Monday, July 28, 2008

Former Officer David Scudder Sold Fake Autographs


A former police officer faces theft and official misconduct charges for allegedly pocketing money while investigating a scam that sold fake autographs of action film actor "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

David L. Scudder, who was charged last week, resigned from the Greensburg police force on June 30 after the Indiana State Police began investigating his actions.

Prosecutors said Scudder, 37, seized money from a man who was acting as the "promoter" of a man who resembles Austin, a wrestler who's made the transition to films.

Those two men, who were selling what they said were Austin's autographs, had tricked about eight people to pay $10 for each of "the false and fraudulent autographs," according to an affidavit filed in Decatur County Circuit Court.

The affidavit states that on June 21, Scudder and Greensburg police Detective Mike Cruze arrived at a Wal-Mart in the city about 40 miles southeast of Indianapolis where the two men had been selling the bogus Austin autographs.

The "promoter" told the officers he had collected about $166 that day, but said that his cohort had already left with that money.

Despite that, Scudder asked the man to give him $166 of his own money and then gave the man a receipt -- a transaction captured on Wal-Mart surveillance video -- before announcing to those present, including Cruze, that he had seized the cash, the affidavit states.

Scudder's investigation report filed two days later made no mention of the money or the receipt being logged as evidence, according to the affidavit.

State Police were contacted after Scudder offered Cruze and other Greensburg police officials no explanation for the missing money.

His report, however, noted that the money "was returned to the fans at the scene."

But the affidavit said none of the victims had received any money from the officer.

Trial Of Lima Police Officer Sgt Joe Chavalia Starts This Morning

The trial of Lima Police Sgt. Joe Chavalia will get underway today. Jury selection starts just before 9 a.m. in the Allen County Common Pleas Court. Visiting Judge Richard Knepper has blocked two weeks for the trial, although it is expected that jury selection alone could take between two and five days.

Security will be tight for the trial, as extra Sheriff’s Deputies will be on hand at the court. No one will be allowed to wait outside the courtroom while the trial progresses and the courtroom will be locked so that no one can enter while court is in session.

Chavalia is charged with negligent homicide in the shooting death of Tarika Wilson during a drug raid in Lima in early January. He also faces a charge of negligent assault for wounding Wilson’s son Sincere.

UPDATE: Officer maybe Charged with Taser Death


A prosecutor in central Louisiana says he will consider criminal charges against a former police officer accused of jolting a handcuffed man nine times with a Taser before the suspect died.

Baron Pikes was repeatedly shocked with a 50,000-volt Taser as he was arrested on a drug possession warrant on January 17th. A coroner ruled the death was a homicide. The Winn Parish district attorney says former Winnfield police officer Scott Nugent has acknowledged using the device on Pikes.

Nugent's lawyer says he's not surprised the D.A. wants a grand jury sort through the facts.

A lawyer for Pikes' relatives says the family welcomes the grand jury's probe which she called "a step in the right direction."

Winnfield is about 40 miles northwest of Jena, the site of a massive civil rights protest last year.

Thousands demonstrators gathered in Jena to protest the cases against six black teenagers charged with beating a white student at a high school.

Pikes was black; Nugent is white.