February 3, 2023
From The Real News Network
1,447 views
Cops discovered he was filing a complaint against them, then they struck back | PAR

A Bullock County, Georgia, resident attempted to file a complaint against local police after being denied medical care and placed in an “uninhabited” cell at the local jail. Instead of receiving a case, the man ended up in handcuffs. Police Accountability Report investigates the claims of retaliation.

Studio: Stephen Janis
Post-Production: Stephen Janis, Adam Coley


Transcript

The following is a rush transcription and may contain errors. An updated version will be made available as soon as possible.

Taya Graham: Hello, my name is Tara Graham and welcome to the “Police Accountability Report.”

As I always make clear, this show has a single purpose, holding the politically powerful institution of policing accountable.

And to do so, we don’t just focus on the bad behavior of individual cops. Instead, we examine the system that makes bad policing possible.

And today we will achieve that goal by breaking down this arrest by Bulloch, Georgia, police of a man who was visiting a county building to file a complaint about his treatment during a previous arrest.

But it’s not just about how the man who took this video was treated during the ordeal that we will focus on today, rather, it’s also a story about the courage it takes to preserve our rights and to hold power accountable, even when it’s aligned against you.

But first, I want you watching to know, that if you have evidence of police misconduct or brutality, please share it with us and we might be able to investigate for you.

Please reach out to us. You can email tips privately at [email protected] Ensure your evidence of police misconduct.

And please don’t forget to comment and share our videos. I may not be able to respond to every comment, but I promise you, I read all of them and I appreciate them.

We do have a Patreon called “Accountability Reports,” so if you feel inspired to donate, please do help support our work. We’ve got a link pinned in the comments below.

All right, we’ve gotten that out of the way.

Now, as we have often noted on this show, holding law enforcement accountable comes with a specific set of challenges, to say the least. Risks that come with law enforcement’s unique ability to retaliate against critics with arrests and charges.

And it’s because of this overwhelming power and its implications, I’m showing you this video we will be focusing on today.

It depicts a confrontation between Bulloch, Georgia resident, Maurice Minas and Bulloch County officers outside a county building. An encounter that began with the simple, yet apparently questionable, act of filing a complaint against law enforcement, an act which would lead to troubling behavior by police. We will show you later.

That’s because, after Maurice entered this building to file a complaint against the corrections officers who he said had been abusive after a previous arrest, a confrontation ensued, which led to a group of deputy sheriffs confronting him outside this government building. Let’s watch.

Maurice Minas: Your name?

Captain Casey: That’s not a complaint form.

Maurice Minas: What is your name?

Captain Casey: Captain Casey. C-A-S-E-Y.

Maurice Minas: Captain Casey. Badge number? You, what’s your name and badge number?

Chief Deputy Bi…: Chief Deputy Bill Black. Badge number 2.

Maurice Minas: You?

Deputy Gabe: Deputy Gabe. Badge number 59.

Lieutenant Greg…: Lieutenant Greg Collins. Badge number 6.

Maurice Minas: And this guy, one more time?

Captain Casey: Captain Casey. C-A-S-E-Y.

Maurice Minas: Okay. So what’s-

Captain Casey: Badge number-

Maurice Minas: … your point-

Captain Casey: … 3.

Maurice Minas: … of coming out here, four deep and hostile like this?

Captain Casey: Nobody’s hostile.

Maurice Minas: Yeah, you came out here, big guy. Now the camera’s on you, you calmed down a little bit. So I’m trying to see what’s going on. I’m not out here harassing nobody. Who came and told you-

Captain Casey: I will give you the complaint form.

Taya Graham: Now, it’s worth noting that Maurice encountered no issues when he first entered this building. In fact, no one even noticed him when he requested a complaint form. But as soon as he did, the cops inside decided he warranted their attention. Take a look.

Maurice Minas: … Nobody. Who came and told you-

Captain Casey: … complaint form.

Maurice Minas: … And I might fill these out-

Captain Casey: Fill it out.

Maurice Minas: … right here.

Captain Casey: [Inaudible 00:03:11] back.

