Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Michael Jacobs Dies After Being Tasered

The family of a Texas man who died after being repeatedly tasered by Fort Worth police are demanding an investigation into his death.

The Tarrant county medical examiner ruled on Thursday that the death of 24-year-old Michael Jacobs was a homicide.

Police responded to Jacob's home on April 18 after a call from his family.

Jacobs, suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, had become erratic after going off his medication.

Family members say that he yelled at the police as they attempted to calm him down, but had raised his hands as a sign of surrender before an officer shocked him repeatedly with a taser.

The case will now be handed over to a grand jury.

Former Officer Robert Miller Arrested for Impersonating Officer

Former South Charleston Police Officer Robert Miller is in trouble for pretending to still be on the job -- a scheme authorities said he repeatedly has used to make money.

Charleston Police said Miller has an extensive history of pulling the same scam -- often telling people that he's a police officer in a bind. His stories usually involve a forgotten wallet, a tow truck and that he's an off-duty police officer.

Miller served as an officer in South Charleston for a couple of years in the early 90s and is the son of former South Charleston Police Chief J.C. Miller. The man who used to put people behind bars, however, is in jail again, having been arrested for similar schemes in the past.

In 2000, Miller was arrested for using schemes to feed a drug addiction. During his most recent scheme, Miller has only been charged with a misdemeanor, so police fear he'll get out of jail and then be right back at it.

Police said any officer who's legitimate would never ask for money. They also recommend to see a badge if there is a question about an officer being valid or not. If you have additional concerns, call 911.

Former Officer Christian Torres Pleads Guilty to Bank Robbery

A former New York City police officer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to robbing a Sovereign Bank branch in the East Village twice in 2007, with the help of his companion, who was a teller there.

The former officer, Christian A. Torres, 23, of Queens, was arrested in April 2008 after robbing another Sovereign Bank branch, near Reading, Pa. The revelation that Mr. Torres, who joined the Police Department in 2007, had a second career as a serial bank robber stunned his friends and colleagues. In May, Mr. Torres was sentenced in Philadelphia to 10 years in prison for the Pennsylvania robbery.

On Tuesday, Mr. Torres pleaded guilty to armed bank robbery, bank larceny and conspiracy to defraud a bank. He admitted robbing the Sovereign branch at 57 Avenue A, at East Fourth Street, on June 8 and Nov. 16, 2007.

In the first robbery, the authorities said, Mr. Torres entered the bank and handed his companion, Christina Dasrath, a teller at the branch who was on duty, a note ordering her to “empty both drawers” or else he would “start shooting.” She handed him $16,305 from her teller drawer.

Five months later, Mr. Torres returned to rob the same bank branch, the authorities said. As employees were opening the branch, he approached them and ordered them to open the door. When one of them refused, he threatened to kill that employee and pulled back the side of his jacket to reveal the black handle of a gun tucked into his waistband. Once inside the bank, Mr. Torres ordered the employees to look away from him, to leave their cellphones on a table and to open the vault. He also tied up the legs of another employee.

He took latex gloves out of a duffel bag, put on a ski mask and told an employee to put money in the bag. Then he ordered the employees into the vault, took their keys and told them to stay inside for 10 minutes, threatening that he might return. He took off with about $102,000.

Mr. Torres faces up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud conspiracy, 25 years in prison for bank robbery and 10 years in prison for bank larceny. Judge Laura Taylor Swain of Federal District Court in Manhattan will impose sentence on Nov. 6.

Ms. Dasrath pleaded guilty to bank fraud, bank larceny and false statements on Sept. 5. Judge Swain sentenced her to 30 months in prison on Jan. 9.

Paul S. Missan, a lawyer in Reading, Pa., who represented Mr. Torres in the robbery cases, said in a phone interview that Mr. Torres cooperated with the authorities and regretted his crimes.

Mr. Missan said:

The judge had him personally tell the facts of the case, and he expressed remorse. He explained that he did it because he needed money to get through the Police Academy. He knows that’s no excuse. He regrets it. From the very first day, he began cooperating with the authorities. He went so far as to meet with the national head of security at Sovereign Bank to help them improve security in the future. This is very rare. He feels a horrible sense of disgrace. He takes full responsibility.
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