Former KAKE Reporter Speaks out on Local Police Shootings


Jared Cerullo is a former investigative journalist in Wichita, Kansas:

“I just can’t bite my tongue any longer on this subject and I apologize because this is going to turn out to be a very long post. While I’m not going to sit here and so quickly judge the three Omaha officers who shot and killed a suspect and a COPS TV show crew member, I can certainly give an opinion about how the department handled one aspect of the immediate aftermath in the media. The chief in Omaha immediately released the names of the three officers involved who are now on paid leave. This is NEVER done in Wichita. Not even after the investigation is complete.

I believe police officers are public servants and I certainly believe that the vast majority of our police officers are absolutely astounding in the jobs they do. However, just like elected officials, when you sign on the dotted line for that type of job, you not only report to your supervisors, but also to the public you serve, to an extent. If you exercise the most powerful government tool given to ANYONE by taking a life, I believe no matter what, your identity deserves to be known by the public who pays your salary, whether the shooting was justified or not. I also believe that if you abuse your power, you deserve to be called out for it.

But being justified is another matter, considering every officer/deputy involved in a shooting in Wichita/Sedgwick County for the past 20+ years has been exonerated and deemed justified by the local DA. In my 20+ years of news reporting, I discovered more facts than the general public was allowed to hear on many of those shootings, especially in the last few years. Many of those facts, I was not allowed to report publicly because either my supervisors wouldn’t let me or the police obviously wouldn’t confirm.

The current WPD administration is changing and I believe that is a good thing. Now is the time for this department, which I believe serves it’s community exceptionally, to change this type of public policy. It’s simply about trust and accountability… that’s it. I’m certainly not trashing our local law enforcement agencies, as I’ve said several times in this post that I believe they do an astounding job. However, there has never been a ruling on the officer who shot and killed Troy Lanning II.

This officer, it turns out, was actually involved in THREE separate shootings in a period of a few years, one of which was deemed FALSE. In other words, THE OFFICER MADE IT ALL UP. After pleading with my supervisors that this story was certainly newsworthy, I was finally given permission to begin gathering the facts for it. Of course, I hit nothing but roadblocks, but I wanted to get down to the bottom of it for the sake of public openness. When I began digging for the facts, I didn’t even know that this officer was involved in the other two shootings. But other officers within the department, some very high ranking, discovered that I was digging and they came to me on an anonymous basis.

I discovered that this officer was going to be returned to duty within the next couple of days and decided to report what I knew. This was the story: http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/WPD-Officers-Leave-Extended-After-Allegations-Of-Misconduct-171383201.html. I’m very proud of that story, but you’ll notice it does not include anything about the fact that Williamson completely fabricated one of the shootings he was involved in. In fact, it’s never been reported by any local news agency, but they all know it. The police wouldn’t confirm it. I had no official source. My bosses wouldn’t let me include it.

Officer Williamson was only suspended for the simple fact that I told WPD brass that I was going to publish the story… not because of anything surrounding the facts of the case, but because I was going to report the story. Officer Williamson was eventually granted medical retirement. You’re still paying his salary.

But back to the original point, why has it taken two years for a report on Williamson to be released? If I was involved in a shooting that was ruled justified or not, my name would be plastered all over the news within 24 hours and the police would have willingly released it, or at the very least, provided clues to reporters on how to find it. Why are officers held to a different standard? I thought they were supposed to be held to a higher standard. Higher standard comes with higher accountability.

Finally, I leave you with a quote from George Orwell. ‘Real journalism is printing something someone doesn’t want you to print. Everything else is just public relations.'” – Jared Cerullo

Retired Wichita Police officer Randy Williamson

Retired Wichita Police officer Randy Williamson

Wichita Police Shooters Exposed


The Wichita Police Department has a firm policy of never revealing the names of the officers involved in the shooting deaths of civilians, regardless of the circumstances. As members of this community, we feel that the public has a right to know which officers on the force have shot people, and that the public has a right to know as much information as possible about these tragedies.

