David Barajas — ACQUITED

A jury on Wednesday acquitted a southeast Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of a drunken driver who had just caused an accident that killed the man’s two sons.

David Barajas cried after the verdict was read and he hugged his wife, Cindy, who was also crying. He could have been sentenced to up to life in prison, if he had been convicted.

 

 

I haven’t talked about this case much, if at all, because like most of the time I wait until the facts are known. In this case there didn’t appear to be many facts known.

Prosecutors alleged that Barajas killed 20-year-old Jose Banda in a fit of rage after Banda plowed into Barajas and his sons while they were pushing a truck on a road near their home because it had run out of gas. Twelve-year-old David Jr. and 11-year-old Caleb were killed.

 

This story has received very little public attention — maybe one day the truth will come out — but even if it turns out that Barajas did it; not sure that I would be too upset.

There is very little evidence to go on; no gun found, no witnesses, no gun powder residue on Barajas…in short it seems the prosecutor brought charges because he couldn’t think of anyone else who would want to kill Banda.

 

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Example of Abuse– and Culture

This is an anecdote regarding the abuse of power and responsibility that law enforcement officers have.

The reporting officer alleged that both Ruiz and Glashoff found women’s profiles had been browsing women on dating websites like Tinder, eHarmony, and Match.com while working at the investigations bureau office of the Fairfield Police Department

Court documents allege the officers then used a police-issued computer to look up the women they found appealing in a confidential law enforcement database that connects to the DMV and state and federal records.

 

Now spending time on dating sites instead of solving crimes is a bad problem….but the major concern is the use of the database for personal reasons. This is a great example why registries for anything, especially gun ownership, is a bad idea in my opinion. The ease of abuse is frightening.

What is worse in my view is this:

Court documents go on to say Sgt. Ruiz and Detective Glashoff would perform the searches and have conversations about the dating sites in front of other officers.

The court documents allege another Fairfield officer reported the incidents to his superior back in June.

Emphasis above mine — because consider how long it had probably been happening, how they got the idea that it was okay to even run the searches and why every single officer who knew about it didn’t immediately stop it.

One — just one — officer complained when probably several or more knew about it.

The goal of the Investigation Bureau operates using two divisions: Major Crimes Division and Quality of Life Division.

Major Crimes Division

Major Crimes Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and Sergeant.
The division employs 10 detectives who handle crime in the following catagories:

The division also has a Police Probation Team Unit that addresses juvenile crime and diversion.

Quality of Life Division

Quality of Life Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and two Sergeants (Gang Unit and Narcotics Unit).
The division uses several units to address crime in the community:

How many officers knew about their activities? We’ll never know– and isn’t that a problem also — but it was probably more than 1….probably half a dozen or more. How many officers have done the same or related invasion of privacy? We won’t know and isn’t that another problem.

 

And isn’t this just lovely?

If the allegations are found true, the officers could face felony criminal charges.

Both officers remain assigned to their regular duties.

Yeah— facing the possibility of felony charges and still working — able to access the same databases….doesn’t that just thrill everyone?

And this is a relatively passive abuse; what happens when the police have other tools available to them?

 

The deputy police chief in Dallas told Fox News over the weekend that Americans had the misperception that police forces were over-militarized because departments had not painted armored vehicles blue.

During an interview about the unrest after Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro pointed out to Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz that “the perceived militarization is a problem.”

Aziz argued, however, that police departments were not over-militarized, and that people were more concerned about the misapplication of military equipment that was procured through Department of Defense programs.

“There are a lot of applications for it,” he insisted. “What is catching so much attention is the misapplication or the misuse or the deployment of it. And I’ve heard that from around the United States.”

 

The equipment used in policing is an issue; the way it is used is an even greater problem. Deputy Police Chief Aziz is correct in that aspect. So what does he offer as a solution?

But Aziz said that local police department still needed to solve the problem of “misuse or misapplication.”

“And that comes with training,” he continued. “We’re going to have to train police departments to respond. We’re going to have to train leaders, chiefs of police to respond better for leadership and command decisions. And that way, people won’t feel like they don’t have any value or equity in the system when it looks like a war zone.”

Training — professionals involved with resolving problems well recognize how vacant and nearly worthless that answer truly is. We need to train officers in ethics, morality, not breaking the procedures and policies??

That is the solution???

So Deputy Police Chief Aziz just what is the correct training needed to deploy sniper rifles to cover a peaceful protest? What is the correct training need to roll out Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles during riots — making sure the paint scheme is correct?

There has to be a better answer.

 

 

 

 

Local Media Getting It Right

Very impressed with Tim Ryan and Fox4 — the details and knowledge of the Concealed Handgun License and applicable laws is well presented.

 

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Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com
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This action and the statement on the news station website show why I don’t go to AMC Theaters for the most part.

