Police Abuse

Utah Man Reports Non-Injury Traffic Accident to Police, Ends Up With Expensive Medical Device Destroyed and Possible Lifelong Medical Trouble

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Is it a matter of potential life and death in which only police can save the day? If it isn't, you should really think three times before calling them. Utah man Mark Byrge has learned this lesson.

William Grigg tells the whole sad story at the Freedom in Our Time blog.

Mark Byrge/Freedom in Our Time blog

Byrge, driving a delivery truck, back in 2012 hit a tree branch protruding in the road; he reported the non-injury incident, involving only his vehicle, to the police. Who arrested him for an outstanding warrant on a previous traffic issue. When he asked them to cuff him in front because he had a very expensive and important medical device implant in his back, a Spinal Cord Stimulator, they refused.

Because of what Byrge insists–and which his wife, who overheard some of the actions on his live cell phone, corroborates–was pointless rough treatment from Officer Andrice Gianfelice, he ended up cuffed in back, slammed into the back of a police car, and then wrestled to the ground later in front of a hospital with Gianfelice's knee pressing into the place in his spine the device was implanted.

At the end of the experience, the device was ruined.

Why did Byrge have that device? Details from Grigg's blog:

The SCS was designed to send electrical impulses along Mark's spine in order to neutralize pain receptors. This allowed him to ramp down his dosages of narcotic prescription pain medications. This, in turn, is what made it possible for him to run his courier delivery business, which required both the physical capacity to load and unload cargo, and the mental acuity to drive his truck and fill out paperwork. Without the stimulator, Mark would either be too crippled to lift, or too doped-up to focus.

Subsequent medical scans of his stimulator documented that it went inactive on April 18, 2012 – the day that Officer Gianfelice, after arrogantly dismissing Mark's entirely reasonable request to be cuffed in the front, shoved him against the rear seat of his police cruiser.

What's life like for Byrge after he made the terrible error of calling the police?

Since that incident, "the patient's pain as gotten worse and his right leg is now showing signs of possible Complex Regional Pain Syndrome," observed Gary Child of the Utah Pain Relief Center in April 2013. CRPS is a serious degenerative condition that has left Mark unable to work – and is rapidly depriving him of the ability to walk.

Mark is a 43-year-old former football player and wrestler with a compact, muscular build and low center of gravity. He walks with the assistance of a cane as his right leg atrophies. Dark striations are inscribed in his right foot, ankle, and shin. His toes are splayed at wild angles owing to involuntary muscle contractions and spasms that convulse his right leg without warning or relief.

His body slowing cutting off circulation to his lower extremity "as if it is trying to break off my foot," Mark explained to me. CRP Syndrome can lead to other severe complications, including major organ failure.

After complaining through channels, Byrge found local police in American Fork, Utah, strangely unhelpful, and even claims to have had a threatening visit to his home by a local cop encouraging him to forget the whole thing.

By wild coincidence, although every officer in that town is supposed to be equipped with uniform video cameras, nothing that happened with Byrge that day was recorded by them.

And how did complaining do? From Grigg's blog:

As Mark attempted, unsuccessfully, to recover from the trauma inflicted on him by Officer Gianfelice, he filed complaints with the American Fork Police Department. He collected witness statements from several people who had been on the scene, as well as his wife and brother, who had overheard the incident over the open cell phone connection. He assembled statements from health care professionals about the damage done to him by Gianfelice's assault. When the AFPD didn't respond, Mark took his evidence to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Mark's persistence didn't endear him to AFPD Chief Lance Call.

"You've run to every agency on the Wasatch Front," groused Call when Mark contacted him to demand that action be taken against Gianfelice. "I already investigated it – and I cleared the officer."

"You didn't talk to any of the witnesses or review any of my evidence," Mark plaintively replied. "How can you `clear' him just by reviewing his side of the story?" 

"I told you `no'!" Call responded, hanging up…..

 The official inquiry, which was conducted by Sgt. Scott R. Finch of the Utah County Sheriff's Office, was the typical preordained exercise in validation. In his interview with Finch, Gianfelice repeatedly claimed that he "could not recall," "could not remember," or "could not recall from memory" several critical details of the incident.

Byrge is still fighting over the incident:

Fully disabled and unable to make a living, Mark is pursuing a civil rights case against the AFPD. He is also a candidate for the Utah State Legislature.

