Thursday, June 19, 2008

Officer Derek Nugent Suspended for Excessive Force

A handcuffed Kalamazoo teenager struggles with a Public Safety officer as he is led down a hallway toward a booking room when the officer shoves him into a wall, injuring his face, according to video of the incident released Tuesday.

The city of Kalamazoo released video of the May 22 incident after the Kalamazoo Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

The officer involved, Derek Nugent, has been placed on a 10-day, unpaid suspension, Acting Public Safety Chief Jim Mallery announced Monday.

The teenager, who is African-American, lost three teeth. In a complaint filed with the department, his family has alleged that Nugent, who is white, was harassing the youth because he is black.

The officer involved, Derek Nugent, has been placed on a 10-day, unpaid suspension, Acting Public Safety Chief Jim Mallery announced Monday.

The teenager, who is African-American, lost three teeth. In a complaint filed with the department, his family has alleged that Nugent, who is white, was harassing the youth because he is black.

The Gazette is not naming the teen because he is a minor and he has not been charged with a crime.

The video was taken from two security cameras inside Public Safety's Crosstown Parkway headquarters.

The view from the hallway camera shows the teen enter the hallway accompanied by two Public Safety officers. The video is shaky and much of the audio is unintelligible but it is clear the teen is yelling at the officers, one of whom repeatedly tells him to "face the wall."

The teen shouts profanity and is eventually turned toward a wall as an officer appears to hold him by the back of his neck.

About two minutes into the video, Nugent begins walking the teen down the hallway toward a booking room when a tussle occurs and the teenager appears to jerk away from Nugent.

Nugent then shoves him into the cinder-block wall.

The youth immediately falls to the floor, begins crying and moaning, and asks Nugent why the officer had broken out his teeth.

The other officer, who has not been identified, stood at the other end of the hallway.
Nugent drags the youth, whose knees are on the floor, into the adjacent booking room where a second camera continues to record the incident.

The video from that camera shows the teen continuing to writhe in pain on the floor. He repeatedly shouts, "You broke my teeth!"

Another officer briefly peers into the booking room and then leaves. After a few minutes, Nugent picks the teen up onto his feet and walks him back down the hallway as the youth remains doubled over at the waist.

Public Safety officials have said the teen was then transported to Bronson Methodist Hospital and later released to his legal guardian.

The teenager was originally arrested for allegedly violating rules at the Kalamazoo Transportation Center. Since 2005, 20 misdemeanor and felony charges have been brought against the teen, but he was not prosecuted for any of them because judges determined he was mentally incompetent to stand trial.

On Monday, Mallery said he believed Nugent did not intend to harm the teenager but said his actions "would not be condoned." Mallery publicly apologized to the teenager and his family.

Mallery said Nugent has been a Public Safety officer for nearly 10 year and this is his first excessive-force complaint.

The teen's legal guardian, who is related to his father, said Tuesday she is unsatisfied by the suspension and wants Nugent criminally prosecuted. Court records show the teen's mother is in prison but do not make clear where his father is.

A Detroit-area attorney has said he may represent the family in a civil action.

Officer Helps Man Impersonating a Gynecologist

A prominent Hasidic businessman from Rockland County was arrested and charged with impersonating a gynecologist to allegedly sexually assault women.

To make matters worse, the already stunning allegation grew even more shocking when it was learned that a Rockland County police officer is accused of helping him.

The alleged incidents took place inside a building on Park Avenue between 34th and 35th streets, where women told detectives they'd been molested during what they thought was a gynecological examination.

When Manhattan sex crime detectives who work out of the same building investigated, the man they arrested turned out to be Zalman Silber, a Hasidic businessman and philanthropist who moved to Rockland County from Boro Park in Brooklyn about a year ago.

Silber's lawyer is the former Rockland County District Attorney, Kenneth Gribetz, who claims that two of the four women did not pick Silber out of a lineup.

"It was a lineup conducted with numerous Hasidic people. Mr. Silber was not identified by two of the victims. Two of the victims did do it," Gribetz said.

