OPERATION NATION BULLETIN
ORIGINAL LINK: http://blog.operation-nation.com/2009/01/22/notice-of-claim-filed-against-tempe-police-city-of-tempe.aspx
A NOTICE OF CLAIM WAS SERVED ON THE CITY OF TEMPE ON BEHALF OF MR. BRIAN A. WILKINS ON JANUARY 16, 2009. ARIZONA STATUTES REQUIRE THIS NOTICE TO BE SERVED WITHIN 180 DAYS OF THE CAUSES OF ACTION BEFORE A LAWSUIT CAN BE FILED IN FEDERAL OR STATE COURT.
The claim alleges the Tempe Police violated Wilkins’ constitutional right to equal protection of the laws and accuses the department, specifically officers “M. Wallace, T. Johnson” and Detective Jeff Loewenhagen of negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The claim comes after Wilkins was arrested on July 22, 2008 at his Tempe residence and charged with several serious felonies after an incident with a neighbor. Wilkins admitted to firing his pistol three times in the air to scare the neighbor who allegedly spit in Wilkins’ face and held a knife to his throat. All of the serious charges were subsequently dropped against Wilkins in a supervening indictment on July 31 and, according to the claim, Wilkins is now likely to sign a plea agreement; pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges. He was set to go to trial this week, but it was vacated and now a settlement conference is set for March 2.
Wilkins accuses the Tempe Police of intentionally charging him with serious crimes so his bond would be far too high for him to post and be released from jail. The bond, according to the claim, was set at $54,000 and Wilkins spent nearly two months in the Maricopa County Jail. The bond was ultimately dropped to $0 on September 16. He also accuses the police of “thuggish, gangster behavior” while acting under color of law. Wallace and Johnson, according to the claim, simply ignored the fact Wilkins was assaulted in his apartment, nearly robbed, and extorted by the alleged victim in the case.
The extortion letters were allegedly sent to Wilkins’ cell phone via text message by the alleged victim, which the police reported they read, but dismissed as “basically name calling.” The claim goes on to say the negligence was due to Wilkins’ race (“black”), as the alleged victim who allegedly assaulted and extorted Wilkins, is on probation for several felonies and violated several statutes that night without being arrested. The alleged victim and all of the arresting officers were “European American” according to the claim. The claim also states the police “likely assumed” Wilkins was Muslim as well because of his Arabic textbooks, Qu’ran, and posters of Malcolm X the police saw in his apartment. Wilkins studied Arabic at Arizona State University.
The claim then accuses the Tempe Police of falsely reporting the incident in an online public report, which they manipulated the facts to cover up their neligence and, according to the claim, “make [Wilkins] look like a completely guilty, violent monster” to the public. Wallace and Johnson’s official police report does not match what the Tempe Police published for the public to see.
Wilkins says his reputation has been completely destroyed, that he lost his job, is now unemployable because of the serious charges the police tried to levy against him, and has suffered severe physical and emotional distress. The claim seeks $650,000 in damages. The City of Tempe has until March 18 to respond to the claim.