Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Officer Carole Romero Ga. Health Sciences Police

Factual summary:

Marlene L. Grant is a 60-year-old African-American woman. Ms. Grant is a retired corrections officer. Ms. Grant receives food stamps and monthly living support. She lives in a retirement community. Mrs. Grant volunteers at a local church community center. Ms. Grant has no history of drug use and she had no criminal record until the incident described in this report. Ms Grant was on her way to volunteer at a "help the homeless," event at church nearby when she was approached by Officer Carole Romero.

On March 24, 2012 at approximately 9:00 AM Ms. Grant left her home to walk to the nearby church located approximately 1 mile away. She was unarmed with the exception of a small pocket knife she carries to assist her with her task at the community center and at home. As Ms. Grant crossed through the Georgia Health Sciences campus she was approached by a police officer later identified as Carole Romero. According to Ms. Grant and police reports the officer made contact and began to question Ms. Grant. According to police affidavits Ms. Grant was uncooperative and refused to answer the officer. In my interviews with Mrs. Grant she reports that the officer stopped her three times never providing a reason for the stop. Ms. Grant assumed she was free to go and she continued walking. According to Ms. Grant she was not attempting to break any laws. She was simply exercising her right to leave the area as she had committed no crime and she was late for an appointment at the local church where she was scheduled to do volunteer work for the homeless.

According to Officer Romero, Ms. Grant became combative and had to be subdued with the assistance of the second officer named Zizzamia. The officers claimed that Ms. Grant resisted arrest and bit Officer Romero. Ms. Grant was arrested for obstructing justice and assault on a police officer. Mrs. Grant disputes the officer’s account of the incident. In a series of interviews she explained that she never attacked the officer but only continued walking. She said that Officer Romero attempted to tackle her and with the assistance of Officer Zizzamia, she was thrown to the ground and body slammed. She also reports being tasered multiple times while on the ground. She was knocked unconscious by the assault of the officers.


I have been asked to review available records and assess the arrest and the use of force by officers Romero and Zizzamia. My assessment will be based on my experience as a police officer and patrol supervisor. I have made more than 300 arrests. My experience as a detective will also be used to assess the conduct of the officers as it relates to Ms. Grant. My assessments will also be inclusive of International Association of Chiefs of Police standards regarding subject stops, use of force and field interviews.

Opinions and conclusions

After reviewing police affidavits, medical reports witness statements and other records it is my opinion to a reasonable degree a professional certainty that there are problems with this arrest and that the force used appears to be excessive.

Citizens are entitled to freedom of movement. Police officers may engage citizens for questioning when there is a legitimate law enforcement concern or a public safety matter. Short of that, police officers must have a good reason for contacting or detaining anyone. My review of the available records demonstrates that the officer made several errors in this contact. The most obvious concern is that there appears to be no underlying crime. Though Marlene Grant was arrested for obstruction and illegal possession of a weapon (a pocket knife), she was perfectly within her rights to walk through the MCG campus so long as she did not disturb anyone or enter a restricted area. An officer who is curious about someone's activities must first have probable cause basis for detention. There appears to be no basis for the contact Officer Romero initiated with Marlene Grant. Though the officers later learned that Ms. Grant had a pocket knife they did not know that when they approached Mrs. Grant initially. What the officers found later is irrelevant to the basis of the stop. Inquiring about Marlene Grant’s status as a student is not demonstrably tied to any legitimate law enforcement function in the officer’s report. Was there a crime in the area? Did someone impersonating a student do something that caught the officer’s attention? These questions are unanswered by the officer’s police report and subsequent affidavits. It appears that Marlene Grant was a stopped purely based Officer Romero’s concern that she was not a student. There is nothing else supporting this contact in the officer’s police report. Moreover as an officer it is my experience that in such a circumstance Marlene Grant would be entitled to continue walking until told that she was being detained or placed under arrest. According to Ms. Grant she was never given a reason for being stopped. Indeed, Ms. Grant believes that she was the target of racial profiling.

