Category Archives: Police Power

The Shooting of Terrance Fletcher By Dover Police, Justified?

Conflicting Reports By Different News Agencies and The Dover Police Dept. Causes Anger in Dover's Black Community. After reading conflicting reports about the shooting of Terrance Fletcher 21, by Dover police on the 100 block of South New Street on August 28, I decided to attend an open meeting of community residents and leaders at 6pm Saturday to get closer to the real story of what happened. According of the Dover Police media release Friday afternoon: At approximately 1:24pm (Friday) Chief Bernat notified the mayor to inform him of shots being fired at 111 South Ne, the details are still coming in however, a perpetrator confronted two Dover officers with a handgun and was told to put the gun down and he did not comply. One of the officers fired several shots. Subject has now been transported to Bayhealth condition is unknown at this time. Chief Bernat, Dep Chief Mailey and Read more

First State Animal Shelter/SPCA Proposes Public Contract Extensions

Controversy Remains By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In an apparent change of strategy, First State Animal Shelter/SPCA Director, Kevin Usilton, has proposed a one-year extension (to June 30, 2016) of all public animal control contracts in Delaware after previously announcing that they would be terminated by September 15, 2015. Currently, about 40 FSAS/SPCA animal control officers and other employees are scrambling to find new jobs in anticipation of the termination, as the State of Delaware moves to assume direct administration of animal control functions through the Office of Animal Welfare. Annual FSAC-SPCA annual contracts ranged as follows: Sussex County ($682,616), Kent County ($895,041.12), New Castle County ($1,035,000), Wilmington ($600,000), City of Dover ($40,000) and the Delaware Department of Public Health for rabies ($275,520) and cruelty reimbursement of ($106,000); Read more

First State Animal Shelter Terminates Public Animal Control Contracts

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The Board of Directors of the First State Animal Shelter and SPCA (formerly known as the Kent County SPCA) has voted (14-1) on Monday, July 13 to terminate all public animal control enforcement contracts in Delaware, effective 15 September 2015. Instead, the organization (based in Camden, DE) will switch to an "animal rescue and no-kill shelter" operation. The board's decision potentially leaves a gap in related services in the event that various state, county and local officials do not formulate an alternative operational strategy. This includes setting up an animal shelter, training and outfitting of personnel, implementation of legal framework, administrative operations and soliciting bids. The Delaware Office of Animal Welfare recently announced that it would assume direct responsibility for animal control enforcement operations at an estimated Read more

Open Letter re: HB 204

Guest Opinion By: Doug Beatty Dear Representative Lynn, This citizen must take umbrage with your sponsorship of H.B. 204. On what planet is this a sound idea? The animal control officers at KCSPCA/FSAC have racked up an impressive history of unanswered complaints. At this very moment one Jacqueline Dyer of Hartly has publicy stated that Lt. David L. Hulse is retaliating against her for a drug test Hulse failed in 2006 administered by Dyer. After Dyer went public, she was criminally charged for dog at large on very shaky probable cause. In fact, in spite of evidence to the contrary according to Ms. Dyer and video from her home surveillance that she has made public. Anywhere I've lived except this place would call that retaliating against a whistle blower. Here, nobody cares how many officials know about this event it seems to always fall outside their responsibility. Giving Read more

Dover Community Works Together In The Wake of Webster Indictment

Mayor Christiansen and Dover's Black Leaders Unify to Prevent Violence Over The Felony Arrest Of Dover City Police Cpl. Thomas Webster on A Second-Degree Assault Charge. Authored by: Staff Writers, DonAyotte and Wolf von Baumgart In a press conference that took place in front of Dover's City Hall, Mayor Robin Christiansen said that the Dover City Council met in special executive session yesterday to discuss the matter of the Delaware Justice Department's indictment of Dover PD Cpl. Webster. The closed session was held according to the terms of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, involving cases in which litigation and personnel matters are involved. He would not discuss legal details of the case but said that Webster would be dismissed if he were convicted of the charge. When asked if one of the possible reforms may include establishment of a civilian police review board, Read more

Six Baltimore Police Officers Criminally Charged In Freddie Grays Death.

State's Attorney General Marilyn Mosby Announces Criminal Charges In The Death Of Freddie Gray Who Was Critically Injured While In Police Custody. Most Protesters interviewed greeted Mosby's announcement with cautious skepticism, and a wait and see attitude. While people were happy that some action was being taken, pessimism was heavily speckled throughout the crowd, according to various press sources. Despite Mosby's announcement, Protesters were gathering in Baltimore's streets for a fair-weather weekend of protests over Gray's death, allegedly caused while he was injured in police custody. Unrest and an uneasy calm was apparent by most visual media on site in Baltimore streets. Driver of the police van that carried Freddie Gray in a four-stop ride through Baltimore, Forty-five year-old Officer Caesar Goodson was charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and misconduct Read more

Delaware Animal Control Reform Petition Available On-line

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer A Petition to Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Attorney General Matt Denn et.al. to "Immediately investigate violations by and clarify authority of the contracted dog control agency, known as Kent County SPCA, First State Animal Center & SPCA, Camden SPCA and Delaware Animal Care & Control" is available on-line at: https://www.change.org/p/governor-jack-markell-attorney-general-matt-denn-delaware-governor-jack-markell-delaware-attorney-general-matt-denn-delaware-office-of-animal-welfare-delaware-s-148th-general-assembly-immediately-investigate-violations-by-and-clarify-authority-of-t . NOTE: This information was contributed by D. Meier in a comment regarding a previous article: “Talk Show Host Legally Challenges SPCA”. Read more

