Abuse of Power in Virginia

Last February, I posted on The Agitator surveillance video of a a 70+ member police raid on a pool hall in Manassas Park, Virginia. The raid turned up nothing, but that hasn't stopped local officials from attempting to close down the bar. Over the last ten months, I've been digging a bit to find out exactly why that raid happened, and why the owner of this bar has been continually harassed by local police and public officials, to the point where he has had to sell his home, has now had his liquor license revoked, and is operating the bar at a loss. It's a crazy story, heavy with detail and anecdotes that are at times downright bizarre.

Last night, I began posting what I've found . There's much more to come. Unfortunately, it may be too late for David Ruttenberg. Last week, a judge granted a motion to dismiss the civil rights suit he filed against the town and its public officials. Ruttenberg's only real hope now at recovering the damages done to his business and his reputation lies with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a pretty conservative court whose track record offers little reason for hope in a civil rights suit.

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  • Nobody Important||

    I believe there is some very strong circumstantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Ruttenberg's bar was targeted by the city of Manassas Park because the city had its eye on the property as a possible site for an off-track betting facility for the Colonial Downs horse racing track in New Kent County, Virgina.

    Virginia: Where the police harass you so the State can make generate revenue from gambling.

    And then murder you for gambling.

  • Nobody Important||

    And going off on the tangent of the murder of Sal Culosi:

    Compare this:

    The internal investigation recommended that Officer Deval Bullock, who says he accidentally shot and killed Culosi when his gun unexpectedly discharged, be suspended for three weeks without pay, and removed from the SWAT team....If you can believe it, Bullock's fellow officers are apparently "outraged" at the punishment, calling it excessive, and "off the charts" in relation to other punishments meted out for previous infractions.



    to this:

    Carmelo Anthony won't appeal his 15-game suspension for his role in the New York Knicks brawl last weekend,



    But this won't stop those self-righteous whiny government-union employees from claiming that they are "held to a higher standard," and preaching about taking responsibility for one's own actions.

    I now return you to the topic of this thread.

    PS - apology for the sloppy editing above.

  • ||

    "If you can believe it, Bullock's fellow officers are apparently "outraged" at the punishment, calling it excessive, and "off the charts" in relation to other punishments meted out for previous infractions."

    Of course I can believe it. That's why there are no real remedies for 4th Amendment violations. A mustache will always protect a mustache.

  • ||

    What's worst about this case is the court bowing to the cops. They always believe cops over witnesses, of course.

  • Guy Montag||

    First, let me express my relief that this story is not about O'meara's, because I would like to check out Mike O'meara's of the wold famous Don & Mike Show.

    Second, I would like to express my outrage at the snotty government types trying to push this guy around, including my general distain for the police in general. Police are generally useless unless you need to file an insurance report. They are just in the way when you have to defend yourself and if you call them for anything they will try to blame YOU for something. End rant.

    A friend of mine in Knoxville, TN was getting harassed in the same manner, but it was nothing but snotty cops with attitudes doing it, the City was not even seeking the property for anything. The place is still a bar, under different ownership. I was in the National Guard with the main harassor cop, wo really was a jerk and got fired for harassing a homeowner claiming the house was a brothel.

    My friend is now a private investigator and I used to help him out with investigations involving anything internet or a computer. He was always dead honest and never suggested anything unethical. Even some of the things I suggested he shied away from and I thought I was well inside the lines of ethics which was way inside the lines of legal. Even wanted me to get an investigator's license, but I did not want to mess with that.

    Anyway, this story rings true to my ear. Some cops seem to think that the whole town is their private donut shop.

    Side note: my friend's bar had a hot poster and I think the caption was "Assume the Position" with hot chicks dressed as cops and a female suspect cuffed against the car. Have been searching for it but can't find an image :(

  • Miggs||

    "And then murder you for gambling."

    It's not murder when the cops do it. It's called "unfortunate" or an "accident." Expect Mr. Ruttenberg to meet with an "unfortunate accident" sometime in the near future.

  • ||

    Where's the A-Team when you need them?

  • ||

    I swear, every time you think you've become jaded by the war on drugs or some other government fuckup, something even crazier happens.

  • Wild Pegasus||

    What's that again about the state being different from the mob?

    - Josh

  • ||

    What's that again about the state being different from the mob?

    The state takes your money for protection from the mob.
    The mob takes your money for protection from the mob, although often at a lower rate than the state. There is no protection from the state.
    The state uses your money to provide favors to their mob friends.
    The mob uses your money to buy favors from their state friends.
    The state is a '6'.
    The mob is a '9'.

    See, it's all very simple.

  • uncle sam||

    there are some very pretty theories about government, but the reality, and history, of government is that is purpose and function is to abuse people through exercise of its power.

