Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Civil Rights Case Against Lafayette Cops Transferred to Federal Court With New Allegations of Civil Rights Violations

Officer Charlie Williams
The shocking details, including the names of additional LPD officers, are beginning to emerge in the matter involving LPD Officer Charlie Williams and his alleged threats to kill Timothy Vander Plaats, a private citizen who had accepted an innocent hug from a female friend at a Lafayette restaurant. That innocent hug between the plaintiff and the woman turned into an unbelievable twilight zone experience for Vander Plaats that nearly cost him his life.

A lawsuit that was previously filed in Tippecanoe County was recently amended and transferred to federal court as a civil rights action.

According to court records, the woman at the center of the controversy happened to be the girlfriend of LPD Officer Michael Barthelemy. Officer Barthelemy was added as a defendant in the amended lawsuit in addition to Williams and the LPD.

Vander Plaats is claiming that his civil rights were violated when he was bullied, threatened with death, and then beaten unconscious on the night of January 31, 2012.

"Defendants Barthelemy and Williams's conduct toward Plaintiff has been outrageous in character and extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilized community," read a portion of the amended complaint.

In addition, it was alleged that multiple calls were made to 911 after Vander Plaats was severely beaten and that those pleas for help were initially ignored, which raises new questions as to whether the dispatcher was involved in "delaying efforts to obtain emergency medical care" for Vander Plaats.

The lawsuit alleges the following:
"A neighbor of Mr. Vander Plaats named Rachel Cisler was coming home from a late class at Purdue University and saw somebody laying down screaming in the area where Mr. Vander Plaats was assaulted.  She did not approach the individual because it was dark, but she went into her apartment and called police or 911.  However, no one responded to her call."
"Although injured, Mr. Vander Plaats regained consciousness and was able to make it to the steps of his apartment inside a secured door.  He attempted to call 911 multiple times.  However, when the calls connected, they were dropped." 
"Mr. Vander Plaats' girlfriend, Ms. Clark, was returning from the grocery store and observed Mr. Vander Plaats injuries.  Ms. Clark called 911 and was able to connect.  Someone directed her to stay there and an officer would be there soon.  However, nobody responded."
It is beyond our comprehension that these officers are still working at the LPD. It is also beyond our comprehension that they have not been criminally charged. A special prosecutor was initially appointed to investigate and reportedly determined that no crime was committed; however, that was before all the sordid details surfaced.  It's past time for action, Mr. Prosecutor!

Concerned citizens will be relentless in their efforts to keep this story in the public spotlight. We have many questions, and we will not rest until we have all the answers.

Tim Vander Plaats
Mr. Vander Plaats is a law abiding businessman and upstanding member of this community and comes from a prominent business family.  If something like this can happen to him, it could happen to any one of us.  No one will be safe until these officers are off the streets.  They are a menace and a danger to society. 

Prosecutor Pat Harrington, it is your duty, sir, to prosecute these alleged crimes. Stop passing the buck. New information has come to light, and we call on you to act swiftly.

Why are these officers still wearing badges? They are bullies. They have lost the public's trust. It is a joke they are still arresting people when they should be behind bars themselves.

Who was the dispatcher who ignored the calls of a severely injured citizen?

We have to wonder if this is why one of Lafayette's finest police chiefs resigned. Former Chief Don Roush had made an earlier recommendation to fire Officer Williams, but it was ignored.

Taxpayers will continue to pay a huge price until this is dealt with appropriately rather than sweeping all this nefarious activity under the proverbial rug.

We aren't going away. You can count on it. This rises to the same level of corruption from back in the days of Lewis T. Wireman.

Where is the media? Where is the accountability?

As long as these officers are on the streets of Lafayette, we highly recommend that citizens carry a video camera at all times.

Here it is in black and white. Click on to enlarge and read the actual lawsuit and let the outrage begin.













Photo:  Tim Vander Plaats

52 comments:

  1. Unbelievable. Interesting that these "men in blue" dress as common street thugs to do their business as undercover drug cops. I'm fairly sure that we would be better with a few more drugs and a few less of this brand of "lawmen".

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  2. Reading about this form of official 'domestic terrorism' makes me ill.

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  3. I live in Lafayette and I'm betting this happens more times than get reported.

