1* a HUSTON man arrested in the Kmart parking lot raid seeks $100 million

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Sep 26, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

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    This is from the mass arrest in Huston....they expect a nother 100+ lawsuits...1 guy wants 100 MILLION....people talking real $$ here.


    Sept. 25, 2002, 9:44AM

    Kmart raid lawsuits begin to build
    Action filed Tuesday is one of possibly dozens to come
    By JO ANN ZUNIGA
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle


    Karl Stolleis / Chronicle
    William Grenwelge, 20, leaves the Harris County Civil Courts building with Brandi Ratliff, 18, and her mother, Kathy Ratliff. Grenwelge and Brandi Ratliff, who were part of a group arrested outside a Kmart in August, filed a suit Tuesday over the raid.

    A third lawsuit resulting from a controversial raid at a Kmart last month was filed Tuesday, continuing what lawyers say will be dozens of such cases.

    In their suit, Brandi Ratliff, 18, and William Ryan Grenwelge, 20, claim false imprisonment and blame the city of Houston, the police chief and other officers in charge of the scene. Their suit, filed in state district court, does not specify a monetary amount.

    The three suits involve the arrests of nearly 300 people on Aug. 17 and 18 during a police effort to combat illegal drag racing in west Houston. One suit, filed in federal court, seeks $100 million. It has been dismissed but will be refiled. The officer in charge of the scene filed the other suit.

    Ratliff and Grenwelge said they were en route to a friend's house Aug. 17 when they stopped at the Kmart in the 8400 block of Westheimer to buy drinks and use the telephone. As they were leaving the store's parking lot, police yelled at them and at least one pointed a gun in their faces, Ratliff said.

    Police also told them they were not being arrested at that time, she said, but hours later she was put in a cell with several other women, including those accused of murder and prostitution.

    The incident left her "traumatized for life," she said.

    "I used to look at cops as protecting us and not arresting innocent people," Ratliff said.

    Michael Kerensky, the lawyer for Ratliff and Grenwelge, said the arrests are part of an ongoing city policy of "zero tolerance."

    "The police target an area, arrest everyone in sight and let the courts sort them out," he said.

    Earlier this month, the city attorney's office said prosecutors are dismissing all charges, including trespassing and curfew violations.

    But Kerensky said the dismissals are not enough.

    "That's how they always got away with it in the past. They just dismiss the charges and the people go away, but they usually targeted poor and disenfranchised people," Kerensky said.

    Kerensky said he hopes a jury awards his clients and others suing the city enough money to deter city officials from such raids.

    "When the tax coffers are hit, perhaps the voters will realize that the city of Houston needs big changes in its leadership and in the Police Department," Kerensky said.

    Senior Assistant City Attorney Robert Cambrice said the city has not been served with any of the lawsuits filed so far. He could not estimate what the liability for the city could be.

    "Each case has to stand on its own," Cambrice said. "If a person claims to see a doctor or psychiatrist over this and other factors."

    He added, "But no one was beaten, shot or clubbed."

    Acting police chief, Tim Oettmeier, reported to City Council that the city has spent $55,000 on overtime for city investigators interviewing people involved in the arrests.

    A similar lawsuit filed in federal court last month by Sept. 25, 2002, 9:44AM
     
  2. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    9,080
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    2nd Half of this artical

    Kmart raid lawsuits begin to build
    Action filed Tuesday is one of possibly dozens to come
    By JO ANN ZUNIGA
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle


    Karl Stolleis / Chronicle
    William Grenwelge, 20, leaves the Harris County Civil Courts building with Brandi Ratliff, 18, and her mother, Kathy Ratliff. Grenwelge and Brandi Ratliff, who were part of a group arrested outside a Kmart in August, filed a suit Tuesday over the raid.

    A third lawsuit resulting from a controversial raid at a Kmart last month was filed Tuesday, continuing what lawyers say will be dozens of such cases.

    In their suit, Brandi Ratliff, 18, and William Ryan Grenwelge, 20, claim false imprisonment and blame the city of Houston, the police chief and other officers in charge of the scene. Their suit, filed in state district court, does not specify a monetary amount.

    The three suits involve the arrests of nearly 300 people on Aug. 17 and 18 during a police effort to combat illegal drag racing in west Houston. One suit, filed in federal court, seeks $100 million. It has been dismissed but will be refiled. The officer in charge of the scene filed the other suit.

