Aaron James Linda James
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VICIOUS ASSAULT ON AARON JAMES BY AIRPORT POLICE, ON AIRCRAFT, MINNEAPOLIS AIRPORT, PRIOR TO FLIGHT DEPARTURE.
POLICE THEN LAY FALSE CHARGES TO COVER FOR THEIR ACTIONS.
DATE: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18,2006
AIRLINE/FLIGHT: NORTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT# NW1628, 7:14 P.M.
PURPOSE OF VISIT TO MINNESOTA: APPOINTMENT WITH DR. S. W. O’DRISCOLL, ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON, MAYO CLINIC, ROCHESTER, MN, RE POSSIBLE SURGERY FOR AARON’S DAMAGED RIGHT ARM.
COMMENTARY BY LINDA JAMES:
Aaron and I (Linda) flew from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Minneapolis, then on to Rochester MN, on Monday, January 16th, 2006.
We saw the surgeon, Dr. Shawn O’Driscoll, at the Mayo Clinic, on Tuesday, January 17th. He told us that he did not feel confidant of the outcome of any further surgery on Aaron’s right arm, stating that nerve damage resulting in severe, and unrelenting pain was one possible outcome. (Previous surgery had been performed on Aaron’s arm. It had not been successful, but there had been no nerve damage.)
We were both very disappointed and distressed by this information. We decided to cancel the surgery, which had already been booked, and return to Winnipeg the following day.
We flew from Rochester, MN, to Minneapolis, on Wednesday, January 18/06, on a Northwest Airlines flight at 2:54 P.M.
We were to fly from Minneapolis to Winnipeg at 7:14 P.M., on flight # NW1628. We did board that plane, but we did not take the flight.
AARON AND I BECAME THE VICTIMS OF:
- Profiling and paranoia engendered by a Homeland Security Training Program originally developed in Israel!
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- A false report given to the Airport Police by airline personnel, after we indicated that we intended to file a complaint about the conduct of an airline attendant.
- An unwarranted, unlawful, and violent assault by airport police, immediately after assurances were given to the contrary.
- A massive conspiracy to cover up police brutality through fabricated police statements, and a massive release of false information to the media.
- A deliberate falsification of all statements, and all testimony given at trial, by the Minneapolis airport police officers.
- False testimony given at trial by the prosecution’s one coerced, conflicted, and manipulated witness.
FOR THE PAST YEAR, WE HAVE LIVED OUR LIVES IN A STRANGE AND UNREAL SEEMING FORM OF HELL. WE WANT JUSTICE, AND WE WANT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THEIR AIRPORTS, SO THEY CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES!
HERE ARE THE DETAILS OF OUR TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE:
We boarded the plane in Minneapolis, on January 18th, at approximately 6:50 P.M. We had seats B & C in row 8. Seat A (window seat) appeared not to be taken, so we were hoping to be able to spread out a bit, since Aaron is a bodybuilder, and has very broad shoulders.
Aaron and I were both feeling very disheartened and dejected by the information we had received from Dr. O’Driscoll on the previous day, and we discussed this quietly as we boarded. The fact that we appeared unhappy and upset was immediately noted by the flight attendants, as we later discovered, when this was stated, in court.
We have since learned that all Minneapolis Airport personnel and all Northwest Airlines personnel had been required to attend a Homeland Security Training Program, originally developed in Israel. This program encourages passenger profiling, to the point of paranoia. Among other things, the program teaches that “A person who has explosives strapped to their body will behave differently, appearing distressed and unhappy.”
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Aaron left his jacket and carry on bag in the seats, and went down the isle to the washroom.
While Aaron was gone, Sherri Caudell, a flight attendant, strode up to our row. (This same flight attendant later stated, on the stand, ‘WE are trained to KILL, before WE are KILLED!’) She began to speak to me very loudly and in a confrontational manner: “Is there a problem here?” I did not understand what she was talking about. She repeated herself in the same loud, rude and abrasive manner as before: “Is there a problem here?!” I asked her what she meant. She demanded “Is this your bag, or does it belong to someone else?” Surprised, I explained that it was my son’s bag, and that he had gone to the washroom. I explained that we weren’t sure if seat A was taken or not, so we had to wait and see, before we settled in properly. The flight attendant then began handing out customs forms to passengers. I specifically requested an extra form for my son, whose bag was resting in seat C, as I then reminded her. She gave me two extra forms – more than enough for both of us.