Maurice Minas: Now, who told us-

Captain Casey: Now, after you’re done-

Maurice Minas: … Who told you that I was harassing him?

Captain Casey: … Listen to me. After you’re done, you’re to leave.

Maurice Minas: Okay.

Captain Casey: I’m serving you criminal trespass here. If you come back, you’ll be arrested.

Maurice Minas: Am I trespassing?

Captain Casey: Do you understand?

Maurice Minas: Where’s the criminal-

Taya Graham: Of course, you’re probably saying now, “Taya, he’s obviously been in trouble before. Why focus on him? Why worry about some guy who had been arrested before?”

Well, let me answer that first. As well as hearing from Maurice later, his crime was a run of the mill FTA, or failure to appear for a court date. But for that arguably very human error, Maurice was thrown in jail, later put in solitary, and abused by several corrections officers, according to him.

But on top of that seemingly disproportionate punishment, Maurice’s dilemma also raises a fundamental question. Should our right to petition the government be conditional? Are those same rights contingent on who is exercising them?

Well, I want you to think about those questions, as you watch Maurice deal with officers who followed him. Take a look.

Captain Casey: If you come back, he’ll be arrested.

Maurice Minas: Am I trespassing?

Captain Casey: Do you understand?

Maurice Minas: Where’s the criminal trespassing?

Captain Casey: Do you understand me? I’m verbally serving you, criminal trespass.

Maurice Minas: You’re going to trespass me from a public place? From a public?

Captain Casey: Do you hear me?

Maurice Minas: Where’s the criminal tres-

Captain Casey: Do you hear me?

Maurice Minas: Where’s the trespass, sir?

Captain Casey: I’m verbally serving you, criminal trespass. Do not come back once you fill this paperwork out.

Maurice Minas: Lower your tone, dude.

Captain Casey: If you do-

Maurice Minas: De-escalate, dude.

Captain Casey: … you will be arrested.

Maurice Minas: Okay.

Captain Casey: Do you understand me?

Maurice Minas: Tomorrow, if I come back here, I’m going to be arrested?

Captain Casey: Yes.

Maurice Minas: What? You might as go and arrest me now.

Captain Casey: Still have the paperwork.

Maurice Minas: You might want to arrest me now.

Captain Casey: You need to leave.

Maurice Minas: Ma’am, please? Can I borrow a pen from one of you fellas, please? Oh, y’all supposed to give me a pen. No, I can’t come up here. I’m up here, filling out forms.

Chief Deputy Bi…: You can bring it back and drop it off.

Maurice Minas: I got a pen in my car. Since y’all want to be like that. I’ll be right back for these. Got all y’all back. Y’all think y’all finna do me like that? What law am I breaking?

Captain Casey: Fill it out.

Maurice Minas: What law am I breaking?

Captain Casey: You’ll be criminally trespassing.

Maurice Minas: For what law am I breaking? What? You haven’t said anything. You just said-

Chief Deputy Bi…: Criminal trespass law.

Maurice Minas: … For what?

Captain Casey: Criminal trespass.

Maurice Minas: For criminal trespassing.

Captain Casey: You’ve been served.

Taya Graham: Now, after Maurice asked the officers for their respective badge numbers, the officers decided to give notice, so to speak.

At this point they tell him, in no uncertain terms, he is facing arrest. Just listen.

Maurice Minas: For what?

Captain Casey: Criminal trespass.

Chief Deputy Bi…: Criminal trespassing.

Captain Casey: You’ve been served.

Maurice Minas: Why have I been served?

Chief Deputy Bi…: If you don’t leave here [inaudible 00:05:25].

Captain Casey: Fill out this paperwork.

Maurice Minas: That’s my official business.

Captain Casey: You’ve been told to leave, after you fill out this paperwork.

Maurice Minas: So I can’t come back tomorrow?

Captain Casey: Yep.

Maurice Minas: To even talk to the sheriff?

Chief Deputy Bi…: Yep. You call up here and make an appointment.

Captain Casey: Yep.

Maurice Minas: Where’s my criminal trespass? I need it in written.

