Police brutality cases in California and across the country are nothing new. Especially with the increased availability of phones to record audio and video of law enforcement encounters, these events have an increased visibility with the public. With many of these claims now backed up by video evidence, law enforcement is forced to deal with these claims. In one case, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer is defending his actions by pointing a finger at their superiors' pressure to issue more tickets.
In 2014, a man in Sacramento was pulled over by CHP for driving too slowly, making unsafe lane changes, and “drifting.” After the man was ruled out for alcohol DUI, the officer still wanted to arrest him, for drug testing. The man may have resisted arrest, and was allegedly punched and taken to the ground. Unfortunately for CHP, they will not garner much sympathy in this case, where the driver was a 76-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, who could not walk a straight line because of a stroke suffered in 2006.
Now the 78-year-old Harrison Orr is suing the CHP and two officers over the traffic stop, claiming assault and battery, civil rights violations, negligence, elder abuse and false arrest. Orr claimed the officers could not arrest him, because if his hands were cuffed, he would not be able to balance due to his stroke. Orr struggled with the CHP officers, and officer Terry Plumb punched or kicked out Orr's feet, as he was taken down. Orr was arrested, held for hours until cleared as not under the influence, and booked for resisting arrest.
The District Attorney's Office did not prosecute Orr for resisting arrest, due to insufficient evidence. But Orr had faith in his case, and filed a civil complaint, seeking $1,250,000 in damages.
The damage to the CHP may not just come from Orr's assault and battery charges, but more damaging information may have come from the testimony of one of the CHP officer. The other officer involved, Jay Brame, has testified his bosses wanted him to make at least 100 contacts a month, and to write more tickets. Brame testified his bosses wanted him to up the number of written violations. The problem is, California law makes ticket quotas illegal.
CHP officials dispute that there is a quota system. Captain Josh Ehlers said there is no Highway Patrol quota system, and that he's never seen one. However, Brame's own CHP performance reviews indicate superiors wanted more enforcement activity from the motorcycle patrolman. One evaluation reportedly indicated, “you will need to pick up your enforcement activity the second half of the month and use the (motorcycle) for what it is intended to be used for.”
If you have been arrested for a DUI or other criminal charge, don't let a possible quota system lead to a conviction. At Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI and other charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local DUI laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. If you are facing a DUI, or other alcohol-related charges, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.