City Government

High Voltage Case, Low Key Response

Boise made another national list last week. This time it’s “Top 7 Shocking Taser Incidents” at ABC News.

Last week’s report from the Ombudsman about Boise coppers firing a taser up the bum of a handcuffed suspect is featured in the national story. A supervisor also destroyed audio evidence. The GUARDIAN predicts we have seen only the tip of the ice berg on this one, since the coppers are still on duty among us.

A civil suit has been promised by the victim’s attorney and unless Boise City makes an instant payoff to prevent filing, the names of both the coppers and the victim will be made public soon.

Officially the Chief called actions of the copper of five years, “conduct unbecoming an officer.” It was also torture, assault, a criminal act, and deprived the victim of his civil rights. Had the man been a minority, a Harvard professor, or this was L.A., there would have been fears of civil unrest.

All the efforts of Chief Mike Masterson to to change the culture (and reputation) of the Boise PD were undone in eight seconds when officer #3 sent several thousand volts of electricity into the anus of a man struggling for breath while handcuffed.

Apart from the instant furor, there is a long lasting damage to the reputation of the department. The event calls into question the conduct of the supervisor who destroyed an audio recording of a jail interview with the victim as well as failure of officials to terminate the rogue coppers from the force. Then there is the Ada County prosecutor who didn’t see reason to prosecute this act of torture.

The standard defense attorney question in any future trial of a copper on the stand will be, “Have you ever altered or destroyed evidence?”

While Mayor Dave Bieter publicly claims “the system worked,” he is sadly mistaken. What the system did was detect a vicious rogue copper–thanks to the Ombudsman. But the “system” left a terrible blemish on a department struggling to gain public trust.

The police accounts are full of lies, including a female officer repeatedly saying the police outside the door identified themselves–which according to recordings and the Ombudsman’s report they failed to do. Listen to audio excerpt. BPD_IA_July2009_Audio.source.prod_affiliate.36

It is time for citizens to demand a civilian authority over their police. We have it with the U.S. military. In Boise we have citizen boards for airport, public works, library, zoning, parks, historic preservation–but elected officials have denied us any voice when it comes to police and fire which together account for nearly half the city budget.

These same elected officials (mayor and councilors) claim THEY act as a police commission. If so, they failed us on this one. Any candidates for council need to make public their position on allowing rogue coppers to remain on the force.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Sick! We need to unload the whole bunch that had any connection with it.

  2. The truth is out there..........
    Jul 25, 2009, 9:15 pm

    Wow. What a conspiracy. The officers must be covering for each other as usual. How is it that the prosecutors did not find enough evidence to charge the offending officer, but Pierce Murphy did? this is like Dragnet or something. Like Perry Mason when I was a kid. When will the real story come out? Will the officers involved be sent to prison to be gang raped by Bubba? How about that supervisor that destroyed valuable evidence? I bet they actually recovered that like they do in CSI: Miami. They can do that you know. I bet he was secretly recording the first officer and realized the first guy had committed tortuous acts upon a handcoffed prisoner, and then he erased it. What about the female officer? The taseree must be a real wimp to get beat up by a girl. I cannot believe I am watching something like this in Boise, Idaho. I wonder if the FBI will look into this. We should disband BPD and have Ada County deputies take over police functions. They never do anything wrong. Atleast they don’t shoot people all the time like BPD. Heck, I cannot believe BPD didn’t shoot the guy and then cover it up. They are crooks. I think Mike Masterson is the biggest of them all. He is trying to make his guys look bad so he can look good. Maybe he is realizing how many bad apples he’s hiring, and he is trying to dispose of them. Doesn’t he realize he is just as bad as the crooks that work for him? I got a speeding ticket the other da from a motorcycle cop for going 5 over the speed limit. I’m surprised he didn’t beat me up and taser me for speeding. These guys are horrible. Maybe Governor Otter will disband bPD and have the troopers instill order in Boise. We need it!

  3. I moved to Eagle eight years ago but I still remember seeing some BPD officers checking the house next door in the north end for a reported break in or something. The house was empty but the woman who moved had an adopted son of Hispanic origin who had been given permission to use the laundry equipment at the house until it sold.

    The officers were waving guns around, but didn’t bother talking to us right next door about any suspicious actions nor did they explain to us what was going on afterward.

    When the young man returned I told him what had happened and he was glad someone was watching out for the property. I didn’t tell him what I thought the Boise police would have done to a Hispanic young man (who was also slightly mentally challenged and totally nice and innocent) in our neighborhood if he had returned while they were there.

    Boise doesn’t employ “peace officers” they have storm troopers. Perhaps they are sent to Germany for training.

  4. The truth is out there..........
    Jul 26, 2009, 9:53 am

    hopefully they will soon not have tasers and guns. The Bobbies in England keep the peace with whistles and nitesticks. Why cannot BPD troopers lose their guns? They never do anything good. When is the last time you heard them say anything good in the press? Obviously they do nothing. Just drain the coffers of the city. Mayor Bieter should completely rid the city of all BPD officers and start over. Or contract with the County dogs. They are professional. When do you EVER hear of them doing anything wrong? Guardian Dave would let us know when Ada county did something wrong, wouldn’t he? The sheriff would make a much better chief. He cares about his people. BPD thinks they cannot get fired because they have a contract. The contract protects those bad officers.

    Imagine if Professor Gates would have broken into his own house if he lived in Quail Ridge……..

  5. Bring in the Clowns!
    Jul 26, 2009, 11:39 am

    Quick, let’t run another series of those fluffy “Boise Voted Best Small City for ________” in hopes people will forget the crap we have to put up with from the cops, politician, and the rest.”

  6. WOW……
    Sounds like Mexico….

  7. I tend to think that Boise feels like such a safe city to live in is due in no small part to the BPD.
    But, yeah, when they do something stupid like this, some heads should roll.
    And this would be as good a time as any to get rid of one of the last vestiges of the Coles administration.
    As long as the BPD gets investigated for corruption, I’d like to know why they bust the Asian spas on Orchard about every 5-10 years or so.
    Is that in some correlation to them not paying their protection money to the BPD to run their businesses?

  8. David Zarkin
    Jul 27, 2009, 8:13 am

    You had me scratching my head over “coppers” thinking it was a reference to No. Idaho miners. But this is a good story and keep the bright light of the Guardian on the local fuzz.

  9. New slogan for the sides of BPD cruisers: “To Taze and subdue.”

  10. Sorry: “Tase.”

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