Friday, February 13, 2009

Officer Yaniris Balbuena Accused of Laundering Drug Money

A New York City police officer was accused on Friday of conspiring to launder thousands of dollars in drug proceeds in what the authorities said was a large-scale heroin organization in the Bronx that the officer’s companion ran until his death last year.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged that the officer, Yaniris Balbuena, 31, who was arrested on Friday, took deliveries of drug money, sometimes on Jerome Avenue near the station house of the 44th Precinct, where she worked.

The prosecutors, citing an informant’s account, described her as being nervous during one such exchange, as she instructed the informant to drop money on the floor of her private car before driving away.

Officer Balbuena controlled nine bank accounts, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in Federal District Court in Manhattan. It said she deposited more than $230,000 in unexplained cash in her accounts, an amount that “far surpassed her legitimate income.”

The officer, who joined the force in 2000, was suspended after her arrest, a Police Department spokesman said. A federal magistrate judge ordered her released on bond late in the day. She said nothing during the hearing and did not enter a plea, dabbing her eyes and crying as she left. Her lawyer, John Tynan, declined to comment.

The authorities did not identify the officer’s companion in court documents, but said they had lived together and had two children. He was killed, apparently in a drug-related homicide, an official said. Officer Balbuena’s deposits of unexplained cash into her accounts stopped after his death, another official said.

The complaint said that the drug-trafficking operation generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that her companion lived luxuriously, driving expensive cars and buying property in the United States and the Dominican Republic.

The complaint is based in part on claims from people described as confidential informants who had been charged with crimes and were now assisting the government.

One of those sources, the complaint said, told the authorities that Officer Balbuena once told her companion that he “needed to change his lifestyle and live an honest life with a normal job.”

He replied that he “enjoyed the criminal lifestyle and did not want to work a regular job,” the complaint said.


Officer Finess Brown Accused of Assaulting Wife for the Second Time

Complaints about a Murfreesboro Police officer assaulting his wife for the second time in two years are being investigated by detectives, a sergeant reported.

Officer Finess Brown, 36, was accused of assaulting his wife, Catina, during an argument Tuesday. The wife accused him of grabbing her wrist, causing her arm to be pulled behind her, Sgt. Harry Haigh reported. Their 15-year-old son tried to intervene.

“I examined Ms. Brown’s wrist and did not notice any signs of injury and she stated she was not injured,” Haigh reported.

Brown was charged with domestic assault of his wife in June 2007. Court records showed no documentation, indicating his record might have been erased as part of his case.

He has not been charged in this week’s complaint but his wife obtained a document ordering him to stay away from him.

Deputy Police Chief Randy Garrett said Brown has not been served yet with the order to stay away from his family.

“Until the investigation is completed by Detective West, I don’t know if we can answer questions about his status,” Garrett said.

Haigh reported Mrs. Brown told him she and her husband argued again Wednesday until she left the home with their four children.

She accused Brown of stopping her and the children Thursday where he allegedly rocked the car with them inside, the sergeant said. She called 911 and drove to the police department.

West helped Mrs. Brown apply for the order of protection and to Judge Mark Rogers’ office to sign the order of protection.

Brown and his son were not available for questioning about the case, the sergeant reported.

Houston Tasering Death Case Goes to Court


A woman whose son died after he was Tasered by Precinct 1 deputy constables four years ago appeared in court Friday for her wrongful death suit against Harris County.

“She is here to try to get justice for her son,” Nagel’s attorney, Kent Spence, said.

Four years ago, Nagel called deputies to her home for help.

Her son, Joel Don Casey, a paranoid schizophrenic, had gone off his medication.

Deputies tried to take him to a hospital for evaluation, but they said Casey became violent.

Deputies used their Tasers to subdue him and handcuffed his hands and legs.

“Very unfortunate, but they were just trying to do their job,” Harris County Attorney Frank Sanders said.

Fifteen minutes later, the deputies radioed for help.

“He’s slowing down. We’ve got the suspect in the vehicle at this time. Stand by EMS to this unit ASAP please. Be advised suspect’s not breathing. He’s not being responsive,” deputies said on the radio.

