Filing false charges against the innocent

Radley Balko highlights another case where police were caught red-handed completely manufacturing false charges against Stephen Dendinger whose only ‘offense’ was that he was the person who delivered process papers to a police officer at a police station who had been charged with acting brutally against his nephew. This serving of papers is something that happens routinely all the time as part of the legal process.

But instead of jus accepting the papers, police officers started yelling abuse at him. He left the station and was on his way home when he was arrested. Police reports later alleged that that he had assault them at the station and resisted arrest. Two prosecutors on the scene also filed reports supporting those charges. Based on that report, the district attorney’s office filed two felony and two misdemeanor charges against Dendinger that could have sent him to prison for twenty years.

What saved him from prison was that Dendinger’s family had recorded on a cell phone him serving the papers so that he could prove that he delivered them, and this fortunate accident enabled him to prove that nothing that the charges were entirely fabricated.

As Balko says:

But here’s my question: Why aren’t the seven witnesses to Dendinger’s nonexistent assault on Cassard already facing felony charges? Why are all but one of the cops who filed false reports still wearing badges and collecting paychecks? Why aren’t the attorneys who filed false reports facing disbarment? Dendinger’s prosecutors both filed false reports, then prosecuted Dendinger based on the reports they knew were false. They should be looking for new careers — after they get out of jail.

If a group of regular citizens had pulled this on someone, they’d all likely be facing criminal conspiracy charges on top of the perjury and other charges. So why aren’t these cops and prosecutors?

Good questions. I have become extremely suspicious whenever anyone is charged with ‘resisting arrest’ and ‘assault and battery’ against a police officer. These are the standard false charges that police file against anyone who in any way does not grovel before them.

You can read more about the case and see a local TV news report of what happened here.

This illustrates the power that the combination of the police and the prosecutors have, If they want to get you for any reason, they can cook up all manner of charges and you have almost no recourse. In this case, they have been caught lying but how often do they get away doing similar things?

Dendinger has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers, prosecutors, and the district attorney. I think that the filing of these lawsuits and soaking the police for damages is one of the best ways of stopping this kind of abuse. As the bills pile up, taxpayers are going to start asking questions.


  1. DsylexicHippo says

    The issue here is “who will bell the cat?” Dendinger’s civil suit will at best lead to a payout but that’s too little too late. The perps should be in prison but then I suppose the illustrious Feds would have to step in? And we all know how they never cook up stuff.

    The law should be doubly stringent when it comes to blatant misuse by those who are supposed to uphold it.

  2. psweet says

    Not sure exactly where I read this comment, but someone on one blog or another pointed out — if this guy committed assault and battery against a police officer, in a police station, how in the world did he walk out? The idea that they had to come to his house to arrest him should have been a huge red flag to anyone familiar with the situation.

  3. Mano Singham says

    His lawyer made that precise point, saying “If this was truly a battery on a police officer with police officers all around him, why isn’t something happening right there? Why aren’t they arresting him on the spot?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *