Monday, May 25, 2009

Bail Set at 2 Million for Officer Richard Bolling Charged with Fatal Hit-and-Run

Bail was set at $2 million Sunday for a veteran Chicago police officer accused of being drunk behind the wheel while causing a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed a 13-year-old boy on the South Side.

Richard Bolling, 39, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident where a death or injury occurred and reckless homicide. Bolling, who has worked in the Chicago Police Department for 17 years, reportedly had been at a bar not long before the crash early Friday morning, said Sally Daly, a Cook County sheriff's office spokeswoman.

Bolling of the 8600 block of South Wolcott Avenue was arrested soon after his Dodge Charger allegedly drove through the intersection at 81st Street and Ashland Avenue about 1:28 a.m. and killed 13-year-old Trenton Booker, officials said.

Trenton had sneaked out of his home and was riding his bicycle with friends, his family said.

Trenton was riding with a friend on Ashland, traveling north in the southbound lane. Bolling was driving his car in the southbound lane and, according to witness accounts, raced through the intersection and hit Trenton, who ended up sprawled on the street, Daly said.

Bolling is alleged to have continued without stopping. He was arrested minutes later after two other Chicago police officers saw the car about five blocks away going the wrong way down a one-way street near 1900 W. 82nd St. They also noticed that the car had damage to the bumper and windshield, Daly said.

The officers saw an open bottle of beer in the car, and they conducted a field sobriety test on Bolling on the scene, she said. Daly did not have the results of the sobriety test available. Chicago police said in a statement that the officer was also cited for going the wrong way down a one-way street and transportation of alcohol.

Judges Finds Sheriff Arpaio Attempted to Intimidate ACLU Director


A federal judge ruled late last week that the arrest of an ACLU legal director by Maricopa County's controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio was an attempt to intmidate the director "from future First Amendment activity." The judge found that the deputies who arrested legal director Dan Pochoda knew of his position with the ACLU and conferred with Arpaio or a representative about arresting him after he attended a demonstration against the sheriff.

Arpaio and three of his officers sought dismissal of the suit, claiming they had probable cause to arrest Pochoda as he left the demonstration. But U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake found that Pochoda's arrest was an attempt to "intimidate (him) from future First Amendment activity" since the officers knew of Pochoda's position in the ACLU, saw him speaking with the protest's organizer and consulted with Arpaio "or his representative about whether to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge."

Pochoda said two deputies who were patrolling a parking lot near the demonstration approached him on Nov. 3, 2007 and questioned him for five minutes. He says the officers told him he could not park in the lot and stood between him and his car. After Pochoda asked one of the deputies to identify himself, since he was in street clothes, Pochoda says he was handcuffed, taken to the county jail and booked on criminal trespassing charges.

Pochoda claims that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by stopping him from leaving the parking lot.

But Judge Wake found that the officers had the right to stop and question him after. However, once Pochoda made it clear that he was leaving the property, the officers should have let him go, Wake said.

Judge Wake ruled that the deputies "are not immune from Pochoda's claim of unlawful detention and arrest" because Pochoda never refused to leave the parking lot and was prevented from doing so by the officers.

The sheriff and the officers denied Pochoda's claim of malicious prosecution, saying they had probable cause to arrest him, but Judge Wake found the arrest motivated by "deterrence or retribution for First Amendment activities."


Officer Benjamin Kruszynski Arrested for Drunk Driving

Police say a City of Elkhart police officer was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he was involved in an accident late Sunday along County Line Road.

Officer Benjamin Kruszynski, 38, crashed an Elkhart City squad car into a tree near the intersection of Brummitt and Ash roads about 11:10 p.m.

There were four passengers in the car at the time — a 43-year-old male and three 18-year-old females, according to police.

Elkhart Police Spokesman Lt. Ed Windbigler would not say if Kruszynski was driving his own squad car or another officer's.

A witness said the car went airborne when hitting the tree and leaving the roadway on the Elkhart County side of the road.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department responded to the scene and arrested Kruszynski for OWI. A departmental supervisor was also sent to the scene to assist the officer and continue the investigation.

No one was injured.

Kruszynski has been with the Elkhart Police Department since 2000.