Friday, June 13, 2008

Woman awarded $7.7 million for false arrest

A woman who helped a Chicago police officer from a wrecked squad car and was later accused of stealing a weapon has been awarded $7.7 million by a federal jury for false arrest.

In November 2002, a car ran a stop sign in Rachelle Jackson's neighborhood, slamming into a squad car. According to her attorney, Jackson, who was walking nearby, found the officer behind the wheel unconscious and the passenger, Officer Kelly Brogan, dazed.

She pulled Brogan from the wreckage. Soon after, police approached Jackson and told her that the driver's weapon had been stolen.

Jackson was accused of the theft. She was charged and spent more than 10 months in the Cook County Jail awaiting trial. Her case was later thrown out by a judge and Jackson sued the city of Chicago.

Defense attorney Andrew Hale said the amount the jury awarded Jackson was "excessive."

Five Officers accused of Jail Beatings


Four Fayette County jail officers and one former officer have been indicted on charges they beat inmates and then conspired to cover it up by writing bogus reports and threatening others not to report the incidents.

Those named in the federal indictment released Thursday are Sgt. John McQueen, Cpl. Clarence McCoy, former Cpl. Scott Tyree, Sgt. Anthony Estep and Lt. Kristine Lafoe. The first count of the indictment alleges that "the five defendants conspired with each other and with other unindicted individuals to assault inmates without justification, and to cover up their conduct by filing false reports and charges."

The remaining charges are as follows: McQueen is charged with two counts of using excessive and unnecessary force on inmates, one count of falsifying reports and one count of attempting to obstruct justice in order to cover up the assaults; McCoy and Tyree are charged with one count of assaulting an inmate and one count of falsifying reports to conceal the assault; and Estep is charged with one count of obstruction of justice for filing false charges against an inmate who attempted to report the abuse of an inmate.

None of the officers could be reached for comment Thursday.

Mayor Jim Newberry released a statement Thursday night, saying the city has "implemented various measures to help ensure a safe and secure facility for both our employees and the inmates." Newberry also addressed the indictments at Thursday's Urban County Council meeting.

He said the city installed video cameras in 2007 in the intake area, one site of alleged criminal activity, and "have completely restructured staff in intake."

"We have been aware of the ongoing investigation at the jail and will continue to fully cooperate," Newberry said in the statement.

He said the employees will be suspended with pay, effective immediately, pending further investigation.

All but Tyree still work at the jail, city officials said. Tyree works at the Town Branch Wastewater Treatment Plant, but also will be suspended with pay, said Shaye Rabold, Newberry's chief of staff.

The indictments, filed in U.S. District Court in Covington, were not a surprise.

The jail has been under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for at least 20 months. Federal officers executed a search warrant at the jail in September 2006, before Newberry's election that November.

Shortly after the FBI confirmed that there was an investigation at the Fayette County Detention Center, John Vest, an officer at the jail, came forward and said he had been working with the FBI but declined to discuss specifics. Vest was running for public office at the time.

Several former inmates have sued the jail in state and federal court alleging brutality at the hand of officers.

The indictment says that the third shift officers engaged in a conspiracy to assault and then cover-up brutality at the jail.

Between January 2006 to October 2006, the five engaged in a conspiracy to "assault, injure, inflict pain upon and otherwise physically punish" detainees at the jail and then justify the use of force by writing false and misleading incident reports that would say that the detainee attacked a jail officer, provoking the use of force, the indictment alleges.

The indictment says that the five used a "code" language to describe the use of force that made the incidents sound justifiable. Third-shift supervisors in intake would review the incident reports and make sure that officers were using the appropriate "code" language.

The indictment lists incidents involving six different inmates. The inmates are only listed by their initials. But court documents and documents obtained by the Herald-Leader through a public records request show that one of the inmates -- S.H. -- Is Scott Howe, who sued the jail in July 2007.

According to Howe's lawsuit and the indictment, McQueen reportedly slammed Howe's head into a counter in the intake area on June 17, 2006, even though Howe was handcuffed and not resisting. According to the indictment, Estep and Tyree watched and failed to report it.

McQueen then instructed Estep not to write an incident report about his assault on Howe, the indictment alleges. The Herald-Leader asked for all incident reports regarding use of force in the intake area from October 2005 to December 2006; there was no report on Howe.

In another incident, McCoy and Tyree planned to assault another detainee -- B.M. -- to retaliate against B.M. for taking a sack lunch out of the intake area. Before the alleged assault on B.M., defendants McCoy and Tyree agreed that they would falsely claim that B.M. turned on McCoy. The two officers than assaulted B.M., the indictment alleges.

