Friday, March 27, 2009

Porter Officer Accused of Shooting Dog at Animal Shelter


An animal cruelty investigation is underway after an allegations that a dog was shot to death by a police officer while inside an animal shelter.

It allegedly happened earlier this month in Porter, about 30 miles east of Tulsa in Wagoner County. Former officer Bobby Bacon says he pulled up at the animal shelter and didn't like what he heard.

"I heard a 'pop, arf, pop, arf, pop, arf', three times the dog was screaming."

Bacon says next, he was called to the police station by the officer who allegedly pulled the trigger.

"They said they were on a budget and we don't have the money to get them properly euthanized," Bacon says. "A life is a life, a dog, cat, cow. They have a life. They live and breathe and that's not policy and procedure. That's animal cruelty to me."

Bacon says the dog was shot by a weapon from the police evidence room. We tried to reach the Porter Animal Control officer, but she had no comment. Also, our repeated efforts to contact the officer involved were unsuccessful.

Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert confirms he is looking into the case.

"They have made a complaint that the dog was shot with an evidence rifle in the custody of the Porter Police Department," Colbert said. "We've seen no animal. Again, if they would have made the complaint at the time when this allegedly happened, we could have investigated it better."

Bacon left the police department after an arrest on his record several years ago came to light. He says the allegation of animal cruelty is not him wanting to get back at the department. He says animals should not be euthanized this way and has contacted the Governor's office.

We don't know how long it will take for the investigation to be completed. The results of the investigation will determine whether or not charges are filed.

Officer Vally Getejanc Arrested for Putting Gun to Pregnant Wife's Head

A Davie police officer was arrested in February after he allegedly pressed his pistol against his pregnant wife's head during an argument, police said.

Vally Getejanc, a 25-year-old policeman, was charged with aggravated assault and was relieved of duty until further notice. He was taken to the Broward jail, police said.

Getejanc's pregnant wife, 25-year-old Sheena Banks, accused her husband of threatening her life after an argument at their Davie home on Feb. 3, according to the police report.

The topic of discussion that day: door slamming.

According to the Banks' account in the police report, Banks and Getejanc were arguing about the way Banks slammed doors around the house. While both were arguing, Banks turned away, walked into the bedroom and slammed the door behind her. Getejanc entered the room shortly after and demanded that she close the door properly. When she refused, he turned around and reached down to his duty belt, which was lying on the floor.

He then pulled out his Sig Sauer .45 pistol and pressed the gun against the left side of her head, police said.

''Say one more f---ing word and I will shoot you!'' Getejanc told her, according to the report.

Banks remained silent -- and Getejanc later apologized to her, police said.

Although weeks passed before Banks notified police, she told detectives that she did so to give her husband time to ''cool off,'' according to police.

Getejanc was arrested on Feb. 27 by Davie police officer Patricia Charboneau. The next day, he was released on $1,000 bond.

Davie police completed a probable cause affidavit on March 19 and released documents about the event on Friday afternoon.

Officer Stephen Olenchak Accused of Raping Teen

A Davie police officer was arrested Thursday, accused of raping a teenage girl while his wife lay unconscious next to them, according to police.

Stephen Olenchak, a 34-year-old police officer, was charged with two counts of sexual battery without consent on a girl over 12 years old. Police said the teenage girl was at Olenchak's home on March 22 when he, his wife and the girl watched the HBO television show Big Love.

The girl told police that Olenchak served the girl and his wife drinks that made them drowsy. While his wife slept nearby, Olenchak grabbed the girl from behind and raped her, according to the police report.

The girl told police she was not coherent enough to call out to Olenchak's wife for help.

Olenchak was arrested Thursday evening and taken to a Broward jail. He was released on $10,000 bond at 3:34 a.m. Friday, according to prison personnel.

Davie police spokesman William Coyne said that Olenchak will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into his actions.

The girl's family placed a restraining order on Olenchak, and a Davie police officer was assigned to keep watch over the family, Coyne said.

Trooper Joseph Ryle Arrested for Kidnapping


Federal authorities have arrested a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper on a criminal complaint alleging the unlawful arrest and kidnapping of a person in January.

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement saying that trooper Franklin Joseph Ryle was arrested late Thursday in Douglas.

Ryle was scheduled to appear in federal court Friday afternoon in Casper.

Col. Sam Powell, administrator of the Wyoming Highway Patrol, confirms the arrest but declined comment on the investigation.

Powell says Ryle has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation.

No other information was immediately available.


Officer Kachina McAlexander Arrested for Attempted Murder


South Dakota officials say a Denver police officer has been arrested on three counts of attempted murder after she fired a gun in the direction of 3 law officers who were checking on her at a motel near Custer.

Attorney General Larry Long's office says 31-year-old Kachina McAlexander was arrested Tuesday.

