Thursday, February 12, 2009

Officer Tony Lawrence Charged with Beating Minor


A Sherburne resident who is a part-time police officer for the Hamilton Police Department and a full-time Colgate University safety officer was arrested Tuesday for allegedly beating a minor under the age of 17.

Anthony (Tony) E. Lawrence, 27, was charged with two misdemeanors – third degree assault and endangering the welfare of a minor – after State Troopers responded to a complaint involving the abuse of a young child.

Sgt. Elizabeth R. Wonka said police were not releasing the age of the victim to protect his identity, but said he was “much younger than 17.” She said the victim was a resident of the Sherburne area and that the alleged attack took place during a domestic dispute.


Officer Troy Giovengo Charged with Stalking Ex-Girlfriend


A Fort Pierce police officer charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend last week is facing additional charges for allegedly barging into a birthday party for one of the woman’s sons.

Officer Troy Giovengo stormed into his ex-girlfriend’s home on Dec. 12, according to a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office report. Witnesses said Giovengo, 42, was in his Fort Pierce Police Department uniform during the incident and told a man at the party he needed to leave the home and never return.

After Giovengo left the party, he used his police laptop computer to run the man’s license plate number, sheriff’s officials said. Upon learning the man’s address, Giovengo drove there and again threatened the man, telling him to stay away from the woman, according to the report. The incident report did not specify a relationship between the man and Giovengo’s ex-girlfriend.

Giovengo was charged Thursday with armed trespassing of a structure and for using a police data base for personal gain.

The ex-girlfriend told authorities this week she did not report the party incident because Giovengo threatened her. But Feb. 6, an argument between the officer and the woman prompted her 15-year-old son to call 911, Port St. Lucie police said.

Officers went to the woman’s home because the son said Giovengo was threatening his mother, police said. While in the woman’s driveway, Giovengo told her she “belonged to him” and threatened to burn down her house, police said.

Officers charged Giovengo with aggravated stalking. The 51-year-old-woman and the officer had dated for nine years before their relationship ended in October, the arrest affidavit said.

Giovengo was being held Thursday at the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail for the trespassing and using the database charges. Fort Pierce Police has Giovengo on leave without pay, spokeswoman Audria Moore said.

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Officers Under Investigation for Beating Homeless Man

Dramatic video has been released of two Fresno, California police officers arresting a homeless man.

And, because of that video, the Fresno police chief has now launched an internal investigation.

The man who shot the video did not want to be identified.

The videographer said "I just try to record everything that doesn't make sense. This didn't make any sense."

Monday morning just More..before 10AM, this video was recorded.

The videographer said "why are they socking him like that?"

Tuesday, the person behind the camera handed the tape over to KSEE-24 News and with that, began an internal investigation of the two Fresno police officers seen here.

The videographer said "they grabbed him and threw him to the ground and saw him being brutally beaten cause he didn't want to listen to them."

In a matter of seconds, the man, 52-year-old Glen Beaty, is hit four times in the face.

Even when Beaty appears to be partially restrained, with one hand behind his back, the officer strikes him again. The video then shows what appears to be the last blow. This time, both of beaty's hands are behind his back.

The videographer said "I don't think anyone should be beat like that. They don't beat dogs and let you get away with it."

KSEE-24 News showed police Chief Jerry Dyer the footage.

Fresno Police Department Chief Jerry Dyer said "I think the initial reaction from the people that view this video will be one of disbelief, one that in some cases may shock individuals and one that causes concern, in the level of force being used."

Dyer says what is not on the tape could be most important, the eight or so minutes before the recording began.

Chief Dyer said "The individual was stiff, there was alcohol around him. And, it was very apparent that he had been drinking, uh, excessively. And, when the officers contacted the individual, there was resistance in terms of the line of questioning and his answers to certain questions. And, at some point, an altercation occurred between the suspect and the officers. At one point, one of the officers was punched by the suspect in the arm .. the officer had his badge ripped off of his shirt."

Dyer's account is based on the police report, the report, the two officers involved wrote themselves.

The videographer, who admits to not being on scene when officers first approached Beaty, has a different take.

The videographer said "before the camera went on, I saw him.. he had already pulled his body away from the tree a little bit, trying to keep them from grabbing his arms. And, when they did get hold of his arms, they spun him around, put him on the ground and started socking him."

Even though an ambulance was called and used to take Beaty to the hospital, officers on scene did not gather any witness statements.

Chief Dyer says that will be done now.

Chief Dyer said "what is important to us now is to allow all the evidence to be brought in to this case, any witness statements.. all the actions that led up to the video being taken before an official opinion is formed."

The videographer said "I don't think anybody deserves to be beaten like that even if they are being arrested."

The police department also produced a copy of a Fresno County Sheriff's report from 2004 that showed Beaty, at the time, was involved in a violent confrontation with a sheriff's deputy responding to a disturbance call at his parents' home.

