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Citizens for Justice keep watchful eyes on Columbia Police Department

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | 7:31 p.m. CDT; updated 4:52 p.m. CST, Monday, February 13, 2012

COLUMBIA — In a crowded living room a half-mile west of Columbia police headquarters, Matthew Akins and his crew watched videos of people from all over the city talk about their problems with local police.

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In the far corner of the dimly lit room lay a black bag containing Akins' sidekick — a Sony HD camera that has become crucial to the ongoing dialogue.

The group watched, many for a second or third time, as black youths from Columbia's Georgetown Subdivision talked to the camera about a police raid that began with "guns pointed at kids' heads."

They watched, along with a half-interested dog named Mary Jane, as a black man named Marlon Jordan walked into the lobby of the police station on East Walnut, wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.

They watched Akins on video reciting statutes and legalese back to stunned officers with a vocabulary that was half-street, half-law office.

Akins also watched himself intently. He and the loose affiliation of mainly white, college-age men and women watching the videos are known as the Citizens for Justice, a technology-based "interactive community resource" for Columbia, born of Akins' own frustrations with several local police officers.  

A visit to Citizens for Justice's YouTube page shows nearly 70 videos posted since April of this year — some grainy and badly shot, some well-planned and tightly edited — but all addressing issues concerning the Police Department. Almost all were shot by Akins or a Citizens for Justice volunteer.

The impulse for all of this stemmed from a conversation Akins had with a police officer during a traffic stop more than a year ago.

Since the incident, Citizens for Justice has become, like Akins himself, something much deeper and more complex. Although funds are limited and the volunteers sometimes don't show up, Akins has still managed to strike a nerve in this city, fast becoming a resource for people who feel the system of justice doesn't work for them. At the same time, his group has the full attention of a police force unaccustomed to being on the other side of surveillance.

And, according to Akins, this once-small endeavor has taken on a life of its own.

The two-sided man

Just 23, Akins carries himself like a man twice his age – though you wouldn't notice it at first. In an oversized black dress shirt and baggy jeans, with a scraggly half-beard and short, wild hair, he walked onto the patio at Shakespeare's in mid-September carrying the black bag that almost never leaves his side. 

His manner of speaking is more south Bronx than central Missouri.

In school, he won all kinds of academic contests, except the spelling bees.

"I'm an awful speller," he said.

He won the Black History Bowl in elementary school, twice. He memorized almanacs and played geography games with his parents. Some of his earliest memories are from age 7, walking from his old house across from West Boulevard Elementary to Gerbes, simply to pick up some "soda pop and a newspaper."

Skip ahead a few years and you'd find him sitting in on City Council meetings, often the youngest person in the room there voluntarily.

And then something changed.

His parents divorced when he was 12, and he began to rebel. It's a period that he doesn't seem to want to describe in detail.

A high school dropout at 16 -years -old, he moved out of his mom's house at 17 and worked odd jobs for a number of years: shoveling snow, doing yard work, vending at music festivals, working construction jobs, selling furniture and appliances, inputting data and working at KFC.

A cursory search of Columbia’s arrest records reveals Akins as a young man accustomed to wearing heavy bracelets. 

"I'm not gonna lie to you," Akins said. "I smoke marijuana. ... I've been arrested a few times, and it was always for marijuana possession. I really don't see that as a big deal."

A cause for action

But it wasn't the arrests that pushed him over the edge. Nor were they what made him inseparable from the black bag. It was an incident in June 2010.

He was pulled over "between five to 10 times" in May for things like window tint and bad brake lights, and he was getting annoyed. Then, according to Akins, an officer stopped him in early June for making an illegal turn but ended up searching his car for 45 minutes at the busy intersection of Ninth and Cherry streets.

Akins and his two passengers sat handcuffed on the curb, "a spectacle for everyone who drives by," he said.

"I asked (the officer), 'Is this legal?'" Akins recalled, the memory still apparently vivid. "What's the protocol for this situation?"

In short, the officer told him that if he wanted to, he could get away with murdering Akins, simply because Akins was carrying a rifle in the car. The rifle was legally registered.

"Situations like that," Akins said. "That's kinda what cemented it."

"At that point I got the idea," he said. "If you go on rate-a-cop.com or something, you can see the names of the officers, and you can rate your interactions with them, but there's no information about them."

He spoke quickly.

"So I thought, 'Well, obviously I'm from here, I care about the community, I'm a citizen, I'm a taxpayer and I'm not pleased with the way certain police are conducting themselves. So what can stop a police?'" he asked, rhetorically. "The internal investigations never really amount to much. It never really seems like it makes a difference."

But the one thing that does make a difference, according to Akins, is when local news outlets, like the Missourian or the Tribune, expose police officers who have abused their power. 

"So I figured … what if I could put together something more in-depth, where people could go see everything that this officer's been involved in?'"

This idea resulted in an online database of 160-or-so Columbia police officers — their names, their photos (when available) and whether or not they've been disciplined in the past. Akins had to comb through thousands of articles online, including those of the Missourian, the Tribune and the city's website to get it done.  

It took him more than a year.

Through this tedious task, Akins learned about the Missouri Sunshine Law, the state statute that requires regulatory agencies' meetings, decisions and records to be open to the public.

It's a law that Akins now relies upon almost every time he encounters a police officer. 

"We'll send in a Sunshine request," Akins says to the camera at the end of many of his taped interactions, meaning he'll formally request more information about whatever incident he's investigating.

The law is just one of the many tools he has added to his growing arsenal for dealing with what he considers to be a system that sometimes harbors "bullies" who take too many liberties in the name of the force.

Akins makes it clear that he holds no resentment toward police in general. His great-grandfather was a Kansas City police officer during the Great Depression, he said.

"I really appreciate the ones who are doing a good job," he said. "Because there are older people, elderly people ... who really can't protect themselves."

"And when police come in and do that kinda work, I think that's really great," he continued.

But he has a serious issue with police who abuse their power, especially those who use the badge and gun as an excuse to harass citizens.

"That's a bully thing to do," he said.  "And I don't like bullies."

And so, armed with a cursory knowledge of the law, an electronic database and about $10,000 he inherited when his grandfather died last year, Akins decided to take his mission to the next level by buying a Sony HD camcorder and a laptop computer. 

And the black bag in which to carry them.

'Whatever this is'

A 2004 study conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which focused on the use of "in-car cameras" by police, showed the impact surveillance can have on policing tactics. The study's "dramatic findings" related not only to increases in officer safety but also to improvements in community and media perceptions of police, enhancements of officers' performance and professionalism and improvements in agency accountability when officers know they are on camera.

It can also change policies.