"My campaign is going to focus entirely on abuse of power by public officials, especially the police," Mark told me. "I'm in constant pain, and my body is literally devouring itself. I want to do anything I can to prevent this from happening to somebody else."

Meanwhile, the assailant who left Mark an invalid, Andres Gianfelice, is receiving a salary of $83,682 a year as part of a 33-officer force patrolling a city of 21,000 people with a negligible violent crime rate. ….

NEXT: Mass Death Sentence in Egypt Over Death of One Police Officer To Be Appealed, Not Final

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  1. Is it a matter of potential life and death in which only police can save the day? If it isn’t, you should really think three times before calling them. Utah man Mark Byrge has learned this lesson.

    Even in that situation, I’m doubting that calling the police (a) is worth it, and (b) won’t result in something even worse happening a large percentage of the time

  2. Thank god that officer went home safely!

    FUCK YOU DUNPHY!

  3. Time that motherfuckers like Gianfelice are rounded up by angry mobs and beaten to death in the streets is long overdue.

    1. It. Wil. Never. Happen.

      You show this story to 1,000 people, and even if you could get them to believe it happened, 700 of them will tell you that Mr. Byrge must have done something to deserve it. Another 250 would also support the officer regardless of whether or not Mr. Byrge did anything wrong.

      1. My advice at this point in time. NEVER call them. You are better off taking your chances with criminals.

        If you had something stolen, call them after the incident. But NEVER, EVER, NEVER call cops to diffuse any potential situation.

        1. But NEVER, EVER, NEVER call cops to diffuse any potential situation.

          If you absolutely must, be sure to record the entire interaction.

          1. Except that the recording won’t bring back Fluffy, or worse, your loved ones or yourself.

            1. True, but revenge is always welcome. It would have helped in this case, assuming the cop didn’t just snatch the phone away and delete the video.

      2. That attitude is changing. Read the comments on other sites about these stories. Most of the comments are pissed off about the current militarization of the police force. It’s changing, so I think you are wrong to not be more optimistic.

        The really discouraging thing is that there still seems to be very few convictions in cases like this, despite the fact that attitudes are changing. I guess people are afraid to convict.

        1. You can only convict if the DA brings charges and there is a jury trial.

          1. Right, but even then, it seems like people are afraid to convict.

      3. Exactly, the one time I posted a police abuse/stupidity story (the officer that shot the 70 year old in SC) because I thought everyone would come down on the old man’s side.
        I was proven to be a fool to think that. Every police wife I knew blamed the old man, and thought I wanted cops dead. More people would’ve joined in to blame e victim but I removed the post after only being up for 3 hours

        The only stories that seem to draw some sympathy for victims of police abuse are puppycides.

        1. I can’t remember what site I originally read this story on, but I think it was a CBS local.

          The comments were 90% defending the old guy and calling it police brutality.

        2. In the wives’ defense, I’d probably not be completely upset if a few cops were killed while beating the shit out of non-LEOs.

          1. That would be straight self-defense. Nothing to be upset about, really.

            1. Stand Your Ground.

  4. After complaining through channels, Byrge found local police in American Fork, Utah, strangely unhelpful, and even claims to have had a threatening visit to his home by a local cop encouraging to forget the whole thing.

    ha ha. Good sarcasm.

  5. “This officer just assaulted me. Please call for a third party officer to investigate.”

    AH HA HA HA HA HA! Whoo!

    That’s a good one.

  6. You got an open warrant on you for anything and you call the cops? I’m calling Darwin on this one.

    /asshole

    1. You DON”T have an open warrant on you and call the cops?

      Still Darwin award.

      1. Insurance companies typically require a police report in order to pay out.

        1. Exactly, which is why I stated upthread to call the police in that situation, but not to diffuse a current situation(outside of traffic accident)

  7. “When he asked them to cuff him in front because he had a very expensive and important medical device implant in his back, a Spinal Cord Stimulator, they refused.”

    If there’s anything I’ve learned from these stories, it’s that cops jump at the chance to cause irreparable harm to passive individuals, bonus points for essential medical devices. It’s an opportunity for them to talk about “that one time that I put this dude in a hospital” at the gym.

    1. I can just hear it now.

      Cop at gym, bragging to his buds:

      Yeah man, I got a call that some old woman couldn’t get her husband to take his daily medication and he was acting all strange.

