Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Officer Michael Messenger & Wife Arrested for Shoplifing

State police arrested a New Jersey cop and his wife Monday afternoon on suspicions of shoplifting at the Galleria at Crystal Run.

Police said Michael J. Messenger, 39, of Glenwood Park, N.J., and a police officer in Cliffside Park, N.J., stole items worth a combined $510 from Sears and J.C. Penney, along with his wife, Christine. Their three children – ages 4, 2 and 1 – were with them, police said.

The Messengers were each charged with two counts of petty larceny and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors, and issued appearance tickets.

Bill Maer, a Cliffside Park borough spokesman, said Michael Messenger, a seven-year veteran of the police department, was suspended Tuesday without pay pending the resolution of the case and an internal investigation.

Deputy Chu Vue Arrested for Murder


Chu Vue, a former Sacramento County sheriff's deputy, was arrested Thursday morning for the murder of a correctional officer suspected of having an affair with his wife, says the Sacramento Police Department.

Vue, 44, was taken into custody near his Elk Grove home without incident, said police Sgt. Norm Leong. Also arrested in the Oct. 15, 2008 murder of Steve Lo, 39, were Chu's brothers Gary and Chong Vue, and Lang Vue, a friend of Chu Vue.

Leong says detectives believe Gary and Chong Vue killed Lo at the direction of their older brother Chu Vue. Lo, who worked at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, was found shot in the garage of his Elk Grove home as he apparently was leaving for work.

Investigators say in July 2008, Chu Vue learned his wife was having an affair with Lo.

During the course of the investigation, Vue was accused of weapon and illegal computer access charges. The latter was his alleged illegal use of sheriff's department computers for personal information about Lo.

Earlier this month, Gary and Chong Vue were arrested in Minnesota on an unrelated 2001 murder.

Four others were also arrested Thursday in connection with the case. Leong said Mason Vue, Lee Vue, Allysa Vue and Khoe Vue are suspected of harboring fugitives.

Detectives say in April 2007, Chu Vue put a mobile home on property in Corning in the name of Khoe Vue for the purpose of hiding his brothers.

Lang Vue rented cars and motels for Gary and Chong Vue, according to investigators. They believe Lang Vue bought the vehicle used by the brothers on the day of Lo's murder.

Detectives learned that Allysa Vue, who is Chu Vue's sister, rented a motel in Sacramento they think was used by Gary and Chong Vue a few weeks before the murder.

Mason and Lee Vue, brothers of Lang Vue are suspected by police of hiding the younger Vue brothers, knowing that they were wanted in Minnesota.

Investigators say Chu Vue and the others bought cell phones under fake names and used them to talk to each other.


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Taser Use Being Questioned After Teen Death

Many are questioning the safety of tasers after the death of 15-year-old Brett Elder of Bay City, who was killed after a police officer shot him with a taser gun.

But local police agencies, like the Ingham County Sheriff's Office, said the tool is not only effective, but safe.

"It's just safer for the officer, and the offender, both at the same time," said Gasper Mendez, Ingham County Sheriff.

Calling it a middle ground between a gun and a baton, Dewitt Police Chief Larry Jerue echoes that notion, "It's another tool in the toolbox. It's another piece of equipment that can be utilized in a less lethal fashion."

Jerue said his officers understand the responsibility that comes with using a taser. He claims they all understand that the offender's size, stature and mental state must be taken into consideration before delpoying a taser.

"In a force continuum, what the officer does is use only the force necessary," said Jerue. "Just slightly above what is being used on them in order to secure the arrest."

But some say Bay City Police could have secured the arrest of the the 5-foot-6, 140-pound teen without a taser.

However, while Jerue won't speak directly about the Bay City incident, he did say he doesn't know of anyone being killed by a taser alone.

"Depending on the psychological makeup of what the perpetrator or assialant has injested, it could have other effects. In most of the fatalities that I've heard, there is some narcotic that has been injected into the system."

Jerue said choosing to use a taser should never be taken lightly, "You have to justify that, you have to be held accountable for that."

Bay City Police are still investigating whether officers followed department policy in using the taser.


Reversal of Decision for Former Officer Mark Delapaz

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday reversed a decision that had overturned two of the three convictions of a former Dallas police officer at the center of the city's fake-drug scandal.