Lafoe, the indictment alleges, knew that officers were using unnecessary force and failed to intervene. The indictment also says that Lafoe "instructed officers known to the grand jury that if they were going to use unjustified physical force on detainees, they should do so outside the view of any fixed or hand-held video cameras."

The indictment also alleges that jail officers retaliated against an inmate who tried to report an assault using his cell phone. The officers allegedly filed a false report against the inmate.

It is unclear whether the investigation into wrongdoing at the jail is ongoing.

Schenectady cop accused of violating wife's order of protection

Schenectady, NY

The Schenectady police officer accused last month of grabbing and pushing his wife has been arrested again, accused this time of violating an order of protection by repeatedly calling her.

John W. Lewis is accused of repeatedly contacting his estranged wife late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Lewis allegedly called her at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and said he wanted to come to her place of employment, then called her on her cell and business phones around 1:30 a.m. and finally drove past a tavern she was visiting after work.

“Apparently, it was a pretty innocuous conversation,” police spokesman Lt. Brian Kilcullen said, “but any contact is a violation of the order.”

Lewis turned himself in Thursday evening and was charged with second-degree criminal contempt, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned and released on $500 bail. He was also suspended again, without pay.

He spent 30 days suspended without pay last month after the initial incident, which resulted in a second-degree harassment charge. Lewis returned to the payroll two weeks ago, but not to work.

In the original case, Lewis is accused of grabbing and pushing his wife on Plymouth Avenue during a dispute over their child, according to papers filed in court.

Atlanta Police Officer Accused Of Sexual Assault


Atlanta police officer Wayne Longe is accused of sexually assaulting a woman he’d arrested for public drunkenness. The Fulton County Grand Jury indicted him Friday afternoon.

The case has been going on for four years -- ever since a woman claimed Longe arrested her for public drunkenness, drove her to a nearby park and raped her.

Longe's attorney said that sex did happen but that it was consensual.

The grand jury did not indict Longe on rape charges but it did indict him on charges of sexual assault on a person in custody and violation of oath of office.

Longe's attorney, Jackie Patterson, told WSB-TV Channel 2 his client would be found innocent. "We will certainly assert that sex did occur, there's no dispute on that. But she was not in custody and obviously it was not rape because he was not indicted on that charge," said Patterson.

The Atlanta Police Department released a statement that said, "The Atlanta Police Department is in full cooperation with the District Attorney's Office. We do not condone any behavior associated with these allegations. These allegations are against everything our department stands for and will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately."

Longe is currently on administrative leave. He was being held in the Fulton County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Animal Control Officer Accused of Killing Animals


A Lackawanna animal control officer is accused of killing at least three animals.

The SPCA's Executive Director makes it her mission to help protect helpless animals. So she finds it appalling that anyone would abuse or kill an animal.

Barbara Carr, SPCA: "I don't ever want to have to arrest another animal control officer. It is disgusting."

Barbara Carr tells us an animal cruelty investigator began looking into the actions of Fred Grasso after receiving anonymous tips from people who live in this Lackawanna neighborhood.

Tricia Cruz: "The animal control officer in this case was apparently responding to a complaint from the landlord at the apartment complex. Cats were getting into the basement."

One woman who lives in the complex tells us a cat had recently given birth to seven kittens. She urged the landlord to call animal control services so someone could help find them a home. Some of them were relocated. But the mother cat and two of her kittens were shot and killed instead.

Barbara Carr, SPCA: "This is the second animal control officer we've had to arrest in six months. Is really a sad state of affairs."

Lexington Police Officer Arrested For DUI


There's more trouble for a former Lexington Police officer who was fired because of comments he made on his MySpace page.

A former Lexington police officer pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of DUI and carrying a concealed weapon — the same charges for which he arrested country singer John Michael Montgomery in 2006.

Police arrested Joshua Cromer about 1 a.m. Friday in the parking lot of the Shillito Park Luxury Apartments complex at 3500 Beaver Place Road after he blocked a vehicle driven by a possible car thief from leaving the scene of a hit-and-run. Cromer also ran afoul of police nearly two years ago after a similar incident at the same apartments while suspended from the force.

Officers early Friday morning found Cromer blocking a vehicle’s path with his SUV. The occupants of the other vehicle had fled on foot, Lt. Dwayne Holman said.

When the officers talked to Cromer, “they realized he was impaired” and performed sobriety tests that Cromer failed, Holman said. His blood-alcohol level was measured at .147, according to the report. The legal limit for driving in Kentucky is .08.

Officers searched Cromer’s Nissan Pathfinder and found a handgun under a bulletproof vest in the front seat, according to the police report. Cromer did not have a concealed carry permit for the gun.

It appears from the report, Holman said, that Cromer “took some affirmative action to stop one of the vehicles from leaving” the parking lot.

Private citizens can make citizens’ arrests, but “we would obviously prefer those people become good witnesses,” Holman said.

