Sunday, August 31, 2008
The owner of an independent website critical of authorities was shot and killed Sunday by police in a volatile province in southern Russia, his colleague said.
Police arrested Ingushetiya.ru owner Magomed Yevloyev on Sunday, taking him off a plane that had just landed in Ingushetia province near Chechnya, said the site's deputy editor, Ruslan Khautiyev.
Police whisked Yevloyev away in a car and later dumped him on the road with a gunshot wound in the head, Khautiyev said. He said Yevloyev died in a hospital shortly afterward.
In Moscow, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement that Yevloyev was detained by police and died in an "incident" while being taken to police headquarters for an interrogation. Markin did not elaborate, saying that a check to clarify the circumstances of Yevloyev's death had begun. The committee is under the Prosecutor General's office.
Yevloyev has angered regional authorities with bold criticism of police treatment of civilians in the region. A court in June ordered him to shut his site on charges of spreading "extremist" statements, but it reappeared under a different name.
Khautiyev said that Yevloyev arrived in Ingushetia from Moscow on Sunday on the same plane with regional President Murat Zyazikov. Police blocked the jet on the runway after it landed in Ingushetia's provincial capital, Magas, entered the plane and took Yevloyev out.
Yevloyev's death is likely to further stir up passions in Ingushetia, which has been plagued by frequent raids and ambushes against federal forces and local authorities. Government critics attribute the attacks to anger fueled by abductions, beatings, unlawful arrests and killings of suspects by government forces and local allied paramilitaries.
Many in Ingushetia are intensely unhappy with Zyazikov, a former KGB officer and a close ally of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Immediately after Yevloyev's detention, his website urged Ingushetia's residents to gather outside the headquarters of a leading opposition group.
When Sgt. Bradley Lawrence was accused of criminal misconduct by a fellow police officer July 2, he was allowed to continue working.
About a month later, a complaint lodged by another officer, alleging more constitutional violations, resulted in police leaders putting Lawrence on paid leave effective Aug. 7.
Lawrence is now the subject of an internal investigation, police leaders have said.
But questions have grown louder in recent weeks about whether an internal investigation is appropriate in this case, or consistent with common police practices.
A survey of several area policing agencies shows a general alignment in the way each handles criminal or procedural complaints against officers.
For the most part, agencies stick to a practice of investigating complaints of non-criminal behavior internally while bringing in an outside agency, usually the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, when the behavior would be criminal.
"Most of our policy violations are done in-house through an internal- affairs department that reports to the chief," said Fontana police Sgt. Jeff Decker. "As a general rule, if there was a criminal allegation, there would be an internal and separate investigation into criminal activity done by an outside agency."
But Decker, like leaders in other departments, stressed that the rule isn't immutable.
"There is some room for flexibility," Decker said.
But recently,fresh attention has been aimed at investigations of officer misconduct.
A number of officers have groused privately about the way in which Lawrence's situation has been handled.
Some, including retired Lt. Don Soderbloom and Police Association President Sgt. Rich Lawhead, have openly suggested that unequal treatment - or the perception of favoritism - may be at play, with Lawrence's investigation kept in-house and casting a shadow over its progress and ultimate conclusions.
But other department leaders' statements about the criteria by which investigations are conducted internally or by an outside agency suggest that San Bernardino police are out of step in their internal handling of Lawrence.
"There are allegations of criminal conduct, without question," said Gary Smith, a local attorney representing Greg Parker, whom Lawrence is accused of illegally detaining in September 2007. An internal booking log obtained by The Sun lists Parker as held "on ice," and does not list charges.
Smith noted that if internal documents use such terms to describe Lawrence's detentions, there is no telling how many may have been complicit.
"It is my expectation that the department must go to an outside, independent agency for the investigation," he said. "Lawrence isn't operating alone."
In the case of San Bernardino, some discretion has clearly been exercised in who faces outside or inside investigations, Soderbloom said.
Soderbloom points to his own investigation, in which he was accused of dissuading another officer from filing charges against a bartender who served alcohol to a minor. That was conducted by District Attorney's Office at the administration's request, he said.
Soderbloom was cleared of wrongdoing.
But Lawrence is being investigated in-house.
Soderbloom names other officers accused of serious crimes - including former officer Ronald VanRossum, who was convicted of rape - whose initial investigations were conducted in-house.
Rialto police Capt. Tony Farrar, like Decker and Redlands Police Chief Jim Bueermann, said it is important to maintain the perception that investigations are open and impartial by investigating criminal allegations through an outside agency.
"We definitely don't want to lose the public's trust," Farrar said.
Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy, who has said the Lawrence investigation is proceeding normally, said San Bernardino police are in line with protocol with their internal investigations.
"There are occasions when an outside department will do an investigation, but that is the exception rather than the rule," Christy said. Larger departments tend to do internal investigations into criminal wrongdoing more often than smaller ones, he added.
But Bueermann said conducting internal investigations can be problematic and raise questions about the integrity of the process.
"For us, it's very simple," Bueermann said. "If there's any indication that an employee may have committed a crime, we ask an outside agency to investigate," Bueermann said.
In San Bernardino, Billdt has steadfastly declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Lawrence and the investigation into his conduct, citing state law prohibiting him from discussing personnel matters.
Lawrence has a checkered history, including standing trial for allegedly threatening to tie a child to the back of his patrol car during an interrogation in 1989.
And new questions as to the probity of the department's internal investigations were raised, when it was revealed last week that an investigation into alleged police brutality on the Westside was unfinished after a year, meaning the statute of limitations for internal discipline had expired.
Lt. Scott Paterson said a lack of cooperation from the community was partly to blame for the protracted investigation.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
“On Aug. 13, I was contacted by the Gonzales County District Attorney’s office about allegations against Mr. Springs,” Department of Public Safety agent Dwayne Goll said. Goll is in charge of the investigation in cooperation with the Texas Rangers.
“That day I also spoke with Linda Smith, the chief probation officer of the 25th district,” he said.
As director of the Second 25th Judicial District, including the probation department, which covers Gonzales, Lavaca and Colorado counties, Smith is Springs’ supervisor. Her office is in Hallettsville.
“The buck stops here at my desk, unfortunately,” said Smith during a telephone interview, Aug. 22. The Inquirer contacted Smith to ask for comment on the position of her department in this situation, but she declined offering an explanation of the allegations or any information on the status of the alleged victim’s claim.
“I am not going to comment on this issue,” she said. “Not now, not ever.”
Goll is moving forward with the investigation to determine if formal charges will be filed.
“I have spoken with both he (Springs) and the alleged victim,” said Goll. “It is too early to say when and what charges may be filed against him.”
Goll said the name of the victim is being withheld from the public to protect her identity.
Gonzales attorney Houston Munson is representing Springs in this case. Munson told Inquirer that on Friday afternoon (Aug. 22), Springs met with Linda Smith in her office to discuss the situation.
“After considering his seniority with the probation department, she decided to allow him to retire in lieu of termination, due to the allegations,” said Munson.
According to the Lavaca County Auditor’s office, which manages the district’s payroll, Spring’s has been an employee of the second 25th district since July, 15, 1995.
“During the course of the investigation, he submitted his application to retire,” said Smith during a second interview Tuesday. “He’s been an employee with us for a long time, and he elected to retire instead of being terminated.”
Smith said Springs’ retirement is effective immediately, and that although the paperwork will not be finalized until Aug. 30, he is no longer a probation officer or employee of the Second 25th Judicial District.
"As a county employee, he has been paying into his retirement fund, and can request to withdraw that money at any time," Smith said. "We are not writing him a check to retire, the County matches the amount deposited into the account by each individual."
Munson said no charges have been filed against his client, and he does not know when or if there will be any, now that Springs is retired from the probation department.
“I am not sure if they will take his retirement and service into consideration or what part it will play in this,” said Munson.
When asked when the case against Springs may become official and go to court, Munson reiterated that official charges have not been filed.
“Since the Grand Jury just met in Gonzales last Friday, it may be a while before anything moves forward on this case,” said Munson.
A highly respected former NYPD detective with inoperable liver cancer was charged with bank robbery Friday after authorities identified him as the so-called Bling Bandit suspected of pulling off nine heists while wearing a flashy watch and ring.
Athelson Kelson, 59, was arraigned Friday afternoon in connection to a robbery at a Queens bank on July 10. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the one charge. Judge Elisa Koenderman ordered Kelson be held and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. His next scheduled court appearance is Sept. 12.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who described the case as "sad and shocking," said Kelson _ a former member of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force _ was terminally ill with cancer. Kelly said he was awarded a Purple Heart for his service during the Vietnam War.
The police commissioner said Kelson had been implicated in four of the string of robberies in Queens and Long Island over the past 2 1/2 months by bank employees who picked him out of a police lineup.