The 5th District Court of Appeals in Dallas ruled in December 2007 that evidence Mark Delapaz lied in other investigations should not have been introduced at the trial.

The Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed. In its ruling, the court said the value of the testimony of other wrongdoing outweighed the negative light it cast on the former officer.

Delapaz is already serving a five-year sentence from another trial. He lied to a judge to obtain a search warrant in connection with the scandal, in which more than two dozen people were falsely arrested when paid Dallas police informants planted fake drugs on them.

Many of those arrested were Hispanic immigrants. The wrongdoing came to light in 2001 and forced the city to pay millions in settlements and led to negative publicity along with personnel changes at the Police Department.

But this week's ruling does not end the Delapaz case. The Criminal Court of Appeals ordered the lower court, whose decision it just overturned, to examine the other issues Delapaz has appealed.

Those remaining issues are whether Delapaz should have been granted a change of venue and whether two concurrent five-year sentences he received for tampering with evidence and aggravated perjury should be served consecutive to his current sentence, as the judge ordered, said April Smith, who represents Delapaz.

If the convictions ultimately stand, Delapaz would begin serving another five years when he is either paroled or serves the time for the first five-year sentence.

Smith said that she was "disappointed" by the decision and that she has not yet spoken to her client about it. She may ask for a rehearing on the issue but she said it is unlikely to change the decision.

But Toby Shook, who prosecuted the case but is now a defense attorney, concurred with the Court of Criminal Appeals. "Obviously, I think it's the correct ruling," he said.

Delapaz was charged after the wrongful arrest of Jose Vega in August 2001. Prosecutors said that the day before Vega's arrest, a paid Dallas police informant, Daniel Alonso, and his friend Roberto Gonzalez planted fake cocaine in a car at a service station where Vega worked.

The following day, video surveillance was set up. Delapaz met with Alonso, but in violation of a police procedure intended to ensure that an informant is not already carrying drugs, he did not search Alonso or his car.

After the supposed buy from Vega, Alonso met Mr. Delapaz at a convenience store and gave him two kilos of what appeared to be cocaine. Police found about 20 more kilos of the substance at the service station.

After Vega's arrest, Delapaz said in a police report and at a trial that he saw Mr. Alonso meet Mr. Vega outside the garage. But video surveillance did not show any such contact.

Another officer, Eddie Herrera, who is also charged with wrongdoing, testified that he did not see Vega and Alonso meet and that Delapaz asked him to lie.

In addition to Delapaz and Herrera, other officers were charged criminally for their role in wrongly sending people to jail.

Jeffrey Haywood was sentenced to two years probation by a judge in May 2007. This month, David Larsen pleaded guilty to misdemeanor attempted tampering with evidence in exchange for two years probation.

Herrera, who testified against Delapaz and Haywood at their trials, will likely plead guilty in exchange for probation, prosecutors say. None of the four are still police officers.


Trooper Thomas Bledsoe Charged with Indecent Exposure

A Texas State Trooper, Thomas James Bledsoe, has been suspended with pay after he was charged with indecent exposure, a class B misdemeanor, in the Cherokee County Court-at-Law.

Mr. Bledsoe is charged with exposing himself before another department employee while standing in his office on Feb. 3.

The complaint alleged Sgt. Bledsoe was "reckless about whether another person was present who would be offended or alarmed by his act."

The complaint was filed with County Attorney Craig Caldwell by Jo Anna Miles, an employee of the DPS office in Jacksonville.

Sgt. Bledsoe turned himself in to authorities last week and immediately posted a $1,000 bond after being arraigned by Justice of the Peace James Morris, Precinct 3.

Although Ms. Miles is an employee of the Texas Department of Public Safety, her salary is paid by Cherokee County.

Sgt. Bledsoe completed his trooper training and had been assigned to the Jacksonville office since February 2004.

He was promoted to sergeant in December 2008.

He was suspended with pay on Friday, March 20.


Capt. Clarence Arthur Ebarb Jr. Arrested for Family Assault

San Benito Police Capt. Clarence Arthur Ebarb Jr. was arrested on a family assault charge by Harlingen police.