Casey died on his 52nd birthday.

Now, attorneys for Nagel are trying to prove the deputies were aware that placing Casey in restraints could result in death.

When asked on the stand what he would do differently, Deputy Gehring said he “would do it the same.”

Had the question been directed at Nagel, though, the response might be different.

“She doesn’t think she can ever recover,” Spence said of Nagel.

Still, she’ll seek to recover damages from the county.

Rudolph Byrd Dies After Being Tasered


About 2:00AM, a Thomas County deputy sheriff spotted a stalled vehicle on U.S. 19 near the western Inn in Thomasville, and then spotted a man in the vicinity.

He called for backup, and four other deputies soon arrived at the scene. Officers began questioning the man, who appeared to be bleeding from his arm, but the man, Rudolph Byrd, Junior, of Quincy, Florida was incoherent.

Officers say that Byrd began fighting with officers, and they tasered him three times, but say that only two tasers impacted him.

They subdued Byrd, and emergency medical personnel placed him on a stretcher and began to transport him to a hospital, and Byrd stopped breathing.

A cause of death is not immediately available, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Former Deputy Lance Roe Charged with Forgery

A former Anderson County deputy sheriff is accused of forging a commercial driver's license in order to drive a church bus.

Former deputy Lance Roe, along with Michael Sivils were indicted on charges of felony forgery, according to the State Journal. The paper says that Sivils worked with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet handling computer programs for commercial driver's license. Sivils is suspected of changing the information on the Transportation Cabinet's database to make it look like Roe passed a failed test.

Authorities say a circuit court clerk found Roe's certification, and called police.
After Anthony Goodrow complained that he had been brutalized by Hawthorne police officers during an arrest nearly three years ago, department officials said they "conducted an in-depth and thorough internal investigation."

Their conclusion: Officers acted appropriately and did not use excessive force.

That finding, however, appears at odds with the city's payment of $1 million in late January to settle Goodrow's lawsuit alleging excessive force.

Evidence in the case included a photograph that Goodrow's attorneys say shows an officer about to kick their client in the face; a police video of officers slapping high-fives while an injured Goodrow was booked into the city's jail; and reports from the officers acknowledging that they punched and kicked Goodrow several times during the arrest.

For the Rest of the story:,0,7243471.story

City Attorney Jeff Schroeder Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Warren city official was arrested early this morning on suspicion of drunken driving, according to the city's police commissioner.

Jeff Schroeder, 33, of Warren was stopped about 2:30 a.m. near Van Dyke and Toepfer, said Commissioner William Dwyer. A Warren police officer administered a sobriety test and determined that Schroeder was intoxicated.

Schroeder, assistant city attorney for Warren, is immediately suspended for five days without pay and will be reassigned when he returns because his duties now include prosecuting drunken driving cases, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said.

"I'm sure he's embarrassed by this, as we all are," Fouts said. "He has a very good record with the city. He's a hard worker and a good prosecutor. I'm not aware he's ever had any drinking problems."

Still, Fouts said, the accusation is serious and "there will be no favoritism by this administration."

Two Breathalyzer tests indicated that Schroeder had a blood-alcohol content of .07% and .08%, Dwyer said. The legal limit in Michigan is .08%, though police can arrest someone for impaired driving with lower levels if he or she is determined to be a risk to others.

A sample of Schroeder's blood was sent to the Michigan State Police lab in Sterling Heights to get a more precise level.

Dwyer said the matter is being sent to the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office instead of being handled by the city because of Schroeder's position.

"I want to make sure this is handled like we would handle every other case," Dwyer said.

Schroeder has worked for the city for more than five years, said City Attorney David Richards.

Warren officials came under scrutiny early last year when a court magistrate, James Conrad, was arrested for drunken driving and the matter was handled in-house. Conrad refused to take preliminary breath tests or a Breathalyzer exam and was released shortly after his arrest when then-Chief District Judge Walter Jakubowski Jr. set a personal bond for him.

Jakubowski since has been replaced by Judge John Chmura. Dwyer became commissioner in April, three months after Conrad's arrest.

