Needham police chief, three officers accused of racial profiling, unlawful search | MassCops

Needham police chief, three officers accused of racial profiling, unlawful search

Discussion in 'Law Enforcement Articles' started by RodneyFarva, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    NEEDHAM, Mass. —

    Needham police Chief John Schlittler is among a group of town officers accused of racial profiling, lawyers from the Boston-based firm Lawyers for Civil Rights said Tuesday.

    In documents shared with the Needham Times, Marvin Henry's attorneys say Schlittler and three officers handcuffed him after he purchased cough drops and an iced tea at CVS during his lunch break on Jan. 25.
    Henry, a Black father of four, works as a massage therapist at Massage Envy in Needham and drives for the ride-share company, Lyft.

    The attorneys said the incident was a violation of Henry's Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.

    "He had walked to his minivan and put his CVS bag and lunch order in his vehicle when he was confronted by four police officers, one who yelled, 'Hey you, come here!'" the letter to Schlittle said. "Mr. Henry believes you were present as well as an [another officer]."

    The Needham Police Department referred all comments to the town’s public information officer, Cyndi Roy Gonzalez.

    "Given current tensions and heightened awareness around issues of race and discrimination and policing, it is particularly imperative that we fully understand the facts before coming to any conclusions," the statement said. "The town will conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and asks that the community withhold judgment until that investigation is complete."

    Gonzales said the town determined the police chief was not at the scene during the incident. "Given the magnitude of what is alleged to have occurred, it is critical that the record be corrected to reflect that fact," the statement said. "The town takes seriously all allegations contained in the letter."

    According to the attorney’s letter, the officers detained Henry for more than a half-hour, suspecting him of shoplifting.

    The attorneys said Henry asked officers to allow him to use his email to prove the CVS purchase.

    Henry's vehicle was searched with his consent, and the handcuffs were reportedly removed when the officers found nothing.

    According to Henry's lawyers, he was told he would receive a summons in the mail but more than six months later, none arrived. Henry's attorneys said the police department denied a public records request asking for all surveillance video obtained during the officer’s investigation into Henry’s CVS purchase.

    The Needham Times reports Henry’s attorneys are asking Schlittler to investigate the allegations and share all existing documentation of the incident. They are also seeking an apology from the department to Henry, something one of the officers allegedly promised if surveillance footage obtained from CVS showed Henry did not steal.
  2. Tango_Sierra

    Tango_Sierra MassCops Member

    So this happens in January but now all of the sudden comes out? And where’s the part left out about who called the police? Why aren’t they mentioned?
    mpd61, Sooty, res2244 and 3 others like this.
  3. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    mpd61, AB7 and Tango_Sierra like this.
  4. visible25

    visible25 MassCops Member

    " Henry's attorneys said the police department denied a public records request asking for all surveillance video obtained during the officer’s investigation into Henry’s CVS purchase."

    Most local departments do not have access, nor keep, business' surveillance footage. Not sure why they requested that from the Department and not CVS?
  5. CCCSD

    CCCSD MassCops Member

    Sue the attorney for selected discriminatory practices and harassment.
    mpd61 likes this.
  6. AB7

    AB7 MassCops Member

    CVS, at best, has 3-4 months of video surveillance archived. Depending on how active the store is and whether they’re 24 hours or regular business hours.

    Police departments do not regularly request video surveillance for an exculpatory reason. They request video surveillance if there is something material to prove a crime or charge.

    Most CVS stores do not have well-trained staff that can retrieve and burn videos to DVDs. Usually they wait for a regional LP manager to do it, which may or may not get done.

    And something very critical is missing from this. Who called the police? Police don’t just show up and handcuff black people under suspicion of shoplifting.

    I smell somebody looking for a pay day. This type of predatory litigation should result in criminal prosecution for the false accusers.
  7. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    That's all this is and nothing more, also most retail stores have any and all video stored off site to a data center, mostly by their alarm/security company.
    Sooty and res2244 like this.
  8. res2244

    res2244 MassCops Member

    A lot of times the drives are connected to the corporate office in a data center, so in this case; that footage probably is not just in the store but also in Woonsocket. CVS also doesn't have someone dedicated to loss prevention anyway so an inquiry would almost certainly be taken by a regional LP person and/or the supervisors of that store location
    RodneyFarva likes this.
  9. Edmizer1

    Edmizer1 MassCops Member

    One of the tactics used by these "civil rights" attorneys now is to keep quiet about an incident until a certain amount of time has elapsed so that police witnesses and evidence will not be archived by the police department because the police department does not anticipate litigation while behind the scenes the plaintiffs are gathering ammunition. The PD is suddenly caught off guard and the evidence needed to raise a defense has largely disappeared. It happened to me once where I was served with a lawsuit a couple of weeks before the three year statute of limitations was to run out. It was for an incident I barely remembered and totally never expected a civil suit.
    CCCSD, Goose and RodneyFarva like this.
  10. Bloodhound

    Bloodhound MassCops Member

    CVS called 911 about shoplifiting. CVS gave the suspect description. Sue CVS.
    PBC FL Cop and CCCSD like this.
  11. AB7

    AB7 MassCops Member

    This is what happens when you have untrained personnel (store managers, “lead” cashiers) doing the work of loss prevention who receive at least a minimal amount of training to properly report shoplifting, and understand when not to.

    CVS disbanded all those folks in late 2017 following some major incidents.

    Like this one:

    And this one:
    EXCLUSIVE: CVS loss prevention agent accused of sexually assaulting several women: police sources

    And this is the type of results we get. Police receive a call about shoplifting, going off of the merchants statement (phone call) they respond and attempt to determine if a crime has been committed, 6 months later they’re deemed racist. Sounds about right to me.
    mpd61, zm88 and Bloodhound like this.
  12. EUPD377

    EUPD377 Southern Campus Cop

    I worked LP for several years for Big Y, Target, and a contract company that worked for several high-end stores. We never had those sorts of problems, because we were paid and trained well, and only hired good people.

    CVS liked to hire people at just above minimum wage, do basically no training, and cut them loose into a store with minimal supervision, which led to some issues (noted above). CVS then decided to almost completely eliminate LP instead of overhauling it, which leads to shit like this. Managers have no training or experience and have too much on their plate to effectively deal with shoplifters, so they pass it off to the police, then the police get sued cause of their shoddy work.

    Overall, the CVS LP story kinda equates to what people want to do with PD’s now. A couple assholes fucked up, and people want to punish the entire profession for it.
    mpd61, Goose and AB7 like this.
  13. AB7

    AB7 MassCops Member

    Very accurate. This is CVS LP now. You have untrained “LP coordinators” basically doing a visual presence in the store and managers performing LP who have never learned and applied the basic principles of approach, selection, concealment, continuous observation, and final point of purchase. It’s just “oh he looks like he stole”.
    EUPD377 likes this.
  14. Sooty

    Sooty Administrator

    How about his insistence the chief was there, when he wasn't?
    Credibility = < 0
    Just as with the rest of this garbage claim.
    zm88, CCCSD, mpd61 and 1 other person like this.
  15. CCCSD

    CCCSD MassCops Member

    We had a female come screaming into our PD, stating one of our SGTs had just beaten and killed someone. The SGT was sitting at Roll Call with us and had been at the station for the past hour.
    Her eyes got bigger than saucers when she saw him sitting there, smiling at her.

    We offered to go look at the body.
    She refused.

    Ah....GOOD TIMES in the Ghetto. Took years for us to stop asking for his whereabouts whenever we had a dead body call...

Share This Page