Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sheriff Mike Burgess Hearing has Started

A preliminary hearing is under way in Arapaho for a former sheriff accused of running a sex slave operation at the Custer County jail.

Former Sheriff Mike Burgess is charged with 35 felonies including second-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy and bribery.

Former deputy Jennifer Tyler testified today that Burgess groped her several times including before her first day on the job.

Tyler also said Burgess had inappropriate sexual contact with women he oversaw in the county's drug court program.

Prosecutors are also expected to present allegations made in a federal lawsuit by 12 former inmates who say they were forced into wet T-short contests and offered cigarettes for exposing their breasts.

It also claims Burgess told a drug court participant he would have her sent to prison if she didn't agree to his sexual demands.

His attorney says Burgess is eager to get to court and clear his name.

Burgess resigned in April and faces up to 467 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Sgt Chris Morris Arrested for DUI


McAlester police Sgt. Chris Morris was arrested Saturday night on an initial complaint of driving under the influence, Police Chief Jim Lyles said.

"He is suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation,” Lyles said.

Morris is president of Lodge 97 of the Fraternal Order of Police and is the current officer of the year.

He had been off-duty at the time of his arrest, according to the police chief. Lyles said McAlester police responded the same way that they would have in any case, regardless of who was involved.

Police received information of Morris possibly becoming intoxicated during a celebration at the Elks Lodge in McAlester, he said.

"It was reported to the department that he possibly was becoming intoxicated,” Lyles said. "There was a concern that if he left there driving, he would possibly be DUI.”

The chief said he was told that Morris, who is a singer, had performed at the event.

He said police stopped Morris after he ran two stops signs, including a stop sign at Elks Road and U.S. 69.

Master Patrolman Greg Read made the arrest, with assistance from Sgt. Windell Henry, Lyles said.

Following the arrest, police took Morris to the city police department, he said.

The chief said the city jail was filled at the time and he did not want Morris held in the county jail for obvious reasons — meaning the jail holds people arrested by McAlester police.

Morris was held in an administrative room at the police department under Capt. Shawn Smith's supervision, according to Lyles.

Police later took Morris to the Pittsburg County jail, where he was booked and released on his own recognizance, Lyles said.

Keely Johnson Trial Starts


The trial of a Stoughton District Court officer accused of selling prescription drugs to an undercover state trooper was scheduled to begin today in Norfolk Superior Court.

Keely Johnson, 32, of Stoughton is charged with trafficking in oxycodone more than 14 grams and distribution of oxycodone. The charges stem from an investigation conducted in 2006.

Jury selection was completed Monday and opening statements were expected to be heard today. Judge Kenneth Fishman is presiding.

Johnson was arrested on Aug. 3, 2006, after allegedly selling 20 Percocet pills to the trooper. The transaction allegedly followed an earlier sale of 50 Percocet pills to the same trooper.

A Canton man, Joseph Iantosca, 52, was arrested for allegedly supplying the pills to Johnson.

Johnson is also charged with violation of drug laws within 1,000 feet of a school and conspiracy to violate the federal Controlled Substances Act.

An investigation began when authorities received information that Johnson was selling prescription drugs at the Stoughton courthouse.

Officer John Sickels Charged with Rape WILL NOT get his Job Back

August 11, 2008

A former Creston police officer accused of sexually abusing a woman is still off the force after losing an appeal to get his job back. Former assistant police chief John Sickels is charged with raping a woman at the Crestmoor Golf Club in April and was fired shortly thereafter.

On Monday, Creston's civil service commission upheld that firing, saying that Sickels admitted to lying to investigators. Those lies are grounds for termination.

Former Creston police chief James Christensen is accused of looking on as the rape happened. Christensen was also removed from his job. Both are scheduled to go on trial November 17.

Officer Bruce Green Arrested for Making Fake Money


A Holly Springs police officer is free on bond after his arrest on charges of manufacturing phony money.

Records filed with the City-County Bureau of Identification in Wake County show 27-year-old Bruce Renard Green is charged with one count each of uttering a forged instrument, forgery of notes, checks and other securities, and felony obtaining property by false pretenses.

A spokeswoman for CCBI told The News & Observer of Raleigh that Green was picked up for questioning around 8 p.m. Monday and arrested about 90 minutes later. He was released under a $10,000 unsecured bond.

His arrest followed a joint investigation by local and federal authorities.

A town spokesman said Green, who started with Holly Springs police in April, 2006, resigned from the force on Tuesday.

Officer Alph Coleman Arrested for Robbery

A Dallas police officer helped plan a June robbery in which he was taken hostage as part of a ruse, police said Tuesday.