The Ramapo Police Department is now also buzzing because a ten-year veteran has been suspended without pay after one of the women told investigators the officer pretended to be a doctor conducting an exam while Silber allegedly watched.

Though no one would talk about this story on the record, there are hearings underway at the Ramapo Town Hall that will determine the future of the police officer.

Gribetz said there is more going on than meets the eye.

"I think the facts will come out that this was an offshoot of a very upsetting divorce that transpired in Mr. Silber's life. And what is taking place is really a disgrace, and society and law enforcement owes him an apology when all the facts come out," he said.

Postponements have caused the hearing involving the Ramapo police officer accused of posing as a fake doctor to drag on for at least four weeks. The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Officer Having Sex with Inmate


A corrections officer at the Columbia Correctional Institution is accused of having sex with an inmate and giving him snacks and magazines.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Department says the 45-year-old Portage woman is likely to be charged with multiple felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of an inmate, delivery of articles to inmates and misconduct in public office.

Detective Sgt. Daniel Garrigan says the accusations came to light after the department did an internal investigation on the woman last fall for a policy violation.

He says the investigation showed she had sexual contact with an inmate at CCI and at Waupun Correctional Institution.

The Department of Corrections says the woman is on administrative leave. Online court records show formal charges have not yet been filed.

Chief Information Officer Pete Collins Accused of Misconduct

Austin's chief information officer has been accused of misconduct.

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, city officials said a city employee called the legal department last week alleging the city's chief information officer, Pete Collins, was using city resources for a personal project.

City Spokesman Gene Acuna said Collins was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. The case was then passed on to City Manager Marc Ott and APD who is investigating.

"The city manager takes these allegation seriously and wants them investigated fully and impartially," Acuna said.

Collins has been a city employee since 1993. He started out as an Austin Police Officer. He's overseen the city's Information Technology Department since 2004.

Officer Accused of Beating Transexual


A Memphis police officer is accused of beating up someone under arrest. The person seen being attacked on the tape is a transexual. She says the attack is a hate crime.

Now the FBI is investigating. One officer is off the job, and another is on desk duty.

Duanna Johnson says the officer beat her up after calling her all sorts of names and making fun of her sexuality.

On the videotape you see Johnson being attacked. One officer is holding Johnson back, while another throws punches.

Johnson says before the beating began the officer called her a "he/she" and a "faggot."

On the videotape you see employees standing around, but no one intervenes.

A statement from the Memphis Police Department says no details can be released because of the internal investigation.

Officer J Swain was on probation with the department and lost his job. Officer B McRae has been taken off the streets until a hearing.

Johnson does plan on filing a $1.3 million lawsuit against the City of Memphis.

UPDATE: Elgin police officer resigns

Embattled police Officer Christopher Darr has resigned, authorities said Tuesday, amid charges he allegedly beat a suspect after a New Year's Eve brawl at an area hotel.

Elgin Police Department spokeswoman Ann Dinges said she could not comment any further about the case, but she was able to confirm Darr, 32, submitted his resignation Monday.

The seven-year police veteran was charged in April with two counts of felony aggravated battery for allegedly beating South Elgin resident Kevin Schwartz, 29, of 381 S. Collins St., a suspect in a fight that broke out among hotel guests at the Holiday Inn, 495 Airport Road, during the early morning hours of Jan. 1.

Darr was off duty at the time of the incident. His father, Jack Darr, a former Elgin Deputy Police Chief and head of the hotel's security, was hospitalized after sustaining cuts, broken ribs and a punctured lung attempting to break up the fight.

Schwartz reportedly was in a car traveling along Illinois 31 after the fight, when it was stopped by police.

Darr allegedly went to the scene and got in the back seat of a patrol car, where he punched Schwartz repeated times in the face and body while Schwartz had is hands cuffed behind his back.

Schwartz initially was charged with mob action in connection with the brawl. This charge was dropped Jan. 31.

Darr was placed on restrictive duty soon after the incident pending an internal investigation, and put on administrative leave once he was charged.

