Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scottsdale Blackout March for Justice and an End to Police Brutality

Scottsdale Campaign for Justice and an End to Police Murder

Meeting at Scottsdale & Indian School Rd
until 11:00pm
Friday, February 24


We will march, once again, for justice in Scottsdale over the killings of 6 people by officer James Peters.

We want to make it clear to the City of Scottsdale that we will not stop until justice is had by the victims, their families, and everyone else who was involved. We intend on seeing this through, and will achieve this goal no matter what.

We demand:
-Officer James Peters be immediately fired from his position

-Officer Peters be charged with murder

-Negligence charges brought against the Scottsdale Police Department for ever letting it get this far.

We will march once again through the streets of Scottsdale.

Be ready.

Report outlines fatal shot fired by Scottsdale police officer

Just before Scottsdale police opened fire on Jason Prostrollo, the former Marine appeared in the doorway of a friend's home holding two halves of a pool cue as he walked toward police.

"I saw a very methodical slow paced walk, like he knew what he was doing coming at us and he was gonna take us on," Lt. Ron Bayne told investigators following the Jan. 28 shooting. The incident was outlined in a 244-page police report released last week.

Bayne used his .40-caliber Glock pistol to shoot and kill the 25-year-old Prostrollo after police were called to the north Scottsdale home of Prostrollo's friends.

The friends had called police because Prostrollo was drunk and threatening the homeowner with a large hunting knife.

Bayne, a 19-year police veteran, told investigators that he has been in many situation where using deadly force was a potential option.

"We've given commands and people have complied. There was never an indication in my mind that (Prostrollo) had any intention of complying at all," Bayne said.

The day after the shooting, a police spokesman said officers could not use a Taser on Prostrollo because of windy conditions. The report says the officers were armed with Tasers and several officers mention windy conditions that night, however the report does not specify that is the reason a Taser was not used.

As Prostrollo walked toward officers, he made "karate-type moves" using the sticks, Bayne said.

Another officer described Prostrollo coming out in a stick-fighter position, with a stick in each hand on his sides.

Sgt. KC Moore told investigators that another officer was giving Prostrollo commands to stop, but Prostrollo did not listen.

"He had a very piercing stare. Almost like, I don't know if I wanna call a death stare, but he wasn't paying attention to what we were saying," Moore said.

As Prostrollo continued walking toward officers, the K-9 officer, who was giving Prostrollo commands to stop, yelled that he was going to release his dog.

At the same time, Moore said he heard two loud pops, which was Bayne firing his weapon.

Bayne's bullets hit Prostrollo, killing him and hitting the dog, which was taken to an animal hospital and survived.

How it all started

The incident began the night before at Ernie's Restaurant and Bar, 10443 N. Scottsdale Road.

Prostrollo's friends, a 50-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, had known Prostrollo for about six months. Their names are redacted in the report.

The couple told police that they went to Erine's about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 27 to play pool and have some drinks. There, they ran into Prostrollo, who had told them he was a former Marine and had served in Iraq.

"That night, Jason was drinking but did not seem to be impaired," the 50-year-old man told police.

Later, the couple invited Prostrollo back to their house to play pool.

The three left Ernie's shortly after midnight and drove to the home in the 12000 block of north 135th Place.

A few hours later, the girlfriend went to bed and by this time, Prostrollo appeared to be drunk, different and more aggressive in his storytelling, the report states.

"Jason kept pouring himself more drinks, Jack Daniels and getting very liberal with the drinks," the man said.

About 3 a.m., the man called a cab for Prostrollo.

The cab arrived about 30 minutes later, and Prostrollo, who was unable to walk straight or complete his sentences, got in the cab, the man told police.

About 4 a.m., the cab driver called 911 to say that 10 minutes earlier, a man had held a knife to his neck and forced him to drive back to the house on 135th Place.

About 10 minutes later, the doorbell rang and someone was banging on the front door, the man told police.

He saw it was Prostrollo, and he allowed him into the foyer.

"Jason was at the front door and was very animated, talking nonsense and paranoid."

Prostrollo was rambling about his brother, his mission in the Marines and stating, "You know what you did."

The man offered to call another cab for Prostrollo and asked him to leave.