The video of the Columbia SWAT team's raid at 1501 Kinloch Court in February 2010 — during which two dogs were shot, one fatally, while a child was present — has close to 1.8 million views on YouTube and elicited a massive public response. As a result of the incident, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton changed some of the department's policies regarding SWAT raids, such as the necessity for future raids to be approved by a high-ranking member of the department and, in the case of children being present, only under the direst of circumstances.

Still, Columbia Police Sgt. Jill Wieneke, who is in charge of the department's public relations unit, said she's not quite sure what to make of Citizens for Justice or its loyal following.

"Maybe it's a hobby for some people," she said, emphasizing that the opinion was her own and not that of the department.

"It's hard for me to think, at that age, that you've had such horrible interaction with the Police Department on multiple occasions that now you're very jaded and you want to go and do whatever this is," she said.

She said she has noticed that a lot of groups are doing this type of investigative — or "vigilante" — journalism all across the country. But being videotaped is a new experience for officers in Columbia. Some officers here come from states, such as llinois, where videotaping an on-duty police officer is a Class I felony and can land a person in jail.

Wieneke felt the issue of officers being videotaped was important enough to merit a departmentwide memo.

"I felt like it was important that I let (all the officers) know, 'Hey, listen, they can record you.'" she said. "They're in a public place. ... You're a public employee, (and) as long as they're not interfering with what you're doing, there's no reason why they can't record you."

Nationally, the issue of citizen-police surveillance is at least as old as the 1991 Rodney King case. But in light of recent developments within the Columbia department — such as the September firing of an 18-year veteran officer videotaped using excessive force against an inmate in a holding cell — it quite possibly has more resonance.

"I guess I'm kind of 'middle of the road,'" Burton said of Citizens for Justice. "I'm concerned about the safety of the citizens themselves because a lot of times, they don't understand what the officer (being taped) is dealing with, and they run the risk of running into a situation that could potentially be dangerous and not even realize it."

"But absolutely it's their right to do," he said. "It's a free country."

Akins agrees.

"I think transparency is the key," he said. 

"If an officer knows he's gonna to be put out in the public for doing something he shouldn't be doing, he's gonna think twice about it," he said.

And that's what the black bag is for.

Counter-surveillance

Leaning against the back of his mother's red Chrysler Sebring in late September, Akins set a piece of paper on the rear window. A box containing pizza left over from his birthday the night before was balanced carefully on the trunk.

Because his scanner was taken during a checkpoint earlier this year, Akins listens to police traffic via an "app" on his iPhone. His eyes scanned the rows of numbers and names on the sheet.

"Well, this is troubling, to say the least," he said.

The sheet of paper, which he had received through a Sunshine request, held the names and radio call numbers associated with every Columbia police officer in the district, and the numbers weren’t matching up. Weeks later, he realized that he had been tuned into the wrong frequency.

"Do you see (the number) anywhere?" he asked.

His original plan for the evening was to track down a cop who, according to a witness Akins had interviewed earlier, had threatened a young woman while off-duty, saying he would slash her throat if she didn't stop mouthing off.

Akins was going to track the officer through the scanner, drive to his location and confront him about the issue. This had been planned at the group's meeting earlier in the week.

At that meeting, Akins had stood up, read from the same paper and asked for volunteers. 

"He works tomorrow, Friday and Saturday," he had said, referring to the officer. "He works 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. The more people come the better."

"I'm free after 7, I can go," said one volunteer. Others chimed in and a plan was formed. Two cars, at least six people. Their safety, according to Akins, lay in numbers.

But no one showed up. It was Akins alone that Friday night, armed with a camera and an iPhone app, ready to go. 

He soon realized that, without the correct information, it was useless. He had no idea which call number the officer went by. Although he could recognize many officers by sight, he wasn't quite at the point where he could identify them by voice. He chalked it up as a loss and called off the night's plan.

On the job

Akins' nights aren't always so lackluster.

When citizens call him about anything police-related, he rushes out with his camera. 

"I've got hours and hours of footage of just nothing happening. But I'm out there, and (the police are) seeing me, and even if that footage is good for nothing else but that initial reaction when they turn and see me, that's worth it," he said.

He chuckled, memories of police encounters running through his head.

"It's just a funny reaction because you have some officers who you can just tell, they don't have anything to worry about," he said. "I'm just a guy with a camera."

"(But) some officers, their eyes get big and everything, and I'm like, 'What are you so nervous about?'"

One video posted last month, called "How to Handle a Questionable Encounter," is a beginning-to-end taping of a self-described "questionable" police stop of Akins and a friend at a Taco Bell. So far, it's been viewed more than 2,500 times.

Other videos show Akins approaching officers during or after traffic stops, raids, Taserings and other incidents. It's apparent throughout the videos, and, according to Wieneke, that every officer in the department now knows about the guy with the camera. 

Some are very respectful, even friendly, toward Akins. 

In a video to be released soon, he and Officer Deonte Eanes have a friendly back and forth.

"You stayin' out of trouble?" Eanes asks.

"Yeah, yeah," Akins replies. "We're just out here trying to separate the bad apples from the good apples, you know."

"Nothing wrong with that at all, man," Eanes says. "I'm not worried about it. I'm good with people filming me."

"Are you going to be putting my face all up on Facebook, though?" he asks, laughing.

The two joke for a few more seconds, and Akins tells him he appreciates his service to the community.

Other officers are not so keen on the idea.

A few have relied on their patrol car's spotlights to disable Akins' camera, as shown in the video, "Another Spotlight shined at CFJ Camera."

A lot of love

Akins' childhood — bouncing between friends’ houses, his mother’s and his grandparents' place in Springfield — might have something to do with the way he's treated by officers and by citizens. 

"I spent a lot of time growing up in the inner city, the central part of Columbia," Akins said. "That might have played a part in being targeted by certain officers, (but) that's why there's a video where we're ... in the projects with a $3,500 camera and nobody messes with us. We have no problems, no issues, nothing like that.

"Because when people see this (camera) and we explain what it's about, especially in the First Ward, they appreciate what we're doing," he said. 

It's obvious to Akins and those around him that he seems to have found his calling. Although the impact of what it is he's doing can't be easily measured, he said he believes he and his volunteers are making a difference.

"At the beginning of the summer, (calls from concerned citizens) were a lot higher, in my opinion, when (the police) were taking me less seriously," he said. 

"Now … the people who were calling me, they're not getting messed with," he said. "They're not getting pulled over. For whatever reason, I can make my assumptions for why that is, but these people are not having issues with the law. I want more people to know that."

"If you've had issues with the police and you need someone to document it, just call me. Just let me know."

He smiled.


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Comments

Delcia Crockett October 6, 2011 | 7:28 a.m.

