Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Raid Inquiry Leaves Questions

To our own sensibilities, a proper examination of this matter somehow seems unfinished

Mainly for the sake of archival consistency, we'll put the focus on yesterday's Standard-Examiner editorial, the latest item from the S-E editorial board concerning the botched 12/20/12 Hill Family arrest warrant raid, in which the Standard comments on Ogden Police Chief Mike Ashment's newly released internal investigation report, and opines that "[a]s to what actually occurred on Dec. 20, questions remain":
The Standard frames the post-investigation situation thusly:
The Ogden Police Department’s internal investigation into a botched raid by its officers that threatened a family, including two young girls, leaves questions unanswered. People who are already skeptical of the Ogden police will not be convinced by the internal investigation, which finds no violation of policy but calls for changes in its policy.
In non-bureaucratic speak, what that means is that the policy that led officers to terrify an innocent family in the early hours of the morning was really poor.
Gotta confess we were more than a mite amused and impressed by WCF reader Blackrulon's characterization on the S-E comments board, which pretty much expresses the same point, but with slightly more brevity, elegance and artistic flair:
It appears that the response by Mayor Caldwell and the Ogden police department is "we didn't do anything wrong but we promise not to do it again".
"One question: why were law enforcement officers following a policy that did not prioritize those procedures already?" the Standard-Examiner asks.

Good question, wethinks.  And just to stir the pot, we'll toss in a few of our own:
  • Have we reached the end of the line with Mayor Caldwell's inquiry?  
  • Is Chief Ashment's report, and the various associated nuts-and-bolts policy changes now newly-enacted by the OPD all that a concerned Ogden City citizenry's gonna get from here on out?  
  • What about the possible further independent investigative inquiries Mayor Caldwell earlier hinted about?
  • And even assuming that no OPD policies were violated, does that rule out a finding of individual civil culpability/liability on the part of one or more involved OPD agents under general civil principles of  negligence?
So what about it folks? What other questions regarding this matter yet remain unaddressed? To our own sensibilities, a proper examination of this matter somehow seems unfinished. That means, we suppose, that we agree with the Standard-Examiner on this.

Sodden thought:  Perhaps we'll have to await the inevitable Hill family lawsuit to have some of the other unanswered questions flushed out.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Coupla Chirpy Puff Pieces From the Standard-Examiner

Unlike Vegas, whatever happens in Ogden actually Stays in Ogden, right?

A couple of items of interest for Ogden City citizens this morning, folks, thanks to the Standard-Examiner, our venerable (Ogden, Utah) home-town newspaper:

1) In an astounding demonstration of municipal administrative accuity, the Mike Caldwell administration has reportedly identified a moribund pre-Boss Godfrey administration RDA project over in West Ogden, which Mayor Mike and the Ogden Economic Development Department Boyz are now targeting for rescuscitation, more or less. Read all about it in today's Mitch Shaw article:
Looking at the bright side, we'll just say that we're happy to observe that Mayor Caldwell actually realizes that Ogden City boundaries extend to include West Ogden, the area within Ogden City which was mainly ignored between 2000 and 2012, economic development wise, by Gondola Boy, Boss Godfrey, except for the 21st Street Ogden Pond, (now renamed Goode Ski Lake) which Caldwell's Mayoral predecessor, Boss Godfrey,  graciously gave away for a song, to one of his deserving political cronies.

2)  Fascinationg front-page story in this morning's S-E, just teasing the hell out of us all about a projected/expanded Ogden-Las Vegas/Las Vegas-Ogden Alliant Air Service expansion:
Just a little reminder to our friends from Vegas who might toy with the idea of flying up to Ogden for a weekend Snow Basin ski trip.  Whatever happens in Ogden actually Does Stay in Ogden, Right?

That's it folks!  We'll be standing on the sidelines awaiting more red meat political news... hopefully as early as tomorrow, with a little good luck.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Attorney General John Swallow Under Investigation, Feds Confirm

Swallow: "I'm happy the U.S. attorney is investigating the baseless allegations against me."

In the aftermath of last week's in-depth Salt Lake Tribune article series concerning Utah Attorney General John Swallow, who stands accused of participation in a 2010 congressional bribery scheme, the Trib reveals this morning something we already suspected, that Swallow is the "subject of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.":
"Swallow said in a statement Friday that he is happy the U.S. attorney is investigating 'the baseless allegations against me.'"  For the time being, we'll have to take his word for that, we guess.