In that incident, the deputy reported that he had to subdue Beaty using a police baton and that Beaty hit him with a flashlight.



Officer Troy Giovengo Charged with Trespassing


A Fort Pierce police officer was arrested on Thursday and charged with armed trespassing and unauthorized use of a computer network.

St. Lucie County sheriff’s detectives arrested Officer Troy Giovengo at about 12:15 p.m.

He posted $7,500 bond and was released from the St. Lucie County Jail just before 3 p.m.

Last Friday, the Port St. Lucie Police Department arrested Giovengo on aggravated stalking charges. The next day, he was released after posting $10,000 bond.

Following those events, another woman, interviewed by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, described an encounter in her home with Giovengo on Dec. 12.

The sheriff’s office’s investigation led to the new charges that were the basis for Giovengo’s arrest on Thursday.

Correctional Officer Marco Moniz Arrested for Delivering Contraband


A Bristol County correctional officer from Fall River was arrested Wednesday while on duty at the House of Correction for allegedly delivering contraband to the penal facility.

Marco Moniz, 20, of 928 Cherry St., Fall River,is also charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Major Nelson DeGouveia of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and Lt. John Silva of that office’s Internal Affairs Division made the arrest.

DeGouveia of the Law Enforcement Division of the Sheriff’s Office is assigned to the South Coast Anti-Crime Task Force.

Bernard Sullivan, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said he did not immediately know what kind of contraband was involved as the investigation is ongoing.

Moniz was held overnight for arraignment today in Third District Court, New Bedford.
The arrest was a result of a textbook collaborative effort by Fall River, Fairhaven and New Bedford police, assigned to the Drug Enforcement Agency and District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s Office.

Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson expressed pride in the performance of members of the task force, internal affairs units and Sutter’s office.

“While I am deeply saddened when a sworn officer violates the badge he wears and the trust it implies, I am exceptionally pleased that our officers joined in a collaborative that conducted an extensive investigation that will, I hope, result in an end to criminal activity that is a danger to my officers, the inmates and the entire staff of our office,” Hodgson stated.

“Policing our own is not pleasant, but it is necessary to maintain the pride we have in the conduct of the staff of our correctional officers, who perform with pride the most difficult job in law enforcement,” he said.

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Officer Eric Hargrove Charged with Having Child Porn

A Chicago police officer has been charged with possessing child pornography after investigators found videos in his home computer allegedly of teenage boys engaging in sex.

Bail was set at $100,000 Wednesday for Eric Hargrove, 27, a patrol officer since joining the department in 2005. He has been relieved of his police powers and placed on administrative duty, a department spokesman said.

Two Officers Argue while Wounded, Handcuffed Suspect Bleeds on the Ground

A YouTube video purportedly showing a wounded, handcuffed suspect bleeding on the ground as two Philadelphia police officers argue nearby has sparked a federal investigation.

The 59-second clip captures an explicit verbal exchange between a female sergeant and a male highway patrol officer shortly after Marcus Henderson was allegedly shot by cops, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

The Internal Affairs Division, which the paper said announced plans to investigate, has not identified the officers in the video. The clip has been removed from file-sharing Web site YouTube.

The female sergeant, a supervisor, reportedly shouts instructions at the patrol officer about what to do with the suspect.

"Don't tell me what to do! He's f——— shot! He's going to a hospital!" the sergeant screams, according to the News.

The officer yells back that Henderson aimed a gun at his partner.

"I'm not telling you what to do!" he retorts. "I'm telling you what happened!"

Witnesses told that the officer resisted her orders because he didn’t want to put the wounded man in his patrol car.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told the News that a primary focus of the investigation isn't the officers' dispute — it's reports from witnesses that the male officer kicked the wounded suspect while he was on the ground bleeding and refused to use his patrol car to drive Henderson, 35, to the hospital.

"It doesn't look good," Ramsey told the paper. "We're concerned about it. It's probably just a misunderstanding, but we’re looking at it."

Henderson, who was eventually taken to the hospital with wounds to the arm and torso, is recovering behind bars until a Feb. 18 preliminary hearing.

He reportedly pointed a 9mm handgun at police twice, according to the News.

"The suspect was writhing around," the YouTube video photographer's brother told the paper. "It looked like he had been shot in his body, but he managed to get up on his knees."

Internal Affairs Chief Inspector Anthony DiLacqua said witnesses will be interviewed this week.

"We’ll get to the bottom of it," he told the News.

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Officer Randy Oliver Betts Arrested for Felony Theft

An Austin police officer has been arrested on an active felony warrant out of Pulaski County.

Thursday afternoon, the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office received information on an active arrest warrant for Felony theft by receiving. The initial investigation revealed that the warrant from Pulaski County was for 44-year-old Randy Oliver Betts of Searcy.

Further investigation revealed Betts was a police officer for the Austin Police Department and was currently on-duty. Authorities contacted the Austin Police Department and Betts was relieved of duty and turned himself in at the Lonoke County Sheriff's Office.

