Friday, January 09, 2009

Another Taser Death-- No Charges Filed Against Officer J.J. Baird


A Howard County prosecutor says no criminal charges will be filed in the death of a suspected drunken driver killed after a police officer fired a Taser at him.

Prosecutor Mason Gebhardt says Moberly police officer J.J. Baird was justified in using a Taser to try to arrest 23-year-old Stanley Harlan of Moberly during a traffic stop in August.

Gebhardt says he reviewed reports and a video of the incident to determine Harlan was resisting arrest.

Baird made the stop, suspecting Harlan was driving drunk and placed him under arrest. Police say when Harlan resisted, the officer deployed his Taser twice to subdue him.

The first Taser shock lasted five seconds and the subsequent shock was only one second. Harlan became unresponsive soon thereafter.

Officers started CPR until an ambulance arrived.

Harlan was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Officer James Crespo III Arrested for DWI

An off-duty New Orleans police officer was arrested this week and charged with driving while intoxicated on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

James Crespo III, 52, was headed northbound Monday around 2:30 a.m. when a Causeway police officer spotted him speeding on the bridge a few miles from the north shore, said Causeway Police Chief Nick Congemi.

The officer, who was using radar equipment, pulled Crespo over at the north toll plaza in Mandeville, Congemi said.

He asked for Crespo's information and that he step out of his vehicle, he said. It is unclear whether Crespo, who lives in New Orleans, was driving an unmarked squad car or his own personal vehicle.

Crespo, an administrative sergeant who has been with the NOPD since 1978, appeared unsteady as he walked to the rear of his vehicle, then upon reaching the rear of the vehicle, leaned against the rear for balance, Congemi said.

He removed his wallet, which contained his New Orleans police commission, and handed the officer his driver's license, he said. However, Crespo refused the officer's request that he submit to a field sobriety test, Congemi said.

The officer asked whether Crespo was carrying a weapon, and Crespo said that he had a gun and that it was in the vehicle, he said.

He then retrieved Crespo's gun, which apparently was his personal weapon, as opposed to his service revolver, Congemi said.

The officer then handcuffed Crespo and arrested him before taking him to Louisiana State Police Troop L, he said. Crespo refused to take a breathalyzer test at Troop L.

In addition to DWI, Crespo is charged with driving 77 mph in a 65-mph zone, Congemi said.

Crespo's age and address were not immediately available from Causeway police.

Congemi said he expects the charges to be filed Monday with the St. Tammany Parish district attorney's office.

Officer Bobby Hoese Charged with Aggravated Battery


A Pontoon Beach police officer was charged with two felonies -- aggravated battery and mob action -- on Friday in Madison County Circuit Court.

Sheriff's deputies took police Officer Bobby D. Hoese, 29, of Granite City, into custody on Wednesday after a fight outside the Inn Between Tavern in Granite City that left one man with facial fractures, according to Capt. Brad Wells, chief of detectives.

The argument between the off-duty officer and the victim, stemmed from a previous confrontation over a woman.

"We had understood that there was a problem in the past between Hoese and the victim over a female," Wells said.

After the argument inside the bar, Hoese called Dennis M. Barbee, 60, of Highland, from the bar and told him about the argument.

Barbee arrived at the bar on 5200 Maryville Road and he and Hoese followed the victim to the parking lot.

The victim was treated at a hospital and released.

Barbee was also charged with aggravated battery and mob action.

A bar patron told investigators that Hoese grabbed him by the throat and threw him to the ground when he tried to go outside and check on the victim.

Hoese also was charged with battery, which is a misdemeanor.

Both men surrendered at the Madison County Jail on Friday. Each man had bail set at $50,000, and both men posted bond by late Friday afternoon.

A news release issued by Pontoon Beach Police Chief Charles Luehmann stated Hoese was placed on administrative leave.

"Depending on the outcome of our internal investigation, we will establish the level of disciplinary action commensurate with the charges that are found to be true," stated the press release.

Information on whether Hoese would be paid while on leave was not available Friday evening.

