GJPD Exposed

2 Officers Punished; Another Remains on Paid Leave For Pepper-Spray Incident(s)

Posted in Criminalization of Houselessness, GJPD, Grand Junction, Harrassment, Homelessness by GJPD Exposed on August 5, 2010

On Wednesday, GJPD Chief Camper, announced that an officer received a reprimand for pepper-spraying a vacant building sometimes frequented by homeless people, in an effort to deter people from using the vacant building. The officers immediate supervisor was also reprimanded because he didn’t inquire  as to why his officer needed his pepper-spray canister refilled. Camper also promised to announce the fate of another GJPD Officer that has been on paid administrative leave since early July. A fourth officer resigned in early July in response to the investigations. Read more Here.

At the announcement of a second internal investigation looking at the misuse of pepper-spray, Camper was quoted by the Daily Sentinel as saying they were looking at a number of incidents. We at GJPD Exposed, are assuming that spraying of the abandoned building is a different incident then the incident involving the officer that resigned and the officer that is on leave. It will be interesting to see what actually took place in that incident. Camper promised to announce the fate of the third officer currently on paid administrative leave tomorrow.


Cops Attack Camps; Chief Camper Cleans House

Photobucket*from Vol. 8 No. 6 of The Red Pill*

One Grand Junction Police officer resigned, and another is on paid administrative leave, after an earlier investigation turned up evidence that GJPD officers pepper sprayed property, like sleeping bags, that belonged to local houseless folks. Six more officers were questioned on this matter. The pepper spray was supposedly meant to act as a deterrent, as a signal from the PD to the victimized houseless to “move along.” The incident is still under investigation.

The earlier investigation, conducted as a result of a Monday, May 3rd incident in which police slashed tents and bicycle tires at a local houseless encampment, resulted in the firing of three GJPD officers; Justin Roberts, Joseph Mulcahy and Phillip Van Why. The officers were accused of slashing tents, trashing camps (including smashing Oreos and bananas with a baton at one camp), and slashing bike tires. There was also an unidentified liquid found on sleeping bags at at least one camp. The officers were allegedly looking for a person for questioning.

On Wednesday May 5th, long time Red Pill editor and contributor and Housing First! No More Deaths! activist, Jacob Richards, filed a complaint regarding police being in the area known as “the Point” at the time the damage occurred. This launched a GJPD internal investigation and a criminal investigation conducted by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. The officers were placed on paid administrative leave by Friday May 7th, and were fired four weeks later.

The District attorney decided not to charge the three officers involved in the May 3rd incident, even though the internal investigation revealed they did admit to the slashing.  The three former officers then appealed their firings, claiming their actions were consistent with training and practices of the GJPD. The appeal brought to light other earlier incidences involving GJPD officers and Grand Junction’s houseless folks, like the pepper spray incident currently under investigation. The chief of police and the city disagree with the accused, and have investigated and sanction officers involved in earlier incidents. The former officers’ appeal was denied by Deputy City Manager, Rich Englehart.

The GJPD and Chief Camper have been besieged with scandal this past year, but he seems to be doing some housecleaning.  Last summer, Officer Crooks resigned after being arrested with Domestic Abuse, for which he was later acquitted. Followed a month later by the arrest and termination of Officer Coyne for Sexual Assault. Coyne later committed suicide. Four officers who clearly violate the rights of houseless members of our community are no longer on the force.  With continued pressure on police and continue citizen oversight of the police, maybe we can force the department to reign in their mavericks and become accountable to the people. A little pressure goes a long way.

GJPD Officer Resigns in Face of Pepper-Spray Attack

Posted in City of Grand Junction, Exessive Force, GJPD, Harrassment, Homelessness, police violence by GJPD Exposed on July 8, 2010

One GJPD officer resigns and another is placed on administrative leave for allegedly pepper-spraying homeless people property, including tents and sleeping bags, in a number of earlier incidents. This investigation stemmed from a case in which three GJPD officers were fired for vandalizing a homeless encampment. The three officers while appealing their case plead that such attack on homeless people’s camps are common practice within the department and in line with the training they received. Check out the Sentinel’s story, here.

Media Round-Up: Police Vandalize Homeless Camp

As the investigation into allegations that GJPD officers vandalized an area houseless camp goes into its second week, we eagerly await the outcome of both the Sheriff’s criminal investigation, and the Department’s own external investigation.

Here’s the local media round-up of the incident.

The Grand Junction FreePress had this excellent article

The Sentinel, true to form, did everything in their power to discredit the messenger, in this article, that eventually hit the AP wire and was picked up by major media outlets in Denver and beyond.

NBC Channel 11 had the best coverage Friday the 7th when the police announced that three officers were placed on administrative leave.

CBS Channel 5’s story from the Monday after the announcement was the most comprehensive.

ABC Channel 8’s coverage from mid-week was good as well.

The local blogger John Linko had this to say.

Three Officers on Administrative Leave For Slashing Homeless Camp

Three Grand Junction Police Officers were placed on administrative leave on Friday May 7th under allegations of damaging homeless peoples’ property. The officers are under criminal investigation by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and under internal investigation at the PD.
On Monday May 3rd, GJ Police Officers were in the area of a well-established homeless camp near the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. Some residents were denied access to the area by the police during their visit. No known residents were in their camps at the time. Residents later returned to slashed tents, scattered belongings and slashed bike tires. On Wednesday, Jacob Richards, long time Red Pill editor and contributor and Housing First! No More Deaths! activist, filed a complaint about the incident. By Friday, three officers were placed on leave. The story was picked up by all local media outlets, the Denver Post, and even hit the AP wire.
The fact that the GJPD are conducting an internal investigation and the Sheriff’s Department is investigating the matter criminally indicates that the powers-that-be may actually be taking this seriously.

