Orange County Sheriff's Office deprives man of liberty, Orlando Police storm troopers terrorize family at Christmas This is the story of Trason Brooks and his friend, Chris Brussow, who suffered mightily at the hands of Beate Faanes(1), with the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orlando Police Department as willing accomplices. Beate Faanes, besides having a silly name, is described as being absolutely gorgeous (I don't see it, myself. She's not unattractive, but there must be something extra that she projects in person if she is to be described as unusually beautiful). She is 25 years old, 5'9" tall, has an athletic figure, blonde hair, blue eyes -- a real attention-getter among those of us who happen to be male.(2)
Faanes had a boyfriend by the name of Trason Brooks. They dated on and off over a period of 18 months, but Brooks broke off the relationship for good. Apparently, she was looking for marriage and he wasn't.(3) After two months of having no contact at all with Faanes, he was surprised to find himself being taken into custody by the Orange County sheriff's Office and "charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated stalking" -- of Beate Faanes.(4)
The Sheriff's Office said that Faanes had been attacked (she had the injuries to prove it) and she had fingered Brooks as the attacker -- that was enough probable cause, they thought, to arrest Brooks.(5) Now, to those of you who think that sheriff's deputies and police officers always act only in their capacity as peace officers, you might think that arresting Brooks was the right thing to do. However, it will become clear to you that in this case, the Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO), and later the Orlando Police Department, behaved in this scenario much more like common thugs and storm troopers than like peace officers. In fact, if you apply the Sauce for the Goose Rule, their actions were no less than criminal, but more on that later.
You see, Brooks has solid alibis for two of the three attacks that Faanes had alleged. "He told Orange County investigators as much, but 'they didn't care. They relied on her word 100 percent,' he said. The sheriff's office attitude, he said: 'You beat this girl, she has the marks, she has no witnesses, but you're guilty.'"(6) And it gets worse.
According to OCSO records, Faanes had "attempted suicide in January 2004 over a break-up with another boyfriend. And, investigative records state, she admitted lying to Brooks about having aborted his baby in an attempt to gain his love -- in fact, she was never pregnant."(7) Despite this character evidence, and despite the fact that Faanes had no witnesses whereas Brooks had several, Detective Brian Cross, the lead sheriff's detective, maintained that she was still credible. "At the time, based on the evidence at hand, he said the most likely apparent danger would be to not arrest Brooks and risk having Faanes later turn up dead. So Brooks, a 28-year-old golf instructor and aspiring real estate salesman, went to jail with no bond."(8) In my opinion, this makes Brian Cross guilty of willful negligence in not investigating Brooks' alibis. Personally, I think he should be brought up on criminal charges, as I would be for false imprisonment. The thugs down at the OCSO, who didn't even consider that Faanes might be lying, dutifully put Brooks in a maximum-security lockup where he stayed for the next 93 days.(9)
Now enter Brooks' good friend, Chris Brussow. Brooks had not, in fact attacked Faanes, and Brussow knew it. How did he know it? Because Brooks was with Brussow one of the nights that Faanes (and the malefactors down at the OCSO), allege that he attacked her. As any good friend (or good citizen) would do, Brussow went before a judge to testify as to what he knew so that, hopefully, his friend would be released from jail.(10)
Unfortunately, his testimony would end up having the opposite of its intended effect. You see, Faanes was in the courtroom when Brussow gave his testimony, and, like magic, she suddenly had been attacked by Brussow as well. Nearly two months after his testimony, Faanes "came forward with a new allegation: that Brussow came to her apartment and attacked her, punching her face and cutting her side. . . There were new bruises and a cut, so this time it was Brussow being carted off to jail. "No matter what I said to anybody, they laughed at me," he recalled. "'Sure you're innocent.' 'Sure you didn't do it.'"(11) As you can see, the arresting officers are behaving a lot more like thugs than like peace officers.
Unlike his friend, Brussow was able to get bond after four days in jail.(12) His freedom, however, would not last. "On Christmas Day, Faanes told police Brussow again attacked her, this time with a knife, almost slitting her neck."(13) So, like the dutiful little malefactors they apparently are, without doing any background research into the situation, the thugs of the Orlando Police Department "stormed Brussow's condo within hours with a warrant for attempted murder."(14) These Orlando police storm troopers brazenly interrupted Christmas, with weapons at the ready, shouting, "'get face down, face down,' probably seven officers at least one dog. We're [Brussow & his family] all on the ground in handcuffs. It's very disheartening to look up see my mom in handcuffs,' [Brussow] said. 'All I could think about is this girl who's done this to me. I'm obviously terrified because now I'm going back to jail again.'"(15)
In my opinion, these actions of the Orlando Police Department amount to criminal negligence, and I think that everyone who participated in this operation should be arrested and charged criminally under the laws of the State of Florida with assault and battery. Now, how can I say that? After all, these police officers were just doing their jobs, right? We don't want to deter them from catching criminals do we? Well, no, they weren't doing their jobs, and I want to keep them focused on catching criminals, which is not what happened here. You see, "[w]hile out on bond on house arrest, Brussow was attached to an ankle bracelet that tracked his every move. And it proved he was home on Christmas when Faanes claimed he attacked her miles away."(16) If the malefactors over at the OPD had bothered to look into the matter instead of immediately dispatching storm troopers, they would have known that Brussow was innocent of the charges. But, no, instead of doing what we pay them to do, these thugs thought it would be fun to go bust up someone's Christmas gathering. It disgusts me even thinking about it.
