Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Brian Cardall Dies After Being Tasered

An Arizona man with a recent history of mental illness died Tuesday after being Tasered by a Hurricane City Police officer southeast of Hurricane, according to family members and law enforcement reports.

Brian Cardall, 32, a doctoral student in molecular ecology at Northern Arizona University, was traveling south on State Road 59 when the incident occurred, according to a KSL news report.

Cardall was the son of KSL Editorial Director Duane Cardall and was returning home after visiting his family in Salt Lake City, the report said.

"Police and medical personnel responded to a call for assistance with an agitated subject on State Route 59," Undersheriff Jake Adams of the Washington County Sheriff's Office said in a prepared statement. "During the incident, a Hurricane City Police officer deployed a Taser and the subject lost consciousness."

Cardall was treated on the scene by medical personnel but was declared dead after being transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center. Adams said an autopsy is planned Wednesday. For further information, see Wednesday's edition of The Spectrum.

Officer Matthew Leavitt Charged with Violating Civil Rights

A former Montgomery police officer accused of beating a black man in September has been charged with two federal civil rights violations.

In an information filed Tuesday in federal court, Matthew Leavitt is accused of beating Twan Reynolds with a "slap jack" and illegally charging his wife, Lauren Reynolds, with a DUI.

An information generally indicates a defendant is cooperating with the case and can't be filed without a defendant's permission.

"We're obviously pleased," said Reynolds' lawyer, Mike Clifford. "And it would appear that because it was done by information that some sort of plea agreement is forthcoming."

Twan and Lauren Reynolds say Leavitt and fellow officer Shawn Hutchinson hit Twan Reynolds in the head with the slap jack (a small club), kicked him in the back and sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray at close range following a traffic stop at the 7-Eleven in Montgomery on Sept. 26.

They are suing the two officers and the town.

They also say Leavitt repeatedly used a racial epithet against Twan Reynolds. Lauren Reynolds accused Leavitt of licking her on the neck during an interrogation and saying, "Little whore, you like it like that."

@bodsub2:'I think this is a confirmation'

@bod:Clifford said that he's grateful Charles Miller, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, took up the case. But he's disappointed that the prosecuting attorneys in Fayette and Kanawha Counties did not touch the case. (Montgomery is on the Kanawha-Fayette border.)

Clifford said he does not believe Miller waved off either county to get the federal indictment.

"The information that I received is that did not occur, at least as of the time of the grand jury testimony," he said. "What we predominantly were interested in was a confirmation that one, what the Montgomery officers did was wrong and two, that what Twan and Lauren did was not a criminal act or in any way improper. I think this is a confirmation of that."

In December, Montgomery Police Lt. J.D. Burrow told the Gazette that Leavitt and Hutchinson threatened to arrest him when he tried to stop them from attacking Reynolds.

"These guys were on their own. They felt like they could do what they want," Burrow said at the time. "It seemed like they always had that little leeway to do what they wanted to, to me."

Burrow said he was on patrol when he saw Leavitt and Hutchinson driving to the 7-Eleven with lights flashing, according to a statement Burrow provided to the city of Montgomery.

Burrow followed the officers to the store, where they had Lauren and Twan Reynolds pulled over. Burrow says he overheard Lauren repeatedly tell Leavitt and Hutchinson that she hadn't been drinking.

Deputy Scott Benton Arrested for Indecent Behavior with 13-year-old

The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office arrested one of their own last week on a charge of indecent behavior with a juvenile, Sheriff Jack Strain said in a statement released Tuesday.

According to the release, Scott Benton, 42, 231 Forest Loop, Mandeville, was arrested last Thursday, after a three day investigation of a complaint from the mother of a 13-year-old girl who is from the Mandeville area. The complaint was received June 1. Strain said investigators discovered that Benton allegedly had an inappropriate conversation with the girl and there was one alleged incidence of kissing involved. Strain said that no other incidents between the two are believed to have occurred.

Strain said Benton was fired from the Sheriff’s Office on June 4, the same day he was arrested.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office deputy Scott Benton, 42, was arrested last Thursday and charged with indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Capt. George Bonnett, Sheriff’s Office spokesman said that Benton has worked as a deputy for the past three years, and was on court security during that time, where he worked at the front door of the Justice Center in Covington.

Bonnett said Benton was booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail June 4, and was released on a $25,000 bond later that evening. Bonnett said Benton has not made any statements on the incident.