More Possible Police Misconduct in Ryan Frederick Case

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Frederick is the 28-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia man facing capital murder charges for killing a police officer during a drug raid on Frederick’s home.  Police found only a misdemeanor amount of marijuana, not the massive grow operation alleged in the search warrant.

Now, WTKR TV reports:

The hands of six Chesapeake detectives present at the botched marijuana raid on Ryan Frederick’s house have tested positive for "primer residue," meaning they had traces of chemicals on their hands sometimes left behind when a person fires a gun, according to a lab report filed in court. The lab report also said the residue can be left if a person is near weapon as it fires, or if a person handles a weapon with primer residue already on it. Police have insisted no officers fired during the Jan. 17 raid where police went looking for marijuana. Police contend Frederick alone opened fire, with one bullet killing narcotics detective Jarrod Shivers.

That’s at least suggestive that the police haven’t been truthful about the raid. And then there’s this:

Meanwhile, Frederick’s family revealed a bullet hole inside the home they say was caused by police fire. The hole passes through a corner by Frederick’s back bedroom. Family members said, and Frederick’s attorney confirmed, that police went to the home days after the shooting and plugged the hole with some kind of putty or filler. Defense investigators have pictures of the hole before and after the filler was added, according to attorney James Broccoletti.

And this:

The state crime lab also did some testing on a .223 Remington cartridge found in Frederick’s home. However, the lab did not do DNA testing on the cartridge nor is there any indication what kind of weapon fired the round, according to the paperwork. Police search warrants do not show officers located any weapon in Frederick’s home capable of firing a .223 round. Chesapeake police spokeswoman Christina Golden confirmed some officers are issued Bushmaster M4 Patrol Rifles, which shoot .223-caliber ammunition.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert will announce on Friday whether or not he intends to seek the death penalty. I’m still attempting to get in touch with Ryan Frederick’s attorney James Broccoletti for comment on my report last week about a possible second informant in the case, who stated that he and a man named "Steven" broke into Frederick’s house prior to the raid in order to gather evidence.

Prior coverage of Frederick’s case here.

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41 Responses to “More Possible Police Misconduct in Ryan Frederick Case”

  1. #1 |  HerrMorgenholz | 

    Plugged the hole, huh? That ought to get a jury’s attention.

  2. #2 |  Joe | 

    It ought to get the judges attention. Six people test positive for firing a gun, deny they fire a gun, shell casing is found that matches the cops guns and the police are tampering with the evidence that a shot was fired at the house? Hello can’t put any of those cops on the stand for fear of suborning perjury.

    And how did six cops test positive for residue if only two were on the scene when the shooting started?

  3. #3 |  j.d. | 

    how the hell did the guy get shot with a bullet incapable of being fired from any gun that Frederick owned? That would make me think it is an issue of friendly-fire, and framing an innocent person.

    I smell cover-up, but perhaps i’m reading this wrong.

  4. #4 |  Radley Balko | 

    #4:

    The .223 casing was found in Frederick’s home. It wasn’t the bullet that killed Shivers.

    I don’t think there’s been any real debate over whether Frederick’s bullet killed Shivers. What all of this does suggest is that the police aren’t telling the truth about not firing their weapons, either before or after Frederick fired his.

  5. #5 |  Bill | 

    This is getting more and more confusing. Joe, the police have not been claiming that there were only two police on the scene–at least not recently, considering how many times the stories have changed. They claimed that there were, IIRC, 16 present for the raid.

    I’m unclear as to the timing of the primer residue testing versus the timing of the press release. Presumbly this should have happened the night of the shooting, and it certainly shouldn’t have taken six months. If the police had this information at the time, then it was downright dumb to claim that none of their officers fired their weapons, let alone plugging up the hole in the wall inside the house. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem likely that six cops fired a minimum of one round each, and no one noticed the discrepancy between the sound of two .380 rounds being fired and an exchange of fire involving a minimum of eight shots.

    I would put forth the not very serious theory that perhaps there were only two cops initially on the scene, and to bolster the claim that there was a full raiding party there, they called a bunch of other cops to come over…from the pistol range, thus metaphorically shooting themselves in the foot.

