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NEWS > 01 August 2007

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Police Brutality : Algonquins
WINNEWAY, Dec. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Nathalie Mathias and her 14 years old
daughter Cassandra, two Algonquins from Winneway, have been brutally arrested,
a totally unjustified action as they were taking part in a pacific protest.
Mrs Mathias will file a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner against
one or many Sûreté du Québec policemen. "They have use a strength which was
unnecessary and have deliberately hurt my daughter," says Mrs Mathias.
The event took place last December 13 as Mrs Mathias and her daughter
were pacifically protesting with less th... Read more

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Houston Chronicle - United Sta
01 August 2007
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After a 911 call, nothing done

A Pasadena police dispatcher didn't send anyone to investigate a 911 caller's report of ongoing police brutality last month because the incident was just about over, according to the department.

But police records released last week under the Texas Public Information Act show that roughly 25 minutes elapsed from the time of the 911 call until officers booked Pedro Gonzales into the jail where he died a few hours later with a punctured lung. The auto shop parking lot where officers Jason W. Buckaloo and Christopher S. Jones arrested Gonzales for public intoxication just after 2 a.m. on July 21 is about half a mile from the police station.

Gonzales was found dead in his jail cell about five hours after the officers used force to arrest him on a public intoxication charge.

Pasadena Police Capt. Bud Corbett initially said Gonzales may have suffered injuries when he tripped and fell as an officer escorted him to a patrol car. Corbett, who heads Pasadena's internal affairs division, later acknowledged that Gonzales may have suffered some injuries when the officers used force as the man resisted arrest.

The arrest happened just an hour after Gonzales had been released from the jail after a 3-day stay for another public intoxication charge.

In their report, Buckaloo and Jones say Gonzales appeared drunk and needed help maintaining his balance when they first approached him. He then became belligerent, forcing the officers to subdue the 5-foot-6, 160-pound 51-year-old, the report states.

The female dispatcher, whose name has not been released, followed Pasadena police policy because she alerted a supervisor that a woman reported the officers were beating Gonzales, police spokesman Vance Mitchell said.

The dispatcher, however, did not think it was necessary to send a police supervisor or ambulance to the parking lot outside Galindo's Auto Service at 1309 E. Harris. Gonzales told the arresting officers he didn't need medical treatment, Mitchell said, and the scene "was cleared in just a few minutes."

According the the police report, the two officers spotted Gonzales in the back of a pickup at 2:07 a.m. The 911 call from a passerby named Evelyn Moreno came it a 2:09 a.m. Gonzales was arrested at 2:15 a.m. and booked into the jail at 2:34 a.m., records show.

Mitchell would not say how quickly the dispatcher notified her supervisor or what the supervisor did after being informed of the caller's allegation.

The Chronicle requested a copy of the department's dispatch policy on Monday, but city attorneys haven't decided whether to make the document public, Mitchell said.

"I'm not gonna discuss that with you at this point," he said. "All of that's under review."

Protest planned
Activists have called on the U.S. Justice Department to conduct an independent investigation. Protestors plan to gather at 4 p.m. today outside Pasadena police headquarters, 1114 Jeff Ginn Memorial Drive.

Pasadena Police Chief Mike Massey has not responded to repeated phone calls seeking comment about Gonzales' death. Pasadena Mayor John Manlove said Wednesday that he is confident internal affairs detectives, under Massey's leadership, will conduct an impartial investigation.

"The No. 1 reason I'm confident is because the Chronicle is looking into this," Manlove said. "They have a reason to put everything on the table."

Eric Parry, a police consultant with the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, said most police department dispatch units write their own policies. Industry best practices call for dispatchers to immediately notify a supervisor to begin a formal investigation when a caller accuses an officer of wrongdoing.

Dave Cutler, director the Houston Emergency Center, said Houston dispatchers would be required to immediately send a police supervisor to investigate a call such as Moreno's.

The 911 call
Moreno told the dispatcher she had just witnessed police beat a man on the ground at Strawberry and Harris.

On a recording of the call provided by the police department, the dispatcher can be heard telling Moreno that she is having trouble hearing her. At one point, the dispatcher says, "All right, ma'am, I'm not out there so I don't know if he was resisting arrest."

Moreno, who had stopped at a nearby payphone to make the call, then says, "They just jumped on him; they started just beating him ... "

The dispatcher responds with, "I can barely hear you" and Moreno asks, "do you have a number where I can complain about the cops?" The dispatcher then gave her the police station's non-emergency number.

The dispatcher never asked for Moreno's name or phone number.

Gonzales didn't see a medical professional until he collapsed in a holding cell shortly before 3 a.m., Corbett said. East Texas Medical Center ambulance technicians checked his vital signs and found no life-threatening injuries.

Corbett said Gonzales then signed a medical refusal form. Pasadena police have not released a copy of the signed form to the Chronicle.

Gonzales was found unconscious in a cell about 7:30 a.m. and a medical technician pronounced him dead shortly afterward, police said.

Mignon Adams, a spokeswoman for the privately operated ambulance service, declined to comment for this story.

Surprises at the funeral
The Harris County Medical Examiner's Office has not released the cause of Gonzales' death to the media, but Pasadena police said preliminary autopsy results indicate he may have died after a broken rib splinter punctured a lung.

At Gonzales' funeral Friday, his relatives said they were surprised to see that his hair had been shaved and he had numerous bruises on his face as well as scabs to injuries to his head and chin.

Moreno, meanwhile, said police haven't taken her up on an offer to take a polygraph test to prove she's telling the truth about what she saw that night.

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said his office's police integrity division is conducting a parallel investigation to Pasadena's internal affairs inquiry.

Moreno said the District Attorney's Office has not called her to give a statement.


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