Two Custer County deputies and a Highway Patrol officer had gone to the motel to check on McAlexander. The attorney general's office said the officers found the woman with a gun in her hand, and she fired the gun several times in the direction of the officers.

The officers were not hurt.

Denver police Det. Sharon Avendano told The Denver Post she could not comment on McAlexander's arrest because another jurisdiction was in charge.

Officer Alhinde Weems Accused of Selling Cocaine


A Philadelphia police officer was accused Friday of selling cocaine to an informant and later plotting with an undercover agent to conduct an armed raid on the home of a person he believed to be a drug supplier.

Alhinde Weems, 33, was a longtime drug dealer prior to becoming an officer more than five years ago and continued to deal drugs while he was on the force, federal authorities alleged in an affidavit. The FBI arrested Weems Friday, authorities said.

Police said they do not believe any other officers are involved.

"This man dishonored the badge in a way that's unconscionable to us," Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at a news conference, adding that Weems has been suspended with intent to dismiss. "This case starts and stops with Weems. This is it."

Ross said the department thoroughly screens police candidates and will conduct an internal investigation to see how an alleged drug dealer got onto the force.

Investigators with the FBI, the U.S. attorney's office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives declined to say where Weems was allegedly dealing or if he is alleged to have dealt drugs while on the job.

Weems and a co-defendant are charged with conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery, and a firearms charge. Federal authorities said additional charges could be filed.

The investigation began in December when an informant told authorities that Weems was a drug dealer, according to the affidavit. The informant bought about one ounce of crack cocaine from Weems on Dec. 17, followed by a purchase of two ounces on Jan. 14, authorities allege.

On Jan. 29, Weems and the informant bought a kilogram of simulated cocaine from an undercover ATF agent, according to the affidavit.

A month later, authorities allege, Weems told the undercover agent he was interested in robbing the agent's drug supplier. A home invasion was scheduled for Friday, authorities said, and Weems and another man stated they "would be ready to shoot if necessary."

Friday's arrest happened at an undisclosed location where Weems and Smith had planned to meet with the undercover agent, according to the affidavit. Weems had a gun and his police badge on him when he was arrested, the affidavit said.

Tom Stankiewicz, assistant special agent with the ATF, said the arrest shows that authorities will not tolerate wrongdoing by police officers or anyone else.

"It doesn't matter if you're wearing a badge, a gun or a uniform," Stankiewicz said.

Authorities did not know if Weems, who is being held without bail, had obtained an attorney. His telephone number was unlisted.

John McNesby, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in Philadelphia, said the organization would not be representing Weems.

"The FOP is not going to stand behind a drug dealer cop," McNesby said.

Weems is married and a father of five.

If convicted, he faces 5-25 years behind bars. He is being held without bail.

Officer Matthew Raymond Arrested for Domestic Violence

ELIOT, Maine

A six-year veteran of the Eliot Police Department was arrested on a charge of domestic violence stalking Friday afternoon, 12 days after he was put on administrative leave in connection with the incident.

Matthew Raymond, 27, of Sanford, was arrested at his home by Maine State Police on the charge, a Class D misdemeanor, following an investigation into an incident on Saturday, March 14.

Eliot Police Chief Theodor Short said he was “made aware of this situation on Saturday night and after interviewing the victim, a woman that Raymond once dated, he was relieved from duty when he came to work Sunday evening (March 15).”

Short declined to give any further information about the incident.
Short said Raymond remains on paid leave, but now that there has been an arrest in the case, “that may change. We need to explore that a little more.”

The chief said he turned the investigation over to state police on March 16, the same day he launched an internal investigation into allegations of police department policy and criminal violations.
That internal investigation remains ongoing, Short said, and Raymond will remain on leave until its completion.

“There’s still documents we need to get, witnesses we need to interview. We’re looking for more information,” he said.

He said Raymond posted bail following his arrest Friday, but he did not know the date of his first court appearance. He said the arraignment would be in York District Court.

Judge Herman Thomas Faces Several Charges Including Kidnapping


Herman Thomas, while a Mobile County circuit judge, checked male inmates out of Metro Jail to exert control over them and force them into sexual activity, according to indictments released today.

About 1½ years after stepping down from the bench, Thomas was arrested today outside the same jail on charges of kidnapping, sodomy, extortion, sex abuse and ethics violations.

A special grand jury met for three weeks this month and returned 57 felony charges against Thomas. The indictment lists nine alleged victims, each of them current or former inmates.

"These are very serious charges," some carrying up to life in prison, said District Attorney John Tyson Jr. Thomas was taken into custody outside the jail as his attorney, Robert "Cowboy Bob" Clark, held an afternoon news conference amid reports of an impending arrest.