With that goal in mind, we have identified a list of Wichita police officers who fired their weapons in situations that resulted in death. Based on information that we have compiled through witness testimony, Kansas Open Records Act requests, and news stories, we feel that some of these officers made terrible mistakes, while others simply fired their weapons without just cause.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office makes the final rulings on whether or not Wichita police shootings are justified. There has never been a Wichita police shooting that the DA did not justify. Not one, ever.

The Wichita Police Department claims that when one of its officers is involved in a shooting, three separate investigations take place, one by the department, one by the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (KBI) and one by the Sedgwick County District Attorney. However, as one local attorney puts it, “the WPD conducts the investigation, the KBI sends down an investigator who twiddles his thumbs while WPD does the work, and then the DA rubber stamps it”.

The Wichita Police Department claims that it will not release the names of officers involved in shootings, because doing so could jeopardize ongoing investigations. However, the department has no problem releasing the names of civilian suspects in murder cases. The department also claims that releasing these names may endanger the lives of the officers. This second rationale weighs heavy on our minds as we release this information.

Are we endangering the lives of these officers? Or does withholding this information endanger the lives of the public, as well as the other officers? How can officers safely do their jobs when the public they serve cannot trust the department to hold officers accountable for their mistakes, and for their misconduct? Ultimately, we have decided to release this information, in the name of transparency. The community, as a whole, is safer when we know the truth than we are when we are kept in the dark.

The shooting death of Marquez Smart:

Marquez Smart was shot to death by multiple officers in Old Town, in March of 2012. Police allege that Smart, a man with no criminal record and no ties to gangs, opened fire on a crowd of people as they left the clubs in the area. However, there is no physical evidence tying Smart to the gun. The only evidence the department has against Smart is that he was wearing a yellow shirt, and the shooter was also wearing a yellow shirt.

The police officers, in their attempt to subdue the shooter, wounded multiple people, but Smart was the only fatality. One of the other people wounded that night was also wearing a yellow shirt, according to a lawsuit filed by Smart’s family. Witnesses claim that officers opened fire on Smart and then shot him “execution style”, while he was lying on the ground. Their testimony was not included in the DA’s report.

The officers who shot and killed Marquez Smart are Aaron Chaffee and Lee Froese. They are identified in the federal lawsuit filed by Smart’s family.

Officer Lee Froese

Officer Lee Froese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Officer Aaron Chaffee

Officer Aaron Chaffee

 

 

 

The shooting death of Karen Jackson:

Karen Jackson was shot to death by Wichita police officers in July of 2012 after officers were sent to her home to respond to a domestic call. Due Jackson, 45, was under a no contact order with her husband, who called 911 to report that his wife had come to the house. Jackson’s husband only called officers because he did not want to get in trouble for being in the same place as his wife.

Within less than a minute of their arrival on the scene, officers opened fire on Jackson, who they claim was holding a knife, a purse, and a liquor bottle. Officer claim that Jackson was stabbing herself and begging officers to shoot her, and that she then rushed towards them. According to Jackson’s family, due to her bad hips, she was generally confined to a wheel chair or electric scooter, and was not physically capable of charging towards the officers with any measure of speed.

Jackson suffered from mental health issues, a fact that was known to the department prior to this incident. Protocol requires that a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) should be deployed when a suspect or individual is known to have a history of mental health issues. CIT officers have special training in methods of verbally deescalating situations involving those who suffer from mental illness. This protocol was not followed.

On that night, Jackson’s electricity was shut-off, which made their home extremely dark that night. It is unknown why officers did not utilize their tasers, or simply blind Jackson with their flashlights. The officers’ story of Jackson charging towards them with a knife is hard to believe, given Jackson’s documented physical disability.

The officers who shot Karen Jackson are Elizabeth Martin and Bryan Knowles.

Officer Elizabeth Martin

Officer Elizabeth Martin

The shooting death of Troy Lanning II:

In April of 2011, former Wichita Police officer Randy Williamson shot Troy Lanning II, who was unarmed and running away, in the back. Lanning died of his wounds. Williamson has been placed on “medical retirement” after confessing to making false statements in a separate shooting he was involved in.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney has still not released a ruling in this case despite the fact that the shooting took place over two years ago. We are still paying Williamson full retirement benefits despite the fact he confessed to a crime and shot an unarmed man in the back. The Lanning family has been offered no explanation by either the Wichita Police Department, nor the Sedgwick County DA’s office.

