Analysis of Police Statements Released by MN Airport Police Demonstrate Through Their Own Self Contradictions That They have Lied and Deceived regarding the Nuances of the attack:
ANALYSIS OF THE STATEMENT BY SERGEANT ALVIN COOPER, JUNE 17,2006
Please note that this is the last-minute statement produced by Sergeant Alvin Cooper, on Saturday, June 17th,2006, with the trial less than two days away, on Monday, June 19th,2006!…The statement was given under duress…Sergeant Cooper and the prosecution collaborated on this statement after the complaint that Aaron had submitted concerning police brutality was forwarded to the prosecution by P.O.S.T. (the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training), via the F.B.I.! (See copy of e-mail previously provided.)
The prosecution now realized (from the complaint Aaron had filed with P.O.S.T.) that we knew that Sergeant Cooper had been the fifth Officer on board the plane at the time that they assaulted Aaron.
Immediately after the assault on Aaron, the officer that I spoke to in the airport refused to give me the names of the officers involved. He also gave me only four badge numbers when I requested them. When I expressed disbelief that there were only four numbers, he said to me emphatically “Ma’am, we would not lie to you! (Taken in the context of what I had just seen them do to Aaron, the statement seemed, and was, ludicrous!)
In any case, Cooper had been ‘flushed out’, and revealed as having been on the plane, and so they therefore needed a statement from him, to effect ‘damage control’!
They had a problem however…They now had to put Cooper on the stand. Cooper, it turns out, had been the officer standing directly behind Aaron on the plane. Aaron was certain to be able to visually identify him when he took the stand (he was the only ethnic minority among the five officers who had been on the plane).
Unfortunately for them (the police officers and the prosecution), they had ALREADY submitted a SWORN STATEMENT from officer Sweigert, in which he stated that he had been the officer standing behind Aaron! (Oops!)…When they put together their fabricated ‘shell game’, they hadn’t counted on our flushing Cooper out. They hadn’t given me his badge number, so he didn’t ‘exist’, so they had gone ahead and put someone else in his place! (It would appear that his badge number was withheld because they did not believe that Cooper would go along willingly with whatever story they cooked up to cover up the unwarranted assault, perhaps because he was a minority, and/or perhaps because he had stronger principles than the rest of them.)
WHAT TO DO?!!
OFFICER COOPER – PAGE 2
Aaron had counted five officers when they boarded the plane. Following the assault on Aaron, I was given badge #14 (Milton), #46 (Sweigert), #54 (Hoerdt) and #89 (Wingate). Now that Cooper (#15) was a reluctantly acknowledged participant, that gave us the five officers who were on the plane.
Sweigert had already taken Cooper’s position on the plane by falsely claiming to have been standing behind Aaron, in HIS statement, so Cooper now had to invent a scenario for himself…he had no choice!
He therefore claimed that he had been standing in the galley area of the aircraft, 20 feet away from Aaron. From 20 feet, with three other officers (supposedly) standing in the isle between himself and Aaron, he claims he could see the following: “When James stood up, Cooper could see that James was standing in a combative, defensive, puffed-up position.” Cooper then performs an incredible feat, according to his statement. From his supposed position in the galley area of the plane, 20 feet away, and at the front of the plane, he claims: “Cooper could see officer Hoerdt’s face, and the back of James’ head…” The officer in front of Aaron (supposedly but not actually Hoerdt) was facing towards Aaron and towards the back of the plane. In other words, he had his back to the position in which Cooper claims to have been standing. At the same time, Aaron was facing the officer in front of him, and facing the front of the plane. Cooper couldn’t have seen any of what he CLAIMS he saw, from where he CLAIMS to have been standing. He DID see both the back of Aaron’s head, and the face of the officer (not Hoerdt) who was standing in front of Aaron, from where he actually was standing. Aaron was able to immediately positively identify Sergeant Cooper as the officer who was standing directly behind him on the plane, the moment Cooper took the witness stand, in court.
Cooper goes on to claim to have seen a further incredible feat…”He then saw James head move forward and make contact with Hoerdt, head butting Hoerdt.”
When officer Hoerdt was on the witness stand, he was asked how tall he is. He responded “about 6 feet”. Aaron is 5 feet and 9 inches tall. Aaron was made distinctly aware of the considerable height difference between himself and Hoerdt even prior to that however, when he and officer Hoerdt happened to both ride up to the courtroom in the same elevator. He noted at that time, that Hoerdt was quite a significant number of inches taller than he was.