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  4. I live in Lafayette as well. This is so discusting and unjust. Yet they are offended when we rebel to make different laws to protect ourselves... something isn't right!

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  5. Where is the coverage? Has the ACLU been contacted?

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  6. I knew Charlie Williams in high school and this does not surprise me.

    Kevin Sternal

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  7. Officer Barthelemy is the officer who dragged me out of my passanger seat when I was asleep...accused me of pulling out "what looked to be a firearm" and slammed me against the van next to my car.I am a 120lb Female.I was arrested for resisting arrest.Freakin bully!I hope justice is served!

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  8. Well Tony? What are you going to do about this?

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  9. Corruption is everywhere and it must be addressed!!! Join us in the Global March Against Corruption on March 1st in Ft Wayne,In. There are marches throughout the country/world!!! Maybe you can get answers and even media to help!!

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    1. i hope you stay in fort wayne.....

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  10. What are local authorities going to do about it? Well, it's been two years and the only thing they have done is ignore it. They are part of the problem, which is why we must call upon federal prosecutors to go after this. Get on your telephones and call the FBI. Do it now if you care about public safety and justice. Tell them Prosecutor Pat Harrington is not doing his job. Tell them he has close associations with these bullies with badges and that we need the federal government to come in because the corruption is being covered up.

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  11. Nate Lamar is a bad cop who harasses women and even ask them to break the law so he can get the big busts.

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  12. Nothing new in lafayette they been harassing and assaulting us since I can remember its never brought to light because who wants to go against cops from the town they live in... they will make ur life hell because they can most people know that.... even prosecutors!

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  13. The fact that nothing has been done to these officers, does not surprise me! I have lived here all my life and this bullying ,by law enforcement has been going on for years! My best friends Dad died in jail after being beaten by the police. The man in the cell next to him, heard him crying for help all night, as he was vomitting blood . This gentleman gave explicit details in a letter to my friend and said he would contact her when he got out. Guess what? He was never heard from again! Police brutality has become the norm, and if TV 18 would do interviews and protect peoples identity, we would hear so many incidents of police brutality, it would make your skin crawl! What is sad is there are many great officers in the LPD, unfortunately your negligence, Mr. Harrington is wrong and totally unfair to the amazing officers we do have on the LPD! Fire the two officers Mr. Harrington! Remember elections are coming!! Anyone running against you will get my vote! I also realize these aren't really anonymous, because you can track cell phones! I don't care, because the truth needs to come out. Only the bad apples in the LPD will be offended. I know many great officers, who probably can't speak up for fear of losing their job or being bullied! I am only anonymous because I am not up for any debates with people who think all all police are like that! I am sorry for the good officers, because there are many in the LPD!

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  14. I guess you chose not to use my comment for whatever reason. I have known Tim a long time and it took a lot of courage for me to write that. My own child has been bullied in school, which was TSC corporation, and it was an LPD officer doing a favor for his friend, threatening my son and family, because the friend didn't want my son dating her! He was so scared, he tried to commit suicide! I guess there isn't free speech any more! Please do not publish this comment, it is not something i wanted shared with the public, I too want this corruption stopped! Tim, i am so sorry for what you have been through and you will be in my prayers!

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    1. Your comment must not have come through, because I have published every comment that I have received. Please try again. Your voice is important.

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  15. That's why video cameras are essential to police brutality. Mr. Vander Plaats is not your ordinary victim. He stood up to the injustice and we need to get behind him because what he did can benefit all Lafayette citizens. Truth can prevail if we are not afraid to speak truth to power.

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    1. Video cameras and cell phone videos have been known to mysteriously disappear during the bookin process, and for this reason, the ACLU-NJ has created apps for both Android and iPhone. The app is called "Police Tape", and, upon activation, discreetly records audio and/or video through background processes that are not easily evident upon inspection of the device. The Android app is available here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.aclunj.policetape&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsIm9yZy5hY2x1bmoucG9saWNldGFwZSJd and the iPhone app here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aclu-nj-police-tape/id561497660?ls=1&mt=8 These apps lack the ability to automatically upload recordings to a secure location, so a small piece of advice to anyone making any type of recordings of police misconduct: DO NOT alert the offending offficer(s) to the fact they are being recorded or you run the risk of further retaliation and the recording device disappearing.

