Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Leawood Kansas Cop Shoots suspect during traffic stop

A routine traffic stop suddenly took a violent turn for an officer who had to fire his weapon Sunday. The State Line Road exit ramp was shut down off of east I-435 for several hours Sunday morning as police investigated.

"It is very unusual in Leawood, we don't deal with this very often," said Maj. Troy Rettig with the Leawood Police Department.  A 22-year veteran of the Leawood Police Department had to react quickly after back-up officers who showed up at a traffic stop to assist him suddenly started screaming at him.

"They just yelled, 'Gun. Gun. Gun.' And then the officer that was involved knew what was going on," said Rettig.  According to Leawood police, the officer pulled over a white Mustang for speeding and erratic driving just after 3:15 a.m. Sunday off of I-435 and State Line Road. When the officer was speaking with that driver, a friend of the driver who was in a gray Chevy, parked in front of the Mustang.

As the officer went to speak with the person in that car, officers who arrived to assist saw the driver of the Mustang toss out a gun, and then he suddenly started driving right for the officer who pulled him over. "The initial driver threw a gun out of the car, and the officers who responded let the initial officer know a gun was in play. And that time the initial car drove at the officer and right at him. He shot at the car," said Rettig.
The officer who opened fire was not hurt, but the driver of the Mustang that fled the scene was not so lucky. "We were contacted later by the Kansas City, MO Police Department that they had the driver of the car at Truman Medical Center, and he has non-life-threatening injuries," said Rettig.

The suspect remains in the hospital and will be taken into custody.

In the meantime, Leawood police are relieved good teamwork by the officers at the traffic stop made it possible for police to walk away unharmed.  "They were very alert, and they made sure he was aware at the first sight of that gun," said Rettig.  In the meantime, the officer who opened fire is on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

The driver of the Mustang is in the hospital, and that car was missing earlier on Sunday until it was found in Grandview. Police have not said whether the driver of the other car will be charged in the incident.

Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How Drunk was Gary Pinkle? View the DUI arrest through the officer's camera

This is the latest release of Gary Pinkle's field sobriety test. It may give you some insight as to why he plead to the DWI charge so quickly.  Here are the tests you be the judge.

Here are the standard tests for field sobriety.

1. The one-leg stand
To perform the one-leg stand test, you must stand with one foot six inches off the ground while counting aloud in thousands (one-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc.) until the officer instructs you to stop. You are also required to keep your arms at your side, look down at your foot, and keep your toes pointed.

As with the other field sobriety tests, the officer will look for clues during the one-leg stand test. These include putting your foot down before the test is over, swaying while trying to balance, hopping, and using arms to balance. If you exhibit two or more of these clues, you could be arrested for drunk driving.

The important thing to remember about the field sobriety tests is that the scoring is entirely subjective. Police officers, like anyone else, can show bias if they already believe that you are under the influence. They may cite even minor actions as “clues.” In addition, the one-leg stand test is normally administered in adverse conditions that increase its difficulty. The flashing of the patrol car’s lights, a sloped roadway, and the glare of the headlights of passing cars may make performing this test extremely difficult. Also, people who are over the age of 65 or are more than 50 pounds overweight, or who have a physical condition should not be asked to take the one-leg stand test.

2. The Walk and Turn
While it may seem as though the walk-and-turn test is meant to measure the driver’s physical abilities, this is known as a “divided attention” test. This means that the test was designed to assess the driver’s ability to pay attention and to follow the officer’s directions.

To administer the test, the officer will place the driver in an awkward stance. The driver is expected to stand like this for a prolonged amount of time while listening to the police officer’s directions.

The officer will tell the driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn and pivot off his or her front foot, and take nine more heel-to-toe steps back towards the officer. During this time, the driver must also count out loud the number of steps he or she has taken.

While the driver is taking this test, the officer is looking for certain criteria. The criteria are: inability to maintain balance while listening to directions, missing steps, taking an improper number of steps, stepping off of the imaginary line, turning improperly, or failing to count out loud while taking steps.

3. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
One common tactic used by police to detect intoxication is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, or HGN test. This is one of the many field sobriety tests officers use to determine one’s sobriety.

Police officers will ask the suspect to look at an object (usually a pen). While the object is moved back and forth, the officer is watching the eyes of the suspect looking for a lack of smooth pursuit. If nystagmus can be detected, the suspect will likely be arrested. Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyes.

However, the HGN test is far from perfect. Many other conditions may cause nystagmus. These include:
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Stroke
• Brain Tumors
• Visual loss
• Sedatives

Unless the police officer is also a well-trained ophthalmologist, his or her tests are often completely inaccurate! Even if nystagmus is properly detected, alcohol may not be the cause. The HGN test is one way to identify intoxicated behavior, but is very ineffective if tested alone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Man in Kansas City Protests Checkpoints by making a warning sign to drivers.

Kansas City police find they did nothing wrong by taking DUI checkpoint protester's sign

This week's cover story (Recent article in The Pitch) focused on a couple of Kansas Citians spearheading a movement opposing the use of DUI checkpoints by local law-enforcement agencies. One, Michael Mikkelsen, stands along roads near checkpoints holding a sign warning motorists to turn before going through the roadblock.

In the story, Mikkelsen recalled a Kansas City Police Department officer taking his sign during a protest during the summer.  Mikkelsen spent the rest of the night driving to police stations looking for it. He eventually found his sign at a police gas station on Prospect. This annoyed Mikkelsen, and he filed a complaint with the KCPD's Office of Community Complaints.

The police looked into it, and they conceded that they took the sign. But they decided that their officer didn't violate any department policies. The letter sent to Mikkelsen came with something of a warning: "Furthermore, the officers did not cite you, but they could have for you interfering with them conducting official police business — a DUI checkpoint." Read the whole letter after the jump.

Here is a Picture of the Sign.

Here is a picture of the Response Letter.

Tell us what you think in the comment section below...Did the police violate this mans right to free speech?  Is this fair?  Should the police be able to randomly stop drivers?