He had an "excellent reputation," Kelly said. "He was very well thought of in the department."
Kelly said he didn't know why Kelson apparently turned to a life of crime. Asked if the ex-detective might have been trying to commit "suicide by cop," Kelly told reporters: "We can't exclude that."
Kelson surrendered Thursday to authorities and hasn't made any statements to police, Kelly said. A message left with Kelson's lawyer wasn't immediately returned.
The bank robber was dubbed the Bling Bandit because of surveillance videotape showing him wearing a gold watch and a flashy ring. In some of the robberies, which began on June 12, the bandit displayed a black, semiautomatic handgun. The most recent one was Tuesday.
Police said the ring appeared to be the type given to detectives when they retire, with a replica of a detective's shield on it. Kelson retired in 2005 after 33 years with the NYPD.
In the Queens robbery on July 10, prosecutors said Kelson walked into the bank and handed a note to the teller that read, "Do not press the alarm, give me all the large bills in your drawer, I have a gun, I do not want to hurt anyone, no dye, no bait money, you have 10 seconds."
The teller gave him $600 and he fled the bank, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.
Police said the Bling Bandit did little to disguise his identity. The robber wore only a baseball cap and sunglasses when he entered the banks and was easily identifiable in bank surveillance tapes.
Kelson has not been charged in the Long Island robberies but remains an "active suspect," Nassau County police said.
Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, said Kelson had been a member of the police union. Palladino said he spoke to him in June at the annual union picnic and described him as "very happy."
"I am shocked by these developments," Palladino said. "He served in some of the most sensitive and dangerous undercover assignments in the NYPD. It's very disheartening."
In a separate case in March, a rookie police officer was charged with robbing banks in Manhattan and Pennsylvania.
Jim Crowley, a patrol officer and former detective, was arrested for suspicion of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and prohibited use of a weapon, both of which are misdemeanor charges, at 9:45 a.m. Thursday — just a little over two hours after he had reported to duty at the police station.
“It’s my responsibility to keep people safe, and to have an intoxicated officer come to work in uniform and drive a police car is not acceptable,” Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said.
Crowley is suspected of driving to work in his own vehicle, although the chief noted that he is not aware of anyone who actually saw him driving. Crowley lives on Water Place near Aspen Valley Hospital, not too far from downtown.
Crowley arrived at work at about 7:30 a.m. He was wearing his uniform and had a holstered gun.
“We happened to be in small room together having a conversation with one of his supervisors and I smelled what I believed to be alcohol,” said Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn, who is also the department’s spokesman. “We excused ourselves from Jim’s presence and I asked his supervisor what he had noticed. He was sitting next to a fan blowing in the room and said he didn’t notice anything. I said, ‘Well, we need to conduct a little further investigation.’”
Linn informed Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor, who said he elected to bring in the Snowmass Village Police Department to ensure the investigation remained impartial. Pryor said there is a two-hour window to obtain evidence in alcohol-related cases like this one and he had to make decisions fast.
“I felt I had to move as quickly as possible to preserve the integrity of any possible criminal issues. That’s why I called Snowmass," Pryor said.
Crowley submitted to a Breathalyzer test, which reportedly showed his blood-alcohol content was just over .06 percent. Snowmass Village Police Sgt. Brian Olson placed Crowley under arrest at about 9:45 a.m. and took him to the Pitkin County Jail, where he was later released.
It is unclear whether Crowley, who is in his early 40s, was drinking while on the job or if he might have shown up to work hungover.
“There’s a pretty big difference between the intentional act of consuming alcohol before work and the unintentional act of having drank before and coming to work when perhaps you may have been carrying alcohol in your system,” Linn said. “I wasn’t party to what was going on in his life but I know that Jim is an honorable, very good guy. I don’t believe this was an intentional act.”
Needless to say, the past two days have been extremely difficult ones for the Aspen Police Department.
“It is an incredibly painful experience for a bunch of people who are perceived as tough guys. There have been an awful lot of tears flowing around here there’s no way to feel good about it. The fact is Jim is someone I’ve worked with for the 15 years of my career here. I respect him and think very highly of him. I am so sad to have any role in this at all,” Linn said. “Ultimately we’re held to a very high standard as police officers. We’re not above the laws that we enforce. He’s held numerous positions in the department, investigator positions of very high responsibility because he was been a very good police officer in his career.”
Crowley has no other criminal history. It is unclear whether he has been suspected of being under the influence of alcohol at work in the past. Pryor said he was unaware of any prior issues while Linn said there has “never been any other incident like this that we felt we could have acted upon.”
Pryor, who took over as police chief earlier this year after his predecessor resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment, said terminating Crowley was a difficult decision that he considered for two days. Building trust between Aspen police and the community has been the theme of Pryor’s administration.
“I want to apologize to the community for another incident like this cropping up at the police department,” the chief said. “It’s an incredibly difficult situation. I feel like things are going really well to date and part of me feels like we’ve let people down. I feel really sorry about that and I will do everything I can to make sure this sort of incident doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Other troubles the department has suffered through in recent years include an officer who was fired for using a Taser on an elderly woman who was never charged with a crime, and its assistance with a Drug Enforcement Agency raid on downtown restaurants that divided many in the community.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Elwood evidence tech and patrol officer Shaun Andy Murray, 28, Anderson, was charged with official misconduct, theft and possession of a controlled substance, according to a news release issued Friday night by Sgt. Michael Burns, a spokesman with the Indiana State Police post at Pendleton. Burns did not immediately reply to a call to find out the severity of the charges.
Murray is alleged to have taken narcotic pain relievers from the evidence room for the past year for his personal use, the release said. Murray is the department’s evidence room technician and worked for other police agencies in Madison County, according to Burns.
State police Detective Keith O’Donnell told the Anderson Herald Bulletin that investigators learned in July Murray had become addicted to prescription painkillers. An investigation only began when Elwood police Lt. Jason Brizendine noticed evidence missing Aug. 23.
Brizendine temporarily had placed 62 confiscated hydrocodone pills into an evidence locker Aug. 21, O’Donnell said in today’s newspaper. When Brizendine returned to the evidence room Aug. 23, he noticed 10 pills missing, O’Donnell said.
Murray was arrested Friday at his home. He posted a $5,000 bond, the release said.
Murray’s phone was not listed, and he could not be reached for comment.
Murray’s status with the Elwood Police Department is not known. Patrolman Jim Robertson said today the police chief, Jack Miller, was not on duty and could not be reached for comment.
Today, the RPD filed a criminal complaint in Rochester City Court charging Sgt. Garcia, a 21 ½ year veteran of the RPD, with 13 counts of petit larceny for using his department issued gas credit card to obtain gasoline for his personal use, convenience or profit.
Rochester Police Chief David Moore is quoted in a written statement saying, “The RPD is very vigilant against any misconduct and will abide by the same zero tolerance that we proclaim in our efforts to combat violence. This serves as a testament of our commitment to thoroughly police ourselves.”
Paul Hubka, who was not at the hearing, was placed on three years' probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service at any nonprofit agency within six months.
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said yesterday that the officer will no longer work with canines.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring also ordered Hubka to pay the department $5,000 for the dog. The amount was outlined in a memo issued by Lansdowne and referenced in court.
The prosecutor said the department paid $8,000 for the animal, which was more than 4 years old and fully trained at the time of purchase. The dog was expected to retire at age
Hubka was charged this month in connection with the dog's June 20 death. Authorities determined that Forrest, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died of heatstroke at the officer's home in Alpine.
The officer, a 22-year veteran of the department, is accused of leaving the dog in a police cruiser with the windows rolled up on a day when East County temperatures exceeded 100 degrees.
Deputy District Attorney Julie Korsmeyer said her office would not oppose allowing Hubka to end his probation early if he completes the requirements in the plea agreement.
Hubka's lawyer, Rick Pinckard, said after the hearing that his client is eager to put the case behind him. The misdemeanor charge Hubka was convicted of carried a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.
“This was unintentional,” Pinckard said. “It was essentially a mistake, but it has absolutely devastated him.”
Lansdowne said the internal investigation of the incident is done and he is in the process of deciding what punitive action to take against Hubka.
The chief said the officer won't be fired.
“Paul Hubka as been a good officer for 22 years,” Lansdowne said. “He is very remorseful and will take full responsibility.”
City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed a lawsuit this month that seeks to recover the cost of the dog. Aguirre did not specify the amount he was seeking but said it would be in excess of $25,000.
Aguirre disagreed with the amount Hubka was ordered to pay.
“We think the number was significantly higher than that; that's why the city brought its own case,” he said in an interview yesterday.
The department's K-9 unit has received a replacement dog thanks to private donations. The San Diego Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization, bought the dog in July for $10,000, said Wenda Alvarez, the foundation's president and chief executive officer.
