Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Officer Michael Wooton Pleads Not Guilty to Shooting Neighbor's Dog

An off-duty Essex police officer accused of shooting his neighbor's dog after it got into a fight with his Pug pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday morning.

Police say Michael J. Wootton, 34, of Waterville, shot and killed his neighbor's mixed-breed dog earlier this month.

The shooting happened after Wootton's dog went to a neighbor's property and got into a fight with a dog owned by Melinda Maskell. Police say Wootton then went home, got a handgun and fired one shot at the dog.

"If he would have had his dog on a leash, none of this would have happened," Maskell said.

Maskell showed us pictures of her dog Hooch, in happier times. She described the mixed-breed as well-mannered.

"I mean the dog sat pretty, that's how well he minded, he knew commands, he went to obedience school for a year," Maskell said.

Court records show Hooch was shot in the stomach. Maskell says her two year old daughter was just feet away from Wootton, when it happened.

"They're supposed to serve and protect us and to have to explain to my children why they murdered my dog, in front of my child, is one of the hardest parts to it," Maskell said.

Maskell understands court proceedings could be far from over.

"My family and I are going to pursue this until we get justice, one way or the other," Maskell said.

Maskell said she was surprised there wasn't a reckless endangerment charge against Wootton, since her daughter was nearby at the time of the alleged incident.

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More Information: http://www.fox44.net/Global/story.asp?S=10428016

Lawsuit Settled in Excessive Force Case


A woman who sued officers over the death of her father during an arrest for driving a bulldozer on an expressway has settled with two of them.

The deal came Tuesday before U.S. District Judge John Feikens in Detroit.

Amanda Landis settled with Livingston County sheriff's Deputy Jim Lynch and ex-Deputy Jason Baker. Terms weren't announced.

The case continues against state Trooper Greg Galarneau.

The suit says officers used excess force while arresting Charles Keiser, holding him face-down in a swamp on Thanksgiving 2004. It happened in Hartland Township, about 40 miles west-northwest of Detroit. Sheriff Bob Bezotte tells the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus in Howell the deputies acted appropriately.

Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, http://www.dailypressandargus.com

Cpl Tony Finn Charged with Assault

Walnut Cove officials said one of their police officers was suspended after allegations of assault.

Town Manager Homer Dearmin told WXII 12 News that Cpl. Tony L. Finn will be suspended without pay pending an investigation.

On May 25, Walnut Cove police arrested Finn on two charges of simple assault and assault agaisnt a female.

Dearmin would not go into any more detail.


Information: http://www.wxii12.com/news

Sheriff Terrry Jones & Undersheriff Charged with Taking Money During Traffic Stop

The McIntosh County Sheriff's Department is facing some tough challenges after their sheriff and undersheriff were both accused of taking money during a traffic stop.

Sheriff Terry Jones and Undersheriff Mykol Brookshire face federal charges and could spend up to a year in prison if convicted. Jones has now resigned from his post.

McIntosh County has a brand new 8-million dollar jail and no sheriff to operate it. It's supposed to open in July. That's why county commissioners are scrambling to find someone to run it.

"To have something like this happen, now we've got to go back and look at that again," says District Two Commissioner Tim Pendley.

It was Friday when county commissioners first learned the sheriff had resigned.

"Yeah, it was a shock," says District Three Commissioner Ronnie Layman. "Nobody expected something like that to happen."

Jones and Brookshire were detained Friday. It is alleged they stole money from an individual during a traffic stop.

"Really thought we'd be represented better," says Bridgette, a resident of Eufaula. "He's supposed to be looking out for our community, not taking from it. I would have expected something different."

Jones and Brookshire are innocent until proven guilty. But, some feel it's a black eye for other elected officials.

"Makes it look bad on all elected officials," says District One Commissioner Bob James. "I feel like it does. You're kinda guilty by association I guess."

Commissioners say they have confidence in the sheriff's department, for those stepping in and covering all the shifts. To the citizens of McIntosh County, they say they will get through it.

We spoke with U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling, who says we should know more details about the former sheriff in court later this week. There, Jones is expected to answer the charges against him.