Things That Matter

A Man Seated In A Vehicle Was Attacked By A K9 Unit And The Community Wants Answers

Police officer Dan Lesser resigned from a K-9 unit after using threatening language on a suspect who was inside a vehicle, then releasing a police dog on him. The Spokesman-Review discovered numerous revelations following the release of public records regarding the investigation into the officer’s conduct. 

The Washington paper discovered that a U.S. marshal and many of Dan’s supervisors did not approve of his actions, but failed to file formal complaints with internal affairs. 

The Spokesman-Review parsed through hundreds of pages of records of an internal investigation into Dan’s conduct. 

“The result of that meeting on 2-13-19 was that Officer Lesser resigned from the K9 unit,” Capt. Tom Hendren wrote in a report. “His resignation was accepted and he has since been reassigned to patrol.”

Dan used a police dog to attack a suspect in a vehicle. 

Dan, who was with his nephew and fellow officer Scott Lesser, was found to have violated his department’s policy when he threatened to kill a suspect. Dan and Scott were also reprimanded for not turning on their body cameras soon enough.

“I’m going to put a bullet in your brain,” Lesser told the suspect Lucas Ellerman. “I’m done f***ing with you.” 

Dan broke the windows of Ellerman’s vehicle and continued to threaten to kill him before telling Scott to get his police dog. 

“I’m coming. Please, don’t,” Ellerman says holding his hands up while climbing out of the backseat. “I’m coming. I’m coming. I’m coming.”

As the dog came closer, Ellerman insists that he doesn’t have a gun. Dan and Scott sicced the dog on Ellerman telling the dog “fass” which is the German command to bite. Ellerman was left with multiple puncture wounds on his leg which later got an infection. 

“I think at that point I’d already made a decision in my mind to already deploy my K-9,” Dan told internal affairs investigators. “Based on all the factors. Based on his active resistance. Based on the crimes. Based on the threats. Everything that I was told, he was armed with a handgun.”

Dan was faulted by supervisors for making violent threats at the suspect and failing to activate his body cam in time but they exonerated Dan for siccing the dog. 

However, the investigation records revealed that three superiors expressed dismay about Dan’s deployment of the animal, but none filed formal complaints with internal fairs as was required. 

Dan’s supervisors face criticism for failing to file formal complaints.

A U.S. marshal who chose to remain anonymous told police Ombudsman Bart Logue, who is an advocate for more oversight of internal affairs investigations, that they questioned Dan’s judgment in releasing the dog. The marshal also expressed serious concerns over the conduct of the police department’s Patrol Anti-Crime Team of which Dan belonged before he resigned. 

Three months before the department’s official investigation, Lt. Rob Boothe sought a second opinion on Dan Lesser’s conduct. Boothe who had been involved with several disciplinary reviews of Lesser feared he might be biased. With Sgt. John Everly’s approval he came to his decision. 

  1. “It is my belief that the suspect posed a potential threat of violence or serious bodily harm, but that threat was not imminent at the time of the application of the canine,” Boothe concluded in his report.

Another supervisor, Sgt. Sean Wheeler was also unconvinced that Ellerman posed a threat to Dan. 

“Ellerman eventually put his hands up and stated he was coming out as he crawled toward the front seat,” Wheeler wrote eight days after the arrest. “This is when Officer D. Lesser deployed his K9.”

While these supervisors were correct to take note of Dan’s behavior, they failed to file an official complaint as the department policy mandates. 

Logue finds the lack of transparency in the case unsettling. 

Because the supervisors failed to file formal complaints the ombudsman was not able to participate in interviews conducted by internal affairs investigators. Logue believes a lack of transparency is a major issue. It is unclear if Dan resigned of his own volition or received pressure from the department to do so — because the records don’t specify either way. 

“There should be nothing off the record” in an internal investigation, Logue said. “Thankfully we don’t have these kinds of cases a lot. But when we do, it seems critical to have all of these things happen aboveboard.”

He believes all of the interviews and conversations conducted should have been meticulously documented. Logue says the investigation “was not being done correctly and in accordance with policy,” until he filed a complaint of his own after being tipped off. 

“There is such a huge difference between an internal affairs investigation and a chain-of-command review,” Logue told the Spokesman-Review.

