Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Orleans Police Sgt Charged with Raping Step Children

A New Orleans police sergeant was charged this week with three counts of rape and three counts of incest.

A St. Tammany Parish grand jury on Wednesday indicted the 51-year-old Slidell-area man. All three counts stemmed from alleged incidents with his two stepdaughters and his stepson, authorities said.

The Times-Picayune is withholding the man's name to protect the identity of his victims. Authorities would not disclose the age of the victims, but cases in which a victim is under the age of 13 fall under the state's definition of aggravated rape.

Investigators began looking into the allegations in December after one of the sergeant's stepchildren told a teacher about the alleged incident, according to St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain, who spoke to the press soon after the sergeant turned himself in on Jan. 15.

The sergeant, a 17-year veteran of the police force, was suspended on Jan 15 - the day of his arrest - but then was reinstated on Jan. 26 to administrative desk duty, where he is currently assigned, according to New Orleans Police Department spokesman Bob Young.

The NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau, which investigates police misconduct, has an ongoing investigation into the accusations, Young said.

The sergeant is expected to enter a plea of not guilty, according to Raymond Burkhart III, one of two private defense attorneys.

"The case is in its very early stages and we categorically deny the accusations being made," Burkhart said.

There is no indication the sergeant abused his position at NOPD to prey on others, Strain said.

The grand jury panel on Wednesday also indicted two other men on sex crimes.

Ryan Mitzell, 19, of Sun was charged with sexual battery for abusing a 7-year-old boy sometime between May 26 and June 1, 2008. The alleged abuse came to light after the victim, now 8, told a relative, who then told authorities, according to the district attorney's office.

In another case, a 20-year-old Covington man, was indicted with aggravated rape for allegedly abusing the five-year-old daughter of his girlfriend between July 20, 2006 and March 2, 2007.

Mississippi law enforcement officials uncovered the alleged abuse after investigating a separate alleged abuse of the victim's brother.

California Federal Judge Rules Mandatory DNA Collection Constitutional

A California federal judge ruled Thursday that mandatory DNA collection for all individuals facing federal felony charges is constitutional, dealing a setback to civil liberties advocates.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory G. Hollows upheld the DNA Fingerprint Act, a 2006 law which allows federal law enforcement officials to collect DNA from individuals "arrested, facing charges, or convicted" of federal offenses.

Previously, states throughout the country had a variety of different laws on the books regarding DNA collection---with most mandating testing only after a suspect had been convicted of a crime.

"The court holds that after a judicial or grand jury determination of probable cause has been made for felony criminal charges against a defendant, no Fourth Amendment or other Constitutional violation is caused by a universal requirement that a charged defendant in a felony case undergo a 'swab test,' or a blood test when necessary, for the purposes of DNA analysis to be used solely for criminal law enforcement, identification purposes," Judge Hollows wrote in his ruling.

Federal officials hailed the decision as a victory for law enforcement.

"We are very gratified with the ruling. DNA evidence has proved invaluable in both solving crimes and exonerating the innocent," said Acting United States Attorney Lawrence G. Brown.

At issue was the case of Jerry Albert Pool, a California man arrested in January for possession of child pornography. After his arrest, he refused to submit to a DNA test on the grounds that it violated his fourth amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

Hollows wrote that any individuals arrested upon probable cause has a "diminished expectation of privacy in his own identity." He added that DNA fingerprinting is a natural "technological progression" from the use of fingerprinting and photographs currently apart of the routine booking process.

But American Civil Liberties Union officials called Thursday's ruling "an incredible threat to civil liberties."

"We think this ruling is incorrect. It ignores the presumption of innocence and it does not pay enough attention to the protections of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.

While the ACLU is not a party to the ongoing litigation, Risher says the organization is very concerned about the government creating a giant DNA database and using this law to falsely arrest individuals solely to obtain their DNA.

"This gives the police an enormous incentive if they are interested in somebody to simply arrest that person on pre-textual charges in order to get a DNA sample from them," he said.

"There is simply an enormous amount of information stored in our DNA," he added. "We don't know what the limits of that information are. What we do know is that technology is advancing and claims at least are being made that researchers can mine our DNA for an enormous amount of personal information about us."

In the ruling, however, Hollows said that increased DNA collection will actually "help to exculpate" individuals who were wrongfully convicted and said the 2006 law has adequate built-in protections to ensure that the DNA samples will not be improperly used.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dead Dogs Found on Officer Matthew Beck's Property

The bodies of at least two dogs with gunshot wounds to the head were found Wednesday by police on the property of town Dog Control Officer Matthew Beck.
Town Supervisor Marilyn Douglas said Friday Beck has been placed on an indefinite leave of absence without pay.

Sgt. James Doyle of the New York State Police said the bones have been turned over to Ward Stone, a state Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife pathologist, for identification. Doyle said Stone's investigation so far indicates the two dogs were shot in the head while looking up at the weapon.

Beck was arrested by state police in March and charged with a felony count of forgery, and a number of misdemeanors relating to alleged misconduct of a public official, a petit larceny. The charges and subsequent investigation stem from a complaint by April Stevens of Hoosick, who lost her two dogs in February.

A resident reported to Stevens that she had found the lost dogs and turned them over to Beck. When police told Beck to return Stevens' dogs, the animals he returned were not hers.

Police said the current charges stem from Beck allegedly falsifying reports.

Doyle said that depending on the outcome of Stone's investigation, Beck may face further charges. He said Beck's next court date is June 11.

He said the findings bolster police suspicions that Beck killed Stevens' dogs. Also found in the manure pile with the dog bones were a number of cow bones, but Doyle said he did not believe there was any illegal activity regarding cows.
Douglas said Friday that the town's attorney has advised the Town Board not to comment on the case, as it is a pending legal issue. Douglas said Safe Haven Boarding and Grooming of Greenwich has been hired by the town to perform the duties of dog control officer.

Prior to Beck's leave of absence, he was supervised by Douglas and Highway Superintendent Bill Shiland and filed monthly reports to the board.

After the incident, some residents began expressing their concern at monthly board meetings about Beck still being on the job and having to be supervised while the investigation was conducted.

Douglas and other board members said they could not comment on personnel matters outside of executive sessions, and at the time the evidence against Beck was not great enough to warrant further actions against him.

Officer Robert Fratta Sentenced to Death for Hiring Hit Men to Kill his Wife

A jury has decided on the death penalty for a former police officer convicted of hiring two hit men to kill his estranged wife.

Robert Fratta was an officer in former Missouri City who was being retried in his wife's death. Jurors in Houston began deliberating his sentence Saturday morning after being sequestered Friday.

Fratta was convicted earlier this month of hiring two men to shoot his wife, Farah, in 1994.

Fratta's 1996 conviction was overturned. An appeals court ruled that confessions from his coconspirators shouldn't have been admitted into evidence because Fratta's lawyers could not cross-examine them.

The coconspirators remain on death row.

Cpl Benjamin Kruszynski Pleads Guilty to Drunk Driving

An Elkhart police officer who crashed his squad car while off duty last Sunday has resigned and pleaded guilty to drunken driving and criminal recklessness.

Cpl. Benjamin Kruszynski was arrested after he crashed into two fences and a tree while speeding with four other people in his squad car. Authorities say the 38-year-old was travelling faster than 100 mph.

Police say Kruszynski's blood-alcohol level two hours after the crash was 0.12 percent. Indiana's legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Kruszynski resigned Thursday and entered the pleas on the misdemeanor charges yesterday. The Elkhart Board of Public Safety unanimously voted to accept his resignation.

No injuries were reported in the accident.
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Two Jefferson Parish Deputies Arrested for Beating Up Teens

Two Jefferson parish sheriff's deputies have been arrested and kicked off the force after brutality allegations. A couple of teenagers say the deputies beat them up in Marrero.

According to the teens, they were playing paintball at an abandoned Marrero apartment complex last weekend when approached by deputies Cornell Farlin and Shawn Henry. The teens claimed Farlin and Henry handcuffed them, and then began punching and kicking them, even using their police batons, before releasing them with a summons.

"I think the message here is the quickness in which we responded to the complaint, that we take this very seriously," said Sheriff Newell Normand at a news conference Friday. "This type of conduct by our officers will not be tolerated."

Sheriff Normand said the two accusers also said there were other deputies present during the beating. The sheriff says the investigation continues.
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Trooper Robert Czora Arrested Again

A former trooper who was involved in a 2007 official-misconduct investigation has been arrested again.

Plattsburgh-based State Police arrested Robert Czora midday Friday and believed the former 14-year veteran of the force possessed property that was recently stolen from a local business.

Czora, 40, resigned from the State Police in November 2007 after a police investigation revealed that he scammed an unsuspecting out-of-state driver.

An investigation found that the former Valcour-based trooper stopped a speeding driver on Interstate 87 and then drove her to a Keeseville bank, where she withdrew $300 that Czora told her she needed for bail.