    Or, more likely, Frederick’s lawyer is putting out this information now, even though it doesn’t necessarily prove much (after all, police are expected to spend some time firing weapons on the range), in order to keep media attention on the case. Which isn’t a bad idea at all.

    I think the bullet hole and the patching speaks for itself.

  6. #6 |  Chris | 

    Not to kiss ass, but great work here. This police and prosecutor misconduct needs to be kept in the public consciousness. I changed my mind on the death penalty based on this kind of outrageous irresponsibility, and I think that a lot of death penalty supporters would be shocked to know how capricious prosecutors can be with other people’s lives.

  7. #7 |  claude | 

    “how the hell did the guy get shot with a bullet incapable of being fired from any gun that Frederick owned?”

    No gun he owned fired the .223. The .38 is the round that allegedly killed the officer. My pesonal belief is that Jarrod Shivers was running the battering ram to take down the door. Once the door is breached, the officer turned to the side to allow the officers behind him to enter. When he turned to the side, thats when he got shot and thats how the bullet entered under his arm. That also shows that the door was indeed breached b4 Ryan shot. Just my opinion.

  8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Hmmm… So if they try and get the death penalty for Frederick under false pretenses, does that constitute attempted murder on the part of the prosecutor?

  9. #9 |  matt | 

    ‘However, prosecutors later upped the charge to a felony, saying Frederick intended to grow and distribute marijuana.’

    i want to know how they plan to prosecute that claim. apparently, having gardening supplies in your home and a little bit of personal weed makes you a grower or a would be grower.

  10. #10 |  Radley Balko | 

    #7 —

    Frederick’s story is that the battering ram broke open the lower panel of the door. He fired at the open panel when he walked into his living room and saw (presumably) Shivers reaching up through the hole–presumably to find the lock.

    That story seems to jibe with what we know so far. It’s certainly a more likely scenario than Ebert’s theory that a .38 round went through the door, into the yard, through Shivers’ arm, then into his chest.

  11. #11 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    LMAO….freaking keystone cops. I’ve got to stop reading your site Radley. The stories contained here have only fueled, deepened, and multiplied my distrust and dislike for most cops and people in authority. Here lately, when I hear a news story that opens with, “the police say” or “the police contend” I immediately think….”here comes a lie.”

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    “Frederick’s story is that the battering ram broke open the lower panel of the door. He fired at the open panel when he walked into his living room and saw (presumably) Shivers reaching up through the hole–presumably to find the lock.”

    Yep that would be quite logical too. The idea that the officers had not even breached the door and Ryan simply fired and the bullet somehow managed to ricochet in a manner that would fit Eberts theory, just doesnt seem very logical. Granted, the laws of physics dont rule it out, but it just screams “bullshit” to me. Reaching up thru a busted door panel would indeed put Shivers in a physical position to make ryans claim very plausible. Frankly, i believe the kid.

  13. #13 |  Chance | 

    I don’t understand why the cops would need or want to lie about a shot being fired.

  14. #14 |  Nick T | 

    Well I’m sure the prosecutor will see all this information, and sit down with the police and call them on their bullshit. It’s his job to see that justice is done, afterall. So he’ll marshall all his facts, and make sure he feels confident that he is not relying on lying cops, then he will assess which crimes most appropriately fit the facts as he confidently believes them to be, and will only bring those charges.

    Then, Giselle will leve Tom Brady to become my sex slave, and a talking monkey will arrive from the future, and politicians will pass laws after carefully considering whether they are constitutional, and a snake wearing a vest will…..

  15. #15 |  Rightshu | 

    @#6:

    You’re not the only person who did a 180 on capital punishment because of Radley’s work. I used to be a real law-and-order type (hell, I was in Security Forces in the Air Force), and I thought that “frying those criminal sunzabitches” was the only sensible attitude to have. Then a cow-orker sent me a link to the Rack ‘n’ Roll travesty at BVBL, which led me over here, and reading about the unbelievable quantity and egregiousness of police corruption convinced me that maybe police investigators and prosecutors don’t really give a good goddamn about justice, and only care about arrest quotas and conviction rates.

