Thursday, September 03, 2009

Officer Michael Sylvester Arrested for Theft & Possession

The court documents just filed in the arrest of a Baltimore police officer accused of stealing money from a drug dealer (who turned out to be an undercover detective) provide a detailed account of the case.

Authorities say the officer was targeted because of complaints and moved from a drug task force working Pennsylvania Avenue to the Northwest Police District. There, he was put in charge of training a rookie cop (done, police tell me, to avoid tipping the officer that he was under suspicion). The rookie is not in any trouble.

Members of the department's Internal affairs Integrity Unit set up the sting for Thursday night in the 3900 block of Carlisle Ave., in an area normally devoid of drug dealers. At 9:45 p.m., an undercover officer parked a green Cadillac at Carlisle and Mt. Holley Street while another officer called 911 and described a suspicious green vehicle driving around the block, supposedly looking to buy drugs.

At 9:48 p.m., a dispatcher sent Officer Michael Sylvester (in picture) to the call and told him a person was sitting in the Cadillac for 15 minutes and "acting strange." At 9:50 p.m., court documents say Sylvester pulled up beside the vehicle and shouted, "What are you doing here?" The undercover officer answered, "I'm waiting for my home boy to come meet me."

The court documents say Sylvester ordered the driver to turn off his ignition, turn over his license, get out of the car and sit on the curb. The man gave Sylvester permission to search the car and he emptied his pockets onto the front seat of the car. The charging papers say Sylvester conducted the search alone. After the search, court documents say Sylvester told the driver he was free to go and drove off.

Police say that the uncover officer had $259 in marked bills in his pants pocket and an additional $135 in marked bills in the arm rest of the Cadillac. After Sylvester and the training officer left, the undercover says in court documents that $50 was missing from the money that was in his pocket and $20 was missing from the money that had been in the car.

Undercover police officers followed Sylvester through the remainder of his shift, which ended at 11 p.m. They stopped Sylvester in the parking lot of the Northwestern District after he had changed into civilian clothes and was about to get into his personal vehicle. A lieutenant escorted the officer to an office while detectives searched his locker and reported, according to the charging documents, finding three blue zip lock bags containing suspected cocaine in the breast pocket of his uniform.

Police say Sylvester, 29, is being charged with theft and drug possession.

Officer Juan Delgado Arrested for Hitting His 9-year-old Son

A San Antonio police officer has found himself on the other side of the law.

Wednesday 31-year-old Juan Delgado was indicted, accused of striking his 9-year-old son. Delgado and his attorney appeared in court Thursday morning to face the misdemeanor assault charge.

SAPD said Delgado has been placed on administrative duty.

If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail.

Former Officer Calvin Schaffer Pleads Guilty to Sending Nude Photos

A former southern Kansas police officer accused of sending nude pictures of himself to a woman he arrested pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal wire fraud for defrauding the city of his honest services.

Calvin Schaffer, formerly with the Goddard Police Department, faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced Nov. 16, though he is likely to get far less under federal sentencing guidelines. The government has recommended a sentence at the low end of the guidelines, with additional reductions for his acceptance of responsibility.

Prosecutors say Schaffer, 44, offered to seek the dismissal of drunken driving charges against a Wichita woman he arrested on Feb. 27 in exchange for a sexual relationship.

In his plea agreement, Schaffer admitted using a police department computer while on duty to send e-mails and naked photos of himself to the woman. Under the deal, he would not be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea even if the judge rejects the prosecution’s sentencing recommendations.

Schaffer and defense attorney Roger Falk declined to speak to reporters as they left the courtroom following the brief hearing.

Schaffer worked as a Goddard police officer from Nov. 19, 2007, until March 26, the day after the FBI interviewed him about his relationship with Angelique Mason.

According to an FBI affidavit, Mason went to the FBI in March to file a complaint. She gave the FBI secret recordings that she and two private investigators had made of a telephone call and a meeting between her and the officer.

Mason told the FBI she initially “played along” with the officer’s sexual innuendo while en route to jail after her arrest in hopes of getting help with her criminal case, court records show.

According to the affidavit, Schaffer told FBI agents during an interview that Mason had e-mailed him nude photos of herself before he ever sent her photos of himself. He showed the photos of her to the agents, who then seized his BlackBerry.

After hearing the audio recording of one of his conversations with the woman recorded at the hair salon where she worked, Schaffer admitted that he hoped to have a sexual relationship with her, the affidavit said. He reportedly said he wanted to give Mason the impression that he could help her with her drunken driving case.

Although he acknowledged telling Mason he intentionally made mistakes while investigating her case, Schaffer told the FBI that his mistakes were actually unintentional. The mistakes included failing to report that she had prior arrests for drunken driving, the affidavit said.

It alleges that Schaffer had asked Goddard city prosecutors twice to dismiss the case against Mason, telling them mistakes he made during his investigation would embarrass him should the case be brought to trial.

In support of the federal wire fraud charge, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch told the court that the e-mails and photos Schaffer sent while on duty affected interstate commerce because they traveled through servers in California and Virginia.

Officer James Owens Suspended After Giving Teen Girls Alcohol

Jonesville Police Officer James Owens has been suspended after a teenage girl accused him of giving her and her friends alcohol at a party at the home of council member Steve Thompson.

According to an incident report, the 17-year old girl claims after she got drunk at the party on Saturday, she was raped by two teenage boys at the same home. She reported the incident on Monday when she went to a hospital to be examined. Union County investigators responded and took the report, then informed Jonesville Police Chief Jimmy Wilkins of the alcohol accusation.

Wilkins says he showed the girl a photo lineup and she identified Owens as the man who gave her alcohol. Owens was off-duty on Saturday night. He says he called Owens to his office and asked him if he was at the party.

“He said he was there and said there was alcohol there,“ said Wilkins. “I then informed him that he was suspended without pay and I called SLED (State Law Enforcement Division) to investigate as to whether or not he did provide alcohol to minors.“

Owens has not returned calls seeking comment.

Councilman Steve Thompson says Owens did bring “about six beers” to his house, but says to his knowledge, Owens did not give anyone alcohol.

“Why would he do that? He’s a police officer,“ said Thompson.

He said Owens was there for about an hour but he admits he was not always in Owens’ presence. He believes Owens is innocent and thinks the accusations are politically motivated.

Thompson says there were teenage girls at his home because he was hosting a going-away cookout for his son who has joined the National Guard. He says he was not aware of the sexual assault accusations but is “looking into the matter”. He said SLED agents have not questioned him yet but Wilkins says he thinks they will.

Owens was fire chief at the Arkwright Volunteer Fire Department in Spartanburg County, but Captain Jerry Yarbrough says he took a leave of absence about six weeks ago “for personal reasons” and is no longer the acting chief.

As for the sexual assault allegations against the two teenage boys, no charges have been filed at this time. Union County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Officer James Roberts III Charged with Numerous Felonies

James Roberts III is to be charged with numerous felonies in the physical abuse of his wife and girlfriend, the Orange County district attorney's office says.

A Huntington Beach police officer was arrested on suspicion of physically abusing his wife and girlfriend, the Orange County district attorney's office said Wednesday.

According to the district attorney's office, James Roberts III, 33, will be charged with eight counts of false imprisonment by violence or deceit, three counts of criminal threats, two counts of domestic battery with corporal injury, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of dissuading a witness by force or threat and one count of vandalism causing $400 or more in damage, all felony charges. Roberts is expected to be arraigned Friday.