Czora took the money and never issued the woman a ticket.

He soon became the focus of an official-misconduct investigation after the woman contacted local authorities inquiring about her court appearance, unaware that she had never actually been ticketed.

During the investigation, Czora attempted to return the money to the woman through a third party but never explained why.

He later resigned, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor misconduct charge and paid a $1,000 fine.

Czora, who joined the agency in 1992, has never publicly commented on the misconduct.

The Morrisonville resident is now behind bars at Clinton County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

He is facing a felony charge of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

It was initially unclear what items had been taken from Northeast Printing and Distribution Company and how the items allegedly came into Czora’s possession.

Investigators handling the case could not be reached for further comment early Friday evening and no additional information about the case was immediately available.
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Deputy Richard Silva Charged with Domestic Violence

The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office arrested Deputy Richard Silva on May 21 on charges of assault per domestic violence against a 9-year-old child and on two charges of disorderly conduct per domestic violence, the office said in a press release.

Silva is a deputy in the Bagdad area but at the time of the incident was serving a 160-hour suspension without pay for violations of the YCSO code of conduct, the release said.

Deputies booked Silva into the jail in Camp Verde. Authorities released him the next afternoon after he posted bond. A court date in the matter is pending.

Deputy Jeff McCall Arrested for Stealing Confiscated Money

A Narcotics Deputy with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office has been arrested for stealing money confiscated during a drug deal.

34-year old Deputy Jeff McCall, who has been with the Sheriff's Office since 2001 and assigned to the Narcotics Bureau since 2006, was taken into custody late Thursday afternoon.

"Within the past several weeks, information was received from cooperating sources that our Deputy was taking money confiscated during illegal drug deals. We immediately began an investigation which led to his arrest," said Shelby County Sheriff Mark H. Luttrell, Jr.

During a sting Thursday afternoon, Deputy McCall was called to the scene of a traffic stop in South Memphis. A confidential informant posing as a drug dealer had been detained by Deputies. McCall and two other Deputies responded to initiate an investigation.

According to the Affidavit of Complaint, marijuana and a bag of cash was taken from the vehicle. When the drugs and money were taken back to the Sheriff's Narcotics bureau, $400 was missing.

After confronting McCall, he admitted taking the money and resigned.

McCall was taken to the Shelby County Jail and charged with Official Misconduct, a felony, and Theft of Property under $500, a Misdemeanor.

The investigation continues about McCall and allegations he took money confiscated during other deals. The F.B.I. is working alongside of Deputies in the investigation.

Officer Rene Guillen Arrested for Molesting 7-year-old Girl

A Bal Harbour police officer was arrested Thursday and accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl, police said.

Rene Guillen, a five-year-veteran who works with the city's motorcycle unit and who has a clean police record, was charged with sexual aggravated battery on a minor, according to the police report.

He was taken into custody after being arrested at the village's police department, according to a police report. He confessed to sexually assaulting his young victim when she visited his home.


Cpl Jason King Accepts Suspension for Using Excessive Force

A police officer accused of excessive force has decided to accept a demotion and suspension for his actions, but may soon be off the force anyway.

On Thursday, Cpl. Jason King told the city's Board of Public Safety that he would accept the disciplinary measures recommended by Police Chief Darryl Boykins, even though King said he did nothing wrong.

King was accused of using excessive force when arresting Skee Katlun after a high-speed chase Feb. 14.

Boykins, after a department internal investigation, said videotape evidence of the incident showed King attacking an unresisting Katlun, who lay prone on the ground. Boykins also alleged King lied about the incident on a police report.

On Thursday, however, King disputed those allegations and said he had followed standard police procedure. His lawyer, Thomas Dixon, said other officers, including Lt. Robert Black of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, had reviewed the tape of the incident and were willing to testify that King's actions were legitimate and right.

That testimony, however, was not heard at Thursday's hearing after King announced his decision to accept the chief's recommended discipline.

King said he chose not to fight the allegations for personal reasons — his wife recently gave birth to their first child — and because he feared the board could jeopardize his request to be placed on disabled leave from the department.

King is scheduled to appear before the department's pension board today to ask that he be placed on full-time disability stemming from a December 2007 on-duty accident.

On Dec. 20, 2007, King received multiple injuries — including a broken neck — after his squad car crashed with another officer's vehicle.

King was placed on disabled leave after the accident, but had returned to active duty by the time of the Feb. 14 incident. King was returned to light duty after the incident with Katlun, but before allegations of wrong-doing were filed with the Board of Public Safety.

King said doctor reports have shown he is physically unfit to serve as an officer, and that seeking disability is the best option for him and his family.

"I have to think about my future and my family," King said.

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Former Officer Brian Bedsworth Accused of Unlawfully Shooting His Gun During High Speed Chase

A former Mt. Pleasant police officer is fighting criminal charges because he fired his police issued pistol.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested Brian Bedsworth. He's accused of unlawfully shooting his gun at a suspect during a high speed chase.

The incident happened on March 21. When neighbor Ricky woke up he said his front yard was a crime scene.

Minutes earlier, Mt. Pleasant police officer Brian Bedsworth pulled over Eddie Roberts.

After a brief discussion, police said Roberts sped away; the officer pulled his pistol and started firing.

"Gunshots - saw a lot," said Ricky. "I think the officer was in the right for doing what he did. Anybody would protect their own life."

The TBI and the Mt. Pleasant police chief disagree. On Thursday, Bedsworth was charged with reckless endangerment with a weapon and reckless aggravated assault.

"As the vehicle was fleeing, leaving the scene, officer Bedsworth drew his gun and discharged it a total of nine times at the vehicle," said Mt. Pleasant police chief Tommy Goetz.

In Goetz' opinion, his officer violated the use of deadly force policy, which allows officers to use deadly force ‘to defend themselves or other persons from what the officer reasonably perceives as an immediate threat of death or serious injury.'

"The greatest fear would have been that an innocent bystander would have got hit, or the gas pumping station's line would have got hit," said Goetz.

The officer was firing in the direction of a natural gas station. Bedsworth's patrol car had a camera, that camera was not working during the particular traffic stop.

Bedsworth is out of the Maury County jail on bond. Soon after the incident Bedsworth resigned from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, and he did not want to comment on his case.

Since this incident, Goetz said supervisors have once again briefed officers on the department's policy on the use of deadly force.

Officer Ronald Debello Arrested for Puncturing Tires

A Shreveport police officer faces a charge of simple criminal property damage as a result of a citizen report of seeing a uniformed officer get out of a marked patrol unit and puncture a vehicle tire.

Ronald Debello, 34, a three-year member of the Police Department, was issued a misdemeanor summons Thursday to appear in court and was put on paid administrative leave by Shreveport Police Chief Henry Whitehorn, according to a Police Department news release

The tire slashing May 2 involved a vehicle parked in the 9000 block of Youree Drive in Shreveport, according to the news release.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lt Erin Lorraine Giudice Charged with DUI

A Sheriff's lieutenant arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence has been charged with two misdemeanor counts in the case.

Lt. Erin Lorraine Giudice, 48, lost her job as Harbormaster and was reassigned to Orange County Jail after she was arrested April 14 by Irvine police.

Giudice was charged with one DUI count and one count of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more.

Giudice had a blood alcohol level of 0.14 two hours after the arrest, prosecutors said.

At around 9 p.m. on April 14, Giudice was driving an unmarked Sheriff's Department vehicle north on 5 freeway, and rear-ended another car stopped at a red light on the Jamboree Road offramp, prosecutors said.

When the arrest was initially reported, the Sheriff's Department declined to say whether Giudice had been driving a department vehicle at the time.

The other car had minor damage and the driver was uninjured, prosecutors said.

When Irvine police arrived at the scene of the accident, they found that Giudice was slurring her speech, had bloodshot and watery eyes, and poor balance, prosecutors said.

Giudice is scheduled to be arraigned June 19 at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

The case will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus of the Special Prosecutions Unit, which handles prosecution of law-enforcement officers, among other duties.

Capt. Dave Nighswonger, who oversees the sheriff's internal affairs unit, said after the arrest that the department did not have a specific policy addressing consequences for a DUI conviction.

"We have department policies that require employees to obey the law," Nighswonger said. "Then there's canons of ethics that hold our department employees accountable."

NYC Man Sues City for $220 Million for Police Sodomizing Him

A New York City man who says police beat and sodomized him on a subway station platform sued the city, the police department and the accused officers for $220 million on Thursday for civil rights violations.

Three New York City police officers pleaded innocent in December to criminal charges that one of them sodomized Michael Mineo on October 15 with a police baton on a subway platform and two others helped cover up the crime.

"When you distill it, it was a male on male rape," Kevin Mosley, a lawyer for Mineo, said on Thursday.

"The amount of damages, which is the aggregate of the 11 counts, is reflective of the wrong and the suffering that this young man went through and will go through for the rest of his life," he said.

