Marc Perkel

309 North Jefferson #220

Springfield Mo. 65802

City Council

Springfield Missouri

Dear City Council Members,

On October 19th I sent to a letter about my illegal arrest and confinement on the drunk tank of the city jail. In that letter and several other letters I sent you I communicate my concerns about the policies and procedures of the Springfield Police that violate the civil rights of citizens. In those letters I pointed out my concerns about the police executing illegal warrantless arrests of citizens in their homes, that I wasn't the only one and there were several such arrests, that in one of these arrests officers stole money from the person arrested, harassed defendants and defendants witnesses of ongoing criminal investigations, and that police were involved in the continuing operation of a prostitution business.

In my letter I supported many of my claims with strong irrefutable evidence and case law and urged the City to take action to stop these violations of the rights of Springfield citizens by the Police and the Prosecutor. I provided a lot of evidence and a web site link that contained a lot more information. I also reminded the City and council members that they are ultimately in charge of the police and that council has a legal duty to fix these problems. Yet the City has not responded to me in any way and, although it has received warning, has taken no steps to resolve this problem.

I therefore come one last time to give the City notice of this problem and an opportunity to take the necessary steps to resolve these problems with the police and the prosecutor. I would point out the landmark Supreme Court case of Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978), which defines the city's liability when an officer violates the civil rights of citizens. In Monell and other subsequent cases, it was decided that a city could be held liable for the acts of police that are done under an unconstitutional municipal custom. The Internal Affairs Department, in covering up for the police officers, admitted that "the officers were in full compliance with current department policy" and this admission constitutes evidence of an unconstitutional municipal custom. Chief of Police Lynn Rowe confirmed this admission.

One of the factors in municipal liability is that the custom or practice must be attributable to the municipality. In other words, it must be so well settled and widespread that the policymaking officials of the municipality can be said to have either actual or constructive knowledge of it yet did nothing to end the practice. See Spell v. McDaniel, 824 F.2d 1380, 1386-88 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1027, 108 S. Ct. 752, 98 L. Ed. 2d 765 (1988); see also Praprotnik, 108 S. Ct. at 925-26; Tuttle, 471 U.S. at 818-20; Voutour v. Vitale, 761 F.2d 812, 820 (1st Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1100, 106 S. Ct. 879, 88 L. Ed. 2d 916 (1986). Second, the custom must have been the cause of and the moving force behind the deprivation of constitutional rights. See Tuttle, 471 U.S. at 819; Monell, 436 U.S. at 694-95; Kibbe, 777 F.2d at 809-10; see also City of Canton, 489 U.S. 378, 109 S. Ct. 1197, 57 U.S.L.W. at 4274; Annotation, What Constitutes Policy or Custom for Purposes of Determining Liability of Local Government Unit under 42 U.S.C. 1983.

This letter, as well as the other letters I sent you, constitutes that you have actual knowledge of the unconstitutional custom of arresting people in their homes without a warrant. I am giving you one last chance to end this practice in writing you this letter. This is your final warning and this will either give you the opportunity to take remedial action to avoid liability or to prove that you were warned and did nothing when you had a duty to act. I'm giving you an opportunity here to fix the problem before I file a 1983 civil rights action against the City and the County.

Additionally, I want to point out another unconstitutional custom of the Police and Prosecutor. In the City of Springfield Missouri, when a police officer does something illegal and violates the rights of a citizen, the citizen is charged with a crime so as to harass and intimidate the citizen so that the citizen does not take civil action against the City. The City Prosecutor and the County Prosecutor both actively participate in these cover-ups. It is both illegal and immoral to do this and I will no longer stand by and let it happen.

I am not talking about my case here. I'm referring to my office manager, Robin C. McDermott. In January this year Robin got into a verbal disagreement with an officer over her objections to his conducting an illegal warrantless search of her son's vehicle on private property. The officer, T.D. Royal threatened her and indicated to her that his dog was likely to attack her. Officer Royal then attacked Robin, throwing her violently off her porch, and then ordering his dog to attack her while he held her helplessly on the ground. Robin was later charged with two separate crimes. One is a city charge of obstructing a police officer by becoming verbally aggressive. (Case #398MU0065) The other charge was attempting to have physical contact with a police officer without his permission. (Case #398CM1214M) These charges are bullshit charges and are an attempt to conceal police misconduct. I will be more than happy to provide you with all the details upon request. I want to make it clear though that I will not allow my employees to be convicted of a crime so that the city can cover up police misconduct, and that I consider it my civic duty to sue the City, if necessary, if that's what it takes to get the city to comply with the law.

What I want is for the City to stop violating the rights of citizens and to make changes in the police department and the prosecutor's office to stop officers from violating the rights of citizens. I am convinced these officers are trained to violate civil rights. I know that at least three of you are lawyers and you should be able to see that it would be a mistake to ignore this warning and do nothing. There are a lot of us who are very unhappy and very well organized. It is my hope that the city council will show both courage and wisdom in dealing with these issues.



Marc Perkel * 11-23-98


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