Luckner won his case when he went to court last February; he was found not guilty of felony battery on a law enforcement officer. Coker was out of her jurisdiction; the deputy should have called local police immediately for backup, Ruiz argued. Luckner, who testified that "he had never hit a woman in my life," later paid the price when Sokol retaliated, he says.

Ruiz says that during the time she was preparing for trial, Sokol walked out of depositions and had to be ordered by a judge to answer her questions. Although Luckner was found not guilty, he received a letter in August that his Internal Affairs complaint was "unsustained."


Daniel Cortes, after his run-in with North Lauderdale cops Tucciarone, Novello, and Sokol.
Daniel Cortes
Daniel Cortes, after his run-in with North Lauderdale cops Tucciarone, Novello, and Sokol.
Gina and Randy Brin, with Gina's son Daniel. The Brins have filed a dozen Internal Affairs complaints against North Lauderdale police.
C. Stiles
Gina and Randy Brin, with Gina's son Daniel. The Brins have filed a dozen Internal Affairs complaints against North Lauderdale police.

The scene with Luckner in the cruiser and at the station bears a remarkable resemblance to Deputy Sokol's report of what happened nine months later with Daniel Cortes. And also to an incident in April 2009 when Sokol arrested Troy Butler. Butler, who said he'd been pushed face-first to the ground while his hands were cuffed behind him, suffered a fractured cheekbone. Butler was later deemed mentally incompetent, and his IA complaint was dropped.

Just about the only time civilians win excessive force complaints from BSO, Mavel Ruiz says, is "when the proof is undeniable." There has to be video or photographic evidence.

"As with any job," Hollywood attorney Koerner says, "if the police are never disciplined, they learn what they can get away with."

Attorney Silber agrees. "Police departments are not immune to the human urge to avoid embarrassment or minimize wrongdoing. Beyond that, criminal cops are prosecuted by the same agencies that depend on police testimony to win other cases. If prosecutors aggressively pursued police misconduct, they would sour their amicable relationships with police departments."

Whatever failings BSO's IA may have, Robshaw argues, "the model we're using has worked well for us. Public officers are easy targets for complaints," he adds.

Civilian review boards set up to monitor Internal Affairs findings might help resolve these criticisms. Fort Lauderdale has such a review board. But lacking them, "it's rare to ever hear of an officer getting fired," Ruiz says. Silber thinks the solution is to create an independent state agency responsible for criminal police investigations and prosecutions.

Former detective Kamau of policeabuse.com offers some insights from ten years spent investigating police abuse complaints. "With BSO's Internal Affairs complaints, there was a serious gap between what was written on the final reports and what was actually taking place," Kamau says. "There were numerous examples of police misconduct, and the office wasn't making thorough investigations." Kamau praises BSO's cooperation with the investigation he closed out in 2007, saying, "They were fully committed to change."

So has BSO slid back into its old ways? Silber and Ruiz wonder how an IA investigation can yield findings that contradict court judgments about battery complaints. If courts deemed Luckner and Diaz not guilty of battery on a LEO, how can those same deputies argue that suspects were injured because the deputies were defending themselves? Was the defendant kicking and punching or not? Both versions can't be equally true.

Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes offers a radical solution. "The best way to correct the perception that there is a dual system of justice at work," Weekes says, "is to make the system public. Post every complaint, every statement, every memo online and let the community decide if it looks like Internal Affairs has rubber-stamped an investigation.

"If the Sheriff's Office is so confident of its process — publish the results."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
1 comments
debglee
debglee

THIS ALONSO WITH HIS CRONIES , Did NOTHING when i called in a theft in my home .. they took No Inventory and when i insisted they do something ,,, they Arrested me .... iN MY OPINION BSO = bULL sH*T oRGANIZATION  that was in 2006 ... they know who i am but they Know Not What I am Made Of ! 

 
Miami Concert Tickets
Loading...