Alph Coleman was arrested Tuesday and has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into the robbery at a Sam's Club, said Lt. Vernon Hale, police spokesman.

The store is located at 2900 W. Wheatland Road in southwest Dallas. The area is south of the intersection of U.S. 67 and Interstate 20.

Coleman, Hale said, was working off-duty security in his police uniform June 27 at the store when an "unknown suspect wearing a face mask entered the store and took him hostage during an attempt to rob the business."

"The robbery failed when other employees barricaded themselves inside of a storage room," Hale said. "The officer was later escorted out of the store and reportedly was involved in an exchange of gunfire with the suspect prior to his escape."

Hale declined to give details about the investigation but he did note that "evidence has been obtained implicating Officer Coleman in the planning and execution of the attempted robbery."

Hale said Coleman would be charged with aggravated robbery.

"There have been no other persons charged in connection with this case although the investigation is ongoing," he said in a news release.

Deputy Timothy Reichmuth Arrested for Sexually Molesting Child


For the past five years, 51-year-old Timothy Reichmuth has worked for the Marion County Sheriff's Department. But now the special deputy finds himself on the other side of the law. Reichmuth is in jail for sexually molesting a child. Police said the alleged abuse occurred more than 10 years ago.

"It's always disheartening when members of the law enforcement community...have been accused of committing a crime and it certainly doesn't put us in a good light," said IMPD Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Investigators said between 1993 and 1996, Reichmuth repeatedly molested a young family friend. They said the abuse began when the girl was just 10 years old and didn't stop until she was 13. Reichmuth was in his 30s at the time.

"Apparently it came to light to the mother of the victim, who is now 25 years old, that there was some inappropriate conduct on the suspect's part," said Sgt. Thompson.

Police said the victim's mother then approached Reichmuth.

"He allegedly stated that he did in fact molest her," said Sgt. Thompson.

Reichmuth has been charged with three counts of felony child molestation.

"It's not unusual for these types of incidents to come to light several years later. Someone is uncomfortable talking about it. The memory has been repressed for whatever reason. So it does happen from time to time that the case is several years old," said Sgt. Thompson.

Reichmuth has resigned from the sheriff's department and will be in court on October 6. He is currently in the Marion County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

He could face up to 50 years behind bars.

Officer James Fraser Fired After Running From other Officers


A Citrus Heights police officer has been fired after leading officers from another agency on a 40-mile, high-speed chase over the weekend.

Authorities say James M. Fraser also ran over the foot of a Folsom police officer with his motorcycle during the pursuit.

Folsom police tried to pull over the 27-year-old at 2 a.m. Saturday for traffic violations. Authorities say Fraser was speeding on his motorcycle and had run a red light.

Fraser, who was off-duty, exceeded speeds of 100 mph during the chase and eventually was arrested.

A spokeswoman at the Citrus Heights Police Department says Fraser has been fired. He had been employed at the department for eight months.

Citrus Heights and Folsom are suburbs of Sacramento.

Officers Involved in Three Shootings over Weekend

Phoenix detectives continued Monday to investigate a series of weekend officer-involved shootings that left three people hospitalized.

In one of the incidents, officers shot a 16-year-old boy after they said he ignored warnings to stop as he drove a stolen vehicle toward them.

Six officers are on routine paid administrative leave in the wake of the three shootings, the latest of which involved three officers who fired on a man in the doorway of his north Phoenix apartment after he raised a firearm, police officials said.

The Sunday incident at Presidio North Apartments near 11th Avenue and Bell Road began after neighbors told police 45-year-old William Ray Griffin made threats with a gun after they had asked him to turn down his music around 10 p.m. As Griffin lay wounded on the ground from multiple gunshot wounds, he told officers he "had mental illness and had been drinking," according to Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Griffin was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, but authorities said his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Phoenix police said each of three officers from the 11th Avenue shooting has less than two years of experience. The department did not release their names.

Thompson said the three officers, and three other officers from two separate shootings on Saturday, were faced with the most difficult decision a police officer ever has to make - whether to use deadly force.

Each of the officer's actions is under review by Phoenix police homicide detectives, who commonly review officer- involved shootings, in addition to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Criminal investigations are also pending.

"As police officers, every day we have the potential to have our lives in danger," Thompson said. "That's part of the business of being a police officer. We know at any time we can be in a situation where we have to make a life-or-death decision in a matter of seconds."

On Saturday, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the chest about 10 p.m. after he reportedly failed to heed police commands to stop driving a stolen vehicle toward officers at an automobile-auction yard in the 3400 block of South 48th Street.

