When Cops Go Rogue
I don’t normally write about things like this, but this is too seriously disturbing to ignore.
If you can stomach it, I would ask that you watch this video, but please be warned. The images and sounds are vomit-inducing. It is graphic. You may find yourself either so incensed or brought to tears when you see that this type of thuggery can and does occur within the borders of the United States. The video is at the end of this article.
The fact that these police officers brutalized a citizen of the United States in such a manner is not only a criminal offense, but is absolutely unconscionable. I have seen illegal aliens receive far better treatment on a consistent basis. In order for this to have gone as far as it has, there has been cover-up that makes the Rodney King video beating a walk in the park.
Where are the civil rights experts? Where are the lawyers who should be coming out of the woodwork to protect not only Mr. Leone’s rights, but all of our rights against police officers who assume their job means beating the crap out of defenseless people who can do absolutely nothing to protect themselves.
I was raised by a father who demanded respect. He got it. I was also raised to believe that the police were always right and should always be obeyed without question.
I have worked as a jail chaplain and I know first hand that many to most officers are not only fully law-abiding individuals, but they do their job because they want to HELP people and society. Yes, they want to take the bad guys off the streets. That’s part of their job. But the officers I have been privileged to personally know and watch have consistently done their jobs completely above-board. They are not patrolling the streets, or working in jails and prisons because it is some type of power trip. They do what they do because of their concern for human beings.
However, there are certain police officers who not only go rogue, but they wind up seriously breaking the law in their pursuit of “justice.” These officers are often protected by other officers (who wants to be called a snitch, or worse?) and the system itself. It is done because it is generally assumed that police officers are right because they are up against people who are not: criminals.
When you watch the video, you will see it from the point of view of the dash-cam in one police officer’s car. The entire video is narrated by Larry Hohol, a retired Pennsylvania trooper who also taught at the police academy there. He knows the law. He knows the system. He points out what went drastically wrong for Robert Leone. His crime was that he did not pull over and even though the police report listed the event as a police pursuit, it was a slow pursuit. It was not a high-speed pursuit.
They had his car completely boxed in so that he could not exit his vehicle from the driver’s side even though he was ordered to do so. One police officer can be seen standing on the hood/roof of Leone’s car and tazering him because he did not exit the vehicle fast enough. As he was yanked out of the car, an officer literally stomped onto his back from the car, as we would see in a WWF wresting match. It went from bad to worse from that point on.
When Mr. Leone is finally taken to the police car, blood is pouring from his face. He has been tazed and beaten. One police officer broke his hand hitting Mr. Leone on the back of the head while he was face down on the asphalt. Mr. Leone was charged with felony assault on a police officer.
It gets even worse.
I want to emphasize that the officers in the video are not normative of all officers. The problem is exacerbated when internal affairs does not do what is right and winds up protecting rogue cops who live outside the law and become criminals themselves. This is what makes it bad for every good, law-abiding cop who is doing his/her job because they want to help people and society.
Apparently, this situation with Mr. Leone occurred in late 2009. He was finally tried on 24 felony counts, but the jury dismissed 20 of them. He is currently in jail, instead of being released for time served. When he was arrested, he was charged with drunk driving. This is in spite of the fact that after he was taken to the hospital that same night and blood was drawn, blood tests proved that he had neither drugs or alcohol in his system.
Mr. Leone was also beaten and tazed at the hospital after he begged nursing staff to help him because he had been beaten by cops. One nurse was too scared (for her own safety) to provide testimony at Leone’s trial.
This is a tragic story and had Mr. Leone been black as Rodney King was black, I’m confident that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and all the other race-baiters would have been all over this case like flies to honey. As it is, there is no National Association for White People or any other organization that comes to the aid of white people who are being used and abused by the system. I’m not saying there should be either. However, it would be nice if there were groups that stepped up to protect all groups. That doesn’t seem to be happening though. I’m simply pointing out the fact that nothing is in place to help Robert Leone and others like him who have become victims of a corrupt law enforcement machine.