In August 2006, while suspended from the department, Cromer detained an individual who was sleeping in his car at the apartment complex. After another officer arrested the man for alcohol intoxication, Cromer searched the man’s vehicle. As part of his suspension, Cromer was stripped of his powers to arrest and perform other law enforcement duties, so detaining the man and then searching his vehicle violated his suspension, according to charges brought against him by police officials.

On Friday afternoon, a Shillito Park Apartments property manager declined to discuss Cromer’s arrest, but did say he is employed by the apartments. She declined to discuss his duties.

Cromer bonded out of the Fayette County jail Friday morning after posting a $2,700 bond.

He declined comment and referred questions to defense attorney Fred Peters, who entered a not-guilty plea on Cromer’s behalf during an arraignment Friday afternoon in Fayette District Court.

Peters said it “doesn’t seem fair” that Cromer was charged when he was trying to prevent a car thief from leaving the scene of an accident. Peters said he doesn’t think the gun in Cromer’s vehicle was concealed.

Cromer was asleep inside his apartment when he heard a thud in the parking lot, Peters said. He went outside and realized a driver had hit another vehicle and was trying to escape. He got in his vehicle and tried to stop it from leaving, Peters said. A neighbor later told Cromer that the vehicle was stolen.
Cromer is scheduled to return to court at 10 a.m. July 2.

Cromer arrested Montgomery in 2006 after the performer left the Austin City Saloon and ran a red light. During the traffic stop, two guns were found in Montgomery’s Dodge pickup. He was charged with two counts of having a concealed deadly weapon, DUI and possession of a controlled drug. Montgomery, of Jessamine County, eventually entered an Alford plea to a drunken-driving charge, which means he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

On Cromer’s page, some of the postings congratulated Cromer on the high-profile arrest. One officer posted an altered photograph of Montgomery and a fan, in which Cromer’s face had been substituted for the head of the fan.

The Urban County Council unanimously approved Cromer’s firing, citing misconduct, inefficiency, insubordination and conduct unbecoming a police officer. Cromer filed a lawsuit against the city seeking reinstatement and back pay. Cromer’s attorney, Shane Sidebottom, argued that Cromer’s firing was arbitrary and unjustified.

Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Clark ruled in March 2008 that the city was justified in firing Cromer.

Muskogee Officer Arrested for Stealing Weapons

Muskogee, Oklahoma

Muskogee Police Officer Kris Ledford is accused of impersonating a Tulsa Police Officer. Muskogee Officer Brad Holt said that an arrest warrant has been issued for Ledford. Holt said Officer Kris Ledford was placed on administrative leave by the Muskogee Police Department on May 28th.

On Friday, the Muskogee Police Department's Special Investigations Unit, with assistance from ATF, Broken Arrow Police Department and the Wagoner County DA Task Force, executed a search warrant at Ledford's Broken Arrow home.

The search warrant executed is in regard to missing weapons from the Muskogee Police Department's Evidence Room.

Officer Ledford was arrested at his home and has been transported to an undisclosed detention facility pending court proceedings on Monday. He was arrested on probable cause for multiple counts of Embezzlement by Trustee.

Officer Kris Ledford was taken into custody after a search of his home.

Top Ten Misconceptions About Police Officers

This Information Has Been Derived from a Federal Report on The State of Law Enforcement in the United States

1) Being a cop is a dangerous job.
False: Being a cop is not even on the list of the top 15 most dangerous jobs in America. Being a cab driver is 50 times more dangerous than being a cop.

2) Cops in the U.S are highly trained.
False: Cops in the U.S. only receive 9 to 12 weeks of training, sometimes a lot less, one of the lowest in the industrialized world. Cops in most other countries receive at least 104 weeks of training, (two years) and usually require an education.

3) Cops are chosen because of their superior decision making skills.
False: A report by the federal government states that over 90% of cops on duty in the U.S. barely passed high school or received a GED.

4) Cops are morally superior to regular citizens.
False: Out of 750,000 cops in the U.S. over 11,000 are indicted each year for felony crimes. That's 32.8 per day. This is only a drop in the bucket, most cop violations go unreported.

5) Cops are not civilians.
False: Cops are civilians, they are civil servants protected by the Civil Service Act. Only elected officials and military personnel are government officials. Not appointed offices such as law enforcement officers, deputies, civil servants, government contractors or government employees. The only law enforcement officer that is not a civilian is a Sheriff, because he is elected.

6) Cops are legal experts.
False False False: Cops are not experts at anything, especially law. If any cop tells you he is a legal expert, call your local Bar Associations Unlicensed Practice of Law Branch.

7) Cops can give you legal advice.
False: Only a licensed attorney can give you legal advice. If a cop suggests any legal action, report it to the State Bar.

