that they thought like that scared the hell out of me.
The Ending of This Story
Well, he did what I was hoping he would not do, but the police used such scare tactics on him, he finally just folded. He was told that if he took it to jury trial so that it could be heard by 12 of his peers, that the district attorney promised to do his best and would recommend to the court a 7 year prison sentence. This, and there were no drugs found. Or, he could play it safe, and they made him a "deal". If he would plea guilty, they would not only go easy on him and give him an 8 month drug program they have here called Prop 36, and it entails a once a week class four hours each, and mandatory test at the time of the class. This also cost a fee of about $50 to 60 dollars per class, also due at the time of the class.
Like I said before, this county and their justice is only about greed and cash. They cashed in on him, for he will go to a minimum of 40 classes, which brings them a paycheck of about $2,460.00, plus the amount they already got for his jail stay which is another $1,512.00, and that does not even include the Probation Dept. who also cashes in another $38 per visit at least once a month for three years, which comes to another$1,370.00, plus he now has to pay court costs and fines, which he said were going to come to about $5,000 to 5,000 dollars. So you can see how this can and does add up nicely for our county if only they can scare another couple hundred folks into giving up their rights too. Boy, if they do it right, a few people could end up wealthy off this little "scam".