Needless to say, we'll be sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting to see how this DOJ probe shakes out. 

Update 1/26/12 9:22 a.m.:  Thanks to a tip from one of our gentle readers, here's a video report on this topic from KSL News:

Comments, anyone?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ogden Press Release - Ogden City Police Department Has Concluded Its Investigation Into the Mistaken Identity Incident - Update

Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell: “Officers will also be [henceforth] required to weigh the public safety threat of the wanted person and the risk of serving the warrant during nighttime hours.”

Somewhat encouraging news forwarded to your Weber County Forum blogmeister via one of our All-star political pals.
From: Undisclosed Source
Date: January 22, 2013, 3:46:49 PM MST
Subject: Ogden Press Release - Ogden City Police Department has concluded its investigation into the mistaken identity incident

OGDEN, Utah-The Ogden City Police Department has concluded its investigation into the mistaken identity incident that occurred in Ogden and Ogden City Administration is recommending changes to its arrest-warrant policy.

“Based on the recent police report on the mistaken-identity incident we will make changes to our arrest-warrant policy and procedure, ensuring officers are making use of available resources and verifying addresses on arrest warrants,” said Ogden City Mayor Mike Caldwell. “Officers will also be required to weigh the public safety threat of the wanted person and the risk of serving the warrant during nighttime hours.”

Changes will also include strict guidelines for warrants served after 10 p.m., such as background and address verification checks before officers can make contact at a residence.

“In response to the incident, Ogden police thoroughly reviewed policies from eleven agencies within Utah and seven agencies outside the state,” Mayor Caldwell said. “We found our policies regarding the serving of arrest warrants are consistent with the policies and best practices studied. Nevertheless, we think that policy improvements can be made to increase safety for our citizens and officers.”

On the morning of Dec. 20, Ogden police received a message from the U.S. Army. It contained a felony no-bond arrest warrant for Derek Billmire for being absent without leave. Utah State law and Ogden Police Policy states that felony warrants may be served any time, day or night.

“Officers followed both state law and agency protocol when they arrived at the listed address on the warrant and came in contact with Hill who resembled Billmire,” Mayor Caldwell said. “Once Hill produced identification, the officers explained how they came upon the address, apologized to Hill and his family and then left the residence.”

Caldwell continued, “We are deeply sorry for any fear or unintentional stress the Hill family felt and have offered our sincere apologies. The primary goal of our officers and my administration is to keep the public and our police officers safe. These changes will allow us to continually improve on that goal.”

Billmire was later located in Harrisville, taken into custody and booked into the Weber County Jail and later released to the custody of the U.S. Army to resolve the charges.

The Ogden Police Department has made several attempts to speak with Eric Hill and his wife following the incident, but they are currently refusing to cooperate with the investigation.

The Ogden Police Department’s summary report is attached.
Thanks to one of our bestest Ogden City pals over the years who for unknown reasons wishes to remain unidentified, we now learn that  “Ogden City Police Officers will [henceforth] be required to weigh the public safety threat of the wanted person and the risk of serving the warrant during nighttime hours."  Not a half-bad interim result, for starters... AFAWC...

Here's the referenced "summary," by the way:
Update 1/23/13 8:05 a.m.: Both the Standard-Examiner and Salt Lake Tribune are all over this story this morning too:
Predictably, all OPD agents in the Hill Family raid have been "exonerated" following the OPD's own investigation.  However we'll be sitting on the edge of our seats awaiting the Hill family's filing of their own inevitable civil suit, the sole procedural avenue where liability issues are likely to be properly revealed and resolved.

Standard-Examiner: How Do You Make Ogden a College Town?

The Mike Caldwell administration wants to Know What You Thinks!

