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Baton Bob Receives $20,000 Settlement For Coerced Facebook Post 201

McGruber writes: After arresting him during a June 2013 street performance, Atlanta Police Officers forced costumed street performer "Baton Bob" to make a pro-police statement on his Facebook page before they would allow him to be released on bond. Social media coverage of the incident triggered a six-month internal police investigation into the arrest. Atlanta Police Officer H.J. Davis was given a one-day suspension, then resigned from the Atlanta Police department a few weeks later. Atlanta Police Lt. Jeffrey Cantin received a five-day suspension for "violating responsibilities of a supervisor".

Baton Bob also filed a federal lawsuit against the city, arguing that officers made a wrongful arrest that violated, well, nearly every constitutional right you can name. Those included Jamerson's "right to free speech, his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, his right to remain silent while in custody, his right to be free from compelled speech, his right to counsel, and his right to privacy." The City of Atlanta's legal department reviewed the case and determined that a $20,000 settlement would "be in the best interest of the city" rather than fighting the claims in court.
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Baton Bob Receives $20,000 Settlement For Coerced Facebook Post

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  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:36PM (#49714639)

    Screw the Atlanta taxpayers while Davis and Cantin skate. Typical.

    • You'd think cities would care more given how stretched their budgets are becoming of late.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:20PM (#49714869)

        Cities will go completely bankrupt before they even think of reining in their police.

        • The policeman camera is the best reign of all, and many cities are implementing it.

  • make it higher, give the cops a reason to NOT do it again
  • by bistromath007 ( 1253428 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:39PM (#49714649)
    My gut reaction is that our civil rights are going real cheap these days.

    On the other hand, I could really use $20k. I need a new car by next month or I'm fucked.
    • by v1 ( 525388 )

      While it would be nice to see someone grow a pair and say "Nope, I'm not here for hush money, I'm here for my pound of flesh. So buckle up and prepare for some publicity and federal exposure." it's also hard for me to honestly say I wouldn't turn down a free 20g.

      It does seem a bit low though? If it were significantly larger, well, everyone has their price, but 20g is really flying low.

      • when you figure taxes on it (you KNOW you will be taxed) it makes it easier to turn down
        • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          Lawsuit proceeds are not taxed by the Feds -- the theory being that it's not income, rather it represents an attempt at making you whole after a loss. It's the same theory as your insurance company paying the cash value of your car after you total it. That payment isn't taxed either.

      • if you have 20 grams, you should probably give it to gangadude. I bet he'd appreciate it ;)

    • by slickwillie ( 34689 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:15PM (#49714843)

      What's that, about $4-5,000 per amendment?

    • ... use your smartphone to video cops like these.

  • by roccomaglio ( 520780 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:49PM (#49714709)
    I was formally involved with city government. The $20,000 settlement was less than going to court would have cost. Even a declaratory judgment was said to cost at least $20,000.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @08:52PM (#49714723) Homepage

    All the officers involved should be recorded being tazed over and over again and the video put on youtube.

    • Re:not far enough. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:02PM (#49714773)
      They should be put on some type of national-level "bad cop list" so no jurisdiction in the US can ever hire them as law enforcement again. Unfortunately, nothing like that exists and these "bad cops" just move somewhere else and end up violating people's rights in their new town.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rjh ( 40933 )

        If you think the people who hire cops don't bother to check with previous employers and do Google searches on new applicants, you need your head examined. These two are done. They're not going to work as cops ever again.

        • Re:not far enough. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @09:50PM (#49715023)

          I would not bet that way. There are pnumerous private security companies, and even mercenary companies listed as "security contractors", who pay very nice hiring bonuses for trained policemen. And for tough districts short of capable policemen, such as Ferguson, Missouri this year, they're going to be taking whatever they can get.

        • Re:not far enough. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @10:06PM (#49715111) Journal

          These two are done. They're not going to work as cops ever again.

