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Pre-Crime Policing Disgruntled Man Update

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by Father of four, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This to me is a serious issue! I would like for us to keep updates to this story in mind. We recently had like a HUGE discussion on the topic already. This thread is for Updating News and Information on the Pre-Crime Policing story listed bellow. Please lets see what happens as we post the updates. Thanks, Father of four


    Pre-Crime Policing

    Allegedly “disgruntled” man has his guns seized, and “voluntarily” surrenders to two SWAT teams and dozens of police officers for a crime that hadn’t been committed

    Radley Balko | March 16, 2010

    Listen to Audio Version (MP3)

    To hear them tell it, the five police agencies who apprehended 39-year-old Oregonian David Pyles early on the morning of March 8 thwarted another lone wolf mass murderer. The police "were able to successfully take a potentially volatile male subject into protective custody for a mental evaluation," announced a press release put out by the Medford, Oregon, police department. The subject had recently been placed on administrative leave from his job, was "very disgruntled," and had recently purchased several firearms. "Local Law Enforcement agencies were extremely concerned that the subject was planning retaliation against his employers," the release said. Fortunately, Pyles "voluntarily" turned himself over to police custody, and the legally purchased firearms "were seized for safekeeping."

    This voluntary exchange involved two SWAT teams, police officers from Medford and nearby Roseburg, sheriff's deputies from Jackson and Douglas counties, and the Oregon State Police. Oregon State Police Sgt. Jeff Proulx explained to South Oregon's Mail Tribune why the operation was such a success: "Instead of being reactive, we took a proactive approach."

    There's just one problem: David Pyles hadn't committed any crime, nor was he suspected of having committed one. The police never obtained a warrant for either search or arrest. They never consulted with a judge or mental health professional before sending out the military-style tactical teams to take Pyle in.

    "They woke me up with a phone call at about 5:50 in the morning," Pyles told me in a phone interview Friday. "I looked out the window and saw the SWAT team pointing their guns at my house. The officer on the phone told me to turn myself in. I told them I would, on three conditions: I would not be handcuffed. I would not be taken off my property. And I would not be forced to get a mental health evaluation. He agreed. The second I stepped outside, they jumped me. Then they handcuffed me, took me off my property, and took me to get a mental health evaluation."

    By noon the same day, Pyles had already been released from the Rogue Valley Medical Center with a clean bill of mental health. Four days later the Medford Police Department returned Pyle’s guns, despite telling him earlier in the week—falsely—that he'd need to undergo a second background check before he could get them back. On Friday the Medford Police Department put out a second press release, this time announcing that the agency had returned the "disgruntled" worker's guns, and "now considers this matter closed.

    That seems unlikely. Pyles' case has spurred outrage in the gun rights community. Kevin Starrett of the Oregon Firearms Federation has been advising Pyles, and helped get his guns back. Oregon-based syndicated conservative talk radio host Lars Larson has taken up the story. And Pyles is now attorney shopping for a possible civil rights lawsuit.

    At root behind this case and others like it is our naïve, hopeful, and sometimes even dangerous belief that every horrible shooting spree or lone-wolf act of terrorism can be prevented. We seem unable to accept the idea that bad people will occasionally do bad things. Every new mass shooting spurs an urge to assign blame beyond the shooter: What political ideology inspired him? Who missed the “warning signs,” and why wasn't he apprehended ahead of time? Gun retailers are scrutinized and vilified, even when they've complied with the law. In ensuing days and weeks, politicians mull new laws, often both ineffective and constricting on our liberty.

    There's nothing wrong with looking for signs that someone is about to snap, and if he's putting up multiple red flags, we'd certainly want law enforcement to investigate, possibly to chat with the person and his friends and family. And obviously if someone has made specific threats, a criminal investigation should follow. But that's a far cry from what happened to Pyles.

    Pyles' problems began last June after a series of grievances with his employer, the Oregon Department of Transportation. "This was always a professional thing for me," he says. "It was never personal. We were handling the grievances through the process stipulated in the union contract." Pyles declined to discuss the nature of the complaints, citing stipulations in his contract.

