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Police Officer in Prison Because Her Police Dog Bit a Robbery Suspect-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor: The forwarded email is an
appeal for financial assistance from a former Maryland Police officer
who is in prison for what she says is a wrongful conviction of her
police dog biting a robbery suspect in 1995.
The Truth: This mailer is from officer
Stephanie Mohr who is in prison and appealing a conviction that resulted
from an incident with her police dog on 9/21/95.
According to court records, an officer was doing surveillance in an area
of Prince George's County where burglaries had been taking place. When
he spotted two men on top of a building, he radioed for help and
someone, in turn, asked for a K-9 (dog) unit. Officers Stephanie
Mohr and Anthony Delozier, along with a Maryland State Police
helicopter, all showed up at the scene. The two suspects were arrested
and charged with burglary. The charges were later dismissed
against one of them. The other pleaded guilty.
In 2000, the suspect whose charges had been dismissed brought action
against Mohr and her partner with violating the law by "acting
under color of law to willfully deprive him of his right to be free from
the use of unreasonable force." Both were also charged with
conspiracy. In the trial Officer Mohr said that one of the
suspects did not raise his hands as ordered and did not follow her
orders to stop when he came down from the roof. She says that his
body motions indicated to her that he was beginning to flee in a
direction where there were no officers. She says she told him to
stop then released the dog to handle it. The result was that the
suspect was bitten by the dog. Prosecution witnesses said they
remembered it differently. The officer who originally requested
the assistance, Sgt. Dennis Bonn, among others, testified that the two
suspects came from the roof peacefully, with their hands in the air, and
did as they were told. He says the dog was released on the
suspects as they stood cooperatively with their hands up. The jury
dropped the conspiracy charge against Mohr and the violation of rights
charge against her partner but could not agree on the violation of
rights charge against Mohr or the conspiracy charge against her
partner. A mistrial was declared. The second trial convicted
Mohr of the violation of rights charge and cleared her partner of the
conspiracy charge. She was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
Officer Mohr says she's been the target of zealous prosecutors who are
looking for cases of civil rights violations against minorities and that
some testimony against her has been stacked against her. Critics
of Mohr say she was part of a pattern of officers whose dogs had bitten
TruthOrFiction.com has confirmed with the
Prince George County Police Department in Maryland that the solicitation for funds is legitimately from the Law
Enforcement Officer's Legal Defense Fund.
Last updated 1/10/06
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
name is Stephanie Mohr, and I used to be a
police officer with the Prince George’s
County Police Department in Maryland. I’ve
sent you a photograph of my little boy,
Adam. It’s all I have of him right now.
Because instead of tucking Adam into bed
tonight, and leaning down to give him one
last butterfly kiss...I am sitting in a jail
cell. A jail cell where I’ve been
sentenced to spend 10 years of my life for a
“crime” I didn’t commit!
– let me explain.
I received over 25 letters of commendation
and two awards during my years on the police
force. But to the bureaucrats at the U.S.
Department of Justice, that doesn’t
matter. To them, I’m just a white police
officer whose police dog bit an illegal
immigrant on the leg in 1995.
You may have heard about my case on TV. On
the night of September 21, 1995, I was on
patrol with my police dog, Valk. The area I
patrolled, Takoma Park, had been suffering a
rash of burglaries. My partner, Sgt. Anthony
Delozier, and I got a call for backup from
an officer who had spotted two men on the
roof of a nearby store. We knew we had
likely found the perpetrators.
When we arrived, the situation was tense.
The suspects, Ricardo Mendez and Herrera
Cruz, had been ordered down from the roof
and told to face a wall. They were shouting
back and forth to each other in a stream of
then it happened.
Mendez made a move as if to flee the scene.
In accordance with my training, I released
my dog, Valk, who was trained to perform the
standard “bite and hold” move. He did
so, biting Mendez on the leg and holding him
until I and the other officers could
Both of the suspects were charged with 4th
degree burglary. Cruz pled guilty and was
deported to Mexico. Mendez was convicted of
illegally entering the U.S. and selling
crack cocaine and was deported to San
Salvador. As for me, I was relieved to get
two dangerous drug dealers off our streets.
