Despite being on public property and breaking no laws, Sgt. Vanover placed Petkus under arrest and deprived her of her freedom, simply because he could.
Denver, CO — The act of unethically deferring of liability is a function solely reserved for the state. An incentive is actually created to encourage officials to act in an unethical manner by alleviating consequences for cutting corners, using excessive force, or gross negligence.
When D.C. decides to invade a country in a fruitless effort to search for non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” it is the tax victims who are held monetarily liable and the soldiers who are held physically liable. The politician simply receives their golden parachute while the common man keeps “eating s**t and grinning.”
On the local level, it is police departments who exploit their tax base by passing the buck. Every time a victim of police brutality is awarded monetary damages, it is the innocent tax payers who are held responsible, not the individual police officer.
In what world is that okay? Today’s world, that’s where.
In November of 2011, Regina Ann Petkus was gathering signatures in an effort to petition for Amendment 64 to be put on the 2012 ballot; an amendment that would later set in motion a revolution of consciousness among governments, thus leading to multiple states ending the practice of kidnapping and caging people for their choice to ingest a plant.
Petkus was outside the Ogden Theatre on East Colfax on public property and well within her rights to be doing what she was doing. This is when Sgt. Hubert Vanover of the Denver police department, who was off-duty and working private security for the Ogden at the time, acting without fear of consequence, decided to ignore Petkus’ rights and order her to stop collecting signatures.
Despite being on public property and breaking no laws, Vanover placed Petkus under arrest after she refused to stop collecting signatures and deprived her of her freedom, simply because he could. Petkus spent a night in jail on charges that would eventually all be dropped.
Petkus, rightfully so, brought a lawsuit against the Denver police department for false arrest. Monday, the city approved to hold the tax victims of Denver liable for the actions of Sgt. Vanover and $25,000 was extorted from them.
Vanover never faced any consequences for depriving Petkus of her freedom and in fact remained on the force until this year, when his vileness in his personal life caught up with him. Vanover, after being on paid vacation for several months for failing to perform his duties, couldn’t help but abuse his perceived power.
Although Vanover was ordered by the Department not to exercise any police authority, he used his badge repeatedly to try and obtain surveillance video for personal use.
In a separate incident, also while on suspension, Vanover was charged with two counts of harassment, two counts of menacing and one count of third degree assault, for beating and stalking his girlfriend.
Because of the choices Vanover made, while not on duty, he was subsequently removed from the force. Had he beat a woman while on-duty, the outcome would have been much different.
Sadly this is the norm. Police officers seldom face criminal charges, even after killing unarmed people on video.
The good news is that some municipalities are considering common sense actions that would require police to keep their own personal liability insurance. This would effectively get rid of problem officers who would either stop being a problem, or become uninsurable, thereby becoming unemployable.
Together we can force police accountability. For more information about the movement under way or to find out how to perhaps implement these changes in your city, call Communities United Against Police Brutality at 612-874-7867.
Here is a link to donate to the GoFundMe campaign, taking place in Minneapolis, to assist in funding the campaign to amend the Minneapolis City Charter.