      So, we show up and there’s this 90 year old dude, and he copped an attitude with me. So, he as like holding a spoon and I felt threatened for my life. So I tried to subdue grandpa, but he was like super strong, you know, probably on LSD or something. So me and my 6 fellow officers jumped on top of him and started tasing him, and told him to stop resisting, but he kept mumbling some shit about not being able to breathe, so that made me feel even more afraid, so I managed to pull out my gun and shoot him 9 times point blank and then he finally stopped struggling.

      Wow, that was really dangerous situation, good thing I’m really brave and stayed cool in the situation. Now me and all my buds can go home safely at night, knowing that dirt bag is off the streets.

      1. I think the least believable part of that story is that one cop was able to actually *hit* the guy with 9 shots, even at point blank range.

  8. Time to lawyer the fuck up and lay waste to that troop of baboons.

    Seriously, don’t leave any of them standing.

  9. an outstanding warrant on a previous traffic issue.

    Oh, why didn’t you say so? That gimp had it coming.

  10. Meanwhile, the assailant who left Mark an invalid, Andres Gianfelice, is receiving a salary of $83,682 a year as part of a 33-officer force patrolling a city of 21,000 people with a negligible violent crime rate. ….

    Two things here… that salary represents sacrifice. Gianfelice could make so much more in the private sector if he were say, running a medium sized corporation.

    As for the negligible crime rate, there’s a reason for that. The officers are clearly effective.

    1. Remember:

      If crime rates are down, it means we need more police officers to make sure we keep it up and crime rates remain low.

      If crime rates are up, it means we need more police officers to combat the problem.

      1. And higher pay because higher pay means you’re paying the same losers you already employ, but for higher pay.

        It’s funny how the public sector always squeals about how higher pay will attract better candidates, but when they jack the pay up, no one in the public sector suggests firing all the existing sad-sacks and hiring anew.

  11. “Sgt. Finch said that this wouldn’t be necessary, because they were sworn officers already under oath,” Mark informed me. “But all of my witnesses were required to make sworn statements under penalty of perjury. And then when I attempted to enter the officers’ statements as evidence in my trial, I was told that they weren’t admissible, because they hadn’t been made under oath. So I was deprived of any opportunity to demonstrate that the officers had contradicted themselves ? which meant that I had no defense.”

    Oh come on!

  12. His body slowing cutting off circulation to his lower extremity “as if it is trying to break off my foot,” Mark explained to me. CRP Syndrome can lead to other severe complications, including major organ failure.

    “There’s a good chance that this could be what kills me,” Mark predicts.

    Were that me, I’d be very tempted to visit the trained ape at his home, right before the end.

  13. This is what hitmen are for.

    1. Such a person might be interested in his LinkedIn page.

    2. FYI: Unless you’re in the mafia, when you’re talking to a “hitman” you’re talking to the FBI.

      1. What if you’re in the FBI?

        1. I suspect he reads the news.

        2. Sorry, I misread your comment. I suspect especially if you’re in the FBI.

      2. Not if you take a day trip to Ciudad Juarez first.

  14. I really REALLY want to see a presumption that police destroyed evidence whenever one of their cameras “malfunctions.” Can’t keep your camera in good working order, officer? Then your bad guy walks away and you get to face an inquiry for evidence tampering.

  15. I dont think Sing Man Su Su is going to liek that at all man.

    http://www.anonblitz.tk

  16. So, no video, even though policy is to wear the camera?

    Two possible approaches:

    (1) The cop violated policy. Charges thrown out, discipline imposed, etc.

    (2) The cop didn’t violate policy, but deleted the encounter. Charges thrown out (against the citizen), charges brought (against the cop), cop fired.

    1. Or his superiors deleted the encounter to cover his ass, and nothing else happens.

  17. After complaining through channels, Byrge found local police in American Fork, Utah, strangely unhelpful…

    LMAO! It would have been a lot more strange if they HAD been helpful. To cops, it’s “us against them” (cops against non-cops).

  18. Nice to see William Grigg finally get a mention at Reason. I discovered him years ago via Lew Rockwell. To the commenters above who think they he’s naive on a couple points, believe me, that is true sarcasm that he uses.

  19. Feel free to call the police chief or write an email expressing your thoughts.

    http://afcity.org/Departments/…..fault.aspx

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