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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #51

Federal Marshall’s came on Monday

(Dad Comment: Sounds like the beginning of a Mickey Spillane novel) and took two inmates into custody. That’s 7 people in the last 3 days.

One of them was for a dirty test (Suboxone…the same drug they wanted me to take). The other was for an escape charge. This girl went to Sacramento for her grandfather’s funeral but said she was going to work. She got caught. Wow. I was walking my 84 paces back and forth in the small compound when the very distinguishable vans rolled up…I was told to get back to my room. 100% honest…anytime I see shackles or guards armored up …. Well, I hate it. You remember getting arrested and how scary it was. The sound of their keychain will forever be buried in my head as a form of Key chain PTSD. People think houses are laxer than prison. In many ways they aren’t.

Quick tip for anyone in prison or going soon. On your last week of prison get your medical records from staff. I would be waiting an additional 7/10 days on seeing a case manager at the halfway house if I didn’t have them with me (staff here has asked Leavenworth to send them…. which I told them won’t happen…of course it hasn’t happened). Just go to medical and ask them to print out your “medical history.” They may give you grief but they will give it to you. Also, if you have anything going on, that occurred in prison, make sure it is documented (Don’t assume if they treat something they also document it).

Nicknames of inmates at Leavenworth (with explanation). If you are in prison, you will have a nickname. How you get it is the funny part. Here are some of my favorites.

1.) Squishy - I started with him because I’m not sure anyone at Leavenworth knows this guy’s real name. He’s a big guy who has no problem telling you what he thinks. He’s an avid Kansas City Chief hater (which is ballsy in Kansas).

2.) President Kennedy - love this one. Mike started getting called this by his bunkie Tucker. Mike just looks like a former president (but without dying tragically)

3.) J Murda - this is Newling’s nickname (he actually suggested this idea of a nickname rundown in my newsletter). He wouldn’t tell us why he is called this…but we asked Bloom (the other Lompoc transfer) just to find out.

Phil, Jason, and Red Thunder. Approved photo from LPC just before Scott left.

4.) Pickle Phil/Tulsa Phil/staff sergeant - Phil has fantastic nicknames that really have random origin reasons. Tulsa Phil we just started calling him after the Tulsa King show written by Taylor Sheridan. Pickle Phil is obvious., They literally play pickle ball for 4-6 hours a day.

5.) Professor Peterson - pretty obvious. Matt teaches ALL our classes. Put all the Leavenworth staff together and Matt does more. The BOP should pay him.

6.) Denice the Menace - Decker got this pretty early when he got to the LPC. If you saw him, you would get it. We still have no idea why Decker is here (trade secrets remains a mystery to us all)

7.) Kenny Powers/Soda Pop - I gave Jones the KP nickname the first week I met him (he has the same sense of humor). Phil called Jones soda pop….no idea why but it stuck.

8.) Red - Not me. This is just simply a tall redhead that somehow thinks he’s the best athlete on the compound (he’s not…nothing funnier than watching a guy think so highly of himself solely by himself)

9.) Grasshopper - Freeman looks the part. Great nickname.

Other nicknames that are worth mentioning. “White folk,” a guy who’s actually black. “Big Lou,” a short guy named Lou. “Kempster,” for Kemp, “II,” for Martinez II, “Tweek,” Gladwin after the South Park character. I’m “Red Thunder.”

Computer lab. Before I arrived at the halfway house my dad called and asked about access to computers for email/writing. They told him “Yes”. When I got here, I asked if I could use said computers. The front office staff first told me we didn’t have a computer lab…. then they said we didn’t have any working computers. The statement “Working Computers,” sounded like it had more to it. In my experience getting loud right when you get somewhere new in prison is the wrong play (unlike the real world where sometimes arguing right away can be effective).

So after about a week and the staff getting used to me, I asked “why tell my dad we have access to computers, when we don’t.” Well, they said “we do have computers but nobody uses them, they need to be set up again.” Ah I said “you’re in luck …. I use them ALOT…how can we get those up and running.” Come to find out “up and running,” to the halfway house means they just need to be turned on…. ha…ok….so we have 4 computers in our work managers office (good guy) that can be used if you ask.

So, BOP lesson number #466 is do not take what ANYONE says in the BOP at face value…. ask and ask again until you are 100% certain and then ask again.

Craziest thing I have seen/heard at the halfway house. Now I’m gonna talk about an uncomfortable situation. I almost didn’t write about because it’s brutal...but I I HATE NOT talking about stuff that happens every day because it makes people uncomfortable. Among the issues I discuss with others is how little the outside world hears about BOP/law enforcement related matters (or they don’t care). Most newsletter readers have someone they care about who is incarcerated and now they understand how common these situations are.

My halfway house roommates’ daughter was recently arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer and public intoxication. (She CLAIMS she doesn’t drink - which I do think is probably true - and she WASN’T TESTED). Now I wouldn’t write about this story unless I could verify certain things (lots of things). Although I can’t verify everything I have spoken at great length with the family/daughter and more importantly there is a video of the incident that confirms most of what I am going to state.

Although not an attorney I can speak on these issues with a fair amount of experience and macro knowledge of the law. The arrest was filmed on TW live (a local cop show where arrests are filmed by a camera crew and then the story is told with accompanying video). I have watched the video clips (if anyone wants to see the video, I can forward…. this is crazy). (The TW tag line “TW live is Local news from Bakersfield, CA without the BS! TW LIVES brings you the RAW live-stream footage and community voices.”)