The two officers, Bryant Clover and Todd Guilford, suffered minor injuries after firing at the vehicle.

The teen was listed in critical condition at Maricopa Medical Center on Sunday night. However, police and hospital officials could not confirm his condition Monday.

The teen and his stepfather, Robert Morales, 48, were arrested at the scene of the shooting on suspicion of attempted theft and possession of burglary tools, police said. The teen was also wanted on an outstanding felony auto theft warrant, according to Phoenix police.

Morales had served a short prison term for possession of dangerous drugs before gaining freedom in 2007, court records indicate.

Earlier on Saturday, 22-year-old Francisco Soto was shot in the 16400 block of North 28th Street at 2 a.m. after officers responded to a shooting call.

Officer Kennard Brown fired on Soto after he reportedly stepped out of a vehicle and pointed a gun toward officers. Soto's injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Former Officer Bruce Bochicchio Charged with Stealing Stun Gun

Former Waterbury police officer Bruce Bochicchio was charged Monday with keeping a municipally issued electronic stun gun after he left the force.

The second-degree larceny charge lodged by Waterbury police against Bochicchio was added to weapons and domestic disturbance charges he already faces.

Police say Bochicchio, 41, of Morris kept the stun gun, a device that can deliver an electric shock, long after he left the force in August 2006.

Bochicchio's defense attorney, Tom Waterfall of Torrington, said his client returned all his other job materials to the city when he left the department, but simply forgot to return the stun gun.

"In order for the court to prove larceny, you must prove the intention to permanently deprive the other of the property," he said. "If you forget, it doesn't meet the statute."

Police seized the stun gun and 10 other weapons, including an assault rifle, and two fully automatic submachine guns, during a search of his home in late June. They recently discovered the stun gun was among the items Bochicchio should have returned to Waterbury police.

Officers searched Bochicchio's house after his wife, Christine, told them she feared for her safety and believed her husband had weapons in the house in violation of a previous restraining order filed against him.

Bochicchio ultimately was charged with violating the restraining order. Around the same time, state police charged him with threatening based on a complaint by his wife in the wake of domestic disputes.

He is under orders to stay away from his wife and the home where they lived.

Bochicchio is scheduled for an appearance Aug. 26 at Waterbury Superior Court. He will likely be arraigned and have his case transferred to New Britain Superior Court and combined with his other arrest cases, said Paul Murray of the Chief State's Attorney's Office.

Bochicchio's brother, Michael, a former state police trooper, shot and killed his wife, Donna, and critically injured her attorney, Julie Porzio, outside a courthouse in Middletown during a contentious divorce in 2005.

Officers Beat Suspect Caught on Dashboard Camera Resigns

A police officer has quit and two others were on administrative leave Tuesday after a patrol car dashboard camera caught them punching and kicking a handcuffed suspect.

West Palm Beach police released the video Monday, showing what happened to Pablo Gilberto Valenzuela, 42, on May 26. He suffered a broken jaw and bruised eyes, authorities said.

Officer Louis Schwartz attempted to arrest Valenzuela for robbing a pharmacy of about 1,000 Oxycontin pills, city spokesman Chase Scott said Tuesday.

The officer was involved in an unrelated traffic stop in the pharmacy parking lot when a clerk ran out of the store and said they'd been robbed, Scott said.

He said Schwartz caught the masked suspect behind the store, where Valenzuela attempted to pepper-spray him.

Schwartz drew his gun and ordered Valenzuela to the ground.

The video shows another officer, Kurt Graham, arrive and put a knee into Valenzuela's back as he was being handcuffed. The video then shows Graham punch and kick Valenzuela in the face. Schwartz is also seen on the video kicking Valenzuela.

Another officer, Jason Zangara, then lifted a handcuffed Valenzuela to his feet. As the suspect pulls away from the officer, Zangara can be seen punching him several times in the face until the man collapsed.

Valenzuela was arrested on charges of robbery, assault and battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

Graham and Schwartz insist they only kicked Valenzuela because the man was trying to bite Graham's leg. Zangara said he punched Valenzuela after he tried to spit on him.

Graham, described as a rookie officer still on probation, resigned on July 22, Scott said.

Schwartz and Zangara have been on administrative leave since around the time of the incident, he said.

An internal affairs investigation concluded Monday. The police chief is deciding disciplinary action for the officers, Scott said.

Officer Breaks 16-year-olds Jaw

Riviera Beach

A 16-year-old Palm Beach Gardens high school student is accusing a Riviera Beach Police officer of breaking his jaw. Laquan Wright's attorney is holding a news conference this morning to address the incident.

