Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Marion Officer Arrested for Misconduct

A Marion police officer has been arrested relating to the officer's officials conduct as a police officer.

The name of the officer has not been released, but that officer has been place on administrative leave.

The issue was initially referred by the city of Marion to the Illinois State Police.

The Marion Police Department is not commenting on the matter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Officer Jennifer Penney Arrested for Drunk Driving

The city's police chief said he is "shocked and saddened" by news that an Alton officer is facing a driving under the influence charge after her arrest last week in Foster Township.

"I've confined her to desk duty until she has her first court appearance," Chief David Hayes of the Alton Police Department said about Officer Jennifer Penney, 36, of Alton. "She is accountable for the choices she has made, and I don't expect treatment any different" from any other person.

"Otherwise, she is a good police officer who has a spotless service record," Hayes said.

Hayes also noted that Penney is "presumed innocent until proven guilty. She will be afforded all of the rights and privileges under a court of law."

Madison County Circuit Court records show Penney's court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 4.

Hayes said he ordered the detective division to conduct an independent, internal affairs investigation of the case.

Capt. Brad Wells of the Madison County Sheriff's Department said someone called authorities at 8:30 a.m. Friday to report a "suspicious vehicle occupied by a woman who appeared to be unconscious" in the 1200 block of West Woodfield Drive in the Woodfield subdivision.

The area is just west of Seminary Road and south of Seiler Road.

Wells said a dispatcher sent paramedics from the Fosterburg Fire Protection District to the location, where they found Penney inside a parked, 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck.

"When they arrived, it did not appear to be a medical problem," he said. "She appeared to be under the influence, and the police investigation started. Witnesses who had contact with her said the parked vehicle was running prior to us arriving. It was not running when we arrived."

Wells said the deputy "established enough probable cause" to charge Penney with driving under the influence. He declined to elaborate or say whether the deputy conducted field sobriety tests or whether Penney underwent a test to determine her blood-alcohol content.

The truck Penney was occupying is not owned by the city of Alton, Hayes said.

Penney worked as a jailer for the Police Department from January 2002 until the Alton Civil Service Commission hired her Nov. 18, 2006, as a probationary police officer.

Penney and her then-husband, David, were only the second married couple to both work as police officers at the Alton department. They since have divorced.

Jennifer Penney previously served in the U.S. Army Reserves' 318th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) in Jefferson Barracks in South St. Louis County, Mo.

Officer Edwing Morales Charged with Firearms Trafficking

A Metro police officer and four others have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of international firearms trafficking.

Federal investigators said Metro Officer Edwing Ronal Morales and the others were charged in a conspiracy to purchase guns to send to two separate drug cartels in Guatemala.

The indictment charges that Julio Cesar Rojas-Lopez recruited Donald Efren Franco, Denis Franco, Luis Armando Monterroso Pineda and Morales to purchase guns from gun dealers in Davidson County.

The men allegedly falsified documents claiming they were purchasing the guns for themselves when the guns were in fact being delivered to the cartels in Guatemala.

Investigators said the defendants purchased 23 firearms and attempted to purchase five more guns, ammunition and falsely stated who the purchasers and recipients would be.

Some of the weapons purchased did end up in Guatemala, said investigators.

"They put them in towed cars, secreted them inside towed vehicles and towed the vehicles across the border. They also put them in secret compartments in the cars," said agent James Cavanaugh of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Authorities said all five men indicted have citizenship in another country but are in the United States legally.

Morales had been assigned to routine patrol in the North precinct. While Morales was an officer, according to Serpas it doesn't appear he used his position in any way to purchase the guns.

"I think (Morales) was stupid to be involved in this criminal enterprise and think he could get away with it," Serpas said.

Morales was fired Sept. 15 from the Metro Nashville Police Department. He had been a police officer trainee since April 1, 2007.

"This community and this police department has no tolerance for anyone involved in this type of behavior," said Serpas.

Authorities would not say how they were tipped off but said they started piecing things together after two of the men were pulled over after leaving a gun shop in Franklin.

As for the former police officer involved, Serpas said sometimes you cannot keep those who uphold the law from breaking it.

"I think in every walk of life, people get through the cracks, people slip through, and somehow secret what their true motivations and true behavior is," said Serpas.

All five of the people involved have turned themselves in to authorities. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. district attorney.

Morales passed a background check and had a clean record before becoming a Metro officer.

Trial Begins for Chief Deputy Barry Taylor

A chief deputy accused of interfering with a police investigation is on trial.

The trial of Chief Deputy Barry Taylor of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was moved from Lincoln to Cleveland County. A jury picked Monday got special instructions since an officer is the one accused of a crime.

The case is also complicated by the fact that officers are being called to testify against Taylor.

The sergeant at the center of the case was called to testify Monday about the night that he says Taylor stepped in during a driving while impaired investigation. The prosecution says that officer pulled over someone who happened to the boss of the chief deputy’s fiancee or girlfriend.

Prosecutors say the chief deputy interfered in the case and kept the sergeant from executing a breathalyzer test.

The defense argues that Taylor executed his own test with a sensor that is not admissible in court. The prosecution said no one ever saw the reading from that test, while Taylor said it was .07 -- just one-tenth of a point under the legal limit.

If Taylor is convicted, he will lose his position at the sheriff’s office.

The jury is comprised of six men and six women, and it includes a former Gaston County Police Department officer. Although the venue was changed, four of the jurors said they had heard, read or seen TV reports on the charges of felonious obstruction of justice against Taylor.

Officer Stevie Perry Accused Stealing Reward Money

A Detroit Police Officer accused of stealing more than $26,000 in reward money from a police tip line stood silently in 16th District Court in Livonia this morning as a judge ordered his case to circuit court.

Officer Stevie Perry, 39, of Detroit, a 14-year law enforcement veteran, said before the 9:30 a.m. hearing he did not want to talk about the case. He faces five felony charges, the most serious of which -- uttering and publishing -- includes a possible 14-year prison sentence for a conviction.

"Any and all issues will be tried in court," his lawyer, Paul Bernier of Royal Oak, a retired Wayne County assistant prosecutor, said after the three-minute hearing in front of Judge Sean P. Kavanagh. Bernier waived the preliminary examination and Perry was again released on a personal bond pending a hearing in two weeks in Third Circuit Court in Detroit.

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Perry deposited reward checks from an auto-theft tip line into his personal bank account between June 2007 and November 2008.

Perry is charged with uttering and publishing; using a computer to commit a crime; identity theft; committing a crime under false pretenses, and misconduct in office. Assigned to investigate auto thefts for the past five years, Perry has been suspended without pay since March.

After the charges were announced against Perry in July, the Detroit Police Officers Association went to court in an attempt to fight the release of Perry’s booking photo to the Free Press. The union claimed the photo was part of Perry’s personnel file and that a collective-bargaining agreement prevented the city from releasing it.

The Michigan Court of Appeals, however, disagreed and ordered the city to release the image.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Officer Ray Roberts Suspended for Making Illegal Arrest

A Murfreesboro Police officer faces 10 days suspension and one year of disciplinary probation after a lengthy investigation by MPD internal affairs into an arrest made by him in November 2008.

Officer Ray Roberts made an illegal arrest of a local Murfreesboro man, Anthony Defeo, on Nov. 30, 2008, for driving without a license, according to investigative reports filed by MPD Sgt. Harry Haigh and Capt. Anita Flagg.

The arrest was for a misdemeanor that happened out of Robert’s presence and was therefor determined to be illegal by several police department investigators over the course of the 6-month-long investigation into the incident.

Capt. Michael Bowen initially proposed Ray be suspended for one month for the infraction, but a document signed by Murfreesboro Police Chief Glenn Chrisman and Maj. David Hudgens in May 2009 contained a recommendation that Roberts be terminated from the department for lying during the internal investigation into the matter.

But after an appeals process concluded this week, the proposed firing was reduced to suspension and probation by City Manager Rob Lyons. It was found that Roberts did not lie during the investigation into the matter.

“I find that you exceeded your authority when you made a custodial arrest of Mr. Defeo for a misdemeanor not committed in your presence,” Lyons said, adding that Tennessee law is clear on when arrests are appropriate.

Lyons wrote in a report filed Thursday that Roberts was also investigated for suspicion of violating a general order stating that officers should deal truthfully and honorably with others. It was found he did not violate that order.

“The proposed increase in discipline recommended by Captain Bowen and Major Hudgens centered upon their belief that you were not truthful,” Lyons wrote in Robert’s letter of disciplinary action. “It is apparent that due to your strong headed nature, your failure to accept criticism and advice and the manner in which you sequenced your investigation, you created doubt ... about your truthfulness.”

Lyons goes on to tell Roberts that, even though he did not lie, he will have to regain the confidence of his superiors at the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Officer Joseph Rios Charged with Aggravated Assault

The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office has charged police officer Joseph Rios with third-degree aggravated assault and second-degree official misconduct.

Last May, Rios was allegedly captured on surveillance video beating a mental patient with his baton, sparking allegations of police brutality.

Ronnie Holloway was arrested after the incident. He insists he did not provoke the beating. Four months after the 50-year-old schizophrenia patient was allegedly beaten, an incident that community activists called unprovoked police brutality, the Passaic County prosecutor filed the charges.