OFFICER COOPER – PAGE 3
Aaron would have had to be flying upwards in the air, not leaning forward (which would result in a LOSS of height), in order to manage to head butt someone that much taller than himself, and especially to head-butt that person at the hairline above his forehead!
It is important to note, in addition, that the officer who was actually standing in front of Aaron, and who actually initiated the assault on Aaron (Milton, #14), was significantly older than Aaron, while officer Hoerdt, according to his medical records in the file, was only 27 years old (birth date:08/11/79).
It is also significant to remember here that Sergeant Cooper referred to Aaron as ‘THE VICTIM’ while he was on the stand, much to the displeasure of the prosecution! He did not appear at all happy about having been required to take the witness stand.
Also note that Hoerdt is one of the two officers who tripped over each other, near the front of the plane, when Aaron extended his left arm, to protect his right arm from harm, forcing all four of the officers in front of him to take a step backwards unexpectedly. Hoerdt’s hairline cut and his chipped tooth would have occurred at that time, and were not sustained as a result of a head-butt by Aaron.
Further, it should be noted that it is quite physically impossible to head-butt someone and simultaneously cause a cut at the top of the forehead at the hairline, as well as a chipped tooth. It is definitely possible to accomplish this if you trip and fall, impacting on an armrest, etc. in doing so.
ANALYSIS, OFFICER BRAD WINGATE’S COLLUSIVE FALSE STATEMENT
Officer Wingate’s statement is a continuation of the collusion between the officers, by claiming procedures were followed that should have been, but were not.
Wingate portrays Aaron as confrontational and argumentative because he asked his three questions, while Aaron was simply seeking assurances of his safety, and clarification of the situation. He asked his questions quietly and calmly.
Wingate claims that Hoerdt told Aaron that he was “being denied flying by the NWA captain and he needed to get off the aircraft.” That conversation should have taken place, but it did not. That was the clarification that Aaron was asking for and he did not receive it.
(This was explained to Aaron, eventually, in the airport, AFTER the assault on Aaron had taken place!)
Wingate claims that Hoerdt asked Aaron to place his hands behind his back, when in fact that request was never made. Aaron was told emphatically that he was NOT being arrested, and it was not Hoerdt who spoke to Aaron.
At this point it is important to note that neither Wingate nor Hoerdt actually knew precisely what occurred between Aaron and Milton, who was the officer who was actually in front of Aaron, because they were the officers farthest removed from the scene, being the officers closest to the front of the plane. Their statements are in keeping with the others, in trying to portray the officers as having acted within the bounds of the law, while portraying Aaron as having head-butted officer Hoerdt, by making false statements as to what happened, and misrepresenting the positions of the officers when they were on the plane.
Wingate states that Aaron head-butted Hoerdt (this scenario being their plan to protect themselves from the consequences of having assaulted and tasered a passenger without any cause).
Wingate also states that it is he who walks Aaron off the plane.
The officer who walked Aaron off the plane was the same one who initiated the assault on Aaron, and tasered Aaron, and that officer was definitely NOT officer Wingate! That officer was “high” on a huge adrenalin rush, puffing and panting, and hissing threats, and shoving Aaron, in almost a form of hysteria.
WINGATE – PAGE 2
Wingate was the officer who accompanied us to the hospital in the ambulance, and played the ‘good cop routine’, by being friendly and talkative, and non-judgemental…He definitely was NOT the officer who assaulted Aaron.
Furthermore, in the ambulance, and in the hospital, Wingate admitted to being one of the two officers who tripped and fell, near the front of the plane, farthest away from Aaron. He unreservedly stated that he did not see Aaron head-butt officer Hoerdt. “I don’t know, I didn’t really see anything, but, I was upside down for a while there.” (because of tripping over another officer). He said not to worry, because no harm was done, all he did was sprain his little finger. It has since become apparent to Aaron and to myself, that Wingate deliberately mentioned the officers having tripped over each other, to determine how much we had seen, and how much we understood of what had happened, at the time! He needed to know if we realized that officers had fallen, and could have been injured as a result. He deliberately did not mention the name of the other officer who had tripped, and down played the entire event.
His excuse for their assaulting Aaron was: “Hey, you’re a pretty big guy. We were afraid that you MIGHT DO SOMETHING!” This was an absolute acknowledgement that Aaron did not assault or head-butt anyone, to give them grounds for an assault.
This is in stark contrast with his statement, which ‘toes the party line’, like the others, in the interests of protecting the officers (and in particular, Milton) from the consequences of their assault on Aaron.
