PA Hero Stomps Innocent Man’s Skull – And is “Cleared”

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EXTON, PA — Police followed an innocent man into his home, believing that he was a fleeing suspect.  When the man protested being handcuffed on his own floor with strangers searched his home, an officer cussed at him and stomped on his head, causing multiple facial fractures and shattered teeth.  The scene was so gruesome that a cop testified against a fellow cop.   Yet instead of being fired, that stomping officer was later promoted, and now has been officially cleared of violating the victim’s civil rights.

Botched Drug Raid

Zachary Bare had his skull stomped by a PA State Trooper.  (Source: Facebook)

Zachary Bare had his skull stomped by a PA State Trooper. (Source: Facebook)

The incident dates back to August 19th, 2009, when a multi-agency drug task force performed a raid on a home on East Swedesford Road in Exton, Pennsylvania.  Officers from the West Whiteland Police Department joined forces with the Pennsylvania State Police “Clandestine Drug Lab Team.”  The group dressed in black masks and carried long guns into the targeted residence about 9:30 p.m. to stop the inhabitants from getting high.

Things did not go smoothly for the cops, as two of the suspects were able to escape through the back door.  Officers resorted to combing the neighborhood for individuals matching the suspects’ description.  A few blocks a way, officers came upon a young male wearing shorts and no shirt, entering a residence on nearby Heather Lane.

That man was actually 20-year-old Zachary W. Bare, who had just returned home from swimming in Brandywine Creek.  The residence he entered was his own home, where he lived with his disabled mother.

Officers suspected Mr. Bare of being involved with a plot to get high without government permission. They entered his home without permission and confronted him in his kitchen. Bare was ordered him to the floor and cuffed, so that officers could then perform a warrantless search on his house.

A Boot to the Skull

Mr. Bare was compliant but understandably upset, as armed paramilitary men had accosted him and invaded his domicile.  Another officer entered the home and approached Bare wearing a mask and carrying a shotgun.

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Stock boot-to-head image

That officer was a veteran drug enforcer, later identified as Pennsylvania State Trooper Kelly Cruz. Cruz had been imprisoning people for getting high as long as Zachary Bare had been alive. The trooper, who lives in Oxford, is a “prolific and productive narcotics agent,” according to his own attorney, with multiple tours of combat experience in the Middle East.

Mr. Bare remained prone on his kitchen floor, face-down and handcuffed.  When he had the audacity to talk back to Trooper Cruz in his own home, the veteran officer told him to “shut the f*** up.”  Cruz then raised his jackboot above Bare’s head and stomped on his skull.

After being essentially curb-stomped, Bare’s head had been fractured in 2 places; his nose was broken; his upper teeth were driven upward into his gums and jaw.  He spit a mess of blood and teeth onto the floor.

Bare was determined to have not been involved with the supposed “meth lab” a few streets away and was never charged with any crime.

Eyewitness Testimony

The stomping incident was witnessed by West Whiteland Officer Glenn Cockerham, a 4th cop on the scene.  Cockerham had the integrity to report the actions of Trooper Cruz — described as an “an unknown Pennsylvania state trooper with a black mask over his face” — and later testified against him in court.  According to Officer Cockerham’s testimony:

“I observed Zachary Bare still lying face down on the kitchen floor. He was yelling something at the trooper that I could not hear clearly.  The trooper was standing over him, to the left of Bare’s prone body.

The trooper said ‘shut the **** up’ then suddenly stamped downward on the back of Bare’s head with his right foot, pushing Bare’s face into the kitchen floor.   I saw Bare lift his head and spit blood and teeth onto the kitchen floor.”

Officer Cockerham told investigators that the trooper’s use of force “was totally unnecessary.”  While being interviewed about the event, Cockerham added:  “It sounds like Zach insulted him [Cruz] in some manner and the trooper possibly lost his temper. If Zachary was kicking or pushing, I would tell you that. There was no reason for it. I really couldn’t believe he did it. It didn’t have to happen.”

Trooper Cruz never denied kicking Bare.  In fact, the incident was acknowledged the day of the attack, when Cruz approached Sgt. Joseph Catov, who was leading the raid, and told him:  “I’ve just got to let you know I had to go hands on with that guy.”  Apparently no further explanation was necessary and he walked away.

