Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Officer Jose Ramirez Arrested for Public Intoxication

An off-duty Galt police officer was arrested in Lodi on suspicion of public intoxication this weekend, according to Lodi police officials.

Jose Jesus Ramirez, 22, of Lodi, was arrested shortly after 5:30 p.m. near a School Street bar in Downtown Lodi, Lt. Virgil Monroe said.

Ramirez, who allegedly flashed his badge at two teens during a verbal dispute regarding a seat on a bench, spent several hours in the jail's drunk tank. He and a 21-year-old friend, who was also arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, were both released from custody after sobering up.

Galt police officials have started an internal affairs investigation but had not seen Lodi reports on the matter by Monday afternoon, said Chief Loren Cattolico, who hired Ramirez last year.

"The fact that any police officer that works for me is arrested is disappointing," he said.

Ramirez was hired Dec. 19, meaning that he is still within the standard 18-month probationary period, a time when officers may be terminated for any reason.

For the full story, please see Tuesday's News-Sentinel

Judge Elizabeth Berry Arrested for Drunk Driving


A judge was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving by a police officer patrolling an interstate highway, authorities said.

State District Judge Elizabeth Berry was booked into the Johnson County Jail on Saturday afternoon on a probable cause warrant by Alvarado police after being arrested in Interstate 35W south of Fort Worth, said sheriff's Lt. Tim Jones. She was booked and then released on a personal recognizance bond, he said.

In a statement released through her attorney Mark Daniel, Berry said it was premature to discuss the allegations.

"There are a number of factual and legal issues before I can make any statement," she said. "In the meantime, it's my duty to preside over my court in an efficient manner and this matter will have no effect on my decisions."

Daniel said it is too soon to discuss specifics, including why police stopped Berry and whether her blood-alcohol level was tested, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Tuesday editions.

"Judge Berry is a very highly respected judge," he said. "We are presently doing our own work and investigation. It is my belief that when all the dust settles this will likely be unfounded."

The Johnson County Attorney's Office, which prosecutes misdemeanor drunken-driving cases, probably will not get the case for two weeks, a representative said.

This summer Berry presided over the trial of Samuel Lee Hilburn, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years in prison for the 2006 death of Fort Worth police Officer Dwayne Freeto.

The officer had stopped on an interstate shoulder to help a motorist with a flat tire when Hilburn slammed into the back of the patrol car, causing it to burst into flames as Freeto was pinned inside.

More Information on Officer John W. Lewis Arrested for the Third Time


Schenectady Police Officer John W. Lewis was arrested Monday for the third time in seven months, this time accused of threatening to kill his ex-wife.

Lewis, 39, of Oregon Avenue, was charged with third-degree stalking and second-degree aggravated harassment, both misdemeanors. He is accused of threatening Allison Fitz Lewis, his former wife, three times last week and a fourth time in August, each alleged incident spelled out in court papers.

In a telephone conversation with his ex-wife Saturday, Lewis allegedly told her he would be at her house every night and, if she were not there, he would go looking for her.

“He further stated that if he found her with someone, he was going to kill whoever she was with and kill her,” the court paperwork reads.

Each of Lewis’ three arrests since April have come as his marriage dissolved. The divorce was final in September, county records show.

After each arrest, he has been suspended without pay for 30 days, as he was Monday. Between the suspensions he returned to the payroll, but not to work.

Lewis was arraigned Monday and released to return to court Nov. 24. His listed attorney, Michael Horan, did not return a call for comment. Police union President Lt. Robert Hamilton also did not return a call.

Lewis was first charged in April, accused of the violation of harassment of his estranged wife. The case stemmed from allegations that he grabbed and pushed his wife during a dispute over their child. He was acquitted of that in June in a City Court trial.

In the meantime, however, he was also charged with a more serious count of criminal contempt, accused of violating an order of protection issued in the harassment case. In that case, he is accused of phoning the woman several times, driving by her and going to her work. The contempt case remains pending.

The latest allegations are more explicit, including direct threats. Papers reference four separate alleged incidents, one each Nov. 4, 7, and 8 and one Aug. 13.

In the August incident, Lewis allegedly told his ex-wife he was coming to her new boyfriend’s house to talk to her. Lewis also allegedly told her he would never let her be with anyone else.

The divorce was final in late September.

On Nov. 4, Lewis allegedly told his ex-wife personal items from her e-mail. Three days later, at about 4:30 a.m., Lewis repeatedly rang her door bell, asking whom she was with, according to papers.

It was on Saturday that Lewis allegedly told her he would keep coming over to her house, and then threatened to kill her.

Monday’s charges did not include a new contempt charge. The previous order of protection expired with the June acquittal. A new order, however, was issued Monday.

Lewis in July filed a notice of claim against the city, alleging that the city Police Department worked with his ex-wife to force him from his job, publicly embarrass him and create a hostile work environment, according to the notice.

He also alleged that police refused to accept an application for a warrant in which Lewis was the victim and to acknowledge his status as a victim of his ex-wife and another woman.

City officials tried to get Lewis fired 10 years ago over accusations that he used a racial slur during an off-duty incident on Feb. 27, 1998, behind the city police headquarters on Liberty Street. Several people overheard the remark.

Lewis kept his job after an arbitrator ruled that the city was “unduly harsh” in firing him.