For background the victim/suspect is a straight A student …going to law school…. With a 170 on the LSAT (which is super impressive). She is terrified what this charge/situation will do to her. She was out with her boyfriend who was drinking and she called the cops when he wouldn’t let her out of the car (yes that is a whole other problem). The cops came and arrested everyone (including 3 people that were simply young and in the area) rather than sort it out. While being detained for “drunk in public,” the officer searched her and grabbed her inappropriately (put his hand down her pants).

The boyfriend and random observers witnessed this and went ballistic. Now let me clarify some things that most people get wrong or don’t know. An opposite gender officer can search a suspect with a basic pat down search, but only a same gender officer can go underneath clothing (so in this case a male officer cannot put his hands down the pants of a female…. he is supposed to call a women officer for that). A more in-depth search can be given if an officer suspects the suspect is dangerous or the suspect has prior weapon or drug issues. Neither was the case here. Also let’s not forget the officer had no reason to put his hands down her pants (try justifying that) When the officer grabbed her (and the boyfriend went ballistic) the women pushed the officer’s hand away. His reaction was to pick up this poor girl (all 98 lbs. of her) and BODY SLAM her. This was all caught on tape. ITS BRUTAL!!!

The woman was aware of her rights as a law student …. She made statements about pressing charges against the officer. The result being “assault,” charges were added. This technique is used often to counter a victims claim, when the claim does not appear to be a bluff. Often both parties drop the mutual complaints to make it go away…this is not exclusive to law enforcement…it’s also used in civil law where people sue or counter sue each other or just simply blame one another…you blame me I blame you). Well, what the officer didn’t count on was this was all filmed. But the officer went all in now with the accusation…. he is stuck… (and let’s be clear the accusation itself can cause substantial issues for the accused). Additionally, it appears this officer knows the system since he told her “Good luck getting me in trouble even with the video.” He most likely knows it will take her months if not years to make her case. He knows she will need to spend obscene money just to prove in court her rights were abused. Between now and then he and local law enforcement can put intense pressure on her (they already are). Unless she is willing to make this her number one priority, she is playing a game stacked against her. The brutal part is everyone that has seen the videos (family and friends) has an opinion. They are stating emphatically “Oh I would sue,”. What they don’t know unless they have dealt with the system is it seldom matters if you are right. It doesn’t even necessarily matter what you can prove…. it’s matters if you have everything in your favor, and the resolve, and money to fight…and luck…. winning in these situations is so unlikely…. that most people don’t even bother.

What is best case scenario…her record is safe/charges dropped (that is possible) …. We hear situations about people winning settlements against law enforcement…. because it’s big news…. (It may be big news but I assure you it is rare). But what you don’t hear about is how many people are wronged but never get justice. I worked with multiple people in prison whose rights were severely abused. They fought and lost even when they were right. I saw prisoners get destroyed (beaten to a pulp) by officers…. not only did they NOT receive justice they actually got in more trouble as retaliation for bringing attention to officer misconduct”. On multiple occasions I saw case managers threaten inmates with statements “I will make sure you will never leave if you file a complaint” protecting other officers who violated inmates’ rights.

So, what is my advice? Sadly, “don’t fight, your chances of winning are slim, also what do you win?” You may have some minor injuries…they may have been completely in the wrong…. but there won’t be a major payday and at best you might slightly inconvenience the officer. Is that worth it? Use the situation to clear your name and move on with your life. Hopefully it gets better one day. Share your story with some credibility…although I am guessing most of you think there is something missing from the story. I can assure you I asked every question possible to make sure I felt I could write the things I have written (plus a video of an officer using his hand inappropriately and then body slamming a young woman is pretty clear). Also, I’m sure some of you think that something more must have happened for this situation to go down how it did. My response would be that I’m quite certain nothing happened that warranted the actions of the officer. What is interesting to think about is another person (not a cop) body slammed a woman like that (and there was video to support the incident. That person would be facing serious legal consequences. A lawsuit would be much more feasible. But since it’s s cop all sorts of justifications come into play. I’m sorry there are very few circumstances that justify a cop doing what he did. My question is what would you do if you were her? Would you fight it? Why? What would you hope to accomplish? Are you ready for some of your friends/acquaintances to doubt you/question your story? I can assure you it’s no fun.

I did a webinar about my Leavenworth experience with prison professors.It was super fun and the feedback I received was very positive. The justice impacted community has absolutely blown up. It is an amazing resource.

A new movie (horror film) is out titled “it lives inside.” It hits theaters this weekend. Kind of a cool story I was executive producer on 2 of the writer/directors’ previous films (Bishal Dutta). Marie & I even went to the Cannes film festival as a finalist for top new film a few years back (short film). Anyway, this is a huge moment for him as this movie almost didn’t happen because of Covid. The kid is insanely talented (something I’m proud of also since I one of the first people to spot it). A few people from the halfway house are going to see it this weekend.

(Dad Comment: Scott buried the lead) I finally got a case manager on the 17th day here. And like that…things kicked into overdrive. I signed my home confinement paperwork on Thursday AM. I am told around October 15th I should be transferred to home confinement in Sacramento. Fingers crossed.

Weekly newsletter.week 51
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