Nov 21, 2008

Complaint filed against LAPD

By CAROL A. CLARK, The Los Alamos Monitor

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.

[A copy of the court filing can be downloaded here.]


Anonymous said...

Very sad, it looks a like mental health problem here. I think the LAPD did their best. They have to look out for the well being of everyone at Los Alamos. I feel bad for Morse and his family. There but for the grace of God I go.

Anonymous said...

Another bout of unnecessary voyeurism by Carol Clark for the Vomiter.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this the guy who had an arguement with his wife in the street while both were nude?

And, didn't he get found simultaneously drawing full-time salaries from LANL and the University of Arizona?

Anonymous said...

I don't know exactly what the health problems are that afflict Dr. Morse but he obviously needs some help. He's possibly suffering from some type of bi-polar mental illness. Shame on you, Monitor, for printing this sordid tale.

You would think that the local paper would have better things to report, but the Monitor has dropped in quality since the new owners took over several years back. It's little wonder that subscription rates have also fallen off.

Los Alamos deserves a better home town paper than this bird cage filler.

Anonymous said...

"Compliant filed against LAPD" ???

I would like to file a compliant against the Los Alamos Monitor!

Is this really the newspaper that is issued in a town supposedly filled with the world's "Best & Brightest"?

Not only is LANL slipping, but some days it feels as if the whole town site has rapidly gone down in quality.

Is Los Alamos still "substantial equivalent" to where it was back in the 1970's and 1980's, or even the late-90's? I don't think so. The place has been dumbed-down.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, what is wrong with this town?

Is there anything in the story that is incorrect?

Is Morse not a "best and brightest" alumnus?

How many of the people who say he needs help have done anything to help him?

And finally, how many of us would be untouched by PTSD after going through what Morse has?

Anonymous said...

12:02 has no idea what he or she is talking about. Those of us who have worked and/or known Richard Morse have attempted to help for years. LANL has given him every opportunity to "prove" his allegations regarding not only the W76 but other issues he has complained about. Sadly Dr. Morse has dismissed any and all discussions that do not support his current allegation(s) and these tend to change from day to day. LANL and DOE have bent over backwards even to reinstating his clearance for a day so that he could state his case. It is a shame that Dr. Morse sees people out to "get" him everywhere; but one can only get help if one wants help! Friends and colleagues has tried and failed. Hopefully, Dr. Morse will eventually seek the help he needs!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making my point for me, 12:28 PM. You have gone to great lengths to get something YOU can use from him. What have you done FOR him? Have you ever called him, visited him, or bought him lunch?

I haven't seen the booking video but I doubt the LAPD knocked his teeth out. Much of the harassment he recounts is not implausible, though. Have you seen the x-rays of his cat? He's 73, traumatized and without health care. How about a little compassion. It won't cost you anything.

Anonymous said...

This guy has had a long and very lucrative career. While he may be off of the UC medical, at age 73 he should at least have Medicare.

Anonymous said...

How about you, 12:22 AM? Are you going to help Dr. Morse? Or are you just into telling other people what they should do?

Anonymous said...

11/22/08 10:26 AM

Had it been a minority you would of loved the article but he's one of your own and you're defending him. Los Alamos has been a company town for to long.......

Anonymous said...

I do not know what "something" any of Dick's friends could get from him as stated in 12:28. I do know that all of us have tried and tried numerous times to help him. I would suggest that 12:28 visit, bring lunch, and/or call Dick? Dick would love having another individual to listen to all his theories and allegations. After a short time period, you will understand why many of us have done all of the above and no longer can continue. Again, if one does not wish help from any venue - friends, family, etc.- there is little if anything that can be done if Dick does not recognize his need for help! However, please do call, visit, and bring lunch and then and only them will you understand what those of us who have tried to help and failed have been dealing with! I wish you luck- just do not judge us until you have walked in our shoes!

Anonymous said...

I agree whole heartily with 8:32 AM. I have a middle age sister with serious mental illness issues (probably bi-polar, but she refuses to get any diagnosis). Everyone in the family loves her and wants to help her, but she refuses medical aid. She thinks she's fine and everyone else around her is crazy.

A rational person would see this absurd situation and begin to question whether they need mental help, but mental illness is not rational. That's what makes it so difficult to cope with and to cure.

Until you've had to deal with someone close to you with big mental illness issues, you don't fully understand the situation. It's one of the most difficult things you will ever face and unlike other illnesses, there are no quick surgeries that can "cure" the patient. At best, it is a slow and tedious process to get them to a more stable mental state. In the end, you try to help them when you can, but you have to protect your own sanity in the process. In a word, it's exasperating!

Anonymous said...

I have done all those things and more, and tried to do even more. What I have not done is publicly attack an elderly man who spent his life in service to our country and use that as an excuse why I should do nothing to help him. Some of the comments here are far more exasperating than Morse has ever been. He's alone in an obviously hostile environment. How well would you manage in similar circumstances?

Anonymous said...

"How many of the people who say he needs help have done anything to help him?"

That is the problem in these cases. how can you help? You can be nice to the person and you can suggest to them to get help but they simply will not take it. Would you like to go back to the days of forcing people to be committed? There can be all kinds of abuses with this and it could make it worse.

Anonymous said...

"He's alone in an obviously hostile environment. How well would you manage in similar circumstances?

11/23/08 11:50 AM"

Yeah, sounds a lot like working at the Lab. Their idea of "helping" people is called "mobbing."

Retired or post-Lab living in this town is not much better. There are far healthier places to live and work.

Anonymous said...

"Would you like to go back to the days of forcing people to be committed?"

That is your idea of help? Here's a few suggestions... Take a weed eater over to his house and spend about an hour in his yard. Maybe ask if he needs anything from the grocery store. If you are finished with the newspaper that day maybe he would like to read it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the guy personally, but from what's presented in this Monitor article, Dr. Morse needs a lot more help than just my day-old Wall Street Journals.

Anonymous said...

I also know Dick Morse, but he no longer knows me. Apparently that is true even for people he worked with for a long time. There are more issues here than emotional ones, and I'm afraid that it needs some professional intervention.