[Rushtalk] Cops Accused of Forcing Woman to Delete Video of Husband’s Arrest

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at keepandbeararms.com
Sun Nov 3 18:00:16 MST 2013


Cops Accused of Forcing Woman to Delete Video of Husband’s Arrest
Sparked by ‘Unloaded’ Shotgun and Trespasser on His Hunting Property –
but We Have the Footage Sep. 25, 2013 10:29am Jason Howerton 

Share

      * 388 
      * 14.5K 
      * 133 
      * 3 
      * 489

Related:

      * exclusive

A man in Crawford County, Mich., was arrested and charged with felony
assault with a deadly weapon on Sunday after he called authorities about
a trespassing suspect on his property, his wife tells TheBlaze. There
are also serious allegations being made about officers demanding that
video footage of the incident — taken by the man’s wife — be deleted.

Thomas Donald, a military veteran, was reportedly out hunting with his
11-year-old son and armed with an “unloaded” single-shot .410-gauge
shotgun (his son chose to use a crossbow instead) when he confronted a
man riding a dirt bike on his 10 acres of land. The man and his son then
reportedly escorted the trespasser to the front of his property and told
his wife, Heather, to call the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to
file a “recreational trespass.”

What happened when the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department arrived
shocked them both, though Sheriff Kirk Wakefield tells TheBlaze quite a
different story.

In an exclusive interview with TheBlaze, Heather Donald recounted what
happened from the couple’s perspective. Her husband, Thomas, declined to
speak with us on the advice of his attorney and due to the charges
against him. His attorney also declined an interview request.




The incident

When officers with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department arrived on
the scene, Heather says her husband held up the “open shotgun” with his
left hand while holding the shell in his right hand to indicate the
weapon was not loaded and assure officers he was not a threat.

The officers apparently didn’t see it that way. And while Heather later
would start recording the incident, it should be noted that there is no
footage available to show the moment deputies confronted Donald.


One of the deputies, identified by Heather as Shawn Schnoor, “fumbled”
with his pistol and trained it on Donald, ordering him to get on the
ground. Heather told TheBlaze it took her husband longer than the
officer wanted because he has a badly injured back but he moved as fast
as he could. Donald was handcuffed before police made their way to talk
to the trespassing suspect.

Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

(Credit: Heather Donald, YouTube)


Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

(Credit: Heather Donald, YouTube)


Realizing how quickly the situation had gotten out of control, Heather
said she began filming the scene on her cellphone camera.

In the video provided to TheBlaze, Heather can be heard asking why her
husband is being arrested.

“Because we pulled up and he had a handgun — or excuse me, a rifle,” one
of the deputies says, before being corrected by Donald. “A shotgun.”

Crawford County Sheriff Wakefield told TheBlaze that detaining the man
was the correct thing to do because he had a gun and they didn’t know
“who was who” at that point.

The deputy makes no mention of an alleged assault in the short video
while explaining why they had detained him. Under Michigan law, openly
carrying firearms is legal, except at certain locations — and being on
your own private property isn’t one of them.

When asked if they would take the handcuffs off, he replies: “Not right
now. He’s under — for our protection.” Heather said the deputy seemed to
abruptly stop short of declaring her husband was “under arrest.”

Moments before the short 36-second video ends, another officer tells
Heather she “can” stop filming. When she refuses, he informs her they
need to take the cellphone as “evidence” and they move to take it from
her.

Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

(Credit: Heather Donald, YouTube)


“No you won’t!” Donald can be heard shouting, while still in handcuffs
on the grass.

“Yep. Ma’am you’re going to be under–” one of the officers says before
the video cuts off. Heather told TheBlaze the last word of that sentence
was “arrest.”



Heather says she turned to walk away from the officers, but put the
cellphone on the railing of her front porch after she was threatened
with obstruction of justice charges. The deputies then allegedly
confiscated the phone temporarily, but returned it to her before they
left.

“They never told me why they needed my phone for evidence,” she added.

Blaze editor Jason Howerton discussed this story with Editor in Chief
Scott Baker on today’s BlazeCast:






Recovering the footage

Heather told TheBlaze the officers later ordered her to delete the video
footage she captured of the arrest. She said she complied.

However, the couple was able to recover the deleted video using recovery
software, she says. The command to delete allegation has not been proven
true, and Sheriff Wakefield could not confirm or deny the report because
the deputies in question were not in the office and available for
questioning.

If the officer took the phone for evidence, it was likely to see if any
footage of the alleged assault was recorded, he claimed. The sheriff
also said he doesn’t believe his deputies ordered Heather to delete it.

Heather provided the following screenshots that allegedly show the
recovery software used to retrieve the video in question:

Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald


Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald


Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald


Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald


Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald




Sheriff’s response

Sheriff Wakefield sees this incident quite differently.

