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What was your experience in that field?
I have 12 years of law enforcement experience, 5 years of active duty in the United States Army, and 16 years of experience teaching law enforcement officers.
What does this report contain?
This report contains my opinions and conclusions on the matter of lack of probable cause, unreasonable force, and violation of department policy by Sam Smith.
What did you review to make your report?
I reviewed all of the affidavidts that were provided to me as well as the Lakeview Police and Fire Dispatch Report and the Incident Reports. I also reviewed the Lakeview Police Department Standard operating procedure Rules 4.0-4.2, Article 1, Section 11 of the Illinois Constitution, and the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Along with those I also reviewed all of the medical records and visited Washington Park where the interaction occurred. Finally I also reviewed the Addison Grant's Complaint and Officer Smith's response to that complaint.
Can you please explain the basis of probable cause?
A basis for probable cause means that, under the totality of circumstances, a reasonable officer would have reason to believe an arrestee is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a crime.
Is there anything else we should know about probable cause?
Yes. Probable cause is different from reasonable suspicion. Reasonable suspicion is more of a hunch or a guess about someone committing a crime, while probable cause to arrest someone is based on reasonable facts about the suspect or actually physically seeing the arrestee commit a crime. Reasonable suspicion is not enough justification to arrest someone.
Why do you believe this?
I believe this because First, the generic description of the individual who had committed the crime only vaguely matched Grant, and Grant had been sitting, minding her own business in the park when Smith confronted. There was no indication to believe Grant had committed a crime.
So it wouldn't be reasonable for an officer to think Grant looked like he had just committed a crime?
Absolutely not. Grant wasn't running, he wasn't out of breath, and he clearly did not possess the stolen item. Grant was not acting unusual in any way.
If the stolen purse had been found on him , would that be probable cause for Grant to be arrested.
Yes. However, no pink purse was found on or around Grant, before or after the arrest. The red and white hankerchief does not even remotely match the pink flowered pattern described, therefore was no probable cause to arrest Grant.
Is there anything else you want the jury to know?
Yes. Grant was located by Smith only 3 to 5 minutes after the crime had been committed and because she didn't show any signs of being involved in the crime, it was unreasonable for officer smith to make that arrest.
Thank you. Now we will move onto reasonable force. Can you please explain the basis of reasonable force for us?
Sure. The basis for reasonable force for any officer in any situation is that they must use only the amount of force reasonable to bring an arrestee or the situation under control.
Is there anything else we should know about reasonable force?
Yes. The standard operating procedures of Lakeview Police Dept. outlines several factors to be considered when determining the use of force.
What are those factors?
The officer must consider alternate methods of control, the weapons on the individual, the nature of the encounter, the severity of the offense, and the individuals disabilities or mental conditions that the officer is aware or should be aware of.
What is that opinion?
I do not believe Sam Smith used reasonable force in this incident. I came to this conclusion for 3 main reasons.
What was the first reason?
Well first, Smith wrongfully escalated the situation rather than defusing it. Officers are supposed to enter each situation neutrally and with the least amount of force possible. Sam Smith failed to do this.
why did he fail
Sam Smith approached Grant and commanded he put his hands up in the air and he already had his handcuffs out and ready.
Did Officer Smith enter this situation neutrally?
Absolutely not. Smith used his prior interactions with Grant to evaluate the situation which escalated the situation.
Did Smith take into account Grant's medical condition?
He did not. Smith had noted about Grant's twitchy nature before, and during this arrest Grant warned Smith he was about to have a seizure yet Smith did nothing about it. Therefore, he unreasonably assumed that Grant was trying to harm him rather than give Grant the medical assistance he needed.
What is your second reason?
Smith used excessive levels of force because of his unreasonable fear of injury.
Why do you say he had unreasonable fear of injury?
Smith assumed the worst of Grant, even though Grant was usually non violent in their past interactions with each other, according to the materials I was given to review.
What did Officer Smith do as a result of this unreasonable fear?
He did not conduct any further investigation on Grant, and immediately deployed his stun gun.
What is your final reason?
Finally, Grant's use of force largely exceeded any possible resistance by Grant.
How did you come to this conclusion?
While Grant was visibly having a seizure, Smith threw Grant onto the concrete and struck her until she was unconscious. In addition to that Smith used his stun gun, a rough takedown, and brutal punches all while Grant was seizing.
How was Grant after this attack?
The medical documents show that Grant needed emergency care following these attacks. Grant still suffers from brain trauma that will never fully heal.
Thank you. To conclude, what is your final opinion in this case.
My final opinion is that Sam Smith used an unreasonable amount of force and therefore violated department policy by using unreasonable amount of force and having no probable cause to arrest Grant.
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