Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Officer James Bryant Charged with Contributing to Delinquency of Minor


Coos Bay police have arrested a Coquille police officer on charges of attempted contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

A citizen complaint alleged that officer James Bryant gave alcohol to a teenage girl and solicited sex from another. Police say the teenagers are 17 and 18.

Coquille asked Coos Bay to investigate. Bryant was jailed and released.

Coquille Police Chief Mark Dannels says Bryant is on administrative leave.

Bryant is the second Coquille police officer arrested in six months. Randy Ulmer pleaded guilty to stealing at least $8,500 from the evidence locker at Coquille Police Department and is serving a 20-day sentence.

Information from: The World,

Police in Mount Vernon & Yonkers Being Sued for Physically Abusing Woman & 3 Boys


Police in Mount Vernon and Yonkers are being sued for allegedly physically abusing a woman and three boys in two separate cases.

Their attorney, Jonathan Lovett, is seeking $1 million in punitive damages for each of those plaintiffs and $500,000 in compensatory damages. In both cases, the cops allegedly cursed and yelled racial slurs.

“It’s America 2009, it’s unbelievable,” Lovett said.

In a February 6 incident, it is alleged that a white Mount Vernon officer pulled over a black female motorist for a traffic violation and punched her in the face, dragged her from her car, slammed her head against the vehicle and forced her to the ground. A sergeant arrived and allegedly cursed at her and struck her in the head with a police baton.

In a February 28 incident, white Mount Vernon Police and Yonkers Police officers the latter with a K-9, responded to an alarm at the Mount Vernon Middle School where they allegedly beat three black boys, one 12 years old and the other two, 13 years of age. The court papers allege the officers yelled racial slurs and physically abused the boys.

Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young, Jr. issued a statement Tuesday that excessive force “is not tolerated by me or anyone in my administration.” He warned, though, that if the purpose of the lawsuit is to divide the city or the police department, “that goal is not one that will be realized.”

Young also had a message to the police officers in the city. “If you see anything going on in the department that you don’t like or that you have concerns over go to your superiors to report it,” he said. “If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, I have an open door policy. Come to me.”


Officer Francisco Santiago Arrested for Domestic Violence

A police officer assigned to LA/Ontario International Airport was arrested on suspicion of felony spousal abuse Tuesday in Rancho Cucamonga.

Francisco Santiago, 46, was arrested at about 5 p.m. in the 7100 block of Westhaven Place, which lies northeast of Rochester Avenue and Base Line Road.

Santiago remained jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail this afternoon at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

He is set to be arraigned Thursday morning in West Valley Superior Court, according to online records from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The circumstances of Santiago's arrest remained unclear this afternoon. A spokeswoman for the Rancho Cucamonga sheriff's station did not return calls seeking comment today.

Sgt. Jim Holcomb, a public information officer for the Los Angeles Airport Police Department, said he can't reveal whether Santiago, an airport safety officer, is on leave or faces any other punishment because of his arrest.

Holcomb declined to say how long Santiago has been employed by the department. The position of airport safety officer is not an entry-level job, Holcomb said.

The Los Angeles Airport Police Department patrols LAX, LA/Ontario and other airports operated by Los Angeles World Airports.

Its officers are responsible for firefighting in addition to traditional police duties, Holcomb said.

Officer Kevin Hicks Resigns After Hitting Woman


Before he served the city as a police officer, Kevin Hicks served his country as a soldier. As an Army National Guard cavalry scout in Afghanistan, his commander said Hicks displayed "high moral standards and common sense."

But authorities say those traits were lacking in December when Hicks became involved in a drunken street brawl that left Hicks shirtless, bloody and under suspicion. Witnesses said Hicks slugged a woman during the fracas.

The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office believed them. After reviewing the evidence, prosecutors charged Hicks with misdemeanor battery last month.

Hicks denied it and said he was the one who was attacked. He had been restricted to desk duty since the Dec. 21 incident. But once charged with a crime, the department intended to suspend him without pay.

Before that happened, Hicks resigned Monday. The 29-year-old was an officer for 16 months.

But the fight's not over yet. Hicks pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney said Hicks will contest the allegations.

"That's exactly what they are," said attorney Joseph Ciarciaglino Jr. "Allegations."

• • •

Kevin Hicks and a host of witnesses provided dozens of pages of statements to a detective. Here's the short version:

Hicks said his evening started out at the St. Petersburg Bowl with his sister and brother. By 2 a.m., they were at Durty Nelly's at 661 Central Ave, Hicks told investigators.

It was his fifth bar that night, Hicks said, and he had imbibed 10 to 12 alcoholic drinks.

Central Avenue was in chaos. Two women fought on the street.

When one of the women tried to back her car out, police said, she accidentally rolled over a man who was leaning his bicycle against her car, breaking his leg.

Witnesses said Hicks reached into the woman's car and took her cell phone, then said he was an officer and needed to call 911.

A friend of the driver, Rebecca Reed, 21, said she told Hicks to give it back and to use his own phone. Reed said Hicks hid the phone behind his back and said he was an "undercover cop." The two kept arguing.

Then Reed said Hicks punched her with his right hand.

Her left jaw was visibly swollen and red, the report said.

Then several men, Reed said, rushed Hicks.

Two days after the incident, Hicks told a detective that's not what happened.

Hicks said he went to help the bicyclist. He denied reaching into the car or taking anything.

Then, Hicks said, several men confronted him. He showed them his badge. But Hicks said he was punched and kicked to the ground. His shirt was torn off and he was left bleeding.

His brother, Andrew Hicks, backed up that account.

"I mean, you could tell that these guys were just out for blood," Kevin Hicks said. "They were just going to fight."

• • •

The woman who ran over the bicyclist was not cited. A police spokesman could not say why, but speculated she may not have been at fault.

No one was arrested for assaulting Hicks. But two men who police said admitted taking part in that night's brawling were arrested on charges they carried illegal brass knuckles.

Joseph Vanwart, 26, pleaded no contest Feb. 24 to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon and paid a fine.

Steven Kelly, 25, faces a felony charge of being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon. He told police he carried them for protection in a bad economy.

Hicks, a graduate of St. Petersburg Catholic High School, was charged with battery on Feb. 27. An internal police investigation is ongoing. A police spokesman would not say if a conviction would have led to Hicks' firing.

His attorney said Hicks was done with law enforcement.

"He's just moving on," said Ciarciaglino, general counsel for the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association. "This kid's a sharp kid with a lot of opportunities, and that's why he resigned."

Two Baltimore Officers Accused of Forcing Black Detective to View KKK Material

Two Baltimore police officers accused of forcing a black homicide detective to look at racist material on the Internet could be suspended without pay and have letters of reprimand placed in their permanent files, city police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said yesterday.

The officers, Lt. James W. Hagin Jr. and Detective Paul A. Kidd, can accept the discipline or fight the charges at a departmental hearing called a trial board.

In a complaint filed in March last year, Hagin is alleged to have ordered Sgt. Kelvin Sewell to view a Ku Klux Klan Web site. Guglielmi listed the administrative charges against Hagin as neglect of duty, bringing disrespect to the department and conduct unbecoming an officer related to inappropriate use of a police computer.

It is alleged that Kidd tampered with the computer by removing the hard drive. Guglielmi said the charge against him was neglect of duty.

The local chapter of the NAACP had pressured the Police Department to move forward on the case; the head of the police union backed the officers and said the police commissioner shouldn't be influenced by "outside groups and sources."

A third officer - Charles Bealefeld, the brother of Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III - was also found to have given a false report in the case. However, he has since joined the Annapolis Police Department. Baltimore police do not typically attempt to bring charges against former employees.