Criminalization and harassment of the homeless is nothing new to Grand Junction. Police officers and the law itself target the homeless. The City attempted to virtually illegalize flying a sign in the city in the summer of 2009 as an emergency ordinance, but was shut down by the power of the people. In July of 2009, two undercover GJ police officers were ousted from the organization Housing First! No More Deaths!. Panhandling within a median began became illegal in the fall of 2009, and overnight Colorado West Park became a median without any formal process.

As odd as it may seem, the system might actually bring some form of justice for the houseless, and some accountability to the GJPD.

CopWatch Mesa Theater October 3rd 2008

Posted in copwatch, GJPD, Grand Junction, Harrassment by GJPD Exposed on February 12, 2010

Found this old video on youtube.com. It highlights the GJPD at their finest.

Tickets on Rise for GJ’s Houseless

A famous french satire before the Revolution mocked the rich and their law this way (rough paraphrase) “It is illegal for both a rich man and a poor man to sleep beneath a bridge, therefore the law is just.” Check out Channel 8 doing some research. http://www.kjct8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11841432

Skateboarding In Grand Junction Criminalized, Police Selectively Enforce

Posted in GJPD, Grand Junction, Harrassment, Skate Boarding by GJPD Exposed on November 18, 2009

The popularity of skating is on the rise, and it is the only form of transportation for many people. But is it even legal? The fog is clearing around the issue of skateboarding in Grand Junction, and, as the sun peaks through, repression rears its ugly head.

Skateboarding is pretty much illegal in Grand Junction. Almost everywhere. “Skateboarding prohibited” and “skateboarding in the street” are crimes. G.J. activists have seen a rise in their share of justice for skateboarding crimes over the past year. By rise, we mean 2 fold, plus, for some.

Last spring, a “skateboarding prohibited” ticket was issued to Richard Crespin on Main Street. It resulted in a $50 fine. Last June, multiple skating tickets were issued. Many resulted in confiscation of property (including skateboards), ten days in jail and almost $1100 in fines for skate crimes and trumped up charges of “disregarding police.” Repression is on the rise.
In early June, tickets were issued to three participants in G.J.’s local Critical Mass Community Bike/Skate Ride. The ‘criminals’ were charged with disregarding police and skating in the street. One arrestee never showed to court, Chris Dallas received ten days in jail suspended for one year and over $600 in fines, and Steve Kilcrease received ten days in jail and $1100 in fines. Their property was confiscated, including skateboards of all three arrestees, and a black flag (which was non present on the property report, let alone returned to its owner).

The court gave Chris and Steve the same consequences as resisting arrest for the charge of disregarding police (ten days, Steve’s $1000 fine). The arrestees, however, were compliant with the police. They provided the GJPD with the required identification information and used their right to remain silent.

Later in June, two G.J. activists again were charged with “skateboarding prohibited.” GJPD officers arrested Chris Dallas and Richard Crespin. Skates were confiscated and fines increased to $100.

Harassment of this particular group continued after the tickets were issued. Some of the group encountered the GJ Impact Team (officers on bikes), including Officers Kennedy (notoriously known harasser of the homeless) and Rojo. The officers approached the group (who were on bikes because their skates were taken), saying something like, “Look, if it isn’t our favorite skaters.”

Harassment did not cease in the court room for defendant Steve Kilcrease. The court proceeding was not recorded, as most are at the municipal level. Officers Rojo and Dole, arresting officers for Critical Mass, provided ample information on one of the arrestees past interactions with the GJPD. While on the stand, the police mentioned that Steve was wearing shoes in a past interaction with “fuck the police” writtenon them. Steve’s past criminal history was discussed. However the judge would not hear past behavior of the police toward the arrestees (stolen solidarity flag, harassment). The judge also told Steve that he was inciting a riot on Main Street, a clear falsity to a Critical Mass participant. Steve was not given the standard 24 hours to turn himself in to serve jail time because the judge didn’t think he would turn himself in. He never expected to go to jail, but was taken straight there after court. The judge was also frightened about his questionable use of the first amendment. Why were these GJ activists treated so poorly in our so-called Justice System?

The situation the GJPD created when skates were finally returned to their ‘owners’ is best described as a cluster-fuck. The clearly labeled skates were returned to the wrong people time and again. And the black flag was never returned.

The GJPD are targeting local skaters, especially skaters who are associated with alternative politics. Steve told TRP he has been skating since he was eight years old in Grand Junction, in the street or elsewhere, and he never had interactions with police until he started hanging out with folks from a collective house in town: enter alternative politics. There are multiple Critical Mass organizations in town, but this is the only one that has been targeted. “It comes down to… associations,” said Chris. Anyone who looks differently or involves themselves with alternative politics, or anyone who asserts their rights when dealing with the GJPD are targeted groups.

What should you do if you are charged with skating? Well, plead not guilty, demand a jury trial, and do not quit skating. “[The arrest] slowed me down, but it didn’t stop me,” said Chris reassuringly. Steve said, “It just seems like such a small thing to slow you down from doing something that you love, or that you need to do to get around.” So, you can attend City Council meetings to express your disgust with the criminalization of skating and the targeted arrests by the GJPD. Write letters, tell your friends, and plead not guilty. Steve’s advice is, “Skate or die!”•