ANALYSIS, OFFICER STEVEN SWEIGERT’S FALSE STATEMENT
Officer Sweigert, in his statement, claims to have been the (minority) officer standing directly behind Aaron, when the officers were on the plane (he is actually a white male). We actually made the mistake of believing that this was true, until Sergeant Cooper took the witness stand at the trial. It was then that we realized that Cooper had been the (minority) officer standing behind Aaron, and that officer Sweigert’s statement was wholly fabricated! Sweigert’s statement was used to try to fill all the holes in the dyke! His statement was used to try to show that the officers did everything properly, and by the book. It is a pains-taking attempt to relate a multitude of fictitious details which attempt to portray the officers as having acted correctly, while portraying Aaron as completely non-cooperative.
There was obviously serious collusion between the officers with their statements, in an attempt to create the scenario they needed, to cover up the fact that there had been an unlawful assault, and an abuse of power, on the part of the police, and especially, an attempt to protect the officer who initiated and led the assault.
Sweigert claims falsely that he was standing behind Aaron, at row 9, when it was actually Sergeant Cooper who was standing in that position.
Sweigert claims that Aaron is 6 feet tall. This is significant. It is important that Sweigert convey the notion that Aaron is tall, because a person who is 5’9” tall is not able to head-butt a person who is 6’ tall or more, especially at the hairline, above his forehead (not to mention also simultaneously chipping that person’s tooth in the process!).
Sweigert claims that Hoerdt told Aaron that Northwest was denying him boarding…Not one of the officers gave Aaron the answer to his question “May I ask on whose authority I am being asked to leave the airplane?”, least of all Hoerdt, who did not speak to Aaron at all.
Sweigert claims that he and Hoerdt and Wingate told Aaron to place his hands behind his back “multiple times”, when in fact, this cautionary request was not spoken at all, by any one of the officers, at any time.
Essentially, what this statement is doing by including such fabrications, is acknowledging that they know just how far outside of acceptable procedure their conduct was at the time, and they are trying to give the appearance of having acted correctly by inserting references to having done things which they did not, but knew they should have done…Which is to say, simply, they were out of control!!!
SWEIGERT – PAGE 2
Aaron was given no advance warning of the sudden and vicious assault against his person…”No sir, there are no charges against you!”, “No sir, you are not under arrest!”, in split seconds became “Cuff ‘im”, coupled with a vicious assault. No request was made for Aaron to allow himself to be handcuffed. Every indication had been given that such a thing would not occur. Aaron was left in a state of shock, with nothing to do but to attempt to protect his arm from being irreparably damaged!
Sweigert lies and claims that the officers had to handcuff Aaron in front. The objective and intention of this fabrication is to make Aaron appear consistently uncooperative. The fact was that he lay on the floor of the plane and asked the officers to stop tasering him, while doing nothing to prevent them from doing so. When they did finally stop, he got up on request, and allowed himself to be handcuffed behind his back, continuing to offer no resistance or difficulty.
Sweigert also carefully places Hoerdt next to Aaron with Hoerdt’s cut to his hairline, and Aaron’s cut to the side of his face, which he refers to as a cut to his “eyebrow area”. He does not claim to have seen a head-butt take place, although he claims to have been right in the middle of “the action” the entire time. I don’t think a person could miss a violent act like a head-butt, if it happened right under their nose under such circumstances!
Sweigert goes on, further along, to claim that Hoerdt TOLD HIM that James head-butted him, and that this somehow caused the cut at his hairline, as well as the chip in his tooth…BUT, he (Sweigert) claims that he was RIGHT THERE the whole time, and DID NOT SEE AARON HEAD-BUTT HOERDT!!
At this point it is important to remember that Hoerdt actually injured himself when he tripped over another officer, Wingate, and he was actually not anywhere near Aaron when it happened, nor was he anywhere near Aaron after the fact. He was near the front of the plane when he tripped and injured himself, and he was removed from the scene. We did not see an officer who was bleeding, either on the plane, or in the airport, at any time.
Sweigert’s entire statement is carefully orchestrated to portray Hoerdt as having been in close contact with, and injured by Aaron, while equally carefully placing officer Milton (#14), the officer who actually initiated the assault on Aaron, at the front of the plane, near the first class section, and making as little reference to him as possible.
SWEIGERT – PAGE 3
Sweigert also makes considerable effort to turn Aaron’s earnest question, “May I ask on whose authority I’m being asked to leave the airplane?” into what sounds like a confrontational challenge, by shortening the question, and claiming that Aaron voiced it “approximately 3 or 4 time”, which is a further fabrication.