 

AMC Theatres

For the safety of our guests and associates, we do not permit weapons in our theatres. However, we welcome off-duty officers as guests at AMC and they are exempt from this policy with official identification. Based on the information we’ve received, the guest did not show an official department identification card and our theatre team properly enforced this policy. We have reached out to the guests to discuss the situation directly with them.
AMC Theatres (to use their spelling) are a private enterprise. They are free to prohibit concealed carry on their property; although as a public accommodation, I could make a case otherwise. I won’t. I’ll just abide by their wishes as much as I can and not patronize them.
I do think this is a step forward when the media gets the facts and the law down as well as Tim Ryan did. Good job sir.

Scattered Thoughts on Kolbe Decision

Random Thoughts from the  Kolbe Decision.

Assuming that recent sales have increased the number of assault weapons in the
current civilian market to nine million, such weapons would represent about three percent of the civilian gun stock.

 

Let’s see — 12,000 homicides with all firearms around 475,000 firearm related violent crimes per year according to the Bureau for Justice Statistics. Even if every homicide and firearm related violent crime was accomplished by a separate gun owner (estimated around 46,000,000) that means rounding up for easier math 500,000 divided by 46,000,000 times 100 to express as a percentage — 1.09% of all gun owners were involved in a homicide or firearm related crime ! Half the percentage of gun owners.

Even if we estimate firearm at the low side of 270,000,000 — that would be 0.019% of all firearms being used in a crime each year. Heck even if every gun crime was committed by ‘an assault weapon” (9,000,000 per the decision) that is still only 5.55% of all the assault weapons being used in a crime each year. What does she think that other 94.45 % are being used for?

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Further, although the court recognizes the need to build proficiency with a firearm for the purposes of hunting or self-defense, there has been no indication from the Supreme Court that competitive marksmanship in itself is a purpose protected by the Second Amendment.

Oh, Joy….look at that. The court recognizes the need to be proficient but that competitive marksmanship — a sport that predates the founding of our country isn’t protected.

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Looking at the Dallas Police Department

In Tuesday’s post, I talked about problems with the Dallas Sheriff’s Training Academy. Greg left a comment that included this statement:

Morale is poor, professional deputies are seeking retirement or employment by other, less politicized agencies.

And today I wake up to find out that perhaps problems aren’t isolated to the Sheriff’s Department.

DALLAS — Many Dallas police officers aren’t happy with the current state of the department, according to the result of a morale survey released Thursday by the Dallas Police Association.

Eighty percent of the 1,279 officers who responded to the survey rated their morale as low or the lowest it’s ever been.

According to the article, the DPD employs 3,500 officers. So one-third of the officers respond overwhelmingly saying morale is low….really low.

The survey found, among other things, that:

  • 71 percent believed that they are not allowed to perform police duties that residents expect.
  • 87 percent felt they do not have the support of the command staff to do the job in the manner they’ve been charged.
  • 78 percent would not recommend DPD to other potential law enforcement candidates.
  • 54 percent were not satisfied with their job.

Many officers have described a general dissatisfaction with the direction of the department.

Dallas police officers have been frustrated by the department’s handling of two controversial police shootings, which ultimately resulted in the firing of the officers and their indictment. Officers have also been upset by policies that say makes it difficult to do their jobs, such as the foot chase policy. More recently, Brown has been engaged in a long-running battle with the DPA over management of the Dallas police academy

WOW. If nothing else that 54% job dissatisfaction rating should scare the stuffing out of people. It is entirely possible those dissatisfied with their job will respond by either cracking down on people or by sloughing off and letting people get away with too much. Either way, not good for anyone going through or living in Dallas.

Maybe it is time we took a serious look at the laws and what we expect law enforcement to do about those laws. For far too long it seems we’ve let political correctness, the War on (Some) Drugs, Terrorism, etc drive us in directions that are hurting us in the long run. — Then maybe act on that serious look at let law enforcement get back to the motto so many are ignoring “to protect and serve”.

Please join the discussion.

 

 

Training Effectiveness

Let’s imagine there is an organization providing training for people wanting to get their Concealed Handgun License — in one class only 7 out of 27 students passed the written examination on the first attempt. An examination that requires students only to get 70% of the answers correct.

Well that could be a fluke, right? Just a bunch of people who didn’t take it serious.

What if you found out that out of the last 4 classes there were similar problems; students seemingly unable to master the concepts of when to use force, what the law says, etc?

I don’t know about you but I would worry just how much those students had learned.

 

Now what if I told you that organization was the Dallas Sheriff’s Training Academy?

 

An exclusive NBC 5 investigation reveals a crisis inside the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.  

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Training Academy is at risk of being shut down by the state because last year’s recruits did so poor on the state’s basic licensing exam.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained records from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which certifies Texas Police Academies, that indicate only 25 percent of last year’s recruits passed the exam on the first try.  

Their records show 27 recruits took the exam at the academy in 2013 but only seven passed on the first try. The state requires 80 percent of recruits pass on the first attempt and every police academy in Texas did that last year, except Dallas County who had the worst percentage in the entire state.

NBC 5 Investigates learned the state put Dallas County’s academy on probation last fall, which means they are at risk for losing their license.

