Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Four Brooklyn Officers Under Investigation on Modified Duty

The NYPD yesterday took away the guns and badges of the four Brooklyn police officers under investigation for allegedly beating and sodomizing a marijuana suspect on a subway platform near Prospect Park, police said yesterday.

Their assignment to modified duty that includes desk jobs is considered significant because the department had kept the officers, all from the 71st Precinct, on full duty since the suspect, Michael Mineo, 24, made his claim nearly three weeks ago.

Police had said two civilian witnesses told Internal Affairs investigators they did not see anyone violate Mineo.

In recent days, however, a fifth officer, who works in transit and is considered a witness in the case, has moved toward entering into a cooperation agreement with the Brooklyn attorney's office as it continues presenting evidence to an investigative grand jury.

Law enforcement sources briefed on the grand jury investigation say that officer, if he cooperates, will implicate the four others in at least a physical assault. The sources say that development prompted the NYPD to take action against the four.

Mineo, sources say, has identified Officer Alex Cruz as the one who sodomized him with a police radio, though DNA tests are being performed on Cruz's radio and baton.

Lawyers for Cruz and the other officers either couldn't be reached for comment, or said they had no comment.

Kevin Mosly, one of Mineo's lawyers, said yesterday the department's move is a sign it realizes the officers committed wrongdoing. "We felt that Michael had presented an extremely compelling case of a heinous crime," he said.

Mineo's lawyers had said the NYPD was sending the wrong message by not placing the officers on modified duty.

Former Officer Justin Bowman Faces Multiple Sex Charges

The wife of a former Mesa police officer called Maricopa police on her husband, who now faces multiple charges that he allegedly had sexual contact with a child.

Police arrested Justin Bowman on Oct. 29, after his wife contacted authorities saying Bowman was threatening to swallow a "bunch" of pills, said Sgt. Steve Judd, a police spokesman.

After arriving, officers determined Bowman "was involved in crimes against children that live at the residence," Judd said.

Bowman served as a Mesa police officer until September. Mesa police would not immediately comment about Bowman's time with the department or why he left.

While at the home, Bowman's wife told police he had sexual photos involving children on his cell phone.

"She was the one that told us that there were additional crimes occurring at the residence," Judd said.

Police later returned with a search warrant and took Bowman's cell phone, a computer and other items from the home.

Bowman was booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of eight counts of sexual conduct with a minor, each class 2 felonies.

State law defines the charge as a person who intentionally or knowingly engages in sexual contact with any person 18 years of age. For a class 2 felony, the victim must be at least 15 years old.


Chief of Police Richard Kellar charged with Assault


The Town of New Berlin’s Chief of Police has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest Thursday morning over allegations that he assaulted a 42-year-old man.

The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office said Friday its deputies had arrested New Berlin’s police chief, Richard P. Kellar, 43, of Norwich, at around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 30 in the hamlet of South New Berlin. Kellar was charged with third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, after he allegedly caused physical injury to another person.

Investigators said Kellar was not on duty at the time and have only identified the victim as a 42-year-old male.

Detective Sgt. Richard Cobb said the Sheriff’s Office could not comment on an ongoing investigation and directed questions to the District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Joseph McBride confirmed he had asked Chenango County Court Judge W. Howard Sullivan to appoint a special prosecutor and asked for a change of venue.

Deputy Austin Cape says he was Assaulted by Sheriff David Westrick

A Defiance County Sheriff's Deputy says he was assaulted---by the Sheriff himself.

Deputy Austin Cape says he responded to a call at the home of a critic of Sheriff David Westrick last April. While investigating an illegal burning charge, Cape says the homeowner began ripping the Sheriff about his son's addiction to pain killers.

Cape left without issuing a ticket.

When he returned to the office, he says, the sheriff flew into a rage. "I was sitting there and I heard the sheriff call me a (expletive) at least a half dozen times," Deputy Cape says. "He just kept saying Cape's a (expletive) and he won't defend my family and won't defend the office."

So, Deputy Cape says, he took off his gun, planning to quit--and that's when the sheriff attacked. "He kinda grabbed me by the shirt collar and at the same time I leaned up against the wall and he just kinda followed me in with his hands on my shirt collar and the whole time, just screaming at me", Cape says.

The sheriff later went to Cape's parents house to apologize, but didn't realize they were secretly taping the conversation. In it, Westrick can be heard apologizing for his actions--although he never admits to assaulting Cape.

We confronted the sheriff, and he says, he never attacked the deputy. "The absolute most I would do is put my hand on his shoulder.", Westrick says, "But I did not push. I did not shove. That's not me".