A criminal justice expert says Avoyelles Parish law officers who wrestled a Marksville man off a tractor while serving an arrest warrant last year used too much force, needlessly escalating a confrontation that ended with the man’s death. [They also] acted negligently by failing to administer aid once Armando Frank was unconscious.
…A forensic pathologist hired by the parish had said in a report that manual strangulation was the primary cause of Frank’s death. The video shows Spillman mount the tractor behind Frank and apply a choke hold while another officer tries to pull him down. For a time, Frank is doubled-over while resisting. Officers had to carry Frank to a patrol car after his body went limp.
…“His level of resistance starts out as passive. It doesn’t go to active and aggressive until he’s physically assaulted by these deputies,” Gregory Gilbertson, director of the criminal justice program at Centralia College in Centralia, Washington, said Thursday.
…Gilbertson said Frank’s questions as to what he was being arrested for, and who signed the warrant, were reasonable.
“There’s no exigent circumstance here,” Gilbertson said Thursday. “He’s not attempting to flee, he’s not assaulting anybody, he’s sitting on a tractor and he’s asking reasonable questions they are refusing to answer.”
…The report by Youngsville pathologist Christopher Tape labels the death a homicide for “medicolegal purposes,” noting that officers compromised Frank’s breathing for more than six minutes by placing him in neck holds and pressing him from behind. The report, which relies on an autopsy and body camera video, also notes that officers did not attempt to resuscitate Frank.
…Tape’s review of body camera footage highlights several points at which Frank struggled to breathe — points that Spillman’s narrative and the Sheriff’s Office’s reports do not include. Louisiana State Police also investigated the incident, but State Police spokesman Scott Moreau referred all questions to the Sheriff’s Office, which he said is the lead agency in the investigation.
Spillman’s neck hold on Frank was temporarily interrupted by the errant stun gun strike, Tape notes, at which point Frank could be heard breathing heavily. The struggle continued once Frank was off the tractor, with Frank coughing as he was pressed onto the tractor from behind, according to Tape’s report.
Less than half a minute later, Frank “can be heard to be coughing and gasping,” Tape wrote, and law enforcement continued pressing him against the tractor for another 78 seconds. During this time, Frank said “let me up” three times “in an increasingly deep and strained voice,” Tape wrote, adding that this was Frank’s “last verbal communication.”
Until officers of the law are held legally responsible for murders like these there is no law and order.
Amtrak service left Mobile and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina damaged tracks in 2005. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida have already signed off on bringing the service back.
“It would be a shame to send these grant resources back when we can utilize it to have a shovel-ready plan so the governor can hopefully support what we’re trying to do in the near future,” Manzie said.
Florida’s Republican attorney general, Pam Bondi, was escorted out of a movie theater by police on Friday night after being confronted by labor activists over her positions on healthcare and immigration policy.
…One activist can be heard asking, “Would Mr. Rogers take children away from their parents?” Unlike Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Bondi has not publicly come out against the family separations.
…”What would Mister Rogers think about your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with existing conditions? Shame on you! Shame on you!” one protester can be heard shouting at Bondi as uniformed officers walked her to her car.
…Approximately 1.7 million people in Florida get their health insurance through the market created by the ACA, and over 90% receive subsidies from the federal government to lower their premiums, according to the Orlando Sun Sentinel.
The nation’s highest court ruled in favor of political gadfly Fane Lozman on Monday in a 8-1 decision, the culmination of more than a decade of work for Lozman after he was dragged out of a Riviera Beach city council meeting and arrested after speaking about the allegedly corrupt dealings of a Palm Beach County commissioner.
The court’s decision on Monday affects citizens who show up to public meetings to vent and question the actions of elected officials. If one official orders the arrest of someone speaking at a public meeting and the rest of the elected body doesn’t object, the person arrested can now have a cause of action against the municipality if he or she can prove animosity.
That means it’s harder for angry elected officials to use their power to arrest people they simply don’t like.
…The ruling in Lozman’s favor was narrow in the sense that it applied to elected boards and municipalities who boot speakers from their meetings. There were also questions within the lawsuit about people arrested by police during events like protests who are not engaged in the act itself, such as journalists and bystanders. Those questions weren’t part of the Supreme Court’s decision.
…Lozman was already victorious in his fight against Riviera Beach that led to his arrest in the first place. He saved other people’s homes from being taken via eminent domain for a new private marina in Riviera Beach, and he was able to keep the public marina out of private hands.
…The semi-retired South Florida stock trader-turned First Amendment crusader also won a Supreme Court case in 2012, when justices ruled 7-2 that Lozman’s floating home was not a “vessel” and therefore not subject to the federal maritime jurisdiction that eventually led local officials to seize and destroy it.