Friday, September 05, 2008

Officers Plan to Plead Not Guilty


Three city officers accused of beating a drunken driving suspect last winter are scheduled to be arraigned today on criminal charges related to the altercation.

Attorneys for patrolmen Andrew Karaskiewicz and Eric Reyell say their clients plan to plead not guilty to charges in an indictment which is expected to be unsealed by County Court Judge Karen Drago.

Sources familiar with the investigation who requested anonymity identified the third officer facing charges for his alleged role in the incident as Officer Gregory Hafensteiner.

Cheryl Coleman, who represents Reyell, said an official with the state Attorney General's office told her to make arrangements to have her client fingerprinted and processed.

"Obviously they are charging him with something," she said.

Attorney General's office spokesman John Milgrim declined comment. The agency is looking into the allegations related to an incident involving Donald L. Randolph on Dec. 7. The Pattersonville man claims Hafensteiner, Reyell, Karaskiewicz, Daryl Mallard and Kevin Derkowski beat and kicked him at a Union Street McDonald's parking lot and again at Union and McClellan streets. The officers have been on paid leave since late December.

In May, Randolph pleaded guilty in City Court to a misdemeanor second-degree unlicensed motor vehicle operation after originally facing felony driving while intoxicated and a harassment violation. He is suing the department.

The latest development on the brutality case comes as the city is poised to name a new chief in a bid to regain public confidence after various criminal charges against police officers.

Though he stressed he had no official word the officers would be indicted, city Councilman Gary McCarthy, who also chairs the public safety committee, said the latest "self-inflicted wound" is bad news and "another unfortunate incident in the history of the police department," he said.

Officer Juan Hurtado Tapia Pleads Not Guilty on Federal Charges


A police officer pleaded not guilty to federal charges of using his position to pass information about an investigation to drug suspects.

San Diego police Officer Juan Hurtado Tapia, 38, was arraigned Wednesday in U.S. District Court on charges of obstruction, fraud and making false statements.

A federal complaint alleges he used a police computer to run criminal history checks for suspects in a drug-trafficking ring, and in at least one case warned a suspect not to cross the border into Mexico.

Agents questioned Tapia in July, and he denied warning one of the suspects, the complaint states.

In wiretapped phone conversations in May, investigators heard two men discuss information they received from a police officer they referred to as "Corrupto," the complaint alleges.

Federal authorities said they later identified the officer as Tapia, who remains in federal custody.

FBI agents also arrested four suspects on drug-trafficking charges.

Lt. Keith Buckley Charged with Killing Colleague


A North Brunswick police lieutenant has been charged with vehicular homicide in the death of a fellow officer following a high-speed car crash last month.

According to investigators, 40-year-old Lt. Keith Buckley allegedly was driving at least 94 mph in a 45 mph zone on Aug. 12 in a rented Dodge Viper. The car crashed into a utility pole, killing 41-year-old Lt. Christopher Zerby, police said.

Zerby was a 15-year veteran of the force and in charge of the North Brunswick police's traffic safety division.

Buckley, an 18-year veteran of the department and head of the patrol division, suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Buckley also is charged with reckless driving and speeding. If convicted of vehicular homicide, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Police said alcohol and drugs were not factors in the crash.

Officer Freddy Guedea Accused of Interfering with an Emergency Call

A Sherman peace officer turns himself in to the police department. The seven-year veteran is accused of interfering with an emergency call, a call investigators say his wife was making.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sherman police Sergeant Bruce Dawsey said the law is the law and it doesn't matter your occupation. He adds that the particular officer involved has never been in trouble with the department before.

Tuesday, a warrant was issued for Federico Guedea.

The 42 year-old turned himself in to the Grayson county jail just before seven Tuesday night. He posted a $1,500 bond and was released the same day.

On August 15th, Sherman Police say that dispatchers got a 911 call from a cell phone... a woman was heard crying and a male voice yelling... then the phone went dead.

Sergeant Dawsey explains how police responded.

"A 911 call was received. It was an open line and officers could hear voices over the phone that they recognized as Michelle and Freddy Guedea so they knew how to respond..typical of a cell phone."

No injuries were reported... only a cell phone was found broken.

Sergeant Dawsey says this isn't the first time fellow officers have responded to the Guedea's residence.

I am also told they do have a small child. It is unknown whether the child was in the home at the time of the incident.

Guedea is currently on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the police department's internal investigation.

K-10 News