Surveillence video shows the beating, which took place outside of Lawrence's Restaurant on Main street in Passaic on May 29th. In the video, Rios' patrol car pulls up, a female officer gets out and orders Holloway to zip his jacket. Moments later, Rios gets out, approaches Holloway and appears to strike him several times with his fists and baton.

Holloway appears not to resist or fight back. He's knocked to the grorund, picked up and slammed onto the police cruiser. He was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and approaching a location to buy drugs. Holloway, who takes medication and had never been arrested, suffered a black eye and bruised ribs.

Rios has been suspended without pay from Passaic's police force. His attorney says evidence will eventually prove that Rios did nothing wrong.

Officer Jevon Adkins Sprays House with Bullets

An off-duty police officer with a rural Mississippi town opens fire on a home in Hardeman County early Sunday morning.

Investigators say Officer Jevon Adkins was drunk when he sprayed a house on Mecklinburg Drive with bullets, thinking his girlfriend was inside.

But it wasn't even his girlfriend's house. It belongs to an older couple, who was home at the time, asleep in a back bedroom.

The homeowner didn't want to be identified. She tells us one bullet hit the ceiling of their carport, another lodged next to the garage door. A third flew through a living room window and landed inside their TV.

Hardeman County Deputies say the man standing in her yard firing his .40 calibur weapon was an off-duty Byhalia Police Officer.

"I think it's awful," said Bolivar resident Sandra Brown.

She was stunned to find out Adkins' intended target was his girlfriend's home next door and that he'd aimed his gun at the wrong house.

"He could've killed somebody," she said.

The report states Adkins fired his weapon at least 7 times. The victim told deputies while shooting, he was calling out for someone named "Lela."

No one answered when we knocked at that house.

But according to the report, the address was somewhat familiar to dispatchers. Shortly after arriving on the scene deputies were on the phone with the Byhalia Police Department, asking about Officer Adkins whereabouts.

When they discovered it was his day off, they immediately put out an alert on him and his silver Toyota. But it turns out they didn't need to.

A couple of hours after the incident, Adkins he returned to the scene of the crime. We're told he was intoxicated. Deputies cuffed him, ending what could've been a deadly situation.

He's locked up at the Hardeman County jail, charged with Aggravated Assault.

Officer James Wade Charged with Falsifying Timesheets

A Bayonne police officer and second man surrendered to the Hudson County Sheriff's Office this morning on charges they falsified their timesheets while working as security guards at Global Terminal containerport on the Jersey City/Bayonne border, officials said.

Police Officer James Wade, 33, of Columbus Drive in Bayonne, and Steven Hogan, 53, of Maywood, then made their first appearance on the charge of theft by deception in Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City this afternoon.

Bayonne Police Chief Robert Kubert was shocked at the charge against Wade.

"I'd be surprised if it turns out to be a fact because he's one of my best officers, but we will see what happened down the road," Kubert told The Jersey Journal. "I'd be quite surprised if anything came out of it."

Waterfront Commission Executive Director Walter Arenault said both men were employed as port watchmen by the commission through a private security firm.

Both are charged with falsifying their timesheets to show they worked more hours than they actually did, and thereby being paid more money than they should have, officials said.

Eleven people have already been charged in the same investigation, which began more than a year ago and led to a warrant being signed this morning for the arrest of Hogan and Wade, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Karyn Pizzelanti.

Wade is the only police officer charged, she said.

The others charged have all entered into pre-trial intervention and if they comply with the terms of PTI, the charges against them will be removed from their record.

Arenault said the continuing investigation led to the charges against Hogan and Wade and he also said charges against additional people are possible.

Wade was not representing the Bayonne Police Department in any way at the time of the alleged crime, officials said.

Wade has been placed on desk duty following his surrender this morning and he will remain in the status pending a review of the charges by Bayonne police, Kubert said.

At today's hearing, CJP Judge Richard Nieto set bail for Wade and Hogan at $20,000 cash or bond for each and he then ordered them remanded to the Hudson County jail in Kearny.

Cpl Donald Bailey Arrested for Taking Money for Favors

A veteran Baton Rouge police officer arrested Monday evening by Louisiana State Police for allegedly accepting cash from an inmate to get the jailed man's charges dismissed and his parole hold lifted bonded out of jail early Tuesday morning.

East Baton Rouge Parish jail officials said Cpl. Donald Bailey, 49, was released on a $10,000 bond around 2 a.m.

Bailey was charged with malfeasance in office and corrupt influencing. Investigators said they found out Bailey extorted money from the inmate and set up an operation to catch him in the act.

Troopers recorded a telephone call between Bailey and the inmate. During the call, the inmate told Bailey he needed help getting out of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on a cocaine possession charge and a parole hold. According to state police, Bailey told the inmate he would help him in exchange for $12,000.

The officer allegedly then contacted the district attorney's office and the parole office to make the requests. The agencies allowed the requests to happen and once the inmate was out of jail, a meeting was arranged between the inmate and Bailey. Investigators reported Bailey accepted $1,400 in cash. He was then arrested and booked into the parish prison.

Bailey is a 14-year veteran of the department and was the coordinator of the Targeted Violent Offender Program. Bailey was placed on administrative leave "pending a legally mandated pre-termination hearing," the department said in a statement late Monday evening.

"To say I'm disappointed would be a major understatement," Police Chief Jeff LeDuff said. "It hurts me personally and it hurts all of us professionally, anytime an officer violates the public trust."

LeDuff said he asked Louisiana State Police to conduct an independent investigation after first hearing of allegations against the corporal earlier this month.

"Allegations of corruption are taken very seriously and need to be investigated immediately," LeDuff said. "Many times we conduct those inquiries in-house. But in this case, Bailey was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Bureau, and we wanted to be certain we could maintain the integrity of the investigation, so we requested the assistance of Louisiana State Police."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Deputy Colin Teem Arrested for Theft

A deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with theft, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Polk County investigators said Deputy Colin Teem refused to admit he found and pocketed $60 off a floor at the Spirit Mountain Casino on Saturday night.

A short time later, the man who lost the money notified security, authorities said. Surveillance cameras at the casino clearly showed the victim losing his money and Teem picking it up, said Polk County authorities.

After security officers found Teem and his wife inside the casino, Teem denied finding the money and refused to tell them his name, according to officials.

Teem was arrested Saturday and placed on leave Sunday, said Sheriff Dennis Dotson in a news release. He has been charged with second-degree theft -- theft of lost, mislaid property, which is a misdemeanor, Dotson said. Teem's wife was also arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.

Polk County residents said they find it troubling that a deputy allegedly risked his law enforcement career over $60.

"For $60, what an idiot, especially when you're in a casino," said Cathleen Hogan, who lives in the area. "Didn't he watch 'Ocean's 11?' He should know there's cameras everywhere."

The alleged theft could cost Teem his position with the sheriff's office. Dotson said no further action will be taken until his office has reviewed a report from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Teem has worked for the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office since May 2006.

Deputy Accused Of Theft At Casino

Former Officer Ryan Jackson Accused of Inappropriate Contact with Juvenile

A former Shreveport police corporal is accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a female juvenile while working an off-duty security job.

Ryan Jackson, 30, of the 4100 block of Pines Road in Shreveport, was booked into Caddo Correctional Center at 5:10 p.m. Friday after being indicted on one count of molestation of a juvenile. He was there Friday evening on a $75,184 bond, according to online booking records, which later did not list him as being at Caddo Correctional.

Jackson was employed by the Shreveport Police Department at the time of the incident, which was reported April 21, according to news releases from the Police Department and City of Shreveport.

He was placed on paid administrative leave April 28 then fired June 24, as a result of internal and criminal investigations, for violating departmental policies, the releases state.

“When an officer conducts himself in such a manner as to bring disrepute to the badge we are entrusted to wear, it is disappointing and disconcerting,” Police Chief Henry Whitehorn says in one of the statements released after 5 p.m. Friday. “I hold each of my officers to a high standard, and I will simply not tolerate misconduct.”

The case was handed over to the Caddo district attorney’s office, which brought it before a grand jury. That panel returned a secret indictment against Johnson, a seven-year member of the department, the city’s release states.

The date the indictment was handed up was not immediately known Friday by representatives of the Police Department and city. An after-hours phone call to the district attorney’s office was not answered.

Mayor Cedric Glover was “repulsed, disgusted and appalled by the charge” and commended Whitehorn for his swift action in the matter, according to the city’s release.

If convicted as charged, Jackson could face one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

The law also includes a provision for more jail time if a juvenile is molested by someone who has control or supervision over the juvenile. The provision increases the possible penalty to up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

And if the juvenile is younger than age 13, Jackson could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged.

Officer Antonio White Charged with Rape, Incest & Other Sex Charges

Macon police say an officer has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested on multiple sex charges in Houston County.

Police said in a statement released Friday that 33-year-old Antonio J. White of Warner Robins is charged with rape, incest, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sexual battery, statutory rape, cruelty to children and child molestation.

Sheriff's deputies arrested White around 6:40 p.m. Thursday. He was being held Friday at the Houston County jail without bond.

Houston County arrest warrants allege that the crimes occurred between April 19, 2006 and Sept. 2, 2009.

White's lawyer, Clarence Williams, says the allegations are untrue.

White was hired as a Macon police officer in September 2007.
Information from: The Macon Telegraph,

Chief Ellis Casper Arrested for Drunk Driving

The chief of police in Bayfield was arrested and charged last week for first-offense drunk driving near Merrill, Wisconsin.