This flight attendant then walked down the isle towards the back of the aircraft.
Shortly after that, Aaron came out of the washroom and walked back down the isle towards his seat, continuing to feel very dejected about his right arm.
As Aaron passed by this same flight attendant, she said “hello”, or something similar. Aaron was feeling despondent, and was lost in his own inner thoughts, so he continued on his way down the isle without acknowledging her, and hardly aware of her.
The flight attendant then hastened to follow him down the isle of the aircraft, calling out after him, loudly, “Excuse me!” “Excuse me!” “Is there a problem here?!” “Can I help you?!” She was alarmingly loud, and her tone was very confrontational, drawing the attention of all the passengers on both sides of the isle. Everyone was staring, and Aaron was shocked and horrified by her public harassment, and the spectacle she was creating, so he stopped. He told her quietly that nothing was wrong, and there was no problem. She responded loudly and accusingly, “You know you walked right by me!!”
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(*** A pattern of deliberate profiling is obvious here. Two days earlier, when we had flown from Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Rochester, MN, to attend the Mayo Clinic, we were also profiled. Our bags were missing when we arrived in Rochester. They were delivered to our hotel approximately 3 hours later. They had been seized by security, at customs. The locks had been cut, the bags had been rummaged through, and notes were attached stating “This luggage has been seized and searched for security purposes”. There had been no need for this action. We had deliberately gone through customs at the Winnipeg airport several hours early, so that customs officials would be able to have us unlock the bags for the purpose of searching them, should they wish to do so. Further, since we carried the Mayo Clinic surgeon’s letter with us, officials were well aware that the purpose of our visit to Minnesota was to obtain medical care. We did make a complaint about the seizure of our bags, at the time, given the circumstances. We feel that we may have been targeted even further, as a result of this complaint.***)
When Sherri Caudell accused Aaron of having walked right past her, Aaron assured her that there was no problem, and continued back down the isle to our seats. The flight attendant then followed him down the isle, and started in again, by trying to push customs forms on Aaron in a very antagonistic manner, although she knew that just minutes ago she had given me more than enough forms for both of us. I hastened to remind her of this. (I believe that she had not forgotten, but was deliberately using the subject of customs forms as a ruse to allow her to continue harassing and needling Aaron at this point.) Her manner did not improve at all when I “reminded” her that she had already given customs forms to me for Aaron. She simply stated, again very loudly, that regardless, it was her responsibility to speak to all the passengers about getting the customs forms. “I’m just doing my job you know! I have to hand out these customs forms to all passengers!”
Aaron and I spoke after she left. Aaron described how loud and rude she had been minutes earlier, when he had been returning to his seat. We both agreed that she had been very rude, abrasive, and confrontational, without cause.
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To our amazement, Sherri Caudell then came back and began to verbally accost us even further! Having been eyeing us all the while, she quickly returned to where we were sitting, and demanded sharply, “Excuse me! Are you two talking about me?!”
This now constituted the fourth time, collectively, that Sherri Caudell had verbally accosted us since we had boarded the plane! Aaron softly replied “That would be quite enough of your behavior, thank you”, in a hushed tone. (We had both been speaking very quietly in response to her outbursts, appalled at the negative display she had been creating. She responded by saying “Well! I’m going to talk to the captain; I don’t think you should be on this flight!”, and stormed off.
We were aghast. It became clear to us then, that this had quickly developed into the epitome of profiling and related persecution.
Aaron then got up and quietly walked the short distance to where the loud and confrontational attendant was standing, next to the senior flight attendant, and asked that she not speak to him any further. He spoke extremely quietly. I barely heard him speak. As he walked back to our seats, he also commented “please save your racism for someone else.” This was done to be sure that others on the plane were made aware that we felt that we were being treated badly.
The senior flight attendant, Beverly Banks, then came over and spoke very quietly to us, crouched down and resting on her heels, so that our conversation would be quiet and private. She asked Aaron why he had said what he did. (That we had been verbally accosted before an audience of numerous other passengers on four separate occasions by that point, she seemed to be unaware.)
We both explained that the flight attendant in question had been very rude, to both of us, and that was why Aaron had made the request. Neither one of us, at any point in time, became “irate” or began yelling (as was later claimed).