“Several individuals approached us in response to the loss of the dog and wanted to help,” Alvarez said.
The new canine has not yet been assigned to a handler.
The ruling drew a response from a representative for two siblings of Yancey’s wife, whom Yancey is accused of killing. An attorney who said she spoke on behalf of the siblings of Linda Yancey said the DeKalb district attorney’s office failed to do enough to prevent Yancey’s release.
“It appears Mr. Yancey is receiving preferential treatment as a result of his previous employment with the DeKalb County court system,” said a statement issued by lawyer Loletha Denise Hale, who said she spoke for Eugene Thomas and Gloria Thomas Sanders.
Asked about the statement, chief assistant district attorney Don Geary said Yancey “will be treated as any other criminal defendant charged in DeKalb County. We will vigorously prosecute within the limits of the law, and we will do everything we can to be mindful and considerate of the wishes of the victims’ family.”
Linda Yancey, 44, and day laborer Marcial Cax Puluc, about 20, were killed at the Yanceys’ home near Stone Mountain June 9.
Yancey told police that Cax Puluc killed his wife in an armed robbery attempt, forcing Yancey to shoot him. But authorities say lab tests showed Yancey shot both victims.
Derrick Yancey, 49, escorted prisoners to appearances in the county courthouse for 11 years until he was placed on leave because of the shootings. He resigned Aug. 11 and was jailed Aug. 14, when a grand jury indicted him.
Superior Court Judge Linda Workman issued a bond order Thursday, specifying that Yancey must wear an ankle monitor and leave his mother’s Clayton County home only for legal or medical appointments.
Workman’s order quoted a Georgia law which makes defendants eligible for release on bond if they pose “no significant risk” of fleeing, intimidating witnesses or committing other crimes. Unlike many other states, Workman wrote, Georgia does not further restrict bond for murder defendants unless they have been convicted of a prior violent crime.
Geary opposed bond in a Wednesday hearing, telling Workman that Yancey became more of a risk to flee after quitting his job and placing his 8-year-old son with his mother. Workman’s order noted, however, that Yancey had taken those steps before his indictment and still reported to jail voluntarily when an arrest warrant was issued.
Geary did not offer evidence about the shootings or suggest that Yancey might be a threat to others.
Defense attorney Keith Adams said Thursday he expected it would take “a couple of days” to arrange the bond and electronic monitoring. Yancey is being held in an undisclosed jail.
Yancey was a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. Linda Yancey also worked for the sheriff’s office for 13 years, most recently as an intake officer in Juvenile Court.
Workman’s order said she expects Yancey to be tried by the end of the year.
The detective, Ron Smith, 43, was charged with aggravated assault, perjury and carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. The Hells Angel, Joseph McGuire, 33, of Imperial Beach, Calif., was charged with aggravated assault, the Meade County state's attorney reported Thursday.
In addition, four other members of a law enforcement-oriented motorcycle club -- a second Seattle police officer, two U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, and a U.S. Defense Department firefighter -- were charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, a misdemeanor, according to State's Attorney Jesse Sondreal.
The shooting happened about 1 a.m. Aug. 9 at the Loud American Roadhouse, a crowded bar in Sturgis. The detective, a member of the Iron Pigs motorcycle club, said several Hells Angels jumped him and that he fired in self-defense after being beaten.
The other four Iron Pigs members indicted are Dennis McCoy, 59, a North Precinct patrol sergeant in Seattle; Scott Lazalde, 38; James Rector, 44; and Erik Pingel, 35.
Should the case reach a jury, the weapons charge carries an alternative offense of failing to abide by the gun permit of a reciprocal state, according to the statement.
Lazalde, of Bellingham, and Rector, of Ferndale, are stationed in Blaine with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Both remain on duty while the agency awaits formal notification of the charges, spokesman Mike Milne said.
Rector is a 20-year veteran and assistant port director of passenger vehicles, he said.
Pingel is a civilian firefighter at Buckley Air Force Base outside Aurora, Colo., according to an Air Force spokesman.
The South Dakota grand jury met Wednesday to hear from 10 more witnesses before the indictments were issued. It was the grand jury's second hearing since 25 witnesses, including Smith and other officers, appeared on Aug. 10.
Smith's testimony is apparently the basis for the perjury charge.
No court date had been set.
Either warrants or summonses would be "issued and served as appropriate," according to the state's attorney.
Smith and McGuire could face up to 15 years' imprisonment if convicted of aggravated assault. The grand jury also indicted on an alternative charge of misdemeanor assault, which would give a jury the choice of a lesser crime.
The misdemeanor version is punishable by up to a year in jail. The perjury charge could carry a penalty of up to five years.
Smith was one of five Seattle officers with the Iron Pigs at the bar while vacationing at the rally. Witnesses told the Seattle P-I that the confrontation might have started because some Hells Angels members took umbrage to the officers wearing their "colors," or three-piece patches, into the bar.
A Seattle police spokesman said Thursday that Smith and McCoy would remain on administrative leave while the department conducts its investigation. The three Seattle officers who aren't facing charges would be returned to duty, according to a department source.
Smith, of the pawnshop unit, is on the Seattle Police Officers' Guild's board of directors and is editor of the guild's newspaper, The Guardian. In a statement, police guild Vice President Ty Elster urged the community not to pass judgment until the officers have had their day in court.
"We are certain that once all the facts are known, the involved SPOG members will be vindicated and absolved of any wrongdoing," he said.
Federal law allows off-duty and retired police officers to carry their weapons anywhere in the country, overriding any state or local gun regulations. But officers are not covered by the law if under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or have been removed from duty, or have certain disabilities.
There have been cases around the country where officers were charged with weapons violations under a local regulation and relied on the federal law to get the case dismissed, said Ted Deeds, spokesman for the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, which spearheaded the drive to pass the law in 2004.
McGuire was shot twice, with one round striking his abdomen and another shattering his femur. He spent several days in intensive care after making the trip to the rally from the San Diego area. His brother said it was McGuire's first trip to Sturgis.
He left California despite pending marijuana charges against him in San Diego County. McGuire and several other Hells Angels members, including the San Diego chapter president, were arrested during drug raids conducted by federal agents and San Diego police in January 2007.
McGuire has prior convictions for burglary and possession of an illegal knife, according to San Diego County Superior Court records.
Smith had a previous tangle with a Hells Angels member in 2005. He filed a report of possible harassment against Anthony J. Magnesi, whom he said had threatened him during a telephone conversation.
Magnesi had called Smith after hearing from friends that the detective was asking about him. He wanted to find out if he were under investigation, according to Magnesi's attorney, Paul Bernstein.
At the time, Magnesi owned Lucky's Choppers, a custom motorcycle shop in Georgetown. He'd been charged before with first-degree assault for shooting near a man's feet during a scuffle in an unrelated case. But it was dismissed when the state's witnesses backed out of testifying, according to court records.
Magnesi taped one of his conversations with Smith and argued it was proof that Smith had threatened him. After hearing the tape, city prosecutors dropped the harassment charge against Magnesi, according to Bernstein and court records.
At one point on tape, Smith tells him: "Yeah, you better watch your back." Later, he tells Magnesi he has no reason to be calling and asks if he's laundering money, according to a copy that Magnesi's friend played for the P-I.
Smith tells Magnesi that "playing on the phone" is a crime and that belonging to the Hells Angels is a bigger crime, according to the tape.
Magnesi filed a complaint with the department's Office of Professional Accountability, which handles internal investigations. The complaint was referred to Smith's supervisor.
Smith has been disciplined twice before for unprofessional behavior.
He was suspended for two days for conduct unbecoming of an officer after an incident at a Seahawks game in January 2005.
He received a written reprimand after he was accused in August 2005 of threatening to shoot a man at a Tacoma bar while off-duty.
Internal records show that the man was bothering some of the officer's friends. But witnesses also heard the officer utter a racial remark at the restaurant manager, who had asked him to leave, according to department records.
The Huntington Police Officer accused of sexual misconduct with a minor was in court for the first time.
"Sexual misconduct with a minor's categorized by either a devious sexual conduct or some kind of illegal touching and that's what we've alleged here," explains D.J. Sigler, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.
Officer William C. Wike is accused of touching a fondling a 15 year old girl. The incident allegedly happened in Whitley County between November, 2006 and January, 2007. The alleged victim is now 17 years old.
According to the Whitley County Prosecutor, 2 friends of the girl told police about an inappropriate relationship. That sparked a State Police investigation.
Wike was charged with one count of sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class C Felony. On Wednesday, State Police arrested the 8 year veteran of the Huntington Police Department.
"It takes away from our public trust, casts a shadow over us and certainly, I guess the bottom line is we hope it's not true," says Huntington Police Chief Tom Emely.
On Thursday, Wike was escorted into the Huntington County Court in handcuffs for an initial hearing. The Huntington County judge set the bond for Wike at $20,000. That is standard for a Class C Felony. The judge also set Wike's next court date for October 30.