Detective Richard Kern is charged with aggravated sexual assault and other charges and faces up to 25 years in prison. Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz are charged with participating in an attempted cover up, which included writing a summons for the victim. If convicted, each faces up to four years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Kern and Morales observed Mineo, who works at a tattoo parlor, smoking a marijuana cigarette as they sat in an unmarked police car in the early afternoon on October 15 near Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

Cruz and another officer arrived to provide backup and Kern and Cruz followed Mineo into a subway station where Kern anally assaulted Mineo with a retractable baton, prosecutors said.

The criminal case is due to move forward in state court in Brooklyn in June.

The incident sparked charges of police brutality and recalls the 1997 case of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was attacked with a broomstick in a Brooklyn police station.

In the Louima case, one New York City police officer was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the attack, and a second officer was given a five-year prison sentence for perjury.

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Retired Officer David Jones Arrested for Impersonating Officer

A retired police officer ends up arrested by the force he used to be on.

Jeffersontown police say David Jones, a retired police officer, was hired by a local company to work a bad check case as a private citizen.

Jeffersontown's police chief says it was a U.S. treasury check and it was stolen.

Police say Jones went to the man's home that the check was made out to and demanded money.

The man said he was going to call police. Police say Jones said he was the police and showed a badge and a weapon.

Jefferstown police say Jones retired as a police officer back in 1994.

He is charged with multiple charges including intimidation and impersonating a peace officer.

William Nolan Sues City After Wrong Arrest

William Nolan tried to tell the cop who arrested him. He tried to tell the judge. He even tried to tell the jailers who gave him his jumpsuit.

But it was only after the Indianapolis man had spent five days in jail last year that authorities realized that what Nolan had been insisting was true: They had the wrong man.

Police, including a top warrants official, now suspect that a detective may have mistakenly slapped Nolan's Social Security number on the auto theft arrest warrant for another man.

But not just any other man. Another man named William Nolan.

"For people that have names that are shared by other people, this is a horror story," said Joel Schumm, clinical professor of law at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. "I mean, this is something that should scare them."

Though it remains unclear just how the wrong William Nolan ended up in jail for five days, he is pretty sure someone is responsible -- and he has filed a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the city, set for trial in June 2010.

The mistaken-identity mess traces all the way back to August 2007. That's when someone stole a black 1997 BMW from J Frank Motors.

Jan Frank told Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Donna Hayes he suspected a man who had been hired just a few days earlier to wash cars: a tall black man named William Nolan.

According to Hayes' affidavit, a woman who said that William Nolan had been staying with her said she last saw Nolan the day of the theft -- driving a black 1997 BMW.

Fast-forward to March 2008, when IMPD officer Brady Ball was making a routine check of the names in the registry of a Far-Southside motel. One name, he later testified, matched the warrant for a stolen BMW: William Nolan.

Nolan, 48, was staying at the motel while repairs were being made on his fire-damaged home. Ball knocked on his room door. Nolan answered. Ball placed him under arrest in the car theft case.

Still, Ball wasn't quite sure he had the right person. The warrant listed William Nolan as black. This William Nolan was white.
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Officer Hidayatullah Khalil Arrested for Mortgage Fraud

An Elk Grove police officer has been charged by federal authorities for allegedly lying on mortgage loan applications to buy two homes that later went into foreclosure.

Hidayatullah Ali Khalil, 29, was arrested Thursday by the FBI on a three-count complaint and made an initial appearance in Sacramento federal court before being released on a $75,000 unsecured bond.

According to a sworn statement from FBI special agent John Sommercamp, Khalil bought homes in Elk Grove and Watsonville in 2005, indicating both would be his primary residence.

At the time, Khalil was still a deputy with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department. Sommercamp said Khalil grossly inflated his income to purchase both homes, and failed to list the other property as a liability.

According to the complaint, Khalil pulled more than $100,000 in cash out of the Elk Grove house in two separate transactions. Property records show both homes were sold at auction last year.

Elk Grove police spokesman Christoper Trim said Khalil has been with the department since 2006, and has been placed on leave pending an internal investigation.

"Everyone's surprised," said Trim, "He's a hard-working officer, dedicated to the community. He takes his job very seriously and it's unfortunate that this incident came to light."

The FBI said its investigation into Khalil was continuing, with possibly more searches and arrests to come.

Khalil's brother and sister-in-law also made an intial federal court appearance Thursday for their role in an alleged equity-stripping scheme involving a house in El Dorado Hills that later went into foreclosure. They, too, were released on bond.

IRS criminal investigator Christopher Fitzpatrick said Amanullah and Muzdha Khalil lied on a refinancing application to pull nearly $200,000 in cash out of the house at 1288 Souza Drive. According to the complaint, the couple said they lived in the house at the time when it was actually a rental.

Indiana Officer Drives Drunk & Crashes Cruiser With Passengers

An Indiana police officer faces drunk driving charges. He's accused of crashing his cruiser with several passengers in the back.

It happened Sunday night.

Witnesses say the officer was speeding and took out two fences before hitting a tree.

"I thought maybe they were chasing somebody or something," said a witness. "It shook our house. That's how hard it hit. It shook the house, and we're two houses down."

The officer blew a point 0.12, well over the legal limit. He was arrested and booked at the local jail.

No one inside the cruiser was hurt.

EMT in Confrontation With Trooper

An Emergency Medical Technician who was involved in a scuffle with an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper is speaking out about the incident.

Maurice White, Jr. is a critical care paramedic with the Creek Nation EMS. He was nearly arrested after the confrontation, which was captured by the cell phone of Kenyada Davis.

Paul Franks was the driver of the ambulance, which was transporting a patient to a hospital in Prague.

White says he saw the trooper approaching from behind at a high rate of speed with lights activated, but he did not hear a siren. He says Franks had a car in front of him that his attention was focused on and hadn't seen the trooper before he was within a few feet of the ambulance.

"I called out to my partner and told him to pull to the side because there was a State Trooper behind us," White says.

White says as the trooper passed them, he made radio contact, telling Franks "you should consider checking your rearview mirrors".

White says a few blocks after this incident, another trooper entered the road at a high rate of speed, cutting in front of a car driven by a family member of the patient. White says he then saw another trooper approaching from the rear.

"As my partner was pulling onto the shoulder, the cruiser came alongside our unit and gestured for my driver to pull over," White says. "When the officer came to a complete stop behind the ambulance, I noticed a woman in the front seat. Based on the officer's erratic driving behavior, I thought that the woman in the front seat of the cruiser was in need of immediate medical attention; hence I exited the rear of the ambulance in order to assess the situation."

White says the officer was in a rage when he approached them and yelled "get your a-- back here! I am giving you a ticket for failure to yield." White says he told the trooper they had a patient in the ambulance and that they were on their way to the hospital.

"He ignored my statement, became even more belligerent, and demanded my partner come to his patrol car so he could write him a ticket," White says. "I calmly told the officer that we were transporting a patient and we could continue this at the hospital."

White says the trooper then approached him and shouted "you are under arrest for obstructing a police officer" and grabbed his arm to handcuff him. A brief struggle followed, at which point the trooper grabbed White by the throat. The cell phone captured this incident on video.

White says the trooper later told him they could continue on to the hospital, but that he would be under arrest once they got there. White was never arrested, but says troopers told him he should be prepared to turn himself in if a warrant was issued.

To read White's entire statement, click here.
Watch video of the confrontation
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Officer Adam Tietchen Pleads Guilty to Lying to Officers


A police officer today pleaded guilty in Superior Court in New Brunswick to lying to officers conducting an investigation of a township company.

Officer Adam Tietchen, 64, who has more than 29 years service with the department, pleaded guilty to a disorderly person's charged of obstruction of the administration of law, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said in joint statement Edison police Director Brian Collier and Edison Police Chief Thomas J. Bryan.

Tietchen, an Edison resident, admitted providing false and misleading information to police during an investigation, Kaplan said.

Under a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Gillet, Tietchen must resign from the police department, can never work in law enforcement, and will be sentenced to a probationary term of one year, according to the statement.

Tietchen has been suspended without pay since he was charged May 21, 2009.

According to Kaplan, Edison police were investigating the Birnwell Apparel company on Brunswick Avenue, where Tietchen had performed security work. Authorities today said the investigation of the company is on-going and declined to release any details.

On Feb. 3, police asked Tietchen if he knew an employee of the company, and Tietchen admitted knowing the man, but said he rarely spoke with him, Kaplan said.

However, investigators later determined Tietchen frequently talked with that employee, the prosecutor said.

Jim O'Neill, spokesman for the prosecutor office, said there was no allegation of Tietchen tipping off the employee about the investigation.

"Officer Tietchen not only betrayed the public trust, but he betrayed the dedicated men and women of the Edison Police Department. My administration has a zero tolerance policy concerning any type of police misconduct," Police Chief Bryan said.

Anyone with information on the on-going investigation of Birnwell Apparel is asked to call Lt. Greg Formica of the Edison Police Department at (732) 248-7424.