Ebarb, a 58-year-old Harlingen resident, was arrested about 3:20 a.m. Saturday after a disturbance at the Palm Terrace Apartments, 1501 Sam Houston St., jail records show.

According to a Harlingen police news release, Ebarb's wife told police he had "forcefully grabbed her arms and repeatedly pushed and pulled her."

Ebarb has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of his case.

San Benito Mayor Joe Hernandez said, "It's surprising. It's a shocker, but we have to continue going forward. It hurts because, with one little incident, (people) label every (police officer) as a bad person. They don't look at all the good they do."

Officer Armando Posada Arrested for Drunk Driving


A San Benito police officer was arrested last week on a drunken driving charge while he was driving an unmarked San Benito police vehicle, Department of Public Safety spokesman Trooper Johnny Hernandez said Wednesday.

Hernandez said Armando Posada, a 40-year-old San Benito resident, was off duty when he was pulled over for speeding while travelling east on FM 510 near Bayview about 12:30 a.m. Friday.

"He refused a field sobriety test and he refused a breath test," Hernandez said. "But he was highly intoxicated."

The DPS spokesman said Posada did not identify himself as a police officer at the time of his arrest and was driving an unmarked police pickup.

Acting police chief George Gomez said officers are allowed to take unmarked police vehicles home with them.

Posada was jailed at the Los Fresnos Police department but was no longer held there or in the Cameron County jail late Wednesday.

Military Officer Sgt. Grady Riley Arrested on Child Porn Charges

A Fort Bliss military police officer has been indicted on child pornography charges, federal agents announced Tuesday.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Staff Sgt. Grady Michael Riley on Monday at the Army post.

Riley, 33, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography and one count of receiving child porn ography, said Leticia Zamarripa, an ICE spokeswoman. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, she said.

U.S. Magistrate Norbert J. Garney read Riley the charges at a preliminary hearing Tues day.

Zamarripa said Riley was the object of a yearlong investigation.

ICE agents in February seized two computers from his home in the 12000 block of Hosea. They found 2,822 sexually explicit images and 150 child pornography videos, Zamarripa said.

Jail records show Riley was being held in the El Paso County Jail without bond.

Zamarripa said child porn ography cases often fall under ICE's jurisdiction because most of the illicit material is imported.

Riley was the second Fort Bliss soldier in a year arrested on child pornography charges. Arkon Christopher Caldwell, also a military police officer, was sentenced in July to 96 months in federal prison after being convicted on child pornography charges.

Former Officer Dennis Tasker Charged with Sex Abuse Involving Child


A former upstate police officer is charged with multiple counts of sex abuse involving at least one child.

Dennis Tasker of New Paltz was charged Monday with two counts of felony criminal sexual act and one count of sexual course of conduct to a child. He's also charged with sexual abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a minor. He was being held in Ulster County Jail without bail.

State police say the 61-year-old performed sexual acts on a child during a 12- to 18-month period. Tasker was previously a police officer with the New Paltz and Town of Ulster police departments. He resigned from the Town of Ulster department after he was accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend.

New Paltz court officials had no attorney listed for him as of Tuesday afternoon.


Officer James Watson Facing Additional Charges

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says James Watson, 27, was an officer with the Nashville Police Department when he solicited sodomy from a 17-year-old boy earlier this month.

Watson is now charged with violating his Oath of Office which is a felony.

He voluntarily resigned from the police department effective this past Monday.

While Watson was not on duty at the time of his arrest, investigators say this latest charge could result in the loss of his police certificate.

Watson was arrested on Friday, March 13th. He is now out on bond.

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Officer Daniel Dominguez Arrested for Assaulting Girlfriend


An Oklahoma City police officer is arrested at a metro mall, accused of threatening his girlfriend a day before at a local hospital, police said.

Police alleged that Daniel Dominguez, 41, threatened a 37-year-old woman, identified by police as his on-again, off-again girlfriend, while he was working security Monday at the Oklahoma Spine Hospital.

He was arrested at about 6 p.m. Tuesday at Crossroads Mall, where he also works security, and taken to the Oklahoma County Jail, where he remains on Wednesday.

Dominguez has not been charged, but he has been placed on administrative leave pending a criminal and internal investigation, police said.