          They may not work for a police department again, but there are probably many places where they can be hired as a sherriff's deputy. Even working as a police officer isn't beyond the realm of possiblity -- none of them was fired.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The guy who shot Tamir Rice was fired from his previous (police) job because of an inability to follow basic instructions and dangerous loss of composure during weapons training. And yet he got hired, again, as a policeman. And then he killed a 12 year old. So, I would suggest maybe you're the one in need of a head exam.

          Fake edit: CAPTCHA is "killed", oddly enough.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          No criminal charges. Were they even officially fired with cause? Or did they get the "resign before we fire you" choice, so they could say "they lost their jobs" but also let them say they were never fired, should they apply to be a cop elsewhere?

          Yeah, these guys could get another job. It's not like people line up to be cops. Low pay, high risk. That's why it attracts the violent wife-beaters and such.
          • Re:not far enough. (Score:5, Informative)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 17, 2015 @11:44PM (#49715539) Journal

            It's not like people line up to be cops. Low pay, high risk.

            That's not as true as you might think. Here are the most dangerous jobs (# of deaths per 100,000):

            Logging workers: 127.8
            Fishermen: 117.0
            Aircraft pilots: 53.4
            Roofers: 40.5
            Garbage collectors: 36.8
            Electrical power line installation/repair: 29.8
            Truck drivers: 22.8
            Oil and gas extraction: 21.9
            Farmers and ranchers: 21.3
            Construction workers: 17.4

            More recently, policing has gotten even lessdangerous.

            And yes, people do in fact "line up" to be police officers. I live a block and a half away from the police academy here in Chicago, and I've seen the lines that form when the police exam is taken. It's a lot of people. And as far as "low reward", that's debatable too. We're talking about a lifetime guaranteed pension after 20 years (not a 401k, but an actual pension. You have that at your job?

            • by dryeo ( 100693 )

              Always surprises me that Aircraft pilots are so high on that list considering how safe air travel is. The rest make sense.

            • Check injury rates, not just fatalities. According to http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/o... [bls.gov], the only work with higher national injury rates is nursing care.

              • Check injury rates, not just fatalities.

                The majority of injuries to police are from routine traffic accidents.

                My point was that the old chestnut about how police officers "put their lives on the line every day" is simply more true about truck drivers or garbage collectors than it is about cops.

                The "high risk/low reward" is just not that true.

        • by Holi ( 250190 )
          Really, can you explain Officer Timothy Loehmann then?
      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        I doubt if any other police force would hire them after this.

        Not for what they did, of course, but because they got caught.

        • by Holi ( 250190 )
          Why? Timothy Loehmann got hired by a major city's police force, this after being deemed emotionally unstable and unfit for duty, especially in his handling of firearms.
    • That's a bit extreme, don't you think? Why not have the Atlanta P.D. place a pro-Baton-Bob statement on their Facebook page and other social media accounts, prominently stating how he's a valued citizen and a community treasure? That would at least be more proportionate, even it's not wholly accurate.

  • Does he also have to move so that somebody doesn't find him shot dead under mysterious circumstances?
  • nearly every constitutional right you can name

    I haven't seen any indication of them violating his second or third amendment rights.

    • Maybe in a couple of weeks your first grade teacher will tell you about the word "nearly" and how it isn't just a random jumble of letters with no meaning that we just throw randomly into sentences for fun.

  • ... coming ... that prohibits coerced posts.
  • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @07:48AM (#49716779)

    He should have held out for $2 million. Are constitutional rights so cheap nowadays that police can cheerfully violate them by the gross, and pay nothing more in compensation than the price of a second-hand car?

  • Seriously. Both the incident itself and how it was subsequently 'dealt with' are of the kind of shit we only expect from actual police state wannabes like China, Russia and any number of fictitious dystopian states.

    On behalf of the civilized world: get your fucking shit together.

  • I love how everyone is saying how "most" police officers are good and do their jobs properly and blah blah blah. Most police officers are clueless about the laws because they have practically no legal training. They can do whatever they want because they have all the power and it takes a 6 month legal nightmare with lawyers and courts and a 3 ring media circus to do anything about that.

    All officers remotely involved should have been fired and charged with criminal charges for starters. Whoever approved

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