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  16. I don't want my name published but this sort of thing is really nothing new for LPD. In fact, it has gone on for years. Going back to the early 1980s one LPD Officer was quoted as saying "This is almost better than sex' when they assaulted and arrested a citizen for essentially nothing..

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  17. I have no doubt, Anon 11:40. I remember the 70's all too well when cops were helping themselves to the merchandise at L. S. Ayres. I've heard horror stories all my life, and I'm sick of this type of abuse of power, which is why several citizens started this blog. We encourage all citizens to take videos of any type of activity where abuse of power or rude conduct from a public official is occurring and we will shed the light of day on it. We, the people, do not have to tolerate it any longer. We're taking our country back, city by city.

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  18. I have a friend who is a police officer, who has explained to me that there are some unwritten rules that police adhere to, and if they don't, they will never be promoted, they will be subject to abuse by other officers, and they hold true to these even when they retire.

    Our Mayor is a retired officer. I do not believe he has the citizens best interest in mind. I believe many of the things he does are to help the Lafayette police get more. more crime = more tax dollars.

    It all starts at the top.

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  19. Be careful ya all, you now who is watching these things, our finests!

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    1. We certainly hope so, Anon 3:43! They should be worried about us watching them. They work for the people, and the people are pissed off.

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    2. Anna my father would like to contact you and add onto Officer Williams background. A few months ago my 65 year old disabled father was thrown to the ground by Officer Williams after he said he assaulted him. My father lost his balance and stumbled into Officer Williams. He was taken to jail for the night. When they set the court date they dropped the charges. I feel they are trying to cover up for Officer Williams. My father is Pearl Speakman . Contact 765-426-2416

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    3. Thank you. I will contact your father soon.

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    4. You might check with Pearl Speakman's neighbors.... I believe they might tell you some things about him as well....

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    5. That's right Anna, do your work like anon 1:01 suggests and find out if the old man's neighbors think it's a good thing that the punk cop roughed up the citizen.(tongue in cheek) You gotta be kidding me 1:01 there might be neighbors in this town who are behind these rogue coppers that are getting out of control. Can you admit that you are a part of "the thin blue line?"

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    6. I forgot being a "bad" neighbor made it ok for police to rough up a 65 yr old disabled man who only has use of one arm due to a stroke.

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  20. The Lafayette police force has always been full of bullies. I joined the army, and left the country to get away from all their harassment. One Police state I will never go back to. Lafayette is the cover up city of Indiana when it comes to police.

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  21. Like most problems, Just follow the money trail.

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  22. We know many officers are reading. It's not surprising that some of them don't believe the bully cops should be held accountable for their actions. It shows the arrogance that is a huge part of the problem. We have a lot of work to do, Lafayette!

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    1. True that anon 7:06, The problem is much deeper than just the police force, it includes the prosecutor and his office, and the judges. Pay attention to who is running for office this year. It's a perfect year to 'clean house' downtown. How can we expect to be a good influence on our county, state, nation and world if our own house is so filthy?

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  23. What's funny to me is that if that voicemail would have been left by anyone other than a cop, this story wouldn't even exist. Nobody would care. But, because these are police officers (who weren't even on duty at the time of the incident) it is being dragged out and still talked about two years later. Yes, it was wrong to leave a drunken voicemail threatening to kill someone. Not a smart move. Guess what everyone, these officers are human and they make mistakes just like everyone else in this world.

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    1. Yes, police officers are human and make mistakes, but threatening someone with death is more than a mistake. It's a criminal act. If a perp who had threatened to kill someone called his action a mistake after he was caught, I'm sure he'd be let go, right?! Not! People can accept "mistakes." It's double standards they dislike. What they dislike even more is abuse of power.

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    2. What's even more funny is that those cops used police issued phones that we the tax payer pay for to make the threatening calls and voice mails. Police officers are sworn to up hold the law at all times. Maybe you're right, if an average citizen made those threats, it probably would not of made news, but they were made by police officers. I think we have every right to know that this happened since we pay for their salaries. I don't want men who act like teenagers with something to prove wearing a police uniform and carrying a gun.

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  24. Thanks for adding the picture of that Williams. It's helpful to be able to identify the bad ones. He needs to switch to decaf or figure out some other way to control his rage. Is he currently medicated?

