Undercover Drunks Followed Procedure

January 14, 2019

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Undercover Drunks Followed Procedure

Pittsburgh Public Radio station WESA is reporting that the city’s police bureau “does not have a written policy governing undercover officers who might drink while on the job.”

The radio station had filed a “right to know” request with the city after four, drunk, undercover detectives pepper sprayed, Tased and beat four Pagans Motorcycle Club members in Kopy’s bar last October 12. The four motorcycle club members were Frank Deluca, Michael Zokaites, Erik Heitzenrater and Bruce Thomas. All four Pagans were arrested and accused of bogus assault, conspiracy and riot charges. Those charges were eventually dropped after video of the confrontation surfaced.

Police tried to suppress evidence in the case and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto became an advocate for the undercover drunks. Peduto argued that the four police officers had to get drunk in order to maintain their undercover personas. “Obviously you’re not going to go to a bar and order chocolate milk,” Peduto said in December.

No Policy

The drunk on-duty cops were David Honick, David Lincoln, Brian Burgunder and Brian Martin. Before attacking the Pagans Honick had at least 13 drinks, Burgunder had 19;, Martin had 14 and Lincoln had seven.

The radio station’s request was for “records reflecting the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s policy for officers doing undercover work regarding consuming alcohol and/or other drugs while on the job. Training materials provided to officers doing undercover work regarding consuming alcohol and/or other drugs while on the job.”

Last month, Pittsburgh Open Records Officer Celia B. Liss wrote, “I have determined that the City is not in possession of the requested records.”

No Discipline

A police spokesman named Chris Togneri would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a police bureau policy about drinking while on duty. He wrote WESA that “an in-depth internal investigation is currently being conducted as to the existing policies and the need for additional policies regarding the undercover program.”

WESA contacted Seton Hill University criminal justice professor Shavonne Arthurs to get her perspective on undercover drunks. She said, “You have to do what is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. So if that includes drinking then it includes drinking.”

Police Union president Robert Swartzwelder told the radio station that if the Pittsburgh Police Buereau “truly lacks such a policy, it has no authority to discipline the four officers involved in the incident.”

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13 Responses to “Undercover Drunks Followed Procedure”

  1. Penguin Says:

    @ White witch. Glad you found it so. I agree with that, and with the rest of your post…

    Sometimes analysis is just an exercise, interesting, sometimes useful, but not closely connected with real life.

    In the satirical exercise I mooted it seems to me that what’s demonstrated is the the idea of a cop being drunk on duty contradicts the core of what police work is supposed to be, a sober and reasonable use, when necessary, of proportionate force to keep the peace. That and helping children, old ladies, and dogs, rescue kitties, all the pretty fairy-tale stuff.

  2. white witch Says:

    @penguin, Interesting opinion. It has always been my experience that a asshole is a asshole sober or drunk. The pussy asshole just has some liquid courage instead of balls. In my opinion alcohol is not an excuse for anything. It is just a little easier to kick the drunk asshole’s ass than the sober one.

    ride free
    white witch

  3. Penguin Says:

    This is a bit tongue-in-cheek>

    @ White witch… It seemed to me, long ago, self-evident that being drunk diminished capacity, ruined judgement – of course they say that’s why it’s prohibited to drive while drunk. So far so good. But can it be a crime if the capacity to harbor intent is diminished or perhaps reduced to zero? In legal logic the answer is probably not, it might depend on how one came to be drunk. But then one can quibble about how drunk equals how much capacity is lost…and whether it’s mala P or mala IS. Anyway I found myself at a Law School Faculty Dinner (as a waiter/bartender/student) and, as it was a collegiate atmosphere and peppered with spirited legalistic arguments, well lubricated by bourbon an branch – as part of this badinage I offered my opinion, as I have stated above. I was then engaged in studying criminal law, you see. Of course my view was laughed away. But it fell on fertile ground, or somebody talked, or somehow my theoretical “drunk driving defense” was indeed used, it worked, and, ultimately I believe, was ruled on in appeal. The ruling? The Court in August Wisdom simply ruled that it was a crime, capacity or not. From memory, I don’t have citations. School? I dropped out.

    But another question> If cop’s “duties” require or involve getting drunk, have the fellas had proper training? Or does the Shop deliberately put untrained drunks at risk due to lack of training? Were these untrained and therefore incompetent drunks?

    The “logic” there in ruling drunk driving is a crime is necessity, the end justifies the means, never mind the logic and the law. (I myself think some intoxication is fine and it’s usually not a problem, but when it is the heat ought to step in and do something helpful, ie somewhere between a beating and a chat, with possible trip home or jail or hospital, depending, but it’s not really criminal.) Lying clear-headed in wait with a gun is criminal, not bashing about half gassed.

