Complaint filed against LAPD

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By Carol A. Clark

A Los Alamos resident and former Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist alleges that he was the victim of "jailing and beating and subsequent abuse of authority" on and subsequent to Nov. 24, 2006 by Los Alamos police.

Richard Morse, 73, filed a complaint Nov. 12 in First District Court against the LAPD. He is seeking $300,000 for pain and suffering, another $20,000 for the theft of his two automobiles as well as court costs and interest.

The complaint stems from a Nov. 27, 2006 incident in which Morse was pulled over on Peach Street by an officer whom he said told him he had a flat tire. Morse was then arrested on an outstanding Municipal Court Warrant.

The warrant stemmed from a list of offenses, including a front-end collision at Canyon Road and Central Avenue in July 2006 in which he was ticketed but did not appear in court, lack of insurance and failure to pay a parking ticket, he stated in a detailed report of the incident.

There also was a matter regarding a rental car theft, Morse said, adding that it was his wife Penny Morse who was involved, but that it was actually someone else who had the car.

Morse was taken to jail on the outstanding warrant. He states that a jailer gave him an orange and white striped prison outfit to wear. He requested his mug shot be taken in his street clothes, according to the complaint, because he was concerned that he would be defamed by the photo in prison stripes being circulated outside the jail.

During his few hours in jail Nov. 27, 2006, Morse states that his four upper teeth were broken off by police. He also says he sustained an indented left rib area and sore fingers from being bent back by police officers.

The police booking video of the incident shows two officers asking Morse several times to change from his street clothes into the jail outfit. Morse repeatedly refused. After several minutes, the officers quickly laid Morse down on his back and remove his street clothes, shoes and socks.

The officers left the cell and Morse sat on the cell floor with his arms crossed for some time. He then began requesting his cardiologist. The booking video does not show signs of violence on the part of the officers.

Capt. Randy Foster explained during an interview Thursday that the reason police policy requires inmates to wear jail clothes is for the safety of both the inmate and jailers.

Jail clothes are specially made so nothing can be hidden inside the clothes and the material is specially made to break away easily so inmates can’t injure themselves, he said.

Morse declined to comment on the case citing advice from his lawyer but did say that he had filed a complaint within three months of the incident but because of “undue influence” he was not able to find a lawyer to take the case. He decided to file the case on his own last week.

Morse states in his complaint that he began feeling cardiac symptoms and requested his cardiologist. He recognized the heart symptoms, he said, from a previous experience in 1997 in which he says his son, James Morse, was murdered in San Francisco on the eve of the deadline for Morse to retire with LANL medical benefits. As a result, he does not have medical benefits, he said.

Morse was transported to Los Alamos Medical Center. He left the hospital the following day, he said, after a nurse appeared with two hypodermic needles containing something he recalled her saying was to relax him.

Police Chief Wayne Torpy said Thursday that his department has not been served with an official notice of the complaint.

The county legal department will handle the matter when the time comes, he said. Torpy added that as required by the Open Records Act, all related documents and video material are available for viewing.

 Morse states in his report that his arrest was, “clearly related to and a consequence of my complaining, first to the U.S. Government Administration DOE-Science Office and then to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee about the certain non-functional state of the Trident submarine warhead, the W76, designed and developed by Los Alamos under Director Harold Agnew.”

He referred to a March 16, 2004 meeting he attended in which LANL and NNSA officials were displeased that he was voicing concern about the too-thin casing on the W76 warheads. Following the meeting he says his car was vandalized while parked in front of his home on Bath Tub Row.

On the 16th of each month for several months following the “disagreeable” LANL/NNSA meeting, Morse claims there was evening vandalism against both his home and car.

He added in the report that on the 16th of one particular month, his cat was brutalized twice, saying he has X-rays that show the little bones in its hindquarters were shattered with a garden hoe.

He also has X-rays showing the cat received a blow to its small head.

During this same time period, Morse says his post office box was changed to number 666 - the symbol of the devil.

To resolve his complaints against LAPD, Morse is demanding a trial by jury.