Back in 2006, a report with similar accusations was filed. Court documents said the alleged victim denied those reports at that time. She told investigators she was afraid of what would happen if people didn't believe her story.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
An AFP media spokeswoman said the 43-year-old Penshurst man had been charged with allegedly having sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 14 and 16 years and possessing child pornography.
Police have also charged the man with using a carriage service to access child pornography.
He will appear in Downing Centre Local Court on September 9.
A fourteen-year veteran police officer is arrested after he allegedly assaults a family member.
41-year-old Gerardo Dimas was taken to Webb county jail on charges of assault family violence.
The emergency call was taken at about 7 this morning from his South Laredo home.
He is now on administrative reassignment until internal affairs finishes investigating.
He posted a 10-thousand dollar bond shortly after being arrested.
Police officers use excessive force and brutality in arresting two young women, aged 17 and 15 years old, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver for peacefully demonstrating yards away from where Senator Obama is staying.
View video of arrests
Also arrested was the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition of Washington, DC.
Jayne White, 17, and Julia Giacopuzzi, 15, both from Lake Arrowhead, California, were arrested in front of the Westin Hotel where Senator Barack Obama is staying while at the Democratic National Convention.
View pictures of the young women arrested
The two young women were arrested, without warning, while peacefully writing pro-life messages on the sidewalk in front of the Westin Hotel with sidewalk chalk where Senator Obama is staying.
Rev. Mahoney was arrested and threatened with a felony for leading the event.
After being arrested, the group was later released.
The group had received permission to sidewalk chalk from Denver City Attorney David Fine and Denver Deputy Chief Police John Lamb and had been "sidewalk chalking" for six days prior to the arrests.
Jayne White, age 17, was rushed from behind, physically forced to the ground, had a police officer dig his knee into the back of her neck, pulled her arms and cuffed her behind her back.
Julia Giacopuzzi, age 15, was rushed by a police officer, had her arms twisted behind her back, lifted up off the ground and then cuffed.
Jayne White, age 17, states, "I was peacefully sidewalk chalking when I was forcefully pushed to ground by a police officer from behind. As I was being cuffed on the ground, the police officer pushed his knee into the back of my neck. I was pulled roughly off the ground and taken away. I was given no warning to stop and was completely shocked when I was arrested. My back was throbbing from his knee."
Julia Giacopuzzi, age 15, comments, "As I was sidewalk chalking, I was rushed by a police officer without warning and lifted up off the ground and was cuffed. I was then dragged by the police into the Westin Hotel."
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, adds, "I am absolutely stunned, sickened and appalled by the excessive use of force by these police officers against these two young women at the Democratic National Convention. They were rushed without warning, physically forced to the ground, had a knee driven into their back, cuffed and dragged away. Their crime was simply writing pro-life messages on the sidewalk yards away from the hotel where Senator Barack Obama is staying. It must be stressed that they had permission from the Denver City Attorney and Police Department to do this and they were given no warning to stop.
I was arrested for simply being accused of being "the leader" of the event.
For the past ten months, I have had numerous news conferences in Denver expressing concerns that free speech rights and the First Amendment might be crushed during the Democratic National Convention. I have said repeatedly that demonstrators are not terrorists and that the city of Denver should do all within their power to ensure civil liberties would be protected.
Sadly, the city of Denver ignored these warnings and the civil rights of two young women and myself were trampled. How is it possible that at the Democratic National Convention two young women could be brutalized by the police just yards away where Senator Obama is staying for writing a political message on the sidewalk? Upon my return to Washington, DC, I will be meeting with our legal team to discuss our legal options against the city of Denver and the Democratic National Convention."
A judge has ordered a Huntington police officer held on $20,000 bond on a charge that he engaged in sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.
Forty-one-year-old William Wike Jr. appeared in Huntington County Court on Thursday.
Whitley County Chief Deputy Prosecutor D.J. Sigler says Wike is accused of touching the girl, then 15, in a sexual manner sometime in late 2006 or early 2007. Sigler says the charges do not relate to Wike's work as a police officer in the city about 25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.
Huntington Police Chief S. Thomas Emely says Wike faces suspension pending the outcome of the case.
FBI agents arrested a former Pasadena police officer suspected of robbing four local banks and searched his home Wednesday.
Vincent Cantu, 44, is in custody on a federal arrest warrant, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. She said he is expected to be charged with one or more bank robberies in La Habra.
Cantu, who was being held in a Santa Ana federal facility, is scheduled to appear before a judge today at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse in Santa Ana.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said Cantu hasn't been charged yet.
At their first appearance in federal court, Mrozek said defendants aren't asked to enter a plea but bail is expected to be set.
Cantu's lawyer, Grant Hoagland, said they will ask for bail and hopefully get Cantu out this weekend.
"He's under investigation for multiple robberies," Eimiller said.
Federal authorities suspect Cantu of being the "Polite Bandit" who robbed the Banco Popular at 12333 S. La Mirada Blvd. in La Mirada twice and also hit the Banco Popular at 3160 Colima Road in Hacienda Heights. The armed bandit earned the moniker because he apologized to tellers.
Until Wednesday, Cantu had been out on $50,000 bond. La Habra police originally arrested him Aug. 15 on suspicion of robbing a Banco Popular at 401 E. Whittier Blvd.
Officers got a description of a getaway vehicle. They pulled over Cantu, who was driving a silver Toyota FJ Cruiser, at Las Lomas Drive, west of Euclid Street.
Hoagland said officers found no weapon, no money and no "indication of a crime" in the vehicle.
Eimiller said Cantu is also a suspect in the June 24 robbery of the Pacific Mercantile Bank at 1530 W. Whittier Blvd. in La Habra.
An armed man wearing sunglasses, a hat and a bandanna robbed this La Habra bank at 5:17 p.m. He apologized for the heist.
"He said, 'I'm sorry to do this to you guys but give me all your money. ... Just call the cops in about five minutes,'" Eimiller said.
On Wednesday morning, Hoagland said Cantu got in his wife's vehicle, was followed by officers and pulled over.
"I had a cell call from him at 10 a.m. ... He was pulled over. He indicated 20 officers with drawn guns (were) ordering him out of his car. He was afraid," Hoagland said.
Agents walked out of the Cantu's house in the 16400 block of Janine Drive on Wednesday carrying a computer, paper bags and a small safe. Officers from the La Habra Police Department and sheriff's deputies were also at the house.
FBI officials declined to say what evidence, if any, was found.
Resident Chris George had forgotten something at his home, returned and saw about 10 officers at his neighbor's house.
"He is a good neighbor, a good father. He's a good friend. I am shocked at the allegations that he's a bank robber," George said.
He said one could count on Cantu to help out like taking his kids to school or him to the garage when his car needed service.
Cantu worked eight years as a Pasadena police officer and retired in 1996 after injuring a knee. He has no criminal record.
He has two sons and reportedly coached at Murphy Ranch Little League. The league has declined comment.
Records with the state Bureau of Security and Investigative Services show Cantu was issued a firearm permit on April 21. He is registered as a guard/patrolperson with the state.
Both licenses are valid until April 30, 2010.
FedEx spokeswoman Denise Lauer said that Cantu had worked for their company but left several years ago.
A former Pasadena police officer made his first appearance Thursday in federal court in Santa Ana to face a criminal complaint for two bank robberies that took place in La Habra.
Wearing tan, prison-issued clothing, Vincent Edward Cantu, 44, of Whittier, stood handcuffed in front of Magistrate Judge Marc L. Goldman. He is suspected of robbing Pacific Mercantile Bank on Whittier Boulevard of $10,978 on June 24 and a Banco Popular branch of $10,679 on Aug. 15.
Cantu wasn't required to enter a plea and a bail hearing is scheduled for Sept. 3. Cantu remains in custody at least until then.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 12.
"By that date, we'll have to have a probable-cause hearing or an indictment, which may be issued beforehand," said Thom Mrozek, spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office.
Cantu's court-appointed attorney, John Early, would not comment on specifics of the case.
On Wednesday, Cantu was taken into custody by federal agents close to his Whittier home. After issuing search warrants, agents searched the home and seized at least two computers, along with personal items believed to link Cantu to the crimes.
Cantu was a Pasadena police officer for eight years before retiring in 1996 in "good standing," according to a department spokesperson.
He is now under investigation for a series of robberies committed by the "polite bandit," including the two robberies named in the complaint, FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said.
The polite bandit was so dubbed because he apologized to his victims.
Cantu also is under investigation for robberies at two Banco Popular branches in La Mirada between August 2006 and May 2008 and one in Hacienda Heights in November 2006, Eimiller said.
"There are similarities in M.O. and description," Eimiller said. "During some of his robberies, he was apologetic and said he needed the money for his family."