"I could see this guy was not all there right now," the man told police.

At about the same time, the 33-year-old woman called 911. She told the dispatcher that she had locked herself in the bathroom because a friend was threatening her boyfriend with a knife.

She heard her boyfriend call out her name, so she walked outside to the foyer and saw Prostrollo standing in the kitchen holding a large military-style bowie knife with a round handle and large silver blade. She saw Prostrollo put the knife down and she ran out of the house, where police met her.

Police then called the boyfriend on his cellphone and told him to exit the house. He complied. Moments later, Prostrollo exited the house. He was wearing a white tank top with his dog tags around his neck. The girlfriend told officers that Prostrollo was a former military man who possibly had post-traumatic stress disorder. Prostrollo's father later confirmed the diagnosis for The Republic.

"The subject has something in his left hand that looked like a pool stick. In his right hand he had something that looked like a darkened barrel of a rifle, just the barrel. Both objects appeared to be the same length. The subject had his hands raised up near his head holding the two objects," the report states.

Officer Anthony Sanborn, the K-9 officer, was instructed to give commands.

"At a point when it was clear that he wasn't listening to Sanborn, I started giving my own commands," Bayne said.

When Prostrollo reached about 7 yards away, Bayne said he fired two rounds without pause.

"From all my years of training ... with his level of violence that (Prostrollo) had displayed all night, it was clear to me that he wasn't gonna comply with our commands and he had every intent to hit one of our officers," Bayne said. "And I believe that that would've caused life-threatening injuries if he would have been successful with that."

Trio recalls run-in with Scottsdale officer involved in seven shootings

By: Hatzel Vela

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - New people are coming forward and talking about run-ins with the same Scottsdale officer who has been involved in seven police shootings.

Read the police report.

Megan Fells was with her boyfriend and their friend, Andrew Thomas, when Officer James Peters stopped them on Brown Avenue.

The police report Peters wrote said he first noticed the trio jaywalking, then stopped when he saw their license plate light not working.

Fells doesn’t think they were jaywalking and said she still has the same license plate light.

She said things quickly escalated when Thomas, who was sitting in the back seat, questioned Peters why he had to show his identification.

"If you don't give me your [expletive] I’m going to pull you out of the car and take it from you,” Fells recalled Peters said in the exchange.

Fells said Peters was screaming and yelling in her boyfriend’s face, who was driving the car.

"He most definitely has an anger issue. I didn’t hear a peep from the other officers. He [Peters] pretty much ran the show,” she said.

ABC15 checked out the police report and the stories were similar, except the situation seemed under control.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New audit flags problems with Maricopa PD internal investigations


A just-released audit of the Maricopa Police Department showed 54 percent of citizens surveyed put the department's reputation at "poor to unsatisfactory."

"There was room for improvement here," said Brenda Fischer, who took over as city manager in May.

Fischer ordered the audit in response to complaints from citizens and employees. The review was conducted by Citygate Associates, LLC, and cost $42,000.

"We've struggled through some morale problems," said Fischer. "This audit allows us to be aligned and headed in the same direction."

She pledged accountability and transparency, starting with the audit that looked at nearly 200 internal affairs investigations over more than three years.

The review found employees had "little confidence" in internal affairs investigations, and many of the investigations dragged on too long.

Auditors recommended an independent third party review of these cases to "re-establish confidence."

Auditors also flagged an unusually high number of citizen complaints, writing that the department's been called the "last-chance department" for hiring officers with prior problems or credibility issues.

"I'm not a second-chance chief. I'm here because I feel that this city and police department has huge potential," said Chief Steve Stahl, of the Maricopa Police Department.

Stahl took over this week after serving as interim chief the past few months.

They are striving and starved to do good work. We need to give them a chance," said Stahl.

Stahl said he plans to change schedules soon to hold daily briefings with patrol officers to improve communication. Currently, officers work 12-hour shifts, three days a week – a schedule that does not allow for a briefing at the beginning of an officer's shift.

He also said he has an open-door policy, which he believes has made a difference already within the department.

As for the internal investigations, he said they don't know yet whether they'll take another look on their own or call in outside help to review the cases.