A message left with Steven Cahn, the Edison lawyer representing Tietchen

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Judge Upholds Firing of Officer John Powers

A Seattle police officer fired after allegations of professional misconduct surfaced -- including attempting to break up a domestic-violence arrest -- was correctly barred from working in law enforcement, a King County judge ruled Wednesday.

Officer John Powers was dismissed in November 2005 after department managers came to believe, among other allegations, he was hampering investigations into Belltown clubs for which he provided security when off-duty. Additionally, Seattle Police Department managers alleged Powers distributed Viagra to squad members and gave cocaine to his girlfriend.

Following his dismissal, Powers appealed the department's action and ultimately filed a lawsuit against the state Criminal Justice Training Commission, the state agency that oversees licensing of police officers. In a separate action late last year, the City of Seattle paid Powers' attorney $12,000 in fees to settle a suit alleging that city officials had leaked details of the misconduct investigation to the press.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez issued a written ruling finding that the state commission acted correctly when members revoked Powers' certification to work as a law officer.

According to the ruling, Gonzalez found that "clear, cogent, convincing and substantial evidence" that Powers, for personal gain, interfered with a domestic-violence arrest at the request of his private, off-duty employer. Evidence presented in court documents and in testimony given Tuesday also supported claims that Powers delivered Viagra to three officers between January 2002 and December 2004.

"We're very pleased with the decision of course, especially since the conduct here involved a claim of official misconduct," said Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik, who represented the commission in the case.

That misconduct, according to court documents, included a Feb. 21, 2004, incident in which Powers attempted to intercede as officers moved to arrest a man spotted accosting a visibly pregnant woman.

That evening, two West Precinct officers on patrol near Belltown's Club Medusa saw a man pull the woman from a car and slam her to the ground. According to court documents, the patrol officers had arrested the man when Powers, an eight-year veteran of the department, approached them asking to take over the call.

At the time, Powers was in charge of recruiting and scheduling off-duty officers to work at Medusa and other nearby clubs, earning $4,500 to $5,000 annually in addition to his departmental pay for his efforts. Police later learned the arrested man had served as best man at the Medusa Club owner's wedding.

One of the patrol officers told the training commission he believed Powers sought to "'unarrest' the man and to possibly cover up the crime," Tratnik alleged in court documents.

Calls to Powers' attorney were not returned Wednesday. He has 30 days to appeal the court's decision.

Officer Kirk Newkirk Charged with Stalking

An area police officer and assistant coach charged with stalking a woman has had his court date rescheduled until mid-June.

Kirk D. Newkirk, 42, of Renee Court, faces a charge of misdemeanor stalking after a May 8 arrest. He is accused of harassing 21-year-old Amanda Leigh Corsey and causing her to fear for her safety.

Newkirk has been employed with the Kenansville Police Department for the last 13 months. He has been suspended without pay until the resolution of the charge against him, said Kenansville Police Chief Mike Webster.

Newkirk also served as a volunteer assistant coach for football and basketball at Jacksonville High School during the 2008-2009 school year, said Earl Taylor, spokesman of Onslow County Schools.

"In accordance with board policy 5010 ‘School Volunteers' and the Volunteer Coach Agreement, Mr. Newkirk will be prohibited from serving as a volunteer coach or any capacity in the Onslow County Schools, effective immediately," Taylor said in a faxed response to questions by The Daily News.

Newkirk, who has also been previously employed by the Jacksonville Police Department and the Onslow County Sheriff's Department, is represented by Jacksonville lawyer Walter Vatcher. The attorney asked the court Tuesday for a continuation of Newkirk's case, which was rescheduled for June 15.

Messages left at Vatcher's office were not returned by press time.

According to a complaint attached to Newkirk's arrest warrant, he has been following Corsey and has accosted her at her place of employment.

"Mr. Newkirk has been following me, trying to get into my car, tried to get me into his car," Corsey wrote in the complaint. "He tried to get me drunk underage. He sits outside my house."

In the section on the complaint that delineates relationship between the complainant and the accused, Corsey marked "stranger."

Corsey declined comment when contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon.

The Jacksonville Police Department was dispatched to Corsey's residence on Decatur Road on May 8 in reference to her stalking complaint. The JPD opened an investigation, and Corsey filed papers charging Newkirk with stalking.

Newkirk was released on a $500 unsecured bond.

Officer Jerrell Strong Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Lexington police officer has been removed from patrol and placed on administrative duties after his arrest in southern Indiana.

Officer Jerrell L. Strong was arrested Saturday morning in Jeffersonville on a charge of driving while intoxicated, according to the Clark County, Ind., jail. Strong was released later that day on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in court June 8.

Lexington police will begin an internal investigation after Strong's criminal investigation ends, Lexington police Sgt. Ann Gutierrez said. The division of police relieved Strong of his patrol duties pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

Strong has been on the police force since March 2003, according to police records.

Former Officer Philip Dileo Suspected in Double Murder-Suicide


Police say a 61-year-old former police officer is suspected of pulling the trigger in a double murder-suicide that rocked a quiet neighborhood in Boulder this week.

Boulder County Coroner Thomas Faure says 63-year-old Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo, 61-year-old Philip F. Dileo and 23-year-old Philip C. Dileo were found dead in their home.

A housekeeper, who was scheduled to clean the home, found the scene around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the 2400 block of Bluff Street and flagged down police.

Boulder Police say Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo came to them in 2005 and asked about buying a gun because her husband had made threats against her. They say there were indications the former officer had made threats against his son as well.

Police found two guns at the scene, one of which - a .22 semi-automatic handgun - was equipped with a silencer. It was found in the kitchen, near Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo's body.

The second gun, a .357 Magnum revolver, was found upstairs near Philip F. Dileo's body, according to authorities.

Police say they found a note spelling out the former officer's requests for funeral arrangements in a spare bedroom.

According to police, Dileo was a Boulder Police officer from October 1972 to June 1973, then again from October 1975 to November 1975, but he was let go after police say he violated department policy multiple times.

Autopsies were planned for Wednesday and Thursday on the bodies.

Neighbors say the family had lived in the home for a long time, some even remembered the son as a little boy playing outside. They say he moved back to the quiet neighborhood as a young adult.

"She was really sweet and really private," Marianne Martin, a neighbor, said of the woman who lived in the home. "She loved to do her gardening and walk her dogs."

A couple two houses down says they were doing yard work Monday at 10:30 a.m. when they heard three distinct bangs, what they believe were gunshots. If that's the case, the housekeeper found the bodies about 25 hours later.

Police continue to investigate.

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Former Officer Shanita McKnight Sentenced to 20 Years

A former Lake City police officer will spend 20 years in prison for conspiring with drug dealers to keep them from getting busted.

Shanita McKnight was very emotional and sobbed very loudly at times. She begged the judge to have mercy on her, saying she needed to get home to her young daughter and son.

McKnight's family and friends gathered outside the courthouse following her sentence. They could barely contain their emotions.

"This has been a hard pill to swallow today," said Eric Daniels, a close friend.

"Obviously we've disappointed today with the sentencing but we all believe in her," said Peggy Sells, McKnight's former coach.

Wednesday morning, a judge gave the former lake city police officer 20 years for drug conspiracy and extortion. In October, a federal jury convicted McKnight for tipping off drug dealers in lake city so they wouldn't get caught.

Sheriff Kenney Boone said, "You had a police officer who took an oath to enforce the laws of the state and use that oath and their position against justice, and we feel like justice has been served."

McKnight's family says justice won't be served until she's released from prison. They plan to urge mcknight to appeal her 20 year prison sentence.

Eight people spoke to the judge during the sentencing hearing saying McKnight was a good officer, who cared about Lake City.

When released from federal prison, McKnight will be on supervised release for five years.

K-9 Dog Dies After Being Left Unattended in Car

The district attorney's office is set to decide Monday whether to file charges against an Alameda police K-9 officer whose dog died after he allegedly left it unattended while he was on duty.

The officer, who has not been named, was attending a training exercise May 5 when he left the animal unattended for about three hours and 15 minutes inside his personal vehicle, police said.

When the officer returned to the vehicle, which was in a parking lot in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue, he found the 6 1/2-year Belgian Malinois in "distress," Alameda police Lt. Bill Scott said.

The dog was brought to the Bay Area Veterinary Emergency Clinic San Leandro, where it died.

"It was a tragic accident," Scott said. "There was no intention on the officer's part for this to happen, whatsoever."

Investigators presented a possible criminal case on the animal's death to Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Charlotte Green on Wednesday morning.

Green is expected to announce Monday whether she plans to file charges, Scott said.

The officer is also currently the subject of an internal affairs investigation. He remains on duty, however, and has not been placed on administrative leave.

Along with not naming the officer, police declined to reveal how long he has served with the department.

Officer Patrick Beesley Charged with Drunk Driving

A Noblesville police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with drunken driving.