    I’m not advocating violent insurrection against the occupying paramilitary police forces that have taken over our cities. Not yet, anyway. But I do believe that there will come a time when the people do rise up. I can’t really put it any better than Thomas Jefferson: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  16. #16 |  Dale Boley | 

    For your readers that may not know: The .223 round is the round used in the M16 rifle. The M4 is a shortened tactical version of the same gun. The .223 means that the round is .223 inches in diameter(or pretty darn close). It is a very very high speed round clocking in at around 3000 feet per second. It’s quite possible to shoot right through a wall if nothing solid is hit. Hell, I’ve shot clean through 1/4 inch plates of steel with a .223.

  17. #17 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    I could have almost written what you wrote myself Rightshu. Substitute USMC for Security Forces in the Air Force and that pretty much does it : )

    Since my “conversion”, I have been called several things by both liberals and conservatives…usually a bleeding heart liberal by conservatives (which is funny as I don’t advocate redistributing wealth nor do I wear tie-dye and attend protests and rallies) and a war-mongering right-winger by liberals (which is funny as I have no love of this war or any other).

    I actually had a fed show up at my door last week wanting info on a former neighbor for a security clearance or such. I never knew the neighbor as they moved 2 days after we moved in. Despite my insistance that I DID NOT KNOW HER, the fed kept asking me questions about her and several times asked me how long I had lived at this address (as if he doubted what I was telling him was the truth). After the 3rd time around started, I aked him if this was all leading to where we had been the last 2 times around because I had things to do and he wasting my time, the government’s time…but more importantly…MY TIME. As he shut his book and walked away, he muttered, “thanks.” My reply, “Anytime I can help my government keep tabs on its citizens…”

    I’m sure I’m on some watchlist now.

  18. #18 |  UCrawford | 

    ZappaCrappa,

    I heard exactly the same thing during from people in the military during my time in the Army. The few liberals I encountered didn’t like my views because I bagged on Democrat politicians’ economic policies, the conservatives didn’t like my views because I bagged on Republican politicians on civil rights (even though we’d all sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution), for invading Iraq and for what they were doing with the war in Afghanistan. Libertarians were definitely not a prominent group in the places I was stationed.

    Over the last few years, though, many of those people I’ve stayed in touch with seem to understand what I was saying and have gradually changed their views. If they read sites like this, I suspect that they’d be questioning a lot more of their core beliefs, particularly in regards to “law and order” and the War on Drugs.

  19. #19 |  SusanK | 

    It took the police department over a month to send the residue kits to the lab for testing. They must have been too busy patching holes to worry about forensic tests.

  20. #20 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Since my “conversion”, I have been called several things by both liberals and conservatives…usually a bleeding heart liberal by conservatives (which is funny as I don’t advocate redistributing wealth nor do I wear tie-dye and attend protests and rallies) and a war-mongering right-winger by liberals (which is funny as I have no love of this war or any other).

    People like to put people in a neatly labelled box. When you don’t fit within their existing boxes they stuff you in one, much like a 2 year old pounding a round block into a square hole. Welcome to the world of the Classical Liberal/Libertarian/Minarchist.

  21. #21 |  Kukulkan | 

    Given that Frederick’s family found only one bullet hole in his house and there is only one .223 round, it appears likely that the positive residue results for six officers is the result of either two scenarios: (1) five of the officers had recently fired a weapon (given how infrequently police practice, this seems unlikely); or (2) several officers picked up Frederick’s .380. If #2, that’s pretty shoddy work. Now you’ve got a chain of custody with 5 officers.

    It’s too bad that we’re never going to find out who patched the hole. At this point, it’s only speculation that the hole was patched by the police. I would be tearing open the wall to find the bullet. Ballistics might be able to match it to a police officer’s weapon.

  22. #22 |  Eric Ogunbase | 

    This whole thing reminds me of that movie “The Glass Shield”. Cops framing someone else. Etc.

    Police officers have this sense of entitlement…like they’re entitled to do what they want and have no repercussions.

    I think this is all brewing up for something to happen. Anyone watch “V for Vendetta” lately?

  23. #23 |  Against Stupidity | 

    Kukulkan,

    There is one other possibility. The officers where standing near the one who fired his weapon and they where all contaminated with GSR. Its not specific to the one who fired the weapon. That means every officer that tested positive should know which one of them it was.

    The cover-up is probably to prevent administrative action whoe lied, because now he’s making the department look bad.

