David and His Goliaths - by Karen De Coster (Some of you might think that David DeGroote's name is familiar. This link from 2002 will explain why.)
(by David's Brother)
"Why Mesa Hates David"
Hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money has been wasted by the Mesa Police over the last year at the same time they are complaining about budget constraints. This money was wasted, not in pursuit of a criminal nor in the attempt to gather information, but in a personal vendetta against one private citizen, his wife, and his children. It is part of a pattern of misuse of public money and a violation of public trust. The Police Chief knows about it and is either encouraging it as official police policy or is not able to exercise control over his officers.
Being a Mesa Police Department Helicopter Division Officer is a dream job. Every time you rescue a stranded hiker or chase down a fleeing criminal you get a hero’s publicity. In a time of severe budget constraints, you can pretty much fly wherever you want regardless of cost. This means, among other perks, that you can buzz fellow police officers’ homes as a joke occasionally. Being a Helicopter Officer also means you could, if you wanted, harass anybody you wanted without any repercussions. You can follow them around, shine a spotlight into their bedroom, wake them up at 2 a.m., and more. You know that nobody can stop you—and nobody would believe your victims’ complaints because as soon as they talk about “helicopters” people will think they are crazy.
WHY THEY HATE DAVID
If anything is certain, it is that the Mesa Police Helicopter Police hate David DeGroote.
It all probably started as a joke—although David is not certain. He was out working in his backyard when a Mesa Police Helicopter flew up and hovered over him with officers leaning out the door. In retrospect, he should have ignored them or laughed it off—an officer friend of the family probably put them up to it. Instead, David made the mistake of flipping them off. David admits that this was not a wise thing to do.
David is an officer of the court—a process server—and that evening, at every house he went to serve court documents, the helicopter buzzed him. David called the police department and complained about it. He did not realize to what extent the Helicopter Police are untouchable and not accountable to anyone. The Helicopter Police, however, were going to give him and, unfortunately, his family and neighbors an education.
At first it wasn’t too bad. At first you think it is mere coincidence—they are only in the neighborhood for something else. What sane person would go to this sort of effort? But just how many times do the helicopters have to fly over your particular home before you become suspicious that they are indeed targeting you.
From the Helicopter Police perspective, it really doesn’t take that much to divert your flight plan a little to buzz low over somebody’s home. And if you have something legit going on near the neighborhood—why not hover near your favorite “troublemaker’s” home. This is common procedure—one of the perks of being in a helicopter. Somebody flips you off, you add them to the Buzz List. You can bug who you want—and can have sweet deniability. In fact, this is what the Helicopter Police were doing on November 3, 2006. They had just finished up an operation near David’s house and drifted over to pay him a visit. Their lights were off as they hovered. Somebody on the ground flashed a flashlight on them briefly. The police were enraged.
They cordoned off the street and began banging and kicking the DeGroote family’s doors without identifying themselves. One detective even put on surgical gloves to turn off the power to their home (independent fingerprinting evidence confirmed this and identified the detective). Eventually they turned the power back on and left.
David put a security camera system on the home with multiple cameras and audio recording capability. Whereas before the flashlight incident the harassment was sporadic, now it became unbearable—extending to endangerment and a recklessness far beyond anything they accused David of.
What follows is a partial record of the harassment of David, his wife Terry, his teenage daughter Jocelyn, and his two underage boys. These are recorded on his home security camera system, handheld video cameras, and the accounts of the witnesses. Calls to the police, of course, are recorded and available to verify times of complaints when they occurred. Keep in mind that there is no other purpose for these flybys except to harass David. It is a psychological warfare designed to break him down and intimidate him. This is why they did not just restrict it to David—but to his completely innocent wife and little children. If they couldn’t break him directly—just increase the pressure by terrorizing his family.
1. 11-11-2006 at 8:35pm Helicopter flies low over house.
2. 11-11-206 at 9:25pm. Helicopter flies low over house.
3. 11-11-2006 at 9:40pm. Helicopter hovers very low, about 250 feet high, just over the home across the street, watching David as he adjusted cameras on the house.
4. 11-11-2006 at 10:19pm. Helicopter circles around house while David is outside.