In the wake of the Mike Caldwell adminstration's apparent deep-sixing of the short-lived (and ridiculous)  Boss Godfrey-inspired ("family-friendly") "Winterfest", it now appears that what's left of Boss Godfrey's Ogden City Economic Development Department is reverting to a possible Ogden City promotional idea which actually might have some long-term legs:  This morning's S-E headline asks the question:
For those Ogdenites who'd mistakenly believed that Ogden is already a "college town," here are some of the important criteria for top "college towns," according to AIER (The American Institute for Economic Research, hahaha:
  • Student Concentration: number of college students per 1,000 population
  • Student Diversity: percentage of student body that are non-U.S. residents
  • Research Capacity: academic R&D expenditures per capita
  • Degree Attainment: percent of the 25-to-34-year-old population with bachelor’s degree or higher 
  • Cost of Living: based upon average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
  • Arts and Leisure: number of cultural and entertainment venues per 100,000 population
  • City Accessibility: percentage of workers over age 16 who commute on foot or by public transportation or bicycle
  • Creative Class: percentage of workforce in the arts, education, knowledge industries, science and engineering, management and other fields
  • Earning Potential: income per capita 
  • Entrepreneurial Activity: net annual increase in total number of business establishments per 100,000 population
  • Brain Gain/Drain: year-over-year ratio of population with B.A. degree (it is only population with B.A degree, not all the college level) living in the area 
  • Unemployment rate
Don't forget to tell Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell how to deal with these metrics and issues, People, just so's you can throw in your own 2¢.

Here's the link to the Ogden City survey on this topic, btw, via the ever-awesome Survey Monkey:
Don't forget to fully participate, Ogden Peeps!

Surprise of surprises, the Mike Caldwell administration wants to Know What You Thinks!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Standard-Examiner Letter: Ogden Council Appreciates Dialogue in Police Incident

One Gentle Reader's reasoning - what's the council's?

By: Miffed Ogdenite

In regards to today's letter to the editor from the city council, in which the full council reminds everyone that the botched Hill family raid is the mayor's problem, but that they're all eagerly looking forward to reviewing the results of the Mayor's OPD internal investigation on this matter anyway (whenever it comes out), I would like to think a few of them thought:
That's my reasoning - what's the council's?

And what say our other ever-gentle WCF readers about all this?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Swallow Scandal a Cesspool

Sodden Query: Is the S-E editorial board simply too gutless to hold a powerful but crooked State Level GOP politician's feet to the fire?

Notable but slightly tepid editorial in our home-town newspaper, (the Standard-Examiner,) commenting on "what a political cesspool John Swallow, and other prominent Utah pols, swim in." While the S-E editorial board cautiously refrains from following the "gutsy" lead of the Provo Herald and Salt Lake Tribune, and thus fails to demand Swallow's immediate resignation, the Standard does the next best thing, we suppose, and urges that Utahns take another look at enacting limits on campaign donations, and that voters guard against "slim" 'candidate "qualifications," such as those that John Swallow possessed, when he was elected to the Utah Attorney General's slot in November 2012 with a $1million+ campaign warchest:
As mentioned, this is a tawdry affair of the powerful associating themselves with those who throw money at them. It’s another reason why Utah needs limits on campaign donations. It’s sickening that Johnson was able to dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars to Utah’s attorney general. Also, the Swallow affair begs that voters pay more attention to candidates’ qualifications and accomplishments. Other than his tenure as Shurtleff’s deputy, Swallow was known as a political deal maker, lobbyist and attorney for Check City, Rawle’s company. Those are slim qualifications to be Utah’s AG.
Read the full S-E editorial here:
So what about it, Weber County Forum readers? Did the Standard play it smart in failing to demand Swallow's resignation, or is the S-E editorial board simply too gutless to hold a state level GOP politician's feet to the fire?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

WSU Special; Event: "Why the Government Wants You to Waste Water."

If you snooze you lose... 

Via Ogden Council All-star Amy Wicks:

Tonight at 7pm, local environmentalist Dan Schroeder will talk about water issues in our community: "Why the Government Wants You to Waste Water." If you have a water bill or are concerned about conserving water, this event is for YOU! Meet in the Fireplace Lounge, Shepherd Union Building, WSU Ogden campus. While you are there, see the art exhibit, "Basin and Range: Watershed" right next door.

Snoozers will be losers...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time to Kick This Idiot Swallow To The Curb

Reality for Dumbass Swallow[s]

Okay.  Poor old newly-elected Utah Attorney General John "Pureheart" Swallow is getting reamed again and again by the Utah news media, whom, especially with the contributions of the Salt Lake Tribune, along with the Provo Herald, seem to be delivering the most withering broadsides possible.