  24. #24 |  KBCraig | 

    What, no hat tip? ;-)

    http://www.theagitator.com/2008/06/13/report-from-chesapeake-possible-second-informant-emerges-in-ryan-frederick-case/#comment-135359

  25. #25 |  airforce | 

    For anyone who handles firearms regularly, gunshot residue tests mean little. Unless a firearm is cleaned very well after firing, you can pick up residue from it for quite a while.

    If the cops had fired a shot inside the house and wanted to cover it up, you would think he would patch the hole AND pick up the spent brass.

    I wouldn’t think the cops would be firing full metal jacketed bullets from their M4’s. There should be some fragments of the bullet left in that wall. This story from WTKR TV certainly has more holes in it than that wall does.

  26. #26 |  Steve Verdon | 

    I think this is all brewing up for something to happen. Anyone watch “V for Vendetta” lately?

    I read the trade paperback version of the comic book…much better, IMO.

    I look forward to the land of “do as you please”.

  27. #27 |  Bill | 

    airforce, I’m not sure that the .223 casing was actually found inside the house; it was removed from the scene, along with the broken door and the battering ram, which wouldn’t necessarily have been inside the house. My bad if the location from which each of the items retrieved was actually listed on the return from the warrant that was posted by the newspaper down there.

  28. #28 |  supercat | 

    I changed my mind on the death penalty based on this kind of outrageous irresponsibility, and I think that a lot of death penalty supporters would be shocked to know how capricious prosecutors can be with other people’s lives.

    I support the death penalty in certain cases; unfortunately, some of the people who are most deserving of it (e.g. the people responsible for Kathryn Johnston’s murder) are unfortunately the least likely to get it.

    I consider myself very much a “law and order” type, but unfortunately many people seem to confuse “law and order” with “support government personnel in everything they do”. We are headed toward totalitarian anarchy, where those in power exercise absolute authority over the serfs but are not bound by any legitimate rule of law. While I periodically read debates about what should happen to cops who perform illegal searches and other such acts, I would posit that the starting point should be simple: a cop who performs an action without legal basis shall be considered no better than a non-cop who does likewise. If a cop breaks into someone’s home illegally and attacks the occupant, he is a robber. If he gets shot at, too bad for him–robbers do not have any ‘self-defense’ rights against their victims. If the victim gets killed, the cop is a murderer. Anyone who is involved with a raid which he should reasonably know to be illegal is an an accomplice to any crimes therein; if someone dies in such a raid, the accomplices are murderers regardless of whether the decedent is one of the attackers or one of the victims.

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Go supercat!

  30. #30 |  FreedomSight » Blog Archive » Ryan Frederick Case Updates | 

    […] Check Radley Balko’s post. More Possible Police Misconduct in Ryan Frederick Case […]

  31. #31 |  Frank | 

    And then people want me to be sympathetic towards cops who are righteously killed while performing an illegal home invasion?

    I’ll take a wild guess now and state that while Ryan might avoid getting the needle, the real criminals will continue to be criminals with badges.

  32. #32 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    Frank,
    you are displaying the same self-righteousness and lack of sense of proportion that the police and prosecutors have shown.

    Was the home invasion reckless and irresponsible? Yes. Was it the fault of the Cleveland Police Department that Detective Shivers died? In large part yes. Was his death in part his fault? On the evidence that is available to us , probably yes. Did he deserve to die for his actions? No. Did he deserve a good thumping for his part in the raid? Probably yes. Was Ryan Frederick in part at fault? On the evidence available to us, probably no. Will your over the top rhetoric help reduce public support for this sort of police tactic? No.

  33. #33 |  HtownGuy | 

    Frank,
    you are displaying the same self-righteousness and lack of sense of proportion that the police and prosecutors have shown.

    I disagree because invading homes is a criminal enterprise (and that’s what it is as it looks like the Chesapeake Police fabricated the excuse, had no legitimate justification).

    This criminal activity is even worse as it was performed under color of law, by the people we pay and trust to protect and serve us.

    The problem of criminal home invations under color of law is even worse as it is covered up systematically by prosecutors and judges whome we also employ and trust to serve us.

    Finally, this problem of criminal home invasions under color of law by our public servants who are then protected by our other public servants is rampant nationwide.

    So I don’t think Frank’s comment was over the top. The problem should cause outrage within people who desire freedom. That it doesn’t is an outrage itself.