Former Officer James Anthony Rodriguez Charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault


A former Houston police officer is charged with aggravated sexual assault after a woman accused him of raping her while he was on patrol.

The Houston Chronicle reports 27-year-old James Anthony Rodriguez also is accused of brandishing a firearm during the Sept. 6 rape.

The incident allegedly occurred during a traffic stop while he worked as a patrol officer.

Police spokesman John Cannon says the victim reported the incident that day and the Houston Police Department immediately began an investigation.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office filed the charge against Rodriguez Dec. 15.

It wasn't immediately clear tonight whether Rodriguez had an attorney and a telephone number for him could not be found.

Rodriguez, who resigned from the police department on Nov. 22, was released on a $40,000 bond.

More Information:

Queensland Officer Accused of Assault

A Queensland police officer has been stood down from operational duties pending an investigation into an alleged assault.

A police statement said the 36-year-old sergeant from Brisbane's Metro North Region had been stood down on Thursday in relation to an alleged on-duty assault on December 21.

The officer will work in a non-operational position until the Ethical Standard Command investigation is finished.

No other information was given.

Officer Duhamel Torres Accused of Sexually Assaulting Woman While on Duty

A Cleveland police officer is accused of sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty.

Duhamel Torres, a 2nd District patrolman, faces kidnapping, rape and sexual battery charges, said Lt. Thomas Stacho, a police spokesman. Torres surrendered Thursday morning after investigators obtained an arrest warrant.

Stacho gave this description of the incident:

The woman was walking home and Torres offered her a ride. But he then drove past her house to a secluded area on Scranton Road and assaulted her.

The woman, who is acquainted with numerous police officers, told them about the assault. Those officers relayed the information to the department's Internal Affairs Unit.

Investigators received results from DNA tests Wednesday and consulted with prosecutors, Stacho said.

The city recently finished installing automatic-vehicle locators in its police cars. Investigators were able to confirm parts of the woman's story by using the locator in Torres' police car, Stacho said.

Torres has been on the force since October 2006 and was a Cleveland patrolman for about five years in the early 1990s but resigned, only to later rejoin the force.

He will be suspended without pay, Stacho said.

Steve Loomis, head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said the union was working to post bond and get Torres released from jail. The public shouldn't rush to judgment on Torres, Loomis said.

"Everybody is innocent until proven guilty," he said. "We look forward to our day in court."

More Informtaion:

Officer Michael North Charged with Buying Illegal Prescription Pills


A municipal police officer in Washington County faces charges of drug possession following his arrest yesterday in McDonald.

Michael Andre North, 29, of McDonald, is charged with buying what he believed were oxycodone pills, a painkiller legally sold only by prescription.

He obtained the counterfeit drug from a police informant, according to an affidavit.

Mr. North remains on the roster as a part-time officer in Donora, where he was hired in 2003, and Smith Township, which hired him in 2005. Officials in the two municipalities said Mr. North will be off the job while the case is pending.

Mr. North was arraigned yesterday by District Judge David W. Mark in Canonsburg on charges of possession of a counterfeit controlled substance and attempting to possess a controlled substance.

He was freed on his own recognizance, with a preliminary hearing set for 9:45 a.m. Thursday before Judge Mark.

According to the affidavit, Mr. North had an ongoing arrangement to provide transportation to a pharmacy for an informant who regularly obtained prescriptions for oxycodone. The informant would share the pills with the officer.

On Thursday, state and county investigators arranged to record a conversation between the suspect and informant as they made arrangements for the next purchase, the affidavit said.

The two agreed that the informant would obtain transportation and leave Mr. North's share of the drugs in the informant's mailbox.

On his way home from work Thursday, Mr. North retrieved what he believed were oxycodone pills from the mailbox. Police followed the officer to his residence, where he was arrested.

Officials in Smith and Donora said they saw no indication Mr. North used the drugs while on duty.