Here are today's latest, especially those from the Trib:
So... this jackass Swallow should just resign right now, NO?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Political Situation Continues to Deteriorate for Poor Ole Utah Attorney General John Swallow

Whoa.  The political situation continues to deteriorate for poor ole Utah Attorney General John Swallow, who just eight days ago took the Utah Oath of Office, and technically at least, became Utah's Numero Uno law enforcement authority (top cop.)

Again, as during the last few days, two more politically-withering stories appear in the Salt Lake Tribune today. We'll reel out these new ones, in no particular order of importance:

1) Following the lead of the usually right-wing nutcase Provo Herald, The Salt Lake Trib editorial board yesterday also called for John "Pureheart" Swallow's resignation too:
2) So certain it is that this seriously creepy guy Swallow will be investigated and indicted by U.S. Justice Department officials, that the politically beleagued John Swallow himself suggests that the Salt Lake U.S. Attorney's office investigate him themselves:
That's it for now.  We'll check back more about John Swallow's weak political position later.

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    More Bad News For Utah Attorney General Swallow

    Scathing Utah Herald Editorial; Harry Reid denies Jeremy Johnson allegations; U.S. Attorney’s Office is playing it "coy" about possible Swallow prosecution

    Strong editorial in yesterday's Provo Herald, following up on yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune stories, and urging newly-elected GOP Attorney General John Swallow to resign:
    The Herald is pulling no punches on this. Frankly we don't recall such a scathing rebuke of any elected Utah official from any Utah newspaper within memory:
    Newly elected Utah Attorney General John Swallow is entangled in a corrupt tale of influence peddling and potential bribery that should alarm every Utahn...

    The allegations against Swallow have sufficient legs, even now before every detail has been uncovered, to justify his immediate resignation. His reputation is now seriously tainted, and that is an impossible thing to overcome for an attorney general...

    Please spare us the pain, Mr. Swallow, and get out now. You can't be trusted....

    The Salt Lake Tribune deserves the highest praise for revealing sleaze to the people of Utah. It has done credit to itself as a watchdog of government, and the people of this state should be grateful.
    Unjustly accused, LOL?
    Whew;  you get the drift, we hope. It'd be nice, wouldn't it, if the Provo Herald editorial board would crawl outta their shell and let us know how they really feel about Utah A.G. Swallow, no?

    And the Salt Lake Tribune this morning adds more "grist" to the discussion "mill."  Seems Senator Harry Reid don't know nuttin' from nuttin' about any influence peddling/bribery scheme.  "These unsubstantiated allegations implying Senator Reid’s involvement are nothing more than innuendo and simply not true," sez Kristen Orthman, Reid's spokeswoman.

    Fascinating subplot playing out in this story too.  Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office is playing it "coy" about whether it is investigating or intending to prosecute Utah A.G. Swallow, it's emphatic in its denial that there has ever been any agreement not to prosecute. "It has been reported that federal prosecutors informally agreed not to prosecute John Swallow. This assertion is completely untrue," sez Eric Holder's office, according to this morning's Trib story (thereby leaving the door open for "guess what?")

    Gets interestinger and interestinger, dunnit?

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Salt Lake Tribune: Utah A.G. Up to His Eyeballs in Possible Bribery Scheme

    Pull up your Barca-loungers and pop up a batch or two of Orville Redenbachers, folks, as we predict this developing story is gonna be lots of fun

    Bad news for newly sworn-in Utah Attorney General John Swallow, who stands accused by "[e]mbattled St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson" of  "help[ing] broker a deal in 2010 in which Johnson believed he was to pay Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid $600,000 to make a federal investigation into Johnson’s company 'go away.'  But when the federal government filed a lawsuit Johnson thought he had paid to quash, he demanded Swallow return some of the $250,000 initial payment. Then, just days before the Nov. 6 election, Johnson engaged in a frenetic but unsuccessful effort to get Swallow to drop out of the race, saying information about what Johnson called a "bribe" would come out and force the Republican’s resignation if he became attorney general."
    Swallow "emphatically denies Johnson’s allegations," of course, and sez  "he doesn’t understand why Johnson is spreading lies about him." "Any suggestion by Mr. Johnson that I have been involved in illegal or inappropriate activity regarding his FTC case or any other matter is false and defamatory," Swallow said.

