Saturday, December 18, 2021

Matthew Dages

 Matthew Dages

Fired La Mesa cop found not guilty of lying about controversial arrest

APACHE JUNCTION AZ (IFS) -- It was a given in this case.  Matthew Dages was going to walk away, like all white police officers who choose to destroy Black people, just because he is right with his gun on his belt and talking like a gangsta in the City's uniform of disgrace.  If he was so, innocent then he would not have been fired from his great job.  

Mr. Dages won this battle, but his days are numbered too.  Multiple court cases remain for this brave white officer.  By all means, keep this image in your files, because he will be seeking employment elsewhere as a gun-toting hombre, that will kill your insurance and your city.  Mr. Dages should seek work in the north part of Idaho where they just love his kind. - KHS


On Dec. 10, former La Mesa Police Officer Matthew Dages was found not guilty in a criminal case where he stood trial for allegedly lying on a May 27, 2020 police report detailing how he arrested 24-year old Amaurie Johnson, for suspicion of smoking near the Grossmont Trolley station.

Dages was later fired from LMPD.

Now, the only thing standing between Dages and his old job is an upcoming April 2022 civil court case which has nothing to do with whether Dages violated the law with Amaurie’s arrest, and instead hinges on the potentially invalid process of how the city of La Mesa handled terminating him from the police force.

According to the Writ of Administrative Mandate filed by Dages against the Personnel Appeals Board of the city of La Mesa in March 2021, the city issued a Notice of Intent on or about July 21, 2020 to terminate Dages based on allegations of violations of the Police Department Rules and Regulations.

Dages denied those allegations at the time and the city participated in a due process hearing along with him on or around Aug. 6, 2020. The next day, they issued a Final Notice of Discipline and terminated Dages.

After another appeal on Aug. 14, 2020 and subsequent hearings Oct. 20-24, Nov. 24 and Dec. 9, 2020, the appeal board came to the same conclusion as back in July: They denied the appeal.

Dages maintains those findings and the decision to terminate him were not served as required by California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.6.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.6 establishes time limits for judicial review of the decision of a local agency and requires a petition to be filed “not later than the 90th day following the date on which the decision becomes final.”

Besides demanding reemployment, Dages is also asking for back pay and benefits, with interest paid to him, as well as all of his attorney’s fees involved with the case. Additionally, he is asking to have all paperwork associated with the incident removed from his personnel record, essentially resetting the clock on almost two years since he arrested Johnson.

A peaceful protest-turned-riot that took place three days after that arrest devolved into a downtown La Mesa riot which left several buildings burnt to the ground, prompting calls from the Community Police Oversight Board to address police practices.

Board chairperson Janet Gastanos said while she is “not entirely surprised by the jury’s decision involving Mr. Dages’ criminal case, I do believe that his dismissal from the LMPD involves a number of concerns that will be addressed on their own merit in April” when the civil case is tried.

La Mesa Police Officers Association did not respond to requests for comment on the case.

City Attorney Carlo Tomaino said “the city cannot comment on active or pending litigation” and could not offer comment on the case.

At this point, Dages remains unemployed by the city.

“The criminal court’s acquittal of Mr. Dages does not overturn his employment dismissal,” La Mesa Communications Manager Perri Storey said.

Dages’ civil personnel case is currently scheduled for April 1, 2022.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Justice for Caroline Small

MEMPHIS TN (IFS) -- The indictment also discloses that Stephanie Oliver and Stephan Lowrey, the two police officers Johnson allegedly told not to arrest Travis McMichael the day of the shooting, are listed as witnesses in the case.

Officer Lowry called and told Mrs. Wanda Jones, Mr. Arberry's mother, that he has killed in a robbery.  However, on the witness stand, he never mentioned it -- at all.

Just because DA Jackie Johnson gave an order to not arrest these killers, Officer Lowry continued the cover-up and lied about how the young Mr. Arberry was really killed.

Justice will not be served until Mr. Lowry is put in prison.  He is also involved in the Caroline Small case, where he helped to cover up the young mother's murder by the Brunswick GA police.

On May 17, a Glynn County police officer drove his pickup truck to a wooded area he’d often hunted. A handgun — and a note — lay beside him in the Ford’s cab. The man inside was Lt. Robert C. Sasser and he was no ordinary cop.  Eight years ago, Sasser and his partner, Michael T. Simpson, committed one of the most brutal police shootings in recent memory when they opened fire on Caroline Small, a mother of two who'd led them on a low-speed chase through the streets of Brunswick. After they trapped Small's disabled car, the two officers sprayed her windshield with bullets.

Then they discussed their marksmanship and how the bullets struck her face. Dash cam video captured the fatal shooting and their callous comments as Small lay slumped over the steering wheel. The GBI supervisor who oversaw the investigation called it the worst police shooting he'd ever reviewed.

Still, the courts found the shooting justified. Simpson and Sasser seemed to move on unscathed.