More Information:

Deputy Christopher Barnes Arrested for Prescription Drug Trafficking

On Friday, January 9, 2009, a Walton Co. Sheriff Deputy was arrested and charged for prescription drug trafficking.

Deputy Sheriff-Investigators of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged Deputy Christopher J. Barnes with 1 count of trafficking in Oxycontin, 1 count of trafficking in hydrocodone, 1 count of obtaining prescriptions by fraud and 1 count of doctor shopping.

All counts are in violation of Florida State Statutes Chapter 893.

Christopher J. Barnes was a deputy with Walton Co. Sheriff’s Department at the time of the suspected criminal activity leading to the arrest.

Sheriff Greg Bartlett Gives up Making Profit so Prisoners Can be Properly Fed


An Alabama sheriff imprisoned after admitting he legally pocketed about $210,000 from his jail kitchen while providing skimpy meals to inmates agreed to give up future profits from the operation, a judge said Friday.

An order from U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon shows that Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett has promised to use all government funding he receives for food to actually feed prisoners in the county lockup, which holds about 300 men and women.

That's a change from the past, when Bartlett — like other Alabama sheriffs — kept any profits generated by the kitchen under a state law dating to the 1920s.

Aside from forgoing the money, Clemon's order said Bartlett promised to follow USDA guidelines and provide inmates with meals that include fresh fruit and milk: two items prisoners said they rarely or never received in the past.

Clemon jailed Bartlett overnight this week in a federal prison after ruling he purposely fed prisoners inadequately to maximize his personal profits under Alabama's unusual feeding system.

Clemon called windfalls under the law "reprehensible," but he stopped short of addressing whether it violated the constitutional rights of prisoners.

A lawyer for inmates said she hoped the decision would lead to better meals in the Morgan County Jail and changes in the law statewide.

"We hope this will encourage the Legislature to revisit the statute that allows sheriffs to keep profits from feeding inmates," said attorney Melanie Velez of the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights.

Bartlett issued a statement Friday saying he had received only 15 complaints about food after serving almost 330,000 meals in 2008. He speculated that some of the complaining inmates might have been shorted by other inmates serving them.

He also said sheriffs can lose money under the jail food funding system.

"I agree that on the surface, Alabama state law on the feeding system is hard to understand and to defend," he said. "If a sheriff makes $4,000 or $1 in a month's time it's called starving inmates, if an inmate gains weight it's called wasting tax payer dollars feeding criminals that murdered, robbed, raped and molested the citizens of our community."

Because Alabama's law makes sheriffs responsible for feeding inmates, rather than the counties where they work, some have to pay out of pocket to cover shortfalls.

An Associated Press review last year found that sheriffs in 55 of Alabama's 67 counties operate under a Depression-era system that allows them to make money operating their jail kitchens.

Several sheriffs who agreed to speak to AP about their feeding operations said they were receiving small profits from the system, but none would disclose an exact amount.

Bartlett testified that he pocketed some $212,000 in kitchen profits over the last three years, reporting the money as income on his personal tax returns. Bartlett's profit margin last year was about 50 percent, based on his testimony.

"That's just an astronomical amount of money for a county," said Velez, the lawyer for prisoners.

The state pays sheriffs $1.75 a day for each prisoner they house and lets the elected officers keep any profits they can generate. Bartlett and some other sheriffs also receive a smaller state supplement, money from their counties and payments from the U.S. government for housing federal prisoners.

Clemon reviewed practices in Morgan County because of a 2001 settlement in a federal lawsuit over conditions in the jail. In that agreement, the jail is required to provide prisoners with "nutritionally adequate" meals — something Clemon said Bartlett had failed to do.

The judge's order dealt only with Morgan County, but the head of the Alabama Sheriff's Association, Bobby Timmons, said the case could have a statewide impact on jailhouse practices.

In his decision, Clemon said Morgan County would be responsible for any shortfall if the jail kitchen begins operating at a deficit.


I just don't understand how this fucker can still be running the jail...shouldn't he be locked up for theft? And then never allowed to work at the jail again?