    Needless to say, Swallow's party-partisan political opponents smell blood in the water...
    And in a totallly fascinating twist of fate, the Trib has begun playing the part of the civil prosecutor, "freezing Swallow's testimony," pursuant to series of pointed informal psuedo-interrogatories:
    Pull up your Barca-loungers and pop up a batch or two of Orville Redenbachers, folks, as we predict this developing story is gonna be lots of fun in the weeks to come. 

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Much Cognitive Dissonance in Ogden City These Days

    It'll be interesting as to see how all these semi-diverse "stories" shake out, won't it, Ogden City lumpencitizens, no?
    But Hill opened his front door and was met with six men who he said were dressed in black, with no police identifiers that he saw. Three had assault rifles, Hill said; two were carrying tactical shotguns.

    But the chief is not ready to concede five of the officers carried assault rifles and shotguns in the 2 a.m. entry Dec. 20 at the home of Eric and Melanie Hill.
    Ogden Police apologize for raid on wrong house
    January 1, 2013

    Two of the five or six officers he counted on his doorstep carried an M4 assault rifle, the same model he uses as an Army specialist with two tours in Iraq. “My wife and I asked them if the M4s were really necessary,” Billmire said. “I asked them if it was because of the shootings that have happened around the country and they only said ‘No, it’s just procedure.’ ”

    AWOL soldier speaks out about search
    January 11, 2013

    Here's the SE article of the day on this subject:
    It'll be interesting as to see how all these semi-diverse "stories" shake out, won't it, once Ogden City lumpencitizens and their gummint, including the "bulletproof"  Mayor Mike Caldwell set the investigative mechanisms in place to find out why the hapless Eric and Melanie family ought to have suffered life-long trama due to a ridiculous OPD error.

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    Standard-Examiner Editorial: Our View: Council Protest Appropriate

    Joining with the Standard in hoping "that the Hill family incident can be a catalyst toward a re-evaluation of how local law enforcement handles its duties, particularly concerning raids and late-night police procedures." 

    Another strong editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, applauding "[c]itizens who gathered at an Ogden City Council meeting on Tuesday night to protest the police department’s handling of a botched arrest warrant [and]  deserve both appreciation for their public spirit and their efforts to call attention to the need to review law enforcement procedures":
    Notwithstanding the fact that management of the Ogden Police Department falls under the statutory authority of the Mayor's office (and not the city council) under Utah's Council-Mayor form of government, we'll go along with the Standard on this, and commend the Ogden City Council for opening up Tuesday night's  meeting, and providing an open public foum for Ogden citizens to air their concerns and grievances about "public perceptions that in some cases, [suggest that] calling in the police might exacerbate violence rather than keep the peace." 

    We'll thus join with the Standard in hoping "that the Hill family incident can be a catalyst toward a re-evaluation of how local law enforcement handles its duties, particularly concerning raids and late-night police procedures." 

    Added Bonus: Check out the Tuesday night council video, incorporating the public comments on this topic, which begin at approximately 20:39:

    Pretty stirring stuff, wethinks...

    Don't let the cat get your tongues, O Gentle Ones.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2013

    Ogden Residents Rip 'Sloppy' Police Raids at Night

    Many describe police agencies as rogue and out of control

    As a followup to Monday's WCF announcement, both the Standard and the Tribune carry morning stories, reporting on the  Enough is Enough! protest rally, which went off as planned before the Ogden City Council last night:
    Among the pleasant surprises reported this morning, we learn that the aggrieved Hill family,  Eric and Melanie, were personally present to relate their "harrowing" stories to the ever-attentive Council. 

    A Weber County Forum Tip 'O The Hat to the Utah Liberty Institute for putting this all together.

    Hopefully the knowledge that the steely-eyed and withering gaze of the the liberty-minded Ogden lumpencitizenry, which is keenly affixed upon this situation, will deter the tyrannical elements of local government from the temptation to sweep these matters under the rug.

    Tuesday, January 08, 2013

    More Info On The "Botched" 12/20/12 Hill Family OPD Raid

    Whether punitive action will be applied once the smoke clears is anybody's guess

    The Standard-Examiner is johnny-on-the spot this morning with new information on the "botched" 12/20/12 Hill family OPD raid, first with hearsay statements from Tina Billmire, mother of  Derek Billmire, the subject of the defectively-served arrest warrant, which was successfully served "about an hour later," by the same officers at a home Mr. Billmore "share(d) with his wife and three children" in Harrisville, Utah. Among the various notable aspects of Ms. Billmore's statements are these:
    “It was the same thing — six officers, pounding on the door, hard and loud, with the guns and everything."