Captain Casey: You’ve been served.

Maurice Minas: I need it in writing.

Captain Casey: You don’t get it in writing. [Inaudible 00:05:39].

Maurice Minas: No, I need it in writing. I need it in writing. I’m pretty sure you got to [inaudible 00:05:43].

Captain Casey: I’m not going to argue with you anymore.

Maurice Minas: You guys are going to beat me up, though.

Captain Casey: If you’re going to be tricky and take this paperwork-

Maurice Minas: I know how y’all work.

Captain Casey: … you’re just going to go to jail.

Maurice Minas: That’s why y’all came out here like that.

Captain Casey: Do you understand?

Maurice Minas: I’m going to get my pen to fill this out to appease you.

Captain Casey: Hurry up.

Maurice Minas: And I’m only going to leave and not come back tomorrow under threat and arrest.

Captain Casey: There’s no threats.

Maurice Minas: Yeah, you threatened me.

Taya Graham: And so while Maurice tries to comply with their threat to leave the premises, he still insists on filing a complaint, an attempt to defend his right to file a grievance that leads to further chaos. Just look.

Captain Casey: There’s no threats.

Maurice Minas: Yeah, you threatened me.

Captain Casey: I told you [inaudible 00:06:11].

Maurice Minas: You just said you’re not.

Captain Casey: That’s not the right [inaudible 00:06:13].

Maurice Minas: For what law? What law have I broken?

Captain Casey: That’s not a threat.

Maurice Minas: What law have I broken?

Captain Casey: That’s not a threat.

Maurice Minas: What law have I broken? What statute?

Captain Casey: Get your pen and come fill this paperwork.

Maurice Minas: I’m about to. It’s going to take me all day to fill out all these complaints I got to fill out on all y’all.

Chief Deputy Bi…: Yeah, we [inaudible 00:06:27].

Maurice Minas: No, I don’t need y’all following me to my car.

Taya Graham: Now, after the video ends, Maurice was arrested and I will be talking to him later about what happened and how it affected him.

But first I’m joined by my reporting partner, Stephen Janis, who’s been looking into the case. Stephen, thank you so much for joining me.

Stephen Janis: Taya, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Taya Graham: So first, you’ve reached out to the sheriff’s office. What are they saying?

Stephen Janis: Well, I did better than that. I got a hold of the documents that actually led to the charges against him, against Maurice.

And it is astounding. They literally state in the documents, which I will show you on the screen now, that the reason that they harassed him is because he was filing a complaint.

And really the transom here was when they tried to get him to identify who he is complaining against, then they got testy with him. And that’s literally what’s in the documents. I mean, I can’t even believe what I’m reading.

Seriously, you’re going to charge a guy for filing a complaint? And then he comes back to file some more complaints and you get agitated and you’re like, “I’m going to arrest him.”

Well, that’s what it says in these documents in the United States of America. Constitutional or not, I don’t know. It’s bizarre. But that’s what they’re trying to do.

Taya Graham: Is this arrest going to move forward? Are prosecutors actually moving forward with the case?

Stephen Janis: Well, I put a call into them. I don’t see how they can. I don’t see how this is constitutional. I don’t see how this holds up in court. I don’t see what law he’s broken.

So really, if this prosecution goes forward, it’s just a sham. I mean, no, I don’t think it will. I’m going to keep calling them until I get an answer. But, no.

Taya Graham: The inflection point in the video seems to be when Maurice asked for the officer’s badge number and name. What is the law on that in Georgia and anywhere else, for that matter?

Stephen Janis: Well, let me say this. And states do pass different laws, but I’m not going to speak to the law because there can be no law. This is a First Amendment right, to petition the government. There’s no law that any government, any local municipal government, any state government, any government should make against the right of us to ask a police officer to identify themselves. That is clearly the Constitution. And I just don’t believe there is any law that should be able to actually abrogate the Constitution. That’s my opinion.

Taya Graham: And now to get more details on the events that led up to his arrest and what happened after he was put into cuffs, I’m joined by Maurice. Maurice, thank you for speaking with us.