All the folks in the photo appear to be in one age group. Are there other members of the group in various age ranges? Because I know of, at least, one instance where a "little old white lady" was treated much the same way by one officer, in particular in a certain bullying case initiated for some time by someone else. Would the young people here welcome a cross-section of other citizens who have been treated similarly. I think the police PR person needs to reach out more to citizens, then she would know what to think when someone is hurt in an instance with the folks in uniform involved in drama brought on quiet, law-abiding private citizens. Thank you, Missourian, for allowing me to say this. It happens, and it needs to be addressed. I think the Chief is on the right track with his seeking responsible officers and with his concern for the well-being of private citizens. A lot of the hostility in communities would cease, if officers thought twice about their reactions to what they come upon, and they will not them need to backtrack to try to remedy a situation they help escalate with their behavior in reaction or initiation toward. When someone has not broken the law, then someone should be protected from the bullies who do, and not the police egg it on by playing "Johnnie Macho on the Scene." Thank you for stepping up to bat, young people, in a constructive manner to address this issue. Democracy at its best. May the tribe increase!
:)

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 6, 2011 | 11:29 a.m.

Is this group also working to improve the Citizens Police Review Board and our new city manager, or are they just being vigilant paparazzi?
Do they have a lawyer protecting their rights or are they just out there rag tag?
Have they ever considered working with CPD, having neighborhood watch programs or initiating some kind of "Guardian Angels" patrols?
Has anyone interviewed a spokesperson for the Columbia Officers Police Association on their view of this group?
Does shadowing the police help or interfere?
Are they endangering anyone by their actions or are they "professional field workers?"
How do members of this group feel about a well administered curfew for citizens under 18 years of age in Columbia?

(Report Comment)
Jeremy Calton October 6, 2011 | 12:24 p.m.

@Delcia
I'm not sure what their age has to do with anything. They simply record police officers. They aren't recording THEMSELVES. They just drive around, and if they see police doing something, they record them. If they saw a "little old white lady" being hassled by the cops, they wouldn't turn off the camera and drive away...

I'm not sure how old you are, but you could always volunteer to help them if you want to add some age (or gender) diversity to CFJ.

@ Ray
Paparazzi sell photos. Taking videos of our public servants is not illegal. In fact, videos often exonerate officers when questions and complaints arise--that's right, recording officers PROTECTS them. But, unfortunately, dash cam video often mysteriously disappears or has strange gaps in the tape right when the event happened. Weird, I know.

Instead of posting a bunch of supercilious rhetorical questions in the Missourian, why not follow one of the two links [this is assuming that you read the article] and contact them yourself? Or friend CFJ on Facebook and ask them publicly there, if you want others to see their answers.

P.S. What does a curfew have to do with anything in this article?
*shrug*
You can ask them that, too. Good to know that you're seeking their opinions on law-enforcement issues.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 6, 2011 | 12:33 p.m.

Is this group also working to improve the Citizens Police Review Board...
___________________________________________________________

Frankly Ray, I don't anticipate this group really working on anything. The dog is named Mary Jane for a reason... They have plenty of idle time on their hands for a reason. They don't show up for a reason. Seems more of an act of revenge for some transgression than an organized movement. Seems the thrill is seeing a PO'd LEO and not social justice for all. As long as he keeps his distance and doesn't interfere with the police, more power to him. I would consider tracking a police officer down during his work hours to try and confront him about what someone said he said would constitute interfering though. I do hope it isn't our tax dollars subsidizing his late night visits to taco bell after he talks to mary jane for a min. No mention of a current job...

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 6, 2011 | 1:20 p.m.

("Instead of posting a bunch of supercilious rhetorical questions in the Missourian, why not follow one of the two links [this is assuming that you read the article] and contact them yourself? Or friend CFJ on Facebook and ask them publicly there, if you want others to see their answers.")
Jeremy:
Are you saying that no one reads or has access to the comment section below an article which idolizes their very own group? Do you think that they might be allergic to the Missourian comment section or something?
I wonder how "Citizens for Justice" members would feel if a citizens' group was formed to follow them around as they hit the streets to film police officers doing their job.

(Report Comment)
Steve Baumann October 6, 2011 | 1:25 p.m.

How about maybe mixing it up and filming some crimes as well? That would also be a huge help to the community.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 6, 2011 | 2:13 p.m.

"in the projects with a $3,500 camera and nobody messes with us."

That's more because this isn't East St. Louis than any sympathy or approval of what you're doing. Most people that live there don't have computers or Internet access, and may not know any of your friends.

However, there's now the possibility that someone around there inclined toward crime, who does use the Internet (or reads the Missourian in print) now knows what you look like, and what your camera is worth. Perhaps not the best thing to say to a reporter.

I'd be suspicious of anyone that filmed me while I did my job. The issue is not so much what I might do, it's what they might do with the footage that might not accurately reflect the context of my actions.

DK

(Report Comment)
Evan Savage October 6, 2011 | 3:09 p.m.

Though their group does seem a bit disconnected (as reflected by the fact that no one showed up for Mr. Akin's planned interview with an officer), the group looks to be going in the right direction for what they are attempting to accomplish. As many of you have noted, the group doesn't seem to be focusing explicitly on policy change or improving the Citizens Police Review Board; instead, they are focusing on removing the "veil of anonymity" that hangs over the Columbia Police Department.

It is widely accepted in the field of psychology that harassment is largely rooted in loss of identity, group pressure, and (not to be redundant) anonymity. From fraternities to flagellants, any group where individuals have a sense of a "group identity" runs the risk of experiencing groupthink or any other social psychology fallacy. This is one of the reasons why there is a Review Board for the Police; with people outside the group giving their observations of police tactics, the police can get an objective view that may otherwise be illogically supported by the group. In this sense, the Review Board has a way of removing the veil of anonymity by showing officers how their actions are being perceived by members outside of the group. Had anyone actually read the article from 2004 (where it was reported officers were more apt to follow protocol and were actually exonerated in 93% of cases where citizens filed a complaint for improper procedure), it would become apparent to you what the Citizen's for Justice movement is attempting: to unveil the mask of anonymity in the Columbian Police Department through the implementation of vigilante video-documentation of arrests and citizen-police interactions.

In this sense, it would seem that the Citizen's for Justice movement is succeeding in its cause. Akins' remarks at the end of the article, "At the beginning of the summer... (the police) were taking me less seriously," However, after implementing vigilante video-documentary tactics, it seems Akins is not only receiving less complaints from citizens, but also that individuals who reported consistent and sustained harassment from officers have been reporting less unfounded hostility and harassment since the end of the summer:

"Now … the people who were calling me, they're not getting messed with," he said. "They're not getting pulled over. For whatever reason, I can make my assumptions for why that is, but these people are not having issues with the law. I want more people to know that."