Officer Patrick E. Beesley, 32, Noblesville, could face penalties ranging from a brief suspension to termination, based on the outcome of an internal investigation. He also faces up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines if he is convicted.

Beesley could not be reached for comment.

"Obviously, this is a serious situation," Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt said Tuesday, his first day on the job.

Beesley caught the attention of a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. His vehicle was swerving in its lane and was going off the road, said Vicky Dunbar, public information officer for the sheriff's office.

Deputy Paul Miller stopped Beesley on Greenfield Avenue, just west of Marilyn Road, Dunbar said.

Miller smelled alcohol when he talked to Beesley and noticed that Beesley's eyes were bloodshot, Dunbar said.

Beesley, who was not driving his squad car, identified himself as a Noblesville police officer, according to Dunbar.

Beesley failed field sobriety tests, authorities said, and a breath test registered his blood-alcohol level at 0.18, more than twice the level (0.08) at which a driver in Indiana is considered intoxicated.

The police report did not say where Beesley had been or where he was going, according to Dunbar, and Jowitt did not have that information.

Beesley was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or greater, a Class A misdemeanor.

He posted bond and was released from the Hamilton County Jail at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release.

Beesley has been with the Noblesville department for about 21/2 years, Jowitt said. Before that, he worked for the Chicago Police Department.

An Elkhart officer also was arrested on drunken-driving charges this past weekend.

Authorities said Cpl. Benjamin Kruszynski, 38, was off-duty Sunday night when he crashed his squad car into two fences and a tree.

His blood-alcohol level was 0.12, authorities said. He will be placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation, according to Elkhart Police Chief Dale Pflibsen.

Cpl Joshua Giddings Committs Suicide After Arrest

Delaware State Police Cpl. Joshua A. Giddings, 32, apparently committed suicide at his Smyrna home Tuesday, May 26. Giddings was arrested May 11 after an investigation revealed he engaged in sexual relations with a woman he had arrested in exchange for not taking her to court.

Delaware State Police reported that emergency personnel were dispatched at about 6 p.m., to a home in the unit block of Wheeler Circle in Smyrna after receiving a report of an unresponsive man.

The man was found in the shed at the residence. He was unresponsive. Emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.

He was identified as Joshua A. Giddings.

Foul play is not suspected, police said. The incident is a suspected suicide, but the investigation is continuing by the Smyrna Police Department.

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Officer Richard Beck Accused of Illegally Accessing Database

A crumbling marriage ultimately cost a Goodyear police veteran his badge.

Richard Beck has relinquished his badge in the wake of accusations that he illegally accessed law-enforcement databases to look up information about a man he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife, and later lied about it.

The agreement reached between Beck, 35, and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board last week permanently strips him of his ability to work as a police officer in Arizona.

According to a board compliance specialist report and a Goodyear police internal investigation, Beck visited the home of his estranged wife, an Avondale police dispatcher, in the middle of the night in January 2008. He knocked on the door to confront his wife and a man, an Avondale police officer, but neither answered the door. Beck suspected they were having an affair.

The Avondale officer said Beck contacted his soon-to-be ex-wife the next morning through the social networking Web site MySpace and that Beck could have only discovered her name through a police database, the reports show. Using the database for non-police purposes is a Class 6 felony, unauthorized access to criminal history.

Beck told Goodyear investigators he used the database toward the end of December 2007 to run the license plate of a vehicle parked outside of the house and discovered it belonged to the Avondale officer, according to the reports. Investigators reviewed database access records and found that Beck ran that officer's license plate the day before the attempted confrontation in January.

Beck, who was off-duty at the time, told Goodyear police he received a call that night from an acquaintance telling him about a suspicious car at the house, the reports said. Police reviewed phone records and found no support for the claim.

Beck maintains he was truthful about the incident but said he was going through a "difficult and bitter divorce at the time" that affected him emotionally and left his mind in a fog.

"I was in a pretty bad place around that time," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Beck claims he never denied running the officer's license plate, but said he felt cornered and that investigators were unwilling to believe that he didn't have malicious intentions.

"I didn't run that plate . . . to try to find out information about him. . . . I knew who he was, (my wife) had told me about him, she had admitted to the affair and everything, so I knew there was very little I'd be able to gain by doing something like that," he said. "I didn't care about him. At the time, I was more concerned with trying to keep my family together."

"I was just amazed because I had an outstanding record and everybody knew me, everybody trusted me. I kind of felt like I got a raw deal," he added.

He said his wife's infidelity with another police officer and the handling of the investigation led him to resign from the Goodyear force and give up his certification.

"I'd been a police officer for going on about 13 years and I really believed in what I did," he said. "I just felt like everything that I'd believed in as far as law enforcement and the unity was just taken away from me, and it was the first time in 13 years where I just didn't like coming to work anymore."

Beck said he has found a new job in law enforcement but declined to say where.

Officer William Mosley & Wife in Court on Domestic Violence Charges


A Worcester police officer, recently charged with domestic assault, and his wife were the subject of separate hearings in Central District Court today in cases involving allegations against one another.

The case against Officer William D. Mosley, 32, of Ashmore Road, alleges he assaulted his wife May 19. He was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic assault and battery, and threatening to commit a crime. His case was the subject of a pretrial hearing today. The officer is on restricted duty.

Meantime, his wife, Stacey M. Mosley, of Glenn Ellen Road, who is pregnant, was in the courthouse for a hearing on a motion relating to a criminal harassment charge filed against her husband.

Both cases were continued.

In the case against the officer, according to court records, the officer was outside his home with his wife, who has a different home address from Officer Mosley. Mrs. Mosley told police that Officer Mosley yelled at her and said he didn’t want her at his home, the records say. Mrs. Mosley told police her husband forcefully grabbed her left arm and dragged her toward her car, according to court records. She also said he threatened to assault her, police reports said. Police were called and Officer Mosley was arrested. Yesterday, in an interview with the Telegram & Gazette, Mrs. Mosley said she planned to ask the court to dismiss the charges against her husband. That did not happen.

Within the last six months, Mr. Mosley sought legal action against his wife.
According to court documents, Mr. Mosley reported four incidents to the Worcester Police between Dec. 26 and Jan. 26. Mr. Mosley told police that Mrs. Mosley showed up at his house and began knocking on his door and yelling for about 20 minutes outside until he called police. On Jan. 1, Mr. Mosley alleged that Mrs. Mosley parked outside his house. On Jan. 26, Mr. Mosley alleged that Mrs. Mosley had been continuously calling him and driving by his house for the previous four to six weeks, and on this date, walked into his house unannounced, according to court documents.

Police Chief Gary J. Gemme has said Officer Mosley was put on restricted duty recently, is assigned to the Service Division, and that the officer’s firearms license has been temporarily suspended.

Former Detective Daniel Griffin Charged with Illegally Carrying Firearm

Former Kingston police Detective Daniel Griffin is in trouble with the law again.

The ex-cop who already faces charges of impersonating a cop was illegally in possession of a loaded handgun when he was apprehended earlier this month in Wilkes-Barre, city police said Tuesday.

Griffin now faces a charge of carrying a firearm without a license.

The 45-year-old was a police officer in Kingston for 22 years before being fired in 2007 for forging a superior’s signature to but a specialty shotgun.

This is now the third time he has been charged with a crme in less than two years.

Griffin was captured May 13 in downtown Wilkes-Barre on an arrest warrant filed by Fleetwood Borough police in Berks County.

The warrant claims he pulled a badge and identified himself as a cop on May 7 when police pulled him over in a personal vehicle customized to look like an unmarked police car.

The 2003 gray Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor “appeared to be an unmarked police vehicle,” according to arrest papers. The car had a black front license plate that says “POLICE” and red “K-9” decals on the trunk.

Wilkes-Barre police impounded the vehicle when Griffin was arrested on the warrant in the city. A loaded pistol was later seized from the car, police said. Police determined Griffin does not have a permit to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania, police said.

Earlier this month, Griffin insisted he was never fired, but retired from the police force and still does police work on the side. He said his convictions for the 2007 charges have been “stayed,” pending an appeal. He called his arrest on the Berks County charges a “political issue” being drummed up as revenge by Kingston officials.

In an unrelated matter, Swoyersville police on Friday issued Griffin a summary citation regarding stray and unattended dogs, according to court records. Details about the citation could not be obtained Tuesday.

Griffin remains free on bail.

Detective Hector Ortiz Arrested for DUI

A Merced Police Detective finds himself on the wrong side of the law, after he's arrested on suspicion of DUI… for the second time.

It turns out this is Hector Ortiz's second drunk driving arrest this year.

The 46-year-old Ortiz was arrested this week after he reportedly rear-ended another vehicle. Ortiz's passenger suffered minor injuries but didn't have to go to the hospital. The driver in the other car was not injured.

