Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Gladney Police Report

Dana Loesch, who really does not actually know very much about the Kenneth Gladney case (as evidenced by her embarrassing attacks on a local county counselor), has recently been spreading more verifiable misinformation about the altercation. Pointing out some of these falsehoods will serve as a nice reminder of some of the main flaws in treating the police report on the incident as gospel. In fact, the police report contains several falsehoods and is based entirely on the testimony of biased tea party activists. As stated by someone arguing with Loesch on Twitter:

That, as we will see, is particularly salient in this case, but first I'll focus on some of Loesch's specific falsehoods. For starters, Loesch repeatedly claimed that Kelly Owens was "beaten" and "punched in the face." And, in fact, the police report also states that Owens was hit in the face. However, in an extended video from the night that includes Owens being interviewed by the police, Owens specifically responds, when asked by the police where she was hit, that her camera was hit which in turn hit her face. So she was not "punched in the face," and she certainly was not "beaten." Now, I'm certainly not saying that Cheryl Joiner's act of hitting Owens' camera was OK. Joiner was wrong to do that and I'm glad that charges were filed. However, to claim that a simple act of slapping a camera is the same thing as beating someone or punching them in the face, and specifically as being in the same category as stomping on a woman's neck, is just plain wrong.

Second, Loesh claimed the following later on Twitter:
Considering that at 8/09 townhall one of the guys fell to the ground and screamed "police brutality!" when ZERO cops were near him ...and when he refused to move so police could do their job he refused and was subsequently arrested? Forgive if at times I'm suspicious.
This claim, also, was in the police report. And again, available video shows that the police report is false. I previously documented the problems with the police report on Matthews:
There are several problems with the case against Matthews that can be observed by comparing the police report to the video of the arrest.

First, Matthews is charged with "interfering with the duties of a police officer" (p. 11). However, in the video, it's clear that Matthews (dark blue shirt and long ponytail) is actually trying to lead Javonne away from the scene.

Second, the police report (p. 11) claims that "As Captain Monteleone was assisting us with crowd control a subject, later identified as Brian Matthews, walked up to him and purposely fell onto the sidewalk in front of him." But you can see from the video (1:42) that Matthews was walking in front of the officer away from the scene when he fell.

Finally, the report claims that Matthews was "on the ground yelling that he was being beaten by the police, trying to draw attention to himself." However, in the video you can very clearly hear Javonne speaking as she is arrested. Matthews is right next to her. If he was "yelling" it would have been picked up on the video.
Matthews presented a similar case to the prosecutor, who decided to drop the charges. I'm pretty confident that if Matthews had actually been screaming about "police brutality," law enforcement would not decide to be merciful with him. So far, two major strikes against the police report.

Strike three and the out for the police report comes from an interview of Harris Himes conducted by Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft. Himes and his wife were two of the three witnesses cited in the original police report. In his interview with Hoft, Himes managed to contradict both his own and his wife's statements from the police report:
So, the police report describes Himes testimony as follows:
Witness H. Himes stated that as he was leaving the school gymnasium, he saw Suspect McCowan talking to Victim Gladney. He stated he saw Suspect McCowan reach over the table and punch Victim Gladney in the face. This assault knocked the victim off balance. Suspect Molens then went around the table and pulled Victim Gladney over the table backwards by the back of his shirt collar. He began to punch and kick Victim Gladney. Witness H. Himes added that while Suspect Molens was kicking and punching Victim Gladney, Suspect McCowan then joined in on the assault.
However, in the new video Himes said (0:29):
And so I looked back because I heard a noise behind. And, it was my wife however, who could corroborate the fact that it was really a hate crime because she heard the black man who claims he's a minister also said "what's a ..... doing here" ... that was essentially what she heard. And I looked back and then I saw this guy slap Gladney...slap his hand away and start striking him but the other big white guy grabbed him and threw him down to the ground. So I came back, and I was trying to get them off Gladney, and my wife was circling to keep any of the others from jumping me. And so then we got them off and broke it up once and then they attacked him again. "

This is radically different than the initial story. First of all, Himes admits that he did not see how the fight started, even though the original police report suggests that he did. Second, he now claims that he first saw McCowan "slap Gladney's hand." In the original police report, he claimed that McCowan had reached "over the table" and punched Gladney. The fact that he said he saw him slapping Gladney's hand is especially significant since one of the original questions I raised was why Gladney says, at 0:43 of the original video of the altercation, "why'd you hit my hands?" If Gladney had just been beaten up, why would he ask about his hands? Likewise, if Himes had witnessed Gladney being severely beaten, why would he talk about his hands getting slapped? This of course dovetails with the with strangeness of the fact that Gladney was clearly walking around and looked uninjured in the original video, but then showed up in a wheelchair purportedly unable to walk or talk a few days later.

Furthermore, Himes then says that he he saw Molens come over and throw Gladney, "to the ground." But of course, this is the part we already saw in the video (when Molens is pulling Gladney, who looks like he's about to throw a punch, away from McCowan who's laying on the ground) , while the official right-wing story is that the alleged assault happened before the video. In other words, from what I can tell, basically all Himes witnessed other than a "hand slap" is the same thing that we saw on the video!

And what about his wife? In the police report, it says:
Witness #2, Sandra Himes', statement of the incident concurred with Harris' account of the incident. She did add that Victim Gladney did nothing to provoke this assualt.
But in the interview with Gateway Pundit, Harris has this to say (0:22):
Well, actually my wife had stopped to look at the buttons and the flags he was handing out, and just as she turned away, that's when he was attacked by the two SEIU guys..."
In other words, she did not see how the fight started either, because she had "just" turned away! But, again, this is in direct contradiction to the police report, which implied that she was a witness to the actual events. Furthermore, his story doesn't say anything about the two other people who Gladney and David Brown claimed also attacked Gladney.

In other words, Harris Himes has just told a story that contradicts the testimony of two of the three witnesses who claimed that Gladney was brutally beaten.
Returning to the above point that a police report is only as good as the witnesses it includes, we now have evidence that two of the witnesses' testimony was contradicted by Himes. Harris Himes is also a well-known right-wing activist in Montana who leaked his story to Big Government, so he clearly has a political agenda. And the only other witness in the police report is also a tea partier who can be seen on video earlier in the day being held back from attacking an SEIU member.

So, just to review:
  • We have at least three central claims in the police report being directly contradicted by video evidence from the scene or later interviews with the same witnesses.
  • We also have only three "witnesses" who didn't actually witness the fight starting and who all happen to be tea partiers with clear ideological agendas.
  • And finally we have a ridiculous arrest of Post-Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman by the same police during the same events.

  • The combined force of all of these flaws in the police report strongly suggests that it would be a huge mistake to take the police report from that night as the gospel truth.


    1. stop making sense, you'll only confuse them more. she will say anything to get attention and does not deserve anymore from progressives in St.Louis. Not like she'll go away or anything, but you might as well argue with a cinder block, you'll probably get farther than with her or her ilk.

    2. I can't find any updates on this story. The trial was set for Oct. 26, so is it now in progress?

    3. Supposedly, the trial has been moved back again. I don't know all the details, but will see what I can find out.