Maurice Minas: Thank you for having me.

Taya Graham: So first, why were you at the Bulloch Sheriff’s Office?

Maurice Minas: To file a medical request practice form. Well, I was actually trying to get a practice form first.

I called ahead and asked him could I come and get a practice letter. And a clerk, I believe it was, told me yes, that I could come get a practice letter.

So I came and got a practice letter. Everything went smooth with that. They were being more than cordial about that.

But as soon as I asked about complaint forms, the whole demeanor just changed up.

Taya Graham: So when did the deputies become aggressive? What were they doing that made you feel like you had to record the encounter?

Maurice Minas: When I asked, “Can I get some complaint forms now?”

And she’s like, “Oh, complaint forms?” Literally, she goes, “Oh, complaint forms? You can’t be out here harassing people.”

I’m like, “Harassing people? I’m not harassing anybody.”

Her whole demeanor, she was being nice and cordial, even though she didn’t want to let us sit down or whatever, she still was being polite, I guess.

But after that, I could just see the snarky attitude.

So she’s like, “Okay, I’ll go get some complaint forms.”

Let me back it up a little bit. Before she gets the complaint forms, I asked to speak to the captain of the jail. It’s Captain Thompson. I asked to speak to him and she’s like, “Okay, I’ll go get him. Wait right here. I’ll be back.”

So I’m waiting. And that take probably like 20, 20 minutes, maybe.

I’m waiting. And she comes back, she goes, “Well, Captain Thompson isn’t here. He went out for lunch. We waiting on him to come back.”

So I’m like, “Okay, can I speak with the sheriff?”

She goes, “Okay, let me see if the sheriff is in.”

She leaves, maybe 20 more minutes. Then she comes back, “Well, the sheriff gone for today. He won’t be back here.”

So that’s when I asked for complaint forms, after that, because I’m like, I see what she’s doing. Even if they were here, I wouldn’t know it.

So I asked for the complaint forms and that’s when she goes, “Oh, well. You can’t be out here harassing people.”

And I literally look around like, “Miss, there’s been nobody here but me the whole time. Who am I harassing?”

Nope, I got to rewind it again. I guess this is what made her say it.

While she was going to get the sheriff or whatever, the nurse who I asked, that’s the main person who I wanted to complain on, she came to the front. She had her name tag turned around.

And she goes, “Hey, I remember you.” Like as soon as she seen me, as soon as she opened the door. I never went inside. I’m still outside.

She goes, “I remember you.”

I’m like, “You do?”

I’m smiling, trying to be cordial, because I know they tactics.

And I go, “You remember me? What you remember about me?”

She goes, “I know you don’t like me.” Literally just like that. “I know you don’t like me.”

So I’m like, “Miss, what’s your name?”

She’s like, “I don’t have to tell you my name. I don’t have to tell you anything.” She literally turned around and walked off.

She said, “Okay, I’ll go get your complaint forms,” with an attitude. Leaves, comes back with the four officers, and I seen them walking down the hallway.

So I got my camera and I started recording. That’s where the video started.

Taya Graham: So after you walk to the car to get a pen, what happened? I mean, it seems like the officers are following you to the car. What happens next? What don’t we see on camera?

Maurice Minas: I’m the type of person, if you do something out of the way, even though I’m behind these walls, I still got rights. And if you do something, it’s only one way to know who this person is doing what. And that’s to identify them.

So much stuff going on in there and I’m standing up for myself and I guess they go, “Well, we got to show him that it don’t matter what you say. You’re here now. We can do this, so we’re going to do this.”

Investigate what? There was nothing to investigate on me, except maybe the incident where they beat me up and did all that. Maybe investigate that. But nobody wanted to do that. I guess it was the CYA, as they would say.

Taya Graham: How long were you held? And what did they tell you?

Maurice Minas: It’s people that came in there, actual criminals. These two guys came in there, caught with a gun and drugs, like pills and powder and stuff.

And me, all I want to do is file complaint forms, got to sit for two days.