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  25. Let me be clear. Writers of the Lafayette Citizen Journal are not anti-police officer. We agree there are many fine officers on our streets who do their jobs with distinction. They put their lives on the line every day and it is appreciated by many. What we are complaining about are the ones who taint the image of an entire force, the ones who keep getting away with it even though a former police chief recommended termination. Abuse of power is wrong, and it causes people to distrust all police. The people need to see leadership. They need to hear from the police chief and the mayor that the actions of these officers were reprehensible. They need to see accountability, not mere slaps on the wrists. They need to see police officers held to the same standards as regular citizens. Then, and only then, will you get the respect than many of you deserve.

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  26. We find it disturbing that some police officers have such a flippant attitude about this very serious incident. It is hardly a "mistake" that a citizen who committed no crime was threatened with death by POLICE OFFICERS who have made an oath to serve, protect, and defend the CONSTITUTION! An to add insult to injury, he attempted to call 911 and was rebuffed for a very long time. This SCARES the average citizen. It is abuse of power on steroids. When the public trust is violated by this type of power abuse, it is very difficult to get back. There is absolutely no chance of getting it back as long as city leaders decline to talk about it. They need to assure the public that this type of abuse will never happen again. One way to assure that it will never happen again is to get rid of bully cops. They make all of you look bad and that's a shame, because there are very good police officers on the force. We certainly don't enjoy shedding light on this situation, but it's about time someone did.

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  27. Over here at Purdue we had a high ranking Purdue employee who was fired for stealing at Wal-Mart. Purdue handled the swiftly and officials made a public statement. Heck, we can't even get our mayor or chief to make a generic statement that police misconduct will not be tolerated. All we get from them is, "No comment!" If Purdue fires people for stealing, then certainly an officer should be fired for threatening to kill an innocent man. What is wrong with this picture? Can we at least get a grand jury convened? Is that too much to ask, Pat Harrington?

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  28. People, there is one word that is used throughout this whole entire story...ALLEGED.

    Definition of alleged:
    (of an incident or a person) said, without proof, to have taken place or to have a specified illegal or undesirable quality.

    There are two sides to every story and all we are seeing is one. Keep that in mind!

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  29. Folks, keep in mind that the officer has already admitted to making the threats. Also, keep in mind they were disciplined after an internal investigation. Alleged is a word that is used in journalism to protect the writer. Also, keep in mind there was never a review by the Police Review Board. Why? Could it be because Williams is the son of Charles Williams, Sr. (second in command of the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Dept. and also good friend of Tony Roswarski.) The fact there was no board review hearing stinks to high heaven. We need federal prosecutors to take over.

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    1. But it your statements that you are saying are true, why do you (the writer) need protection?

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    2. Read any publication, Jeffrey. Even when a crime as been admitted to, media sources will always say alleged until there has been a conviction. It is a safeguard to prevent against frivolous lawsuits.

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  30. With the fox guarding the henhouse the people will never get the truth. The plaintiff will be paid off and the bullies will keep on bullying when they think they can get away with it.

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  31. Can someone tell me how much this is costing taxpayers? Can someone request the records? These lawyers should not have immunity since threatening to kill someone is a criminal act.

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  32. This is one of the biggest stories in Lafayette and not one word from the J&C. Go figure.

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    1. This has been in the J&C about 10 times. 10 repeats of the plaintiff's side of the story. Unfortunately, you will never get the other side of the story. Cops are given a gag order after these types of events. I'm not saying they didn't make mistakes, but there was much more provocation than what you have been provided.

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    2. Always figured there had to be more to the story so appreciate your remark. The issue regarding the 911 calls is disturbing. The facts of what happened with those calls must be addressed quickly, honestly and openly for the sake of all citizens.

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    3. Are you actually saying the actions of officers in threatening to kill a citizen are justified? That is outrageous! There is no excuse whatsoever for that.

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  33. Thank you to Pearl Speakman for your contact with the LCJ. Citizens, he has a lot of stories to tell, and he has documentation to go along with it. We'll be bringing some of those stories to you in the near future.

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  34. Nate Lamar bullied me and my family. He is crooked and I made several complaints to LPD without any resolution.

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  35. I know cops are human and subject to human failings but I think everyone should protect themselves to the highest degree possible without violence. I would recommend everyone reviewing this http://www.copblock.org/apps/ site and using what ever app you feel would fit your situation. I know cops that are not like this, there are good ones out there.

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