The State Patrol noticed Ellis Casper's vehicle going north in the southbound lane of Highway 51 in Lincoln County.

Casper, 60, was arrested about 9 p.m. on Sept. 18. A preliminary breath test indicated his blood-alcohol content was 0.14 percent.

Bayfield Mayor Larry MacDonald says Casper called him the next day. The city council is considering a possible reprimand.

"We are examining the situation very closely. The city attorney is looking at the issue, and we'll be addressing it at an upcoming Bayfield City Council meeting," Mayor MacDonald said over the phone on Friday.

The mayor also said Casper was not on city business nor was he in a city vehicle at the time of the arrest. Casper has been the chief for about 10 years.

A first offense DWI in Wisconsin is essentially a traffic ticket, and Casper, if convicted, will be subject to a fine.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Officer Lourdes Smith Arrested on 2 Misdemeanor Charges

A Metro police officer has been arrested by Henderson police.

Lourdes Smith, 36, was arrested Tuesday on two misdemeanor charges. She has been employed by Metro police for over eight years.

Metro police said they became aware of the HPD investigation on Sept. 17 and are conducting an independent internal investigation into the incident.

Smith was assigned to the patrol division, South Central Area Command. She has been reassigned to administrative duties within that area command, with no public contact, pending the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation.

Metro said as with all internal affairs investigations, no information will be released until the investigation is concluded.

Portland Officers Being Sued for Excessive Force

A police officer, whose shooting of a Portland man two years ago cost the city a half million dollars, was in court again Friday on claims he and several other officers used excessive force.

Officer Leo Besner was among the officers who responded to a report of a fight downtown two years ago during a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Three men, Alex Clay, Richard Booth, and Harold Hammick, said the officers’ actions toward them were excessive and too aggressive. They are suing the city for $300,000.

Hammick said Besner punched him in the groin and used a knife to cut the seat belts he was wearing while he sat in a vehicle.

All three said they were detained too long and for no reason. None of the three was arrested.

A witness to the incident that took place in a parking garage, Adam Ganer, agreed with the plaintiffs.

“All of a sudden we see the police with all their guns drawn, you know, shouting. The three plaintiff’s were just shouting, ‘please just tell us what we did wrong,’” he said. There was “no resisting, no anger, no questioning. They were terrified.”

Greg Kafoury, the attorney for Hammick, said when his client told Besner he had a concealed weapon permit and was carrying a gun, the officers overreacted because of race.

“The officers’ story is built on the ugliest of stereotypes,” he said. “Young, black men, confrontational, belligerent, loud, pushy, aggressive, got a chip on their shoulder, looking for trouble.”

City attorney Bill Manlove argued the police were just doing their job.

“Officer Besner had to do that investigation to find out if in fact the gun was lawfully possessed by Mr. Hammick,” he said.

Besner’s history includes shooting 30-year-old Raymond Gwerder two years ago.

Gwerder was suicidal and had threatened to shoot police if they came inside his house.

He was shot outside the house while on the phone with a police negotiator, ending a 90-minute standoff.

In that case, Besner said he saw Gwerder appear to aim his gun as if he was “hunting” for something to shoot.

Ultimately, the city of Portland agreed to pay a $500,000 settlement to Gwerder’s family.

The jury is currently deliberating the current suit against Besner.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Officer Mark Lunsford Charged with Stealing Money & Jewelry

A Baltimore police officer assigned to a federal drug task force was arrested by the FBI and charged Thursday with stealing money and jewelry from houses hit on drug raids and with embezzling from funds used to pay confidential informants, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

Officer Mark J. Lunsford, 40, who has been on the force for six years, was placed by a federal judge on home detention with electronic monitoring during an appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. He had been assigned to Baltimore's Drug Enforcement Administration, which conducts high-end narcotics investigations.

"These allegations represent an egregious abuse of trust," Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in an interview. FBI agents arrested the officer Wednesday night after he left work. He was charged with making a false claim, making a false statement and embezzlement.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department, said Lunsford is being suspended without pay. "The department doesn't tolerate any behavior that undermines the integrity of the agency or the hard work of our police officers," he said.

Neither Lunsford, who earned $97,196 with overtime in fiscal 2008, nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

Authorities said a confidential informant used by the DEA and city police tipped them off to the allegations. One of the items stolen from a drug raid at a hotel room, according to court documents filed Thursday, was a stainless steel Aqua Master diamond watch that retails for $18,000. The source told the FBI that Lunsford ordered him to "repair the watch and sell it and share the proceeds with him," according to the affidavit. The watch was sold for about $4,200 in New York.

The court documents describe the informant as unreliable because of his "inability to follow instructions and candor issues." The FBI dropped him as an informant, but court papers said the DEA and Baltimore police continued to use him for information.

After the informant came forward to FBI agents, prosecutors said in court documents, they secretly recorded conversations between Lunsford and the informant.

The affidavit alleges that Lunsford listed the informant on drug cases that the informant hadn't worked and would then tell his superiors that the informant deserved bonuses. In one case, he falsely linked the informant to a secret wiretap on a drug case "in the county" and then got the informant a $10,000 bonus from the DEA, according to prosecutors.

The prosecutors said Lunsford then split the money with the informant.

On July 1, the FBI said, agents caught Lunsford meeting with the informant outside a federal office in Elkridge and discussing a drug case: "I put in there that you gave me the information about ah ... what's the guy's name? That's that [expletive] house we're gonna hit. Who knows? We might get lucky," Lunsford told the informant, according to the court documents.

During that same conversation, prosecutors said, Lunsford told the informant "that he stole three [PlayStation] video games from the residence of a person [federal agents] had interviewed," according to court documents.

Lunsford then told the informant, "Me and you are the only ones that know we split that ten grand, right?" the documents say. The informant answered, "Oh yea, nobody knows."

Later, authorities said, Lunsford arrested a man during a raid and seized $17,490. Prosecutors said Lunsford put the informant, who had nothing to do with the case, in for a 20 percent bonus.

According to prosecutors, Lunsford wrote that "without the valuable intelligence provided by the [informant], the [suspect] would not have been arrested." Prosecutors said, "As Lunsford well knew at the time he submitted the claim for an award to DEA, the [informant] had provided no intelligence to him."

Prosecutors said the DEA allowed the informant to receive a $3,498 bonus and cut a U.S. Treasury check to the informant. The informant cashed the check and handed the money back to a DEA supervisor, who gave the informant marked $100 bills. Prosecutors said the informant then met with Lunsford to give him his share of the bonus in a parking lot in Sykesville. The FBI said agents had that meeting under surveillance.

Officer Francis Brevetti Faces Drug Charges

A Waterbury police officer has been charged possessing cocaine and marijuana with intent to sell, but insists he seized the drugs during an investigation and just forgot to turn them in at the police department.

Twenty-nine-year-old Francis Brevetti of Wolcott was arrested by Watertown police Thursday. Officers say Brevetti crashed his pickup into a tree Sunday and police found the drugs in his truck.

Police say they found nearly 2 ounces of marijuana, less than 3 grams of powder cocaine and a digital scale.

Brevetti has been suspended with pay pending an investigation. He posted $100,000 bail and is to be arraigned in state court Tuesday.

Brevetti's lawyer says his client seized the drugs while on duty and put them in a bag that he forgot to turn in at the police station.

Former Sgt Faron White Sentenced to 16 Months

A federal judge has imposed a 16-month sentence on a former Decatur police officer who staged his apparent abduction, stole $50,000 from the department and fled to Las Vegas.

The judge in Huntsville sentenced former Decatur police Sgt. Faron White for theft on Tuesday. A co-defendant was to be sentenced afterward.

White already has been in jail for eight months.

White admitted stealing money from his office safe, staging his disappearance and fleeing to Las Vegas in January. Authorities said he had debts from gambling and normal family expenses.

The judge ordered White to pay about $50,000 in restitution to Decatur police.
All previous Post:

Former Officer Robert Miller Charged with Scamming People

A former South Charleston police officer now finds himself in trouble with the law. Charleston Police arrested Robert Earl Miller Thursday and charged him with impersonating a police officer.

It has been more than ten years since Miller served on the South Charleston force but Charleston police say he is guilty of scamming people out of money.

If you think you may have been a victim of one of Miller's possible scams you are asked to contact the Charleston Police Department.


Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss May Face More Charges

The attorney representing a Broward sheriff's deputy charged with sexually assaulting an undocumented immigrant on multiple occasions said Tuesday that ``there was no reason to believe any of the accusations.''

``Everyone should sit back and take a deep breath,'' said Eric Schwartzreich, an attorney who represents the Police Benevolent Association. ``We're hopeful that when all the ink dries, everyone will see that there's more than meets the eye.''

Jonathan Bleiweiss, 29, who joined the Broward Sheriff's Office in 2002, was arrested Monday morning on 14 charges, including sexual battery, false armed imprisonment and stalking. Detectives said Bleiweiss stopped a 30-year-old man waiting for a ride to work. After discovering he was an undocumented migrant, Bleiweiss groped him during a pat-down, detectives said.

According to the arrest warrant, the victim told BSO that he was forced to allow the deputy to perform oral sex on him on four occasions. Detectives said the incidents took place during traffic stops or inside Bleiweiss' marked police car.

Schwartzreich and Bleiweiss appeared in Broward Circuit Court on Tuesday, during which the judge ordered that Bleiweiss be placed in protective custody. Schwartzreich said the deputy was ``dismayed and upset'' by the allegations.