Randy Williamson

Retired Officer Randy Williamson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shooting death of Timothy Collins Jr.: 

Timothy Freeborn Collins Jr. was shot to death by Wichita police officers in April of 2011, while fleeing from a robbery. Collins, 17, was unarmed, and, according to witness statements, had not planned on being involved in a robbery, but was simply in the car with his sister’s older boyfriend when they decided to commit the crime. Collins reportedly told the victim that he did not want to be there.

When police arrived on scene, one of the officers was wearing an Axon body camera, but that officer was located in the front of the house. The shooting took place in the back of the home, after Collins fled out of the backdoor. Initially, police claim they yelled “stop police”, but the audio record from the police camera shows that officers opened fire without any verbal warning. Collins was struck in the back of the head with gunfire. The officers may have panicked when a motion sensor activated a porch light, which may have startled the officers.

The officers who opened fire on Timothy Collins Jr. are Shannon Dunkel and Robert Schmeidler.  These officers were identified in the trials of the surviving defendants in the robbery case.

Officer Robert Schmeidler

Officer Robert Schmeidler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Officer Shannon Dunkel

Officer Shannon Dunkel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shooting death of Icarus Randolph:

Iraq war veteran Icarus Randolph was shot to death by a Wichita police officer on July 4th, 2014. Due to the noise created by fireworks, Independence Day is often hard for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder to endure. Randolph’s family called ComCare to get assistance on this day, in regards to Randolph’s mental health. ComCare informed the family that they were unable to assist Randolph. Police officers arrived at Randolph’s home, where they allege that Randolph charged at them with a knife.

Randolph was gunned down in front of family members who have identified Officer Ryan Snyder as the shooter. Members of Randolph’s family encountered Officer Snyder in traffic, following the shooting. Snyder reportedly rolled down his window and arrogantly asked Randolph’s sister, whom he recognized from the scene, if she had said something to him, or if she had something to say to him. This appears to have been in extremely bad taste, and was interpreted as a threat to Randolph’s family.

Officer Ryan Snyder

Officer Ryan Snyder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be a public meeting held this Thursday, August 28, at 6:30 pm, at Wichita East High School, to discuss Wichita police shootings. The Mayor and Interim Police Chief Nelson Mosely will be in attendance. All are invited to come and voice your concerns. 

Wichita man Christopher Cooper cleared in bogus murder charge


This past June, Christopher Cooper was falsely arrested on the charges of felony murder and criminal discharge of a firearm. Immediately, Cooper’s family and activists spoke out in defense of Cooper, a 19 year old college student with no criminal record, and no gang affiliations.

The charges stemmed from a shooting that took place at a house party on Cypress Street, in Wichita, Kansas, in a relatively affluent neighborhood. Cooper did attend that house party, but had nothing to do with the shooting that occurred when a large number of uninvited guests showed up, some of whom may have been gang members.

Today, Cooper was released from the Sedgwick County Detention Facility after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting a felon, and being sentenced to nine months of probation, a significantly lesser sentence than he would have received had he been found guilty of felony murder, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison.

Cooper was first offered this plea bargain about one month ago, and initially turned the offer down, because he did not want to be convicted of a felony charge, but ultimately decided to accept the deal, for fear of how a Kansas jury might view a young black man accused of a crime. The aiding and abetting charge involves the allegation that Cooper gave a ride to one of the suspects in the case, as over 100 guests from the party were fleeing the gunfire, in a scene that officers described as “chaotic”.

The charge seems strange, considering the young man Cooper gave a ride to has not been convicted of a crime in relation to this incident.

Christopher Cooper

Christopher Cooper

Cooper says he is relieved to be home with family and is looking forward to returning to college.