In my personal opinion, I believe the Citizen's for Justice movement has been effective in that reports of harassment from officers seem to have declined. Now, it would have been nice had Akin's devised a survey for the citizens of Columbia prior to implementing his video-documentation strategy as a means to expose officers, but I have faith in the Citizen's for Justice devising and implementing some sort of study to validate their cause.

(Report Comment)
Evan Savage October 6, 2011 | 3:09 p.m.

Instead of being critical of their movement, why not offer advice on how they could improve their tactics? If you feel they are not addressing the Review Board, how do you suggest they pursue such an avenue of public forum?

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 6, 2011 | 4:43 p.m.

@Evan
Great post!
Even though I chastised these guys a little bit, you make an articulate argument for what they are trying to do. I have a hard time accepting the anecdotal evidence as proof they are succeeding as you mention...

I just hope they don't get too caught up in their cause. I see a real problem with accosting officers on duty with a camera to try to engage them in some sort of interview or something about what they are doing or have done at another time. I have heard a saying that being a policeman is 90 percent boredom and 10 percent terror. I don't want these guys anywhere close to an officer that is in the middle of the 10 percent and that seems to be when these guys will be most amped to get in the middle of things...

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 5:12 p.m.

@Delicia The majority of CFJ members are younger but as Jeremy said,
we will respond to any call we can make it too, regardless of age.

We would welcome any body who wanted to volunteer or just wanted to
know/understand more about us to get in contact and we can set up a
meeting.

Also, I agree with you about the "police PR person" needing to reach
out to more citizens who have been mistreated by officers to gain
another perspective, as well as many other things you said. We
appreciate the support. Feel free to email me at matt@CFJComo.com.

@Ray Shapiro:

We highly value any and all constructive criticism about what we do
and how we do it, so I appreciate the good questions.

We have videotaped at a good number of CPRB and City Council meetings.
Here is a playlist of citizens addressing CPRB at the August 24
Public Input Meeting. The one where the Board called to hear the
public's opinion on the CPD's requested list of changes to the
ordinance that governed their operation.

http://www.youtube.com/user/CFJComo#grid...

At an earlier CPRB meeting, I addressed the Board and made them aware that I had conducted an interview with Jill Wieneke about the proposed changes and invited them to watch as a way to better understand the police departments stance on the issue. I delivered the following to the Board via Rose Wibbenmeyer:

http://www.youtube.com/user/CFJComo#grid...

We were there in May, when the Columbia Police Officers' Associate
hired a Tort Attorney who had experience representing the FBI, to
tell the CPRB that they needed to change the ordinance because they
were creating too much of a civil liability and cautioned them
against "too much transparency". The CPOA pleaded with the Board to
meet with them in closed session.

http://www.youtube.com/user/CFJComo#grid...

And we were there at the City Council meeting where City Attorney
Fred Boeckmann seemed very amused as he tried to explain why the
officers didn't want to have to be confronted by allegations of
misconduct "in front of the large audiences".

http://youtu.be/ZSEjDsUwXkE

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 5:13 p.m.

I've been in contact with Ashley Cuttle, the Executive Director of
the CPOA and told her I would be more than willing to meet up with
her and discuss pretty much anything, but received no response.
We've tried to work with the CPD and even Interview

"Does shadowing the police help or interfere?" If we interfere or
have interfered in some way please let us know. That is not our
intention.

As to whether or not we are "professional field workers", I don't
know the exact qualifications for that, but we do our best to be kind
and courteous to all the officers and follow all their commands when
prompted. We attempt to engage the officers in conversation only when
it seems they are in a reasonable position to respond.

And yeah, I don't know where the curfew thing came in. No one in CFJ
is under 18.

Also, here is our latest video. If the Missourian wants they can link it to the appropriate part of the article.
("In a video to be released soon, he and Officer Deonte Eanes have a friendly back and forth.")

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EVLg3pmg...

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 5:30 p.m.

Ray said "I wonder how "Citizens for Justice" members would feel if a citizens' group was formed to follow them around as they hit the streets to film police officers doing their job."

That's basically how the majority of this article was produced. I found it helped me to analyse things from an outside perspective. Shout out to Brad Racino!

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 5:34 p.m.

*Correction
Ignore this sentence fragment:
"We've tried to work with the CPD and even Interview"

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 6:13 p.m.

@Mark Foecking The issue is not so much what I might do, it's what they might do with the footage that might not accurately reflect the context of my actions."

In your opinion have we done that? I'd say we've been pretty fair.
http://youtu.be/YSq0QtxtGf0

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 6, 2011 | 6:32 p.m.

mike mentor: I AM ON NO FORM OF PUBLIC WELFARE.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 6, 2011 | 9:06 p.m.

Perhaps they should start a movement to get a large number of the CPD to resign or be terminated. That is what appears to be their true underlying intent.

And then they (the CfJ) could try serving as lookouts for the "holdup dudes" who seem to be gaining in numbers daily.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 7, 2011 | 3:31 a.m.

"In your opinion have we done that? I'd say we've been pretty fair."

What was the point of that video? Someetimes police get into situations with subjects where they have to use some sort of force. You don't have the full story here on tape, so why publish anything at all?

The officer asking whether you got the whole thing on video is a prime example of what I was saying. Simply filming a lot of flashing lights, a man on the ground, and police getting control of a situation is something taken entirely out of context.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 9:17 a.m.

Mark,

I think that it is worth mentioning that the Police have dash cameras in their vehicles, lapel mics, and I believe now they even have cameras that they can wear on their person.

If Matt films something that may not give the entire story, and is "taken out of context" and the Officers involved feel like the video unfairly portrays them in some way, then they also have the incident documented. Let them defend theirself with some transparency by showing us their side of the story by making those audio and video recordings freely available to the public. Actually, the Police can upload their video files to Youtube too, if there is ever a dispute as to the accuracy of these videos. Seems to me that Matt has nothing to hide here, as he is making everything he documents freely available to the public and allowing the public to scrutinize everything he is doing. Matt has also made himself available to everyone here to answer any questions that anyone here may have. Does that sound like the actions of someone that is intentionally trying to portray the Police in a bad light. In the P.I. Businesswe have a saying about this type of documentation; "It is what it is, and it speaks for itself".

I think there is a larger issue at play here. What has inspired this distrust of our Police Force? Why do citizens feel a need to "Police the Police" or "Watch the Watchers"? Has our Police Department been doing all that it can to inspire the public's trust in what they are doing? I think we can bring all of this back to a culmination of events starting with how our Police Department has conducted itself in the past five years and the decisions that Police Officers have individually and collectively made over the past five years. This kind of distrust does not just happen for no reason. Perhaps the CPD should be asking what they have done to inspire this type of distrust from it's citizens?