Simpson left the agency in 2014 and joined the local sheriff's office in 2015, retiring later that year on medical disability. He died of brain cancer two years ago at 49.

Sasser, however, saw his career in the Glynn County police department advance after the shooting. The agency promoted him to lieutenant in 2016 and made him a shift command supervisor.

Then, last month, Sasser's 20-year career in policing unravelled. On May 13, he tried to force his way inside the home of his estranged wife and threatened her. He faced battery and trespass charges and an internal investigation.

As deputies tried to make contact with him in the woods four days later, they heard a gunshot. The news ricocheted through Glynn County law enforcement and political circles.

Alan David Tucker, Sasser’s attorney, and others thought Sasser killed himself.

“The rumor mill went rampant,” Tucker said.

caption arrowCaption

A questionable shooting, a doubtful prosecution

Five years before the Small shooting, Sasser shot and wounded a man during a drug arrest at a local gas station. He said the suspect tried to run him over and he shot him because he feared for his life.

But nothing in his career eclipsed the notoriety he and his department received for the events of June 18, 2010.

That morning a Glynn County officer approached Small’s silver Buick in the parking lot of a local mall. She was recently divorced, had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a dissociative disorder and had history of drug addiction. She drove off when the officer asked her to turn off her engine.

A 20-minute low-speed chase ended when Sasser, Simpson and a Georgia State Patrol trooper hemmed in Small’s vehicle between their police cruisers and a utility pole. Small revved her engine and inched the car back and forth, but she had four flat tires and no where to go. The trooper tried to get her out of the vehicle, but when he sensed Sasser and Simpson were going to fire their weapons, he ducked out of the way.

The officers said they shot because they feared for their lives. A grand jury that met in August 2011 believed their story and found the shooting justified. But the public didn’t know many of the details of the case until after the grand jury met.

caption arrowCaption
Caroline Small was shot and killed in her car by Glynn County Police in 2010 after leading police on a low-speed chase. Officers claimed Small could have run them over, but that explanation was discounted by GBI agents who investigated the case. The officers were not charged.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation in 2015 raised additional doubts about how local authorities handled the case. It revealed that GBI investigators and several prosecutors in the Glynn County district attorney’s office doubted the officers’ actions from the beginning.

The news investigation revealed the Glynn police department interfered with the GBI probe and created misleading evidence that was later presented to the grand jury. Records and interviews revealed how Brunswick District Attorney Jackie Johnson took several unusual steps that favored the officers.

Several former prosecutors in her office at the time of the shooting spoke out publicly for the first time and accused her of prosecutorial misconduct. One called the shooting a murder and said the way Johnson presented the case to the grand jury amounted to a coverup. Johnson has said in the past she handled the case properly.

The release of the graphic dash cam video, publicized with the AJC/Channel 2 investigation, shocked viewers around the world.

Small’s family formed Justice for Caroline, a group that tried to have the case reopened. They maintained the shooting was unnecessary and the officers’ offensive comments afterward showed a lack of compassion and professionalism dangerous to the public.

“I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the incident with his family,” said Karen McGehee, Small’s mother. “He seems like a person with all these problems.”

Standoff in the woods

The May 17 incident in the woods didn’t end with a gunshot in Sasser’s truck.

A swarm of local and state law enforcement officials descended on the swampy wooded area off State Highway 99 in response to a barricaded gunman call, and concluded Sasser was alive.

The SWAT team’s commander, Lt. Gregory Shackleford, drove from Dalton to lead the effort to lure Sasser from his truck and end the incident peacefully. But hours of negotiations went nowhere.

Police vehicles surrounded Sasser and trained their headlights on his pickup, hemming him in against the marsh. A SWAT armored vehicle pressed down against the truck’s rear tailgate.

Sometime past midnight, according to records, Sasser asked to talk to a local judge. He opened the door of his truck and sat on the edge of the vehicle.

caption arrowCaption
Booking mug for Robert C. Sasser when he was arrested May 13 for trying to force his way inside his estranged wife’s home. Sasser was one of two officers who shot and killed Caroline Small in June 2010.

Sasser appeared to be crying and shaking his head back and forth, records show. Snipers and police quietly surrounded him.

Shackleford sensed Sasser was at a mental crossroads. As Shackleford inched up near the rear of the truck, he could see Sasser holding a cell phone — but no gun.

The Georgia State Patrol commander aimed his Taser and fired, hitting Sasser in the left side. Sasser fell face down into a nearby pond and two SWAT officers moved in. Shackleford tased him again. The other officers restrained Sasser, searched him and moved him to the bed of the truck to check for injuries. They found no self-inflicted wound.

Officers saw Sasser’s handgun resting on the dash of the truck. A suicide note was on the front passenger seat, records show.

Criminal charges, investigation next

Sasser’s career in law enforcement in Georgia is likely over.

He faces felonies from the standoff with police, misdemeanors from the domestic abuse of his wife and a Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council investigation that is likely to lead to the permanent revocation of his police certification. Glynn County’s police department has moved to fire him.