Reluctance to Prosecute

Trooper Cruz’s explanation of the event was that he was somehow oblivious to the fact that Mr. Bare was wearing handcuffs, and felt “afraid” of him as he lie on the ground, as if Bare was trying to roll over and bite his ankles.

Despite the brutalized victim and the cop who witnessed it, local prosecutors declined to charge Cruz with assault, and the trooper’s defense lawyers convinced a grand jury not to indict him.  More than 2 years had elapsed since the attack, and Cruz’s supporters claimed this was a “total vindication” of his actions.

Trooper Cruz was never fired, and actually received a promotion to the rank of Corporal in October 2012.

Later in 2012, Bare received a settlement of $125,000 from the Pennsylvania State Police.  His legal team pushed on for criminal charges against Cruz, who had yet to face any consequences for his actions.

Finally after nearly 4 years of pushing for justice, prosecutors in a federal court indicted Cruz for violations of Mr. Bare’s civil rights.  The charge could have resulted in 1-10 years of prison for Cruz.  The case went to trial in April of 2014.

Operating as Trained

Cruz’s defense relied on emphasizing the fear he felt of Mr. Bare, who was prone on his kitchen floor, as well as undermining the witness.  Cruz claimed he saw Bare rocking on his shoulder in an attempt to get up.   The masked, shotgun-toting cop said that he felt threatened by it.

“That is when Cruz delivered the blow to the back of Bare’s shoulder, driving him back to the floor,” according to a generous description given by the trooper’s attorney.  Cruz later testified on his own behalf, explaining the stomp:

Trooper Kelly Cruz.  (Source: Linkin photo)

Trooper Kelly Cruz. (Source: Linkedin photo)

“I reacted to his actions. I was fixated on his rage, and I did not have the opportunity to do the scans I would do, with my training and expertise.

I am taking care of me… I am afraid. At that moment I did not know he was handcuffed. I responded the way I was trained to respond. I reacted to what I saw. If I fail, I don’t come home to my family.”

The prosecution was unconvinced of Cruz’s supposed fear.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney told the jury:  “He [Bare] wanted the name of the trooper that kicked him in the head. Trooper Cruz just walked away, with his mask over his face and his shotgun in his hand.”

After a six-day trial, the jury sided with the stomping trooper.  Dozens of like-minded fellow officers cheered for joy.

“Nobody celebrates the fact someone was injured,” said Cruz’s defender Christian Hoey. “But he’s a heck of a law enforcement officer and an asset to the United States.”

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  13 comments for “PA Hero Stomps Innocent Man’s Skull – And is “Cleared”

  1. Inconsistencies
    April 16, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Where is the Equalizer when you need him?

    • Jean
      April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      It is up to US.
      No one else will come help us out. No hero going to climb in and save our @$$.

      Ultimately, WE are the responsible ones. We have been painted into a corner, which is being painted smaller and smaller.
      Do we continue to allow this until we’re painted, too?

      Or do we say F*ck the wet paint, we’re done here.

  2. David Ward
    April 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Sooner or later this gunberment thug scrum will get his. Karma is a bitch. Did you notice the picture of Bare? The uniform is of a signal corp officer in the uS Army. Cruz should watch his back. His blatant assault of a ex mil officer may just get his ass waxed and all his promotions and acquittals by stupid jurors won’t help him.

    David Ward

    • David Ward
      April 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Just an addition to the above. Those are dress blues he has on with campaign ribbons. While I know SC officers don’t actually see much combat, doesn’t matter really. Everyone goes through the grinder of basic infantry training. Like I said before Cruz should watch his back. Unknowingly, he has painted a BFT on it.

      David

  3. MamaLiberty
    April 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    It won’t stop until it starts to cost them personally, either in their pockets or their blood. As long as a “jury” will condone such insanity, the financial won’t be much of an option. When peaceful means are exhausted…

    • Jean
      April 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Yes – the “financial” means comes right out of OUR paychecks, since the PoPos are exempted from personal liability.
      Time to inject some of that E-Kwal-It-ee back into the equation. Otherwise, we’re asking for more.

  4. April 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Are you Pro-Skull-Stomping or Con-Skull-Stomping?

    I appear to be in the minority of Cons, and can do little more than heartily laugh at all the Pro-Stompists that surround me.

    Being a Con-Stompist, I don’t even need to know the particulars. I stand against stomping on the skulls of all, because I am anarchist with no respect for authority.