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 7, 2011 | 9:46 a.m.

Harold, crime rates are holding steady, no matter what some might think with the recent spate of incidents. I believe the Missourian or Tribune recently published a story to that effect.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 7, 2011 | 9:48 a.m.

Mark, didn't get a chance to watch the video (this computer is a dog), but if it's the clip I'm thinking of, the officer was asking if Matt got the encounter on video because it would back up the officer's reason for using a taser on an attacking suspect and the dash cam likely didn't have the proper angle to catch the encounter.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 7, 2011 | 11:49 a.m.

So, John. How does your reply to me relate to what appears to at times to be an effort to get a number of the CPD terminated. If frequently harrassing CPD with a camera in their face is not harrassment, then what is it?

Appears likely to be either an ego trip, an act of self-elected importance, or perhaps they just simply have way to much time on their hands and are trying to fit into society as normal citizens! (Are they not full time employed, productive citizens?)Maybe they are trying to convince society that they are now the new "norm".

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 7, 2011 | 11:53 a.m.

But I don't understand, Harold, how filming police officers would cause them to experience termination. Why would a tape of a few officers in action lead to their termination?

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 7, 2011 | 12:12 p.m.

Paul, how well do you think you could perform as a CPO if a camera was either frequently stuck in you face or just doing a hidden camera bit when you stopped somewhere for a potty break? And then, despite claims of not doing so, edited and spliced to produce their "desired results". CPD has enough to answer to from CPRB. They should not have to constantly smile for the camera.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 7, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

@"I'm not sure what their age has to do with anything. They simply record police officers. They aren't recording THEMSELVES. They just drive around, and if they see police doing something, they record them. If they saw a "little old white lady" being hassled by the cops, they wouldn't turn off the camera and drive away..."

Thanks. That is good to know. I wish these guys the best. I don't know why the officers would object. Might make heroes of some of them who go the extra while it might help some citizens who find themselves in situations they did not create but have to find a solution to get on past the situation created by someone else. I would like to see a televised show of this on the local station - say in the 30 minutes time of that hour-long thing they have at 4:00P.M. now on KOMU. (But I do think it should be the guys' choice what goes on with the station, and not the police's choice.) I think a lot of people in Columbia would watch it, if they switched off that thing that is on an hour, making the news go on from 4:00 to 6:30 now. Maybe they could make this citizens' recording of cops in action on the air at 6:30 where all the folks who have to work during the day could watch it - and still catch the local news at 5:00P.M. and 10:00P.M.? The news is often full of crime report anyway, and this could be an action show with the citizens in front row seat of what our officers do. Think possible? Just an idea.

:)

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 7, 2011 | 12:42 p.m.

How confusing. Are you implying that I would be doing something on my potty break that I should be ashamed of? Perhaps something unlawful? Maybe we need a camera to resolve this then. Because I (usually) only make potty on my potty break. And it's unrealistic to be expecting one to always smile during the process. Heck, even the photographers know that...

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 7, 2011 | 12:44 p.m.

"I think there is a larger issue at play here. What has inspired this distrust of our Police Force? Why do citizens feel a need to "Police the Police" or "Watch the Watchers"? Has our Police Department been doing all that it can to inspire the public's trust in what they are doing? I think we can bring all of this back to a culmination of events starting with how our Police Department has conducted itself in the past five years and the decisions that Police Officers have individually and collectively made over the past five years. This kind of distrust does not just happen for no reason. Perhaps the CPD should be asking what they have done to inspire this type of distrust from it's citizens?"

I agree. 100%.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 7, 2011 | 12:49 p.m.

@"But I don't understand, Harold, how filming police officers would cause them to experience termination. Why would a tape of a few officers in action lead to their termination?"

Might make some of them stand 10-feet tall in the eyes of some citizens - for job well done. It can work both ways: the ones who are dedicated to peace and protection against aggressive invaders into the lives of others might be shown for the great job they do - and the ones who are macho-macho and lean towards crossing the line on conduct with private citizens might be counseled into how they should do their job as it should be in line of duty with the police department policy. Filming by these guys could become a report card for the public to present in viewing. Or, at least, give some voice to the public as how the community is handled by the officers - all the officers.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 1:09 p.m.

Harold,

What they are doing IS in fact an "act of self-elected importance". How dare they think that they are entitled to video the very people that their taxes go towards paying. What is wrong with these people? As citizens in a free country, what gives them the idea that they can video tape their Police Department's actions in public places. They should have their camera taken away and be jailed for video taping the very people that they are paying with their tax dollars!

Get a bill started in the Legislature, Harold. By God, you may have a point here! And use the language that I just used when you put together that bill, Harold!

THAT was sarcasm..... LOL.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 1:10 p.m.

@Mark Foecking: Did you even pay attention to the video? You can hear witnesses describing the behavior the tazed man exhibited prior to the tazing and we presented the officer's side as well as the witnesses.

Also, the video came out the same day as the incident. The information was pretty much all that was available and was put out promptly. A group unrelated to us filed a complaint about the issue, but that gained little or no public attention. Aside from anyone's personal views on tasers, we didn't feel like from what we could gather, the officer acted inappropriately and therefore directed our time and energy elsewhere. The witnesses said the guy charged at the officer and the officer tased him. Seems pretty clear cut to me.

@Harold Sutton

Our movement has resulted in the termination of exactly 0 officers and the only reason an officer could be terminated as a result of one of our videos is if he or she is doing something they shouldn't be doing and that officer's command staff makes a decision to terminate them based on the video.

I would like an example of a video that we "despite claims of not doing so, edited and spliced to produce (our) 'desired results'."

And as far as us "doing a hidden camera bit when you stopped somewhere for a potty break".

That sounds ridiculous. We don't do anything like that.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 7, 2011 | 1:10 p.m.

@..."how well do you think you could perform as a CPO if a camera was either frequently stuck in you face or just doing a hidden camera bit..."

Most of us private citizens are filmed on our jobs the whole time we are on the job. Why would it hurt for the police officers to be filmed, if they are following policy and treating the private citizens fairly? Seems it could only help the force to be a better force. After a while a person is so busy working that the person forgets he/she is being filmed all the time, and just does his/her job to the best of his/her ability. The officers who are being filmed could do the same thing most employees do then, just do their job well and forget about the camera being there.

:)

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 7, 2011 | 1:12 p.m.

Harold, I was referring to your hold-up dudes comment. I don't believe Matt and company are looking to get officers terminated, unless something is uncovered that is contrary to department policy. Any such action is on the officer, not the documenter.