Saga of “Millie” Continues

by: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer The Dog Panel hearing in the Jake and Nancy Smith case, involving their pet, "Millie" is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, April 13 in the Sussex County Council Chambers, located on 2 The Circle in Georgetown, DE according to a 4/7/15 article in the Cape Gazette. "Millie", a white and brown Jack Russell Terrier mix, alleged to be a dangerous animal by a few of Smith's neighbors, is reportedly being held incommunicado at the First State Animal Shelter, located on 32 Shelter Circle, Camden, DE 19934. We are unable to confirm this due to a judicial gag order, issued in this case. The panel is charged with determining the dog's ultimate fate, up to and including possible euthanasia. Read more

** UPDATE ** Smith v. SPCA

By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer A judicial gag order has been issued on all parties concerned in the case of litigation of John "Jake" and Nancy Smith (plaintiffs) against Delaware Animal Care and Control, filed in Delaware Superior Court over possible illegal impoundment of their dog, "Millie" under guise of authority. Attorney John Brady, representing the Smiths contends that the 1981 state statute that excluded Sheriffs and Sheriff's Deputies from certification as police offices by the Delaware Council on Police Training also did not include animal control officers as police officers. The litigation essentially argues that only sworn and certified police officers can legally execute arrest and search and seizure warrants under the present Delaware Code, Title 11, Chapter 19. Both Kent and Sussex Counties have contracted animal control services with the First State Animal Read more

Police Body Cameras Coming to Maryland

Delaware Grapples with Issue While the state works to set standards for the cameras, Baltimore and 22 communities have moved forward. Baltimore is set to start a pilot program in November and roll out the full program in 2016. State civil libertarians and local police groups are battling over what gets to be made public and when. Police groups want certain exemptions from FOIA for the recordings to avoid jeopardizing cases and expensive long term storage. In Delaware, there is a quiet review, some view it as when and how not if the cameras will become part of state policing. The state NAACP is advocating their use once privacy and other concerns are taken into account. In a December 22, 2014 joint press statement with the NAACP, Secretary Schiliro issued the following: “We know the use of body cameras is inevitable and we view these cameras as a positive step that can Read more

Holder Slams Ferguson Police Discrimination

Exoneration of Darren Wilson Brings more Protests for Ferguson Residents, In The Wake Of DOJ,s Announcement http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ferguson-policing-eric-holder-implicit-explicit-racial-bias/ Eric Holders scalding speech of the Ferguson Police Department's racial practices incited more protests that resulted in two more people being arrested. Holder quoted statistics and individual accounts of police brutality and bias while enforcing the law. After an extensive investigation, the DOJ found that there existed, an extreme imbalance in the way law is enforced when it came to African Americans and European Americans. It was found in an investigation by the Justice Dept. that a disproportionate use of force was used toward blacks by the city's police force. "The highly toxic environment created by years of problems explains why Ferguson was set off like a power keg, after Michael Read more

Civil Liberties or “Le Nouveau Police State,” The People Must Decide

This question has quickly become the issue that is on the front burner of American politics. There are clearly two sides to this question and they are sharply divided on the question of how the country should proceed. One side originates with the law enforcement community and their supporters. According to recent casual conversation with one DSP Officer, he feels that the world has changed and disagreed with my statement that, "I don't believe that state and local police should have become a para-military force that stifles the citizens' civil rights." He believes that police are being unjustly targeted. I agree with him on some of the recent situations that have gone down. Especially on the issue of the two officers in NYC that were simply doing their job when they were assassinated. Many, including myself do not agree that attacking innocent police that are simply doing their Read more

The Rise of a National Police State

At 68, I've lived to view and differentiate the vast change in America that has caused a chasm and paradigm shift in the way the police force is trained and taught. There exists a shift is the way police view the public. The slogan, "To Protect and Serve" has disappeared from the cars of most municipal police forces. Why, you might ask; because that is not longer their objective. I'll start my remembered journey of police and their mindset in the middle 1950's when I was about nine years old. I was taught by my parents to respect the authority of "Peace Officers." In the 1950's, things were different in America, there was a real sense of country and patriotism. One must understand that WWII had just been won less than a decade earlier and the Korean War was just ending. In my memory, the local police and Sheriffs were there to protect and serve and for the most part, they did. Read more

Wilmington’s Stop, Frisk and Imprison Law Unconstitutional?

A federal civil rights lawsuit filed Friday claims the City of Wilmington's policy of stopping people on city streets, frisking them and imprisoning them without probable cause is unconstitutional. To imprison someone without probable cause or arrest is a violation of false imprisonment and kidnapping laws. Although city officials are calling for stronger measures to enforce the laws in Wilmington, is this policy constitutional or legal? Is stopping people on city streets without probable cause and imprisoning them for a two-hour "investigatory period." even in the realm of legality? According to the NewsJournal, Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union said Friday that if Wilmington has engaged in that practice without probable cause to arrest the suspect, it is unconstitutional. "If this is a regular practice of the Wilmington Police Department, Read more