Sweigert’s entire statement is carefully orchestrated to paint a false picture of what took place on the airliner, exonerating the police officers and covering up their unlawful use of force and abuse of authority, while promoting their claim that Aaron was guilty of head-butting a police officer, as a means to cover up their own unlawful acts!
ANALYSIS, OFFICER HOERDT/OFFICER MILTON/STATEMENT
Officer Hoerdt does not mention officer Milton at all in his statement, although he was on the airplane, and officers Wingate and Sweigert both refer to him, if only very briefly, stating that his position was in or near the first class section of the plane. He is all but invisible, and well protected. However, it was he, not officer Hoerdt, who was the lead officer in front of Aaron, who spoke words of assurance to Aaron, and then split seconds later, violently assaulted and tasered him!
Officer Milton did not ever submit a statement, the better to keep his true roll in this incident hidden. The lack of a statement, and the downplaying of his roll ensured that he did not have to take the stand at the trial, where Aaron would have easily identified him as the assaulting officer, and helped him to become almost invisible!
However, the discussion of officer Hoerdt’s statement, of necessity, becomes a discussion of officer Milton’s roll in the assault on Aaron, in spite of all the efforts to make sure that he remained hidden.
Officer Hoerdt claims he was the lead officer directly in front of Aaron, but his statement is inaccurate to the extent that the details reveal that he was not the officer in charge, and was not the officer who Aaron was speaking with, after he stood up in the isle as requested.
Hoerdt’s account of his dialog with Aaron is completely manufactured. The officer (Milton) who actually did speak with Aaron, asked him to get up and stand in the isle, then asked Aaron to collect his things and go with the officers off the plane.
Aaron asked “Am I under arrest?” The lead officer replied “NO sir, you are NOT under arrest.”
Aaron asked “Are there any charges against me?” The same officer replied “NO sir, there are NO charges against you.”
Aaron asked “Then may I ask on who’s authority I’m being asked to leave the plane?” The response to that question was sudden, intense anger, and the lead officer barked “cuff ‘im” while initiating a physical assault on Aaron’s person.
The officer in charge did NOT inform Aaron that the Captain was denying him boarding, as Hoerdt claims HE did. This is pure fabrication.
Also, at that time, I absolutely did NOT identify myself to the head officer as travelling with Aaron, or as planning to deplane with him. This is totally false! There was no opportunity for that type of dialog!
HOARDT/MILTON – PAGE 2
Also, Hoerdt tries very hard to portray Aaron as being argumentative, when in fact, he merely calmly asked his 3 questions, in an attempt to gain some assurances and clarification of the situation…questions that were met with emphatic assurances, and then, suddenly, assault.
When the lead officer suddenly began to grab for Aaron’s damaged right arm, Aaron pulled it back, out of harm’s way, and took a step backwards, as he carefully and slowly extended his left arm, to hold the officer in front of him at arm’s length from his injured right arm. He was shocked by the sudden turn of events, and was speechless. He very carefully made no aggressive or hostile movements whatsoever! He very definitely DID NOT head-butt the officer standing in front of him!
I need to mention here, the following discrepancies between the officers’ statements and reality:
Officer Hoerdt was, by his own admission on the stand in court, at least 6’ tall. Aaron, being 5’9”, simply COULD NOT have head-butted Officer Hoerdt at the hair line by leaning forward, as was claimed by officers. He would have had to take a flying leap into the air to even attempt the feat – not a very practical or sensible idea, and no such action took place, or was described as having taken place, in any of the statements!
The lead officer who in reality stood in front of Aaron, was much older than Aaron, with some apparent graying hair.
Officer Hoerdt, by the documentation on his own medical file, was born in 1979, and was therefore about 27 years of age at the time that the assault on Aaron occurred, which makes him approximately three years younger than Aaron! He simply was NOT the older officer who stood before Aaron, and spoke with Aaron, and then assaulted him!
Also, Hoerdt has made the odd and curious claim that Aaron, while at least 3 inches shorter than Hoerdt, head-butted Hoerdt, and managed to simultaneously cause both a cut at the top of Hoerdt’s forehead, at the hair line, and a chipped tooth. This has been physically reenacted repeatedly as a test. It has been found to be physically impossible to achieve this type of simultaneous contact with a head-butt!
Hoerd claims it was he who made the decision to handcuff Aaron, “because he was not complying with our orders”:
- First: The officer in front of Aaron was Milton, not Hoerdt. Hoerdt was the end of the line of officers in front of Aaron, along with Wingate, with several officers between them and Aaron.
