Friday, November 07, 2008

New Robbery Charge Filed Against Officer Jorge Arbaje-Diaz


Federal prosecutors have filed a new robbery charge against a former New York City police officer already accused of helping a robbery crew.

Jorge Arbaje-Diaz (ahr-BAH'-hay dee-AHZ') could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the new charge, filed Friday.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Arbaje-Diaz and six others conspired to rob a suspected drug dealer on Aug. 26. His lawyer did not immediately return a telephone call.

Last week, Arbaje-Diaz was charged in federal court in Brooklyn with participating in a robbery crew that impersonated police and tortured drug dealers.

The 30-year-old has resigned from the force since his Oct. 31 arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in Brooklyn. They include robbery and drug dealing and carry a potential 45-year prison sentence.

Officer Testifies Against NYPD

Michael Mineo, the Brooklyn man who has accused four police officers of beating and sodomizing him on a subway platform, got a boost Thursday when another officer testified he saw one of the accused cops use a baton near Mineo's buttocks, according to two sources briefed on the investigation.

Officer Kevin Maloney told the investigative grand jury that he saw Officer Richard Kern unfold his collapsible baton and place it near Mineo's buttocks. Mineo, the sources said, screamed out that Kern was sodomizing him, though Maloney did not realize the importance of what had happened until the alleged Oct. 15 incident was revealed a week later.

The grand jury could take another two weeks or so before making a decision about whether to bring charges against anyone in the case.

But the testimony of Maloney, a two-year veteran who is assigned to the Transit Bureau and lives on Long Island, is considered damaging to the four officers under investigation.
Mineo's lawyers have said Mineo suffered injuries consistent with anal assault. Mineo, 24, a body-piercer at a tattoo parlor, had previously identified another cop, Officer Alex Cruz, as his attacker.

Kern, Cruz, Officer Noel Jugraj and Officer Andrew Morales were involved in the chase and apprehension of Mineo inside the Prospect Park station. Mineo, police said, had been approached outside the station because he was smoking marijuana. He fled into the station, police said, and was given a summons for disorderly conduct after eating the marijuana cigarette.

Police had previously said two civilian witnesses did not see Mineo violated, but he has stuck to his story. Mineo also testified Thursday before the grand jury.

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Officer Christopher Sutherlin Resigns After DUI Arrest


Officer Christopher Sutherlin, accused last week of fleeing an accident in which he was driving drunk, resigned from the police force this week.

Sutherlin, 30, cited recent events and personal reasons in a letter Tuesday to Chief Martin Rickus. His resignation was effective immediately.

Sutherlin, who had been on the job less than a year, got off work about 9 p.m. Oct. 27. Early the next morning, he rear-ended a pickup on U.S. 19 north of Main Street and sped away, the Florida Highway Patrol said. The pickup's driver followed until Sutherlin was forced to pull over because of front-end damage to the Nissan pickup he was driving, FHP said.

Troopers arrested Sutherlin on charges of leaving the scene of an accident and later gave him a Breathalyzer test, which registered blood alcohol levels of 0.148 and 0.151 blood-alcohol level. Florida law presumes a driver impaired at 0.08.

Altogether, he faces charges of DUI, two counts of DUI with personal injury, DUI with property damage and leaving the scene of an accident involving injuries.

The police department began an internal investigation of the incident, which also involved Officer Joseph Pascalli, who was riding with Sutherlin.

Lt. Scott Baker said the investigation of both officers' conduct will continue. Pascalli, who had been part of the department's DUI unit, is now working the midnight shift on patrol.

Sutherlin had accrued 72 hours of unused vacation time, which will be paid out to him for a total of about $1,300.

Joshua Vitori, who was driving the pickup Sutherlin struck, suffered minor injuries. Vitori, 26, is a former paramedic for Pasco County. He also resigned from his job last week, following his arrest Oct. 25 on accusations he stole $300 from a patient in his ambulance.

Officer Stole Dead Man's Winning Slip

PC John Fleet, 28, took the winning slip , with a prize of £59.21, when he was called to investigate the death of a man, who was subsequently found to have died from natural causes.

After he found the body he spotted the slip that the dead man had made days before on a horse race.

He took the slip and cashed it but the next day the dead man's sister visited the bookies to place a bet.

The bookmaker told her it was "such a shame" about the death and revealed someone had called in to collect his winnings.

She immediately alerted police but Fleet then contacted her to try and persuade her to drop the compliant.

He was suspended and since resigned from Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

Fleet pleaded guilty to theft by "stealing a betting slip to the value of £59.21 from the estate of Stephen Lawrence" between July 30 and August 02 this year.

He also admitted a charge of perverting the course of justice at Plymouth Magistrates Court.

Judge Francis Gilbert told him: "I warn you that you must expect immediately custody for these offences which were very serious."

At a previous hearing Fleet also admitted accessing the force computer after a friend asked him to obtain contact details for his ex-girlfriend Sally Pimm.

Fleet, of Torquay, Devon, who lives with his grandfather, was bailed to return for sentencing on December 5.

Case Against Deputy Fredrico Tafoya Still Under Investigation

A case against a former Kern County Sheriff’s detention deputy accused of trying to force an inmate to submit to oral sex has been sent back for more investigation.

There was insufficient evidence to file charges against Fredrico Tafoya, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s office.

Three months after the case was sent back to the Kern County Sheriff’s Department in August, the case is still being investigated.

The case will go back to prosecutors as soon as more information from the investigation is gathered, Senior Deputy Michael Whorf said.

Whorf said he could not discuss details about why the case was sent back.

In July, an inmate said Tafoya wanted to perform oral sex on him. Tafoya threatened to remove the inmate from a work release program if the prisoner didn’t submit, detectives said.

Tafoya was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, causing a person to expose themselves and attempted oral copulation under color of authority.

Tafoya was booked into jail and was released after posting $22,500 bail. Tafoya, who had worked with the Sheriff’s Department for four months, was fired.

Tafoya did not return to work when his case was sent for more investigation, Whorf said.

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