 

 

 

 

 

Wichita Police officers who refuse to wear body cameras identified


These are some of the Wichita police officers who appear to be on the Brady/Giglio list and who filed a grievance because they refuse to wear body cameras:

Anthony Anguiano

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loren Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenneth Kimble

 

 

 

 

 

 

Justin McCluskey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Price

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh Hayes

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following officers are also on the list but we do not have their pictures:

Corey Evans

Kim Griffin

Jason Harris

Kent Bauman

Sandy Mackey

Cameron Stokes

Steve Thornton

This information was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by KAKE News.

Poll: Should police officers be required to wear body cams?


With allegations of police misconduct and brutality on the rise, all around the nation, should we just put cameras on all of the police officers and be done with it?

 

cops

KSN Caught Misleading Voters in Huge Lie


According to KSN’s latest poll on the Kansas Governor’s Primary race, between Sam Brownback and Jennifer Winn, Jennifer Winn dropped 7%, from 37 to 30, with Brownback rising 5%, from 55-60. However, this is only because in the second poll, KSN did not poll the category of Republicans that Winn scored highest with in the first poll.

In order for this to make sense, we have to start at the beginning of the story. Last month, KSN conducted a scientific poll of Kansas Republican voters in which Jennifer Winn, a political newcomer with virtually no funding, was polling shockingly high against Brownback, the well-financed incumbent.

In that first poll, Winn held 37% of the overall vote, and was actually winning by 3 points in Wichita, Kansas’ largest city. The KSN poll contacted three separate categories of Republican: conservatives, moderates, and liberals. Winn polled low with conservatives, higher with moderates, and best with liberals.

You can clearly see that in KSN's first poll, conducted last month, that they contacted three categories of Republican: conservatives, moderates, and liberals.

You can clearly see that in KSN’s first poll, conducted last month, that they contacted three categories of Republican: conservatives, moderates, and liberals.

In this second poll, the results of which were released this evening, KSN only contacted two categories of Republican voters: conservatives and moderates. They did not contact the liberal Republicans, the group Jennifer Winn polled highest among.

As you can clearly see, KSN omitted the category titled "liberal" from this second poll.

As you can clearly see, KSN omitted the category titled “liberal” from this second poll.

This was done intentionally, to ensure that Winn polled lower. But why would KSN care where Jennifer Winn polls at? The answer is simple, and as usual, involves a great deal of money. KSN, and the other television networks, rely heavily on the revenue generated from the sale of political advertising. Brownback has $4 million in campaign funds that he can spend on advertising, where as Jennifer Winn has virtually zero funds.

In other words, KSN news director Denise Killian manipulated the voters of Kansas in order to ensure that KSN makes more money during this campaign season.

KSN News Director Denise Killian

KSN News Director Denise Killian

The top ten most corrupt officers in the Wichita Police Department


What follows is a list of the ten most corrupt officers in the Wichita Police Department, compiled by the producers of WPD: The Documentary, an upcoming film that will detail years of misconduct and cover-ups by the department’s top brass. There is a good chance that an officer who has wronged you, along with many others, is not on this list. Contrary to what some may believe, we, the producers, are not all seeing and all knowing, so please, feel free to send us messages via Facebook if your officer was not highlighted here.

10.) Officer James Wright

James Wright

Officer Wright is well-known for roughing up homeless people in Wichita and, most notably, a 61 year old woman, in front of multiple witnesses. Here is a photo of Wright, who is nearly seven feet tall, slamming Doris, 61.

WPD

 

9.) Officer Robert Thatcher

Officer Thatcher

Officer Thatcher can usually be found in Old Town, violently apprehending people, so long as they are not white. Multiple members of the Wichita Cop Watch witnessed Thatcher completely ignore a fight outside the Pumphouse, a bar in Old Town, that took place between several white males, where blood was drawn. When confronted, Thatcher claimed officers could not respond in any way, because they were “outnumbered”. However, Thatcher is quite well-known for violently arresting minorities for “loitering”. To make matters worse, Thatcher trains other officers:

(There is a good chance the WPD will remove this video. If they do, we have a copy.)

