Dec 31, 2016

When arrogance goes unchecked, you can report whatever you want; NCJ's relentless scapegoating of Adam Laird; the question is why?

As usual, North Coast Journal's recent article, "Is this criminal assault?" is hardly "investigative" journalism; more like yellow journalism and the usual half baked regurgitated information from court documents without addressing crucial facts that NCJ seems to thrive on to sell a desperately sinking, irrelevant weekly rag.

You think they would have learned from the boo-boo they made in the Gary Lee Bullock case. Read this post for a reminder.

But arrogance reigns supreme, when  your fellow journalists are mostly your pals and others in the local media have not been around long enough or too busy covering real news to check on your incompetency.

In NCJ's own article, Thad Greenson states, "It’s been almost four years since the Eureka Police Department and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office held a rare joint press conference on April 17, 2013"; going on further to state "Four months earlier, shortly before midnight on Dec. 6, 2012, EPD received a report of a gang fight near Twenty-Thirty Park on Summer Street. In that same article, the male suspect is allegedly carrying a a golf club, and told police officers he was drunk, and fled when he saw the police officer. 
In typical sloppy NCJ reporting, we are to assume who that officer was. 

In 2014, that case was dismissed by the People. NCJ still persisted in filing a lawsuit, touting their own victory in getting it released, finally this year. Must be nice to have all that ad revenue and money to waste on a video that turned out to be a whole lot of nothing; not to mention, no proof it is the only video or the complete video.

Former Sgt. Adam Laird was the only one out of four officers that night to be arrested. His attorney, Mr. Patrik Griego in his defense brought up several points; including the fact that in other cases, EPD had handled the matter internally; that his client was being targeted for certain political alliances and views, and that according to witness statements and reports, "the juvenile was a member of a violent local gang that had recently threatened to ambush a Eureka cop."

Here is the link to the video from the EPD transparency portal:

Watch it for yourself.

People will have different opinions based on their experience and opinions of police officers.

Why is a video from a court case that was dismissed in 2014, in which former Sgt. Laird was never found guilty of anything, a case that will never be refiled again and the fact that Sgt. Laird honorably retired and is now self employed, relevant news? Why is NCJ dragging this out?

These are links of my coverage of the Adam Laird lawsuit. Unlike NCJ, I actually attend court and cover cases in person. I know at least for two court hearings, I clearly remember NCJ not being there.

When this incident happened, EPD did not have body cams, they had dash cams.  How do we know this is all the footage available? There were four officers there that night in the video that has been released. Is this the only version available?

Former Sgt. Laird is certainly not the only officer allegedly excused of excessive behavior and not all complaints and cases are made public.

So why has he been singled out?

EPD's Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez was one of two officers, the other being Officer Patrick Bishop, who also made news when there were allegations that David Sequoia was fatally shot in a struggle with the EPD.
I don't see NCJ filing a lawsuit to obtain any footage or records in that case.

If there was an issue with Sgt. Laird's behavior with the juvenile, as the senior Sgt at that time, why didn't Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez stop Sgt Laird? Or mention anything about it for months? If it was such a clear cut case, why wasn't former Sgt. Laird arrested earlier?

Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez would have been a key, if not the main witness against former Sgt. Laird had the case against former Sgt. Laird proceeded.

There is no audio in the released video; so how do we know what was being said by either the officers or the juvenile (at that time).

According to sources, there  are/were additional videos in which Officer Chapman, the other officer helping former Sgt Laird arrest the juvenile, was yelling 'stop resisting, put your hands behind your back' as Sgt.Laird is seen striking suspect, what appears to be twice.

That juvenile suspect is an adult now.   he is know as: Lil creeper, real name is Horacio Miranda, younger brother of Anthony Burgess (Creeper) and cousin to Christopher Burgess. All well known to law enforcement and making the news.

Unlike the NCJ, I did not publish court documents at that time when the juvenile was a minor with his initials and first name.

Around January 7, 2014, I was the only one who heard about an alleged case where a Humboldt County Public Defender may have been arrested. The officer that allegedly arrested him was Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez. Why was this never made public? Where is the footage of that arrest?

Depending on what you heard through the grapevine it was either PC 647 (f)or  contempt of cop? That turned out not to be the case.

I asked former Sgt. Laird for a statement, he gave me the same statement released by his attorney, Mr. Patrik Griego to NCJ:

"Retired EPD Sergeant Adam Laird is supportive and thankful for the release of the video depicting his arrest of a dangerous gang member who was resisting arrest.  The evidence showing that Sgt. Laird was innocent is overwhelming.  The experts that were hired by EPD said that the suspect was rising up from the ground when Sgt. Laird pushed him back down.  The two experts that the DA’s office hired said that the force was reasonable and appropriate.  The defensive tactics instructor who trained Sgt. Laird said that he acted consistently with his training in apprehending a high risk suspect in a dangerous situation.  In total, five separate police practice experts reviewed the case and unanimously said Sgt. Laird acted appropriately.

Members of the internal investigation at EPD had been told by their own experts that Sgt. Laird acted appropriately but they didn’t relay that information to the District Attorney.  The case against Sgt. Laird both internally at EPD and externally through the District Attorney’s investigation,  spearheaded by former Chief Investigator Mike Hislop, was brought about because of Sgt. Laird’s perceived endorsements of progressive city council candidates, especially Larry Glass and his support of the popular former Chief of Police, Garr Nielsen.

Even though this case was a hardship for Adam and his family, he is encouraged by the California Appellate decision about the release of these videos.  Sgt. Laird is hopeful that the release of these types of videos may bring about more transparency and a better understanding of police work to the public.

Since Adam retired from The Eureka Police Department he has continued serving the public, including representing incarcerated indigent clients in his capacity as a professional investigator and expert witness."

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