While we are all concerned about where we are headed in this country and ever increasing restrictions on our liberties, there is one profession I see in a way caught in the middle. That profession is law enforcement. Because of concerns over our rights some people get suspicious anytime an LEO is involved in a shooting etc, while the criminal coddling libs want to crucify them for doing their jobs. As I have said before I believe that LEO's are generally underappreciated for the job they do, just like the military. Here are a few stories I recived in an email from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. They seem to me to be a worthwhile organization.
LELDF supports officers that are unfairly charged for actions taken in the line of duty. These officers are unjustly accused for crimes while carrying out their assigned duties according to established policy.
Torrey Thompson is a former DeKalb County , Georgia police officer and a Marine Corps veteran. He earned four letters of commendation and has never been disciplined. This police officer is charged with crimes he did not commit and this dedicated man does not deserve to be convicted all for doing his job; enforcing the law and protecting the public.
Torrey Thompson is charged with felony murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault arising out of an incident which occurred on September 12, 2006. Thompson was called for back-up along with two other officers in an apartment complex in Decatur, Georgia. The two officers that called for back-up were Officers Knock and Mondesir. They were investigating a stolen vehicle in the apartment complex, which had been identified in a hit and run incident earlier that day, and knew the suspect Lorenzo Mathews was wanted in connection with a shooting.
Knock and Mondesir were given permission to search the second floor of an apartment building where they believed Mathews to be hiding. Thompson was then called for back-up along with Officer Nunn and Sergeant Berg. Officers Knock and Thompson positioned themselves at the rear of the apartment on the ground floor. Officer Thompson positioned himself next to Officer Knock at the base of the stairwell.
As the Officers entered the building, Mathews was standing in the kitchen area. Mathews fled out the back and down the stairs while Officers Thompson and Knock proceeded to yell "STOP, GET TO THE GROUND" and then ordered Mathews to "SHOW YOUR HANDS". Matthews refused the orders and ran down the stairs pointing what appeared to be a gun at Officer Thompson.
Mathews then pointed the item at Knock. Officer Knock then yelled "SHOW YOUR HANDS", "STOP", "DROP YOUR WEAPON", and "GIVE UP". Once again, Mathews ignored Knock's commands and lunged towards him. Officer Knock fired his 9-millimeter Beretta four times hitting Mathews once in the chest.
Officer Knock did not think that he hit Mathews because he then jumped over the railing of the staircase and ran towards Officer Thompson. Officer Knock did not fire again because Thompson was in his line of fire. Knock yelled to Thompson to "shoot him". Observing something dark in Matthews hand and believing it to be the butt of a pistol, Officer Thompson shot his 9-millimeter Beretta twice.
Mathews jumped the backyard fence and fled the scene towards a wooded area behind the apartment building. Officer Thompson chased Mathews and yelled for Mathews to "STOP" as he chased him through a parking lot towards the wooded area. Mathews turned and Officer Thompson fired his Beretta four times because he feared that Mathews was armed and would take an offensive position against him as he entered the woods.
As Mathews entered the woods he stopped and looked at Officer Thompson. Officer Thompson proceeded to fire four more times. Mathews ran through the woods and jumped over a fence into a shopping center.
When the K-9 unit arrived, they found Lorenzo Mathews dead in the shopping center. A large knife was found at the shopping center fence where Mathews had climbed.
Officer Thompson was performing his job the way he was trained to do. He knew that Lorenzo Mathews was a dangerous felon who had earlier demonstrated a willingness to place others in harms way to avoid arrest. Thompson took the necessary actions to keep this criminal off the streets of the community he was trying to protect.
Officer Thompson was indicted in July 2008, almost two years after the incident occurred. It is not fair that this dedicated officer could spend time in jail for protecting the public.
LELDF is assisting to help Officer Torrey Thompson with his legal fees and expert witness testimony. Thompson needs to know that his fellow Americans support the job he does and that we appreciate his bravery.
Stephanie Mohr was serving her community as a county police officer for over nine years. In 1995, she received a call about two illegal aliens, Ricardo Mendez and Herrera Cruz, who were burglary suspects. While she was trying to apprehend the two, Mendez began to flee the scene. Following police guidelines and procedure, Mohr released her police dog and it grabbed Mendez on the leg and held him. Five years after the incident she was convicted of a federal civil rights violation. Stephanie Mohr is now serving her sixth year of a ten-year sentence in prison with her now seven-year-old son waiting at home. In order to protect her community, Stephanie Mohr took standard police measures to prevent an escape. LELDF is currently funding Stephanie’s legal costs. Stephanie had to endure two trials when the first trial ended with an 11-1 vote for acquittal. The aggressive Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice decided to pursue a second trial. Following a denial of a new trial we are appealing to the U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Officer Robert Lawlor, an 18-year veteran of the Hartford Police Department, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and assault. A conviction of manslaughter in Connecticut carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Ironically the incident that has brought these charges occurred in a neighborhood where Officer Lawlor was stabbed, shot twice, and threatened with deadly force – the rough “North End” section of Hartford known for illegal drug sales and gun violence. Officer Lawlor was assigned to the Hartford City federal plainclothes unit whose sole aim is to remove firearms from the community.
