Monday, April 13, 2009

Deputy Ryan Huizenga Arraigned for Shooting Unarmed Student During Raid

Ottawa County Sheriff's Dept. Deputy Ryan Huizenga has been arraigned in Holland District Court in the shooting of an unarmed Grand Valley State University student during a drug raid at his off-campus apartment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Holland District Court on April 29th.

The Kalamazoo County Prosecutor authorized criminal charges against Huizenga on April 6th. Huizenga is charged with Careless Discharge of a Firearm causing Injury or Death. The charge is punishable by possible jail time, probation, or fines and other monetary charges.

Huizenga is on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the Ottawa County internal revue.

On March 11th, Huizenga, along with other law enforcement officers, was conducting a search warrant for drugs at GVSU student Derek Copp's off-campus apartment.

According to the investigator of the case, Michigan State Police Det. Lt. Curt Schram, Copp answered the door. Lt. Schram said that, "When Mr. Copp opened the glass door, he indicated that there was a flashlight that was shown (sic) into his face and in his eyes." Lt. Schram says Copp shielded his face from the light, but did not have a weapon in his hand. Huizenga then shot Copp in the chest.

Copp has since returned to school.

Trial Under Way for Deputy Marshal John Ambrose Accused of Leaking Secrets to Mob

The trial is under way for a deputy U.S. marshal accused of leaking the secrets of an FBI investigation to the mob.

Prosecutors said in court Monday that 42-year-old deputy marshal John T. Ambrose deliberately helped the mob, while Ambrose's defense attorney claims he merely said too much while boasting to a friend.

Ambrose is accused of leaking the contents of a secret file on the star witness in the government's landmark Operation Family Secrets mob investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney T. Markus Funk told jurors the case is about, "a criminal betrayal of trust." Defense attorney Francis Lipuma told them Ambrose merely went too far while talking about his job with a former police officer who was like a father to him.

Border Protection Officer Edwin Barbo Accused of Stalking

A judge on Monday continued a protective order against a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer accused of stalking a woman, jamming a pistol into her chest and threatening to kill her.

Edwin Barbot, 46, is accused of harassing the 47-year-old woman at her work and home. He was arrested in November on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated stalking and battery.

Last month, an Osceola County judge granted a temporary order against Barbot. On Monday, a circuit court judge continued the order until after Barbot's criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin April 21 in Osceola County.

Barbot was suspended from his Customs job at Orlando International Airport, agency spokeswoman Maria M. Alvarado said.

In mid-November, the woman told Osceola County deputy sheriffs that Barbot followed her home and argued with her outside her apartment. Barbot told the woman "that she better not be with anyone else or he will kill her," a sheriff's report said.

The woman told deputies that Barbot pulled at her, causing her to fall on the steps, and then "jammed" a semiautomatic pistol into her chest. The woman said he stood over her and said, "I want to kill you."

When the woman screamed, Barbot ran to his car and drove away, according to the report.

In hs report, the deputy noted that he saw a small, red circular mark on the woman's chest. Barbot was arrested Nov. 19 and released from the Osceola County Jail the same day on $5,500 bond.

In a written statement filed in court, the woman said Barbot put his gun in her mouth when she told him she was going to get a restraining order.

"He will kill me, he promised he would!" the woman wrote.

The woman stated she is "so afraid," she can't sleep, is having trouble concentrating and feels as though she's being followed. She said Barbot harassed her at work while wearing his federal uniform and carrying his badge and gun.

In her court filing for the protective order, the woman also stated that Barbot had an incident with another woman in January at work while he was on administrative duty. She gave no details about that allegation.

Alvarado said she couldn't comment on any allegations made against Barbot because he is under investigation.

Other Information:

Officer Vally Getejanc Accused of Abuse Twice


Five months before a rookie police officer was charged with aggravated battery on his pregnant wife, an ex-girlfriend made similar accusations of abuse.

The wife of Officer Vally Getejanc, 25, told Davie police he held a gun to her head on one occasion and threw her to the ground on another. Davie officers arrested Getejanc on Feb. 27 after his wife called 911.

In October, Getejanc's ex-girlfriend, Casey-Lyn Bird, sought a restraining order against him, claiming the two had a three-year relationship marked by a "history of violence." Her request, denied by a judge two weeks later, triggered an Internal Affairs investigation into whether Getejanc had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.

Bird, 27, claimed Getejanc had punched, choked, kicked and head-butted her during their relationship and sent her a threatening text message in October. She also told Internal Affairs he once threatened to shoot her in the head. Getejanc admitted he and his ex-girlfriend had a "tumultuous" relationship but denied ever hitting her.

On Feb. 28, the day after Getejanc's arrest in the battery case involving his wife, Police Chief Patrick Lynn cleared him in the Internal Affairs case involving his ex-girlfriend, citing a lack of evidence.

"One case doesn't have anything to do with the other," Lynn said.

Getejanc, hired in March 2007, is on paid administrative leave from his $53,644-a-year job pending the outcome of the battery case. He declined to comment through his attorney, Anthony Livoti.

Livoti called his client a "really good guy" and questioned both women's version of events.

"I'm just saying that when emotions are involved, the facts oftentimes get lost," Livoti said. "If someone puts a gun to your head, do you marry them?" he said of Getejanc's wife, who requested her name not be published.

Getejanc's wife, 25, told detectives the two argued on Feb. 27 after he complained she'd spent too much time visiting her mother. Getejanc, while in uniform, wrapped his right forearm around her neck and threw her to the ground, according to the police report. The two had been married just four days and the wife was five months pregnant, the report says.

On Feb. 3, according to police records, Getejanc put his duty weapon to his wife's head and said "Say one more f------ word and I will shoot you!"

Getejanc's wife obtained a restraining order against him on March 2.

"She is afraid of him" and plans to file for divorce, said her attorney, Greg Lauer. "She wants nothing to do with him."

Lauer said the 911 tape speaks for itself and questioned whether Getejanc should be entrusted with police work.

"There are certain people who don't need a badge and a gun and he may be one of them," Lauer said. "If he did these things, he most definitely should not be a police officer."

Bird declined to comment on her former boyfriend, saying she wanted to move on with her life.

On Oct. 21, Judge Jack Tuter denied her request for a restraining order against Getejanc. The officer told the judge he never hit Bird and showed messages she had sent days after an argument professing her love and asking him to stay in the relationship. He also claimed she was jealous of his new girlfriend.