I do like the dig on them possibly not being full-time, productive members of society. Do you wish to discuss your particulars?

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 7, 2011 | 1:15 p.m.

If, there is a camera in the "potty room," find one where there isn't. You are on your own, if you knowingly use such a bathroom. Stay safe.

:)

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 7, 2011 | 1:19 p.m.

So.... from the tone I am reading in the last three comments, perhaps CPD should call for the CfJ crew and camera(s) before making a stop or doing an investigation.
And now ..ACTION. Cut, cut, cut, there is that dam squirrel again!!!!

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 7, 2011 | 1:24 p.m.

Correction .... the three comments prior to the last two before mine..

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 1:30 p.m.

No Harold.. They should simply be left alone when running video in a public place where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy whatsoever.. Pretty simple actually; when you think about it.....

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 1:43 p.m.

Harold would you like us to investigate whether we cause unnecessary problems as we result of our taping?

I'm sure if we did, the officers at CPD who aren't very enthusiastic about CFJ would be more than happy to point them out. If you think we would be too biased, YOU are welcome to do the same.

In fact, I have made it clear to many different people in the department and closely connected to it, that if they have any questions or concerns, contact us.

And if CPD wanted us to profile a good officer in the line of duty, we would be happy to accommodate that.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton October 7, 2011 | 2:10 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 2:20 p.m.

I don't know if that is an imitation of a "dumb person", or not......... LOL.

Of course, suggesting that CFJ is stalking the Police does not do much to make me believe that this is an impersonation.....

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 2:22 p.m.

LOL

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 7, 2011 | 2:54 p.m.

We ALL make mistakes on and off our jobs in every aspect of our lives we are imperfect that's what makes us people, who wants every mistake you make video taped? I am far from being perfect and I would hate to have a camera watching me at all times. Could you imagine how terrible it would feel to say or do something in the heat of the moment and have it aired for all to see? The fact is, yes our police force makes mistakes but I don't think they should be harassed like this, and yes having someone follow you around with a camera is harassment. Kind of like sticking your finger in some ones face and saying I'm not touching you! It almost seems like their daring these cops to loose their tempers. And has anyone looked these people up on case.Net maybe there's more of a personal vendetta here than they want to tell. I have also been pulled over several times I will say it was always my fault and had my car searched one of those times, but I have better things to do with my life than this. Part of being an adult is being able to man up to your mistakes and accept fault for your wrong doings. Also when they searched my car they did ask and I gave them permission, so either you allowed them, they got a warrant (which requires probable cause) or they had the right from what they could view in plain sight. And as far as pot goes it is illegal so guess what... One big problem with marijuana is it does impair your reaction much like drinking only there is no breath test for pot so it is dangerous in that aspect. I sure don't want to be with my family and either one of those groups of people sharing the road. So please tell me when your hoping in your car to chase the police action you are never impaired, have you given your recreational habits effects time to completely ware off, right?

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 7, 2011 | 3:07 p.m.

Do you get the permission of the people dealing with the police before airing it on the internet that seems like that would be an invasion of privacy or something I know I wouldn't want mine on the world wide web.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire October 7, 2011 | 3:12 p.m.

I don't hope in my car very often because I don't want to ware it out. But I suppose you are correct in that people DO make mistakes. Please explain how that relates to the fact that any citizen standing on public property or private property where the owner consents has the legal right to film anyone and anything in view. How is this any different than a security camera, a news camera, or a police camera?

(Report Comment)
Parker Solomon October 7, 2011 | 3:22 p.m.

Harold,

I have helped CFJ with many projects, and I can assure you, the majority of us either work 40 hour weeks or attend school full time. So I would say that we are all very much productive citizens. I personally work 35 hours and attend school, and can still find time to make my efforts in helping the community. what have you done recently that says the same? I am 18 years old and have a better idea of how to help make a difference in my community then most people ever discover.

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Sally,

If you were a waitress in a restaurant, and you overcooked someone's steak, then yes you'd have a point.. I mean, what is the worst thing that could happen? A customer not enjoying the taste of their food?

But if you are a Police Officer, and a mistake can cost someone their life, or 10 years of their life then it becomes a little more important that there be some way to memorialize it, correct it, and learn from it so that it can not be covered up and it does not happen again.

Police Officers are allowed to work with a lot of autonomy. It would be more than a little naive to believe that they are all good, upstanding people, beyond reproach that would never abuse their authority. Our forefathers were never under such a misconception, that is why they built in a system of checks and balances in our government. One of these checks and balances is that we are supposed to be free to examine what our government is doing. We are entitled to government transparency, and if the government wants to take that away from us then the government should release us from paying taxes. Because we PAY for that transparency. Part of that transparency is the realization that Police Officers are PUBLIC FIGURES, and they have even less of an expectation of privacy than the private citizen does. When you couple that with the fact that all of what CFJ is filming is in a PUBLIC place where there is no expectation of privacy, there is simply NO harassment involved.

And lets say that all of these people have cases on CaseNet.. Does that negate their rights as citizens? What are you saying? If they had no cases on CaseNet, that is proof that their motives are pure? If they do, then they must have something against the Police? Is that you "measuring stick" for evaluating their motives?

I am happy that Matt is doing what he is doing. It is making a difference, and it will continue to make a difference. In general, people tend to act better when they know they are on camera...

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 3:46 p.m.

@Salley: You said "We ALL make mistakes" which is a %100 true, but there is a difference between a mistake that has little to no impact on anyone else and mistakes made in the line of duty in that have the potential to have a great detriment on people's lives and because of Qualified Immunity rarely result in consequences that deter the mistakes from happening in the future.

If following the police and video taping them is harassment, don't you think NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, and any other media outlet that has ever done a video story on police would have heard about it?

"Part of being an adult is being able to man up to your mistakes and accept fault for your wrong doings."

Well put! Can I use that quote in a future video clip CFJ does. I believe their are some officers that really need to hear that.

And if you think I would operate a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant and go video tape police, you must think I am either stupid or crazy. lol, but to answer that question, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant is a pretty big no no.

And to answer your other question:
If a person doesn't want an interaction with the police filmed, we don't film it. We only help people who want to be helped.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 3:55 p.m.

BTW Thanks to everybody who has a good understanding of CFJ and have been defending us on these Boards.
Ricky Gurley, Paul Allaire, Parker Solomon, Evan Savage, Delcia Crockett, John Schultz, and Jeremy Calton.