Bleiweiss, who lives in Fort Lauderdale and is openly gay, is being held without bail.

Prosecutors and detectives said Tuesday that their work was only beginning. Charges are being prepared in at least seven other cases in which Bleiweiss allegedly fondled or performed sexual acts on undocumented migrants.


BSO was alerted in April that at least two men claimed to have been victimized by a deputy, but Bleiweiss was allowed to continue on his job until last month. During that period, detectives said, there was at least one additional incident, which raised concerns that BSO did not work swiftly enough.

``I gotta believe that if the police department had allowed someone to work when they had information that he touched a woman, the roar of objection would be deafening,'' said Howard Finkelstein, Broward's chief public defender, whose office is not involved in the case.

A BSO spokeswoman would not respond to Finkelstein's remarks, but Sheriff Al Lamberti said Monday the office needed to ensure the allegations were not a response to a vendetta against the deputy.

Bleiweiss was known as being an enforcer, and his supervisors often commended his high number of arrests and investigative skills.


Bleiweiss, who graduated from Great Neck High School in Long Island and majored in history at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, also received the Oakland Park BSO District's employee of the year award for 2008.

Court documents released Tuesday also detail at least three encounters in which witnesses said Bleiweiss denied their requests that he stop molesting them, reported Tuesday night. The victims identified Bleiweiss in a police line-up, the records show.

Meanwhile, prosecutors must determine what to do with three traffic cases for which the accused deputy is listed as a witness.

Deputy Sidney Binkley Arrested for Stealing Items from Accident Scenes

A former Greene County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with three counts of theft after he was accused of stealing items from accident scenes.

The charges were filed this week against 28-year-old Sidney Robert Binkley of Paragould. Binkley was arrested June 15, five days after he resigned from the sheriff’s department.

Authorities accuse Binkley of taking a Glock 9mm pistol and a magazine clip worth $600 and a benchmade knife worth $250 from the scene of an accident in which the owner was allegedly a convicted felon. State police say the items were found in Binkley’s home.

Corrections Officer John Carrasquillo Arrested for Stalking

An Orange County corrections officer was arrested today on a stalking charge after Osceola deputies said he made crank calls to a friend of his wife.

The woman told investigators that someone with a blocked number called her cell phone several times, speaking inaudibly or not at all or making noises. One day last month, the person called four times but hung up when she answered, according to a a sheriff's report. Another day, the person called six times and once whispered, "How are you?"

Investigators traced the call to John Carrasquillo, 45, who told them he wanted the woman to stay away from his wife so he could get "some quality time" with his wife, the report states.

Carrasquillo was arrested on a stalking charge. A deputy wrote that he called the woman "willfully, repeatedly and maliciously."

Carrasquillo is being held without bail at the Osceola County Jail.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sgt. Daniel Bowden Has Been Terminated for Child Porn

The veteran Florida Highway Patrol trooper arrested on 10 counts of possession of child pornography this week has been terminated, according to an FHP official in Tallahassee.

"He has been terminated," said Capt. Mark Welch, FHP's chief of public affairs in Tallahassee.

Lake County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit arrested former FHP Sgt. Daniel Bowden, 40, on the 10 counts on Tuesday.

The unit had been investigating the Bowden case for several months. A search warrant was served at Bowden's Lake County home and an examination of computers there discovered "numerous images of child pornography," according to the Sheriff's Office.

The images show young male and female children engaged in sex acts, according to an affidavit released by the Sheriff's Office. The children shown in the images are under 18, the document states.

Bowden was arrested without incident and taken to the Lake County Jail. He was released Tuesday evening after posting bail.

During an interview with Lake investigators, Bowden said he "made a mistake," but he also said that "he did not think what he was doing was a big deal," the affidavit states. He told investigators he was viewing the images "out of curiosity," according to the document.

Bowden had been with the FHP since August 1991. He worked ouf of FHP's Troop D and its DeLand station.

Sgt. Hector Montes Arrested for Official Oppression

El Paso County Sheriff's Sgt. Hector Montes, 42, is arrested on suspicion of abusing his authority.

Montes has been booked and released from the El Paso County Jail, and while few details are coming out about what he has done, the sheriff's office has already said it does not condone his behavior.

Montes was charged with official oppression. According to the penal code, the charge is that Montes used his position as a sergeant in the El Paso County Sheriff's Office to his advantage. That could mean he mistreated or arrested someone unlawfully, denied someone his or her rights and/or subjected someone to sexual harassment. It is a misdemeanor charge.

According to what KFOX found in a search of jail records, 42-year-old Montes was booked at the El Paso County Jail a little after 5:30 p.m. on Thursday on a $5,000 bond, and that the incident for which he was charged for happened a week and a half ago on Sept. 16.

He was released less than an hour later on a cash bond.

A spokesman, Deputy Jesse Tovar, said the incident was uncovered by the sheriff's office, calling it "a disturbing incident." Tovar also said they will investigate any additional allegations.

Sheriff's officials said Montes is a 13-year veteran of the sheriff's office, and has been relieved of his duties and placed on administrative leave.

Since Montes is a peace officer, the sheriff's office will not release his mug shot until after an indictment.

Sgt. Daniel Bowden Busted for Looking at Child Porn

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper is unemployed after he was busted for looking at child pornography online.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested Sgt. Daniel Bowden, 40, Tuesday afternoon.

Bowden is facing 10 counts of child pornography for pictures the Lake County Sheriff's Office Cyber Crimes Unit confirmed were on Bowden's computer.

It's an undercover investigation that has taken months to come to light.

“This started back in November of 2008 with a search warrant. Several computers were seized and once the forensics was completed on those computers, there were several images of child pornography that we discovered,” said Cpl. Jim Vachon from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

It was a shocking discovery that led to the arrest of Bowden, an 18-year veteran of the highway patrol, who worked in DeLand, but lives in Lake County.

Deputies said some of the pornographic images Bowden had on his computer appeared to be of children under 4 years old.

“They were described as being obviously children, some pre-pubescent. Just the file names alone were pretty graphic,” Vachon said.

Bowden made statements to the sheriff’s office about his actions.

“Things like ‘I screwed up’ and ‘I was just curious,’ that kind of thing,” Vachon said.

Officers said at one point, Bowden said he did not think what he was doing was a big deal.

It wasn’t the reaction the Florida Highway Patrol had after finding out about his arrest. They said Bowden is being fired and released the following statement:

We regret the incident involving Mr. Bowden, and we certainly do not condone his actions in any way. As State Troopers charged with the safety and well-being of our residents and visitors, we expect all of our officers to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards, including those relating to both their professional and personal lives.

“I mean, of course, it’s difficult for us to investigate a fellow law enforcement officer. But in the end, we've got a job to do and it's just unfortunate that this is the way it went,” Vachon said.

Officer John Cumberland Arrested for Drunk Driving

Metro Police say East Precinct Crime Suppression Unit Officer John Cumberland has been decommissioned of his police authority following his arrest early today on charges of drunken driving and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.

Police say Cumberland crashed his unmarked police vehicle into a ditch on Newsome Station Road near Settlers Way just before 12:30 a.m.

A citizen called to report the crash and said that the driver appeared to be impaired.

Officers found that Cumberland smelled of alcohol and, after performing field sobriety tasks, indicated impairment.

Cumberland consented to a breath alcohol test, which registered 0.12%.

In Tennessee, a person is considered to be legally under the influence of alcohol with a reading of 0.08%.

Cumberland got off work at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Cumberlands bond was set at $7,000.

The police departments administrative investigation of Cumberlands actions, which is separate from the criminal matter, is underway.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Officer Travis Ludwig Arrest on Drug Charges

A Tulsa police officer is free on bond after his arrest on drug complaints Tuesday night.

Police arrested 37-year-old Travis K. Ludwig at his home Tuesday evening. According to the arrest and booking report, police obtained several search reports and that those search warrants turned up three bags of a tannish-white substance, drug scales and money.

The report says the substance field-tested positive for cocaine.

Today, we spoke with Ludwig's attorney, Scott Wood, who says his client is innocent.

"Travis Ludwig is not a drug dealer," Wood said. "He abhors drug dealers and is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing in this matter."

Police say they learned of the alleged drug dealing during an internal administrative investigation into Ludwig. We're told he has now been suspended until the investigation is complete.

He posted $10,000 bond and was released at 2:47 a.m. Wednesday.

In January 2006, Ludwig was disciplined by the Police Department for his relationship with a married exotic dancer.

He reportedly told the woman not to cooperate with an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter, according to documents that are part of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the woman's husband.

In tape-recorded conversations and depositions, Ludwig urged the woman, Crystal Garr, not to talk to Tulsa Police Department Internal Affairs officers investigating him.

In 2005 Ludwig conducted a search of Garr's husband's house that resulted in drug charges against the man, Shannon Coyle.

Those charges have since been dropped.

Records show that Ludwig and Crystal Garr married in June 2009.

Three Officers Investigated for Tasering Death of Richard Battistata

Three Laredo police officers are on administrative duty pending investigation of the death of a man they shocked with a Taser gun.

Police spokesman Alberto Escobedo says the three officers answered a pre-dawn criminal mischief report Monday and confronted 44-year-old Richard Battistata. That's after the man allegedly had broken a bedroom window and entered an apartment.