    Ratliff and Grenwelge said they were en route to a friend's house Aug. 17 when they stopped at the Kmart in the 8400 block of Westheimer to buy drinks and use the telephone. As they were leaving the store's parking lot, police yelled at them and at least one pointed a gun in their faces, Ratliff said.

    Police also told them they were not being arrested at that time, she said, but hours later she was put in a cell with several other women, including those accused of murder and prostitution.

    The incident left her "traumatized for life," she said.

    "I used to look at cops as protecting us and not arresting innocent people," Ratliff said.

    Michael Kerensky, the lawyer for Ratliff and Grenwelge, said the arrests are part of an ongoing city policy of "zero tolerance."

    "The police target an area, arrest everyone in sight and let the courts sort them out," he said.

    Earlier this month, the city attorney's office said prosecutors are dismissing all charges, including trespassing and curfew violations.

    But Kerensky said the dismissals are not enough.

    "That's how they always got away with it in the past. They just dismiss the charges and the people go away, but they usually targeted poor and disenfranchised people," Kerensky said.

    Kerensky said he hopes a jury awards his clients and others suing the city enough money to deter city officials from such raids.

    "When the tax coffers are hit, perhaps the voters will realize that the city of Houston needs big changes in its leadership and in the Police Department," Kerensky said.


    Senior Assistant City Attorney Robert Cambrice said the city has not been served with any of the lawsuits filed so far. He could not estimate what the liability for the city could be.

    "Each case has to stand on its own," Cambrice said. "If a person claims to see a doctor or psychiatrist over this and other factors."He added, "But no one was beaten, shot or clubbed."

    Acting police chief, Tim Oettmeier, reported to City Council that the city has spent $55,000 on overtime for city investigators interviewing people involved in the arrests.

    A similar lawsuit filed in federal court last month by a man arrested in the Kmart parking lot raid seeks $100 million. Although it has been dismissed for technical reasons, the lawsuit will be refiled, said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Randall Kallinen.

    He represents about 20 clients arrested at police raids outside Kmart, Sonic Drive-In and James Coney Island. Kallinen said the current police investigation is about "liability management," and interviews conducted for the investigation could crop up later when city officials are defending against the lawsuits.

    "It's hard to give a dollar figure on what may be the total amount of damages because it's extremely rare to have these types of mass arrests without probable cause," Kallinen said.

    "I believe it will be in the millions. It will be extremely expensive. From lawyers I've talked with, at least 100 people are suing," he said.

    The latest lawsuit Tuesday also named Police Chief C.O. Bradford, now relieved of duty because of an unrelated perjury indictment, and Captain Mark Aguirre, the officer in charge of the scene. He has been suspended because of the raid.

    Aguirre has filed suit against the city, saying the Houston Police Department should not investigate the incident because of conflict of interest and instead should refer the review to another investigative entity.

    Bradford was indicted after he reprimanded Aguirre for using profanity with subordinates, a violation of HPD policy. Bradford had denied under oath that he himself had used profanity with subordinates. An assistant police chief and others contradicted that testimony, leading to Bradford's indictment.
    Although it has been dismissed for technical reasons, the lawsuit will be refiled, said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Randall Kallinen.

    He represents about 20 clients arrested at police raids outside Kmart, Sonic Drive-In and James Coney Island. Kallinen said the current police investigation is about "liability management," and interviews conducted for the investigation could crop up later when city officials are defending against the lawsuits.

    "It's hard to give a dollar figure on what may be the total amount of damages because it's extremely rare to have these types of mass arrests without probable cause," Kallinen said.

    "I believe it will be in the millions. It will be extremely expensive. From lawyers I've talked with, at least 100 people are suing," he said.

    The latest lawsuit Tuesday also named Police Chief C.O. Bradford, now relieved of duty because of an unrelated perjury indictment, and Captain Mark Aguirre, the officer in charge of the scene. He has been suspended because of the raid.

    Aguirre has filed suit against the city, saying the Houston Police Department should not investigate the incident because of conflict of interest and instead should refer the review to another investigative entity.

    Bradford was indicted after he reprimanded Aguirre for using profanity with subordinates, a violation of HPD policy. Bradford had denied under oath that he himself had used profanity with subordinates. An assistant police chief and others contradicted that testimony, leading to Bradford's indictment.
     

  3. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    I'm not going to comment. It's a shame on both sides of the coin that this is an example of what America is becomming.
     