Beverly Banks later testified on the stand that at no time was Aaron yelling while on the plane.
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The senior flight attendant left. She spoke with both the flight attendant in question, and the pilot. We heard the attendant in question exclaim loudly, “I didn’t do ANYTHING!!!” We also heard her protesting, over the open P/A system, “These guys are lunatics!” Given her behavior to this point, this was particularly disturbing!
The senior flight attendant then returned to speak to Aaron again. This conversation also took place in somewhat hushed tones, with the senior attendant resting on her heels, so as to be at our level and keep the conversation quiet.
Aaron assured her, when she inquired, that all he was asking was for that particular attendant not to speak to him any further, and other than that, everything was fine. He repeated this assurance. He did state that he planned to file a formal complaint once he returned to Canada.
The senior attendant then said “I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea for you to be on this flight.” She then walked away. I had the expectation that she would come back again, to clarify the situation, however she did not.
Aaron and I soon noticed a vehicle with a flashing red light approaching the plane. We then discussed the fact that, if required, we would get off the plane, and take a later flight home.
Five Airport Police officers suddenly boarded the plane, at the front entrance, and came down the isle. The officer in the lead (who we later learned was sergeant Milton) said to Aaron, “Sir, we’d like you to get up out of your seat and stand in the isle please.” Aaron got out of his seat and stood in the isle, immediately upon being requested to do so, and stood calmly in place. Milton then said “Now we’d like you to pick up your things and come with us.”
In an attempt to clarify what exactly was taking place, Aaron asked several questions, calmly, and in conversational tones.
Aaron asked “Am I under arrest?” Milton told him, emphatically, “NO sir! You are NOT under arrest!”
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Aaron then asked “Am I being charged with anything?” He was again told, emphatically, “NO sir! There are NO CHARGES against you. We’d just like you to leave the plane with us.”
Given these reassurances, Aaron then asked “Then may I ask on whose authority I’m being asked to leave the plane?” He was still trying to make sense of the situation. He spoke calmly and in a non-threatening manner.
Officer Milton, with whom he had been having this conversation, and who had JUST split-seconds before assured him that he was in no danger, suddenly became angry and lost his temper. With an angry expression on his face, he announced to the officers behind him, abruptly and without warning, “Cuff ‘im!!”
When Milton abruptly announced “Cuff ‘im!”, he then jumped forward and began grabbing Aaron’s damaged right arm. Aaron was shocked and horrified! He had just been given assurances! He was terrified that his fragile right arm would receive additional, irreparable damage. He tried to protect it by pulling it back, to avoid having it grabbed and wrenched on.
Milton did not give Aaron an opportunity to be handcuffed voluntarily, which would not have put his arm at risk. He just got right in Aaron’s face, and started grabbing at him.
Things went from ‘0’ to ‘100’ miles an hour, in seconds, with the unwarranted assault that followed! I was close enough to reach out and touch the officer, but I didn’t dare interfere. Aaron was shocked and speechless, and desperately attempting to protect his arm. He placed his left hand on the officer’s chest and stepped backwards, to try to put some distance between Milton and his arm.
Later, when Aaron was in hospital being treated for his injuries, we learned from Sergeant Wingate, that as they were pressing forward towards Aaron, two of the officers farthest from Aaron (nearest the entrance of the plane) tripped each other up and fell, in the confines of the isle of the plane. This was when officer Hoerdt was injured! He received a cut to his forehead, at the hairline, and a small chip to one of his teeth.
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Hoerdt was not anywhere close to Aaron when this occurred! He definitely was not head-butted, as the officers soon decided to claim. Wingate downplayed the incident as he described it to us, saying all that had happened at the time was that he (Wingate) had sprained his finger.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to know that, the officer who lost his temper and assaulted Aaron was approximately 40 years old. He was definitely very much older than Aaron (Aaron was 29 at the time).
Officer Hoerdt, who injured himself when he was tripped up along with Wingate, and who Aaron was subsequently charged with head-butting, was only 27 years old at the time of the incident. This fact was established from reviewing Hoerdt’s own medical file, which was among court documents obtained by our U.S. lawyer. Officer Hoerdt was DEFINITELY NOT the same man who stood in front of Aaron, and spoke with Aaron, and who assaulted Aaron on the airplane.