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 7, 2011 | 3:58 p.m.

so do you intend to follow Dr.'s nurses politions government officials food manufactures? All of the for mentioned may have major impacts on societies lives? No lets call this what it is you feel victimized and this is your retaliation. So if your mother, sister, girlfriend was attacked (god forbid) would you video tape the police trying to help them? Do you run out to the call of rape and assault calls or just ones you think might stress the officers?

Oh and Paul, Mr. Type A ;) Have a great weekend

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 7, 2011 | 4:10 p.m.

Sally,

I can tell you this.. I have no problem at all with being followed around all day long by someone with a camera, as long as it is when I am in a public place. My right to privacy starts when I enter my home and close my curtains. Other than that, I could care less. Because I am not doing anything in the public view that is illegal or that I would be ashamed of.

Now, as a licensed Private Investigator that has a pretty good grasp of what the term "reasonable expectation of privacy" means, I think I can defend Matt's RIGHT to do what he is doing..

Lest we not forget, that if you are going to accuse Matt of harassment for doing what he is doing, then you have to accuse the Police of harassment for monitoring the safety cameras in downtown Columbia where citizens walk and conduct business every day. Can't have it both ways. Which would you like? Is Matt harassing the Police and the Police harassing us, or are the Police not harassing us by watching our movements on these safety cameras and thus Matt is not harassing them? Or... Would you like to have your cake and eat it too?

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 4:13 p.m.

No, we don't we the resources for any of those other professions. We picked something we believed to be plausible.

And we primarily respond to calls from citizens who want us to video tape a stop or other interaction with CPD as an added level of documentation.

There is nothing retaliatory about how we operate. And I guess I will just keep repeating myself because some people are either not reading or are disregarding my earlier comments.

"And if CPD wanted us to profile a good officer in the line of duty, we would be happy to accommodate that."

Also, I don't get this sentence: "Do you run out to the call of rape and assault calls or just ones you think might stress the officers?"

Are you saying that rape and assault calls don't stress out officers? Those sound like pretty stressful calls to me.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 7, 2011 | 4:14 p.m.

Good point too Rick.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 3:08 a.m.

@"BTW Thanks..."

You're welcome. I am of the belief that the good things the police do in serving the community will emerge in the light of your cameras - however, as Rick said earlier, the past five years and the stories brought to light in the media scrutiny of the conduct of some officers give pause to wonder for some citizens who live with the results of such behavior from officers who have been sworn to "protect and serve," instead of what their behavior has betrayed. It is not revenge/retaliation on the part of the citizens now recording police calls - because the media has had some of these misconduct incidents in the public view of filming news for some time now. Also, some private citizens now have cameras in their homes behind closed curtains, in case any officer enters their private property and acts in an inappropriate, verbally abusive manner - knowing the officer could be filming with hidden camera and the filming erased by the same police respondent for convenience's sake. The fact is noted that the officers are human, and they have a job just like everyone else. In a free country, those job requirements fulfilled do not include quirks of abusing private citizens, or allowing other private citizens to abuse quiet, law-abiding citizens.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 6:49 a.m.

@"The majority of CFJ members are younger but as Jeremy said, we will respond to any call we can make it too, regardless of age. We would welcome any body who wanted to volunteer or just wanted to know/understand more about us to get in contact and we can set up a meeting. Also, I agree with you about the "police PR person" needing to reach out to more citizens who have been mistreated by officers to gain
another perspective, as well as many other things you said. We appreciate the support. Feel free to email me at matt@CFJComo.com."

I apologize for not responding to this sooner. I will post your addy in my files, for future reference. Whether you fully realize the potential importance of what you are doing as of yet, I am certain that people are thanking you, whom you have never met and may never meet. For they, too, have seen the importance/impact of what you are doing. It is nice to know guys like you are going where you are going, and doing what you are doing. Thanks.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith October 8, 2011 | 7:47 a.m.

All this is reminiscent of that Victorian parable (intended for CHILDREN) called "Who Will Bell The Cat".

In the parable it was universally agreed that it would be a fine idea to bell the cat - something far from universally agreed to in the present instance - but none of the small animals involved wanted to asume that responsibility.

But remember, we are talking about a Victorian parable, so all these marvelous electronics would not have been available. :)

Also remember that the object of belling the cat was to make it more difficult for the the cat to do what a cat does.

PS: If anyone wants a reprise of the parable "Who Will Bell The Cat," let me know. It's short.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 8:15 a.m.

@Ellis: We were recently given a bell collar for our cat, and are most appreciative - because the very good friend who gave the bell collar to us also has a cat, and the collars are on the cats for the cats' well-being - in that cats tend to wander and explore, and some cats have disappeared around here without a trace. Therefore, it is in the best interest of good cats everywhere that they wear a bell so their safety can be determined at all times. And this is a fact of life, not a metaphoric Victorian fable to cite for some implied intent that one wants it to mean. We love our cat enough, respect her enough, want to keep her around for a long time. Same goes for the reliable officers who can be counted on for safety and well-being from folks who wish us nothing but harm - in fact, shallow folks who thrive on the act of attempting to make us as miserable as they are. Won't work. Much too safe and happy now for it to be otherwise. We are above that. We are the nice ones. All real friends and loved ones in tow. God bless, Ellis.

:)

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 8:21 a.m.

@:"Feel free to email me at matt@CFJComo.com."

I tried to file this on my e-mail site, but it would not file. I followed through to check it out, and it is reporting as a dead link. I went to your web page, so that I could get contact info for it, but that was nil for this purpose. So, just letting you know that I tried to keep my word, but had to file another contact for you that have on hand. Glad to respond. May something beautiful and good emerge from your work. Nice folks are deserving when the drama queens want to play it out and use any/all to do so. Silence is golden. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 8:24 a.m.

Correction:

Same goes for the reliable officers who can be counted on for safety and well-being who protect nice people from folks who wish us nothing but harm - in fact, who are shallow folks who thrive on the act of attempting to make us as miserable as they are. Won't work. Much too safe and happy now for it to be otherwise. We are above that. We are the nice ones. All real friends and loved ones in tow. God bless, Ellis.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Akins October 8, 2011 | 1:58 p.m.

Thanks Delcia.

Also, that email should be working. If not though CFJComo@gmail.com is a backup you can use.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 8, 2011 | 2:23 p.m.

@"Also, that email should be working. If not though CFJComo@gmail.com is a backup you can use."

Okay. Thanks. I will try to file it and send you a message, so that you will have my addy, too. I would like to keep up with this and hope there are further things in the media on this.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 9, 2011 | 11:55 a.m.