Clark suggested his client's indictment was motivated by racism.

"This is racism at its very finest. We ought to be proud we elected those bastards," said Clark in an apparent reference to Tyson and former Thomas colleagues on the bench.

As Clark was speaking, an investigator with the District Attorney's Office quietly walked up to Thomas, tapped him on the shoulder, whispered something to him and then accompanied Thomas -- without placing him in handcuffs -- to the jail 10 feet away.

There, Thomas was photographed and booked, with bail set at $287,500, according to the jail log. He was later released.

Each of Thomas' alleged victims at one time faced charges in Mobile County Circuit Court, according to online court records. The allegations against them ranged from criminal mischief to murder.

One of the inmates went before Thomas on multiple occasions over the years for several felony charges. He was eventually sent to prison for a short time, but Thomas ordered him released early.

Finally, he ended up sentenced in federal court and later released. He has since been accused of murder and attempted murder.

According to Friday's grand jury allegations, Thomas "knowingly" subjected the young men "to sexual contact, by forcible compulsion."

Thomas' resignation came in the face of a pending trial before Alabama's Court of the Judiciary, where he was charged with dozens of ethical violations.

Tyson said Clark's accusations that Thomas' troubles stem from racism at Government Plaza are "absolute nonsense."

Nicki Patterson, the chief assistant district attorney, later pointed out that all the alleged victims are black. Thomas is black.

Tyson said his investigation is not over and that the special grand jury could be called back into session at any time.


Sgt Brian Thies Accused of Masturbating at Work


Late on a cold February night, a police sergeant working the third shift sought comfort in the cell detention area and lay down on a bed.

What Sgt. Brian Thies, 36, did next — with his police radio inadvertently keyed on — is the subject of a state police investigation.

A recording of the police radio at 11:23 p.m. on Feb. 18 reveals a series of moans, vulgar-sounding intonations and deep breaths lasting for about 40 seconds.

Thies contends that he was sick and went into the cell area to rest. He told a dispatcher he was saying things such as "come on heat" and groaning because he had a fever. Then he fell asleep.

Other interpretations suggest that Thies was masturbating.

The garbled audio recording seems to include language such as "that's what you want puppy" and "that's what you like."

"I had no doubt in my mind that these sounds I heard were those of someone getting themselves off," according to a complaint filed with the mayor by dispatcher Linda Lanosa. She goes on to say that she was mortified and "embarrassed for both me and him."

Mayor Thomas G. Dunn has forwarded the complaint to state police. He said it would be a conflict of interest for Wolcott police to conduct an internal affairs investigation because Thies is Capt. Domenic Angiolillo's son-in-law. Angiolillo is the third highest-ranking officer in the 33-member department.


For more on this story, read the Republican-American in print or online. Subscribers may log in to the e-edition at

Officer Michael Hansen Arrested for DWI

A Clearlake police officer who shot and killed a man last year was arrested this week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possession of a loaded firearm.

Michael Hansen, 24, who is on leave from the Police Department, also had a small amount of marijuana in his vehicle when he was stopped near Williams but he had a doctor's prescription for its use, CHP spokesman John Waggoner said.

Hansen, who gave an Oroville address when arrested, could not be reached for comment.

Hansen has been on unpaid administrative leave from the Clearlake Police Department for several months, Police Lt. Mike Hermann said.

He said he cannot divulge why but that "it's not related to the shooting."

Hansen shot and killed Clearlake resident David Clinton Vestal, 63, in June while responding with other officers to reports of an altercation at a mobile home park.

Vestal had pointed a .410 shotgun at another officer when Hansen fired four shots. One struck Vestal in the neck, killing him, according the the Lake County district attorney's report on the shooting.

The district attorney's investigation found the shooting to be justified.

Vestal's family claims otherwise. His daughter has filed a civil lawsuit against the city and Police Department in federal court.

Hansen was driving on Highway 20 west of King Road late Monday night when he was stopped by a Colusa County sheriff's deputy because his vehicle was missing a rear license plate, according to the CHP. The deputy observed signs of intoxication and notified the CHP.

CHP officers conducted sobriety tests and determined Hansen was under the influence of alcohol, the CHP said.

The deputy conducted a search of Hansen's vehicle and located "a very small amount" of marijuana and four handguns, one of which was loaded, Waggoner said.

Because Hansen is on administrative leave from the police department, he is not, under CHP regulations, allowed to carry a loaded firearm, he said.

Hansen was booked into the Colusa County jail and later released.


Dallas Officer Robert Powell Apologizes

His actions pilloried on national television and disowned by his commanders, Dallas police Officer Robert Powell came forward Friday afternoon to say he was sorry for detaining a family rushing to the hospital to visit a dying loved one.