I note with sadness that, among other things, not one of the police officers highlighted in the video came to Mr. Leone’s aid when he was having the crap beat out of him in the back of the police car. Not one! They all have their “code of silence” apparently, which means that when another officer is whacking away, they see or hear nothing.
Please take the time to view the video and spread the word. Robert Leone’s problem was that he failed to stop for police officers. That is a crime. But what happened to Mr. Leone far surpasses that infraction. It is terrible that this type of situation occurs at all…anywhere. It is even more problematic and troubling that it occurs in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.
These rogue cops have got to go and now that it has been ruled that citizens DO have the right to film a police officer’s actions, there’s not a whole lot they can say about it, though certainly some will try to arrest a person for doing so.
I am NOT trying to incite a movement against law-abiding, solid cops who provide a service to all of us, every day. I am trying to point out that there are rogue cops, who take the law into their own hands and in doing so, wind up abusing people in the process. These individual cops themselves become criminals because of their actions. For that, they need to be incarcerated. They are not above the law and it is time that the few cops who think they are above the law come to understand that they are not. The only way that will happen is for people to become more aware of situations like Robert Leone’s. It must be brought to the attention of people everywhere and something must be done to stop protecting cops who have no interest in upholding the civil rights of all individuals.
It is equally tragic that there are police officers who will essentially aid and abet such aberrant and tragic behavior from other cops. They are essentially just as guilty as if they had personally beat someone whom they just arrested.
I have read numerous comments from people who were very quick to side with the police. They did so because they only read one brief news article on the ‘Net. Had they viewed this video, read the actual police and hospital reports, I’m confident they would arrive at different conclusions. Larry Hohol has done the homework for us. Because he himself is a retired Pennsylvania police officer, he certainly would not be viewed as someone who has an axe to grind with law enforcement there. He also understands the law and what police are allowed or not allowed to do. He makes these points very clear on the video.
If you can watch this video and not be incensed or brought to tears, you have absolutely no feeling and you might want to question your humanity. Remember, the video is what the dash-cam of a police cruiser sees and hears. There is so much going on there that Mr. Hohol takes the time to play a number of sections twice, but he does not edit things out. He lets the video play out for you and he offers commentary.
One other note. In the entire video, not ONCE did I hear any police officer read Mr. Leone his rights. There was an awful lot of swearing and beating going on with Mr. Leone as the victim. However, he was never – that I could hear or detect – told his rights. He was instead, beaten, hog-tied, questioned, slapped, and a plethora of other things were said and done to him. Yet the system looked the other way.
This is wrong. Absolutely wrong and Mr. Leone needs vindication. In fact, the entire law-enforcement system needs vindication because of these few cops who do what they want, when they want, with no thought of protecting the civil rights of those they come in contact with daily. They are a huge black smear on the overall credibility of every law enforcement department throughout the United States. As long as law-enforcement is lazy when dealing with these rogue cops or even refuses to prosecute them, people will always have a reason to question their motives and rightly so.
I used to live near Binghamton, NY. Interesting enough, Mr. Leone was from Vestal, NY, not that far away. One weekend, my friends and I traveled down to the one of the resorts in Pennsylvania for the weekend. I was pulled over for apparently going too fast. I honestly do not remember what my speed was so it was possible that I was going over the speed limit. However, when the officer came to my window, he told me I had been speeding and would issue me a ticket. The fine at that time was $65 and I had two choices: 1) I could send in my money to the court, or 2) pay him the $65. I couldn’t believe what I heard, so I asked him to repeat it. He did, but the second time, left out the part about paying him.
Larry Hohol has a book out about the corruption in parts of Pennsylvania’s legal system called The Luzerne County Railroad and it has absolutely nothing to do with the railroad system. I have not purchased the book yet, but may. I’m not sure if I want to read it because it would probably make me angry. However, this information needs to be out there so that it can be dealt with and hopefully eradicated.
We want to trust police officers and we should be able to do just that. However, I cannot imagine Robert Leone ever trusting a police officer again, can you?
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