Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three Richmond Officer Charged with Covering up Crime

Three Richmond police officers charged with a crime. Now the Commonwealth's Attorney is admitting his office made mistakes handling the case.

It all stems from a Shockoe Bottom bar fight nearly one year ago. Now a special prosecutor is being asked to figure out whether two Richmond police officers covered up a crime for a brother in blue. And whether one of the City's top lawyers broke the law while handling this case.

According to court papers, off-duty Richmond Police Officer Ian McCloskey got mad at an ex-girlfriend inside "Wonderland Bar" and hits a man sitting with her. Two police officers respond.

They're now accused of filing an incomplete report -- covering up what happened. And allowing McCloskey intimidate witnesses.

When the fight came to light, McCloskey should have been charged with a felony in the courts but he wasn't...

"The average citizen would have likely been staring at felony exposure for that assault. That is something that we should not have allowed to happen. I should not have allowed my subordinates to go forward on a misdemeanor charge," says Mike Herring, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney.

And Herring says, according the law, police officers charged with a misdemeanor cannot pay an accuser's medical bill, a fact that Herring says no one was aware of.

Now, Herring is hiring a special prosecutor to come in and take over this case.

" But it doesn't look right to people to know a police officer is covering up an illegal action by another police officer regardless of how benign it may be," says Herring.

Now we spoke to the Richmond Police Department to find out if those three officers are working out on the streets, but they said they can't tell us because it's a personnel matter.

Sheriff Jimmie Williamson Charged with Fraud

Telfair County Sheriff Jimmie W. Williamson has been charged with “honest services fraud” in connection with allegations he embezzled county money and accepted bribes, according to federal court documents.

Williamson, 48, is accused of embezzling fine and bond money paid by people arrested in Telfair County and using the money for his personal use instead of turning the money over to the county court system, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Southern District of Georgia.

He also is accused of accepting bribes from people arrested in Telfair County in exchange for reducing or dismissing pending charges and for granting special privileges for people housed in the county jail, according to the release.

Williamson also is accused of using sheriff’s office money to buy items for his personal use, including an all-terrain vehicle, according to a document filed Monday in federal court. That document was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring charges against an individual in lieu of an indictment or arrest, said Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

On Dec. 2, 2005, Williamson mailed a letter from the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office to Lendmark Financial Services with a check drawn from the sheriff’s office’s inmate account fund to make a monthly payment on a loan for the all-terrain vehicle, according to the court records.

Ashley McLaughlin, Williamson’s attorney, said the sheriff has cooperated with investigators.

“He’s been straight with them since day one,” he said.

McLaughlin said the sheriff is guilty of “ignorance, not malice.”

He explained that the sheriff’s office didn’t utilize a “lock box” until the past couple of years. When a fine was paid to the sheriff’s office, the money was clipped to the back of the citation.

“There were times when anybody could have access to (the money),” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the sheriff denies accepting any bribes.

With no money in the budget for an all-terrain vehicle, Williamson purchased one with his own funds with the thought that the county would pay him back when funds became available, McLaughlin said.

“He thought that was OK,” McLaughlin said.

The four-wheeler always was used for sheriff’s office purposes, commonly when deputies searched for marijuana fields, he said.

Booth said Williamson has not been arrested and doesn’t anticipate the sheriff will be arrested. Instead, Booth said Williamson will be summoned to appear in court in January for an initial appearance and arraignment.

The GBI launched an investigation into allegations of fraud and financial impropriety against Williamson in May following a request from the Oconee Circuit District Attorney’s Office. A search warrant was served at Williamson’s home in November.

At the time of the search warrant, GBI agents said they couldn’t estimate how much money was involved or what time span during which the alleged thefts occurred.

The federal court documents filed Monday indicate the alleged embezzlement, bribery and improper purchases began in January 2004.

If convicted, Williamson faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years on supervised release, according to court records.

Williamson, a two-term sheriff, did not run for re-election this year because of the county’s two-term limit.

Johnny O. Smith, the incoming sheriff, said he plans to bring credibility back to the sheriff’s office once he takes office in January.

“We’re going to work hard to make the people proud of us,” he said.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.

Deputy Michael McCroskey Accused of Domestic Violence Fired Today


Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson today fired a deputy who is accused of domestic violence.

Swanson said Michael D. McCroskey, 34, can appeal his decision. “But, as of this morning, I gave him his letter, and he’s done,” he said.

Swanson declined further comment.

McCroskey has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of domestic violence and unlawful restraint.

The charges stem from a Dec. 5 incident in Jackson Township. His next court date is Dec. 30 in Massillon Municipal Court.