5. 11-14-2006 at 3:25pm. Helicopter hovers over home to make sure nobody is home. Officer/Helicopter Pilot drive up in car and goes to front door. Audio recorder picks up Helicopter reporting that Jocelyn, the teenaged daughter, was entering the neighborhood. Officer takes a peek around corner, then ducks back out of Jocelyn’s sight. When Jocelyn pulls up, he then comes out of his hiding place and pretends to be surprised to see her and interrogates her without knowledge of parents.
6. 11-16-2006 at 6:24 a.m. Chopper waits aprox 45 min to an hour without lights on and then follows Terry to work. Keep in mind that the Police Helicopter has the technology to follow someone from a great distance so that they do not know they are being followed. The Helicopter follows her closely so she can see it—even stopping for traffic signals. It then goes back to hover over the house. Terry called DPS, Mesa Police, and the Sheriffs office from work. All deny it is theirs.
7. 11-22-2006 at 11:00pm. Hovers nearby then dive bombs the house very close. Shines spotlight all around the house. Called non-emergency police number—and are told that the helicopter had responded earlier to something—but it was over a long time ago. Roof camera shows the distinctive glow of Infrared before the chopper enters the frame. IR technology is a search and requires a warrant to conduct.
8. 11-24-2006 at 7:42pm Chopper dive bombs and buzzes the home
9. 11-25-2006 at 12:35am Chopper hovered around our house for a long time, leaves, returns.
10. 12-15-2006 no time specified Helicopter passes over home at about 100 feet. Recorded with handheld camcorder.
11. 12-20-2006 at 11:33pm. Helicopter follows teenage daughter Jocelyn and then buzzes house.
12. 12-20-2006 at 11:33pm. Chopper followed teenage daughter Jocelyn home—making sure they were close enough to see. They then buzzed the house.
13. 12-21-2006 at 10:49pm The reflection of the chopper lights can be seen in the swimming pool. It followed Jocelyn home from work at 10:59pm.The chopper continued hovered around house off and on throughout the night.
14. 12-22-2006 at 4:18pm Helicopter flies low over house.
15. 12-23-2006 at 10:38pm Helicopter flies low over house.
16. 12-24-2006 10:39am Christmas Eve Helicopter flies low over house.
17. 12-25-2006 at 2:08pm Christmas Day Camera records a lady and child from next door looking up at chopper (it was directly above our house). Child was saying “hello helicopter” and then “goodbye helicopter.”
18. 12-30-2006 no time specified. Chopper circles house for about 10-15min, dive bombs house then circles--watching and looking in house and back yard.
19. 12-31-2006 (circa-no time specified) Helicopter hovers at the end of street.
20. 12-31-2006 (circa-no time specified) Helicopter flew low enough to shake house. Video taped occurance.
21. 01-01-2007 at 10:13pm New Years Helicopter flies low over house.
22. 01-05-2007 at 11:50pm Helicopter flies low over house.
23. 01-07-2007 at 10:22pm Chopper followed teenage daughter Jocelyn home from work and buzzed the house.
24. 01-10-2007 at 2:39pm Helicopter flies low over house.
25. 01-11-2007 at 12:39am Helicopter flies low over house.
26. 01-11-2007 at 9:25am Helicopter flies low over house.
27. 01-11-2007 at 10:59am Helicopter flies low over house.
28. 01-11-2007 at 9:02pm Helicopter flies low over house.
29. 01-11-2007 at 9:31pm Helicopter flies low over house.
30. 01-11-2007at 11:34pm Helicopter flies low over house.
31. 01-12-2007 at 01:37am Helicopter flies low over house.
32. 01-12-2007 at 10:06am Helicopter flies low over house.
33. 01-13-2007 at 12:39pm Helicopter hovers low over house. Underage son waits outside until the chopper leaves.
34. 01-22-2007 at 6:04pm Helicopter flies low over house.
35. 01-25-2007 at 7:46am Helicopter flies low over house.
36. 01-26-2007 at 11:58am Helicopter flies low over house.
37. 01-29-2007 at 11:21am Helicopter flies low over house.
38. 01-29-2007 at 7:21pm Helicopter flies low over house.
39. 01-30-2007at11:45am Helicopter flies low over house.