Also, by this time, "Brooks' lawyers produced a dozen alibi witnesses and dental records proving he was in Jackson County when Fannes claimed he last attacked her in Orange County, 300 miles away. Finally, a prosecutor asked Orlando police to seek the truth Brooks and Brussow had been claiming all along. . . Both are consulting lawyers about possibly suing Faanes and law enforcement agencies for not diligently checking out her claims before arresting them. But for now they're just glad they're not in jail or prison."(17)
Brooks and Brussow should, in my opinion, be allowed to seek file criminal charges against the law enforcement agencies involved in this matter. In the case of Brian Cross and the Orange County Sheriff's Office, it was a case of willful negligence that led to the unjustified incarceration of Trason Brooks. In the case of the Orlando Police Department, it was gross negligence that led them to send storm troopers to terrorize the family of Chris Brussow at Christmas. In the face of such negligence, it shouldn't be a case of merely 'oops, sorry' and payment of money damages, there should also be some jail time -- at least 93 days dished out to some so-called law enforcement personnel here.
You have a sheriff's office that refused to corroborate that Brooks was, indeed, Faanes' attacker, you have sheriff's deputies who taunted Brussow and judged him guilty with absolutely no objective evidence, and you have a Police Department willing to storm a family gathering no-questions-asked when they can find out whether they should simply by picking up the telephone. I'm sorry if you think law enforcement personnel deserve special treatment -- I do too, but not in a case like this where it is clear that there has been willful and gross negligence; not just an honest mistake. In cases like this, the Sauce for the Goose Rule(18) should be applied. In other words, if law enforcement personnel engage in behavior that I would be arrested for and charged with a crime, then they also should be arrested and so charged.
Again, before I get hate-mail from law enforcement people and their families, let me reiterate that it is my strong belief that to carry out his legal duties, a peace officer must be granted a little leeway for honest mistakes committed while carrying out those duties. But the key word is honest. When a member of a law enforcement agency engages in willful or gross negligence, he should be brought up on criminal charges -- which is exactly what he would insist on if you or I had committed similar negligence. If punishment for this sort of malfeasance were standard practice, our police and sheriff's deputies would be much more responsible in the performance of their duties, and people like Brooks and Brussow would not have to suffer in the manner that they have.
As for Beate Faanes, I hope she goes to prison for a long time. She has been arrested and is currently being charged with perjury and filing false reports. But who is the bigger malefactor, here? Faanes? Or the law enforcement agencies that made it possible to do what she did? Americans like me have had enough of this kind of thing and it needs to stop. Now.
---------Orange County Sheriff's Office (407-254-7000)
---------Orlando Police Department (407-246-2470)
(1) In the early days of coverage, there was a misprint in the spelling of Ms. Faanes' name. As a consequence, many web publications spell her name as Beate Faanis.
(2) Pipitone, Tony. "Woman Faces Perjury Charges After Men Jailed In Bogus Attacks," WKMG-Local 6 News, 2005 February 11, http://www.local6.com/money/4162598/detail.html, last accessed on 2005 February 27.
(3) Ibid., paras. 3 & 37.
(4) Ibid., paras. 4-6.
(5) Ibid., paras. 5 & 8.
(6) Ibid., paras. 6-7.
(7) Ibid., para. 10.
(8) Ibid., para. 11.
(9) Ibid., paras. 13-14 & 16.
(10) Ibid., para. 20.
(11) Ibid., paras. 21-24.
(12) Ibid., para. 25.
(13) Ibid., para. 26
(14) Ibid., para. 27.
(15) Ibid., para. 28.
(16) Ibid., para. 30.
(17) Ibid., paras. 31-32 & 44.
(18) Sauce for the Goose Rule: If the sauce is good for the goose, then it's also good for the gander.
News Crime Police Police State Orlando Florida Orange County University of Central Florida UCF Faanis Beate Faanis Faanes Beate Faanes Brooks Trason Brooks Brian Cross Brussow Chris Brussow Orlando Police Orlando Police Department OPD Orange County Sheriff's Office OCSO Paramilitary Police Raids Paramilitary Police Raids Paramilitary Tactics Paramilitary Police Tactics Storm Troopers _____________________________________________