  4. Oxford

    Oxford G&G Evangelist

    If it's over ten words long I get "attention deficit syndrone". This was just a little longer than that so I just skimmed the article.

    The story rambled along first about Brandi Ratliff being arrested outside a K-Mart story where they used a phone. Then it switched to Brandi being put in jail along with prostitutes and murderers.

    Sounded like she just by chance was at K-Mart about the same time cops were doing a sweep of drag racers and drug violations. This could happen to anyone.

    There's no doubt that police need to be extremely careful when they make arrests and place those accused in jail. In this case there seems to be a strong accusation that this wasn't the case which could result in a major problem for LEO's.

    Who knows what the actual situation was like. The news media put this kind of garbage out to sell papers.

    Oxford
    :nod: :fuss:
     
  5. tommy

    tommy G&G Enthusiast

    sounds like they need to put that cop behind some bars. The bad part is that if i break the law i go to jail and have to post bail get printed and all the other goodies that follow .But if a cop does wrong he does not get arrested he just gets sent home with or with out pay no jail time until he is proved guilty. but then again it could be that these kids are lyeing you never know . the good have to suffer for the bad on both sides.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2002
  6. BenP

    BenP Guest

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    If you're arrested, a file is started on you at NCIC. You are flagged, regardless of the outcome later. This puts you under undo scrutiny, and the LEA does not have to remove you from their records unless ordered to by a judge. It is not enough to simply dismiss the charges. Regardless, this is shoddy police work, and it is clearly evident that the LEA performed unlawful detainer and wrongful arrest, so they're liable and will be held accountable. I'd rather see jailtime for the miscreant supervisors than to pilfer the pockets of the good citizens of Houston, but we all know who will pay for this error. SSDD
     
  7. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    For what it's worth cop's get locked up all the time. If a cop breaks the law, he will quite often be arrested. I can think of eight from my city alone who went down last year. We're not above the law, though some think we are.

    "Traumatized for life....." Oh MY God!

    If you get arrested you ARE NOT always put into NCIC (Nat'l Crime Info Center). The norm is Felony....

    I'm gonna back off now. You know how "my client Tommy' and I can get about these issues!LOL
     
  8. BenP

    BenP Guest

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    0
    Yeah, generally I associate arrest with a felony, but I know some misdeamenor arrests are also made. It would help to know what the charges were.

    The absolute worst part of all this is the honest and respectable beat cops will pay for the actions of a few bad eggs at the top, along with the city coffers being emptied. I wonder what the arresting officers were thinking at the time? Just following orders, or did they think that sweep and search was the way to go?
     
  9. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    I don't know the original magnitude of the drag racing problem in Houston. Got bad here though. Bunch of kids killed. "Do something," they said to the police, however. It doesn't matter what we do, it's either not fast enough, or wrong.....
     
  10. BenP

    BenP Guest

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    0
    I know what ya mean, that's how the pendulum always seems to swing. Maybe the parents should've done their job first, eh?
     
  11. Stopper

    Stopper G&G Newbie

    1* darned if ya do and darned if ya don't. You LEO's are in a catch 22 more often than not. If ya don't act you all look like you approve of whatever it is, and if you do act, well then you guys could be in for all kinds of flack!
     
  12. oneastrix

    oneastrix G&G Newbie

    Everything involving the youth goes back to lack of parental involvement these days. That's something I seefirst hand. Most parents are more worried about whether or not the other kid was punished as much as their kid. Worry about your own child's actions!
     
  13. Here here 1*!!!

    Howdy,

    I'll tell ya what, when I was a kid, I feared what my Dad would do to me more than anything the law would do!!!!

    I was never a "bad kid", but the few run ins with the law left me non concerned with the legal punishment, but what would be handed down at home!!

    And to my departed Dad, I love you for it to this day!!!!

    :)
     
  14. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

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    i SEE THIS AS THE SAME CATCH 22...if the police act..then sue...if they dont act then sue..+sue the people who own the property.
    From the inital reports this drag raceing thing was pretty big...something like 300 arrest...Im not sure how it got that big before action was taken....probly the property owners did not want "problems" so stone walled the police but who knows.

    As for the NCIC/Police thing In my home town police get arrested all the time....part of the problem with small towns they can not pay well so they get new officers or officers that were forced out of better places....the problem I see is that a few ding dongs make the news and we think its everyone...my home town has that problem its reputation is so bad thatthey cant find good cops...so they hire the marginal/bad who make then news and that keeps the new/good from applying...the cycle continues.