So imagine my shock – five years later –
when the U.S. Department of Justice
announced that it would indict me for
“violating” Ricardo Mendez’s civil
rights by allowing my police dog to bite his
Mendez, a criminal and an illegal alien, had
been fleeing the scene of a crime, and it
had been my duty to release Valk and
apprehend him. But the bureaucrats in the
Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department
of Justice chose to ignore the facts; they
were looking for cases of “police
brutality”, and I was exactly what they
wanted: a white officer whose police dog had
bitten a minority.
My fellow officers and I testified in court
that I had done my job by the book. And it
was true: the P.G. County police training
clearly states that if a felony suspect
makes a move, we are authorized to release
our police dogs.
jury agreed and voted to acquit me 11-1. And
that’s when things really got ugly.
Civil rights groups were furious. Everyone
from Amnesty International to the NAACP
declared the arrest “racist” and
demanded further investigation. The Justice
Department insisted on a second trial
because of the one lone juror who had sided
with the prosecution. They got it.
The second trial was a circus. The
government flew in Mendez from San Salvador
and Cruz from Mexico at taxpayer expense to
testify against me. They stacked the jury
with minorities who would be sympathetic to
illegal immigrants. They drummed up minority
witnesses who accused me of using racial
epithets against them – without a shred of
Their strategy worked. I was convicted and
sentenced to ten years in prison – for
apprehending a drug dealer!
For over two years my son has been without
his mother. I think about Adam every minute.
It is an unimaginable pain – maybe
something only a mother can feel. I’m not
there to crawl in bed with him in the middle
of the night when he has a bad dream. I’m
not there to wrap my arms around him when he
falls down. I feel so small, helpless... and
But there is one ray of hope that I am
clinging to with all my heart and soul: The
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF).
If you’ve heard of LELDF then you know
it’s the best friend a police officer
could ever have. LELDF helps defend good
officers who have been unfairly prosecuted
for their split-second decisions in the line
of duty. They’ve helped Officer Chuck
Schwarz, in New York; Officer Scott Smith,
in Connecticut; and Officer Wyatt Henderson,
in Florida. And it was LELDF who helped
Stacey Koon when the Rodney
King-sympathizers tried to throw him in jail
back in 1991.
It will be an uphill battle. The appeal
alone has cost upwards of $35,000. And there
are legal fees for expert witnesses, legal
research, and other court fees. To make
things worse, I was forced to resign after
my conviction, and now in prison I have no
means of earning money to fund my case.
I have already missed over two years of my
little boy’s life. I missed his fourth and
fifth birthdays. And I can’t bear to think
how many more precious moments I will miss
-- moments that every mother treasures but
that I will never see!
That’s why I am going to swallow my pride
and ask you the hardest question I’ve ever
asked another person: Will you help me get
home to Adam by sending a tax-deductible
contribution to the Law Enforcement
Legal Defense Fund to help them fund my
The U.S. Department of Justice has unlimited
federal tax dollars to spend on their case
against me. But I must rely on the generous
hearts of people like you to help clear my
innocent name and send me home to my son!
This is my last chance to gain freedom. For
me, your $20 gift could be the difference
between clearing my name and being there for
my dear son… or spending the next eight
years in prison, innocent, while Adam grows
up without a mother. He will be a young man
by then... almost 14. And I will have missed
the years when a little boy needs his mommy
Thank you so very much for taking the time
to read my letter. Just knowing you’ve
done that much gives me hope -- hope that I
will get home to Adam before it’s too
late. With your help, Adam will never spend
another Christmas without his mom by his
P.S. If I can be sent to prison for doing my
job, then sooner or later every police officer
in this nation will be at risk. By clicking
here and contributing, you can help LELDF
defend those good officers. Won’t you please
help me clear my name and get home to my son
by supporting LELDF today? I truly appreciate
any help you can spare. From the bottom of my
heart, thank you!
2 For 1
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