FURTHERMORE, Officer Hoerdt admitted, on the stand, to being over 6 feet tall (taller than that even, in his police boots)! Aaron is only 5 feet & 9 inches tall. It would have been physically impossible for Aaron to have head-butted a person that much taller than himself at that person’s hairline. He would have had to be ‘flying’ to do so!
ALSO, it needs to be pointed out here that, if Aaron had actually had the audacity to do such an incredible thing, they would have IMMEDIATELY SHOT HIM DEAD, on the spot!!!
When Milton found himself unable to seize hold of Aaron’s right arm, he then yelled out for, and was passed a taser. At this point, Aaron realized that his life was in danger! He was physically strong enough to prevent the officers from reaching him with their tasers, but he realized that if he did this, then they would most certainly shoot him, and, they would probably kill him! Aaron steeled himself, and allowed the taser to burn his body! In spite of the intense pain (“like holding your hand on a red-hot element!) he resisted the urge to push the taser away. A second officer also began to take part in the tasering! Aaron deliberately fell over backwards in the isle of the plane.
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He hoped to appear overcome by the tasering, so the officers would stop applying the tasers.
Milton applied the taser non-stop to Aaron’s body, continuing to apply the taser as Aaron fell, and then afterwards, as he lay in the isle.
In falling, Aaron struck the left side of his face against the arm rest of one of the outside seats, receiving a deep, long gash in the lower part of his left eyebrow, and further down the left side of his face.
Court documents stated that there was considerable blood on the armrest as a result of Aaron’s injury. He also received ugly burns in multiple places on his body, from the tasers.
Aaron bled profusely from the cut beside his eye. The gash required 12 stitches to close. He also required a tetanus shot.
Incredibly, Aaron’s injury was later used against him, as an injury he could have sustained while head-butting officer Hoerdt! So, what was being proposed was that Aaron head-butted this officer, who is at least 4 inches taller than Aaron is to start with, at the hairline, at the top of the officer’s forehead, with the SIDE of his (Aaron’s) face! Absolutely ludicrous! Not only does that add many inches to the distance Aaron would have had to leap in order to accomplish this, but, it is suggested that he did this with his head turned! The logistics of all this is beyond imagination. Further, if a person did try such a thing, with any force at all, he would run the risk of breaking his own neck!
Milton appeared frenzied, and ‘high’ on adrenaline, and out of control! He tasered Aaron for a prolonged period of approximately 10 seconds, over his left chest (heart!) after Aaron fell to the floor. Through gritted teeth, Aaron asked him to stop! And finally he did stop! Once he stopped using the taser, he told Aaron to get up and allow himself to be handcuffed, which Aaron did. At no point before, during, or after the police officers’ assault on Aaron, was Aaron loud or irate, or in any way at all threatening or aggressive towards the officers.
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As the officers began to take Aaron off the plane, I called out for them to wait. I told them that Aaron and I were together, and that I was his mother, and that I was getting off the plane too. Up until this point, they had been oblivious to me. Aaron and I do not appear ethnically the same. They hadn’t realized that there was a family member who was witness to what they had done to Aaron. They were visibly horrified. The officer I addressed began to stammer. He was actually unable to formulate a complete sentence! He said “You can’t,…we’re just going to,…you’ll have to,…”, as he protested that I couldn’t leave the plane.
I insisted, and he realized that they had no legal ability to keep me confined to the aircraft, so they permitted me to come off the plane. They were definitely not happy that I was there. I was the ‘fly in the ointment’! They knew what they had just done!
Once we were back in the airport, the officers immediately began to construct false charges against Aaron, to cover up their unlawful assault on a passenger. Aaron called out to me in alarm: “Mom! They’re trying to say that I head-butted an officer!” I reassured him that I had seen the entire thing, and I knew he hadn’t head-butted anyone. We did not see any blood on any of the officers, either while on the plane, or afterwards in the airport. Aaron was covered in blood from the long, deep gash next to his eye.
Officer Edwards, # 59, came and took pictures of Aaron’s bleeding and injured head (he had not been on the plane).
I approached officer Brad Wingate (# 89, who had been on the plane) and asked him for the names of the officers involved. He immediately refused. I then asked for their badge numbers. He hesitated, said “I guess that wouldn’t hurt”, then very reluctantly gave me four badge numbers, instead of five! He insisted that was all there were: “Ma’am, we wouldn’t LIE to you!”