Escobedo says that during the confrontation Battistata turned combative and one officer used the Taser to subdue him.

Instead, Battistata became unresponsive and police called an ambulance. He died soon after arriving at Doctors Hospital.
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Sheriff Joe Arpaio At It Again

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's arrest of Supervisor Don Stapley is outrageous (Stapley arrested by deputies, Tuesday)!

Although the sheriff has the legal power to arrest people who have committed a crime, to do so for 100 alleged financial crimes without involving a county attorney and therefore without an indictment, especially when public safety is not threatened and the suspect is not a flight risk, is a misuse of that power.

Obviously, humiliating a perceived political foe is more important to Sheriff Joe than following the customary procedure of turning over the results of his office's investigation to the prosecutor.

Thankfully, our megalomaniac sheriff is not also the judge and jury.

Corrections Officer Daniel Vili Arrested for Sexual Assault on Minor

A Colorado corrections officer is suspected of supplying two teenage girls with alcohol, fondling them and then threatening a third girl.

Daniel Vili, 28, who has worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections since 2004 and was most recently a guard at the Camp George West correctional center in Golden, was arrested Friday in Loveland on suspicion of sexual assault on a child, unlawful sexual contact and contributing to the delinquency of minors, according to the Loveland Police Department.

Three teenage girls — ages 14, 15 and 16 — were "hanging out" on a lawn outside Vili's Loveland apartment Friday when he invited them inside, according to police. Vili gave alcohol to the two younger teens, and the 16-year-old declined it, police said.

Vili, who had been drinking, fondled both of the younger girls, the department said.

The 16-year-old urged her friends to leave and returned to the apartment to "confront" Vili, police said, when he "threatened to cut the throat" of the older girl.

Officer Sallica Wilson Fired After Taking Money from Department

Bishopville Police Chief John Ewing says one of his officers has been fired after being accused of taking money from his department.

Sallica Wilson has been arrested and charged with misconduct in office.

Ewing says that between September 11 and September 21, his department noticed that about $100 in cash was missing from the records money.

Officers says audio and videotapes helped them in their investigation.

"I want the citizens of the City of Bishopville to know that I hold our officers to a higher standard then everyone else," Ewing said in a written statement. "If we do wrong, then we should be held accountable just like everyone else. Just because we wear a badge does not mean we should be treated differently as it pertains to the law."

Wilson was an eight-year veteran of the force. She held the rank of sergeant.

Officer Kyle Zumbrunn Arrested on Drug Charges

An officer with the Weston Police Department has been arrested on a pair of drug-related charges, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Kyle A. Zumbrunn, 26, was arrested on Tuesday by the KBI for sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and using a telephonic device to facilitate a drug transaction. The KBI was acting on a request from the Atchison Police Department.

Zumbrunn was arrested after he sold a suspected controlled substance to an undercover KBI agent, officials said. He was slated to make his first appearance in court on Wednesday.

Officer Janet Hawkins Charged with Resisting Arrest

A Daytona Beach police officer was arrested in Holly Hill Tuesday night after authorities said she became violent during a traffic stop and two injured officers.

Janet Hawkins was placed on administrative leave following the incident and faces three charges: careless driving, resisting arrest with violence and resisting arrest without violence.

Investigators said Hawkins was stopped for speeding while apparently heading to the Holly Hill Police Department after learning her 25-year-old son had been arrested during a conflict at an apartment complex.

A police report indicated Hawkins was off-duty and driving her personal car at the time of the traffic stop. The report said she was angered after identifying herself as a police officer, called the Holly Hill officers rednecks and corrupt and said she would sue them for "messing with her family."

Holly Hill police said they tried to calm the situation, but that Hawkins only became more hostile and volatile when they tried to arrest her.

"As they attempt to take her into custody, she then enters her vehicle through the open window. They fear that she is trying to access a weapon. At that point, they went hands-on with her and attempted to place her in hand restraints. That's when she responded with law enforcement defensive tactics against my officers, ultimately injuring one of them," Holly Hill Police Chief Mark Barker said.

One officer involved in the incident suffered a sprained wrist and the other twisted a knee.

Authorities said Hawkins had a gun in her purse but it did not become a factor in the arrest.

The mayor of Holly Hill witnessed part of the confrontation.

"Agitated, belligerent, it was obvious she had some issues with being stopped," Roland Via said.

Hawkins was released from jail on bond on Wednesday and faces an internal affairs investigation. She most recently served in the Daytona Beach Police Department's cold case squad.

Hawkins' younger son said he doesn't buy the story.

"Her being an officer for more than 10 years, I think she would know what resisting arrest is and know not to do that," he said.

A check of her personnel records indicated there was an incident several years ago in which she slapped a fellow officer, but Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood said she had done a great job recently, and he said he was very disappointed.

Officer Jeffrey Gibson Arrested After Inappropriately Touching Minor

A former law enforcement officer is out on bond after his arrest on charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Jeffrey Gibson, 41, of 1307 Tyler Road, Dillon, was arrested Tuesday after a 12-year-old told authorities he touched her inappropriately while the two were “playfighting,” according to a Dillon Police Department incident report.

The victim told police Gibson “threw her on the couch and inappropriately touched her in one of her private areas,” according to the report. The victim said Gibson had touched her inappropriately several times in the past two months or so.

The victim was placed in the custody of the S.C. Department of Social Services, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Gibson served as an officer with the Dillon Police Department about 10 years ago and worked in law enforcement in Marion County, as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Polk County Officers Stop to Play Wii During Drug Raid

You know how every holiday season the stores all sell out of Nintendo Wiis? Well, that's because they're so awesome -- just ask the cops in Polk County, Fla.

In the midst of a drug raid on a house that apparently took nine full hours and cost $4,000, cops apparently were distracted by Wii bowling. Reports say they started the game up within 20 minutes of entering the house and spent hours playing it.

The incident is being investigated after it was caught on the drug dealer's security camera, though it should be noted that some cops were looking for drugs at the same time. (Also, in fairness, Wii bowling is super-fun.)

For video: check out this local news report

Sgt. Mark Gajeski Shoots Wife then Himself

Police in a Detroit suburb say an off-duty officer fatally shot his wife in the parking lot of a library and then shot himself.

Sgt. Mark Gajeski (Guy-ES'-ski) of the Canton Township Public Safety Department says they both were Detroit officers who live in Canton.

Police said the woman, 33-year-old Patricia Williams, was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital Tuesday. Gajeski says the man, 36-year-old Edward Williams II, died later after being taken off life support.

Gajeski says police had responded to a disturbance at the couple's home over the weekend. He says the woman was going to the Canton police station, which is near the library, when she was shot.

The Detroit Police Department had no immediate comment.

Former Sheriff & Undersheriff Sentenced for Stealing Money from Motorists

The former sheriff and undersheriff of McIntosh County have each been sentenced to more than two years in prison for illegally seizing money from motorists.

U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling said Tuesday that 36-year-old Terry Jones and 38-year-old Mykol Brookshire were each sentenced to 27 months for conspiracy under color of law to interfere with interstate commerce.

Prosecutors say the two seized cash from motorists and either underreported the amount or failed to report the seizure. The two are accused of then splitting the money.

Sperling says the two were arrested after seizing money from an undercover agent in May and underreporting the amount taken while keeping the remainder.

Both men resigned after being charged.

Two Officer Fired After Tasering 76-year-old Man During Parade

A small-town police department in Wyoming has fired two officers who chased down and used a Taser on a 76-year-old tractor driver during a parade in August.

The Glenrock Police Department issued a release today saying the decision was made "after careful consideration of all facts revealed through the investigation."

The town hired an outside consultant to review whether Sgt. Paul Brown and Officer Michael Kavenius broke department policies when they pursued and shocked Bud Grose.

Investigators have said Grose disobeyed an officer’s traffic command while he was driving an antique tractor during the Deer Creek Days parade. Prosecutors decided against filing any charges in the incident.

Wheelchair-Bound Man Tasered & Pushed Out of Wheelchair

A wheelchair-bound, legless man in Merced, California, says police officers tasered him twice, pushed him out of his wheelchair and left him handcuffed in broad daylight naked from the waist down before arresting him on charges that would never be pressed.

According to the Merced Sun-Star, the Merced Police Department is now investigating two officers who responded to a domestic disturbance call that resulted in 40-year-old Gregory Williams spending six days in jail without charges.

Several witnesses back up Williams' claims, the newspaper reports. The paper obtained a short, grainy video that appears to show Williams, naked from the waist down, sitting handcuffed outside his apartment complex.

The Sun-Star writes:

[A]lthough the two lead arresting officers are white, and Williams is black, it remains unknown whether race was a factor in the incident. Those two officers remain on duty.

Williams said the officers never used any racial epithets toward him. Although he does believe race and class played a role in his arrest, he also feels the police just wanted to be "downright nasty" to him. "They did what they did because they can get away with it," he said. "They've been doing it so long, it doesn't matter who they do it to. They just think they can get away with it."

The incident began when police responded to a call claiming an argument had broken out at Williams' home. One of the officers involved, John Pinnegar, claims Williams' wife said Williams had hit her, a charge Williams denies. Police say when they tried to take his two-year-old daughter from his lap to hand her over to Child Protective Services, Williams resisted. That's when the violence allegedly began.

In an emotional video interview, Williams said: "I'm not a violent person, I do not have a criminal background."