HOERDT/MILTON – PAGE 3
- Second: Aaron was not “obstructing a legal process.” He was not refusing to deboard the plane. He was asking three questions in order to gain some assurance and clarification concerning his situation. The Grand Jury agreed with him on that, and disallowed the charge. Aaron was assaulated split-seconds after he was told he was NOT being arrested, in mid-dialog with the (older) officer who was standing before him.
The lead officer emphatically did NOT tell Aaron to place his hands behind his back. He offered no advance warning prior to launching his assault on Aaron’s person, in fact, he had just given Aaron several firm assurances to the opposite effect.
No officer (Wingate or otherwise) called out to Aaron to tell him to stop resisting. The police broke off all dialog, abruptly and violently.
Aaron, in shock, only responded by trying to protect his damaged right arm as best he could, under the circumstances!
HOW HOERDT INJURED HIMSELF, IN REALITY:
As the officers surged forward to seize Aaron’s arms, Aaron took a step backwards, as he carefully and slowly extended his left arm to full length, to keep the lead officer from being able to reach his damaged right arm. While lunging forward in the close confines of the isle of the airplane, the last two officers of the four, the two nearest the galley area at the front of the plane (and therefore the furthest from Aaron) tripped over each other:
- Officer Wingate admitted freely and voluntarily to both of us, that he was one of the officers that tripped each other up, and told us that he had only suffered a sprained finger as a result of his having fallen. He downplayed the entire event, after satisfying himself that we didn’t understand its significance at the time.
- THIS IS EXACTLY HOW AND WHEN OFFICER HOERDT ACTUALLY TRIPPED AND FELL, AND CUT HIS FOREHEAD AT THE HAIRLINE, AND CHIPPED HIS TOOTH!! He was the other officer of the two that tripped each other up!!
When the officer in front of Aaron (Milton, not Hoerdt) realized that he couldn’t reach Aaron to handcuff him (having brought things to this point himself by his mishandling of the situation), he screamed for one of the officers behind him to pass him up a taser!
HOERDT/MILTON – PAGE 4
Aaron was able to hold off the taser, but immediately realized that if he continued to do so, he would probably be shot, and possibly be killed! He then allowed himself to be tasered, and fell to the floor of
the plane, continuing to refrain from making any hostile or aggressive movements, in spite of the intense pain inflicted by the taser burns! He continued to be speechless with shock at the situation he found himself in!
Hoerdt claims that he, as the lead officer, was bleeding from having been head-butted by Aaron, and had to leave the scene to obtain medical
In fact, Hoerdt, having tripped and injured himself as described previously, did leave to obtain medical attention, his injuries the result of his having tripped and fallen, and NOT the result of Aaron’s having head-butted him at all!
Although Aaron was not being in any way aggressive, the lead officer had apparently gone into a panic mode, and stayed on top of Aaron, continuously tasering him over his left chest and heart! Aaron finally asked him to stop, and he did so. He asked Aaron to get up and allow himself to be handcuffed, and Aaron did so, continuing to keep himself calm!
This lead officer (Milton, #14), who had NOT been head-butted, and who was NOT bleeding, and who did NOT leave the scene for medical treatment, was in an extreme state of aggressive agitation, on a huge adrenaline “rush”, puffing and panting, and hissing threats, and shoving Aaron, in almost a form of hysteria. He stayed with Aaron and walked and shoved him off the plane, and patted him down in the jetway, all the while continuing to pant breathlessly, and to threaten, repeatedly, to taser Aaron some more, if he so much as breathed! There was no possible way to confuse this older, uninjured and omnipresent lead officer with the injured young officer Hoerdt, by any means.
Finally, once out of the jetway and into the airport waiting area, Aaron said to the officers, “You guys are a bunch of bullies, going around tasering people like that!”
This was about the same time that I had asked for the names of the officers who had been on the plane, and had had my request flatly refused.
HOERDT/MILTON – PAGE 5
I had immediately countered by asking for the badge numbers of all the officers, and was, very reluctantly, given only 4 of the 5 numbers (Sergeant Cooper’s badge number was withheld from me). I questioned further at the time, and was told emphatically that four badge numbers was all that there were!
I was told “Ma’am, we wouldn’t LIE to you!” I knew that there was at LEAST one more officer, but I wanted to go to the hospital with Aaron, and I was not in a position to make an issue of this at the time.
It was shortly after that, that Aaron heard for the first time, that he was being accused of head-butting one of the officers, to the complete shock and surprise of both Aaron and myself!