The Youngest Victim of Police Abuseby William Norman Grigg
May. 14, 2012
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Levii Dozier is only four months old, but he’s already been assaulted by the police.
Roughly five months ago, Levii’s mother Raven Dozier was present when her brother got embroiled in a child custody dispute with a girlfriend. After the police arrived, Raven did what she could to calm her brother down. Eventually one of the officers shot the agitated man with a Taser. A thugscrum quickly coalesced as several officers inflicted gratuitous punishment on the prone and helpless man while his sister – who had been assisting the police – looked on in horror.
“He’s on the ground!” shrieked Dozier, who was in tears. “You don’t need to do that!”
“Shut the f**k up!” replied one of the gallant officers. When Dozier failed to act on that thoughtful suggestion, Officer Jarad Wheeler strode up to her and kicked her in the stomach with sufficient force to open a door.
At the time, Raven Dozier was nine months pregnant.
For about fifteen minutes, the DeKalb County officers conferred with a supervisor outside the house -- within earshot of Raven’s brother, who was sitting, handcuffed, in the back of a police car.
“He kicked a pregnant woman,” one of the officers reported.
“You’ve got to charge her with something,” another replied, pointing out that doing so would magically transmute aggravated assault into a “justified” use of force.
Following the discussion outside, several officers re-entered the home, where Dozier was on a couch trying to regain her composure.
In a voice suppurating feigned concern, one of them asked if they could take a picture of the traumatized mother; in the same affected tone, he asked her if she could trouble herself to put on a pair of shoes and step outside the house for a moment to talk with the supervisor.
As soon as Raven had crossed the threshold of her home, she was placed under arrest for “obstruction.”
To their credit, officials at DeKalb County Jail refused to book Dozier. Instead they sent her to a nearby hospital, where she passed a small amount of blood and amniotic fluid. . A photograph of Raven taken after Wheeler’s assault displayed a huge bruise across Dozier’s abdomen. Two weeks later she gave birth to Levii by way of an emergency C-section.
Atlanta attorney Mark Bullman, who is representing Raven Dozier in a lawsuit, recalled to Pro Libertate that the doctors who treated Raven and delivered Levii “found that the kick was severe enough that it caused the baby to defecate in the womb.”
What this means is that Levii literally had the sh*t kicked out of him by a bullying cop before he was born.
In his official report of the incident, Wheeler did what police in such circumstances always do: He lied, claiming that he was dealing with an “aggressive” woman and that he used “a front push kick to the abdomen, as [I] was taught to do at the academy.” It was only after he arrested this “aggressive” woman that he supposedly noticed her condition.
“Her condition was obvious to everyone,” Bullman – himself a retired police officer – explains. “She had gained seventy pounds in this pregnancy. The incident took place in a well-lit area, and she had spent a great deal of time standing alongside the police officers, attempting to calm her brother down and resolve the situation.” Furthermore, as the comments overheard by Dozier’s brother demonstrate, every officer on the scene was aware of the expectant mother’s condition – and all of them instinctively collaborated in covering up the crime committed against her.
That cover-up continued “all the way up the chain of command,” Bullman observes. “There was no ambiguity about the facts, but this didn’t matter.” The department exonerated Wheeler, ruling that his felonious assault on Raven and her unborn child was “within policy.”
This was at least the third time the DeKalb County Police Department has validated criminal acts committed by Officer Jarad Wheeler. On an earlier occasion, he attacked a 53-year-old grandmother who was trying to help her grandchildren following an automobile accident, slamming her face-first into the hood of his car. Earlier this year, Wheeler – who had responded to the wrong address – shot and killed a dog that was chained up inside its owner’s garage.
Wheeler, who fancies himself a mixed martial artist of sorts, has an undistinguished record when dealing with competitors who can fight back – but he’s 3-0 when his opponent is a weeping pregnant woman, a terrified grandmother, or a chained, harmless dog.
Not since Cosmo Kramer dominated his dojo have we witnessed such a display of unalloyed martial fierceness.
According to Mark Bullman, who was a police officer in Georgia before beginning his legal career, Wheeler is not at all atypical of the DeKalb Police Force.
Another of Bullman’s clients is Brian J. Peterson, who wasbeaten and arrested on spurious felony charges in October 2010 by Officer T.J.Crumpton. At the time, Crumpton was working as a part-time security guard at a bar. An eyewitness saw Crumpton assault the handcuffed man, slamming his head into a black SUV, a police car, and the sidewalk.
As was the case with Wheeler’s abuse of Raven Dozier, Crumpton devised multiple “cover charges” to justify the assault. Perjuring himself in an official report by claiming that Peterson had kicked his squad car, Crumpton charged him with public drunkenness, felony interference with government property, giving a false name, and obstruction.
Peterson spent five days in jail and lost his job as an insurance broker because of the felony charges. After the charges were dismissed, and an internal affairs investigation concluded that Crumpton had committed perjury and false arrest, the officer was “punished” with a ten-hour suspension – what Bullman correctly calls “a day off without pay.”
Crumpton still has his job. Peterson, his victim, remains unemployed. This outcome is representative of police affairs in DeKalb County, which Bullman describes as “the most corrupt government I’ve ever seen.” That opinion is shared by at least a handful of embattled decent people employed by the DeKalb PD.