Added Williams: "How much resisting am I going to do with no legs, no feet? How much resisting am I going to do?"

"Williams said Pinnegar unholstered his Taser, jammed it into his rib cage and shocked him twice. Williams said he fell from his chair onto his stomach on the ground outside his doorway," the Sun-Star reports.

Williams also says an officer put his knee on Williams' neck after he was already on the ground, even though "I can't get up now -- I don't have any feet to get up with," Williams said.

He added: "And they tell me that I'm doing stupid stuff in front of my kids? These are cops and they come in my house -- what if they had accidentally tased my kid because of their [stupidity]?"

The Sun-Star reports that a "hostile" crowd gathered around the apartment building during the incident. The "apartment complex came to a roar because they were tasing a guy in a wheelchair and it was for no reason," said one witness interviewed on video.

Williams was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and resisting arrest. He spent six days in lock-up before he was released, and the county prosecutor has laid no charges.

Williams has been a double amputee since 2004, when he was diagnosed with deep-vein thrombosis that led to gangrene in his legs.

The video can be found at The Merced Sun-Star.
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Officer Gregory Moray Arrested for Punching Fan in Face

A Steubenville police officer was suspended without pay after police in Stark County said he got into a fight with rival fans during a high school football game.

Massillon police said the fight happened during a freshman game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium over the weekend.

Police said Steubenville police Officer Gregory Moray was off duty in the stands when a verbal fight turned physical.

Moray, 42, faces a disorderly conduct charge and is accused of punching a Massillon Tigers fan in the face.

Sgt. John DiLoreto, Massillon police public information officer, said Moray and other Big Red fans were sitting on the side of the stadium for home team fans instead of in the visitors' section.

DiLoreto said, according to witnesses, Moray and other Big Red fans were getting rowdy and vulgar. He said Massillon fans told them to go on their own side of the stadium. At that point, Moray allegedly punched 63-year-old Thomas Cook in the face, DiLoreto said.

Cook also faces a disorderly conduct charge, as does 35-year-old Matthew Kell of Toronto.

All three men were arraigned before a Massillon municipal judge, pleaded not guilty and were released on their own recognizance.

DiLoreto said the investigation is ongoing and said other Massillon fans present during the altercation might also face charges.

Sgt. Salicca Wilson Arrested for Stealing Money from Department

A Bishopville police officer has been arrested according to Police Chief John Ewing.

Ewing says arresting one of his own is one of the toughest things he's had to do.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Ewing says he arrested officer Sgt. Salicca Wilson. Ewing says he caught the officer on tape stealing money from the department.

"We have to be held accountable for our actions," said Ewing. "Just because we wear a badge, it doesn't mean we can break the law. We need to treat our police officers like someone who was walking down the street who may commit the same crime."

Ewing says Sgt. Wilson has been released from the department.

Corporal Able Porras Arrested for Domestic Violence

A Pinal County Sheriff's corporal was arrested on charges of domestic violence, police said.

Able Porras, a certified peace officer for more than seven years, was booked Monday into the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility on suspicion of criminal damage, assault and prevention of the use of 911, according to a press release issued by Pinal County Police spokeswoman Lt. Tamatha Villar.

Authorities received a call Sunday night about a domestic disturbance at a San Tan Valley home.

Upon the arrival of police, the victim, who was not identified, told them Porras "had struck her in the face and head and would not allow her to use the home phone to call 911," according to the press release.

The press release also said that Porras was released without bail Monday and was ordered to appear in front of a judge at a later date.

"Deputies are not immune to family conflict, and there are increased pressures in all family relationships," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said in the release. "However, violence is never the right answer."

Babeu added, "We take these allegations very seriously and have placed Corporal Porras on administrative leave until we can determine what actions we must take. Our deputies are charged with enforcing the law; they are clearly not above it."

The press release did not specify the relationship between Porras and the victim.
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Officer Leon Pullen Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Prostitute

An Uplands Park police officer sought out a woman in an online classified ad and then, in full uniform, sexually assaulted her in the police station, the FBI said in court documents released Monday.

FBI Agents arrested Leon F. Pullen, 31, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night on a charge of willful deprivation of civil rights under the color of law. He appeared in court Monday, where a federal prosecutor said he wanted him held in jail until trial.

In an affidavit filed in court, FBI Special Agent Greg LaCombe wrote that the woman had placed an online ad that featured her picture and advertised her services as a prostitute.

The affidavit goes on to say:

Pullen called the woman, said his name was “Jimmy,” and agreed to pay $400 for a sexual act. He also had her and another woman meet him in Uplands Park on July 15.

After the women arrived, Pullen drove by in his marked police car several times before pulling behind the women’s car.

He got out, and when the alleged victim asked why he was stopping her, Pullen pulled out the ad.

He then rubbed himself against her and told her that she had two choices: to give him all her money, or get naked, LaCombe wrote. Pullen apparently ignored the woman’s request for a lawyer.

Another officer was present, LaCombe wrote, but that officer is not named in the complaint.

Pullen then ordered her and the other woman back in the car and told them to follow him to the police station, where he took the victim to an office in the rear of the station, forced her to undress and then forcibly performed oral sex on her.

Pullen also said that he would have forcibly had intercourse with her if he had a condom, LaCombe wrote.

The woman, afraid that Pullen would call in the other officer to have sex with her, and tried to end the attack by offering to meet Pullen later. Pullen gave her his contact information, LaCombe wrote, and then she left, later calling the FBI.

The fate of the other woman was not mentioned in the affidavit.

Pullen appeared in court Monday morning, in a black and white Jennings jail outfit of scrub shirt and pants.

Before his initial hearing, he told a reporter that he was “dumbfounded” by his arrest.

During the hearing, Pullen told U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick Buckles that he lives with his wife in Foley and that he could not afford a lawyer. Buckles said he would appoint one.

Pullen will be in court Tuesday for a hearing that could determine whether he stays in jail until his trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Drake said that prosecutors would be presenting the case to a grand jury this week, asking for an indictment.

Uplands Park is located in St. Louis County, south of Interstate 70 and north of the city of St. Louis, at 6390 Natural Bridge Road.

A reporter’s call to the village was referred to the police department, then the village attorney. That lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The FBI is asking anyone with information about the alleged attack, or other attacks, to call the FBI at 314-231-4324.
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Officer Anthony Hernandez Arrested for Assaulting His Ex-Wife

Bail was set at $100,000 for a Yakama Tribal Police officer accused of assaulting his estranged wife and the man she was with.

Twenty-six-year-old Anthony J. Hernandez appeared in Yakima County Superior Court Monday where a judge also ordered him to stay at least 1,000 feet away from his wife and the other man.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that police say Hernandez kicked in the bedroom door at his wife's house Friday and handcuffed and threatened to kill the man.

His wife was treated for a cut at Toppenish Community Hospital, and Hernandez was arrested in the emergency room.

Hernandez, who was brought to court from Yakima County Jail, is expected to face charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree domestic violence assault, unlawful imprisonment and felony harassment.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Former Officer Derrick Yancey Has Been Captured

DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown confirmed Monday that fugitive double slaying suspect Derrick Yancey has been arrested and is in custody in the central American nation of Belize.

The former sheriff's deputy escaped custody after he was accused of killing his wife and a day laborer.

Brown told Channel 2 Action News reporter Mark Winne he believes Yancey has been living in Belize for awhile. He said Yancey offered no resistance when he was arrested at a local bar and expressed surprise and shock.

The sheriff credited the U.S. Marshals Service and State Department diplomatic security service for their crucial roles in capturing Yancey.

Brown said Yancey is expected to be back in the DeKalb County Jail Wednesday.

Police said Yancey was under a $150,000 bond when he boarded a westbound Greyhound bus April 4 and disappeared somewhere between Phoenix and Los Angeles.

He is accused of the 2008 shootings of his wife, Linda Yancey, 44, and Marcial Cax Puluc, a 20-year-old Guatemalan immigrant he had hired to work at his Stone Mountain home. Yancey told investigators that Puluc had killed his wife before he killed Puluc in self-defense.
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Woman Claims Officer Mark Rojas Slammed Her Head into Plate Glass Window

A 25-year-old nursing assistant from Oxford, who claims Officer Mark A. Rojas slammed her head into a plate glass window and unjustly arrested her three years ago, has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city.

The Worcester Superior Court action, filed Sept. 3, also names Officer Kellen E. Smith and Chief Gary J. Gemme.

Katie M. Warren's lawsuit alleges that, prior to the September 2006 incident, Officer Rojas' “violent tendencies were repeatedly tolerated by supervisors, and even when supervisors such as Chief Gemme believed Rojas had acted inappropriately, he was not disciplined.”

Officer Rojas, 36, who has been out on disability with a broken ankle, has been the subject of at least 15 internal police misconduct investigations since joining the department in July 1996.

Ms. Warren, who was 22 at the time of her alleged run-in with Officers Rojas and Smith, says in her lawsuit that Officer Rojas grabbed her ponytail and jerked her head into a plate glass window as Officer Smith held her arms twisted painfully behind her back.

A certified nursing assistant at St. Camillus Health Center in Northbridge, Ms. Warren alleges that the confrontation began when she went to a gas station convenience store on Providence Street on Sept. 4, 2006, to get cash from an ATM machine inside.

She was outside the store in her nurse's uniform talking with a friend she had run into when Officers Rojas and Smith pulled up to the gas pumps in their police cruiser, according to the lawsuit.