According to witnesses of the Aug. 15 robbery, the robber entered the Banco Popular in the 400 block of East Whittier Boulevard shortly after 11 a.m., drew a handgun and asked for money, La Habra Police Department spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said.
At about 11:14 a.m., officers were responding to the call at the bank when they saw a vehicle matching the description of one believed to have been used in the robbery.
The silver Toyota FJ Cruiser driven by Cantu was pulled over on Las Lomas, just west of Euclid Street, police said.
La Habra police recovered a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, along with a cap and bandana, which were similar to those used by the robber, according to the complaint.
Cantu was arrested on suspicion of bank robbery and booked into Orange County Jail. He posted bond Aug. 16 and was released, until FBI agents arrested him Wednesday.
Cantu had a permit to carry a firearm issued by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, that agency's records show. The permit was valid through April 30, 2010.
Lance Cpl. Garren was shown on his patrol unit’s dash camera chasing and ultimately hitting a man who fled after a traffic stop in Greenwood in 2007. The suspect is shown on video flipping over Garren’s car. Garren is later heard in the video saying to another officer "I nailed the (expletive) out of him."
Along with other requests, Garren’s attorneys are set to ask that prosecutors turn over dash camera video from other officer’s patrol units who were also on scene.
Garren’s trial is scheduled to begin September 29, 2008, in Greenville, SC.
Garren was suspended after he was indicted by a federal grand jury with a charge of willfully depriving a man of his constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a police officer. If found guilty Garren faces up to 10 years in prison.
Genesee County District Court records show 37-year-old Mark Rutherford, of Flint, faces charges of criminal sexual conduct for assaulting at least three teenaged girls. Rutherford, who is also a Birch Run reserve police officer, allegedly touched the girls during a church camping trip, in Mount Morris Township. The incident allegedly happened over the Memorial Day weekend. Rutherford, who also works as a security guard and Kettering University, was chaperoning the Valley Church of Christ in Burton.
Rutherford's case has been bound over to Genesee County Circuit Court and he will likely face trial. He'll be in court again September 8th. We will continue to follow this investigation as it develops. Right now, he's out on bond.
A preliminary hearing for a police officer charged with shooting a woman and her son has been delayed so both sides can have more time to review the evidence.
The evidence includes 3,000 pages of documents and 131 CDs and DVDs, said Rick Pinckard, an attorney for San Diego police Officer Frank White.
"The investigation that was conducted by the Oceanside Police Department was probably one of the most thorough investigations that I've ever reviewed,” Pinckard said.
At a Vista Superior Court hearing Tuesday, Judge Aaron Katz set White's preliminary hearing for Nov. 5. It had been scheduled for Sept. 17.
The District Attorney's Office charged White, 28, with grossly negligent discharge of a firearm, a felony and a misdemeanor count of exhibiting a firearm. The felony charge carries two enhancements for causing great bodily injury to Rachel Silva, who was shot twice in the right arm, and her then-8-year-old son, who was shot once in the left leg.
White, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to nine years in prison. He has been put on unpaid leave.
After the hearing, Pinckard said the couple is disappointed that charges were filed against White.
“Frank believes that what he did was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances,” Pinckard said. “We believe that the evidence at trial is going to bear that out.”
Pinckard said White and his wife were victims of a road rage incident.
“That's probably the hardest part of this for them is the failure to recognize them as a victim,” Pinckard said. “Frank and his wife didn't initiate this contact. They were trying to get away from this woman.”
Pinckard said he hasn't discussed a settlement with prosecutors.
In court documents, police say Silva pulled in front of White on Old Grove Road in Oceanside shortly after 9 p.m. March 15. White, who was off duty in a Mercury Milan with his wife, swerved to avoid her Silva.
White turned into a shopping center, and Silva, who was with her son in a Honda Accord, followed into the parking lot of a Lowe's store, tailgating him.
Silva pulled alongside White, shouting at him. He pointed a five-shot .38 revolver at her and backed up. She called 911 and then drove in reverse toward White car. The vehicles mirrors touched, and the right front of her car hit the left side of White's. White fired five shots into Silva's car as their vehicles passed each other.
Police said Silva's blood-alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. The state Attorney General's Office charged Silva, 28, with one felony count of child endangerment and five misdemeanor counts. She pleaded not guilty.
Silva's attorney, Michael Pancer, declined to comment.
Suskevich and his wife, Christine, were arrested Aug. 19 on charges for possession of marijuana. Christine Suskevich, 34, was also charged with discharging a firearm under the influence of alcohol, according to a Key West police arrest report.
Christine Suskevich told police she was trying to get her husband's attention after an argument when she fired a gun from the kitchen toward a back bedroom, the report states. No one was hit by the gunshot.
Cape Coral police spokeswoman Connie Barron said the department will conduct an internal investigation of Suskevich after the process related to the Key West criminal charges is resolved. Until then, he has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Barron said it's too early to tell whether Suskevich's positive work record will have an impact on the investigation.
"That is up to the investigators," she said. "Since the internal investigation doesn't take place until after the criminal process is over, it's hard to say what factors they will take into consideration."
Suskevich's salary is $59,945, which includes a 1.18 percent merit raise based on his most recent evaluation on June 26.
On that evaluation, he was rated excellent on all criteria, including investigative skills, attitude, communication skills and knowledge. The highest rating is superior, and excellent is the second-highest.
Suskevich received commendations over the years for his help with several incidents in Cape Coral, including responding to a neighborhood disturbance. He received a letter of thanks from someone he cited for a boating violation while he was a member of the Cape Police Department's marine unit, according to the personnel file.
"I'm writing to commend Officer Suskevich on his professional demeanor when he stopped me," Carl Schultz of Fort Myers wrote to the Cape Coral Police Department in a letter dated Nov. 25, 2003. "He could easily have read me the riot act for 'senselessly endangering' my children. He could have levied a big fine. In fact, I expected both. Instead, he was courteous, helpful (discovering that one of my fire extinguishers was expired), and left a positive impression on my children and my guests."
In 2005, Suskevich received his lowest evaluation rating, good, which is third-highest on the scale. His supervisors said he needed to "increase his activity," meaning he hadn't issued enough citations on the marine unit. But they noted that other officers also had not done enough. He was also issued a "performance deficiency notice" that year for taking his assigned Cape Coral police boat outside of city limits.
Those appear to be the only blemishes on his performance record. On the 2008 evaluation, Suskevich was praised for the leadership role he was taking in training younger, less-experienced officers.
He also was cited for his role in the Police Department's quick arrest of Robert Dunn in the fatal shooting of Dunn's estranged wife, Christine Lozier Dunn, at Bobbie Noonan's Child Care in January.
"Officer Suskevich is a well rounded police officer and a valued member of our team," this year's evaluation states. "He is always eager to provide assistance both professionally and personally whenever he has been asked. He has worked hard to earn a positive image in the agency and has increased his responsibilities within the (field training officer) and firearms programs."
Suskevich also was cited for being part of a group of Cape Coral police officers who helped in Port St. Lucie after Hurricane Jeanne struck there in 2004.
A former Belfast police officer was arrested for operating under the influence Monday, Aug. 25, after being warned not to drive by the Searsport chief.
Jack Bowen, 64, who was a patrolman in Belfast in the 1970s and later ran a High Street bar, was stopped by Patrolman Mike Rolerson on High Street after the local department was asked to be on the lookout for his vehicle.
Bowen, now a resident of Nebraska, had reportedly been warned by Searsport Chief Dick LaHaye not to drive after he was allegedly found drinking outside a Searsport restaurant.
A member of the women's peace group CODEPINK was arrested Tuesday after a police officer yelled, "Back it up, bitch" and struck her with his baton, knocking her to the ground.
Alicia Forrest, 24, of Los Angeles, was knocked off her feet onto the pavement and appeared in pain.
A few minutes later, she began answering reporter's questions when police pulled her away and took her to jail.
She was booked for investigation of interference.
Forrest said she saw an unidentified man arrested in the street near Civic Center Park and was asking why the man was being arrested. That's when the officer moved in and confronted her.
Police to Forrest to the warehouse processing center, dubbed "Gitmo on the Platte" by protesters. She was then transferred to the city jail and posted a $580 bond.
The Rocky Mountain News posted video of the confrontation on YouTube.
Officers from several departments were working in the park at the time, and it is not clear on the tape what department the officer works for, though Denver police said they would begin a review of complaints about the incident.
A journalism advocacy group raised concerns Wednesday about whether police are interfering with press coverage of anti-war protests at the Democratic convention.
Washington-based Reporters Without Borders cited a video posted by USA Today in which a videographer taping protesters and police is knocked to the ground by an officer trying to clear a street.