8) Cops are under paid.
False: They are well paid for a job that requires no education, unskilled, minimally trained low risk labor, with government benefits and retirement.

9) Cops are society's best people.
False: Some departments have been found to have convicted felons in uniform and as high up as the highest ranking officers in their precincts.

10) Police do a good job of policing themselves.
False: Insider information has reported to us that it is most departments' policies to use internal affairs to cover up anything that would embarrass a departments administration. Unless it is caught on record or reported by the media. Letting cops police themselves is the same as letting the inmates run the prisons. Vote for any local change in your community to put citizen review boards in charge of police discipline matters. Remember, we are the taxpayers, the cops are our employees, Stop letting them get away with murder.

Officer Pleading to Not be Sent to Jail


An ex-federal police officer who accessed child pornography over the internet is pleading not to be sent to jail.

Michael Edward Hatch, 38, has pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to using a carriage service to access child pornography between May last year and his arrest in March.

He was caught in the global investigation codenamed Operation Centurion which has so far netted more than 100 Australians.

Hatch's lawyer, John Purnell, SC, on Thursday argued for a suspended sentence, saying the ex-cop was seeking counselling and sending him to jail would be "disastrous for his rehabilitation".

"Depression best accounts for his behavior in accessing child pornography," Mr Purnell told the court.

Evidence from two psychologists showed Hatch wasn't a pedophile, he said.

During sentencing submissions last week, Hatch told the court that working for the Australian Federal Police had contributed to his becoming depressed and withdrawing from family and friends.

He said he accessed child pornography because it was "a challenge".

But Magistrate Karen Fryar said that explanation seemed "almost unbelievable" and asked Hatch why he didn't access legal websites for a challenge.

Crown prosecutor Jon White said only a full-time jail term would be appropriate.

There was no evidence showing the stress of police work could lead to accessing child porn, he said.

Indeed, the fact he was a police officer "in a privileged position" made his crime even more serious.

Hatch had failed to acknowledge the source of his problems and his motivation for accessing the images, Mr White said, adding that a custodial sentence was necessary for "specific deterrence".

"Hatch has an unacknowledged and therefore untreated issue accessing child pornography," he said.

The former officer, who is now working for his family's cabinet-making business, will be sentenced in July.

He is living with his parents and his girlfriend.


Sick Ass Pedophile!!! Take your crying ass to jail, and shut the fuck up!!

Judge Refuses to Lower Bond for Officer charged with Child Sex Crimes

Stating that no one is privileged to special treatment because of their occupation.

A judge Thursday refused to lower the $1.5 million bond for a Gurnee police officer charged with child sex crimes.

Jay Simon, 35, has been in the Lake County jail since his June 6 arrest on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and aggravated assault.

Simon is accused of molesting two girls under the age of 13 in thee separate attacks dating to November 2006, and pointing a handgun at a Zion man while threatening him in March.

His attorney, Torrie Newsome of Waukegan, told Associate Judge Daniel Shanes the $150,000 in cash Simon would have to post to get out of jail is beyond his reach.

Newsome asked Shanes to consider Simon's record in his six years as a patrol officer in Gurnee and the 12 years he served in the Navy.

While acknowledging the charges against his client are serious, Newsome contended his client is not a flight risk and is a good candidate for a lower bond.

Newsome suggested a bond that would require Simon to post between $20,000 and $50,000 would be more appropriate.

"There is no reason to believe that he would be a threat to any of the alleged victims," Newsome said.

Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Patricia Fix urged Shanes to let the original bond stand.

"The charges the defendant is facing are extraordinarily serious," Fix said. "They call for mandatory prison sentences, consecutive sentences and are mandated to be served at 85 percent."

Shanes, who set the original bond when he signed the arrest warrant for Simon, said he would not pay special attention to the fact Simon is a police officer.

"Much has been said about the defendant's employment, but the law this court follows applies equally to all who come before it," Shanes said. "Nobody starts out ahead or behind."

Shanes said if Simon is able to post bond, he must arrange for the surrender any firearms he owns to the Lake County sheriff's office prior to his release.

If convicted of predatory sexual assault of a child, Simon faces a mandatory prison sentence of six to 30 years.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse carries a maximum of seven years in prison. Aggravated assault, a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to a year in the county jail.

Simon has been on administrative leave from the police department since mid-May, when officials were notified he was under investigation.

He is due to appear in court June 23.


Guess things in lock up arn't as nice as they should be officer Simon, Judge "wha wha wha" lower my bond "wha wha wha."

Simon your a disgrace to all police officers everywhere, "To serve and protect"
didn't mean anything to you, enjoy Prison. People trusted you and your brothers on the job, with your arrest, you have taken some of that trust. I hope you get the max Plus.