“Officers Rojas and Smith then approached to within a short distance, looked Warren up and down and one asked, ‘Well, why don't you smile?'” according to the complaint.

It isn't clear from the complaint which officer allegedly made the comment, but the exchange quickly grew heated, and Officer Rojas allegedly told Ms. Warren's acquaintance: “You should tell your little girlfriend to shut her mouth,” according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Warren claims that she turned to walk away from the officers, saying, “You don't scare me,” when they grabbed her and twisted her arms behind her back as several bystanders looked on.

While Officer Smith held Ms. Warren's arms, Officer Rojas allegedly grabbed her hair and slammed her head into the store window. The officers then allegedly threw her to the ground and took her into custody while heaping verbal abuse on her, according to the complaint.

Copies of photographs of Ms. Warren showing bruises on her arms and legs are included in court records. She went to St. Vincent Hospital for treatment after her boyfriend posted her bail, according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Warren is listed as 5-feet, 3-inches tall and 120 pounds in police paperwork from her arrest. She was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and two counts of threatening to commit a crime for allegedly shouting that she would have the officers killed.

Police spokesman Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst did not respond to messages left at his office and on his cell phone on Friday.

In a statement of facts supporting the charges, Officer Smith wrote that, “The defendant refused to place her hands behind her back and struggled violently with the officers.”

“The defendant made several threats to ‘have the officers killed,' ” according to his report.

All the charges against Ms. Warren were dismissed in May 2007, and she was placed on probation for three months, according to court records.

Ms. Warren didn't return several calls to her home and the nursing home where she works. Her lawyer, Hector E. Pineiro of Worcester, was out of the state and couldn't be reached.

On March 31, 2008, the day the Telegram & Gazette published an article about Officer Rojas shooting a dog in a Vale Street apartment, Ms. Warren wrote a four-page letter to Chief Gemme complaining about her earlier run-in with Officer Rojas, according to the lawsuit.

The chief acknowledged receipt of Ms. Warren's complaint a few days later in a form letter and said her allegations would be investigated. Ms. Warren didn't hear anything else from the Police Department until 11 months later, when she got a second letter from the chief. In the February 2009 letter, the chief said investigators were having a hard time tracking down the friend with whom Ms. Warren had been speaking at the gas station when the officers walked up.

The lawsuit claims that the city and Chief Gemme were negligent in failing to control Officer Rojas after a number of similar complaints of brutality and misconduct from other people.

“Before the assault and arrest on Warren, Chief Gemme and the city were familiar with Rojas' propensities for violence,” according to the lawsuit. “…Chief Gemme and the city knew that Rojas had previously been the subject of numerous complaints alleging brutality, excessive force and violation of civil rights.”

Citing “disciplinary problems,” Chief Gemme revoked Officer Rojas' license to carry a firearm in December 2008 amid a series of articles in the T&G about allegations of misconduct against the officer.

Although the chief has said previously that the loss of his firearms license prevents Officer Rojas from serving as a police officer, he remained on the city payroll as of this past week, according to city records.

The T&G sued Chief Gemme and the city in Worcester Superior Court last year seeking the release of police internal affairs records related to allegations of misconduct against Officer Rojas. That case remains pending before Superior Court Judge C. Brian McDonald.

Meanwhile, the city agreed in late May to pay a Worcester man $48,750 to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that a 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. That settlement, which was paid by the city, came less than two months after the city paid $30,000 to settle another police brutality lawsuit filed by an Upton man.

So far this year, the city has settled at least 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.

Denver City Council May Settle Police Brutality Lawsuit

The Denver City Council may settle a police brutality lawsuit for $225,000, city officials said Monday.

The federal lawsuit alleges Denver police brutalized and repeatedly used a Taser on Alberto Romero, 47, who died, allegedly from injuries he sustained during the incident, The Denver Post reported. The confrontation took place in front of Romero's home July 16, 2007.

In the suit, Debra Christine Romero, the personal representative of his estate, claims Romero was unarmed and posed no threat to the police.

The settlement was on the agenda of the council meeting Monday.

The autopsy report showed Romero had eight broken ribs, four puncture wounds in his back and bottom, and multiple scratches and bruises on his face, arms, shoulders, stomach, knees, back, hands, fingers and left foot. In addition, his lower lip was split and his tongue was cut, the newspaper said.

Air Force Officer James Fondren on Trial for Providing Secret Military Information to Chinese Spy

A former Air Force officer is on trial for providing secret military information to a New Orleans furniture salesman who turned out to be a Chinese spy.

Prosecutors told a jury in federal court in Alexandria on Monday that James Fondren of Annandale, Va., sold "opinion papers" containing classified information about U.S.-China military relations to Tai Shen Kuo, a New Orleans businessman.

Kuo gave those papers to an agent working with the Beijing government.

Kuo has already pleaded guilty to espionage and been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. Kuo was the first witness Monday against Fondren.

The defendant's lawyer Asa Hutchinson told jurors that Fondren was one of many people who was fooled by Kuo.

Officer Michael Turcotte & Wife Convicted of Domestic Violence

An incident of alleged domestic violence in January between a former Gilbert police officer and his wife ended with convictions for both, and may ultimately cost his police certification.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board is investigating whether to pull Michael J. Turcotte's certification, which is required to be a police officer.

The investigation opened Wednesday and centers on a fight between Turcotte, 50, and his wife of 27 years, Linda, who accused her husband of cheating on her, AZPOST and court documents show.

Gilbert police arrested the couple Jan. 22, one day after Linda Turcotte admittedly threw an apple at her husband's back and slapped him. He then proceeded to choke and "struck" her many times, court documents state.

Michael Turcotte admitted to police that he shoved his wife to the ground, but denied striking her, court documents state.

"In addition, their 3-year-old granddaughter was present during the struggle and witnessed the event," court documents state. "The granddaughter stated during a forensic interview that 'grandpa choked grandma.'"

Both Linda and Michael Turcotte were ultimately arrested and charged with assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. Michael Turcotte, who joined Gilbert police Dec. 24, 2007, resigned Jan. 28 before an internal investigation could begin.

In early April, Linda and Michael Turcotte each took plea agreements in which they pleaded "no contest" to disorderly conduct.

Michael Turcotte was placed on one year unsupervised probation, while his wife received three years of unsupervised probation. Both are required to complete 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling.

Under the plea agreement, if Linda and Michael Turcotte successfully complete their probation and counseling, their convictions will be wiped from their permanent record.

The incident has spurred new allegations that Michael Turcotte violated ASPOST rules barring certification of police officials who commit "physical violence" or "malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance of office," or whose conduct "tends to disrupt, diminish or otherwise jeopardize the public trust."

When interviewed by police Jan. 22, Michael Turcotte said his wife accused him of having an affair with another Gilbert police officer.

"Linda accused the Gilbert PD of causing their marital problems," Michael Turcotte's attorney, Robert Kavanagh, states in court documents. "(Michael) Turcotte steadfastly denied that he was having an affair but nonetheless has resigned from the Gilbert PD."

After confronting her husband, Linda Turcotte told investigators she hit him with an apple and slapped him. Michael Turcotte responded by slapping, kicking, choking and pushing her to the ground, she said. Michael Turcotte admitted to pushing her, but denied going anything else.

Both were treated at a local hospital for scratches to their faces then booked into the Maricopa County jail.

Because the charges were domestic violence-related, the couple was not allowed regular contact with each other. In court documents, Michael Turcotte said he was seeking marriage counseling with his wife ahead of their planned surgery and requested contact with her.

"The root of their marriage problems related to (Michael Turcotte's) career at the Gilbert PD, which is now over," Kavanagh writes.

However, the January incident wasn't the first, according to AZPOST documents. Police were called to the Turcotte home Nov. 13, but no arrests were made. Linda Turcotte received an order of protection from her husband the next day.

A judge tossed the protection order Nov. 25.

AZPOST began in July 1968 as the Arizona Law Enforcement Officer Advisory Council aimed at establishing a set of minimum standards for the state's police officers. AZPOST certification is mandatory for all police officers but not county sheriff's deputies.

The 13-member AZPOST Board oversees 170 law enforcement agencies, more than 16,000 sworn peace officers, 9,000 correctional officers and 16 police academies.

Officer J.L. Crain Arrested for DUI After Crash

Officers arrest one of their own who's accused of breaking the law.

Police say Henrico County Officer J.L. Crain was involved in an accident early Sunday morning on Interstate 64 at Gaskins Road.

Police say he rear-ended another car, and the person inside was treated for injuries and released.

Officers responding to the crash arrested Crain for DUI and court records show his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

We are told he was in his own vehicle and was not on duty.

Crain has been with the Henrico Police Department since 2001. Police there won't comment on his status, other than to say he's not working right now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Judge David Abruzzo Arrested for Drunk Driving

Judge David Abruzzo, of the Preble County Common Pleas Court, was arrested late Friday night, Sept. 18, on charges of driving while under the influence of alcohol and failure to yield to a public safety vehicle, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

The judge was given a citation directing him to answer to the charges in Eaton Municipal Court at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 21, the patrol said.

Abruzzo, 61, of Eaton, refused to take a breath test after he was stopped at 11:41 p.m. Friday along U.S. 127 just north of the Eaton city limits, the patrol said. He was alone in a 2007 GMC station wagon when he was stopped, the patrol said.