Attorney Richard Ryles says Wright is the victim of an unprovoked attack that happened Saturday, August 2. The teenager claims he was walking to his grandfather's house last Saturday night when an officer stopped him. At the time, Ryles says Riviera Beach Police were looking for a suspect. The officer approached Wright. Ryles claims the 16-year-old did not resist, but the officer body slammed him.

Laquan Wright has several injuries to his face, neck and jaw. In fact his jaw was broken in two places. The teenager can barely talk, and has his mouth wired shut

Veteran Officer George Benjamin Crashed Police Vehicle while Drunk

A Metro Police officer stands accused of public intoxication and driving under the influence.

A police report indicates other officers smelled alcohol on his breath and could see that he had "glassy eyes" and--that he had "urinated his pants."

46-year-old George Leon Benjamin, a 23-year veteran of the department, was driving a police vehicle that crashed into a fence surrounding Bryant Heating and Cooling at 7310 West Morris Sunday night.

A breath test showed Benjamin had a blood alcohol content of .15 -- nearly twice the legal limit.

Officer Ryan West is Accused of Sexually Assaulting 3 Women

Former Maywood police officer Ryan West is accused of sexually assaulting three women while on duty.

He has been fired from the Maywood Police Department and remains free on bail, NBC4 reported.

In addition to sexual assault charges, West has been named in at least one of several police brutality lawsuits filed against Maywood Police Department, according to NBC4.

"This is one of the worst departments I've ever seen," defense attorney Ralph Rios said.

Rios accused Maywood police of beatings involving civil rights violations, NBC4 reported.

"Changes have been implemented in this department since I've been here, and I’m going to continue to do that," Maywood Police Department Chief Frank Hauptmann said.

Hauptmann said he can't comment on any pending litigation but said his department is polishing its tarnished image to regain community confidence.

Sharon Township Officer Terrell Latour Charged with DWI

A Sharon township police officer faces charges after being arrested early Saturday morning.

Worthington Police Lt Micheal Daugherty says that Officer Terrell Latour was pulled over in the area of Huntley Road for traffic violations.

Daugherty says Latour showed signs of intoxication and refused to take breath and urine tests.

Latour has been charged with driving while intoxicated, failure to signal, speeding as well as a felony charge of improper handling of a firearm.

The officer was also ordered to a license suspension as well.

Latour is scheduled to appear in Franklin County Municipal court Monday.

Seattle officer involved in biker shooting was disciplined before

The Seattle police officer who reportedly shot a known member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang at a weeklong rally in South Dakota was previously disciplined, once for taunting fans at a football game and another time for allegedly threatening to shoot a restaurant manager who had asked him to leave.

Police officials have not released the name of the officer involved in the shooting, or four other officers with him at the time, but sources have confirmed he is a 43-year-old detective who works for the Seattle police Pawn Shop Squad and is a police guild board member. The officer also is known throughout the department as an avid motorcycle rider.

South Dakota investigators have obtained videotape of the shooting that Seattle union leaders believe will exonerate the officer of any wrongdoing in the altercation that left a Hells Angels member wounded.

"I think it's going to be pretty evident that the officer was fearful of his safety and life and that's why he had to fire," said Sgt. Rich O'Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild.

O'Neill said Seattle officers are now concerned for all of their safety because of the Hells Angels' reputation of violent retaliation if one of their members is attacked. "There is a real threat," he said.

Authorities have said the officer and four others at the scene all identified themselves as members of the Iron Pigs, a motorcycle club made up mostly of police officers and firefighters.

Ryan Soderlin / Rapid City Journal
Police Officers Jon Pike, left, and Mike DeBruin, who were hired for the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., monitor Sturgis' Main Street in front of the Loud American Roadhouse on Saturday. A vacationing Seattle police officer was involved in a shooting that occurred at the bar on Saturday about 1 a.m.

Of the other four officers at the scene, one has been identified as a sergeant who at one time ran the security detail for former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice.

The two men were with a group of officers who had traveled to Sturgis, S.D., to join the annual motorcycle rally there.

The shooting happened around 1 a.m. Saturday at the Loud American Roadhouse, a popular bar that held as many as 500 patrons at the time. Sturgis police reported that there was an altercation between some Hells Angels gang members in the bar and members of the Iron Pigs, all of them Seattle police officers on vacation.

Authorities have not said what led to the confrontation, though sources said it might have been sparked because the officers were displaying colors or other identifying markings associated with their club.

At some point, the confrontation became physical, and one of the officers allegedly fired two shots, striking and wounding one of the Hells Angels.