We later discovered that Wingate had deliberately avoided giving me the badge number for sergeant Cooper, the officer who had been standing behind Aaron, in the isle, on the plane.
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Sergeant Cooper was the one officer on the plane who was a minority. He was the officer who tried to warn Aaron that he was in danger, by whispering “Just go…, just go…”, when Aaron began to ask his third question. He was the officer who, while on the witness stand, referred to Aaron as “THE VICTIM”!!!!!
The identity of the fifth officer, Cooper, had been kept hidden from us, until Aaron discovered his name and badge number on one of the court documents that had been sent to him by our U.S. lawyer.
Officers Wingate and Edwards (photographer) went with Aaron and I in the ambulance, to the hospital. Once we were at the hospital and in the treatment room, Aaron’s handcuffs were removed, as it was apparent that Aaron was continuing
to be calm and rational, and had not done anything in any way threatening to that point.
While we were in the treatment room, officer Wingate (#89) indicated that the officers had attacked Aaron because of his size, and not because of anything he had done! Wingate gave a little laugh and then said “Well, hey, you’re a pretty big guy, you know, and we were afraid that you MIGHT do something.” He also acknowledged that Aaron had NOT done or said anything threatening for the entire duration, and had not struck out when attacked…
Aaron was taken to the Hennipen Detention Center in Minneapolis. He was charged with a felony assault of a police officer by way of head-butting said police officer.
The police officers then collaborated with one another, so as to try to make it seem plausible that Aaron had done this. Officers Hoerdt, Wingate, and Sweigert all provided false sworn statements designed to place Hoerdt (too young, and too tall!) as the officer in front of Aaron, so that he would be able to claim that it was he (Hoerdt) who had tasered Aaron, and that he had done so because Aaron had head-butted him. All three of the officers lied about where they had been standing on the plane, and what they had seen and done.
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Once Aaron had discovered the identity of the fifth officer (Cooper), he filed a complaint of police brutality with a U.S. organization called ‘P.O.S.T.’ (Police Officers Standards and Training). This organization immediately passed Aaron’s complaint on to the F.B.I., who passed it on to the prosecuting attorney for Aaron’s case! The prosecution was now aware that we knew about Cooper, and so they forced him to provide a false statement, three days before Aaron’s trial! One of the other officers had already claimed in his falsified statement, that HE was the officer standing behind Aaron on the aircraft. Cooper was therefore forced to provide a false and confused statement claiming that he was near the front of the plane, instead of behind Aaron, in order to avoid contradicting the false sworn statements already provided by the other officers!
Milton, who had played the central role on the aircraft,
provided no statement at all, at any time, and therefore was protected from having to testify in court! This was necessary in order for them to maintain the lie that Hoerdt was the officer who had conversed with and had tasered Aaron. This also prevented Milton from publicly being identified as the perpetrator of the unlawful assault on Aaron! They obviously wanted to try to ensure that he would not face a law suit as a result of his actions.
It was not until Aaron recognized Cooper, on the witness stand, as the officer who had been standing behind him on the aircraft, WHILE Cooper was swearing, UNDER OATH, that he had been standing at the front of the aircraft, that the last pieces of the puzzle finally slid into place, and we understood just how deep and sinister a conspiracy had actually been mounted against us!
In addition to the police officers’ false testimony, the prosecution managed to find one passenger that they could manipulate into lying for them! They had this passenger change his statement to say that he had seen Aaron head-butt an officer. Even so, when he was put on the stand, he admitted that he didn’t really see anything at all!
He was immediately prompted and coached by the prosecuting attorney into contradicting himself on the stand! “Isn’t it true that you saw James head-butt an officer?”
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The passenger hesitated then. He knew what they wanted him to say. He was torn between telling the truth under oath, and doing what he had been made to feel was his ‘civic duty’. And so, under this pressure, and wanting to help the police, he contradicted himself and lied on the stand, and said “yes”…, and he was their only witness, from among all the passengers on the plane!
Aaron was found not guilty of the felony assault charge. He was found guilty of a minor assault charge.
Aaron wants his name to be cleared, and he wants the police officers who did this to him to pay for what they have done.