No other details were available on Saturday, patrol dispatcher Lisa Roberts said.

Michael Alexander Arrested for Grand Larceny

It's a case involving more than $4,000 missing from the Leflore County Sheriff's Department's evidence room that led to the arrest of office manager Michael Alexander.

LeFlore County Sheriff Bruce Curnutt said Alexander has worked under three previous sheriff's and has no previous disciplinary write-ups.

According to an arrest, affidavit the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation said Curnutt contacted their agency Tuesday to assist with the investigation.

In the affidavit, LeFlore County's Undersheriff Donnie Edwards reported going into the evidence room to obtain a gun in early September. He said during that visit he noticed a piece of paper lying on the floor that should have been in a safe.

When Edwards opened the safe, he told investigators that he noticed that a large manila envelope containing over $4,000 was missing.

Edwards said he and Alexander went into the evidence room and opened the safe in late July and that he had planned to do an inventory at a later date.

In the affidavit, Edwards said he "... believed that he was the only one with access to the evidence room."

According to the affidavit, on Sept. 15 a district attorney investigator and Edwards reviewed surveillance video that showed Alexander entering the evidence room on Aug. 24.

Investigators said when they questioned Alexander, he admitted to stealing the money-filled envelope.

In the affidavit, investigators said Alexander told them he "...was facing some hard financial times and was declaring bankruptcy." Alexander reported that he had a gambling issue and that he used the money to pay some bills and buy groceries.

Alexander was fired from his job and is currently sitting in the Sequoyah County Detention Center to avoid a conflict of interest.

Trial Set for Officer Michael Wooton Accused of Shooting Neighbor's Dog

A judge has ordered the case of an Essex police officer suspected of fatally shooting his neighbor's dog to go to trial.

Michael Wootton, 35, of Waterville allegedly shot Hooch, an 80-pound mixed-breed, after it attacked his dog, Yoda, a 20-pound pug, April 30, on Phyllis Lane in Waterville, according to court papers.

Wootton pleaded not guilty in May to committing cruelty to animals and two months later asked to have the charge dismissed. Judge Christina Reiss denied Wootton's motion to dismiss Sept. 3 in Vermont District Court in Hyde Park. Jury draw for his trial is scheduled for Nov. 2.

The Essex Police Department placed Wootton, a full-time officer, on administrative duties after the shooting.

Yoda allegedly ran on to Wootton's neighbors' property and got into a fight with their dog Hooch. Wootton said he feared Hooch would kill Yoda, and after failing with two other people to keep the dogs apart, went back to his house to get his handgun, according to court papers.

Hooch's owners, Ritchie and Rosemary Rogers, arrived home after their dog had been killed.

Although Hooch died on Wootton's lawn, Vermont State Police Cpl. Mark Lucas, who investigated the case, said he found the bullet, which apparently passed through the dog, on the Rogers' driveway, according to court papers.

One Vermont law prohibits the intentional killing of someone's pet without the owner's consent, while another law permits the killing of a pet if the animal attacks, and poses a reasonable threat of injuring, another pet.

The maximum penalty for committing cruelty to animals is a fine of $2,000, up to one year in prison or both.

Deputy Brandon Ward Accused of Police Brutality

A Maury County woman says she wants a sheriff’s deputy held accountable for an alleged case of police brutality against her son caught on another lawman’s camera.

“I want justice done for my son,” said Donna Rowland, mother of Andrew Johnson, 21, who lives in Hampshire.

Rowland said she received a voice message from her son who was arrested Sunday on a felony theft charge. According to the message, Johnson said he was punched in the face by a law enforcement officer after being taken into custody. According to sheriff’s department records, Deputy Brandon Ward was the arresting officer.

Spring Hill Police Chief John Smith said an officer in his department, Marcus Albright, was getting ready to go to work when Johnson, who appeared to be intoxicated, pulled up in his driveway. Smith said Albright detained Johnson and Ward was called out to the scene.

As Ward transferred Johnson into his squad car, Albright’s car camera taped an incident between Ward and Johnson, Smith said. Albright discovered it after reviewing the footage, which was then turned over to the sheriff’s department, Smith said.

Sheriff Enoch George confirmed Ward’s resignation this week. The officer had been on the force for about a year. George declined further comment on the case saying it had been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The Daily Herald requested to interview Johnson, who remained in Maury County Jail Thursday in lieu of $10,000 bond on two counts each of aggravated burglary and theft of more than $1,000.

Initially, George approved an interview, then later said all interviews would have to be granted by District Attorney General Mike Bottoms.

When asked for permission to talk to the 21-year-old suspect, Bottoms denied the request saying it would be detrimental to the investigation.

“I can’t conduct an investigation on the front page of the newspaper,” Bottoms said.

The district attorney general also declined to discuss any other aspects of the case.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm confirmed an investigation had been launched Thursday, though she could not provide any details.

Rowland said she hasn’t been allowed to talk to her son since the alleged incident.

Before the incident, Rowland said Ward had stopped at her house the previous night to search for stolen property and was very disrespectful to her. She called the deputy “rude,” “hateful” and “way out-of-line.”

Rowland said she was told her son was not resisting Ward when he was allegedly punched in the face, though she said he was cussing at the officer.

“I can understand if he was fighting with him,” she said. “But this is ridiculous, and it’s illegal.”

The mother said she wants her son moved from Maury County Jail.

“He should be given protection. If one’s going to do it,” she said, referring to the alleged assault by the officer, “who’s to say another won’t?”

George said he has no plans to transfer Johnson from the jail.

Maury County Sheriff’s Detective Terry Dial said Johnson is believed to have stolen several firearms from two Maury County homes.

According to sheriff’s department records, Johnson is scheduled to appear 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in General Sessions Court.

Cpl David Nevitt Suspended for Lying

An assistant chief handed down a 15-day day suspension on Thursday to a Dallas police officer who wrongly said a man was carrying a bag containing drugs and guns. That man spent 10 months behind bars until a videotape later showed that he was not carrying the bag as the officer alleged.

At issue in the case was whether Senior Cpl. David Nevitt lied or was mistaken. Police investigators ultimately concluded that they could not prove that Nevitt had lied to make the August 2007 arrest of Thomas Hannon outside a north Dallas hotel. Instead, they found that he had failed to fully investigate the incident to the best of his ability.

"The way they went about this arrest was sloppy, and as the allegations alludes to it was not fully investigated," said Assistant Chief Floyd Simpson, who oversees the city's seven patrol stations. "Today, I held officer Nevitt accountable for his actions. His fifteen days will begin immediately."

Nevitt, who has denied any wrongdoing, could not be reached for comment. He can appeal the suspension.

"It's just unfair and certainly wasn't warranted," said Phil Burleson, an attorney representing Nevitt. "He in good faith attempted to make arrests based upon the information he had at the time."

At the time of Hannon's arrest, Nevitt was a member of a specialized unit whose cases continue to be the subject of an ongoing review by prosecutors. Hannon's arrest sparked the review after prosecutors concluded that he had been arrested on false charges. Felony charges involving arrests made by the unit have since been thrown out against two different men after two witnesses passed polygraph exams requested by prosecutors.

The official police report written by Senior Cpl. Jerry Dodd, now in the vice unit, gives the following account: Nevitt saw Hannon leave the hotel carrying a black leather bag. The officers said Hannon spotted them, dropped the bag and tried to evade them. Police found a loaded .357 Colt revolver and 2.6 grams of methamphetamine in the bag.

Hannon, who was wanted for failing to report to his parole officer, was caught and charged with possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Dodd's report does not mention the existence of video footage, nor the arrest of other people, including the man who turned out to have been carrying the bag.

In March 2008, as the case neared trial, prosecutors say Nevitt told them that he had been sitting in an undercover vehicle when he saw Hannon leave the hotel holding the bag. They said he told them that he then went inside and watched surveillance video, but that the hotel lacked the technology to make a copy of it.

A defense attorney subsequently obtained a copy. It showed that another man had the bag. Prosecutors then dismissed the charges.

Nevitt told internal investigators that he never told prosecutors that he had actually seen Hannon with the bag. He also described the video footage that he reviewed as being small and of "poor quality," which apparently led to the misidentification. He said the maintenance worker told him that another employee could make a copy later.

That hotel employee, Jaime Maltos, told internal investigators that he showed the video footage to Nevitt and another heavy-set Dallas police officer. "I brought them back to the engineering office to go thru the videos, one by one I enlarged them so they could see it better," Maltos said.

He said he also said he gave Nevitt two copies a couple of days later. However, in a statement in Hannon's civil lawsuit, he said he was less sure, saying he couldn't recall whether it was Nevitt or another officer who retrieved the copies.

None of the officers who participated in Hannon's arrest have admitted picking up the video, internal records show.

The squad, which once numbered about seven officers, is now largely dismantled. The unit's supervisor, Sgt. Randy Sundquist was moved off the streets this spring after the DA's office released a letter stating that he shouldn't be trusted to testify in court. Two other officers, one of whom has since retired, also were involuntarily transferred out of the unit.

Scott Palmer, an attorney representing Hannon, called the Police Department's decision disappointing.

"How much false prosecution and perjury will it take before DPD fires an officer?" Palmer said. "But for the hotel engineer saving this video, this officer and all of the officers were prepared to testify falsely about the events, and Mr. Hannon would likely have ended up in prison for a long time."