LA Deputies On Beating Johnnie Franklin Jones

[Moxley Confidential] It isn't just the Kelly Thomas killing in which cops believe they have the right to execute a citizen during a scuffle

Perhaps you can't blame Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies Scott C. Harper and Brian Sherred for thinking an unarmed man standing near a Santa Ana sidewalk in broad daylight and minding his own business was cause for a Code 3, guns-drawn, emergency situation.

As transit cops, Harper and Sherred—two hulking officers who could easily play non-talking, lethal-mercenary extras in a Jerry Bruckheimer film—don't exactly work in an environment that says movie material. The most common excitement they enjoy is detecting ticket cheats or catching juveniles who throw rocks at passing trains. Sometimes, work gets so boring for the deputies they discover imaginary crimes. In June 2009, for example, Harper got a hunch that an African-American woman reading a Bible on a train from Riverside to Union Station in Los Angeles didn't have a ticket. She did, but that didn't stop him from handcuffing and removing her, according to court records.

Five months later, Harper and Sherred thought they were on the verge of a major bust near the Santa Ana Metrolink station. In their patrol car, the deputies (who are white) turned a corner and, in their minds, saw convincing proof that a serious crime was under way: A soft-spoken, African-American homeless man, 45-year-old Johnnie Franklin Jones, stood alone, facing a wall close to the sidewalk. He'd turned away from the street to tuck in his shirt.

The deputies swerved their patrol car into the wrong lane and leaped out of the vehicle, their guns drawn. They began issuing commands as they rushed up to a startled Jones, knocked him to the pavement and beat him severely. Jones landed in the emergency room at Western Medical Center with multiple facial-bone fractures and in need of surgeries.

In theory, police officers can't just beat the hell out of a citizen without a good reason. Harper and Sherred produced their justifications in the aftermath, claiming the tall, skinny Jones was a drug user with superhuman strength. They charged Jones—an Orange Coast College student with a clean record and a long history of employment—with five major crimes, including destruction of evidence. They claimed he assaulted them to evade arrest for the cocaine he possessed. Indeed, Harper and Sherred noted they saw Jones holding "rock cocaine" in his hand, and then, as he fought them, taking a momentary timeout to put the drug to his mouth and swallow. 

Can't you image this scenario on an episode of Cops: The Super-Dangerous Duties of LA Transit Cops?

The deputies' story seemed plausible, especially because everyone knows cops would never, ever lie. But there was a huge problem: The rock-cocaine tale was fictitious. Toxicology tests done on Jones within minutes of his arrival at the ER proved he had no drugs in his system, not even a faint trace of cocaine.

Oops.

But Jones—whose face is now slightly deformed as a result of the officers' crushing blows to his head—would remain stuck in a twisted La-La Land. Harper and Sherred continued to push charges. To bolster their stance, they wrote supplemental reports that added a new element to justify them drawing their weapons immediately upon arrival. They speculated that Jones had been urinating on the wall or preparing to perform an act of indecent exposure instead of using rock cocaine.

Those scenarios had no evidence either; officers scoured the area of the incident in hopes of finding discarded drugs or proof of urine but found nothing. The flasher scenario also went nowhere because no witnesses saw anything lewd.

It didn't help that Harper couldn't get his story straight. He initially reported that Jones' hands had been in his pockets when they arrived. Later, perhaps to match up with the urination or flasher scenarios, Harper changed his mind and said Jones' hands had been shoved inside his pants' waistband. During a deposition, Harper took a third stance by asserting that "pants pocket" and "waistband" are interchangeable terms.

There were also issues surrounding the use of force that fractured Jones' jaw and eye bone, leaving him with double vision in certain conditions. The deputies claimed they had to assault the suspect because he was attacking them "with great strength" and they, the trained officers holding guns in their hands, "feared" for their lives. Tellingly, the deputies emerged from the incident boo-boo-free.

After reviewing the deputies' questionable reports, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hungerford refused to prosecute Jones even on the misdemeanor resisting-arrest charge. Hungerford determined that the deputies had overreacted at the scene, concluding there was "no probable cause to detain" Jones.

In 2010, Jones sued in federal court. The LA sheriff's department backed the deputies, claiming Jones had given officers the right to attack him when he allegedly didn't raise his hands fast enough. The agency's view was that Jones must have been guilty of something.

During the pretrial period, deputy Los Angeles County Counsel Joseph Langston took the position that a federal judge's order that Jones was to receive all discovery records on the officers meant he only had to share information favorable to the cops' side. Working in conjunction with the sheriff's department, Langston, who is the spitting image of a young Rob Lowe, stonewalled Jones' legal team of Jerry L. Steering and Alexander J. Perez. The department even ignored the orders of U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter. The battle over the records went on for days at the outset of the trial. Finally, Carter told Langston that he was on the verge of sending a team of U.S. Marshals to arrest Sheriff Lee Baca and transport him to his courtroom.