But these guys within hours, because they got an attorney, I guess or whatever, they can bond out.

Taya Graham: That really is a serious problem with the criminal justice system, that money can buy your freedom, while innocent people can remain incarcerated due to lack of funds.

So tell me, what charges are you facing? And what is the possible outcome for you?

Maurice Minas: It’s been a little over two years since this happened. I obviously pled not guilty and I’ve had maybe three or four court appearances for this, where I go and they ask me if I want to change my plea or whatever.

And I tell them the same thing, because the first time when I went, I had a little counsel with me.

It’s this pastor called Pastor Eli Porter. Good man. Great man. He’s a head of an organization called the Poor Minority Justice Association, where he takes cases like this, for the community.

And he went with me and he seen the bargain, I guess or whatever they give me, the plea. It was, I think, a year of probation, 40 hours of community service and maybe almost a $2,000 fine, I think, maybe $1,800.

And it kind of bothered him. He’s like, “Hold on. Who came up with this? Did you not watch the video?” He was talking to the prosecutor like this. He’s like, “Ma’am, did you not see the video? The young man didn’t do anything and this what you want him to plead to?”

It goes deep. They’re all friends. They all sit down together and have lunch and talk about everything that goes on in a small town. And you can’t trust none of them, it feels like.

Taya Graham: So how has this affected your life?

Maurice Minas: It literally dampened like everything I had. I ain’t going to say dampen. It bounced out everything I had going on, because I hadn’t been having the best of jobs. I wasn’t staying at jobs, but I found the job that I thought that I could do, as long as I wanted to. Uber and Instacart, I started doing that. So I’m driving. Yeah, easy money making at least $20 an hour, if not $10 an hour. That’s something better than nothing.

It makes you not want to go out. And it’s the anxiety of seeing the police and then be like, ‘Is that one of them? I didn’t get his name. It’s been a while ago. He kind of looked like that guy, but I don’t know.”

It’s that paranoia of not knowing who did what to you, and they could make up anything, basically. So I’ve just been going through my life, stressing about it, but not stressing about it, because it is what it is, I guess. But I have noticed that I got a couple more gray hairs in my beard. I’ve lost plenty of nights of sleep and every day I obsess over it.

Taya Graham: Okay, the arrest of Maurice is not just about the ability of police to retaliate. I also think it reveals something significant about a problem with law enforcement that gets less attention than it deserves. Namely, there are just too many cops dedicated to problems that have little to do with public safety.

Just take a headcount for Maurice’s encounter and you will see what I mean, as he takes a spontaneous sidewalk roll call, in the beginning of his video, you see at least four different officers reluctantly giving their names and badge number. That’s four cops with full police powers. They have so much time on their hands, they can follow Maurice into the parking lot and effectuate what can best be described as a questionable arrest.

But the reason I make this point is not just because the number of cops involved in his arrest seems excessive. It’s more important, I think, as an example of how we have misallocated resources towards policing and how those misplaced priorities are at least partly responsible for the lack of trust in law enforcement.

So let me use the failed war on drugs as an example. And before you say it, I know. It’s an easy target that a lot of people have criticized and rightly so. But I have something specific that might shed new light on how the so-called war has distorted the very fabric of our country’s social compact.

First, as we all know, the war on drugs was a pretense to use law enforcement to diminish the rights and political agency of the working class and minorities. The idea to criminalize addiction was simply a way to monetize the poor and bolster the power of agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration, that have wreaked havoc on poor and minority communities for decades.

It’s worth noting that even as billions and billions of dollars have been spent on this war, the US continues to notch a tragic 100,000 deaths a year from overdoses, an overwhelming tally of suffering and malaise that has not diminished in the least, in spite of millions of arrests, raids, cops, and prison time. The key ingredients, I might add, of America’s punitive recipe for extracting whatever they can from the people who can least afford it.

But what really caught my eye this week was this article in the Washington Post. A piece that, for me, reveals what happens when you use the process of law enforcement to monetize a problem and how it distorts every subsequent effort to solve it.