In addition to downplaying claims about orders to delete the video, he
told TheBlaze the trespassing suspect informed police that Donald
pointed a “loaded” gun at him and detained him at gunpoint until
authorities arrived, which Heather says she and her husband dispute. The
sheriff confirmed they have no other evidence of that and it is one
man’s word against another’s.

Wakefield said the trespassing suspect was riding his dirt bike on a
trail on Donald’s property, but didn’t realize he was trespassing
because there was no signage. He said the trespasser was actually the
“victim” in this case.

“You have to think, ‘OK, how did this all happen?’ You go back and you
can see on the trail where the guy was riding his bike. We get out there
and he’s got the gun in his hand,” he said. “What does that lead one to
believe? When you point a loaded firearm at someone, unless you are in
fear of your life, that’s felonious assault.”

Directly contradicting the sheriff, Heather told TheBlaze that they have
“signage plastered on three sides up and down” the property. She also
video recorded the area that the trespasser allegedly entered their
property, where signs warning against hunting and trespassing are
clearly posted. She provided the footage to TheBlaze:




In another video provided to TheBlaze, Heather explains the problems
they have had with trespassers and “poachers” in the past.

“If somebody doesn’t see that, they’re blind,” she said.



Felonious assault, according to Michigan state law, is defined as:


        (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who assaults
        another person with a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar,
        club, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without
        intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less
        than murder is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for
        not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or
        both.
        


When asked if the trespassing suspect’s word was enough probable cause
to charge Donald with a felony, Wakefield answered in the affirmative.
He also said that whether or not the gun was loaded doesn’t matter.
(Donald’s wife claims his shotgun was unloaded and he never points a gun
at anything he doesn’t intend to kill, citing his military training.)

“We don’t want to hinge this on whether or not the gun was loaded. The
point is, he pointed the gun,” Wakefield said.

The sheriff was dismissive when considering the incident from Donald’s
side, a man who allegedly encountered an individual he believed to be
unlawfully trespassing on his property and contacted the authorities.

“Well, yeah. If someone is trespassing on your property, you need to
tell them to leave. If they don’t leave, you call the police,” he
replied.

Sheriff Wakefield also said his department has “had contact” with Donald
before, but refused to elaborate. Heather said she and her husband have
complained to the sheriff’s department about trespassers on their land
repeatedly, though it is unclear if that is what the sheriff was
referring to.

When asked if Donald’s decision to call authorities was evidence of a
lack of criminal intent, the sheriff was again dismissive.

Donald was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious
assault) “without intending to commit the crime of murder or to inflict
great bodily harm less than the crime of murder.” He faces up to four
years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. Police have also confiscated his
shotgun and hunting knife and are holding them as evidence in the case,
according to Donald’s wife.

The man on the dirt bike was allegedly issued a citation for trespassing
by a conservation officer but was not arrested.

Heather said her husband didn’t assault anyone. She said Donald told him
the butt of his “unloaded” single-shot shotgun was resting on a chair
and his left hand was on the barrel while he pointed at the biker with
his right hand.

However, an arrest warrant names Deputy Schnoor as the “complaining
witness” to the alleged crime:

Woman Allegedly Forced to Delete Video of Husband Thomas Donalds Arrest
Over Unloaded Shotgun

Courtesy of Heather Donald


The couple is outraged because “this is a man who was openly carrying an
unloaded shotgun on his own property, which is legal in Michigan, and
it’s even hunting season,” Heather told TheBlaze.

In Michigan, it is legal to openly carry long guns, like a shotgun,
other than at some specified locations. Per state law:


        (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person shall not
        possess a firearm on the premises of any of the following:
        
        (a) A depository financial institution or a subsidiary or
        affiliate of a depository financial institution.
        
        (b) A church or other house of religious worship.
        
        (c) A court.
        
        (d) A theatre.
        
        (e) A sports arena.
        
        (f) A day care center.
        
        (g) A hospital.
        


The law also goes on to exempt any person who “possesses a firearm on
the premises of an entity described in subsection (1) if that possession
is with the permission of the owner or an agent of the owner of that
entity.” In this case, he was the owner of the property.

“It’s very disturbing,” Heather said, “and all of this happened in front
of my children. Police are supposed to be the good guys and, at least in
this case, they didn’t hold themselves to that standard.”

  
–
 


http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/09/25/cops-accused-of-forcing-woman-to-delete-video-of-husbands-arrest-sparked-by-unloaded-shotgun-and-trespasser-on-his-hunting-property-but-we-have-the-footage/


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://kalos.csdco.com/pipermail/rushtalk/attachments/20131103/429f5d81/attachment-0001.html 


More information about the Rushtalk mailing list