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16 comments
Rope_Tree_Bucket_Blk
Rope_Tree_Bucket_Blk

Lice officers; the only profession in which the hired "professional" stalks and kills their "employers."  Lice:  definition= blood sucking insects. 

Solution; insecticide.

PatrickR
PatrickR

To: SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A

Yep, you sound like the kind of ass hole who has been tuned up a few times by the Cops and is now whining like a jailhouse bitch. Most Cops are good people who do a thankless job and on occasion even give up their lives, for people like you. For the 5% bad Cops out there, most of law enforcement would drop everything they are doing, just to get rid of those people who give them a black eye. Not trying to change your opinion dirt bag, but anytime you think you can do a better job, get your application in. Oops, sorry I had a senior moment there and forgot, we don't hire "jailhouse bitches" to be Police Officers. Good luck at MacDonalds flipping burgers.

yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A
yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A like.author.displayName 1 Like

I love when loser sociopathic cops post here. It warms the cockles of my heart. I make more money in 1 month than you will see in 2 years, if you are very very fortunate. Most law enforcement officers are despicable human beings, if you can call them that. When you can own homes and rental property in 2 states and Europe, come see me. Until then you can continue acting like the sub-human you are. Unlike you, I served my country as an officer in combat and truly feel sorry for the uneducated troglodytes they seem to dredge up to employ as law enforcement. The stories of their "testilying" and brutality are more common than legitimate acts of valor. I'll protect myself, thank you very much. Lol

Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker

I hope Mr Steering gets a better jury for the 2nd trial

yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A
yahoo-SZLS4K7PAXCX4SPTPWLFMY7V5A like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Just look at the types of broken losers, mental midgets, narcissistic sociopaths, armed psychopaths, pathological liars and troglodytes attracted to law enforcement and you have your answers as to who is running our govt and law enforcement. MOST law enforcement are NOT good people and they will abuse their power, invent more power, harass and harm those who legitimately/legally oppose them.

PatrickR
PatrickR

If the facts in this article are accurate and I have no reason to believe they are not, my question is, "Why are these guys still on the street?" At best, they should be fired and at worse, assigned to the jail. At the same time however, let's not broad brush all the men and women who are honest, hard working Deputies for the actions of a few. Sounds like the L.A. Sheriff's IA process needs some review and oversight?

Josh Francis
Josh Francis

What these cops did to him is outrageous.

portia776
portia776

African American mother, wife, cocubine, sex slave or not, these cops deserve to have their dicks cut off and hung off.of.a tree by thrir dicks for.what they.did. Just like sex workers, well, unlike sort of, why fuck with a poor homeless person who is already down on his luck. This story makes me want to cry! To hell with the pigs and that whole "Harper got a black mother" shyte, well, slavemasters had their rape.victims ie.slaves so.that fact is irrelevant and takes a backseat to.the fact that Harper's a sick ass.racist who.deserves to be.hung hinself by his dick and balls!

Renegade
Renegade

As the lead investigator for Attorney Steering and Mr. Jones, I contacted the OCDA's Office concerning possible criminal charges being filed aginst the deputies for Assault Under Color of Authority, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Kidnapping/ False Imprisonment. Investigator Kirsch suggested I contact Santa Ana PD. On April 3, 2012 at 3:52pm, I called Santa Ana PD and spoke to Officer Jilek. Officer Jilek transferred me to Station Supervisor Corporal Ruvalcaba. Corporal Ruvalcaba agreed to notify either the Watch Commander or the Office of The Chief of Police and said he would call back in 10 minutes. I'm still waiting for the call!

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Is this called aggressive investigating by a PI for a law firm? Barnaby Jones would have been there to speak with the Watch Commander or the chief.

CopsCommitCrimes
CopsCommitCrimes

You need to contact the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Sounds like your client's civil rights were violated.

Prawda
Prawda

Well, how long before Jackson, Sharpton and Elizas Moon show up demanding justice?

ol salty
ol salty

should i assume, based on your trolling statement, that Jones's case is without merit? hopefully some uniformed fascists will pulverize you and leave you begging for the likes of Jackson, Sharpton an Moon to advocate on your behalf.

GabachodeMichigan
GabachodeMichigan like.author.displayName 1 Like

I sure hope someone shows up to raise a little hell over this - too many cops use the badge inappropriately to get away with extra-judicial beatings and killings.

 
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