The article recounts the lack of availability of a critical drug called naloxone. For those that aren’t familiar with it, naloxone, otherwise known by one of its trade names, Narcan, is what’s known as an opioid antagonist, a drug delivered in the form of a nasal spray that can literally revive a person in the midst of an overdose. It has, quite frankly, saved thousands of lives.

But it could do more, because at the moment, oddly enough, you need a prescription to obtain it. I guess the idea is that when someone you know is overdosing, you’ll hop right on the phone, call a doctor, get a diagnosis, get the prescription from a pharmacy, pick it up and then administer it. You get my point? It’s absurd.

Which is why the Washington Post editorial explores the reason that this lifesaving drug and the aforementioned overdose crisis has not been made available over the counter, like aspirin and cough medicine. The piece asks very vexing and serious questions. With so many people dying, why on Earth wouldn’t we do everything we can to get this drug to everyone who needs it and eliminate the need to jump through hoops to get it?

The conclusion of the piece was another key ingredient of the aforementioned American recipe for communal despair. Corporate greed. Put simply, pharmaceutical companies were worried that the margins for the prescribed product would be greatly diminished if it could be bought without the prescription.

Now, it’s worth noting that the FDA had asked several companies to make Narcan available years ago. In 2017, the article asserts these same companies did nothing to respond, namely Evzio and Adapt Pharma. Neither would explain fully to the post why they hadn’t taken up the mantle and worked to get lifesaving medicine into more hands.

But it raises a fundamental question about how this country works and often does not, and who it prioritizes and why. Because over the period of time the FDA sought to make this drug more available, hundreds of thousands of people died, a toll that perhaps might not have been fully prevented by making naloxone an over-the-counter drug, but certainly could have prevented thousands of deaths.

It really makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Because spending tens of billions of dollars on the war on drugs didn’t require any hand-wringing. Investing in punishment, expanding prison capacity, and putting more officers on the streets, isn’t that hard to approve. In fact, as our sister show, “Rattling the Bars,” aptly reported, the effort to close a prison in California met with stiff resistance even though the state simply didn’t have enough inmates to fill it.

My point here is why is it so easy to make four cops available to arrest a man for filing a complaint, but not to provide a life-saving drug to fight a national health crisis? Why was it so easy to ratchet up the war on drugs by building prisons and funding an extensive investigative agency, but really hard to make a life-saving treatment, easy and inexpensive to buy? Why? And I ask this question, with all the compassion and concern for humanity I can muster, is it easier to slap handcuffs on a person than to administer a drug that literally brings them back from the dead?

These are questions we have to answer, if we want to live in a just and compassionate world, not a country of cops, courts, and prisons, but a community that values health, wellness, and our lives first. Nothing less is acceptable. It shouldn’t be acceptable. We all deserve better.

I want to thank my guest, Maurice, for joining me and sharing his story in his fight for accountability. Thank you, Maurice.

And of course, I have to thank intrepid reporter, Stephen Janis, for his writing, research, and editing on this piece. Thank you, Stephen.

Stephen Janis: Taya, thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Taya Graham: And I want to thank friends of the show, Noli D. and Lacey R., for their support. Thank you.

And a very special thanks to our Patreons. We appreciate you and I look forward to thanking each and every one of you personally in our next live stream, especially Patreon associate producers, John R. and David K. and super friends, Shane Busta, Pineapple Girl, and Chris R.

And I want you watching to know that if you have video evidence of police misconduct or brutality, please share it with us and we might be able to investigate for you. Please reach out to us. You can email us tips privately at [email protected] and share your evidence of police misconduct.

You can also message us at “Police Accountability Report” on Facebook or Instagram, or @eyesonpolice on Twitter.

And of course, you can always message me directly, @tayasbaltimore on Twitter or Facebook. And please like and comment. I do read your comments and appreciate them.

And we do have our Patreon link pinned in the comments below. So if you feel inspired to donate, please do. We don’t run ads or take corporate dollars, so anything you can spare is truly appreciated.

My name is Taya Graham and I am your host of the “Police Accountability Report.” Please, be safe out there.




Source: Therealnews.com