Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

After dozens of cages being compromised? This problem goes back many years.


Steel mesh cages will be bolted to the backside of partitions in NOPD cruisers to keep officers and prisoners separate during transport.
"That steel mesh will be a permanent fixture in the car and no one will be able to go through that ever again," Chief Michael Harrison said.
The calls for change come after Travis Boys escaped through an open window in the partition and allegedly shot and killed officer Daryle Holloway on June 20.
Police say Boys, who is 5'11'' and 170 pounds, squeezed through the approximately 1' by 1' opening.
Harrison believes the small upgrade covers a safety void.
"We will have a metal mesh adapter cage that will be retrofitted into the cages of all of the police cars that have the opening that Mr. Boys was able to crawl through," Harrison said.
Only one of the nearly 300 SUV cruisers has been outfitted with the steel adapter, but NOPD administrators believe the rest of the cruisers will be retrofitted with the new cages in the next few months.
The upgrade is expected to cost a few thousand dollars, according to NOPD spokesperson Tyler Gamble.
Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.

It is so easy to move ones hands from behind ones back to in front that a child can do it with amazing ease. It seems that anyone who isn't injured or obese could do this. Yet there is no end to the stories about defeated partitions, after the handcuffed suspect moved his hands from the back to the front.
“Houdini” cases
Eight cases, in a short period of time, all inspired a newspaper reporter or police spokesperson to characterize a criminal with “Houdini like” skills. That’s a lot of Houdinis out there.
McCormick referred to Martin as "Houdini" as he described him slipping the handcuffs from behind his back to his front. Martin managed to slip through the open partition in the police car to the driver's seat
Though he might not be the reincarnation of Harry Houdini, a 21-year-old Santa Fe man nonetheless pulled off a bit of unexplained derring-do Thursday night
An officer handcuffed his wrists behind his back and put him in the back seat of a patrol car, Mascarenas said.The officer then walked over to talk to detectives, who were some distance away, Mascarenas said.``The next thing (the officer) knew, the car was gone,''
It was a Houdini-like escape that began near Wallaceburg around noon on Sunday. woman slipped her hands over her feet in front of her. She squeezed through the partition — about 30 centimetres wide — that separates the police car’s front and back seats. “She was a very small-statured person,” he said. The woman then took off in the cruiser
In an act reminiscent of Houdini, a woman arrested by a Daviess County sheriff's deputy Wednesday and placed handcuffed in the back seat of his patrol cruiser was able to free herself enough to steal the car.
"This is a very small woman," Osborne said. "With a normal-sized person, it is pretty unlikely they'd be able to do this."
Calvert handcuffed Pace's hands behind her back and placed her in the rear of the car. The center shield separating the back seat from the front was raised, Osborne said.
When Pace told Calvert she was hot, he started his cruiser and turned on the air conditioning, Osborne said.
"He did the same thing all of us do," Osborne said.
During a period of less than five minutes, while Calvert and two troopers were inside the home to conduct a search, Pace was left unattended and was able to escape in the cruiser, Osborne said.
During that time, Pace slipped her cuffed hands from behind her back and reached under the shield into the side the driver's compartment, Osborne said.
In doing so, she released a latch on a moveable window in the center of the shield that can be lowered, he said. She was then able to crawl through the window into the driver's compartment and drive off
Attorney’s wrote in the lawsuit: "… Avalos was known by the nickname around the city police department as ‘Houdini.’ Avalos… slipped out of his handcuffs, crawled into the front seat of Wilson’s patrol car and drove off.
Jones' escape attempt was Houdini-like.After he was arrested about 8:15 a.m., deputies handcuffed his hands behind his back and put him in the back sear of a cruiser, Lott said.More than two hours later Jones contorted himself so that his hands, still in handcuffs, were in front of him.The 5-foot, 6-inch, 160-pound man then squeezed through a foot-square open window in the Plexiglas that separates the front and back seats of the cruiser.The deputies were finishing paperwork on the hood of the car and hadn't noticed Jones' movements, Lott said.Jones put the car in gear and tried to drive off

The latter-day Houdini, who gave her name as Tacoma Hopps, initially was picked up Monday at 2:15 a.m. in Manhattan, where she allegedly was streetwalking. Police handcuffed her behind her back and shoved her into a Ford minivan being used for suspects. A few minutes later, officers left her alone in the van so they could join in another arrest. Then Hopps, who hasa 77-page record dating to 1985, squeezed out of the steel shackles, jumped in the drivers’ seat and sped to New Jersey.
Handcuffed Houdini allegedly steals cop car and damages it
BOSTON HERALD February 16, 2001By JOSE MARTINEZ Boston police say a limber mechanic with a knack for door locks and break-ins freed himself from a cruiser's back seat, sat himself behind the steering wheel and sped off early yesterday - all while still handcuffed."It's difficult to get handcuffed hands from behind you to in front of you. You have to be fairly flexible to do that," said Boston police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mosby will succeed with the correct angle