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Naomi Osaka’s Display Of Support For Black Lives Matter Was The Biggest Win At The U.S. Open… Other Than Her Big Win

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Naomi Osaka’s Display Of Support For Black Lives Matter Was The Biggest Win At The U.S. Open… Other Than Her Big Win

Al Bello / Getty

After taking home a massive victory at Saturday’s U.S. Open, tennis star Naomi Osaka cemented her status as the reigning women’s tennis champion of the year. Her victory against Belarusian tennis play Victoria Azarenka meant she took home her third Grand Slam title in just three years. But the biggest part of Osaka’s win was the powerful statement she decided to make in every match leading up to it.

The 22-year-old walked into the Arthur Ashe Stadium each day using her platform to remind the world of racial injustice.

For each of her matches, the tennis star wore masks emblazoned with the names of Black victims of police violence.

For her final match, Osaka arrived with a mask with Tamir Rice’s name. Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was murdered by Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann in 2014. At the time of his murder, Rice had been carrying a replica toy gun and had been shot by Loehmann almost as soon as the officer arrived at the scene he’d been called to. Reports notes that the caller claimed that a male was pointing “a pistol” at random people but also noted that it was “probably fake.”

Osaka used her platform to also honor Black victims such as Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Ahmaud Arbery.

Breonna Taylor was a Black woman who lost her life after being fatally shot by police in March while she was sleeping in her home. Elijah McClain was killed by police in August 2019 after being put in a chokehold. Ahmaud Arbery was killed while on a jog in February. Osaka also wore the names of Trayvon Martin and Philando Castille. At the time Martin’s death in 2012, he was just 17-years old. Castille was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in 2016.

“I feel like I’m a vessel at this point in order to spread awareness,” Osaka noted to ESPNW after her quarter-final win earlier last week. At the time, Osaka sported a mask bearing George Floyd’s name. Floyd’s murder in May, sparked protests across the country.

In seeing Osaka’s dedication to his son, Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery, Sr. told Osaka in a video message, “God bless you for what you’re doing.” Osaka later remarked in a tweet that after watching the video messages she “cried so much. The strength and the character both of these parents have is beyond me.”

After being asked about the intention behind the masks and what message she was intending to get a cross in a post-match interview, Osaka asked “Well, what was the message you got?… I feel like the point is to make people start talking.”

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Jacob Blake Sends A Powerful Message To His Supporters And It’s One That We All Need To Hear

Things That Matter

Jacob Blake Sends A Powerful Message To His Supporters And It’s One That We All Need To Hear

@attorneycrump / Twitter

As protests over the shootings and deaths of Black Americans continue to take place across the country, one survivor of police violence is speaking out.

Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in the back seven times, is now paralyzed from the waist down. However, despite his heartbreaking story, he is using his voice to speak out amidst the violence and is offering an uplifting and encouraging message to those who are supporting him.

Despite being in extreme pain – which he details in the video – Blake appears to be in good spirits and hopes to help create change with his story of survival.

Jacob Blake is speaking out from his hospital bed where he lies paralyzed from the waist down — and his message is simple.

A video was posted this weekend by Blake’s family attorney, Ben Crump, which appears to have been filmed by a friend of his named Mike. It shows Jacob lying in his hospital gown and addressing the camera — sharp, alert and precise with his words.

He tells anybody who might not be living right to turn things around, as he assures them they don’t wanna end up like him, with unbearable pain, which he documents in great detail. He also addresses the African-American community at large — and it’s very uplifting.

Blake also spoke of the pain he was suffering. “Every 24 hours it’s pain, nothing but pain. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to sleep, it hurts to move from side to side, it hurts to eat,” he said.

“Your life, and not only just your life, your legs, something you need to move around and forward in life, can be taken from you like this,” he said, clicking his fingers.

“Stick together, make some money, make everything easier for our people out there, man, because there’s so much time that’s been wasted,” he added.

Blake is paralyzed from the waist down after a white police officer shot him in the back, seven times.

A white police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times while trying to arrest him, as he tried to get into a car. The shooting happened just inches away from his children, who watched what happened in horror.

Blake was not armed when he was shot and the footage of the incident paints a damning picture of police brutality.

Videos of the shooting, which were uploaded online, sparked a series of protests in Kenosha, which turned violent at points. Two protesters were killed amid widespread looting and vandalism. A 17-year-old has been charged over the deaths. 

Both President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have since visited the city. Mr. Biden spoke over the phone with Mr Blake and met his relatives. He has called for the officer who shot him in the back to be arrested.

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