According to court documents, McCroskey pushed a woman while she was holding their infant son, then threatened to kill her and commit suicide.

McCroskey had been employed with the Sheriff’s Department since April 19, 2007, working in the county jail.

McCroskey also was arrested for domestic violence involving the same woman Aug. 25,. He was found guilty on a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

A disciplinary hearing was held Monday.

Officer Randi Hieb Arrested for Firing Her Weapon at House


An Ashland police officer has been arrested for allegedly firing her weapon at her home.

Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff says the officer was arrested Sunday on two felony weapons charges.

He says the woman and her boyfriend got into a fight in Omaha. When they returned to their home in Ashland, she fired a gun and hit the house. Tingelhoff says the gun was her off-duty back-up weapon.

The officer has been with the Ashland Police Department for two years.

Information from: KETV-TV, http://www.ketv.com
More Information: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28370224/

Officer Royderick Oliver Charged with Raping 14-year-old

A 20-year veteran of the UAB Police Department has been charged in connection with the rape of a 14-year-old girl, according to Homewood police.

Royderick Undray Oliver, 45, was arrested this morning on two counts of rape second degree and one count enticing a minor for immoral purposes.

Oliver, a resident of the Mayfair apartments in Homewood, was arrested after a joint investigation by the Homewood and UAB police departments. He had been held on $45,000 in bonds and has now been released.

Homewood police arrested Oliver at 1 a.m. at his residence, said Sgt. Andrew Didcoct. A victim's relative contacted police about the allegations last week. The victim is not related to Oliver.

Oliver met the victim in an online chatroom, Didcoct said.

Officer James Clayton Arrested on 5 Counts of Misconduct

North Las Vegas Police Detectives arrested 40-year-old James Vernon Clayton Tuesday morning.

Clayton has over three years of service with the North Las Vegas Police Department.

He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on five counts of misconduct of a public officer (felony), two counts of oppression under color of office (felony), and one count of open and gross lewdness (gross misdemeanor).

Clayton was arrested on a warrant obtained after a five month investigation conducted by North Las Vegas Police Department Investigators.

That investigation was prompted by third party allegations of misconduct on Clayton's part while he was on duty as a patrol officer for the department.

Clayton has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation and remains in that status.

More Information: http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11309109?nclick_check=1

Couple Suing Police for Beating their 12-year-old Daughter

A Galveston couple is suing three police officers who they say arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute.

The officers have filed documents saying their conduct was reasonable in light of the facts they had at the time. Named as defendants are Galveston Police Sgt. Gilbert Gomez and Officers David Roark and Sean Stewart.

Bill Helfand, an attorney for the officers, stressed that the lawsuit allegations have yet to be proven.

"If you go to the courthouse and read any complaint, the allegations are always bombastic," Helfand said. "There's nothing about the allegations that makes them true, just because they've been made."

The suit was filed against the officers individually, not the city of Galveston or the Police Department, on August 22, the last day to file before the statute of limitations ran out.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Galveston, Dymond Larae Milburn went outside her home in the 2000 block of 24th to flip a circuit breaker about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2006.

Responding to a call that three white prostitutes were soliciting in the neighborhood, the plainsclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked van on Gomez's orders and one of them grabbed the girl, who is black, the lawsuit states.

The girl contends that the officers did not identify themselves as police and that the officer who grabbed her, later identified as Roark, told her, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Her parents, Wilfred and Emily Milburn, heard her cries for help and came outside to see the hysterical girl hanging on to a tree and screaming "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" while two officers hit her in the head, face and throat, the family alleges.

One officer hit the girl in the back of the head with a flashlight during the incident, the lawsuit alleges. The police then left the scene.

Two hours later, Dymond Milburn was examined at the University of Texas Medical Branch emergency room and doctors found she had a sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose and blood in an ear, according to the lawsuit.

Weeks later, the girl was arrested during classes at Austin Middle School, where she was an honors student, the lawsuit states. She was tried a year later on a charge of resisting arrest, but the judge declared a mistrial on the first day, according to the lawsuit.

Anthony Griffin, the attorney for the Milburns, said the mistrial stemmed from a remark by an officer on the witness stand. A new trial is scheduled for February.

Wilfred Milburn was arrested the next day for interfering with police and assaulting an officer in connection with the incident involving his daughter. Police also found drugs in Milburn's car, Griffin said. He said Milburn pleaded guilty to possession of drugs in exchange for having the other charges dropped.

The Milburn family is asking for unspecified damages for physical injuries and emotional problems.

Helfand said the actions were justifiable, given what the officers knew at the time.

Because the Milburn family never filed any complaint with the police department, the incident was not investigated. The officers remain on the force, a spokesman said.