  34. #34 |  Frank | 

    And for those who think that public support is going to mean anything, allow me to state the obvious by saying that Ryan has all the public support a man in his position could hope for. He’s still facing the death penalty for defending himself against a home invasion. So much for public support.

    As far as I’m concerned, Shivers deserved to die as much as any home invader without a badge deserved to die. The police hired criminals to burglarize the home in the hopes of finding evidence for a warrant, got the warrant under false pretenses, then placed the occupant of a dwelling in fear for his life. All for a bunch of maple trees. Shivers was a criminal engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise with his fellow gang-bangers, the badge is irrelevant. The people who should be facing felony murder charges are Chesapeake police officers, not Ryan. The wrong man is in prison denied bail and I’m supposed to have a sense of proportion?

    And there are lots of police out there just like Shivers in departments just like Chesapeake, and some of you people want to play Neville Chamberlain in the face of blatant German aggression. Wake the ph|_||< up! The only action that has any hope of success short of actually taking up arms is for someone to play Malcolm X against someone else’s MLK. We certainly can’t depend on the government to do anything about it, they WANT us cowering in our homes praying they’ll go kill someone else.

  35. #35 |  Andrew Williams | 

    What I want to know is WTF were the cops doing with M4 rifles on a drug raid? Did they have evidence there were weapons on the premises? Or was this the usual overcompensation?

  36. #36 |  claude | 

    Ryan wont be facing the death penalty. Prosecutor announced yesterday he wont be seeking it. I tried to post the link last night but apparently my post disappeared off into cyberspace.

    hamptonroads.com/2008/06/prosecutor-wont-seek-death-penalty-ryan-frederick

  37. #37 |  Dave_D | 

    I know of at least one case where a guy was convicted of murder because the state claimed that even though the barrel of the gun had been changed the indent from the firing pin on his gun matched the indent on the shell casing found at the scene. Personally I think that the guy that came up with this must be the Dr. Hayne of firearm’s analysis but maybe Mr. Fredericks lawyer needs to find him.

  38. #38 |  Edwin L. Jones | 

    In 1990, police tried to create a crime scene in my home while I was incarcerated. Yes, repeated unconstitutional searches for the sole purpose of planting evidence. It happens more often than the public wants to believe. ( State of Indiana v. Edwin L. Jones Case No. 49G069001CF007921)

  39. #39 |  tomr | 

    Ryan did nothing but try to protect himself. The chesapeake PD made many mistakes. One was not arresting him while he was at work later in the morning. Total morons.Good luck Ryan.Not everyone believes the Police Depts story

  40. #40 |  Raheem Vickers for Elijah Vickers | 

    On or about 6/13/2007 Elijah Vickers was apart of a major police conspiracy which deprived him of all his constitutional rights. He was pulled over by an officer who used the speed at which his sitting still vehicle took to catch up to Vickers moving vehicle in a two minute span to use as probable cause to stop the vehicle that his Lt. Butler in the leon county sheriff office had already told him to stop due to an annonymous tip. Officers swarmed on Vickers as he turned onto a two rut dirt road and only wrote him a warning ticket. He was made to get out his car, the passenger, a little boy was left with unknownst person while sheriff officers drove off in his truck and took Mr. Vickers to a secluded wooded area by gun point and threats. He was pulled over around 10 am but wasn’t booked till after 6 Pm. No officers called in their secret location over dispatch and admitted that they were in an area where their cell phones didn’t recieve signal. Mr Vickers was told to set up drug dealers in Tallahassee area and if he refused he would be killed and his mother’s probation would be violated he she would be sent to prison. He refused and LT. Butler called Jim Croder in gadsden county and he had Jenkins deliver cocaine outside his jurisdiction to leon county to charge Vickers with since he wouldn’t do as told. Vickers and his mother are in florida department of corrections right now due to this police conspiracy. Their is more but space is short, contact tringulartrinity@yahoo.com or contact Elijah Vickers at Bay Correctional Facility in Panama City, FL

  41. #41 |  Police Coverup in Ryan Frederick Case? | Captain of a Crew of One | 

    […] to our local press and a big hat tip to Radley Balko who has been on top of this since the beginning. This entry was posted in Police State, Ryan […]

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