    On March 4, Pyles was placed on administrative leave, which required him to work from home. On March 5, 6, and 7, after getting his income tax refund, he made three purchases of five firearms. Pyles describes himself as a gun enthusiast, who had already owned several weapons. All three new purchases required an Oregon background check, which would have prohibited the transactions had Pyles ever been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving violence, or been committed by the state to a mental health institution. Pyles says he has no criminal record, and says he never threatened anyone in his office. (A specific threat of violence would have likely brought a criminal charge.) The Oregon State Police, the Medford Police Department, and the Oregon Department of Transportation did not respond to requests for comment.

    "In my opinion, the apprehension of David Pyles was a violation of Oregon's kidnapping laws," says James Leuenberger, a criminal defense attorney who is also advising Pyles. "He definitely deserves to be compensated for what they did to him, but even if he wins a civil rights suit, that will just result in the officers' employers paying for their mistakes." That of course means the final tab will be paid by Oregon's taxpayers, not the offending cops. "I want these law enforcement officials held personally responsible," Leuenberger says. "I want them criminally charged."

    It's hard to see that happening. Joseph Bloom, a psychiatrist at Oregon Health & Science University and a specialist in civil commitment law, says the police who apprehended and detained Pyles were likely acting under the cover of Oregon law. Bloom says the police are permitted to make a determination on their own to take someone in for a mental health evaluation—there's no requirement that they first consult with a judge or mental health professional. Bloom believes this is a wise policy. "It's important to remember that this is a civil process," he says. "There's no arrest, these people aren't being taking to jail. It's not a criminal action."

    So SWAT teams, guns, and handcuffs...but not a criminal action? And what if Pyles had refused to "voluntarily" surrender to the police? "Well, yes," Bloom says. "I guess then it would become a criminal matter."

    If what happened to Pyles is legal, in Oregon or elsewhere, we need to take a second look at the civil commitment power. Even setting aside the SWAT team overkill in Medford, there's something awfully discomfiting about granting government authorities the power to yank someone from their home and drag them in for a mental health evaluation based on a series of actions that were perfectly legal, especially with no prior oversight from a judge, or guidance from a psychiatrist.

    "The idea that Pyles turned himself in voluntarily is ridiculous," says Starrett, the gun rights activist. "There's nothing voluntary about waking up to a SWAT team outside your home, then having a police negotiator call and suggest you surrender. They had no arrest warrant. But Pyles only had one option. If he didn't come out on his own, they were going to come in to get him."

    Even if the apprehension of Pyles was legal, the seizure of his guns wasn't. Because civil commitment laws aren't criminal in nature, they don't carry authorization for the police to search a private residence. According to Pyles, he closed the door behind him as he left his home. Because the police didn't have a search warrant, they had no right to even enter Pyles' home, much less seize guns inside that he bought and possessed legally.

    For a potential mass murderer, Pyles is remarkably placid and big-picture about what happened to him. "I've been looking for a new job for months," he says. "But given the economy, I'm pretty lucky to be getting a paycheck, even given all of this. For me, this is about civil rights. This seems like something the NRA and the ACLU can agree on. South Oregon is big gun country. If something like this can happen here, where just about everyone owns a gun, it can happen anywhere."

    Radley Balko is a senior editor at Reason magazine.
     
  2. shelt

    shelt Bend Member

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    So when this was first posted there were still a lot of "what-if's" in the air but now we can see the police were clearly out of line.

    Not even a warrant??? WoW
     
  3. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    City of Medford Oregon / Police / City News and Events

    Disgruntled Employee to be Evaluated

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Medford Police Department

    411 W 8th Street

    Medford, OR 97501



    Date: March 8, 2010



    Contact: Lt. Bob Hansen

    Public Information Officer

    541-774-2217





    Type of Incident: Disgruntled Employee to be Evaluated



    Date and time of incident: 03/08/10 at 2100 hours



    Location of incident: 500 block of Effie Street, Medford



    On 030810, the Medford Police Department SWAT Team and the Hostage Negotiating Team were able to successfully take a potentially volatile male subject into protective custody for a mental evaluation.



    The subject had been recently placed on administrative leave from his place of employment and was very disgruntled. The subject had legally purchased several firearms within the last of couple of days.



    Local Law Enforcement agencies were extremely concerned that the subject was planning retaliation against his employers. Early this morning, members of the Hostage Negotiating Team were able to talk the subject into voluntarily surrendering to awaiting SWAT Team members. The subject was transported for treatment at a local hospital. The firearms were seized for safekeeping.







