Friday, October 03, 2008

Deputy Trini Gonzalez Arrested for Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

A Minnehaha County deputy sheriff was arrested Wednesday morning after Sioux Falls police say he hit his ex-girlfriend in the head.

The two apparently got into an argument about 6 p.m. at the woman's home on South Marion Road when the deputy struck her with his hand, Sioux Falls Police Lt. Dan Kaiser said. Trini Gonzalez, 41, was arrested on charges of simple assault but released from jail that evening.

"Any time we see there's an injury and there's a report of an injury, there's an arrest made, and that's what happened in this case," Kaiser said.

The woman had a red mark on her head but required no medical attention, he said.

Gonzalez initially called police to the home, Kaiser said.

"He reported that she was disorderly and damaged his truck," he said.

Gonzalez is a 13-year veteran with the sheriff's office and is assigned to the patrol division, Minnehaha County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Niedringhaus said.

"Deputy Gonzalez will be suspended without pay pending an internal investigation," Niedringhaus said.

Gonzalez will appear in court Oct. 16.

Officer Michael Almeida Ordered to Surrender His Weapon


A town police officer arrested in New Milford last week and charged in connection with a domestic violence complaint was scheduled to return to work today.

Officer Michael Almeida, 33, was charged Sept. 26 with disorderly conduct and second-degree threatening for dispute at his home with a 27-year-old woman.

Almeida appeared Monday in Superior Court in Bantam, where a judge ordered him to surrender his service revolver at the end of each shift while the case is pending.

Almeida qualified for a family services program, according to The Register Citizen in Torrington, which could result in the dismissal of all charges provided he adheres to the program's requirements.

Almeida, an officer for nine years, has been suspended with pay since his arrest, Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery said.

"We have to conduct an internal inquiry, obviously," Montgomery said. "The judge at the hearing Monday allowed him to come back to work and to carry his weapon while at work. After his shift is over, he leaves his weapon here."

Montgomery said the internal probe into Almeida's arrest could take until the end of the month.

Second-degree threatening is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

It is defined as placing another person in fear of imminent personal injury or threatening to commit an act of violence.

Almeida is due in court again Oct. 30.

Corrections Officer Felipe Garcia Charged with Holding Taser to Chin of Inmate

A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer was arrested Thursday after a police investigation determined records were falsified about an assault on a prisoner.

Felipe R. Garcia, 40, was charged with official misconduct.

A lieutenant was making rounds Aug. 29 when she observed a corrections officer holding a Taser to the chin of an inmate, according to the arrest report. The officer cursed at the prisoner, who was sitting down, and slapped the stationary man, the witness told police.

When the office prepared a report on the incident, the lieutenant said he omitted details about the assault and blamed his actions on the the prisoner’s larger size and mental instability. The inmate was in jail for petty theft and providing false identification to police.

Chief Tara Wildes of the Duval County jail said Garcia is on leave without pay pending the outcome of the case. Garcia was hired by the Duval County jail in November 2006 and has no disciplinary history, Wildes said. His charge is a terminable offense.

Officer Nelson Tuatagaloa Charged with Forcible Sexual Abuse

Prosecutors announced Friday that they've filed charges against a West Jordan police officer.

He is accused of sexual misconduct while on duty. Now he is in the Davis County Jail.

Prosecutors charged Nelson Tuatagaloa with two counts of forcible sexual abuse. They say he assaulted a woman in the parking lot of Jordan Valley Hospital.

The woman's friend did not want to do an on-camera interview, but says the woman is very emotional right now. He says the officer assaulted her for 30 minutes to an hour.

The woman's friend said the officer "had a gun. He had her in custody. He implied she could be arrested or go to jail for various charges."

The friend says he called police on Monday when the woman's children told him she had left her house distraught. He says when the woman found out police were looking for her, she also called police to say she was in a strip mall parking lot. He says three officers responded; one of them was Tuatagaloa.

The friend claims Tuatagaloa offered to take the woman to Jordan Valley Hospital for an evaluation, then he sexually assaulted her.

Prosecutors say he handcuffed the woman, then he began kissing and sexually assaulting her.

The friend says the assault continued for a while until dispatch called the officer's radio, wanting to know their location. The friend says that's when the officer "snapped out of it" and took the woman inside the hospital.

The woman told hospital workers what happened.

Tuatagaloa's sister-in-law, who did not want to go on camera, says she doesn't know why the woman is making these allegations. She says Tuatagaloa is a good man who loves his wife and four children.

Tuatagaloa's sister-in-law also says he's been with West Jordan Police Department for two years.

Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles Police Department.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office says there may be people in their jail whom Tuatagaloa has arrested, so he was taken to the Davis County Jail for his safety.

West Jordan police Chief Ken McGuire released this statement: "Our department was notified of Officer Nelson Tuatagaloa's alleged misconduct during a call for service. After reviewing the allegations, he has been put on administrative leave without pay pending an active internal investigation by our department and a criminal investigation by the District Attorney's Office. We are taking this situation very seriously and are fully cooperating with all parties involved."

If convicted, Tuatagaloa could face possible sentences of 1 to 15 years in prison.

Deputy Darryl Jenkins Arrested for Possession of 138 Pounds of Marijuana

GROOM, Texas

An Illinois sheriff's deputy and his traveling companion have been arrested on drug possession charges after Texas authorities say they found 138 pounds of marijuana and 4,000 grams of cocaine in their vehicle during a traffic stop along Interstate 40.

Cook County Deputy Darryl Jenkins, 47, and Dorothy C. Edwards, 31, both of Calumet City, Ill., were arrested Sunday evening after Texas Department of Public Safety troopers pulled over a minivan near Groom in Carson County, about 50 miles east of Amarillo.

