Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hearing for Officer Mark Maupin Set for July

A veteran Altamonte Springs police officer who is accused of seriously injuring two people last November after losing control of his patrol car did not appear in court this morning.

Instead, a lawyer was present on his behalf.

The hearing was to address the traffic citations that were issued to Officer Mark Maupin by the Florida Highway Patrol. Last month Maupin was issued a six-point ticket for unlawful speed. He does not face any criminal charges.

Lawyers for the two victims, Jennifer Hernandez and Erskin Bell, asked the judge to push back the hearing. A new hearing was set for July 7 at 11 a.m.

Investigative reports show that Maupin hit the back passenger side of Jennifer Hernandez's four-door Honda Civic at 104 mph. Hernandez, now 20, was hospitalized for several days. Her passenger, Erskin Bell, 20, remains in a coma from injuries he suffered in the crash.

Hernandez and Bell's lawyers planned to file a motion this morning to ask for a judge to be appointed to the case and request an investigation by the State Attorney's Office.

The motion states that the Florida Highway Patrol never interviewed Hernandez about the crash and that neither victim was notified of any charges against Maupin, nor were they notified of today's hearing.

Hernandez was stopped at a red light in the left turn lane on Maitland Boulevard near Bear Lake Road on Nov. 30 when they were hit.

Altamonte Springs police have not been able to determine why Maupin was driving at such a high speed at that time. Police spokesmen have said Maupin did not notify dispatchers of his actions immediately prior to the crash.

Troopers could not prove or disprove whether Maupin was taking law-enforcement action at the time, FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Miller said.

Maupin, a 28-year department veteran, had been reprimanded six times for accidents involving his patrol vehicle since he began working for the department.

The discipline includes a 1992 incident in which he was caught driving his cruiser 82 mph with his lights off in the middle of the night on State Road 436 that was "intended as a joke on the person operating the radar," according to police records.

The day he returned to work following the crash, he was reprimanded for insubordination and his police powers were taken from him. An internal investigation by the police department was launched.

Musicians Claim Philly Cop Roughed Them up

Armed with a blurry YouTube video and a flurry of blog and Twitter posts, several musicians claim that their crew members were roughed up by Philly bike cops late Sunday.

The musicians, who were among several bands that played the Bamboozle Road Show at the Theater of the Living Arts, took to the Web to post various accounts of their alleged encounter with a handful of officers in an alley next to the theater, on South Street near 3rd.

One musician, JD Perry of the band Valencia, claimed in a blog post that the officers had ticketed equipment vans that were parked in the side alley and then arrested a tour manager who protested the ticketing.

Perry contended at first that the officers then beat and arrested another man who tried to intervene. Later, he took down an Internet account of the incident that he had posted, noting: "I do not have a first-hand account of Police brutality."

Members of the Police Advisory Commission, a civilian oversight committee, were set to meet yesterday with several people who also claimed to have witnessed the incident.

No evidence of abuse was found in the mostly out-of-focus YouTube video, said Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.

A complaint has yet to be filed with the police Internal Affairs Bureau. "If a complaint is filed, it will be investigated thoroughly," Vanore said.

Two NYPD Officers Moreno & Mata Charged with Raping Semiconscious Woman

A New York police officer called to help a drunken woman get home safely has been accused of raping her as she lay face down in her bed, semiconscious and covered in vomit while his partner acted as a lookout, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were suspended from duty and were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of rape, burglary and official misconduct in the Dec. 6, 2008 incident in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

Their attorneys said Monday they expected their clients to plead not guilty. Moreno's attorney Stephen Worth said his client was eager to confront the evidence against him. Mata's attorney, Edward Mandery, said his client denied the allegations.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who rarely speaks on pending cases involving officers because he may have to make internal decisions, called the allegations "disgraceful" and said he did not want the charges to tarnish the department's reputation for helping people.

"This is a shocking aberration in stark contrast to the outstanding work that the men and women of the New York City police department do every day on the streets of our city," Kelly said. "The public needs to know that the police are there to protect them. And I believe that they do."

The two officers were working the late shift in the 9th Precinct that night as the woman, identified as 27-year-old professional, was out drinking with friends at a bar in Brooklyn. Her blood alcohol was at least double the legal limit and possibly more, investigators said, when her friends put her in a taxi and told the driver to take her to her apartment in Manhattan.

When the driver got to her address, she was so drunk she couldn't get out of the taxi, so he called 911 for help, prosecutor said. Mata, 27, and Moreno, 41, responded within minutes. Surveillance tape shows them helping the woman into her building and leaving a few minutes later.

But the tape also shows the officers entering and leaving the building two more times, when they had been assigned to respond to other incidents in the precinct, prosecutors said. The officers were inside the building 17 minutes the first time they returned and 34 minutes the next time, prosecutors said.

While they were in the apartment, Moreno, who has been a police officer for 17 years, raped the woman as she lay physically helpless on her bed, Morgenthau said. Mata acted as a lookout for Moreno, and "knew his partner was having sex with a semiconscious woman," but did nothing to stop it, Morgenthau said.

The woman reported the sexual assault the next morning and was treated at Beth Israel Hospital and released, investigators said. She reported the charges to the sex crimes unit of the district attorney's office.

Both officers were indicted on first-degree rape charges, two counts of second-degree burglary for re-entering the apartment twice, and nine counts of official misconduct.

Mata, who has been an officer for three years, also was indicted on charges of criminal facilitation and tampering with evidence for refusing to hand over his memo book used to record shift details and for not stopping the rape, prosecutors said.

During the investigation, a packet of heroin was found in Moreno's police locker, and he was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, prosecutors said.
More Information & Photos: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/04/28/2009-04-28_nypd_cops_charged_in_rape_of_druken_woman_they_escorted_home.html

Rochester Woman Claims Police Brutality

A Rochester woman is alleging brutality from two Gates police officers and is meeting with two investigators this morning to talk about the incident.

Terasa Harris, 49, today said at 9:30 p.m. March 27 she was sitting in her car in an empty parking lot on Chili Avenue when an officer approached her vehicle because of an expired registration. After that, she alleges that one officer lunged toward her from the passenger side to remove her keys while the second officer pulled her out of her vehicle and dragged her toward the patrol car.

She said she suffered scratches all over the left side of her face and her chin.

“I couldn’t believe this was happening,” said Harris, who was also a third-degree burn victim. “When I complained to the officers to tell them I was in pain and felt scratches on my face, one officer told me I ‘already had scars and a few more wouldn’t be noticeable.’”

Gates Supervisor Ralph Esposito today said he discussed the issue with Gates Police Chief David DiCaro and is waiting to read Harris’ statement before deciding whether an internal investigation will take place.

“We just want to get the firsthand account of what occurred that night before going forward,” Esposito said.