From the August 1999 Idaho Observer:


Trial delayed, motions denied in Bereiter case

Beaten and pepper sprayed Newport man still wants trial for failure to stop

NEWPORT, WA -- Last month in The Idaho Observer we front-paged the excessive force story of Morris Bereiter, 49, who was first pepper sprayed and then beaten by Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Deputies Greg Rogan and Thad Schultz for failure to stop at a rural stop sign January 1, 1999. According to Bereiter and his two boys who were in the car with him, the officers repeatedly shouted at Bereiter, “You are resisting, you are resisting,” as he was curled up in the fetal position coughing, bleeding, his eyes burning while the two badge wearers pounded him with fists and knees.

As of last month Bereiter, who is representing himself, was scheduled to stand trial July 19 before pro tem Judge Richard White of Spokane. Three other judges had been recused from this failure-to-stop case that has turned into Bereiter being charged with reckless driving, obstructing an officer and resisting arrest.

If convicted, Bereiter, who is representing himself, could be sentenced to spend more than two years in prison for being the recipient of what even a child would determine was the use of excessive force in a routine traffic stop.

It must also be noted that Bereiter is well known in his community as a sober, intelligent, even-tempered man who is not likely to have behaved in a manner that would provoke an officer into such a violent rage.

The trial has been postponed and has yet to be rescheduled. In the meantime, Bereiter has filed several motions requesting a variety of things including a secretary to help him prepare his legal defense, quash or dismiss the charges, a supplemental bill of particulars and a motion to dismiss for failure to cite and failure to show probable cause.

All of Bereiter's motions were denied.

Berieter's wife Martha also submitted a complaint to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff's office July 5, 1999, because Deputy Rogan, with two other officers in two “police trucks” came out to the Bereiter residence, apparently with the intention of harassing her while her husband was away.

Considering the length of the Bereiter driveway, one does not simply get the wrong house as indicated by Rogan at the time. One of the officers, Deputy Garner, had been to the Bereiter residence April 13, 1999, to deliver court papers and could not have forgotten that they were on the Bereiter's property.

Mrs. Bereiter noted that the police vehicles were traveling up their private drive at an extremely high rate of speed which was not safe as she has small children.

It would appear that the sole purpose of Rogan's “visit” was to intimidate the Bereiters.

Somebody located Rogan's mother in Spokane and saw to it that she and her neighbors received a copy of the July edition of The Idaho Observer which frontpaged how her son had participated in the beating of Bereiter. It has been reported that Rogan was very angered that somebody told on him to his mom. It is also reported that Rogan now patrols the county's northernmost region near Metalline Falls and should have no excuse to bother the Bereiters again in the near future.

We will report the time and date of Bereiter's trial in the September edition of The Idaho Observer.