The two remained in the Carson County Jail on Tuesday on bail of $60,000 eaach, said Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry. He said the two did not have attorneys retained.

During the traffic stop, troopers noticed something suspicious and were given consent to search the vehicle, DPS said in a news release. The drugs, with a street value of about $368,000, were found inside luggage, DPS said.

Jenkins and Edwards were returning to Chicago from Los Angeles when they were pulled over, DPS spokesman Gabriel Medrano said.

On Tuesday, Jenkins was placed on paid suspension by the Cook County Sheriff's Office, department spokesman Steve Patterson said. A hearing Monday could lead to his suspension without pay, he said.

Jenkins has been a deputy in a courthouse on the south side of Chicago for 22 years, he said.

Officer Nelson Tuatagaloa Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Suicidal Woman

A West Jordan police officer has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a suicidal woman in his patrol car.

Nelson Poni-Eletise Tuatagaloa, 34, is being held in the Davis County Jail. He was booked Wednesday and charged late Friday with two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors from the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office say the assault occurred Monday while Tuatagaloa was on duty and in uniform. The officer responded to a call involving a suicidal woman "who was sitting in a parked car in a public place," according to charges filed in 3rd District Court.

Tuatagaloa and other officers responded to the scene and he handcuffed the woman and put her in his patrol car. He then decided to take her to Jordan Valley Hospital, 3580 W. 9000 South, for a medical evalaution because she was suicidal and had been drinking, the charges state.

The officer put the woman in the front of his patrol car. At some point, "the defendant uncuffed her and drove to a dark portion of the hospital parking lot instead of to the emergency room," according to the probable cause statement. He then kissed the woman and sexually assaulted her without her consent, prosecutors say.

West Jordan Police Sgt. Greg Butler declined all comment about the incident, referring all questions to the district attorney's office.

Tuatagaloa is bein held in lieu of $100,000 bond. If convicted, forcible sexual abuse carries a possible sentence of one to 15 years in prison.

Officer Robert Melia Jr and Girlfriend Faces Charges of Having Sex with Cows

A suspended Moorestown, N.J., police officer is facing a grand jury indictment on charges of sexually assaulting three juveniles.

And 38-year-old Robert Melia Jr.'s legal troubles don't end there. He's also facing animal cruelty charges for allegedly performing sex acts with a cow in Southampton.

Melia's 33-year-old girlfriend, Heather Lewis, is also charged with sexually assaulting three juvenile girls and a teenaged boy.

The investigation began in April when the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office was contacted after one of the alleged victims disclosed to a relative that she had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by the defendants inside Melia's home.

Prosecutors said detectives seized a quantity of pornographic material and Melia's computer during a search warrant executed April 12 at his residence, located on Cottage Avenue in Moorestown. He was arrested without incident at police headquarters.

Lewis, of Stockton's Bridge Road in Pemberton, was arrested at the prosecutor's office that same day.

The animal cruelty charges were filed against Melia approximately two weeks after the initial charges, prosecutors said.

More Information on Ray DeCamillo


The trial of former Norwalk police officer Ray DeCamillo, charged with fondling a 20-year-old woman during a traffic stop, continued Thursday with a sergeant saying DeCamillo failed to report the stop to the dispatcher.

The woman, now 23, told police DeCamillo that the incident occurred two years ago on Silvermine Avenue.

DeCamillo, who was fired in May 2007, is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint. If convicted of both charges during his trial in state Superior Court in Norwalk, he faces a maximum sentence of two years.

During the fourth day of testimony Thursday, the main witness was the lead investigator, Detective Bureau Sgt. Arthur Weisgerber.

Weisgerber said he examined dispatch records and could find no indication that DeCamillo called in the traffic stop at 3:15 a.m. July 5, 2006.

He said he checked the records of the National Crime Information Center and found that the woman's license plate was not checked by dispatchers that night, as it would have been if the stop was called in.

Weisgerber said the woman had a phone number, which she said was given to her by "Officer Ray," in hopes she would call him later.

Weisgerber said the cell phone number was the one DeCamillo gave to the police department for when he needed to be reached for extra-duty work.

During cross-examination, Weisgerber told DeCamillo's defense attorney, William Pelletreau, that the woman could not pick DeCamillo's picture out of a photo array of 41 officers.

Weisgerber said the woman described "Officer Ray" as olive-skinned and husky with black hair about one inch long.

DeCamillo is black and shaves his head.

Investigators were unable to find DeCamillo's fingerprints on the woman's car, Weisgerber said, but a light rain fell that night and could have affected that.

Weisgerber said he interviewed DeCamillo on July 18, 2006, and DeCamillo admitted pulling a car over on Silvermine Avenue. DeCamillo volunteered that he "made a mistake" by not calling the stop in to the dispatcher, Weisgerber said.

After his testimony, Assistant State's Attorney Michael DeJoseph rested the state's case.

Pelletreau said he had as many as three more witnesses to call today before resting his case.

Correctional Officer Roger Heitzman Arrested for Alleged Sex Scheme


A correctional officer was arrested Thursday in an alleged sex-for-contraband scheme at the Rockville Correctional Facility in Parke County.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts said prison officials called investigators to the prison to check out allegations that Roger Heitzman, 43, of Rockville, brought items to the prison for female inmates.

Police said Heitzman traded tobacco, over-the-counter medication and jewelry for sex with at least one inmate.

Heitzman was arrested on charges of official misconduct and trafficking with an inmate. He faces up to four years in jail and a $15,000 fine if convicted.

Heitzman was held Friday in the Parke County Jail on $10,000 bond.

The Rockville Correctional Facility houses about 1,200 female inmates.