The crash happened near Merced College in Merced, which was not far from where Ortiz was arrested on suspicion of DUI back in January. He pled no contest to that charge and was sentenced to a fine, probation and a program for DUI offenders.

Officer Jerrell Strong Arrested for DUI

A Lexington police officer faces an internal investigation after he was arrested in Indiana over the weekend on a DUI charge.

Officer Jerrell Strong was arrested on Saturday in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Lexington police say they have placed Strong on administrative duties and an internal investigation is underway.

Authorities in Indiana say Strong was released on his own recognizance.

Chief John Josten Arrested for Domestic Violence

The police chief of a small Van Buren County community has been arrested following a domestic violence incident, the county sheriff’s office reports.

John Josten, the head and sole officer of the department in Bloomingdale, Mich., was arraigned Friday in Allegen County on charges stemming from the incident.

Sgt. Scott Schmitt of the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department said Josten works in Bloomingdale, a community in the northern part of the county, but lives in Allegen. His wife, who he is accused of throwing a glass at, is also a deputy with the Allegen County Sheriff’s Office, Schmitt said.

Josten’s employment status remained uncertain Wednesday. That decision has been turned over to the Bloomingdale village manager, Schmitt said.

“He is not to possess any firearms until (his) trial date,” Schmitt added, noting the obvious problem that creates for a law enforcement professional.

No immediate decision about Josten’s status is expected, pending an investigation and outcome of the trial.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Officer Michael Wooton Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Neighbor's Dog

An off-duty Essex police officer accused of shooting his neighbor's dog after it got into a fight with his Pug pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday morning.

Police say Michael J. Wootton, 34, of Waterville, shot and killed his neighbor's mixed-breed dog earlier this month.

The shooting happened after Wootton's dog went to a neighbor's property and got into a fight with a dog owned by Melinda Maskell. Police say Wootton then went home, got a handgun and fired one shot at the dog.

"If he would have had his dog on a leash, none of this would have happened," Maskell said.

Maskell showed us pictures of her dog Hooch, in happier times. She described the mixed-breed as well-mannered.

"I mean the dog sat pretty, that's how well he minded, he knew commands, he went to obedience school for a year," Maskell said.

Court records show Hooch was shot in the stomach. Maskell says her two year old daughter was just feet away from Wootton, when it happened.

"They're supposed to serve and protect us and to have to explain to my children why they murdered my dog, in front of my child, is one of the hardest parts to it," Maskell said.

Maskell understands court proceedings could be far from over.

"My family and I are going to pursue this until we get justice, one way or the other," Maskell said.

Maskell said she was surprised there wasn't a reckless endangerment charge against Wootton, since her daughter was nearby at the time of the alleged incident.

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Lawsuit Settled in Excessive Force Case


A woman who sued officers over the death of her father during an arrest for driving a bulldozer on an expressway has settled with two of them.

The deal came Tuesday before U.S. District Judge John Feikens in Detroit.

Amanda Landis settled with Livingston County sheriff's Deputy Jim Lynch and ex-Deputy Jason Baker. Terms weren't announced.

The case continues against state Trooper Greg Galarneau.

The suit says officers used excess force while arresting Charles Keiser, holding him face-down in a swamp on Thanksgiving 2004. It happened in Hartland Township, about 40 miles west-northwest of Detroit. Sheriff Bob Bezotte tells the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus in Howell the deputies acted appropriately.

Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus,

Cpl Tony Finn Charged with Assault

Walnut Cove officials said one of their police officers was suspended after allegations of assault.

Town Manager Homer Dearmin told WXII 12 News that Cpl. Tony L. Finn will be suspended without pay pending an investigation.

On May 25, Walnut Cove police arrested Finn on two charges of simple assault and assault agaisnt a female.

Dearmin would not go into any more detail.



Sheriff Terrry Jones & Undersheriff Charged with Taking Money During Traffic Stop

The McIntosh County Sheriff's Department is facing some tough challenges after their sheriff and undersheriff were both accused of taking money during a traffic stop.

Sheriff Terry Jones and Undersheriff Mykol Brookshire face federal charges and could spend up to a year in prison if convicted. Jones has now resigned from his post.

McIntosh County has a brand new 8-million dollar jail and no sheriff to operate it. It's supposed to open in July. That's why county commissioners are scrambling to find someone to run it.

"To have something like this happen, now we've got to go back and look at that again," says District Two Commissioner Tim Pendley.

It was Friday when county commissioners first learned the sheriff had resigned.

"Yeah, it was a shock," says District Three Commissioner Ronnie Layman. "Nobody expected something like that to happen."

Jones and Brookshire were detained Friday. It is alleged they stole money from an individual during a traffic stop.

"Really thought we'd be represented better," says Bridgette, a resident of Eufaula. "He's supposed to be looking out for our community, not taking from it. I would have expected something different."

Jones and Brookshire are innocent until proven guilty. But, some feel it's a black eye for other elected officials.

"Makes it look bad on all elected officials," says District One Commissioner Bob James. "I feel like it does. You're kinda guilty by association I guess."

Commissioners say they have confidence in the sheriff's department, for those stepping in and covering all the shifts. To the citizens of McIntosh County, they say they will get through it.

We spoke with U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling, who says we should know more details about the former sheriff in court later this week. There, Jones is expected to answer the charges against him.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bail Set at 2 Million for Officer Richard Bolling Charged with Fatal Hit-and-Run

Bail was set at $2 million Sunday for a veteran Chicago police officer accused of being drunk behind the wheel while causing a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed a 13-year-old boy on the South Side.

Richard Bolling, 39, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident where a death or injury occurred and reckless homicide. Bolling, who has worked in the Chicago Police Department for 17 years, reportedly had been at a bar not long before the crash early Friday morning, said Sally Daly, a Cook County sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Bolling of the 8600 block of South Wolcott Avenue was arrested soon after his Dodge Charger allegedly drove through the intersection at 81st Street and Ashland Avenue about 1:28 a.m. and killed 13-year-old Trenton Booker, officials said.

Trenton had sneaked out of his home and was riding his bicycle with friends, his family said.

Trenton was riding with a friend on Ashland, traveling north in the southbound lane. Bolling was driving his car in the southbound lane and, according to witness accounts, raced through the intersection and hit Trenton, who ended up sprawled on the street, Daly said.

Bolling is alleged to have continued without stopping. He was arrested minutes later after two other Chicago police officers saw the car about five blocks away going the wrong way down a one-way street near 1900 W. 82nd St. They also noticed that the car had damage to the bumper and windshield, Daly said.

The officers saw an open bottle of beer in the car, and they conducted a field sobriety test on Bolling on the scene, she said. Daly did not have the results of the sobriety test available. Chicago police said in a statement that the officer was also cited for going the wrong way down a one-way street and transportation of alcohol.

Judges Finds Sheriff Arpaio Attempted to Intimidate ACLU Director


A federal judge ruled late last week that the arrest of an ACLU legal director by Maricopa County's controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio was an attempt to intmidate the director "from future First Amendment activity." The judge found that the deputies who arrested legal director Dan Pochoda knew of his position with the ACLU and conferred with Arpaio or a representative about arresting him after he attended a demonstration against the sheriff.

Arpaio and three of his officers sought dismissal of the suit, claiming they had probable cause to arrest Pochoda as he left the demonstration. But U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake found that Pochoda's arrest was an attempt to "intimidate (him) from future First Amendment activity" since the officers knew of Pochoda's position in the ACLU, saw him speaking with the protest's organizer and consulted with Arpaio "or his representative about whether to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge."

Pochoda said two deputies who were patrolling a parking lot near the demonstration approached him on Nov. 3, 2007 and questioned him for five minutes. He says the officers told him he could not park in the lot and stood between him and his car. After Pochoda asked one of the deputies to identify himself, since he was in street clothes, Pochoda says he was handcuffed, taken to the county jail and booked on criminal trespassing charges.

Pochoda claims that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by stopping him from leaving the parking lot.

But Judge Wake found that the officers had the right to stop and question him after. However, once Pochoda made it clear that he was leaving the property, the officers should have let him go, Wake said.

Judge Wake ruled that the deputies "are not immune from Pochoda's claim of unlawful detention and arrest" because Pochoda never refused to leave the parking lot and was prevented from doing so by the officers.

The sheriff and the officers denied Pochoda's claim of malicious prosecution, saying they had probable cause to arrest him, but Judge Wake found the arrest motivated by "deterrence or retribution for First Amendment activities."


Officer Benjamin Kruszynski Arrested for Drunk Driving

Police say a City of Elkhart police officer was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he was involved in an accident late Sunday along County Line Road.

Officer Benjamin Kruszynski, 38, crashed an Elkhart City squad car into a tree near the intersection of Brummitt and Ash roads about 11:10 p.m.

There were four passengers in the car at the time — a 43-year-old male and three 18-year-old females, according to police.

Elkhart Police Spokesman Lt. Ed Windbigler would not say if Kruszynski was driving his own squad car or another officer's.