Officer Vincent Carr Accused of Corruption & Drug Dealing

Vincent Carr, a St. Louis police officer accused of corruption and drug dealing , is scheduled to be in court this afternoon, and may plead guilty, court documents show.

Carr and his partner, Bobby Lee Garrett, were arrested by the FBI in December.

Carr faces charges of distributing a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit fraud, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Garrett faces those charges as well as theft of government property.

Both officers were suspended without pay following their arrest, which has triggered a review of the cases that they handled.

Garrett and his lawyers have been vigorously fighting the charges. Carr waived his opportunity to try to throw out some of the evidence against him in January.

Both were on the Crime Suppression Unit, created in January 2007 to address a rising crime rate .

The unit's officers were allowed to dress in plain clothes and were issued unmarked cars and were given the freedom to identify crime hot spots and aggressively pursue chronic criminals.

Veteran Officer Charged with Domestic Assault

A veteran Winnipeg Police officer has been charged with assault in what the police describe as a domestic incident.

A police service spokesman said this afternoon that the officer was arrested at his home after midnight Thursday morning.

The officer has been released from custody on a promise to appear but is on administrative leave pending an internal hearing to determine his employment status.

The police said the incident happened while the officer was off duty.


Officer Noelle Talley Indicted for Fraud

A Sharpsburg police officer was indicted by a grand jury Thursday on a fraud charge.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, said Sgt. Frank Richard Griffin Jr., 38, was arrested by agents from the State Bureau of Investigation for obtaining property by false pretense after a grand jury indictment.

Talley said SBI agents launched an investigation at the request of the District Attorney’s Office.

Griffin was placed in Nash County jail on a $10,000 secured bond.

He posted bail and was released, Talley said.

Sharpsburg Town Administrator Robert Masters said Friday that town officials are concerned about the charge against Griffin.

“He’s one of our most experienced officers,” Masters said, adding Griffin has been a long-term member of the department. “Sgt. Griffin has been a valuable asset to the Sharpsburg Police Department.”

Masters said the charge “possibly” involves a few hundred dollars relating to Griffin’s compensation.

“I’m really kind of surprised we are spending this much time and money with the SBI investigation,” Masters said.

Griffin will remain an active member of the department, he added.

“He’s only been charged, and he’s got a right like anyone else to be innocent until proven guilty,” Masters said. “It’s serious, and we’re going to keep an eye on it.”

Officer Andrew Dodds Arrested for Choking his 11-year-old Daughter

An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department patrolman has been arrested after his 11-year-old daughter accused him of dragging her down a hallway and choking her.

The officer, Andrew M. Dodds, 35, is being held on $100,000 bond, said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, an IMPD spokesman. He has been suspended from the department without pay, and IMPD Chief Michael Spears has recommended he be terminated from the department pending approval from the department's merit board, Duhamell said.

Dodds faces preliminary charges of battery and strangulation.

Dodds, an officer in the city's Northwest District, was sworn in to the department in July 2004. Duhamell said he had received commendation letters for his work from an agent with the U.S. Postal Service in February 2007 and from an IMPD detective in January 2008. He was nominated for Northwest District Officer of the Month in August.

"This is a family incident not involving anything to do with his police work on the street," Duhamell said. "He's a stellar performer out there. Unfortunately he stepped over the line, and now he's going to have to pay the consequences of his actions."

According to a probable cause affidavit, Dodds' daughter told an interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center that she was visiting her father's Northeastside house Tuesday. When she spilled milk on the couch, Dodds told her to go to her room, but she refused because Dodds was saying negative things about her mother and the girl was defending her, she said.

Dodds then grabbed her legs, twisted them and pulled her off the couch, dragging her down the hallway to her bedroom, according to the affidavit. When she came out of the room to use the restroom, she told investigators, Dodds grabbed her by the neck, put her against the wall and started choking her, then he let go, the girl climbed out of her bedroom window and went to the neighbors' house.

Dodds was arrested Wednesday. On Jan. 24, police investigated a domestic disturbance involving Dodds and his wife, Heather. The incident involved an argument in which both Andrew and Heather Dodds alleged physical harm, according to the written report of the incident.

Duhamell said he did not know if the couple was in the midst of a divorce.