“A few hours after the story [about Raven Dozier] was broadcast, I received an e-mail from someone who was a police officer in DeKalb,” Bullman told me. “It was a two-page, single-spaced document, replete with names, dates, and details, describing dozens of incidents of abuse and examples of official corruption.”
DeKalb County is an unincorporated urban area that includes part of Atlanta. It is afflicted with both a large police department and a sheriff’s office. A suitable snapshot of DeKalb’s culture of immersive corruption was offered four years ago, when DeKalb Police Detective Anthony Robinson, an undercover vice officer, was caught on camera stealing cash and lottery tickets from a convenience store where he was running a gambling sting.
Casual theft and whimsical sexual misconduct are commonplace in DeKalb County law enforcement – and the criminal corruption grows in crescendo the further one travels up the institutional pyramid.
Ten years ago, Sidney Dorsey, then the outgoing sheriff of DeKalb County, was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring with two deputies to murder of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown just days before the victim was to replace him. More recently, three members of DeKalb County Sheriff Tom Brown’s staff were indicted for embezzling $350,000.
In 2006, DeKalb Police Chief Louis Graham resigned a day after learning that a special prosecutor had been appointed to investigate his department. His successor was Terrell Bolton, a “gypsy cop” – or rather, “gypsy chief” – who had been fired by the Dallas PD three years earlier.
An account compiled by dissident officers in the DeKalb PD recalls that after Bolton had settled in, he spent “millions of dollars on unneeded recreational vehicles, forc[ed] into retirement or demot[ed] the command staff, [and brought] in his friends and friends of friends as a regime.”
After Bolton was fired by DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis in 2009, the former chief demanded that the police in neighboring Decatur arrest Ellis, Sheriff Brown, and County COO for false imprisonment, theft, and criminal trespass. He claimed that those officials had held him for several hours against his will the county courthouse pressuring him to resign.
Worried about violent retaliation by the ex-chief – remember, this is a county in which the sheriff once murdered his elected successor – Ellis requested, and received, a special 24-hour security detail from the DeKalb police.
According to Bullman the corruption in DeKalb County is so pervasive that it would be possible “to indict a different police officer every week” for the foreseeable future. The existing conditions provide a perfect environment in which to cultivate violent sociopaths.
The progress of police corruption in DeKalb County is akin “to the development of serial killers,” Bullman opines. “They don’t start out by killing or even abusing other human beings; they might begin by pulling the wings off insects, or torturing small animals. In time they commit isolated acts of cruelty, pushing a little bit further each time they get away with it. Eventually they start beating or abusing women, or children, and then emerge as fully realized sociopathic killers.”
In DeKalb, this process has advanced to the point where “decent and honorable police officers are leaving, often in fear of the off-the-chain crazy people who are allowed free rein.”
“The only people who hate bad cops more than the general public are good cops,” insists Bullman. Unfortunately, people in that profession who try to maintain their ethical integrity “just keep their heads down and their mouths shut in the hope of making it to retirement – and a lot of them around here are simply quitting in disgust, choosing unemployment even in this economy rather than being party to what they see happening around them. Eventually the good people are gone or silenced – and we can see what we’re left with.”
Bullman describes the pandemic of lawless police abuse as a symptom of imperial cultural decay: “We’re heading to hell in a handbasket, just like every empire before us – Greek, Roman, British, all of them. Our institutions reflect the fact that we’ve become fat, arrogant, and lazy – and we’re willing to tolerate violence and lawlessness in our public institutions as long as it happens to someone else. Of course, when it happens to someone we care about, we don’t really have any legitimate reason to complain.”
Two years ago, Bullman suspended his business law practice to focus exclusively on combating police abuse and corruption. He played a role in disbanding Atlanta’s deranged RED DOG (Run Every Drug Dealer Out of Georgia) task force, which he describes as a “black-shirted gestapo who were both autonomous and obtuse.”
A lawsuit filed by Bullman on behalf of five Atlanta residents describes numerous instances in which RED DOG operators picked out vulnerable people – invariably black males – who were handcuffed and then subjected to public strip-searches – including body cavity searches. This was done, Bullman says, as a way of “instilling the appropriate level of terror in the community.”
RED DOG’s most notable accomplishment was the November 2006 home invasion that killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnson, in which the elderly woman was gunned down in a no-knock raid staged on the basis of a bogus tip from an informant. After breaking into Johnson’s home, the police handcuffed her and let her bleed to death while they searched for drugs or cash. Finding none, they planted several small bags of marijuana on the scene. Three officers were eventually convicted of criminal charges and sent to prison, and the city paid a tax victim-subsidized civil settlement of nearly five million dollars to Johnson’s family.
This wasn’t a victory; an innocent grandmother was dead, her family was traumatized, and the self-sustaining culture of police corruption endured. Bullman describes his vocation as an effort “to stop as many people from being abused as possible” – or at least exact some measure of justice for those who have been abused.
Mark Bullman insists that, in principle, he remains “very supportive of law enforcement in general.” It’s doubtful that Levii Dozier – who was nearly killed by an abusive cop before he took his first breath – will share that opinion.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.