Sasser has remained silent about the Small shooting, never speaking publicly. He denied repeated interview requests over the years from the AJC. But Tucker said two decades of policing, especially the two shootings Sasser was involved in as an officer, scarred him deeply.

“He’s been through a lot over the years and it’s taken a toll,” Tucker said.

Like Small, Sasser suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Tucker said, and he had been prescribed Zoloft to manage depression. The episode with his estranged wife was exacerbated when he saw her with another man, according to Tucker, who spoke on behalf of his client. Sasser denies acting in an offensive manner toward his wife, Tucker said. 

Members of Justice for Caroline, meanwhile, are struck by the contrast between Sasser’s encounter with the SWAT team, and the fate that befell a troubled young woman.

"When I think about the stark differences between the circumstances of Caroline's death and Sasser's recent arrest, I get very angry," said Bob Apgar, a leader in the Tallahassee-based group. "Caroline did not have a firearm and did not assault or threaten to assault anyone, but Sasser and Simpson shot her to death within 30 seconds of the time that her vehicle was stopped and surrounded."

Sasser spent several days in a local hospital after the SWAT standoff. At his May 24 bond hearing, a local judge banned him from Glynn County as a condition of his release. He moved to Alabama to live with a sister. His bond conditions require him to get treatment for PTSD at a VA hospital there. The worst part of his exile is being away from his 10-year-old son, Tucker said.

Sasser plans to appeal his firing. Tucker expects Sasser will prevail in his court case when all the facts come out.

As for his future as a police officer, Sasser doesn’t want to be kicked out of the profession, but even if he keeps his certification he’s considering going into another line of work, Tucker said. He was cleared in the Small shooting, Tucker said, but he’s not proud of taking a life.

“I think he’s carried remorse and guilt around with him every day,” Tucker said. “Unfortunately we don’t get to turn back the hands of the clock.”

Our reporting

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News investigated the shooting of Caroline Small in 2015 as part of a year-long series on questionable police shootings in Georgia.

Reporters chronicled Small’s family’s quest for justice and the doubts that former prosecutors raised about how Glynn County District Attorney Jacqueline Johnson maneuvered the wheels of justice to exonerate the officers.

About the Author

Monday, December 13, 2021

Can You Say Mark Meadows' Person Of Interest?


WEST SACRAMENTO CA (IFS) -- Can you say, "Run, Mark, Run"?  Now, this is a new first-ever for any author of a book, when the writer says his book is a total "fake".  ". . .Well now, is it is or is it ain't"? Text messages, hundreds of phone calls, memos everywhere.  The cookie crumbs on the lips, and on your tie, may indeed make you the leader of the pack, i.e., The Person Of Interest.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

BOGART Records - Mr. Imperative's Waste of Time at a Bogus Label

NORTH PHOENIX, AZ (IFS) -- It's a shame that such great artist like Prentiss Anderson, formerly of Leo and the Leopards, the Contours, the Originals, the Temptations, and a member of the original Motown Release Committee, knows the sounds of great records.  Why would Prentiss Anderson commit artist suicide by having Bogart Records release this -- thing called "Soap And Water".  

It should have been named "Soapy Water" by the producer Robert Bogart, president, and CEO of Bogart Records with four multi-labels and two music publishing arms.  Bogart's experience as a record producer and recording studio engineer here in Phoenix for over several decades, appears to have sabotaged the recording career of Anderson, without knowing it.

How could a label let such a terrible production get released?  Maybe it just too many "cold ones" in the hand and very little between the ears that dictate the style while drowning in the "Soapy Suds".

So why should this writer care about this little recording label that never gets the attention of Facebook, Reverbnation, and any of its platforms?

News has it, that famed Sony Music record producer and songwriter came down to Phoenix to visit and produce a couple of singles at Blue Exit Audio Recording Studios in Mesa, AZ.  It appeared that Bogart Records wanted to go into partnership with Hotrax Records on its new recording studio in Apache Junction, Arizona.  However, the call was purely professional and a quick meeting at a local restaurant. However, Mr. Bogart could never find one,   Not even a local Jack In The Box right around the corner from his house. 

The last communication from Mr. Bogart was June 25, 2021, asking RG if it was "Imperative that he met to club and party"?

The only response to Mr. Bogart as he was to pick a place and time in North Phoenix, that was requested around 10:30am that morning.  The meeting was about recording studio rental and local musicians.  However, Mr. Bogart failed to respond, even when he told Ingersoll that he would meet with him, and just pick a spot and time.

If this story was not so comedic, no one would believe it.  So if you are looking for a response of any sense from Bogart Records, "Forget about It".  It's a bogus operation, phantom label, and productions from a "want to be"  armchair, long ago, and a forgotten recording engineer that did not make out so well with his dreams.  

Mr. Bogart, please keep your hands on a cold one, because you will never get a shot at a smash hit record again.

Blog Archive