Kevin Luibrand, Lewis’ attorney in the claim against the city, said Monday his client has since gone on disability for an undisclosed ailment. Nothing new has happened with the possible lawsuit, Luibrand said. He said it would be inappropriate for him to comment further.

Sheriff Lee Baca Plans to BAN Deputies from Carrying Guns when they've Been Drinking


The nation's largest sheriff's department plans to ban deputies from carrying guns if they've been drinking, saying there have been too many arrests of tipsy deputies for drunken driving, brandishing weapons, shooting people and other crimes.

At least 61 Los Angeles County deputies have been arrested this year on alcohol-related charges while off duty, including 39 for driving under the influence. In April 2006, a rookie deputy who had at least 11 drinks while celebrating his return from Marine duty in Iraq shot and killed a friend.

An increase in arrests prompted Sheriff Lee Baca to consider the ban about a year ago, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Tuesday.

It was unclear what caused that increase, although Whitmore noted that the number of sworn deputies in the department has increased to more than 10,000. It also may be that other police agencies are making more arrests of intoxicated deputies instead of covering for them as in decades past.

"Thirty, 40 years ago, perhaps they would drive (deputies) home," Whitmore said.

He said the policy could be in place as early as January.

"It's been revised, finalized, the union has been conferred with and the sheriff is prepared to move forward," Whitmore said.

The union is arguing, however, that the policy could put deputies at risk by emboldening people who know they would be unarmed at certain times.

"What should a deputy do when he is with his family and runs into a violent offender he incarcerated?" asked Steve Remige, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Baca dismissed the criticism.

"What the union wants is to convince the public that alcohol use by deputies is of no consequence to public safety," Baca said, adding he was not asking his deputies to take any action he wouldn't take himself.

The policy would be among the more restrictive among law enforcement agencies. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Department do not have specific policies about drinking and carrying weapons.

Baca's policy would bar Sheriff's Department employees from carrying or handling weapons if they have used alcohol, medications or controlled substances to the point where they are "unable to exercise reasonable care and control of the firearm."

Since 2004, more than a dozen deputies have been accused of brandishing or shooting guns while under the influence. One deputy was placed on leave after he accidentally shot a man in the leg after drinking at a New Year's party.

Another deputy, Chris Sullivan of Upland, has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of his friend in April 2006.

San Bernardino County prosecutors contend that after a night of drinking to celebrate his return from Iraq, the U.S. Marine reservist pulled his service-issued Beretta, put it in Cesar Valdez's mouth and pulled the trigger.

Sullivan's attorney argued that the gun went off by accident as Valdez tried to wrestle it away from Sullivan.

"This tragedy could have been prevented," Baca said. "Alcohol and guns don't mix."

More Information: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-influence11-2008nov11,0,235730.story

Officer Robs Migrant

An Athens policeman has been suspended after allegedly stealing 600 euros from a Bangladeshi immigrant during a routine identity check on central Patission Avenue early yesterday.

The 22-year-old officer is alleged to have removed the cash from the wallet of the 30-year-old migrant, which he had taken to check the man’s identity card.

The migrant, who had been on his way home from the restaurant where he works, said he realized the cash was missing from his wallet after the policeman and his colleague had driven off in their patrol car. The 30-year-old said he then approached an officer in another patrol car parked further along the same street and told him what had happened. The officers traced the 22-year-old, determined that it was he who had questioned the migrant and reportedly found the cash on him.

Migrant support groups often accuse police of seizing money from immigrants, but it is the first time that an officer has been charged with doing this.

The development came as a study commissioned by the British Council revealed that immigrants account for 17 percent of the population in the Greek capital. According to the study, nearly half (42.8 percent) of migrants who come to Greece live in Athens, but only over one-third (37 percent) have valid residents’ permits.

According to a study by Public Issue and the Hellenic Migration Policy Institute, 48 percent of Greeks believe migrants are threatening the country’s national identity, while nearly three quarters of those asked (71 percent) think migrants are to blame for a rise in crime.

Deputy Louis Hamm Arrested for DUI


A DeSoto County sheriff's deputy is out on bond after he was arrested over the weekend for refusing to take a DUI test.

Early Sunday morning in Walls, the off-duty deputy was involved in an accident that left a woman injured.

"A female was going southbound and our deputy was turning off of 61 onto Delta View," DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco said. "He made a turn in front of her and she hit him on the passengers side."

Rasco said Louis Jerome Hamm was arrested and charged with DUI refusal and having no tag or proof of insurance. An internal investigation is underway.

"We'll be through with the investigation by this time next week," Rasco said. "He has been relieved from duty without pay."

Rasco said the woman driving the other car was heading to work at one of the casinos when the accident occurred. She has a broken leg.

Highway 61 is a very busy stretch of road. which keeps officers busy.

"With the casinos just to the south of us, you know, people go down there, spend their money, gamble, and get free alcohol," he said.

Hamm is the second DeSoto County deputy arrested on DUI-related charges since Rasco took office in January. The other deputy was fired. Rasco said such behavior will not be tolerated.

"I don't drink. I don't put up with drinking and driving," he said. "If they're going to drink and drive - and get caught - they wouldn't have a job."

Rasco said the victim is still recovering at The MED. She has undergone two operations on her leg so far, and might have to have one more.