O'Neill said he spoke with some of the officers who attended the Sturgis motorcycle rally and that based on early indications, he believes the officer was defending himself from a "completely unprovoked" attack that might have involved choking.

"It's unfortunate that it had to end like this," O'Neill said. "All the same, the indications are that somebody was totally jumped and beaten. If that's what the investigation says, they have a right to defend themselves."

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske has relieved all five officers of duty, pending the outcome of the investigation by South Dakota authorities, according to a statement released on Saturday.

The chief also sent a team of detectives to Sturgis to learn more about the incident, including homicide Lt. Jim Dermody, homicide detectives and a sergeant with the Office of Professional Accountability. The team arrived Saturday, but there was no information available on Sunday as to what they might have learned.

"Our job isn't to interfere with the investigation, but to gather information for our internal purposes," said Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb.

The group of Seattle officers has attended past Sturgis motorcycle gatherings without problems, O'Neill said.

Federal law allows off-duty officers to carry their guns, and the Seattle Police Department's manual gives each officer the option to carry one while off duty.

"One of the reasons for that federal law is that police officers, unlike anyone else, are almost on duty all the time," he said. "You never know when you might run into someone who you arrested."

All are looking forward to "getting back to this side of the mountains," he said.

The officer implicated in the shooting has not been arrested or charged with any crime, but has been disciplined in the past. The detective was suspended for two days for conduct unbecoming an officer during a Seahawks football game on Jan. 8, 2005.

He arrested a fan he said had assaulted him, but other witnesses said the officer's comments at the conclusion of a game the Seahawks lost to the Rams had provoked the crowd. He allegedly taunted the Seahawks fans by pretending to cry like a baby and yelling out, "Go Rams."

The man he arrested had objected, yelled at him and, during a melee, the detective was struck with a megaphone the man was holding.

The officer contended the man had assaulted him and so arrested him, but other witnesses said the blow was accidental.

According to the city's investigation documents on the matter, a witness told investigators, " 'Had the officer not said a word, it would never have happened." She adds police "are supposed to keep the peace, not rile up the crowd.' "

The department disciplined the detective but continued to permit him to work off-duty security at the football stadium if he worked in a different part of the field.

On Aug. 12, 2005, he was again accused of getting into an altercation, that time at a Tacoma restaurant while off duty.

He at one point allegedly threatened to shoot the restaurant manager, who had asked him to leave.

According to internal documents, Tacoma city authorities declined to prosecute the officer, finding there was no evidence that he intended to carry out his threat, but he received a written reprimand for the incident.

But at least one witness said most regular patrons of the restaurant knew he was a cop, and that he was known to always carry a gun.

The police guild is offering moral support to the officer and his family, O'Neill said, and the union's attorney is aware of the shooting.

"The decision to fire is up to each individual officer. Only you know when you feel the time is right and your life is in danger," he said, adding, "It's a traumatic incident any time someone has to fire a handgun.

Chamblee Sgt Bredan Parks Arrested for Reckless Conduct


A Chamblee police officer was arrested at his home in Loganville Sunday morning, officials said.

Neighbors said they heard dozens of gunshots coming from Sgt. Brendan Parks' backyard off Rosebud road around 4 a.m. Sunday. He is an officer with the Chamblee police department. Officials with that department have confirmed his arrest.

Parks was taken to the Gwinnett County detention center. He has met bond. He is facing charges of reckless conduct, discharging a firearm and pointing a gun. He was not available for comment.

Officer Christopher McClendon Charged with Accepting Unlawful Compensation

A Sanford police officer arrested this morning on allegations he was unlawfully compensated for helping repossess automobiles was suspended in the past, officials just said.

Christopher McClendon, who faces a charge of accepting unlawful compensation, was suspended twice without pay in 2007, Sanford Police spokeswoman Cleo Cohen said.

The first time, in July, was for 36.9 hours for insubordination. The second, in September, was for 43 hours for discussing the case with other officers, she said.

McClendon, who has been with the Sanford agency since February 2004, was arrested this morning after a nine-month investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement into allegations he was unlawfully compensated for assisting an auto sales company in making repossessions.

He was released from the Seminole County Jail after posting $2,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison, said FDLE spokeswoman Sharon L. Gogerty.

McClendon used his position as a police officer to assist a business in making repossessions and, in return, his personal auto loan with the same company was forgiven, Gogerty said. The compensation he received was about $8,000, she said.

McClendon, who has been with the Sanford agency since February 2004, has been suspended without pay, said Sanford Police spokeswoman Cleo Cohen.

Her agency received the complaint about McClendon Oct. 30 and turned it over to FDLE in mid-November, she said.