    Derek never lived at the Hill home on Harrop Street. Her sister Kathy owned it for 26 years before selling it to the Hills in July. Tina Billmire said she had sometimes lived there with her sister’s family, but Derek had not.
    “That surprised me,” she said. “His Harrisville address should have been on the warrant, the documents. It’s on everything else with the Army.”
    By our own analysis, Ms. Billmore's statement corroborates the Hill family's report that the officers were indeed heavily armed, although it sheds no light upon the question of whether the officers brandished rifles and shotguns, as the Hill family contends.  As to the mistaken address, it's clearly indicative of sloppy investigation, we'll suggest.

    As an added bonus, this morning's SE story links to a responsive letter from Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, which is encouraging, we suppose, at least in the sense that he's aware of  the public relations nightmare which has been unleashed due to the disastrous Hill family raid:
    On the bright side, Mayor Mike says "we intend to reevaluate police policies, practices, and training to ensure we are using best police practices for the safety of our citizens and our officers." Moreover, in apparent recognition of the demand by local media for an independent outside investigation, Caldwell astutely assures Ogden citizens that "We may use other outside resources to help us analyze and resolve these issues." And then there's this: "I am especially interested in an analysis of whether this type of contact should be made at such a late hour, and under what circumstances."

    Whether punitive action will be applied once the smoke clears, however, is anybody's guess, although we'll remark that "we won't be holding our breath," as Caldwell offers not the slightest hint that he'll go after police agents who may have violated already-existing policies in this instance.

    Needless to say, we'll continue to follow this fascinating story as it develops... and assume that the Hill family (if they're smart) will be lawyering up very soon.

    Monday, January 07, 2013

    Enough is Enough: Heads-up On Tomorrow's Ogden City Council Protest Event - Updated

    High time for the Ogden City Council to be enlisted to help solve this problem of the OPD's errors, poor procedures and heavy-handedness, wethinks

    Via Facebook, we'll direct our readers to a Tuesday night (1/8/13) public event, where a local citizen activist group, the Utah Liberty Institute, has scheduled a public protest, related (among other things) to the recent botched  raid on a local Ogden City residence, where heavily-armed agents of the Ogden Police Department at 2:30 a.m.on 12/20/12 negligently served an arrest warrant on the wrong address, terrorizing an innocent Ogden City family in the process.

    For those WCF readers who'd be inclined to join in this protest, we incorporate the group's citizen "call to action":
    Ogden City has become a complete embarrassment to the people of this state and a text book example of what happens when a local police force is allowed to flagrantly violate the Constitution in order to, as Jefferson put it, "harass our people."

    The outrageous, military-style, middle of the night raids are enough to deserve armed resistance, and yet, despite constant recognition for their incompetent execution of said raids, they continue to abuse INNOCENT families with their "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude toward police work.

    It is time we demand Ogden put an end to its use of "no knock", "knock and announce" and middle of the night raids.
    The event is calendered at 6:00 p.m. in the Ogden City Council Chambers (Ogden City Municipal Building, Suite 340), concurrently with the Council's regularly scheduled meetings.

    Read the full anouncement here:
    We'll encourage all Ogden City residents who'd like to help raise the City Council's consciousness on this topic to plan to attend this event, now that it's become apparent that local law enforcement authorities seem unwilling to be held accountable for their own errors, poor procedures and heavy-handedness, wethinks.

    1/8/13 @ 6pm.  Don't be a schmuck.  Just Be There!

    Update 1/8/12 10:00 a.m.:  The Salt Lake Tribune carries a followup story this morning, illuminating the Salt Lake City-based Utah Liberty Institute, and their worthy goals:

    Sunday, January 06, 2013

    Standard-Examiner: Ogden Police Sorry For Hitting Wrong House, But Veterans Say Officer Safety Comes First

    Simple stuff: Combine and balance "officer safety"and "public safety" and come up with a well thought out plan before you go serve a warrant in the middle of the night

    By: Smaatguy

    Check out the Standard-Examiner headline article today... amazed at the re-direction of the law enforcement department heads trying to turn the focus from what they did by looking for sympathy....
    One simple thing they could do is to quit doing these raids in the middle of the night! Why can't they get that through their thick skulls.... dumbfounded by the arrogance in the department.