    The PA hero is an authority figure of the state. I can’t think of even one instance where a skull stomping would be warranted. I am amazed by those who hesitate to reach such a conclusion almost immediately.

    What can the Pro-Stompists be thinking? Does this happen in other species? Were there steers on the Bundy Ranch lands watching some of their fellows being driven away by BLM contract cowboys for burial in a shallow grave, and thinking: “Well, it’s their own fault, they had it coming!”

    I can’t conceptually grasp how any sentient being even gets their neurons misfiring in such a self-destructive sequence. How they can see their fellows being stomped on and murdered by authority, and yet require further details before they can condemn such an action.

    I can at least take solace in the knowledge that I will always enjoy more freedom and happiness as a Con-Stompist, than will the advocates of slavery and misery, the Pro-Stompists, ever even dream of experiencing.
    -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

    The Goal Is Happiness – Josie Outlaw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJt0MFF1RVs

    While fighting against the negative, there is reason to be positive.

    3:23 anarchism isn’t based on intolerance or hatred. It’s based on the love of humanity and the desire to see all people everywhere leading happy lives.

    Tolerance and non-aggression are the answer to oppression and domination.

    Once a critical mass of people understand that and act accordingly, that’s the end of government power.

    In anarchism, where we don’t use the state to try to control each other, each of us is a winner. Universal freedom benefits me, you, and all decent people everywhere.

    That’s why people are living in peaceful coexistence and choosing freedom and happiness over slavery and misery.

    • Jean
      April 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      I appreciate Josie’s commentary, but i’ll counter with Chopping Block:
      http://choppingblock.keenspot.com/d/20030321.html

      You see, Johnny, while pacifism is a lovely idea, that and a quarter will still get your head cut off by some guy who doesn’t give a rat’s ass.

      I’m reminded of stories of Buddhist Monks being murdered, peacefully accepting death.

      I’ll damn well take as many people as possible to hell with me. Hopefully make the world a better place…

      • April 17, 2014 at 5:02 pm

        It’s hard to keep things these infrequently used terms straight, but non-aggression does not mean pacifism.

        Self-defense is both a right and a duty: Cato: “The law of nature does not only allow us, but oblige us, to defend ourselves.”

        To defend oneself against force by retaliating with counter-force is not only permissible, it is a moral imperative whenever it is feasible, or reasonably safe, to do so. If a man really values his values, he has a moral obligation to himself to defend them — not to do so would be sacrificial and, therefore, self-destructive.

        By all means, if someone is initiating deadly force against you, exercise extreme and even fatal retribution if you can safely do so. Ideally there are more humane methods, but do what you must to end the aggression.

        To think in opposites, is to not really engage in thinking. There is no Hell, such as is commonly discussed. An opposite of Heaven. Yeshua never taught about Hell. That is something invented by the thieves who stole another peoples(Jews) recorded history, and perverted it for their own ends.

        There is an obverse. And there is an opponere – a standing against. There exists similar phenomena in differing manifestations. But nothing exists in the natural world as an opposite.

        That may be the root of the Statist Delusion itself. That an authority can be created to enforce some kind of “opposite” state to whatever currently exists but is undesirable to the Collectivist.

        The goal is only to stop aggression, not to relish in mutilating human bodies or in inflicting pain, as if sentient beings are sadistic playthings to torment as a leisure activity.

        Dogs die to teach Peru soldiers how to kill (NSFW)
        http://www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/data/image_2_783.jpg

        Self-defense
        http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Self-defense

        NAP
        http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Principle_of_non-aggression

      • Mike in Boston
        April 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        Second that Jean, I’m old enough not to give much of a s**t what happens to me; if the jackboots ever show up at my door I’m taking as many out as possible on my way out.

  5. Klavdy
    April 19, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Evil, insane ,psychotic doesn’t come close,here’s another of his contemporaries,a man who hears voices telling him that it is O.K to kill, jesus says so.

    Oh, he’s also a SWAT Sgt and teacher.
    He hears voices telling him it is O.K to kill.
    Why is he still at large?
    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Christ-Killing-Charlie-Eipper-ebook/product-reviews/B00ISWK9K8/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#R3NNO3KG35N7UA

    • Garysco
      April 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      @Klavdy – It is the same reason we have a president who drone killed a couple of suspects (he called them suspected terrorists) in a foreign country today, but he also blew up a few uninvolved civilians in the process. Whatever that reason is I cannot fathom.

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