He was just following protocol. Now he’s been slapped with four felony charges.
An Alameda County sheriff’s sergeant has been hit with criminal charges after allegedly recording privileged conversations between suspects and their lawyers while inside a county jail.
But he claims he was just following the rules outlined by the department.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that defense attorneys for Sgt. James Russell maintain that their client was operating under policy at the Eden Township Substation where the alleged misconduct took place.
ACSO Sgt. James Russell officially pleaded not guilty to 4 counts of felony eavesdropping. Pretrial hearing date set for Nov. 13. Background: https://t.co/9QpjcfZm97
— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) October 8, 2019
They filed a motion on Monday, citing the issue in question written right into the department’s rule book.
“All prisoners being left unattended in an interview room will be continuously visually and audibly monitored,” the mandate reportedly said.
Russell is accused of listening in on a meeting between four juveniles and their lawyers after they were suspected in a robbery back on March 15, 2018. Their public defender, John Plaine, was later notified about the breach of privacy.
He pleaded not guilty and is now asking for the felony charges to be dropped to misdemeanors.
It seems as though cops are damned no matter what they do. Officers are being condemned by 30-second video clips that don’t show the whole picture. Cops who are following protocol are being punished for it. And as the anti-police, pro-criminal push continues to make its way through our society, it’s only a matter of time before cops push back.
Recently we published one loyal cop’s statements after he refused to bite his tongue. He’s saying what’s on the minds of thousands of law enforcement officers around the country. And we stand by him 100 percent.
This is our reality. I’m not whining. Just stating a fact. There are consequences to everything we (and I’m talking about everybody here, not just cops) do, good or bad.
The shame is that the vast majority of cops are extremely loyal public servants to the people (regardless of race, religion, creed, nationality, immigration status, social status or whether you like us or not) and to the agencies we serve. We are loyal despite the huge lack of reciprocal loyalty and appreciation from bosses for the way we accomplish our extremely and uniquely complicated tough job. Despite the avalanche of new politically driven policies, workload, and hazing we endure from every direction. We do a damn good job overall.
I read something somebody tacked on a wall in their office and it hits the nail on the head.
It says: “Never push a loyal person to the point they no longer care.”
This statement is playing out before our very eyes in the law enforcement profession. There is a national recruiting, hiring and retention crisis in my profession. There is an increasing lack of proactive police work going on (actively looking to fight crime vs. just waiting to be dispatched). Some of the proactivity has fallen off due to manpower shortages, but its base root (lack of support) is the very thing I speak of now.
When your own admins (former cops) don’t even have your back or only selectively have the backs of certain officers or programs, who will?
I’m sure I’ll be punished for posting this. But, even being the loyal public servant I am, I truly believe I’m to the point I don’t care. I will fight that battle when it comes with all the fight I have.
Somebody has to say something. We have to have a REAL conversation to change the tide and bring balance or there will be no “real” cops (those who come willingly to risk their own life to save yours) left when you call for help. There will just be empty suits collecting a paycheck. Who, I might add, will logically conclude that their life isn’t worth risking for a paycheck when the s–t hits the fan (true cops are true guardians and come to help despite the risk). It will be a paycheck you provide with your tax dollars. The crazy thing? The law will be on their side.
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Several federal courts and the Supreme Court of the United States have ruled that cops have no duty to protect you from harm even if we know the harm will occur, we only have a duty to protect those we have in custody. That sounds absurd, right? It is absurd.
True guardians/warriors will always answer the call. It should be the primary if not sole function of government to protect you from harm. But it is fact cemented in case law and more and more cops are seeing it this way (see the cowardly school resource officer in Parkland, FL).
Everything I just said is happening because we are not backed by anybody. We live in a state of constant fear of repercussion. Cops are getting hurt and dying from it. They are also being maliciously prosecuted, punished and fired because of it. If that’s what you want to pay for, then our society is well on its way to chaos and anarchy already.
It shouldn’t be that way. Cops should be friendly, courteous, kind and coolheaded, but they also need to be willing and ready to be rough and even violent when called upon to protect others AND themselves from harm.
I’m not advocating for giving cops total immunity from reckless, negligent, malicious and criminal behavior. Nor am I advocating that a cop should not be held accountable for speech or actions that do reflect poorly on the uniform. I am asking for the benefit of the doubt when things are far more complicated in real time than they appear with perfect hindsight vision. I’m asking that speech be protected when it is not targeted to disparage any person or group.
I’m taking a stand. It’s going to be ugly. A lot of people are going to come out looking ugly. Including me. For that I apologize. I am not a vindictive person nor do I find joy in exposing the faults of others or those caught in the collateral fallout.
I’m loyal, but I’ve been pushed too far. I still care about and love my calling as a cop (yes I consider it a calling, most good cops do). What I don’t care for anymore is the unfair, unbalanced and unappreciative attitude, especially from admin and politician types, for the very uniquely complicated, dangerous and stressful work we do.
In most cases we cops do our jobs masterfully. In some cases we fall short of even what we wish and expect of ourselves. However, they (admin and politician types) willingly and/or recklessly put our lives and livelihoods at increased risk for whatever unjustifiable political reason. The result of that is making us live in a constant state fear. They do so in the name of “public trust”. That is code for public image.
Are they making the public safer by making it harder to find true guardians/warriors to keep the balance between civility and anarchy? (See Portland, OR). Are they keeping the “trust” by being too worried about image that they seek, with 20/20 hindsight, avenues to punish us in order to “hold us to a higher standard?” Are they leading us into harm or slaughter because they only see us as pawns with an unrealistic expectation of us being able to divine superhuman abilities to act perfectly and flawlessly in every unique, complicated and stressful situation we face?
I think they only care about covering their own asses and any talk about core values and public trust only applies to us when they want to use it against us. It never applies to us as an asset or having value to the organization and community until after one of us gets struck down. It ends, at least for me, now.
I’m standing up for my right to live. I’m standing up for my safety. I’m standing up for my right to livelihood. I’m standing up for my 1st amendment rights. I’m standing up for the silent majority of us too afraid to do it themselves because nobody else has their back. I’m willing to take on this fight, because I’m a loyal public servant and I care. But I’m also human, a father, a brother, a son, a member of the community and an American citizen who has served his country and community beyond impeachability. I am not a pawn. I am not expendable. I am not political fodder. I/we have been pushed too far. This has gone too far for too long.