NBC5 posted that report back in May — sorry blog and real life issues kept me from addressing this sooner.

Does that fill you with confidence and security knowing that it took multiple attempts for the majority of the class to get a “C” on the final exam? In interest of full disclosure, for a Concealed Handgun License with its admittedly shorter/less comprehensive test also requires a passing grade of 70% on the examination.

Before last year, the academy had stellar grades.  In 2012, recruits logged a 100 percent passing rate.

Law enforcement training experts said a sudden drop often points to a poor recruiting class or poor teaching and that both could be a problem.

 

Follow up investigations reveal that the issues do not appear to be with a single class.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained copies of the scores for the last four academy classes. A score of 70 is a passing grade for individual cadets, but in the last four classes the average score on the problem solving and critical thinking portion of the test ranged from just 50 to 60 percent. Three of the last four classes had failing scores on the force options section — which gauges their knowledge of when it’s OK to use a weapon.

Recent Dallas County academy classes also had scores averaging below 70 percent in test areas including controlled substances, arrest search and seizure, traffic laws and crisis intervention – mental health code training.

In one recent academy class, the average score on the family code and juvenile justice portion of the test was a mere 36 percent.

So, let’s consider the ways that the recent classes, including the 2012 class which had a 100% pass rate could have passed.

a. The prospective peace officers took the test repeatedly until they got it right.
b. The prospective peace officers received illegal assistance in passing the test.

Does either scenario fill you with confidence and security about the peace officers coming out of that organization? Especially when you consider that once they passed the test; any department or agency could have hired them!

 

The anti-rights cultist generally harp on how people who carry firearms need to be trained like professional law enforcement officers are trained. Yet the reality of the situation is peace officers aren’t held to incredibly high standards. I’ll be covering the training requirements in more detail later. I want to assure people this isn’t a knock on law enforcement in general; more of pointing out the problems with a major training institution and the tendency of the antis to put law enforcement on a pedestal.

The simple fact is most officers are decent people trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately they are also working for agencies usually headed by political appointees or elected officials trying to stay in office. Unfortunately most officers do not possess the in depth knowledge of the law or the Constitutions.

In fact, I was shocked that for a Basic Peace Officer certification only 8 hours out of 643 — a measly 0.16% of the of the time — is spent on the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution and the Texas  Constitution.

Please join the discussion.

 

And thanks for sticking around and the messages regarding the blog; it really helped to know that people were reaching out to me during the past couple of months.

 

 

Yeah, About that Claim of Terrorizing People….

….I’m gonna need you to, um…perhaps retract that outrageous claim. The Fort Worth Police department made the claim in an email

An email from Sgt. Ray Bush, with the Fort Worth Police Department, said Jack in the Box employees at the South Freeway location on Sycamore School Road, were scared about the armed men protesting outside of the restaurant.

“They locked themselves inside a freezer for protection out of fear the rifle-carrying men would rob them,” the email stated. “The demonstration had no signage that would have alerted anyone to their real purpose, and to our knowledge they did not attempt to contact anyone in the Fort Worth Police Department to advise us prior to the demonstration.”

The Media ran with it, seemingly without trying to vet, for days. Even when the story started falling part (from O.C.T.’s FB page)

Open carry activists at a Fort Worth Jack in the Box drew the attention of police following a 911 call. (Photo credit: Facebook)

From the Open Carry Tarrant County FB Page

The anti-rights advocates still haven’t seen fit to address the issue by printing a retraction — despite the company in question saying the story is false

An earlier version of this post included information from Sgt. Ray Bush of the Forth Worth Police Department, who wrote in an email last week that the employees at the Jack in the Box where Open Carry Texas staged a demonstration “locked themselves inside a freezer for protection out of fear the rifle-carrying men would rob them.” However, Brian Luscomb, vice president of corporate communications for Jack in the Box, told the New York Times this evening, “Our employees told us that they did not hide in the freezer.” We have amended the post to reflect this new information.

And don’t you love how the NYT puts the retraction at the very bottom of the page? Now, we are starting to get information regarding the — yes, I said THE – 911 call that was made. So far it is the only one that has been released in regards to this demonstration.
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It looks like that is the only call made. So let’s see; friendly smiling faces (the guy posing with the OCT group is the manager), non -terrified appearing employees in the background, no 911 calls released from the employees. Even the 911 caller didn’t sound terrified or excited. You know what I think happened – NOTHING, at least until the police over reacted.

 

Come on seriously Fort Worth Police department; how many times have their been reports of Armed people strolling about in a parking lot and problems arise from it.  Not to often. Add to that no other reports of shots fired, no other 911 calls.

We can debate the merits of Open Carry and the methods used by this advocacy group all day long; in the end that misses any important point. The point that even in a state were Open Carry isn’t that common; it just doesn’t generate the level of hysteria or concern from ordinary people. Let’s keep going and make sure everyone realizes this; let’s point out the lies of the media and the Mom’s Demanding Attention And Bloomberg’s Money.

 

Please join the discussion.