According to Ms. Grant and the police report there was no crime that Ms. Grant was suspected of committing when Officer Romero approached her. The time of day, 9 AM is not normally associated with high rates of criminal activity. Indeed it was broad daylight and there was no reason to assume Ms. Grant was doing anything but walking. She had no obligation to submit herself to a stop without some probable cause described by the officers. There appears to be no probable cause laying out justification for this contact in the officer’s affidavits.

I've investigated more than 8000 complaints of police misconduct. Based on my experience police officers often charge citizens who they have hurt or injured with assault or resisting arrest. The charge protects the officer from allegations of excessive force. If the officer was defending himself or herself from attack whatever force they used will likely be justified. Marlene Grant reported being tasered nearly a dozen times in her buttocks area. She had injuries sustained all over her body from the attack by the officers. According to witnesses the assault by the officers has had a dramatic impact on Ms. Grant’s health. The coordinator at the church who was waiting for Ms. Grant said that she has suggested that Ms. Grant discontinue volunteering or reduce her community service substantially because of her injuries. The church volunteer coordinator told me that prior to this assault Ms. Grant was a healthy and vibrant woman. After her assault by the officers and her jail incarceration for five days Ms. Grant is a diminished woman physically and mentally. The coordinator told me that Ms. Grant is unable to perform many of the tasks she was able to do prior to the attack by the officers. I have included this witness’s account because it is consistent with what Marlene Grant told me about the severity of the assault by the officers.

Use of force

Police officers are entitled to use force to overcome resistance and to secure public safety. If an officer is threatened, or if the suspect is resisting, officers are trained to use force sufficient to overcome the resistance. Police officers are not entitled to use more force than is necessary. In this matter, Marlene Grant was walking through an area legally when she was confronted by Officer Romero and later a second officer named Zizzamia. Given Marlene Grant's age and other facts, it is my opinion that two police officers using the amount of force described under the circumstances were improper. There is nothing in the officer’s affidavits to support the use of the Taser on a 60-year-old woman in the manner described by Marlene Grant. The fact that there was no crime being committed prior to the assault by the officers makes the use of force more doubtful. Moreover, the claim that a sixty year old woman on her way to volunteer at church attacked two police officers for no reason is dubious. It is my opinion that the charges made against Ms. Grant may be inflated to protect the officers from criminal or civil liability for their actions.

Based on the information contained in the officers affidavits Marlene Grant's testimony and my interview with witnesses it is my professional opinion based on my training and experience as a police officer that the force used against Marlene Grant was excessive and that the police officers had no basis to contact Ms. Grant.

Materials Reviewed
 In preparing my report, I reviewed the following materials which are commonly examined in any area of expertise and rendering professional/expert opinions on police practices.  
Police reports
Previously Obtained Witness Statements
Private Investigative Report
Photographs of the arrest location
Route Traveled by the complainant
International Association of Chiefs of Police Model Policies in the following areas:
Use of Force
Subject Stops
Field Interviews
General Standards of Conduct

Opinions and Conclusions
After reviewing the aforementioned records, court testimony, law enforcement policies and witness statements I am prepared to render a professional opinion. It is my professional opinion based on my training and experience as a police officer that probable cause did not exist to make a subject stop, search and arrest.
Again, I reserve the right to amend or supplement this report should any other relevant information become available to me.

Cases I have been retained as an expert in past 5 years:
Lateef Al-Saraji and Theresa Al-Saraji V. City of Dallas, Police
Carney V. City of Raynham
Feliciano V. Suffolk County
Additional Evidence:
Evidence video covering my review of evidence approximately 15 minutes
Compensation: $7500 Expert Opinion
I charge a fee of $750.00 per day for trial testimony excluding travel fees

The officers reports


  1. I hope she gets BIG BUCKS for this law suit. It is a shame that this criminal cop probably won't lose his job. Police brutality is OUT OF CONTROL in this "free" country we live in.

  2. i would upload all these stories on facebook twitter and whatever is possible. narrate it and put it on youtube as "60 year old black woman severely abused by police" and throw in some statistics on abuse and who it happens to and who does it and how often the cops are let off with no charges whatsoever