40. 02-01-2007 at 9:21pm Helicopter flies low over house.
42. 02-03-2007 at 2:16am. Chopper circles and buzzes house—shaking the roof and looking in back yard and windows.
43. 02-03-2007 at 4:30am Helicopter flies low over house.
44. 02-03-2007 at 2:17pm Helicopter hovers over home. Underage son sees helicopter, becomes upset and runs into the house.
45. 02-04-2007 at 7:28pm Teenage daughter Jocelyn videotapes helicopter as it follows family in car.
46. 02-04-2007 at 11:51pm Helicopter follows family in car.
47. 02-05-2007 at 12:36pm Chopper follows David on I-60
48. 02-05-2007 at 3:38pm Chopper follows David home (by way of I-60). Begins to circle house—David records with handheld videocamera. It keeps circling out then comes in close for a long time. It is like it was waiting to see if we were going to leave so it could follow us.
49. 02-05-2007 at 6:33pm. Chopper clearly follows family car every place they go. It paces them, stopping when they stop, going when they go. Follows family to underage son’s religious education class at church.
50. 02-05-2007 at 6:39pm. Chopper follows parents from church to Subway
51. 02-05-2007 at 8:09pm Chopper follows parents to pick up underage son from church.
52. 02-05-2007 at 8:27pm Helicopter flies low over house.
53. On 02-08-2007 at 8:29am Helicopter flies low over house.
54. On 02-08-2007 at 6:20pm Chopper followed David on freeway, even flying directly towards him at one point. Recorded on handheld videotape.
55. 02-11-2007 at 6:40pm Chopper follows David everywhere.
56. 02-11-2007 at 7:00pm. Chopper follows David heads south on Power from McClintock.
57. 02-12-2007 at 8:19pm. Chopper follows Jocelyn home from picking up her underage brothers. She calls her parents in hysterics—telling them the Helicopter is following her “really close” and that it is shining its spot light into her car as she is driving—blinding her. Terry calls Police who say the helicopter had been out investigating a “shots fired” call, but that was done.
58. 02-16-2007 at 10:40am. Chopper circles house for about 15 minuteslooking into back yard and windows.
59. 02-16-2007 at 7:36pm Helicopter flies low over house.
60. 02-21-2007 at 7:45pm. Follows David.
61. 02-21-2007 at 7:57pm. Follows David.
62. 02-21-2007 at 8:13pm. Follows David
63. 02-21-2007 at 8:27pm. Follows David
64. 02-21-2007 at 9:48pm. Follows David
65. 02-22-2007 at 12:36am. Chopper circles house for about 20-30 minutes.
66. 02-21-2007 at 11:39pm. Chopper follows Jocelyn home from work
67. 2-22-2007at 1:11am. Helicopter flies low over house.
68. 02-22-2007 at 6:55pm. Chopper follows David.
69. 02-24-2007 at 2:49pm. Chopper circles the house for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
70. 02-24-2007 at 7:47pm Helicopter hovers low over house for an hour.
71. 02-24-2007 at 9:26pm Helicopter flies low over house.
72. 03-23-07 at 12:45am Helicopter makes three passes over home
73. 03-24-07 at 11:13am Helicopter makes one pass over home
74. 03-24-07 at 12:24pm Helicopter makes two passes over home
75. 03-24-07 at 8:23pm Helicopter makes two passes over home
76. 03-25-07 at 11:00am Helicopter makes one pass over home
77. 3-25-07 at 8:50pm Helicopter makes one pass over home
78. 03-26-07 at 12:01am Helicopter makes first pass over home
79. 03-26-07 at 12:04am Helicopter makes second pass over home
80. 03-26-07 at12:07am Helicopter makes third pass over home
81. 03-26-07 at 1237am Helicopter makes fourth pass over home. David goes outside to record with his handheld video camera. Helicopter running with no lights on—then suddenly turns them on. Neighbors were woken up by this as well.
82. 03-26-07 at 10:24pm Helicopter makes two passes over home
83. 04-02-07 at 6:07pm and 6:11pm This was a “Tag Team event” the first one was the Helicopter and then Airplane
84. 04-03-07 at 03:45:22am, 03:45:46am, 03:46:16am, 03:46:36am, 03:46:55am, 03:47:26am, 03:47:53am, 03:48:07am, 03:48:40am, 03:49:20am, 03:49:56am, and 03:50:32am Helicopter makes twelve passes over home.
