Monday, March 09, 2009

Use of Tasers being Reviewed in Missouri

A group calling itself the Coalition to Control Tasers is asking the Columbia, Missouri, police department to review its policy on the use of the weapons.

According to the Columbia Missourian, the coalition wants the police department to adopt a 52-policy guideline outlining how and when its officers should use Tasers. Last July the police department caught flak when they tasered a man who was threatening to commit suicide. Once shot, the man fell off a 15-foot overpass. The city later reached a $500,000 settlement with the man. The Columbia police now prohibit use of the weapons in misdemeanor offenses.

Meanwhile, in Jefferson City, state Sen. Joan Bray (D-St. Louis County) is pushing a bill that would create a statewide task force to review the safety of Tasers. The task force would include doctors, scientists, lawyers, police and two private citizens who've been shot with Tasers.

Officer Henry Knipple Arrested for Meancing


A police officer found himself on the other side of the law last week.

Broomfield Police say Henry Jay Knipple was arrested last week following what they describe as a "traffic altercation" between two men.

Knipple was arrested; the other man does not face charges.

The Adams County District Attorney could file charges later this week. They say he could face a charge of felony menacing.

Knipple works in the Special Operations Division of the Denver Police Department. A spokesman tells 9NEWS he's now working a modified position pending any charges, which could come Wednesday.


Former Officer Jerry Bowens Accused of Shooting two Women

A former New York City police officer who resigned last year after being arrested on corruption charges is suspected of fatally shooting his 28-year-old ex-girlfriend and wounding another woman in Brooklyn on Sunday, the police said.

The police said the shooting happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. inside Apartment 1B of a condominium building at 84 Engert Avenue in Greenpoint.

The ex-girlfriend, identified by a family friend as Catherine D’Onofrio, was shot once in the head and taken to Bellevue Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The second woman, also 28, who lives in the apartment, suffered graze wounds to the head and arm and was listed in stable condition at Bellevue, the police said.

The police said the women were friends, possibly co-workers at a law firm.

The suspect, Jerry Bowens, 43, was identified by the surviving victim, the police said. Mr. Bowens was not in police custody as of late Sunday night, said Carlos Nieves, a police spokesman.

The police described Mr. Bowens as a former undercover narcotics unit officer who resigned last year after being arrested on corruption charges.

Mr. Bowens and another officer were accused in court papers of taking drugs and cash they had recovered and using the drugs to pay a confidential informant.

Four narcotics officers and a deputy police chief were arrested in the scandal. After the arrests, the Brooklyn district attorney dismissed the charges or vacated convictions in 183 cases that involved the accused officers. The investigation is continuing.

An attempt to reach a lawyer who represented Mr. Bowens in the corruption case was unsuccessful.

Annie Turchiano, who identified herself on Sunday as Ms. D’Onofrio’s godmother, said the woman worked as a legal secretary for a law firm in Manhattan and took care of her parents, both legally blind, at their home on 70th Street in Bensonhurst.

“The parents will never be the same,” Ms. Turchiano said.

Ms. Turchiano said that she met Mr. Bowens about two weeks ago at a dinner celebrating her goddaughter’s birthday. He was introduced by Ms. D’Onofrio as her “friend,” Ms. Turchiano said, adding that she believed the young woman was dating another man.

Later, Ms. Turchiano stood outside her goddaughter’s home, smoking a cigarette, lamenting that the world had lost something more than a young woman’s life.

The last time she saw Ms. D’Onofrio, she said she told her goddaughter that she was going to change the world, “one by one.”

“She would take in a cockroach if it needed her,” she said.

Neighbors gathered on Sunday night in the vestibule of the condominium building where the shooting occurred, discussing how such violence could seep into their complex, nine stories of glass and aluminum enclosing million-dollar penthouses and $700,000 apartments.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Ms. D’Onofrio’s father, John D’Onofrio, walked his daughter’s dog, a white mutt, up and down her street. He walked quickly, manically, up and down the block.

At one point he turned and said, “There’s nothing to say and nothing to be done.”


Officer Juan Nunez Charged with Assault


A man who may have been panhandling outside a Long Island deli was beaten by a New York City police officer and three others, who hurled racial epithets at the victim as they punched, kicked and smacked him with a baseball bat, police said.

The victim, who was identified by police as a 52-year-old black man, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for head injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

The attack took place around 8 a.m. Sunday outside the deli in Roosevelt. Detective Sgt. Keenchant Sewell said three Hispanic brothers who work at the deli told a man loitering outside to leave the front of the business. When the man failed to leave, the brothers and Juan Nunez, an off-duty New York City police officer, allegedly began beating him.

During the attack, the victim told police one of the assailants uttered racial epithets.

At a briefing Monday, Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said detectives have made a preliminary determination that the attack was not motivated by racial bias; he said the four men intended to have the victim leave the front of the store.

Nunez, 32, of Freeport, pleaded not guilty to assault at his arraignment in First District Court in Hempstead, where bail was set at $20,000. His attorney declined to speak with reporters. The NYPD suspended Nunez, a police officer since 2001, from his post at the 101st Precinct in Queens.

Arraignment information on the three other suspects was not immediately available.


Other information:

Former Cpl Will Cosby in Court for Assault & Perjury


Former Mt. Juliet Police Cpl. Will Cosby went to a Wilson County courtroom Monday to resolve the charges against him.

Cosby stood accused of assault and perjury. Cosby asked for - and the state agreed on - pre-trial diversion because the former officer had no previous criminal record.

Cosby's courtroom appearance came from a controversial stop of a man last spring while Cosby was still on the job. Cosby thought James Anders had marijuana in his mouth. The former officer wanted to keep Anders from swallowing the drug, so he used a vascular restraint. After two minutes Anders collapsed.

An investigation revealed that Anders did not have any marijuana on him, and he also passed a drug test.

Anders also sued Cosby. They settled out of court for $56,000.

In court Monday, the judge told Cosby he must spend the next two years on un-supervised probation. If Cosby doesn't get into any trouble during that time, the incident will be expunged from his record.