To the good citizens of Columbia, a note from Crockettland:

As far as the police, you have to give them a chance to do their job. If they react quickly to something that happens, I have found they will listen and ask questions to get answers they need, too; then also you have someone to talk to within the force, if you do not want to make a formal, open-aired complaint with the Review Board, or have the team of camera people follow the police. I have found, with a great deal of patience and civility, that you can talk to people on the police staff about any behavior that has affected your peace and safety - and you can regain any lost trust, that whatever happened to you at the hands of injustice can be addressed to return your peace and safety to you. Having lived through the summer from Hell, I can tell you that you just need to give CPD a chance. When you are right and when you remain a good citizen for your life, family and very good friends and the good in the community, you do not have to worry about the bad. It will shoot its own self in the foot. Give it time, and trust the police to help you solve any problem that will arise. I have the utmost respect for this Chief and the officers who serve on the beat of wherever I am. And, I now know how to be safe and have no meanness enter my life, my home from without or from anyone who wants to make it otherwise. There are mean, selfish people in this world who are only happy when they hurt others. That is not what the police do, as a whole. That is what they address. The adultery should have been addressed. We expect better conduct of our officers. We expect, because we can trust. If you do not think the authority figures are to the good, just watch and trust and have faith. As there is a God in Heaven, all things will work to the good of your life and happiness. The officers are there to protect and serve, and they are not deaf, dumb and blind. Some of their best work is done when you do not even see them. I promise you, I have learned this from living it this summer. You can talk to folks in the staff of the department and get far more results to solve your problem with crime happening to you or an officer who did not fully comprehend at first what was happening in any given situation where there are people who break the law, have broken the law, and who will try to get you in trouble, too. Shy away from them, and trust the police. You can. I can. I know that for a fact, and I highly recommend that course of action to anyone who runs into any kind of difficulty. You can have your peace and safety. I know.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 9, 2011 | 2:26 p.m.

@Sally Willis.

I don't to whom you are speaking when you are talking about impaired by marijuana while chasing the police. Just for the record, I - for one- and never even tried marijuana or any kind of drug, for that matter. I have never even been around them, never wanted to be and never will want to be. I have never even smoked cigarettes or drunk alcoholic beverage of any kind. This is the first time I have heard of this group - by reading this article, and I found the enterprise rather interesting that they would want to film the good side of the law as record what officers actually say/do on calls. They haven't been near me or my house, that I know of - and I don't feel compelled to chase the police on anything. I am in full cooperation with them, and have said as much recently while thanking them for what they do around where I live. I know they are there, and I appreciate them. In a matter of arrest, I would say, "Okay" and hand them my hands out palm-up and go peacefully. But I don't intend to ever get in any situation where that will happen. I shy away from trouble folks - and this needs to be said - I am a writer, a family person and a wife who loves to go everywhere with her husband - I let my license expire to save on insurance and have no desire for a car of my own, though I could have, if I preferred, I suppose - but I am pretty much a private person who likes peace and quiet - and there is a lot I do inside my house and am seldom outside my house anyway. I leave the outside light on at night (bright) and anyone can see all around my house. You will find nothing but cooperation and respect for officers here - and nobody can get me into anything that will make me want to chase them, or to make them want to chase me. I have told them to not bring troublemakers' issues to me, and I refuse to bid in on that, as I know of some people with some arrest record that I have inadvertently met in life here, and I know some mean, selfish people - but that is not this household - and we are clear of those that are. Just thought I would place this in for the record. My trust is in the police, now more than ever. They are appreciated and held to high esteem at our house. Thank you. Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett October 9, 2011 | 2:36 p.m.

I don't even want to be near mean, ugly-acting selfish people who have nothing better to do than try to make people as unhappy as they are. And, so I'm not. My friends and family laugh a lot and are happy. We are all nice and good people. I am sure I have the full support of the police on this.

:)

(Report Comment)
Sally Willis October 10, 2011 | 12:22 p.m.

Delcia Crockett
If you read this article Matthew said he smokes marijuana which is illegal, that's who I was talking about doing drugs and getting in his car. Did you read this article?

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 10, 2011 | 2:16 p.m.

Well Matt said he smoked marijuana, but he did not say that he drove under the influence......

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 10, 2011 | 4:50 p.m.

@Matt
Your oppurtunities here were not limited to just hearing the kudos from people that are going to back you no matter what because you are concerned about the activities of the police dept. You had an oppurtunity to explain yourself and your organization and make more friends. I gave you guys a hard time off the bat. I still have an issue with you trying to track down a particular officer while on duty to confront them. I hope you will rethink that method. However, overall you have represented yourself very well and I wish you luck in the future!

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 10, 2011 | 5:09 p.m.

Mike Mentor,

Let me ask you a question, if I may? You posted: "I still have an issue with you trying to track down a particular officer while on duty to confront them".

Well, would you prefer Matt try to locate him and confront him while he was at home with his family and off duty?

Seems to me that the appropriate time to confront the Officer over a situation that Matt may be researching would be while the Officer is "on the clock", as long as the Officer is not on a call and has time to talk.

As we can all see here, Matt is a very respectful and respectable person. I don't think he is trying to intimidate or harrass the Officer. I think he just has a few simple questions for the Officer, if the Officer would care to answer them... It is no more than what the Police expect of us if they have some sort of contact with us..

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 11, 2011 | 9:32 a.m.

@Rick
I guess I could go along with the stipulations you said for contacting an officer on the job. I certainly wouldn't want the officers being contacted at home... "As long as he is not on a call", being the most important to me. That is the fear I had as I first heard about these guys. It didn't help much with the picture and the dog's name and stuff. It may not be right, but some opinions were formed before I had a chance to hear anything from Matt. Now that has changed. He is obviously not your average every day 20 somethin' pot smoker... My fears for someone that young and that lifestyle would be that they would have a lack of understanding or a lack of respect for the job that these guys have to do. Young people tend to be a bit egocentric. The people that are on the other end of whatever call that just came in need to take precedence over the groups agenda. He seems to understand this and act accordingly...

(Report Comment)
Ricky Gurley October 11, 2011 | 3:32 p.m.

I think we actually both agree on this one particular point as to Matt speaking with the Officer, Mike.

I know Matt personally. He is a pretty responsible and honest person. He could have tried to hide that he smokes marijuana, but he didn't; I think he gets points for honestly right there. Matt is an intelligent man, certainly he knew that admitting this in the media would be ammunition for his "detractors"; but he still chose to be honest about it.

Matt sees a problem and is trying to do something about it. I'd also say that he seems to be making a difference.

I don't think he'd try to interfere with Police Operations while trying to speak with this Officer while he was on a call. I can tell you he is more considerate than that. I think that what he is trying to do first is determine who the Officer is. He probably has him on video, and has just not been able to identify him yet. After that, I'd recommend that he just simply call the CPD and see if he can set up an appointment to speak with the Officer.

(Report Comment)

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