On April 9, he turned himself into the Kane County Sheriff's Office, where he was booked and released about an hour later after posting a $500 bond.

Darr is expected to plead not guilty to both charges at his arraignment, scheduled for July 17.

On May 13, attorneys for Schwartz filed a 11-count federal lawsuit for $5 million against Darr, police Officer Edward Schmidt, the police department, and the city of Elgin.

3 Indianapolis Officers Arrested On Drug Charges

Three Indianapolis police officers face federal charges of drug trafficking for what prosecutors called a conspiracy that involved raids on a home and an apartment and the theft of money and several pounds of marijuana.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday named police officers Robert B. Long, 34, Jason P. Edwards, 36, and James Davis, 33.

It described Long as a narcotics detective and the leader of a conspiracy this spring to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute.

All three officers were arrested by the FBI. It was not immediately known whether they had defense attorneys.

The indictment said the officers talked in code by telephone and that Long tipped a fourth defendant named in the indictment, Kabec Higgins, 31, about police plans to search his business, Ear Candy Muzik.

Long also seized a FedEx parcel containing up to 13 pounds of marijuana, the indictment states. About eight pounds were removed and sold for $4,000. Long then turned in nearly five pounds from the parcel to a police narcotics vault to cover up the missing portion.

The court document also indicated Long and Davis entered an apartment looking for marijuana, and the three officers took five pounds of the drug and $18,300 from a home during a June 4 break-in.

After that break-in, Davis "wiped the interior door handle and lock with his gloves in an attempt to clean off any fingerprints," the indictment stated.

It also indicated that Long and Davis illegally seized $20,000 from a person they thought was selling marijuana in March. Davis also was accused of "illegally stopping cars" to seize money.

"(The officers) reportedly committed acts in uniform, using police vehicles, displaying a bogus search warrant, breaking into private property and diverting seized drugs and cash to their personal benefit," said U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison.

The three officers face counts alleging drug trafficking and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Long, Davis and Edwards were held Tuesday in the Marion County Jail.

"I'm very much disgusted and outraged at the conduct of a small number of officers who chose to disrespect the trust that the public has in them," said Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Michael Spears.

"Nobody likes for this thing to happen, but it's important that it's rooted out," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

Edwards was charged in March with forgery and theft. Police said he stole a $725 money order during a search of a drug suspect's home and cashed it for himself.

Jackson Officer Charged With Reckless Driving

Jackson, TN

A Jackson police officer has been charged with reckless driving, according to Mike Browning, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Charged was Thomas Derek Bowman, 24, of Lexington, who started with the Jackson Police Department on April 21. Jackson Police Chief Rick Staples said Bowman has been on a probationary period since he was hired, which is standard for new officers.

"The probation period lasts for two years," Staples said.

Police Commander Dennis Mays said Bowman was served with a letter today informing him that he did not successfully complete his probationary period and his employment has been terminated.

Browning said that Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Greg Hopper clocked two "crotch rocket" motorcycles traveling at 124 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone Tuesday night in Henderson County.

Hopper first spotted the motorcycles around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 412, Browning said.

The motorcycles split up, and Hopper stopped Bowman, Browning said.

Bowman was given a speeding ticket and charged with reckless driving.

He was taken to the Henderson County Sheriff's Department, where he was released on his own recognizance.

Maywood Officer Found Guilty


A former Maywood police officer was convicted Wednesday of using excessive force and filing a false report about the incident in which he knocked a suspect unconscious at a police station in May 2004.

A Superior Court jury deliberated for three hours before finding Michael Singleton, 43, guilty of both felonies, said Deputy District Attorney Margo Baxter.

Singleton struck the suspect after he had been arrested and handcuffed and then filed the false report, Baxter said.

Singleton, who later left the police force, faces up to 44 months in state prison when he is sentenced Aug. 11.

The Maywood Police Department is under investigation by state and Los Angeles County prosecutors over allegations of officer misconduct. Maywood is a tiny city just east of Los Angeles.