Police Chief Gerald Whitman reminded officers in writing Tuesday that Colorado law gives journalists some privileges when they are covering riots.
Whitman said reporters and photographers don't have to obey any order to disperse in riot conditions, though they are supposed to move to the edge of the crowd.
An eight-year veteran of the Huntington Police Department is behind bars tonight facing one charge of sexual misconduct with a minor. That is a class c felony.
According to officers, last night, state police arrested 41-year-old Huntington police officer Bill Wike. Wike is currently being held in the Whitley county jail.
In this letter from Huntington police chief Thomas Emely, it states that neither the Huntington police department nor the Huntington county prosecutors office were directly involved in the investigation.
Prosecutors have started the proceedings to ask the board of works in Huntington to suspend officer Wike without pay pending the outcome of the charges in this case.
There will be an executive session next Tuesday in the Huntington mayor's conference room to discuss this issue.
Tomorrow morning at 8:30 officer Wike will appear in a Huntington county circuit courtroom. A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case which is standard practice considering the suspect is a Huntington police officer and the Huntington prosecutor’s office closely works with the police
An officer is suspended from the force after being charged with molesting the child of a neighbor (an LAPD detective) and is accused of trying to kill the family by digging a tunnel that police say could have been used to set off an explosion. The officer said his attorney told him to dig the tunnel so he could plant bugging equipment to see if the child was being coached by the parents. The officer was convicted of molestation in 1938. He was granted a retrial on appeal in 1939, but The Times did not report the outcome.
Also: A judge finds The Times guilty of contempt for editorials on pending court cases: The Douglas strike, the Helen Werner case and the "goon squad case" (a labor dispute) as well as two editorials about a committee of the Los Angeles Bar Assn.
In sports, here's a deck worth noting: "Hollywood curvist shuts out Seraphs by 5-0 score." The curvist is Wayne Osborne of the Hollywood Stars, who threw a shutout against the Los Angeles Angels in the "Civil War series."
UCLA prepares for the beginning of football practice in September ... "South Gate jitterbug jockey" Bob Swanson wins a 50-lap midget car race at Gilmore Stadium.
And the New York State Racing Commission suspends groom Raymond Smith to investigate allegations that he drugged racehorses at Saratoga.
But as Gilbert Tuffli, 55, left the Mesa outpatient clinic, he was arrested by detectives from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and sent to jail.
Tuffli, who was declared unfit to stand trial in September, has been re-indicted on six felony charges including aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
"We acted to ensure public safety," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said.
Tuffli allegedly went to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn in downtown Scottsdale July 23, 2007, to seek revenge against employees who had barred him from the hospital.
Employees wrestled the gun from him.
Tuffli's arrest underscores Thomas' battle with the Legislature, which has not passed laws requiring prosecutors to be notified when defendants are released from mental-health facilities.
The mental-health system is a "revolving door" that doesn't "force defendants to be accountable for their alleged crimes," Thomas said.
Tuffli was found incompetent to stand trial in September, but doctors said treatment may have restored his mental health.
Last month, he was again declared unable to stand trial, but doctors reversed their decision that his mental health would be restored.
Prosecutors are seeking to have him civilly committed to a mental institution.
Thomas said his office would not have been aware of Tuffli's release if Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn officials had not alerted him.
Hospital officials opposed Tuffli's release, saying he remained a danger to patients and employees at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.
"We are very happy that he was rearrested today," said Keith Jones, hospital spokesman. "And we appreciate the county attorney's diligence in this case."
Damien Amalfitano was arrested last year.
Police say an investigation turned up dozens of graphic images of kiddie porn on his computer.
He is also accused of having sex with his ex-girlfriend's 13-year-old daughter.
Amalfitano faces thirty criminal charges.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol officer apparently ran an unauthorized background check on a reporter who had written about ongoing agency woes, The (Nashville)Tennessean said.
Lt. Ronnie Shirley is accused of running illicit checks on more than 180 people, including longtime cops reporter Brad Schrade, The Tennessean said. Authorities are still trying to figure out why. But Tennessean editor Mark Silverman wasted no time in condemning the alleged snooping.
"For a state police agency or one of its agents to investigate a reporter who has produced legitimate and critically important coverage of the agency smacks of the intimidation and retribution you would expect to find in a totalitarian state," Silverman told the newspaper.
Shirley looked up Schrade's driver's license in January, days after the reporter wrote about four troopers accused of leaking sensitive information, The Tennessean said. Schrade's name is one of the first to become public from the list of people Shirley is said to have looked into, which also includes a country music figure and another reporter, the newspaper said.
The state's Department of Safety is seeking a legal opinion as to whether the full list ought to be be released, as the governor says it should.
In an article the newspaper ran on Saturday, Schrade wrote, "Get ready, Tennessee. A pair of armed Tennessee Highway Patrol detectives may be showing up at your house during dinner unannounced, on the weekend or at some other time in the coming days and weeks. That's if you're among up to 182 Tennesseans on whom THP Lt. Ronnie Shirley has done unauthorized criminal portal background checks."
Schrade reportedly got the call from the Highway Patrol himself that very morning.
A Yonkers police officer has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he body-slammed an unarmed woman onto a tile floor, breaking her jaw.
Yonkers Officer Wayne Simoes entered the plea to charges that he violated the civil rights of the woman in an appearnce in federal court on Wednesday.
If convicted, Officer Wayne Simoes could face up to 10 years in prison.
Last week, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said Simoes' takedown of Irma Marquez on March 3, which was caught on video, amounted to assault. The U.S. attorney said it violated her right against unreasonable force from a police officer.
A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed on June 27 against Simoes, who arrested the 44-year-old home health aide after allegedly slamming her to the ground, leaving her unconscious.
The 38-year-old Simoes was freed on $300,000 bail in June after being charged with using excessive force against a woman at a restaurant.
Federal prosecutors said several officers responded to a call to assist an injured person at the restaurant.
They said Marquez was leaning over the injured person when an officer moved her out of the way. They said Simoes then grabbed her around the waist from behind, lifted her into the air and threw her on the floor, face down, before handcuffing her.
The violent attack, captured on surveillance video, resulted in the hospitalization of Marquez with a fractured jaw, concussion, two black eyes and facial lacerations, as well as bruises and swelling over her neck, torso and numerous other parts of her body, according to the complaint.
The videotape, which was reviewed by the Westchester County District Attorney Office’s, clearly demonstrates the officer lifting Marquez off her feet and driving her face first into the ceramic tile floor of the restaurant where the incident occurred, the original complaint said.
Marquez was accosted by police when she leaned over to get a better view of the medical assistance being provided to her niece who was earlier rendered unconscious when struck by another assailant while patronizing the La Fonda Restaurant at 57 Palisade Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y., on March 3, 2007, according to the indictment.
The indictment said that Simoes slammed Marquez to the floor, then handcuffed and charged the unconscious and seriously injured woman with obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct. On May 9, 2007, a jury acquitted Marquez of all charges.
The indictment charges Simoes with violating of federal civil rights laws, which make it a crime to willfully deprive a person of rights secured and protected by the Constitution of the United States, in this case the right to be free from the use of excessive force by a law enforcement officer in the course of an arrest, stop, or seizure.
If convicted, Simoes could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
A Cleveland police officer accused of using cocaine was charged with drug abuse Monday.
Police say an investigation ordered by Police Chief Michael McGrath uncovered evidence of cocaine abuse by Joseph Yelko, a 10-year veteran.
"We will not tolerate drug use and abuse among our officers," McGrath said. "This officer will be suspended from work without pay and we will move towards terminating him from employment with the Division of Police."
Yelko surrendered to Internal Affairs detectives Monday morning and was taken to Cleveland City Jail.
He was released on bond and is scheduled to make his initial appearance at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
An Elyria police officer is on administrative leave pending the outcome of a criminal case in which he was charged with kissing a woman in a store restroom while he was working an off-duty security job.
Patrolman Eric VanKerkhove was charged Monday in Elyria Municipal Court with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
Police said VanKerkhove was charged with entering the restroom of a Marc's store on Midway Boulevard on June 13 and kissing a woman without her permission.
The Paducah Sun reports that a Calloway County grand jury returned an indictment Monday against 29-year-old Murray police officer John Cooper. The charge stems from a March 18 wreck in which 68-year-old Ray Walker of Murray died.
The accident happened as Cooper was responding to a burglar alarm and hit Walker’s vehicle in the driver’s side. State police have said that Cooper’s lights and siren were on.
Police Chief Ken Claud declined to comment on whether Cooper would face internal disciplinary action.
Cooper is scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 8.
The Gurnee police officer accused of sexually assaulting two young girls can visit with his sons while out on bond.
With various provisions in place, Jay Simon will be allowed to see his two sons, ruled Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak.
If an impartial third party is present Simon and his sons can meet at a public place, Potkonjak said Monday. The meeting has been green lit by Simon's ex-wife, who is also the boys' mother.