    Looking at the article again "officer safety must come first"... I can agree with that.... I can also agree with the "public safety must come first."  Now combine and balance those two and come up with a well thought out plan before you go serve a warrant in the middle of the night.  Say something like... do it in the day... bring a helmet cam... check out the county's property tax info... simple stuff.

    Saturday, January 05, 2013

    Ogden Police Building Renamed for Dead Cop; Vigil Held for Alleged Shooter

    Interesting juxtapositon of stories today, relating to the 1/4/12 Matthew Stewart shootemup case:

    In kneejerk fashion, and "in an emotional ceremony held outside the Ogden City’s public safety building Friday, the city officially renamed the building the Francom Public Safety Building in honor of the slain officer [who was shot dead whilst busting into defendant Matthew Stewart's home]":
    In stark contrast to this, supporters of Matthew Stewart held their own less prominent public vigil yesterday:
    What a shame it is, wethinks, especially in the light of the most recent insult from Ogden's Cowboy Cop Culture, that so many lives have been forever changed, due to the unfortunate "militarization" of Ogden City's heretofore "Mayberry USA-style" police department.

    So what say our ever-savvy WCF readers about all this?

    Friday, January 04, 2013

    Standard-Examiner: Our View: Independent Inquiry Needed on Raid

    It's incumbent upon Mr. and Mrs. Hill retain council and file a lawsuit in this matter, we believe

    Strong editorial in this morning's Standard-Examiner, urging that "[a]n independent inquiry should be conducted on what happened during the raid Ogden police conducted on Dec. 20 at the home of Eric and Melanie Hill":
    The Standard essentially correct, of course.  An OPD internal investigation is a clearly insufficient mechanism to fully investigate this incident, as an OPD investigation of its own agents' conduct represents a clear conflict of interest, per se:

    Yet even a Davis County investigation might not suffice, as one sharp-eyed SE reader aptly notes:
    I'm not convinced the investigation should be done by any police agency. Perhaps a group of retired officers, judges, defense and prosecuting attorneys would be a good alternative.
    So what about it folks? Should the Ogden City Council, in cooperation with Mayor Caldwell, appoint a blue ribbon commission, composed of "retired officers, judges, defense and prosecuting attorneys" to investigate this dreadful incident?

    Frankly we're not quite convinced that even this approach would eliminate any possible conflict of interest taint; and in that connection we'll submit that there's already a sufficient investigatory mechanism in place:

    It's incumbent upon Mr. and Mrs. Hill to retain council and file a lawsuit in this matter, we believe. Only through an orderly and thorough civil prosecution and adjudication will the misconduct and liabilities of the involved parties ever be properly sorted out.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013

    Standard-Examiner: Ogden Police Apologize for Raid on Wrong House

    We'll be sitting on the edge of our seats, we guess, awaiting the outcome of Chief Ashment's internal investigation.

    Following up on Saturday's disturbing Salt Lake Tribune story, which reported how one Ogden family was rousted and terrorized by the Ogden Police in the middle of the night on December 20, 2012, we'll shine the spotlight on yesterday's Standard-Examiner writeup, fleshing out new developments in the case:
    Yep, Ogden's top cop, "Police Chief Mike Ashment, has apologized for six armed officers serving a warrant on the wrong house and traumatizing two young girls who still won’t sleep in their own beds;" and the case is now undergoing a "departmental investigation."  And weirdly, there appears to be a wide divergence in the reported facts.  Suddenly, the OPD  "don't know nuttin' from nuttin'" about any rifles and shotguns, it seems.

    Ashment says, "...we don’t want people afraid of the police,” although frankly, it's mite late for that, wethinks.

    Nevertheless, we'll be sitting on the edge of our seats, we guess, awaiting the outcome of Chief Ashment's internal investigation.

    We'll also note parenthetically that the homeowner and victim, Eric Hill, is reportedly refraining from communicating with Chief Ashment or the OPD, which might be an indication, we'll speculate, that Mr. Hill may have already "lawyered up," (which ain't a half bad idea under this set of facts, as far as we're concerned).

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