    Media Release prepared by: Lt. Bob Hansen Date: 3/8/2010 Time: 10:03 AM

    (After business hours and weekends, contact Watch Commander at 541-774-2290)
     
  4. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    City of Medford Oregon / Police / City News and Events

    Update - Disgruntled Employee

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Medford Police Department

    411 W 8th Street

    Medford, OR 97501



    Date: March 12, 2010



    Contact: Lt. Bob Hansen

    Public Information Officer

    541-774-2217





    Type of Incident: Disgruntled Employee to be Evaluated



    Date and time of incident: 03/08/10 at 2100 hours



    Location of incident: 500 block of Effie Street, Medford



    On 030810, the Medford Police Department SWAT Team and the Hostage Negotiating Team were able to successfully take a potentially volatile male subject into protective custody for a mental evaluation.



    The subject had been recently placed on administrative leave from his place of employment and was very disgruntled. The subject had legally purchased several firearms within the last of couple of days.



    Local Law Enforcement agencies were extremely concerned that the subject was planning retaliation against his employers. Early this morning, members of the Hostage Negotiating Team were able to talk the subject into voluntarily surrendering to awaiting SWAT Team members. The subject was transported for treatment at a local hospital. The firearms were seized for safekeeping.



    ** UPDATE **



    Today, 031210 at approximately 1100 hours, all of the firearms held by the Medford Police Department in this incident were returned to the owner without incident.



    The Medford Police Department now considers this matter closed.







    Media Release prepared by: Lt. Bob Hansen Date: 3/12/2010 Time: 2:27 PM

    (After business hours and weekends, contact Watch Commander at 541-774-2290)
     
  5. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    Its about guns.

    Mr Pyles bought 3 guns. 1 of which was an assualt rifle. That is what caused all this.

    The full story has yet to be told.
     
  6. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Police act swiftly after gun purchases
    ODOT worker who'd been put on leave is mentally evaluated after buying handguns, AK-47


    March 09, 2010
    Anita Burke
    By Anita Burke
    Mail Tribune

    Concerns about an Oregon Department of Transportation employee who purchased several guns after being placed on leave prompted law enforcement across Southern Oregon to step in.

    Negotiators and a SWAT team from Medford police safely took a man — whose name wasn't released — into protective custody Monday morning in the 500 block of Effie Street, Medford police said in a news release.
    Related Stories

    * ODOT worker in guns seizure case firing back at city
    * Man, guns held by police spur controversy
    * ODOT worker wants guns; police say they'll comply

    He was taken to Rogue Valley Medical Center for a mental-health evaluation.

    The man recently had been placed on administrative leave from his job and was "very disgruntled," the news release said.

    ODOT Communications Director Patrick Cooney said there were administrative, personnel matters involved that limited what the department could discuss.

    However, the state agency had reported concerns about the man to law enforcement agencies, who started monitoring him, officials said.

    "We had concerning information regarding a personnel issue and were watching the subject," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

    In two days, the man bought a Heckler & Koch .45-caliber universal self-loading handgun, a Walther .380-caliber handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle, Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said. All of those firearms were purchased legally, with required record checks by the Oregon State Police.

    Authorities were "extremely concerned" that the man may have been planning to retaliate against his employers, the news release said.

    "Instead of being reactive, we took a proactive approach," OSP Sgt. Jeff Proulx said.

    Douglas and Jackson County sheriff's departments, OSP officers based in both counties and police in Medford and Roseburg collaborated, he said.

    Medford police watched the man's home overnight, starting at about 9 p.m. Sunday, Hansen said.

    Because he was known to have weapons, police wanted to defuse the situation and ensure the man wasn't a danger to himself or others before the neighborhood awakened and people started their daily activities, Hansen said.

    Medford's hostage negotiators and SWAT team were called in at 3 a.m. Monday and arrived on the scene at about 5:45 a.m., he said.

    About a dozen officers responded. They closed the street for about an hour and evacuated three homes to protect neighbors and prevent bystanders from gathering, he said.

    After a phone conversation with negotiators, the man — who was alone in the home — agreed to come out, Hansen said.

    Police seized the recently purchased firearms, as well as another .45-caliber Heckler & Koch handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun. Police are holding the weapons for safekeeping, but no criminal charges have been filed.

    Reach reporter Anita Burke at 541-776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.
     
  7. Father of four

    Father of four Portland, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Right. The full story has not yet been told. Updates anyone?
     
  8. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting and far closer to my original thought of what happened.

