WPRI reports on a case of police brutality caught on video in Taunton:
Joseph O’Brien claims he was doing no more than sitting on a stoop in the Taunton Green when Detective Robert Kramer approached him on the night of June 1, 2014.
“I didn’t know he was a cop,” O’Brien said. “(Kramer) said, you know who the (expletive) I am? I’m Kramer. I’m Kramer.”
In the incident report, Kramer states O’Brien was the aggressor when he was approached that night, leading to O’Brien’s arrest for disorderly conduct. A short time later, a camera in the police station recorded the end of the booking process. The incident report states that after Kramer took off the handcuffs, “O’Brien immediately went after Detective Kramer.”
Surveillance video shows that Kramer's report was a lie. Rather than showing O'Brien attacking Kramer, it shows O'Brien walking away, only to be attacked without provocation by Kramer. The video also shows that two other police officers, rather than arresting Kramer, joined him. O'Brien said Kramer continued to attack him off camera, which was backed up by another prisoner who overheard what happened.
WPRI found that Kramer has been accused of excessive force four other times in the past few years:
According to a statement made in court during a hearing for the O’Brien case, Taunton paid a $65,000 claim for injuries suffered by Celinda Kaye during a 2007 incident. Kramer alleged Kaye interfered with a drug-related arrest, but the charges were dropped in 2008. Kaye claimed Kramer beat her, causing “multiple facial fractures, (and) two broken ribs.”
In his statement to Target 12, Walsh said was the settlement was for less than the Taunton’s insurance deductible.
“The decision to settle was clearly financial and not reflective of the city’s belief that they would prevail at trial,” he said.
Another case surfaced in May 2011, when according to court documents, Roberto Alvarez-Delgado claimed Kramer “assaulted (him) causing physical injuries.” According to Alvarez-Delgado’s attorney, the assault charges were dismissed on the day his attorney expected to get Kramer’s personnel file, following a motion that was granted by the judge in the case.
Also cited in a court document is the arrest of Ulises Saldana, who claimed Kramer threw him “to the ground and repeatedly kicked him.” Saldana was arrested for resisting arrest and is in the process of suing, according to his attorney Joseph Krowski, Jr., who tells Target 12 he was granted a motion to get Kramer’s personnel file.
“There are several complaints in the file,” Krowski said.
According to a motion filed in O’Brien’s case to obtain those same personnel records, a woman named Rosemary Jenkins “alleges abusive treatment at the hands of Detective Kramer.”
“Ms. Jenkins has hired counsel to pursue a civil claim against Detective Kramer,” the motion states.
“While we are conducting an internal review of the (O’Brien) incident and those listed in the Motion, I have temporarily reassigned the officer in question to another position within the department,” Taunton Police Chief Edward James Walsh told WPRI.
That's completely outrageous. While the events that took place off camera should be investigated, there's enough evidence in the booking video alone to show that Kramer is a liar and attacked O'Brien without provocation. Kramer should not have been temporarily assigned to a different position during the investigation, he should have already been arrested. The two officers who assisted Kramer instead of stopping his attack should also be under investigation.
Furthermore, the cases where O'Brien was accused of excessive force shouldn't be the only ones that are investigated. Given that Kramer has been proven to be a liar, every single case he has ever worked on should be looked into. Innocent people are probably sitting in jail right now thanks to him.
Update (same day as original post): Chief Walsh has confirmed that the other two police officers in the booking video are Detective Ralph Schlagater and Sergeant Jeffrey Martin.
We have made a public records request for the video and should be able to bring you an unedited copy of it soon.