A witness said the car went airborne when hitting the tree and leaving the roadway on the Elkhart County side of the road.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene and arrested Kruszynski for OWI. A departmental supervisor was also sent to the scene to assist the officer and continue the investigation.

No one was injured.

Kruszynski has been with the Elkhart Police Department since 2000.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Judge James Heath Kills Self After Drunk Driving Arrest


A Warren County Common Pleas Court judge who was arrested this weekend for the second time in seven months was found dead in his home the next day, according to police.

James Heath, 47, was found in the master bedroom of his Nunner Road home just after 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24, by his estranged wife, according to Hamilton Twp. Police Lt. Jeff Braley.

“She had been trying to reach him by phone and could not and went to check on him at the house,” Braley said.

Braley said although nothing has been confirmed, Heath’s death is being investigated as a suicide. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Tuesday, May 26, he said.

Heath was arrested at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23, at mile marker 11 on Ohio 48, according to Sgt. Karla Taulbee, spokeswoman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Transported to a patrol post, Heath refused a breathalyzer test, Taulbee said. He was charged with operating a vehicle while impaired and a marked lanes violation and released to someone who was able to drive, she said.

Heath was arrested last October in Clinton County on the same charge. He pleaded guilty in December to the lesser charge of reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

As a result of the plea, Heath was found not guilty of the original charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Warren County Judge Donald Oda II said Sunday he had known Heath for 14 years and was “completely shocked” when he heard of his death.

“We all thought the world of Judge Heath,” Oda said. “He was a good man. The Warren County judges ... our bench is certainly less today than it was yesterday.”

Warren County Commissioner C. Michael Kilburn said his heart goes out to Heath’s family. “We just never know what burdens people are carrying with them,” he said. “It’s just a terrible, terrible situation.”

Earlier this year, Kilburn criticized Heath for his behavior, showed a video of him pleading with a state trooper not to arrest him and called on him to resign. Following Kilburn’s comments, Heath admitted he made a mistake, apologized for his actions and said he was taking steps to ensure they did not happen again.

Heath, a Miami University graduate, first took the bench of the Warren County Court in December of 1994, according to the court’s Web site. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Gregory Rold Dies After Being Tasered


A 37-year-old Salem man is dead and four police officers were placed on administrative leave after an arrest for trespassing turned violent.

Four officers with the Salem Police Department were called to Carriage Apartments on SE Royvonne Ave. about 7:30 Saturday night after receiving reports of a trespasser. They found Gregory Rold in an apartment and tried to arrest him.

The police department said Rold "violently resisted arrest" and the officers had to use their tasers and batons to "subdue him." Salem Officer Jacob Pratt was injured during the arrest attempt and altercation, according to the department. He was treated at Silverton Hospital.

Neighbors said Rold had been living at his mother's apartment but had recently been banned from the complex for lude behavior.

"He supposedly had been exposing himself to one of the neighbors," said resident Brandy King. "He used to peek into our windows and say things to the other women around here," she said.

According to neighbors, Rold had been warned that if he returned to the apartment complex, he would be trespassing. They said he showed up around 6:30 Saturday night, and police were at his mother's apartment soon after.

"They (police) got in, you could hear a struggle and the next thing you heard were the tasers," said Shelietha Edwards, a neighbor.

What happened next, according to Edwards, had the entire complex in disbelief.

"I heard at least 13 tasers going off. I heard him being beaten with the night sticks and they let the dog attack him," recalled Edwards. "(Rold's) mom and brother were in the house watching and his mom went to the window and started telling everyone that they were killing her son," she said.

A statement from the department released to KGW on Sunday morning made no mention of excessive force or of a canine unit.

Once the officers had wrestled Rold to the ground and handcuffed him, they realized he was unconscious and unresponsive, according to the department.

"In the beginning, you could hear him yelling, screaming and then all of a sudden he was quite, but you still heard the tazers and you still heard the beating going on," said Edwards.

Officers tried to stabilize Rold and called for emergency medical assistance. He was taken by ambulance to Salem Hospital where he died about 9:30 p.m.

The four officers - Jacob Pratt, Eric Brown, Adam Waite and Corporal Darron Mumey - are on administrative leave while Rold's death is investigated by Oregon State Police and the Marion County District Attorney's Office.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sgt Mark Fitzpatrick Arraigned on Sexual Assault Charge


A Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant has been arraigned on charges of sexually assaulting a woman and inappropriately searching two others in separate incidents while on duty.

Mark Fitzpatrick pleaded not guilty to four felony counts and one misdemeanor Friday in Superior Court.

Prosecutors say Fitzpatrick threatened one woman with arrest or deportation while he sexually assaulted her during a traffic stop.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says investigators began a criminal investigation immediately after getting a report of the alleged misconduct last year.

Whitmore says Fitzpatrick was assigned to a desk job at the Compton station then was suspended without pay after the charges were filed.
More information:,0,3979260.story

Time Line in Case Against Ex-Cop Drew Peterson

Prosecutors claimed Friday that Drew Peterson tried to hire someone in 2003 to kill his third wife, Kathleen Savio, for $25,000. Authorities say he is also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. A brief synopsis of what has happened in the case:


--March 1, 2004: Kathleen Savio found dead in a bathtub. Her death is originally ruled an accidental drowning.


--Oct. 29, 2007: Stacy Peterson reported missing, a day after she fails to show up at a relative's home.

--Nov. 9, 2007: Illinois State Police declare Drew Peterson a suspect in his wife's disappearance; they also say they've formally launched an investigation into the 2004 drowning death of Kathleen Savio, saying it does not appear to be an accident as originally determined.

--Nov. 9, 2007: Judge signs an order to exhume Savio's body.

--Nov. 12, 2007: Drew Peterson resigns from the Bolingbrook Police Department, where he's been an officer for 29 years.

--Nov. 13, 2007: Savio's body is exhumed and an autopsy is conducted.

--Nov. 16, 2007: Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden conducts autopsy on Savio's remains at the request of her family; says it looks like she was murdered.


--Jan. 24, 2008: Will County state's attorney's office acknowledges publicly for the first time that a grand jury has been convened to investigate Stacy Peterson's disappearance and Savio's death.

--Feb. 21, 2008: Will County state's attorney announces that Savio's death officially declared a homicide.

--May 21, 2008: Peterson turns himself in to police on a weapons charge unrelated to the disappearance of his wife. He was released from custody after an adult son posts a 10 percent bond.

--November 2008: Peterson meets with divorce attorney.

--November 20, 2008: Gun charges dropped against Peterson after Will County prosecutors refuse to hand over internal documents leading to their decision to arrest him.

--May 7, 2009: Murder indictment issued for Peterson; Peterson arrested during traffic stop.

--May 22, 2009: Judge refuses to reduce Peterson's $20 million bail after prosecutors claim Peterson tried to pay somebody $25,000 in 2003 to kill Savio.
Other Information:,drew-peterson-savio-murder-offer-money-052209.article

Trooper Ariel Valentin Arrested for Rape

Palm Springs Police charged a Florida Highway Patrol trooper with raping a woman who'd just been in a minor accident. Following his arrest, Ariel Valentin resigned his position. This is not the first time the trooper has been investigated for inappropriate conduct.

The arrest report says two women "tapped each other" with their cars on Lake Worth Road. As the two women were leaving the scene, Trooper Valentin pulled up. The report says Valentin told one woman to go, but followed the other to her home nearby.

There the arrest report says Valentin told the woman that he needed to search her, and "suggested that they go into her residence." The woman told officers she thought that was "weird," but was worried because her registration had expired. Inside the apartment, the report says Valentin and the woman had sex. The woman said she was "scared of going to jail."

Police say while Trooper Valentin initially denied involvement, he later admitted to having sex with the woman, saying it was consensual. The police report says Valentin acknowledged he believed the victim was emotionally unstable.

Highway Patrol documents we obtained show two years ago after a traffic stop, Valentin asked a woman if he could go to her house and measure her in a bathing suit. He got a written reprimand.
More Information:

Reserve Officer Richard Carr Arrested for Rape

A Columbus reserve police officer was fired Wednesday after he was arrested in Oktibbeha County on statutory rape charges.

Reserve officer Richard Carr, 45, was “relieved of his duties as a police officer” Wednesday after Oktibbeha County officials notified the Columbus Police Department the officer had been arrested on the sex charges.

As of Thursday, police had released no details of the charges, as the investigation was ongoing and was being handled by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

As of Thursday afternoon, no bond had been set and Carr remained in the Oktibbeha County Jail awaiting his initial court appearance.

Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John this morning noted the investigation was turned over to MBI as soon as he was notified of the charges.

“As quickly as we could, he was placed under arrest, and he is terminated immediately,” St. John added. “Even though he was reserves, he’s one of us, and any time we have, not even probable cause, but reasonable suspicion, we turn it over to another agency.

“Really right now, the rest of it is really in (MBI’s) hands.”