Powell, 25, said he had tried to contact NFL player Ryan Moats and his family to apologize directly but so far had not reached them.

"I wish to publicly and sincerely apologize to the Moats family, my colleagues in the Dallas Police Department, and to all those who have been rightfully angered by my actions," he said in a written statement issued by his attorney.

The attorney, Bob Gorsky, works with the Dallas Police Association. He said that despite news reports to the contrary, the officer is remorseful.

The day before, police commanders said Powell told them he saw nothing wrong with his behavior even after reviewing video of the episode.

The video, recorded by his in-car camera, shows him berating Moats, threatening him with arrest and holding him for 13 minutes over a traffic violation while his mother-in-law died at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.

In his apology, Powell said he regretted adding to the family's grief in an already difficult time.

"After stopping Mr. Moats' vehicle, I showed poor judgment and insensitivity to Mr. Moats and his family by my words and actions," the statement said.

Gorsky released little information about his client, saying only that he came to the department straight out of college in January 2006.

Powell, from the Amarillo area, was married not long ago and the couple has an infant, said an officer who knows him but declined to be identified.

"He's semi-quiet," the officer said. "He's not one you'd ever think would ever embarrass the department in any way. I've never heard him raise his voice."

Shortly after being hired, Powell was assigned to the city's north-central patrol station. During his short tenure, he has received some minor discipline, including a one-day suspension for violating sick-time policy.

"There is a complaint involving use of force, but his record's relatively clean," Police Chief David Kunkle said Thursday during an apologetic news conference. "That complaint was not sustained."

'Trying to do his job'

The chief called Powell's actions "inappropriate," "troublesome," "embarrassing" and "extraordinarily disappointing."

But one fellow officer spoke up for Powell on Friday.

"Right now he feels the world is against him," said Detective Ron Pinkston, secretary-treasurer of the Dallas Police Association. "He was trying to do his job out there."

Pinkston said that he sympathized with Powell and that it's been rough on the three-year officer, under the weight of nationwide derision.

He said that he isn't sure Powell should be disciplined and that he certainly shouldn't be fired. He stressed that Powell is still essentially a rookie.

"I think an older officer who'd been out there could de-escalate quicker than a younger officer," he said. "When any officer stops somebody on a traffic stop, there's a high level of anxiety for the unknown."

The situation Powell faced isn't something that figures into academy curriculum, said Lt. Vernon Hale, commander of the Dallas police academy.

"I don't think it's a situation that anybody's ever anticipated," he said, "or it wouldn't be national news."

Different officers will respond differently to the same situation, Hale said.

"You have a traffic stop, someone not stopping and people jumping out of the vehicle," the lieutenant said. "However, at some point, the light should come on is my thinking."

Outrage continues

The Moats family declined to speak about the episode Friday. But a man who witnessed it said he found Powell's apology suspect.

"An apology was very much needed after the fact, but the way he conducted himself, the way he enforced his side of the law, there wasn't no mistake about it," said Jason Brown, 23, who was at the hospital on the night of March 17 and can be seen in the video.

Others outraged by the incident continue to register their displeasure. A secretary at Dallas police headquarters said Friday that irate callers were still inundating the phone lines.

And even officials of a neighboring police department took steps to distance themselves from the incident.

"The Plano Police Department requests the media's assistance in clarifying the fact that this is a Dallas Police Department incident," said a news release. Plano police said e-mails and phone calls of complaints have rained on them from across the country.

The red light Moats ran is just inside the Dallas city limits and just down the street from the Plano hospital where Moats was pulled over.

"Thus, all comments regarding this incident should be directed to the Dallas Police Department," the news release pointed out.

Even others sharing Powell's name found themselves the unfortunate targets of ridicule.

"I am not the cop who pulled over Ryan Moats in Dallas ... so please stop sending me msgs about how much you hate me," said one Robert Powell on his Facebook page. "I'M NOT HIM!"

Other Information:

Officer Mark Phillip Arrested for Driving BMW that He Owes Taxes On

A Newport News police officer was arrested Thursday for driving a 2000 BMW he owed property taxes on.

According to Hampton police, officials from the Treasurer's Office put a distress warrant on Mark Andrew Phillip's car Monday that prohibited him from driving it, and took the state tags. Phillips, 45, is a Hampton resident.

On Wednesday, officials found his BMW in Newport News displaying tags he'd put on from a different vehicle he owned.

They put a boot on it, took the tags off, and called the police, said Hampton Police Spokeswoman Allison Quinones. Phillips was charged with one count of removal of levied goods and one count of improper use of stage tags.

He has been released from jail.

Phillips has worked for Newport News Police since April 2007, said Spokesman Lou Thurston. At the time of his arrest he was assigned to the North Precinct as a patrol officer.

He is on administrative leave while the division does an internal investigation, Thurston said.