85. 04-04-07 at 01:08am and 01:09am Helicopter makes two passes over home
86. 04-06-07 at 01:51:17am, 01:52:07am, 01:52:23am, 01:53:40am, 01:54:20am, 01:55:17am, 01:56:00am, 01:59:05am, 01:59:30am, 01:59:55am, 02:00:26am, 02:01:38am, 02:02:54 and 02:03:50 Helicopter makes Fifteen Passes over home.
87. 04-06-07 at 08:42am and 08:44am “Tag Team” Helicopter and then Airplane
88. 04-06-07 at 08:50am and 08:51am “Tag Team” Helicopter and then Airplane
89. 04-11-07 at 12:41am Helicopter makes one pass over home
90. 04-13-07 at 11:04pm Helicopter makes Two Passes over home s
91. 04-14-07 at 3:24pm Helicopter makes one pass over home
92. 04-22-07 at 03:21:40am, 03:22:18am, 03:22:34am, 03:22:51am, 03:23:16am, 03:23:44am, 03:24:02am, 03:24:32am, 03:24:51am, 03:25:22am and 03:25:39am Helicopter makes Eleven Passes over the home.
These are just a few of the RECORDED incidents of harassment of David, his wife, and his little children. If it costs $1,000 an hour to keep the helicopter in the air (not counting the salaries of the participating officers), the amount dedicated to following, harassing, and intimidating David and his family is staggering. One neighbor circulated a petition in an attempt to end this harassment—and made herself a target as well. So in addition to terrorizing women and children, you can now add intimidation of a potential witness.
One searches in vain for any legitimate police purpose in this harassment. The Helicopter Police revel in their freedom and power to prove that they are indeed untouchable. It is indeed a sad thing, that as soon as they got a little power, as they supposed, they immediately began to exercise it in a way that can only be described as evil. This is tragic in light of the good that they could be doing.
But what of David, the man they hate with a burning passion? They charged him with various things related to allegedly flashing a flashlight on the helicopter and the initial court finding was that he flashed the flashlight. This case will be appealed. Flashing a flashlight on a helicopter for a moment, apparently, is “endangerment.” What is it when a Mesa Police Department Helicopter flashes its spotlight on a teenage girl—blinding her as she was driving her two little brothers on the highway?
Notwithstanding repeated calls and demands to file police reports on all these actions done under the color of law by Mesa Police Department Helicopter officers, no report has been taken. Notwithstanding that the Mesa Police Chief knows completely and unmistakably about this illegal, improper, immoral, and pointless activity, he is either encouraging it or is powerless to take action. Even when the officers put a death threat on YouTube against David (in response to video David posted showing the helicopters), the Mesa Police Department took no action and would not even allow a complaint to be filed against the people who made the threat.
It is indeed ironic that when Jocelyn was attacked by a robber in the convenience store where she worked, that the Mesa Police Helicopter wasn’t close enough to respond quickly. Where was it? Following Jocelyn’s dad. You see, when you are a Mesa Police Department Helicopter officer, you are untouchable and can do what you want—and nobody will hold you responsible.
There are many other examples of Mesa Police Helicopter officer misconduct—and probably not just the ones involving David and his family. This short article can not recount the following the boys to their football games and hovering over their game, following Jocelyn’s boyfriend from the house to his home, putting up “No Trespassing” signs after the fact in failed attempt to convict David of trespassing, recruiting other agencies to harass—such as lifeflight, and on and on.
Even if David is as bad as they say he is—what justification is there for these actions by the Mesa Police Department? If they think David is dangerous, what possible public good could come from this unrelenting psychological warfare? Are they trying to make him commit some crime by “driving him crazy?” What did Terry, Jocelyn, and the two underage boys do to deserve this harassment?
David, his wife Terry, and their children are in the process of taking legal action. The video record they have is unassailable. A glance at the listings above prove that something unsavory is happening. The waste is outrageous. If Mayors, City Council Members, the Police Chief, and the media are unable to take action to protect innocent children, perhaps this lawsuit will finally get them to take notice.