City Settles Third Brutality Lawsuit This Year


The city has agreed to pay a city man $48,750 to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that a Worcester police sergeant unjustly punched him in the head and struck him with a baton while he was on his knees being arrested for trespassing on railroad tracks.

The police brutality lawsuit brought by Raymond E. Dennison, who alleged that he was beaten by Sgt. Ronald F. LaPointe in June 2003, had been set to go to trial in U.S. District Court in Worcester on June 1.

The $48,750 settlement, which will be paid by the city with taxpayer money, comes less than two months after the city paid $30,000 to settle a police brutality lawsuit filed by an Upton man.

So far this year, the city has settled three police brutality lawsuits at a total cost of $107,750, according to city records. Last year, the city paid $320,000 in public money to settle five police brutality lawsuits.

“As we’ve said in the past, it’s a business decision between myself, the law department and the city administration,” Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said of the settlements. “When we settled this case, there’s no admission of wrongdoing by the officers.”

The department’s Bureau of Professional Standards, formerly called Internal Affairs, cleared Sgt. LaPointe of any wrongdoing in its investigation, Chief Gemme said.

“It was difficult, rocky terrain with steel railroad tracks and a lot of brush overgrowth, and this individual was combative, and, as a result, there was force used that was reasonable to effect the arrest, and there were some injuries,” Chief Gemme said.

Mr. Dennison’s lawyer, Hector E. Pineiro, declined to comment on the alleged beating or the settlement other than to say, “My client is satisfied that the case has been resolved.”

In court papers, Mr. Dennison alleged that he was on his knees with his hands behind his back to be arrested when an agitated Sgt. LaPointe punched him in the left ear twice. When Mr. Dennison complained and demanded the officer’s badge number, Sgt. LaPointe allegedly took a swing at the man with his collapsible baton.

Mr. Dennison alleged that he suffered a broken finger trying to ward off a baton strike aimed at his head and shoulder area.

In his version of events, Sgt. LaPointe alleged that Mr. Dennison was uncooperative and had been reaching toward his waistband in an apparent attempt to grab something, possibly a weapon, according to a pretrial memorandum filed with the court by city lawyer Janet J. McGuiggan.

“While lying in a prone position on the ground, Dennison again reached for his waistband. Still fearful for his safety, LaPointe struck Dennison in the muscle of the upper right arm with his service baton in an effort to prevent Dennison from possibly pulling a weapon from his waistband and to handcuff him,” Ms. McGuiggan wrote.

The city did not dispute that Mr. Dennison was treated for a fractured third metacarpal — a broken finger on his right hand — and for a perforated eardrum at UMass Memorial Medical Center after he was released from custody. The city noted that Mr. Dennison was drunk at the time of the incident with a blood alcohol level of .14 percent, according to court records.

“Plaintiff’s medical records reveal that his eardrum healed in approximately one month and the finger fracture healed as well,” Ms. McGuiggan wrote in her motion.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Deputy Robert Kijanka Arrested for Smuggling Porn into Juvenile Detention Facility


A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy was arrested Friday, accused of smuggling pornography into the juvenile section of the county jail.

Robert Kijanka, 39, was charged with one count of smuggling contraband into a detention facility and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to the arrest report, an 18-year-old inmate at the jail told detectives Kijanka, who is responsible for the juvenile dorm at the main detention center, brought a pornographic DVD into the jail and showed it to inmates in a classroom.

The juveniles described the DVD as "naked men and women having sex," according to the report.

Inmates said Kijanka also showed them a picture on his cell phone of his girlfriend wearing only her bra and short pants.

One of the inmates told detectives watching the DVD made their day "go by smoother," the report stated.

Detectives said Kijanka admitted to showing the DVD to inmates.

"Was it stupid on my part? Yes, it was," Kijanka told detectives, the report stated.

Kijanka was released on $3,000 bond and has been placed on paid leave.

Officer Julian Steele Arrested for Sexual Battery

Cincinnati Police Officer Julian Steele was arrested Friday afternoon, charged with coercing oral sex from the mother of a child he is accused of falsely booking into Hamilton County’s juvenile jail.

He was charged with sexual battery, a felony.

Steele, 46, of Springfield Township is accused of forcing the woman “knowingly and by means that would prevent resistance by a person of ordinary resolution.”

The incident is alleged to have happened May 14.

Steele will be arraigned today SAT and his case most likely will go to the grand jury next week, said Kathy Harrell, president of the Fraternal Order of Police. She does not know what plea he will make.

Steele, an officer since 1998, was stripped of his police powers and put on desk duty this week as an investigation by the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office proceeded. He turned in his badge and gun on Tuesday and was reassigned from District 5’s investigative unit to the telephone reporting unit.

Harrell said earlier this week that Steele said he had probable cause to make the juvenile arrest.

Steele’s personnel file contains several commendations from citizens and one reprimand for a 1999 traffic stop. His job evaluations classify his overall performance as “exceeds standards.”

“His beat knowledge was a tremendous asset and his input helped with the arrests of key leaders of the Taliband CQ Gang operating in Northside,” one of his supervisors, Sgt. Matthew Hassert, wrote in his latest evaluation dated Jan. 11.

That roundup of those gang members was the largest of its kind in the history of the Police Department, Hassert noted.

Sexual battery is a felony carrying a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Officer Phillip Brooks Arrested for Selling Impounded Cars


A Dayton police officer has been indicted on more than 20 felony counts on allegations he illegally sold impounded cars.

Phillip Brooks, 43, was indicted today, May 21, on charges including grand theft, forgery, and tampering with evidence.

Brooks is accused of using the police database to find the owners of impounded cars, forging fake documents, and selling the cars in his name. Investigators said he has been doing it for at least four years and they found out about the scam when one of the vehicle's legitimate owners tried to reclaim a car.

Brooks could get up to 59 years in prison if convicted.

Brooks was booked into the jail April 9 for contempt of court when he refused to submit a handwriting sample in connection to the case. He was released several hours later when he provided the sample.

Brooks was removed from his patrol position last month when the case emerged. He's scheduled to be arraigned June 4.


Information from the Dayton Daily News was used in this report.

Officer Jason Anderson Takes Stand in Wrongful Death Case


Officer Jason Anderson took the stand in his own defense Wednesday in the wrongful death of Fong Lee. Lee’s family claims their son wasn't armed, and that a gun found on him was planted by police in what's known as a "drop gun."

Surveillance video at City View Elementary shows the shooting in brief parting glimpses, with Officer Anderson chasing Lee. According to court documents, Anderson shot Lee eight times.

Anderson said as he came around the corner he had his gun up, pointed at Lee. He says Lee was holding a gun in his right hand, then fell to the ground after the shooting, but raised the gun again.

Trooper Craig Benz was Anderson’s partner that July night three years ago. The two had never met before. Benz testified he also saw Lee with a gun, but didn't see the actual shooting, as he was several steps behind Anderson.

Anderson testified he didn't approach Lee or the gun after the shooting.

"I didn't secure the gun. I didn't want to be accused of putting it there," said Anderson.

Chicago Pays out $20 Million in Police Brutality Settlements

Last week former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge was in the news again, narrowly avoiding testifying in the case of a convicted murderer who says Burge’s underlings tortured him. Burge allegedly performed and oversaw the torture of dozens of individuals in Chicago police custody during the 1980’s and was arrested by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald last October for obstruction of justice and perjury. What’s all this cost the city of Chicago in settlements?

About $20 million, so far, to four of the more than 100 men who claim they were tortured.

Chicago Alderman approved settlements totaling $19.8 million in January of 2008 to four men who claimed they were tortured by Burge or his officers: Aaron Paterson received $5 million for being convicted of murder by a confession allegedly obtained by torture, Stanley Howard received $800,000 in restitution and another $1 million for attorney fees, Leroy Orange was paid $5.5 million for his 19 years in prison, and Madison Hobley received $1 million up front then another $6.5 million after being acquitted of his arson charge.

With this gesture, Mayor Daley and the City Council hoped to close a “tragic chapter” in Chicago’s history. And they did, as far as the Mayor is concerned. The $19.8 million settlement came with some strings attached: the plaintiffs would not name Mayor Richard Daley as a defendant in a civil rights, obstruction of justice, and racketeering conspiracy case; they wouldn’t pursue Daley’s deposition; they wouldn’t criticize Daley in any public statements made in connection with the settlement; and the above terms would remain secret and would not be put in the written agreement.

But this money has only been paid out to 5 of the dozens of alleged torture victims. The statute of limitations has expired on the most gruesome of Burge’s alleged crimes, making it increasingly unlikely that the remaining accusers will have their day in court.

Because Burge was never convicted, or even formally charged, in a criminal torture case, these alleged victims face what the Chicago Defender describes as an uphill legal battle in seeking their share of compensation from a civil suit. Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office took on 25 cases of alleged torture in 2003. Since then, over 11 have been resolved. Most alleged torture cases have resulted in pardons.