I expect Marylyn Mosby to be successful demonstrating that the act of giving a rough ride will result in the scrutiny it merits. Like the "screen test" in the cruiser merits exposure. The period of time used transporting prisoners is not a 'free zone' to mutilate, maim and kill. There may be no need to excoriate the whole department, even though they all know about these two practices, just make an example out of Goodson, the driver. Then, correct the equipment safety violations found in 'police modified' motor vehicles. The partitions are substandard. They aren't certified to comply and do not comply with occupant interior protection requirements. The steel grid violation is the most egregious. Placing an 'expanded steel' sheet in front of an unrestrained occupant is intimidating, threatening and CAN cause severe facial lacerations. Much like a cheese grater works. In case anyone concludes that I'm a cop basher, let me hasten to add these partitions are deadly to front seat occupants, such as police officers, in rear end collisions. 70 officers have been incinerated in the US in a recent ten year period. They are rendered unconscious by hitting their head on the rigid partition, remain in the vehicle as it is consumed by fire. The partitions have been complained about by 21 different doctors.
 “Those partitions create a plastic surgeons’ dream.” Jack Lusk - NYC TLC Chairman 1988-1991
Matthew White, M.D., director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, has treated a number of patients who suffered facial trauma from taxi accidents. He says the injury is common at NYU Langone and Bellevue Hospital.
“It’s devastating for patients,” White says. “The momentum of the force [of the crash] carries the passenger forward into the acrylic glass and slams their face right into it. There is a lot of bone trauma, so facial fractures -- things like nose fractures, cheek fractures or what we call the tripod fracture,” he added, referring to an injury that breaks the bones that support the face.
Though the resulting injuries can be grisly (one New York City woman needed 50 stitches after a 2012 crash according to White, they are extremely preventable.
Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC - has worked in several city emergency rooms, is all too familiar with the damage the anti-crime partitions, required since 1994, can cause. “Ask any ER doc in Manhattan, and they will tell you they see it very frequently,” he said. “People have a false sense of security in the backseat of a cab.”
Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter - “Could cause complex spinal injuries.”
Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital – ‘Since the partitions act as a second windshield, back seat passengers fall victim to the same type of injuries as people in the front passenger position, the "suicide seat," ‘
Dr. Gregory Husk - Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, “You can't do this kind of work (Emergency Medicine) without being impressed that the taxicab partition breaks a lot of noses, a lot of lips, a lot of chins.''
Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, New York City - "The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers, fractured noses, lacerations and worse. Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”
Dr. Arnold Komisar, Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC - "Every emergency room in New York is seeing patients injured in taxicabs: three here, four there, six at another hospital, so it's easy to underestimate the problem,"
Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - “Gaping soft tissue injuries are also prevalent, since an edge of a partition's sliding door or its metal track can tear the skin.” “In the most severe instances, this causes "almost an avulsion" of the nose.”
Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon “Crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and "stellate," or burst lacerations, are among the most common injuries suffered when a passenger is hurled into the clear partition.”
Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel - “I would like to see back-seat air bags.”
Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan - "Cabs don't have to get into an accident for people to be hurt. The cab stops short and you go flying into the screen with the handles and bolts and that metal change thing. It's dangerous."
Dr. Talmor, Dr. Barie, Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hoffman, Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, NY. In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.
“Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City”
Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents
Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents.
Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury.
Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface.
Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group.
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”
Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) President, “The deaths and injuries attributed to taxicab accidents are highly preventable.
Dr. Ralph Upchurch, chief of emergency medicine at Somerville Hospital, said not wearing a seatbelt in the back seat of a cab can be especially dangerous because of the plastic divider between the front and back seats.
Dr. Seth Manoach, lead author of the report, said 'The plexiglas partition that separates the front and back of the cab, protruding change dish, and metal border can cause serious injury in an accident.' He urged taxi passengers to buckle up "Sit in one of the seats with shoulder and lap belts. The middle seats don't have them and during a front-end collision, your head is going to come forward and hit the barrier."
From - 12/29/98 New YorkTimes article about zero seat belt usage observed by N.Y. Univer. Research Team findings 4/97-8/97
Diane McGrath-McKechnie, Chairwoman of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission – “The experience of New York City absolutely does not support the notion that partitions have increased the number of passenger injuries.”
“We are well aware of the potential dangers of passengers not wearing their seat belts hitting partitions in short-stop circumstances.”
Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, 6/22/84 "Dear Sir: It has come to the attention of this office that you may be in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 by the manner in which you are installing partitions in taxicabs and/or police cruisers.“
Matthew Daus – TLC Chairman - “These cars and the partitions that are in them are 100 percent safe,”

Monday, June 01, 2015

National Association of Chiefs of Police - an open letter

There are two issues I wish to bring to your attention.

There have been dozens of high speed collisions with parked cruisers on the side of interstates. In these collisions the cage or partition hits the back of the heads of officers seated in the front. Being rendered unconscious as the car becomes consumed by fire is a disaster. More than 70  officers in ten years have perished this way. Ask Jason Schechterle.

The  second issue is about occupant safety for rear seat occupants. Some officers have made it clear that they have used the brake pedal to brutalize rear seat occupants by hurling them, face first, into the steel grid portion of the partition. It has several euphemisms; waffling, noodling, going to Hollywood, the screen test etc.

We have developed a partition design that complies with all applicable federal standards.

Our design installs without drilling or cutting the vehicles’ interior, moves with the seat and is indefinitely transferable from old cars to new cars. It is low profile.

There are no openings in order to be in compliance with the federal ban on hazardous edges. This creates an illusion of privacy for prisoners. This can be legally taken advantage of.

Most importantly, this design takes into account occupant safety.

As the Freddie Gray case has shown the safety of prisoners in transport can be easily compromised by failing to buckle a prisoner with the seat belt in place. In addition to rear seat occupant safety, the car fires cry out for additional safety for front seat occupants.

I have been figuratively on the launch pad with this product for decades. I need to find a manufacturer who can handle 4’X5’ sheets of 3/8” Lexan, configured to my specifications, and funding to solve these problems.

Steve Crowell