8.) Detective Todd Ojile

Detective Ojile works gang homicides, which seems like an honorable profession until you understand that Ojile manipulates witnesses, lies to judges, and knowingly charges people with felony murder just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

LT. Todd Ojile

Ojile is the lead detective working the case against Christopher Cooper, a young man charged with felony murder. Cooper is a college student with no criminal record and no gang history who attended the wrong party in a middle class neighborhood. Cooper agreed to speak with Ojile, believing that because he had done nothing wrong, that it would be safe to do so. Because the shooting occurred in a middle class neighborhood, the department was under pressure to make an arrest, and now Costello is on trial for his life.

7.) Detective Robert Chisholm

Also a homicide detective, Chisholm engages in illegal interrogation tactics, including the questioning of Kyler Carriker while Carriker was pumped full of Dilaudid by doctors, after being shot. Dilaudid is a powerful pain medication that directly affects the brain’s ability to function.

Robert Chisholm

Chisholm asked all of the other people involved in the case if they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol before he questioned them (a suspect cannot consent to be interrogated without a lawyer present if they are under the influence). According to his own police reports, Chisholm did not ask Carriker, because he already knew the answer. Carriker is currently facing trial for felony murder, a crime he was not involved in.

6.) Supervisor Jeff Davis

Sgt. Davis, a supervisor at the North Precinct, is on this list, not for his activities as a police officer, but rather for his activities as a former member of the Wichita School Board.

Jeff Davis

Davis, along with other school board members, voted to close schools in low-income neighborhoods and to open new schools in undeveloped areas, not because this move would be good for low-income students who will now be bussed to wealthy areas, but because land developers, construction companies, and an architectural firm stood to make a lot of money, all while our schools have no money for basic supplies. During a school board meeting where parents were protesting these measures, Davis brandished his firearm and abused his authority in instructing officers to remove those parents from the proceedings.

5.) Lt. James Espinoza

Lt. Espinoza is also a supervisor at the North Precinct and is responsible for overlooking the great many crimes perpetrated by the unit known as “The Dirty Boys”, a group of young officers who report directly to Detective Robert Bachmann, who is often referred to as “Dirty Harry”, or simply, “Dirty”. Dirty is not on this list due to a lack of evidence of his wrongdoings, which have become something of an urban legend on the North Side.

James Espinoza

Lt . Espinoza is known for using his large size and icy demeanor to intimidate those who might seek to file complaints against officers.

4.) Detective Christian Corey

Detective Corey can be seen on video, pummeling a young man sitting in an SUV. The young man reportedly cut Corey off in traffic. Corey recently dodged a lawsuit filed in federal court for a separate case in which he beat woman, Rowana Riggs, severely.

Christian Corey

Corey remains on the force, despite the clear video evidence against him.

3.) Officer Atlee Vogt

Officer Vogt was reportedly speeding down South Broadway without his sirens on (while we see officers do this everyday, it is actually illegal) when his police cruiser struck and killed a 12 year old girl. Vogt refused to cooperate with the investigation, a fact that the Kansas Highway Patrol, which investigates all officer-related vehicle accidents, attempted to conceal. It was only when Kansas Exposed, operating under the name Occupy 316, revealed secret documents, that the public became aware of this.

Atlee Vogt

It was not until several months later that investigative reporting revealed that Vogt, who is still a Wichita police officer, was involved in two other traffic accidents while on duty.

2.) Sgt. Larry Carlson

Sgt. Carlson is in charge of a special unit of the department which can be rented out to private businesses, as off-duty security. This unit of officers, best known for the Doc Howards’ tear gas incident, in which over 1,000 innocent people were tear gassed, causing a chaotic stampede, all caught on video, uses coercion and intimidation to run what is essentially a racketeering operation.

Larry Carlson

 

 

Carlson’s unit, which is essentially a goon squad, charges $30.00 per hour, per officer.

1.) Chief Norman Williams

Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams is number one on this list, because he knows everything we have told you here, and more, and yet every single one of the officers listed above remains employed by the department. As you can see by their rank, most of the officers have been promoted, in some cases, multiple times.

Norman Williams

 

Chief Williams has defended every officer-involved shooting, despite mountains of aggravating evidence. Williams’ flat out refusal to address the problems within his department will tarnish his reputation, and that of the department, for many years to come.