  • Sir Disgrace||

    This caught my eye:

    who says he accidentally shot and killed Culosi when his gun unexpectedly discharged

    There's no such thing as an accidental discharge, except in the extremely unlikely event of a mechanical failure in the gun. A better way to say this is:

    who shot and killed Culosi when he negligently discharged his gun

    Quick, who knows the legal term for when your negligence causes someone's death? Anyone? Anyone?

  • grylliade||

    The place is still a bar, under different ownership.

    Which bar is it, if you can say? I live in Knoxville, so I probably know where it is.

  • ||

    Eddy: actually, the Mob was created to protect people from the State. Specifically, the Mob was the agency people used to pay off cops and judges who were harassing immigrants. Which is why they've never managed to stamp out organized crime. The institution exists because people have a need for it.

  • Guy Montag||

    What's that again about the state being different from the mob?

    My retort to that is that the mob pays better odds on bets than the State.

    grylliade,

    It was once called "the Rocky Top Tavern", I have not been in there within the past 2 years and forgot the new name.

    It is in that shopping center at the corner of North Shore and Morrell. Liquor store to the left, barber shop to the right.

    Barber shop is great for my style (flat top) and the owner is a big Andy Griffith Show fan.

    Also, on the mall corner, Nick has a deli, forgot the name, might be "Shores Deli" but I forgot. Nick was once a partner and chef at The Brass Rail downtown.

  • Anonymous||

    What's that again about the state being different from the mob?


    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/106999.html

    Friday Fun Links

    Matt Welch | October 15, 2004, 2:22pm

    Well, "fun" may be the wrong word for a Schoolhouse Rock take-off "inspired by the writings of Noam Chomsky" ... but if you'd rather see a send-up of how Michael Moore would have documentarized The Lord of the Rings, there's always this.

  • ||

    Sir Disgrace - Quick, who knows the legal term for when your negligence causes someone's death? Anyone? Anyone?

    Wrongful Death?

    BTW, WTF is wrong with this country?

    Not addressing anyone in particular, just musing that's all.

  • Ray G||

    Years ago, I worked as a bouncer at a place called Zeb O'Breen's Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa, CA. Long story short, they were being pressured to sell so that their older strip of store fronts could be newly developed.

    We didn't receive that amount of harrassment, but as a bouncer, we were told to check ID's religiously because that was one of the ways that the local officials were looking to shut us down. We checked everyone, absolutely everyone; I checked IDs on old men in their 60s.

    It served as a good lesson in human nature too. The only people that ever showed an attitude on the whole thing turned out to be holding fake IDs. Go figure huh. And the owner knew something about market forces; we got paid handsomely under the table for confiscated IDs.

  • Ray G||

    And nothing is wrong with this country. This is just human nature, and this kind of thing will always be with us. In a free country though, guys like Radley can get on the case, and guys like us can bring it up here, blog on it, and so on.

    Fifty years ago and longer, Ruttenberg would have just been ran out of business, and he would have opened up somewhere else without his OTB payday.

  • grylliade||

    It was once called "the Rocky Top Tavern", I have not been in there within the past 2 years and forgot the new name.

    It's now Rooster's. It's about a half-mile from my house; not the place I hang out at all the time, but I've been there a few times.

    It is in that shopping center at the corner of North Shore and Morrell. Liquor store to the left, barber shop to the right.

    The liquor store is still there; Rooster's now takes up the rest of that end of the shopping center. I think it was about a year ago that they bought/leased the space where the barber shop and Shore's Deli used to be, and turned them into part of the bar. They have good chicken wings there.

    It's a shame what happened to your friend; I had no idea that the Knoxville police were that corrupt, though it doesn't exactly surprise me.

  • ||

    And nothing is wrong with this country. This is just human nature, and this kind of thing will always be with us. In a free country though, guys like Radley can get on the case, and guys like us can bring it up here, blog on it, and so on.

    Thanks for taking the Squeegee to my third eye. It needed it!

  • Guy Montag||

    grylliade,

    Small world! I met up with a buddy at Rooster's a couple of years ago for a couple of beers.

    Before that I used to go to the barber shop there when I was spending weekends with my son until he graduated high school.

    When I was in high school some of my friends had a place close to there and I almost lived at their place my Sr. year of high school.

  • ||

    Quick, who knows the legal term for when your negligence causes someone's death? Anyone? Anyone?

    Commonwealth's Attorney Horan refused to seek an indictment of Officer Bullock, because he said there was no offense in Virginia called "negligent homicide," which would cover his action. I'm guessing he didn't bother reading the Code section on involuntary manslaughter (http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+18.2-36 ; see also http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/4d54200d7e28716385256ec1004f3130/bb46e4e13adbd86c852560130059882e?OpenDocument for explanation of the scienter requirements for involuntary manslaughter under current Virgnia law).

  • Robert||

    Another Oak Beach Inn?

  • ||

    Damn, Radley does quality investigative journalism.

    Another score!

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