Betts was released to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office.


Man Dies After Being Tasered by San Jose Police

A man in his 20s died Wednesday night after being shot with a Taser by a San Jose police officer who was attempting to take him into custody.

It is the sixth instance of someone dying after San Jose police deployed the electric stun gun on them.

The man resisted arrest, tried to grab the officer's gun from its holster and fought with two police officers for several minutes before one of the officers shot him with a Taser, according to police.

After he was shot with a Taser, the man went into medical distress, police spokesman Enrique Garcia said. Officers performed CPR, but the man died at the scene. His name was not immediately released.

The officers, whose names were also not released Thursday, were treated at a hospital for injuries incurred in the struggle; one suffered facial lacerations and the other had a leg injury, Garcia said.

They had been dispatched to Story Road and Adrian Way at 10:24 p.m. and approached the man, who ran away. A resident in the 2200 block of Amador Drive reported someone in the backyard.

Garcia said the officers located the man and tried to take him into custody. He "resisted and got into a violent struggle with our officers," Garcia said.

The officers used their batons during the struggle, which lasted several minutes. One of the officers shot the man with a Taser.

In 2004, the San Jose Police Department armed every officer with stun guns, devices capable of temporarily disabling
suspects by sending 50,000-volt jolts through their body, as an alternative to deadly force. The move came after San Jose police shot and killed a Vietnamese woman after they mistook her vegetable peeler for a large knife.

In four San Jose incidents where suspects died after being shot with a stun gun, family members filed lawsuits over the deaths. In December, San Jose officials agreed to pay $70,000 to the wife and child of a man who died in 2005 after being shot with a Taser by police, marking the city's first settlement over a fatality linked to the stun guns.

In mid-December, a San Jose man with psychiatric problems died outside of Valley Medical Center when a Campbell police officer fired his Taser while he was helping Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies control the situation.

The San Jose Police Department Homicide Unit is investigating Wednesday night's death, Garcia said. The Santa Clara County medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Investigators from San Jose Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office are also monitoring the case.

Deputy Gregory Todd Bowden Arrested for Enticing a Minor


The FBI arrested a Bibb County sheriff's deputy Wednesday on a charge of using a computer to entice a minor for sexual activity.

Special Agent Gregory Jones said Gregory Todd Bowden, 42, of Byron, Ga., was arrested Wednesday after he engaged in a series of telephone and Internet conversations with what he believed was the mother of a girl under 10 years of age, and he went to Atlanta to engage in sexual activity with the mother and child.

The FBI says the mother and child were fictional, and that Bowden was arrested upon his arrival at an agreed-upon meeting place.

Trooper Charles Odom Accused of Sexually Assaulting Woman Trying to Get Bond Reduced

A trooper accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a traffic stop is trying to get his bond reduced.

Charles Odom is in the Leon County Jail facing a 250-thousand dollar bond.

A hearing was scheduled for this afternoon in Wakulla County, but Judge Sanders Sauls has recused himself from the case and that hearing has been moved to Leon County.

In a motion filed with the court earlier this week, Odom's attorney, Don Pumphrey, said given the Odom family's finances, the 250-thousand dollar bond is tantamount to no bond at all.

Pumphrey argued that Odom has no criminal history, is an 18 year veteran in law enforcement and his entire family and all his property are in Wakulla County so he is not a flight risk.

Judge James Hankinson is scheduled to hear that bond reduction motion at one o'clock this afternoon.

Officer Duhamel Torres Indicted for Rape, Kidnapping, Assault


A Cleveland police officer was indicted Wednesday on charges connected to the rape of a woman while on duty last December.

Duhamel Torres was indicted on several charges, including rape, kidnapping, intimidation of a crime victim, tampering with records and assault.

Prosecutors said Torres stopped a 41-year-old woman near West 43rd Street and Lorain Avenue. He asked her if she had a warrant out for her arrest and ordered her into his patrol car, saying he would give her a ride home, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Torres drove the woman to an area on Scranton Avenue, threatened her with arrest, slapped her in the face and raped her.

When he dropped her off near her home, he threatened her again, prosecutors said.

Authorities said DNA from the rape kit matched Torres'.


Hearing for Former Officer Jason Huntsinger accused of Child Porn Postponed

Missoula, Mont.

A plea hearing has been postponed for a former Missoula police officer accused of receiving child pornography through a computer owned by the police union.

Jason Huntsinger had agreed to plead guilty Thursday to a federal charge of receipt of obscene material, but his hearing was rescheduled for March 5 at his attorney's request.

Prosecutors say Huntsinger used a credit card and a PayPal account to access a child pornography Web site and used a post office box number assigned to a federal drug task force as the address attached to the credit card. He is accused of using a laptop belonging to the Missoula Police Protective Association to view the site.

Federal agents seized the laptop and Huntsinger's work computer in September 2007. Huntsinger remained on city's payroll for almost a year before he was put on paid leave. He resigned in September.

Information from: Missoulian,