Another condition of the visit is that Simon cannot talk to the boys about one of the alleged victims, who is known to the boys.
Simon, 36, of Round Lake Beach, was released from the Lake County Jail on Aug. 15, after posting $100,000 bond. He had been jailed since early June on several sexual assault and misconduct charges.
The decorated six-year Gurnee police veteran is accused of fondling and molesting two pre-teen girls in 2006 and 2007. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from his $69,000-a-year job.
An Elko city police captain has been placed on leave with pay following his arrest for allegedly attempting to steal equipment from a closed mining operation, authorities said.
Aaron Hughes, 36, was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of attempted grand larceny following the incident at the Jerritt Canyon Mine, Elko County Undersheriff Rocky Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said security guards at the mine found Hughes’ truck with a trailer, and saw a man sitting on an all-terrain vehicle belonging to the mine around 1 a.m. Sunday.
The guards said the man jumped off and hid when approached before they found him and confronted him, Gonzalez said Monday.
The man, matching Hughes’ description, gave the security officers a different name and indicated he was a recently laid-off Jerritt Canyon employee who had returned to retrieve property, Gonzalez said.
The security officials let the man leave, Gonzalez said, but then found damage to the ATV from improper removal from a trailer. Another security officer also found an ATV parked on a mine road, the location “inconsistent with where it was supposed to be,” Gonzalez said.
Security contacted law enforcement with a description of the man and license plate information from the truck, which was registered to Hughes. The truck was stopped at approximately 5 a.m. Sunday about 11 miles south of Jerritt Canyon.
Hughes was questioned and denied wrongdoing, but officers determined there was probable cause to arrest him, Gonzalez said.
Elko Police Chief Don Zumwalt said he was “shocked” and “disappointed” in Hughes’ alleged actions. Besides the criminal investigation, which is being handled by the sheriff’s department, Zumwalt said there will be an internal investigation.
Gonzalez said the investigation is ongoing and will be forwarded to the district attorney’s office when complete.
A Putnam County woman faces is accused of assaulting her husband.
Kim Keith is a domestic violence officer with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
Since 2003, if there's been a domestic violence case in the county, more than likely Keith has investigated it.
But now she's on the other side of the law and suspended from her job.
"Absolutely not," Keith said when asked if she has ever shoved or physically assaulted her husband.
A police report indicates that her husband told investigators that she assaulted him.
"My husband and I got into an argument," she said.
Keith insisted that her husband is trying to get back at her because she wanted out of the marriage.
"I would just like to say that I didn't do all of what I'm accused of doing," the deputy said. "I'd just like to get it taken care of and clear my name."
"The fact that she's an officer, the fact that she got arrest is enough for me," said Keith's boss, Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews.
Andrews said he takes the charges seriously.
He put Keith on unpaid administrative leave, took her gun and patrol car.
"We'll see what happens in court," he said. "I have to, as the sheriff, as the administrator here, look at the total circumstance. When this is all over with, I'll make a decision as to what we do from there."
"He did push me. He left and went to a chiropractor appointment," Keith said.
Keith said her husband was never treated at a hospital for any injuries. She also said he waited five hours to summon police after the initial fight on Friday.
Keith is scheduled to appear in court for the assault charges on Sept. 15. She was placed on unpaid administrative leave.
A Milwaukee police officer accused of taking money while on the job was taken into custody after a sting operation Wednesday.
Detective Jeff Buckson was called to investigate a suspicious vehicle and man loitering, a situation set up by police.
Buckson and his partner searched the car and recovered $530, planted as part of the sting operation.
When Buckson filed his report at district three headquarters, investigators said he inventoried and handed over $430. Police searched Buckson’s work locker and found the missing $100 in his gym bag.
According to the criminal complaint, Buckson told investigators he, “took the money because he was having money problems … and has had family issues for the past 14 years.”
Milwaukee Police issued a statement about the incident that stating that it was other officers that raised the issue with the department.
According to court documents, Buckson told police he took the cash because he was having money problems.
A judge ordered Jeffrey Buckson to stand trial on charges of theft and misconduct.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Central Region Police Public Relations Officer John Namalenga said Sub-Inspector Enock Gibson Chiwanda, Officer-in-charge of Area 47 Police Unit in Lilongwe is currently under police custody for the offence.
"The officer is currently in custody and has been charged with the offence of sodomy," said Namalenga adding the suspect will appear in court any day.
Namalenga said the sodomised suspect has been given bail while the case is still been investigated.
"We can not condone such behaviour by a police officer that's why we have arrested him, actually this is the first time in the history of police in Malawi to hear that," he said.
Namalenga said after the sodomised suspect told a friend about the issue who then reported it to police.
After the arrest, reports have been emerging that Chiwanda has been doing the act to many suspects but they were not reporting for fear of being punished.
This is the third time within two weeks where Police officers have found themselves in the cooler.
The first case involved 997 Police officers who shot dead a Mchesi driver then another Lilongwe police officer who killed her wife at Falls last week after a heavy fight.
The USVI Criminal Investigation Bureau arrested a VI Police Officer and a Bureau of Corrections officer on charges of Grand Larceny on Saturday. The officers were already on unpaid leave from their respective agencies due to previous unrelated arrests, prior to being taken in to police custody.
Police Officer Earl Yhan, 27 and his brother, Bureau of Corrections Officer Carl Yhan Jr, 28 were arrested and taken into police custody based on a warrant issued by the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands.
The brothers were charged Saturday with the August 18 Grand Theft of items totaling more than $5,000 from a hardware store on St Croix where Earl Yhan was employed as a contracted security guard.
Earl Yhan is presently on unpaid leave from the VIPD pending the outcome of a February 19 arrest for Grand Larceny in connection with an Auto Theft. His brother, Carl Yhan is on unpaid leave from the Bureau of Corrections pending the outcome of a March 12 arrest for Assault Third (DV) and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon during the Commission of a Domestic Violence Crime.
USVI Police Commissioner James McCall said on Saturday that it is unfortunate that the VIPD and the BOC have been stained by these arrests, however McCall reiterated the statement he made at his Senate confirmation hearing, “it does not matter who you are, where you work, or who your family is – if you do the crime you are going to do the time.”
Both brothers were unable to post bail of $25,000 and were remanded to the Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility pending advice of rights hearing.
“This is further evidence that the De Jongh administration and the VI Police Department will not tolerate or attempt to cover up wrong doing by police officers and other government employees,” McCall said.
“We understand that the Yhan brothers are innocent until proven guilty however I am confident that the Criminal Investigation Bureau, working closely with the Attorney General’s office has a solid case against these two,” McCall concluded.
Ross W. Magnuson, 45, of Knife River, Minn., was also charged Friday with making terroristic threats, recklessly handling a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. The first two crimes the officer is charged with are felonies. The other two are misdemeanors.
According to the criminal complaint:
Motorist Philip Hoberg told Two Harbors Police Officer Nathan Gens that he and his girlfriend and her son were driving to Gooseberry Falls Sunday afternoon on Highway 61 when they passed a vehicle with a man driving. Hoberg said that the driver “flipped him off’’ as they passed.
Hoberg said they drove to a Holiday station in Two Harbors and were waiting for their turn at the gas pumps. He said that the vehicle they had passed pulled in next to his. The driver got out and stuck his head in Hoberg’s open moon roof and began yelling at him.
Hoberg said he told the driver to step back and that he was going to close the window. The other driver came around the front of the car. Hoberg said he got out of his car and approached the driver, who then pulled a gun and pointed it at him.
Hoberg said he was scared and he attempted to calm the other driver down and apologized for making him mad. He provided a license plate number that eventually led police to Magnuson.
In a follow-up interview, Hoberg told the Two Harbors police officer that Magnuson had been intimidating and alarming and used a hostile tone. He said his body language, his red complexion and the words he used were inappropriate and unacceptable with or without a child present.
Hoberg said that Magnuson, who was off duty and not wearing a police uniform, drew the weapon from a holster on his right hip and pointed it at his chest. He said Magnuson gritted his teeth and moved in his direction with his gun drawn, saying something like, “Do you want to go?"
He said he asked Magnuson to put the gun away and calm down. He said he placed a “friendly warning hand on Magnuson’s chest and assured him that whatever set him off was unintentional, hoping that he would just leave.”
Hoberg said Magnuson holstered his firearm, which appeared to be silver with black trim or dual tone with black and silver, but continued to argue.
Hoberg was able to pick Magnuson’s photo from a phone lineup of six men.
Police executed a search warrant at Magnuson’s home on Friday. Magnuson opened his gun safe and provided a silver and black Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol.
Magnuson told officers that he had been driving on Highway 61 that day when he was approached by a car driving erratically.
