Costumed Assailants Are Never to Blame

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Marco Sauceda of Lufkin, Texas, did nothing wrong to any living soul. Yet the mentally handicapped 30-year-old was pepper-sprayed, shot with a pepper-ball gun, and severely beaten by nine police officers in his own home after they mistook him for a robber. Now he’s going to jail for 30 days and will have to pay a $500 fine for the supposed crime of resisting arrest.

Sauceda, who speaks little English, hid in the bathroom when the police laid siege to his home on March 15, 2009. A neighbor had called in a report that a “black male” was kicking in the front door. Once the terrified man — described as having “the mind of a child” — had been extracted from the bathroom it was clear that he wasn’t the suspect described in the report.

Any human being in which so much as a fugitive flicker of decency exists would have dismissed the charge, given the opportunity. Angelina County Attorney Ed Jones, however, is a prosecutor — a caste in which such decency is, for all practical purposes, extinct. Thus he insisted that the case had to be taken to court because “the statute says that you do not have the right to resist the arrest. We were going to try the case no matter what.”

The jury had the right, the legal authority, and moral duty to nullify the application of that statute. Instead, they convicted him and told the trial judge, Derek Flournoy, that Sauceda “has been wronged” and asked him to display leniency. The Judge didn’t agree with the Jury’s characterization, lecturing Sauceda that “I don’t agree you are a victim in this case” and insisting that when the terrified man hid in a bathroom he “put … the officers in harm’s way.” As if expecting plaudits and laurels for his forebearance, Flournoy told Sauceda that absent the jury’s timid and equivocal request, the sentence would have been six months in a government cage.

Sauceda entered the courtroom “wearing a tan button down shirt and navy dress slacks,” reported the Lufkin Daily News, “but by the end of the day found himself in county orange” — as punishment for receiving a beating he didn’t deserve at the hands of costumed thugs who are never to blame.

Shandy Cobane, a lachrymose, foul-mouthed little bully employed by the Seattle Police Department, is invoking that doctrine of official impunity in an effort to dismiss a federal lawsuit by Martin Monetti. On April 217, 2010, Monetti was detained by Cobane and fellow officer Mary Woollum during a robbery investigation. A viral video of the incident shows Woollum — a female who exhibits all the delicate refinement of a biker’s moll —  stomping a prone and compliant Monetti in the back, and captured Cobane taunting the unresisting man by hurling a number of racist and abusive comments at him. At one point Cobane told Monetti, “I am going to kick the f*****g Mexican p*** out of you, homey. You feel me?” Monetti has filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle.

After the incident went public, Cobane was suspended for 30 days in an effort to placate public outrage. Under pressure from his superiors, Cobane offered a tearful apology for his actions — not to the victim, Martin Monetti, but to his little clique of street criminals, whose “honor” was supposedly tarnished by the his “hateful” and “unprofessional” conduct. In their response to Monetti’s lawsuit, however, Cobane and Woollum insist that they are entitled to “governmental immunity” and that any damages or injuries suffered by Monetti “were the result of his own conduct” — which, once again, consisted of flattening himself on the ground in a posture of unqualified submission (despite being told that he was not under arrest ) while Cobane and Wollum assaulted and threatened him.

A week after the “Mexican p*** incident, Cobane choked a young man named David Rengo, who at the time was handcuffed and helpless. Rengo had been “jumped” by a street assailant of the non-government-licensed variety before Cobane’s street gang unit arrived and made matters worse. For some reason — most likely because Rengo didn’t appear dangerous — Cobane arrested the puzzled young man and then choked him “just for fun… he seemed to get pleasure out of it,” in the words of a complaint filed by the victim.

In his police report, Cobane claimed that Rengo had “pushed” him, and charged him with “felony assault on a police officer.” That charge was later dismissed by a judge when it was discovered that dash cam audio and video of the incident had been mysteriously lost. “I have not seen a case this poorly prepared or investigated in my 22 years on the bench,” complained King County Judge Joan DuBuque.

Rengo filed a stalking complaint against Cobane describing how, after being “tortured” on the scene, he was taken into an interrogation room and threatened by the officer. Cobane “removed his gun and badge and charged at me,” while the “other officers tried to restrain him,” the victim recalled. The abuse Rengo endured, and subsequent incidents in which he was followed by Cobane and his buddies, left the young man fearing for his life.  Of course, being a mere Mundane, Rengo has nobody to blame but himself.

9:32 am on July 21, 2011
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