    But will the Court take the same view about drunk cop crimes? Somehow I doubt it. Rather a double-standard. Again…”necessity”…is this not a sign of weakness and desperation?

    @Palidin…Yes, nazi “logic”.

    I saw DEA fellas go apechit in a country dive, briefly, I leave when drunk feds start waving pistols and abusing the locals… Well, I read in the paper they were DEA, we were not introduced. That heyrube and the one in Pittsburgh sound about the same.

    Seen several cops, including a well known one in a major west-coast city, that drank way too much, and slapped his (very pretty!) lady around too. Those fellas must be gone by now, 30 years or more. Another was a pervert, but that’s supposed to be ok now…

    The Latin puts the question classically Quis Custodet Ipso Custodes (who will guard the guards themselves?)

    Who indeed?

  4. Shovelhead Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, these asshole Cops did exactly what Cops do. Abuse the public they work for.
    Also, If they didn’t have some of that ego boosting loud mouth soup inside them, they never would dared to start a fight with the Pagans.
    There was no problem in that bar until the cops started one. Fuck them all!!

  5. white witch Says:

    Being drunk is not an excuse for breaking the law which these cops clearly did.
    So now i guess it is ok to kill someone if you are trying to solve a murder case as long as you are “under cover”. What a crock of shit. It just shows that no matter where you live cops take care of cops.

    ride free
    white witch

  6. growlingfhardt Says:

    Undercover deception is one thing, and as spies and UC cops have done for decades in the attempt to maintain their UC persona, but there needs to be and has to be, a line drawn somewhere. Far as I know that line is firmly drawn at the border of murder. Cops aren’t allowed to murder someone in order to keep their cover, at least that’s what stories on television proclaim. What is it in the ‘real world’ out there ? Anybody know for sure ?
    OK, what I think is the problem here, is that someone, and was it the UC’s who did it?, was the charging of the Pagans with, “All four Pagans were arrested and charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and riot.” This is the heart of the matter in the illegal actions of the UC cops in their attempt to cover up their crimes of “aggravated assault” and “riot”, which they definitely did. So UC behavior aside, their attempt to charge the Pagans with what THEY DID (classic psychological Projection) is what I think the Police Internal Affairs Board (or whatever does this sort of thing) should use as their main disciplinary focus. The Pagans should not have been arrested and charged for that. And had that video not been available those charges would most likely have been extremely difficult to get dropped. Therein lies the real problem, trumped up bogus charges by the cops, in order to protect the illegal actions of the cops, and this is what I suggest be one of the lawsuit points of contention going forward, and seeking to get changed for the future. As the cops can lie to us, and we are arrested and taken to Court for lying to the cops, the cops charging us for things we did NOT do, needs to be a disciplinary and Court action against those cops.

  7. david Says:

    What pig-spokesman Togneri meant to say, “As the true fascists we are, we will do whatever we WANT to do, and the public will like it”.

  8. Old & Jaded Says:

    The real issue to me is their other conduct and poor judgement. They were on-duty and are responsible for their decisions – drunk or not.

  9. oldskewl Says:

    Total bullshit. The entire case against 81 was thrown out because Jay Dobyns was committing criminal acts on said behalf of the the FBI.

    FTP, FTF, ACAB.

  10. freebird Says:

    If they had a policy it would say:

    When in Rome, do as the Romans…..

  11. Trebor Says:

    So easy to do a coverup when you hold all the cards and can make shit up as you go along.What happened to doing whats right?Law enforcement will say all motorcycle club members are guilty due to the actions of a few.The hypocracy is just amazing.

  12. B Cavey Says:

    Total f&#[email protected]% Bullshit!

  13. Paladin Says:

    WESA contacted Seton Hill University criminal justice professor Shavonne Arthurs to get her perspective on undercover drunks. She said, “You have to do what is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. So if that includes drinking then it includes drinking.”

    So; according to professor Arthurs the end justifies the means? If such is the case; rape, robbery, murder, child molesting, etc. is all good as long as the “OTHER” bad guys are caught? It would be interesting to see if professor Arthurs’ perspective changes if she’s on the receiving end of a “task that needs accomplishing”.

    “Police Union president Robert Swartzwelder told the radio station that if the Pittsburgh Police Buereau “truly lacks such a policy, it has no authority to discipline the four officers involved in the incident.”

    I wonder if the Pittsburgh Police Bureau has a policy against gravitated battery or attempted mayhem?

    Paladin

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