He admitted stopping at the Two Harbors Holiday station where the car was parked. He said he approached the car and spoke with the driver about his driving conduct. He said the other driver got out of his car and approached him. Magnuson said he felt threatened and “broke leather" on his firearm.
Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters said it was fair to say that he was shocked by the allegations when notified of the charges Friday afternoon. “He’s been a very well respected officer in our department and in the community,’’ Peters said.
The chief then read from a prepared statement. “It is the position of the Superior Police Department that it would be in-appropriate to comment on or in any way interfere with this investigation at this time," he said. “The Superior Police Department will conduct its own internal investigation into this matter only after the criminal investigation is complete. Officer Magnuson will be placed on administrative leave pending these investigations.’’
Magnuson appeared in court Friday afternoon in handcuffs. He told the court that he’s married and has two children, 9 and 12 years old.
Because of a scheduling conflict, Magnuson was arraigned in St. Louis County District Court in Duluth instead of in Lake County District Court in Two Harbors where the crime is alleged to have occurred.
Retired Judge John T. Oswald, who occasionally fills in for other judges in the 6th Judicial District, set bail at $4,000 and referred the defendant to a probation officer to be considered for supervised release. Neither the Lake County Jail nor Two Harbors police would say if Magnuson was being held in the Lake County Jail after the arraignment.
An IMPD officer suspended over a sexual assault allegation says the act was consensual. Meanwhile, the alleged victim's attorney is speaking out.
Prosecutors say police officer Anthony Shaun Smith forced himself on a 19-year-old woman driver. He was charged Thursday on several counts.
The victim's attorney spoke to Eyewitness News.
"The conduct of the allegations is very disturbing considering it's a 19-year-old victim, female, in the middle of the night," said Patrick Baker, attorney.
On Friday, August 15th shortly after midnight, prosecutors say Officer Smith first approached the victim at this North Emerson Speedway gas station. Then he reportedly stopped her at this nearby Shell Gas station and ran her license plate. Smith allegedly threatened arrest for a warrant or get in his cruiser, which led to demands for sex.
The victim reported the encounter. Officer Smith, who first denied it, now insists it was consensual.
Prosecutors charged the 37-year-old with rape, criminal deviate conduct, two counts of sexual misconduct, three counts of official misconduct and two counts of intimidation.
Police Chief Michael Spears joined the prosecutor, saying there may be other victims.
"Any actions he's had in the past because we would like to hear about it because we want to continue our investigation," said Spears.
"The investigation led by Chief Spears is very appropriate and very swift and much needed," said Baker.
Investigators confiscated Smith's department-issued handgun, ammunition, bullet proof vest, three police badges, work ID other police equipment.
"We hope that this stops any future action by this particular police officer or any other police officers that have this tremendous power that they have with a badge, a police car and a gun," said Baker.
The jailed policeman declined interviews about the charges and now awaits his first day in court.
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Idaho Department of Correction has put a felony probation officer on paid leave for the second time in two years after a probationer complained she was harassed.
David L. Williams, 42, of Coeur d'Alene, was placed on leave in July after Wanda Arrington complained he called her at odd hours, sounding intoxicated and asking inappropriate questions.
"We take those types of allegations very serious," Eric Kiehl, district manager for the Department of Correction Community Corrections Division, told The Spokesman-Review. While the Office of Professional Standards investigates Arrington's claim and decides on a course of action, Kiehl said, Williams remains on paid administrative leave, earning an annual salary of about $43,000 as a senior probation officer. Williams is responsible for supervising felons, and he has the ability to arrest probationers and parolees.
Williams has worked with the Idaho Department of Correction since 1992.
Arrington complained that Williams called and asked if her fiance was naked and what color panties she was wearing.
Kiehl said Arrington, who is on probation for felony DUI, was the only person among the 80 to 85 probationers Williams supervised who has complained. At least one other person Williams supervised may have been interviewed after a review of Williams' phone records, Kiehl said.
It's not unheard of for probation officers to call clients at all hours, Kiehl said, to check if probationers are home by curfew or intoxicated.
"I'm not saying what Dave Williams is accused of doing is a normal operation, but it does happen," he said.
Williams was first placed on leave in March 2007 after he was arrested on charges of stalking his estranged wife. Tamara Dulhanty called police after her husband allegedly followed her as she delivered newspapers for the Coeur d'Alene Press.
She told police that an intoxicated Williams was driving erratically and called her and said he was going to "do something sick."
Williams was taken to Kootenai Medical Center, placed on a mental hold, then arrested at the hospital.
The Coeur d'Alene City Attorney's Office agreed to a conditional dismissal of the charges if Williams would seek treatment.
While Williams is on leave, other probation officers and supervisors including Kiehl are handling his caseload.
"Offenders on his caseload aren't just running around wild out there," Kiehl said. "They're being supervised."
A Superior, Wis., police officer is charged with second-degree assault for allegedly pulling a gun and pointing it at a motorist in an apparent road rage incident.
Ross W. Magnuson, 45, of Knife River also faces charges of making terroristic threats, recklessly handling a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.
According to the criminal complaint, a motorist, his girlfriend and her son were driving near Two Harbors last Sunday when they passed a vehicle whose driver flipped them off.
After pulling into a service station and waiting to pump gas, the driver who gestured at them pulled up next to the group, got out and began yelling, the complaint said.
The motorist, who provided a license plate number to police that eventually led to Magnuson and later identified Magnuson in a police lineup, said Magnuson pulled a silver and black gun and pointed it at him, the complaint stated.
Police executed a search warrant at Magnuson's home and he provided a silver and black Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistol.
Magnuson, who was off duty and not wearing a police uniform on the day of the incident, told officers that he had been driving when he was passed by a car driving erratically.
He said he pulled off at the station to speak with the motorist about his driving conduct, and feeling threatened upon their encounter, Magnuson "broke leather" on his firearm, according to the complaint.
Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters said he was shocked by the allegations when notified of the charges filed against the 12-year veteran of the force.
"He's been a very well respected officer in our department and in the community," Peters said.
The chief then read a prepared statement declining any additional comment. Magnuson, who was arraigned Friday, was placed on administrative leave pending criminal and internal investigations into the incident.
Peters said no internal review would begin until the criminal investigation is completed.
Peters said no internal review would begin until the criminal investigation is completed.
Steven Patrick Boyle, 23, of Austin is accused of pulling a prank where he faked the arrest of an 18-year-old woman, then having her flash her breasts to avoid arrest. Other friends of the woman were allegedly in on the prank.
Boyle resigned from his position as a part-time police officer with the Amboy and Vernon Center department Friday.
The 35-year-old was indicted by a Travis County grand jury on Friday. He also faces two counts of official oppression.
The assault charges are punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The official oppression charges are punishable with a jail term of up to one year, and another fine of up to $4,000.
Canizales resigned from the Austin Police Department September 15, 2007. The alleged crimes happened while he was on the job.
The officer’s wife was additionally charged with using a firearm under the influence of alcohol, also a misdemeanor.
According to booking records, Curt Edward Suskevich, 37, a Cape Coral patrol officer, was charged Tuesday by the Key West Police Department with possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams.
Christine Michelle Suskevich, 34, was also charged with possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams along with using a firearm under the influence of alcohol.
Both were held in the Monroe County Detention Facility Tuesday. Jail officials said Curt Suskevich bonded out on Wednesday on $338, and Christine posted a $2,000 bond.
Following the outcome of the criminal investigations and subsequent criminal proceedings, the Cape Coral Police Department will conduct an internal investigation to determine what, if any, action should be taken against Curt Suskevich, according to city spokesperson Connie Barron.
“We have an administrative process in place that we will follow to ensure a fair and equitable outcome,” Barron said.
A Key West Police Department spokesperson could not be immediately reached Friday afternoon for comment.
Suskevich, a Cape Coral officer since 1999, was not in uniform or on police duty in Key West during the time of his arrest, Barron said.
She said it is unclear if Christine Suskevich fired a police issued firearm when allegedly using a gun while intoxicated.
Curt Suskevich has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Police Chief Rob Petrovich will not comment at this time due to his active role in the internal investigation of the officer.
Officer Torray Walker, 39, was arrested early Wednesday after police responded to a call from his wife, said Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders.
"There were no visible injuries, but there was a little bit of pushing and shoving," Sanders said.
"According to law, when we have a complaint of domestic violence, major or minor, we have to charge," he said.
Walker was charged with assault in the fourth degree and placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation, Sanders said. He said Walker was booked at Louisville Metro Corrections and released Wednesday night.
There were no published telephone listings for Walker in Louisville.
Sanders described Walker as an "exemplary officer" who has 26 letters of commendation in his file and no history of complaints or disciplinary action. Sanders said that prior to joining the Jeffersontown police force, Walker worked for the Lexington Police Department, where he also had an excellent record.