    Looks like a few people will be sitting around with a foot in their mouths.
     
  9. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    "Assault rifle" is a full auto machine gun. Please use the correct terms

    I've been "very disgruntled" at times if you asked my libtard/moron co-workers.. but never harmed anyone
     
  10. Murphy

    Murphy Oregon Member

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    I would absolutely love to be on the jury during this civil case.
     
  11. Ravenous

    Ravenous West Linn, OR Member

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    So who called the cops and what did the person tell them? It wasn't just because he purchased 3 guns otherwise they'd be knocking on 1000's of doors. I'm interested in hearing more, I wonder why he was put on leave?
     
  12. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    No warrant? Well that's just BS! What if he said for the cops to go pound sand? What would they charge him with? Why was he even cuffed in the first place and removed from his residence? I can fully understand a phone call "Hey Mr. Pyles, we heard you got in some trouble at work and bought a few guns, may we ask what they're for? Do you want to hurt anyone? Do you want to hurt yourself?"

    I think I can make a judgment on this article now...and before someone comments on the other thread that locked- remember, all that we asked was to reserve judgment on the officers until more information came out. Now it's pretty obvious that the officers acted on their own accord. No warrant means unlawful detainment which means violation of your 4th Amendment rights!

    Where most people had a problem with the "other thread" was the disrespect in people that were giving the officers the benifit of the doubt.

    I have no doubt that more people will hop on here going "HA, told you so!" when it was simply unnecessary...the other article wasn't even half as long as the above article...how anyone could make a conclusion from that is still beyond me. The no warrant situation answers a lot of my questions as to whether or not Pyles committed a crime (i.e. threatening to come in shooting his co-workers). So now I can sit and point fingers and call BS.
     
  13. Ravenous

    Ravenous West Linn, OR Member

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    Well said Riot :thumbup: I don't see how they could orchestrate this whole thing without getting approval from a judge first. I still think there is more to the story but I think somebody is going to loose their job/get demoted over this.
     
  14. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    There's no new info on this story than what was posted in the first thread regarding it as far as I can tell. Still sounds like OFF and Mr. Pyles def. attorney will get this sorted out. Mr. Pyles will likely get rich at our expense thanks to an over-reactive, not a pro-active, LE decision.
     
  15. ZachS

    ZachS Eugene/PDX Active Member

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    This article is sensationalist and biased. Not saying that makes it wrong, but it is what it is.

    In my mind, this is a key quote:

    Whether the police used this power correctly (and whether they should have this power at all) are, of course, open to debate - but an arrest warrant is not required to detain someone. Most of the the posters in this thread and the previous one have been barking up the wrong tree.
     
  16. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    The question still remains about Pyles' Fourth Amendment rights.
    To say that he voluntarily surrendered to police is absolutely ludicrous!
    "Volunteering" at the muzzles of multiple tactical weapons is known as coersion, plain and simple. His question to Medford's mayor is a valid one.
    Here is the article that was in Salem's Statesman Journal:
    http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100317/UPDATE/100317018
    Then there is the issue of the police seizing his property (guns) without a warrant.

    I say kidnapping and theft charges are in order.
     
  17. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    I agree with you in that I doubt ANY LEO will be personally held liable for what took place. The only thing I can think of that would change that would be if one of the officers calling the shots was found to have some sort of a vendetta against Mr. Pyles. That, I think, is highly unlikely.

    Wrists will be slapped, Pyles will have a handsome recompense, and takes payers will lose. Hopefully, this type of 'pro-active' activity will be better played out in the future.

    This whole thing still stinks and I don't think the waters will clear unless his employment situation is known. That probably won't happen.
     
  18. eriknemily

    eriknemily Tillamook County (Cheese!) Member

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    Agreed:thumbup:
     
  19. 56kninja

    56kninja Portland Member

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    ^

    I don't think it was about guns. But maybe it could of been. It certainly was a factor...

    So basically a couple of Sheriffs completely over stretched their power, probably in an attempt to look good to the public with the plan possibly starting to back fire.

    I would have just told them to go away.

    Who would a person call if the police pulled this on them?
     
  20. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    This is all very disturbing.
    Things like this are becoming more and more common and all too reminicent of the Soviet Union and Chinese tactics.
    Thought and perceived thought police.
    This is an extremely DANGEROUS trend !!
    Almost as bad as the witch trials of long ago.
    How the **** did this country revert to this...............
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2010