On May 7, 2005, Officer Lawlor was working with ATF Special Agent Daniel Prather, who had less than six months of on-the-job experience. At 7:15 p.m., Sgt. Lawlor recognized a black Maxima Toyota that was being sought in a drive-by shooting and murder. The unoccupied car was in a convenience store parking lot on Main and Sanford Streets. Officer Lawlor observed a black male, Jashon Bryant, operating the slide mechanism of a semi-automatic pistol at the passenger side of the vehicle. Lawlor and Prather, with their badges displayed, walked across the parking lot toward the car. At that point, Brandon Henry, a black male, exited the store and got in the driver’s side of the car. Bryant got in the car and the car backed up.
Officer Lawlor and Agent Prather got in front of the Maxima with weapons drawn and shouted loudly and repeatedly: “Police officers. Cut off the ignition and put your hands on the dashboard.” Officer Lawlor was on the passenger side; Agent Prather was on the driver’s side. At first the driver complied by turning off the car and he and the passenger put their hands on the dash. But suddenly they began moving their hands and talking rapidly. Officer Lawlor immediately thought that Henry was trying to conceal the pistol he had seen a few moments earlier outside of the car. He instructed Agent Prather to call for backup and approached the passenger door; Prather remained at the front of the vehicle facing the driver.
At that moment, two things happened. Henry reached to the floor on the passenger side, which led Lawlor to believe he was retrieving the pistol; and Henry started the vehicle and accelerated forward.
Since Agent Prather was standing in front of the car, Officer Lawlor believed his partner was in immediate danger of being struck by the accelerating vehicle. At the same time, he thought that the passenger was about to raise the weapon to shoot him. Officer Lawlor jumped back and fired five rounds at the car, striking Bryant and wounding him fatally. The driver, Brandon Henry, was struck in the chest but managed to drive the car over curbs and grass to exit the parking lot. Backup officers pursued the vehicle. When it struck another vehicle 20 minutes later, Henry fled on foot. He was found an hour later hiding under a porch.
Both Bryant and Henry had long police records. The year before this episode, a handgun linked forensically to five shootings was found in Bryant’s closet He was also identified as the shooter of a business owner during a robbery. Henry later admitted to police that he fled the scene that night because he had cocaine in the car and did not want to go back to jail.
An initial report by the Hartford Police Department concluded that Officer Lawlor was justified in firing his weapon. But the Hartford police probe came to an end when Waterbury State’s Attorney John Connelly took over the investigation.
Officer Lawlor’s attorney, Michael Georgetti, has written a rebuttal to the report by the State’s Attorney, calling it “factually and legally incorrect.” Georgetti says that his client acted properly and pursuant to the training provided by the Hartford Police Department.
Officer Robert Lawlor, married with six young daughters, is a highly decorated officer with 10 letters of commendation. He has received four distinguished service medals, three certificates of outstanding performance, six merit awards, and commendations from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury. He served six years in the Marines. In 1993, he was promoted to detective and since then has worked with various state and federal agencies in major investigations of gangs and narcotic trafficking.LELDF is helping Officer Lawlor with legal fees as well as the expense of expert ballistic and proper use-of-deadly-force witnesses to testify at the trial.
Raymond S. Bunn is a veteran of Iraq and a seven-year veteran of the Atlanta Police Department. In 2002, Officer Raymond Bunn and Officer Terry Mulkey were patrolling a parking lot when they suspected a car theft taking place. Jamal Smith jumped from a vacant vehicle to a Chevy Tahoe. The two officers identified themselves as police officers and ordered the driver to stop and exit the vehicle. The Chevy Tahoe accelerated at Officer Bunn and he fired two shots at the vehicle. Corey Ward, the driver, was hit once and died instantly. Three years after the incident occurred, Officer Bunn was indicted. Officer was simply defending himself and Officer Mulkey from these dangerous men. Officer Bunn has a wife and five children and cannot afford the legal and expert witness fees required to defend himself.
Richard Thompson was the Chief of Police of Crawford, Nebraska. Officer Thompson knew a man, Jesse Britton, was wanted in connection with a string of burglaries. He tracked Britton to the upstairs of an abandoned warehouse that was completely dark. In searching the warehouse, Officer Thompson located Britton hiding behind a desk in the middle of the warehouse. Officer Thompson yelled for the suspect to show him is hands; but instead Britton rose from behind the desk and pointed a stolen revolver at the Officer Thompson’s head.
Thompson fired two shots at Britton in self-defense. One hit him and he died instantly. Thompson is now charged with second-degree assault, and faces five years in prison. Officer Richard Thompson is a father, grandfather, and husband who needs to be home with his family. It is totally unfair that he is instead serving a sentence of five years in prison for a crime that he did not commit.
The cases of Thompson, Mohr, Bunn, Lawlor, Bunn and Thompson are important because these five heroic police officers have been charged or convicted for crimes that they did not commit. These officers who placed their lives on the line everyday to protect the public do not deserve to be put through criminal trials.
Your continued support will allow LELDF to achieve our mission and obtain justice for theses officers unfairly charged.
Unfortunately prosecutors who succumb to political pressure to bring unjust charges against members of the law enforcement community have unlimited resources. These dedicated officers who risk their lives to protect our families have to rely on the generous contributions of people like you.
Your most generous tax-deductible contribution of $25, $50 or $100 will enable the LELDF to mount a strong legal defense for these officers.
David H. Martin