Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Former Officer Charles Pinkston Arrested on Drug Charges

A former Leesburg police officer, who resigned after allegations surfaced that he had been purchasing cocaine, was arrested this afternoon on a drug charge.

Charles Pinkston, 38, turned himself into detectives at about 4:45 p.m. to face one count of attempting to purchase cocaine. He was released a short time later after posting $5,000.

On Feb. 20., Leesburg narcotics investigators arranged for an informant to sell crack cocaine to a person the informant knew from past encounters as "Marshall." "Marshall" had placed $340 under a rock near the intersection of 9th St. and Magnolia St., which the informant retrieved and replaced with crack cocaine provided by the police department, according to a probable cause affidavit. During the operation, an undercover Leesburg narcotics investigator saw Pinkston driving a silver SUV - the same car Marshall was supposed to be driving - near the drop point. Pinkston recognized the investigator and left the area, according to the affidavit. No one retrieved the drugs, and narcotics agents soon learned of allegations the Pinkston previously had bought drugs from the informant, who also identified him according to Sgt. John Herrell of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Leesburg Police Chief Bill Chrisman requested that the Lake County Sheriff's Office investigate the case. Detectives found that Pinkston had used his personal cell phone to repeatedly call the informant throughout February, and that he had withdrawn $340 from an ATM just before the drug buy was set to occur.

Lt. Rob Hicks of the Leesburg Police Department said that Pinkston submitted a letter of resignation on Feb. 25, and that he was the subject of an internal investigation at the time. Pinkston had been a Leesburg officer for eight years, and was working in the road patrol unit at the time of his resignation, Hicks said.

A copy of Pinkston's letter of resignation and his personnel file was not immediately available Wednesday.

Hicks would not comment on the internal investigation because it is ongoing, and that officials are awaiting its outcome before deciding to petition the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to revoke Pinkston's law enforcement certification.

Officer Thomas Crouch Arrested for Embezzling Money


A Newport News police detective was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with embezzling money from a fraternal group that pays bagpipes at police funerals.

Thomas David Crouch, 45, of Windymille Drive in Portsmouth was arrested just before 1:30 p.m. and booked at the Newport News City Jail after an investigation by Norfolk police.

Norfolk police spokesman Chris Amos said Crouch is accused of using a credit card from the Police Emerald Society for personal use between late 2007 and mid-2008. Crouch was an officer in the group, designed for officers with Irish backgrounds.

Crouch, who has worked for the Newport News department since May 2000, is a master detective who worked in the training division, spokesman Lou Thurston said. Crouch turned himself in, and was released on $1,000 bail.

Crouch is the third Newport News officer arrested in recent months. Lt. Ronald M. Hendrickson and Officer Christopher E. Miner are facing current charges of sexual assault.


Officer Javier Alonzo Arrested for Sexual Assault has been Suspended


An El Paso police officer arrested last week on a charge of aggravated sexual assault has been suspended from duty without pay, police officials said Tuesday.

Javier Alonzo, a member of he police force for 16 years, was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a woman Feb. 24 at a home in El Paso.

He remained in the El Paso County Jail on Tuesday. His bond was set at $80,000.

Police officials said Tuesday that they had begun the process to fire Alonzo.

"Chief (Greg) Allen has instructed internal affairs to begin the termination process," said Officer Chris Mears, a department spokesman. "However, there are some rights and administrative issues that need to be resolved first. He will be on leave without pay until the administrative side is finished."

Alonzo's lawyer, Roger Montoya, is representing the officer on a separate charge of family violence and assault causing bodily injury. That case dates from Nov. 1.

"I want to remind the public that my client is entitled to the presumption of innocence," Montoya said.

In the case last week, Alonzo, 42, is accused of throwing a woman to the floor, threatening her life, handcuffing her and then sexually assaulting her.

Police did not identify the woman, and the El Paso Times does not publish the names of people who say they were victims of sexual assault. Police said the alleged assault occurred in a house in the 800 block of Sunset Park Drive.

Alonzo will have a pretrial hearing March 9 in connection with the November assault charge, court records show.

Former Officer Steven Gomez Accused of Arson


A former Portland police officer convicted of shooting his wife more than a decade ago is in trouble with the law again. This time he was charged with arson.

Former officer in court Investigators arrested 43-year-old Steven Brian Gomez Tuesday, accused of setting an apartment on fire. Detectives said Gomez started a fire at an apartment complex on the 2100 block of North Kilpatrick on November 7, 2008.

In court Wednesday morning, Gomez pleaded not guilty to three counts of arson and three counts of attempted assault. Bail was set at $810,000 and and his next court date was set for April 15.

Three people were inside the apartment at the time of the fire and one person suffered minor burns. Detectives believe that Gomez knew the victims and have been investigating him since.

Last week, a Multnomah County grand jury indicted him on arson and attempted assault charges.

Back in 1997, Gomez confessed to shooting his wife while he was on the Portland police force. At the time, he apologized and said he was playing with the shotgun and didn't know it was loaded.

His wife survived, but Gomez spent 90 days in jail and resigned from the force.

Gomez was being held at the Justice Center in downtown Portland.



Family Says Deputy Eric Grundeman Shot their Family Dog


A Golden Gate Estates family says a deputy shot their dog. But officials with the sheriff's office say it was only because the dog was threatening the deputy.

Wrinkles, a Rottweiler mix, was allegedly shot by Collier County Sheriff's Deputy Eric Grundeman.

A spokeswoman with the Collier County Sheriff's Office said Grundeman went to the family's house on 47th Avenue Wednesday night after learning about a broken down vehicle.

The deputy claims the dog lunged at him in a threatening manner. He says that is why he shot Wrinkles once with his service weapon.

Family members took him to an animal clinic where he was treated for a punctured lung and released.

The family says it is still puzzled by the deputy's actions.

"I think [deputies] are here to help, not to do things like this - it's not right. They came on to our property to help us supposedly with another situation, making it worse. Now my dog that I've had for 8 years, he could have been gone because of this incident," said dog owner Brendi Gutierrez.

We spoke to Deputy Grundeman on the phone. But all he would say was, "You'll have to take it up through the chain of command."

The Collier County Sheriff's Office says it will conduct an internal investigation. For now though, Grundeman is not under any form if administrative leave.

As for Wrinkles' family members, they say they're planning on pressing charges.


Former Officer Jonathan Parmalee Charged with Rape

A former Buffalo police officer has been charged with one count of forcible rape and one count of statutory rape.

Jonathan Edward Parmalee is 25. According to charging papers, the alleged victim of the forcible rape was 16, as was the alleged victim of statutory rape, a different person.

The consensual sex with an underage female occurred between March and August 2006, when the victim was 16 and Parmalee was 22. The victim was interviewed by an investigator with the Highway Patrol, the charging papers said.

The act with the second victim occurred between February and May 2008. In that case, Parmalee is alleged to have given a 16-year-old alcohol before raping her.

Both incidents occurred at Parmalee's home in Buffalo, the charging papers said.

Felony forcible rape is punishable by life imprisonment or a term of five to 30 years.

To read the charges and probable cause statement, click here.