Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Officer David Graham Charged with Possession of Stolen Property

An Upstate officer was on the other side of the law Monday, accused of stealing from a local college.

In recent months, on the campus of Greenville Tech computers and equipment started disappearing from locked classrooms.

Some of the stuff stolen included 10 computers, two laptops, and four projectors. The missing equipment was valued at more than $10,000.

Campus police said they believe the thief was one of their own.

David Graham, who worked for the school police department for about a year, is now charged with possession of stolen property.

"What you don't want is police officers who are supposed to be above reproach and above what the average citizen is supposed to do taking care of things and securing them being the one stealing items from you," said Greenville Tech Police Chief Bobby Welborn.

Officers said they found the stolen stuff at Graham's home in Westminster.

They may have never traced the crime if it wasn't for a computer tech who lives in Dallas, Texas.

"If he'd been a nice guy I'd probably not have done anything, but he ticked me off the way he didn't want to help me return the item," said Shep Johnson.

Johnson unknowingly bought one of the stolen computers on eBay and said it wasn't what he paid for.

The listing said the computer was "acquired from a business that was shutting down."

But a lot of red flags went off including a screen that popped up on Johnson's new computer that said "Greenville Tech."

"I thought there's something wrong with this whole deal and I'm going to call this Greenville Technical College and see if they're missing a computer," Johnson said.

That information lead to Graham's arrest.

Investigators said the case is still not closed. They said they believe he didn't commit the crime alone.

According to the report, Graham told officers he had financial problems and that was his reason for the theft.

Graham has now been fired.

Trial for Former Officer Wesley Little Begins

The trial of a former Huntsville police officer accused of allegedly planting drugs in a suspect's car begins today in Madison County Circuit Court.

Wesley Little's trial began this morning with jury selection and opening statements.

Little and fellow former officer Ryan Moore were indicted in May 2008 for attempting to possess a controlled substance, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, tampering with physical evidence and false reporting to law enforcement authorities. Little and Moore both resigned from the police force.

According to a civil lawsuit filed against Little by Quincy Turner, Little attempted to plant marijuana in Turner's car during an arrest in September 2007.

According to the lawsuit: Turner was diving a rental car in Huntsville when Little stopped him about a problem with the vehicle's license plate. Little searched the car and allegedly found marijuana.

Turner was arrested on a charge of possession of marijuana, taken to jail and prosecuted in Huntsville Municipal Court. But the city dropped the marijuana charge against Turner on June 16, 2007.

Little resigned from the police department in June 2008 after he was indicted.

According to the indictment, Little allegedly told a fellow officer during another vehicle search on Oct. 29, 2007, "there could be some marijuana inside the vehicle if it needed to be." Officers searched the car a second time and found marijuana, according to the indictment.

Little also was indicted on charges of possession of a pistol with altered or missing serial numbers, tampering with physical evidence and false reporting to a law enforcement agency.

Little, 30, had been with the department since December 2006.

Former Chief Michael Meissner Charged with 7 Felonies

A former Texas police chief is behind bars charged with seven felony counts, including possession or promotion of child pornography, promotion of prostitution and engaging in organized crime.

Michael Meissner was arrested Monday in Arlington and is being held at the Dallas County Jail under a $1.5 million bail. Attempts by The Associated Press Tuesday to reach the jail to determine if he has an attorney were not immediately successful.

Meissner is accused of committing the crimes in Dallas and Tarrant counties.

He had been police chief in Little River-Academy, located about 150 miles south of Dallas, earlier this year. Little River-Academy Mayor Ronnie White said both parties ended the job by mutual agreement.

Meissner has reportedly held more than 10 law enforcement jobs in the last 18 years.
Other Information: http://www.kten.com/Global/story.asp?S=11137251

Suspended Trooper Manuel Moreno Arrested Again

A suspended Texas Department of Public Safety trooper has been arrested again.

Manuel Moreno was arrested today on new charges of fraud and unauthorized use of criminal history. The charges alleged that Moreno switched a price tag on a laptop computer at an Amarillo store in February of 2009.

Moreno is also charged with unauthorized disclosure of criminal history information from an incident in May.

Moreno was first arrested in June, charged with deadly conduct and four counts of assault.

No trial dates have been set, Moreno remains suspended from the DPS.
Previous Post: http://whathappenedtoprotectandserve.blogspot.com/2009/06/trooper-manuel-moreno-jr-arrested-for.html

Former Officer Michael Meissner Held on Numerous Felony Charges

A former police officer who worked for over a dozen departments in Texas is behind bars Tuesday, held on numerous felony charges including engaging in organized criminal activity, promotion of prostitution, solicitation of minors and two counts of attempting to possess child pornography.

Activist and filmmaker Barry Cooper, who is producing a reality show called “KopBusters,” aided officers with the Combine Police Department in drawing the man out into the open, ultimately helping wrap a three-year investigation in the process.

Until late last month, Michael Meissner, 39, was chief of police in Little River-Academy, Texas, a town so small that it only had one officer. He resigned his post after residents of the small town packed city hall with complaints about his behavior, according to local reports.

Meissner called the town “a good stepping stone for me,” reported Temple Daily News, which noted that the former officer held 18 different law enforcement jobs over the last 14 years. The “gypsy cop,” said Dallas television station WFAA, “seemed to operate under his own rules, spending much of his time working off-duty security jobs 60 miles away in Dallas.”

Prior WFAA reports “found that Meissner had used a phony college diploma for certification and failed to let his employers know that he had been arrested twice,” the network added.

Combine police were initially probing Meissner over suggestions that he had misused official information to retaliate against another man. However, when they looked at Meissner’s text messages and e-mail, they claim to have discovered something much worse.

“When the affidavits are released, the public is going to be shocked,” said Cooper, speaking to reporters outside Meissner’s home. “The conversation and the lewd conduct he’s been involved in with high school boys. As an ex-police officer, it makes me sick that we’ve got a guy running around here in a badge, that the public is supposed to trust, and he’s using that uniform to breach the trust of the younger citizens in the community. It’s horrible.”

Two of Meissner’s neighbors additionally told RAW STORY they had repeatedly seen various teenage boys entering and leaving the residence.

“Man, I’m just glad police are doing their job, they’re heroes,” said next door neighbor Brenda Lambert. “Anyone that messes with children needs to be taken care of.”

“We don’t regret hiring him or letting him go,” Little River Mayor Ronnie White told the Daily News when Meissner resigned last month. “We will find another officer.”

Tactical officers, who had set up a staging area just one street from Meissner’s Arlington, Texas home, raided the residence at approximately 1:45 p.m. on Monday, but the suspect was gone.

He was arrested later that evening after returning to his home. Meissner actually called Cooper to warn that his that his home had apparently been raided. Cooper then called police and relayed Meissner’s location.

A judge has set Meissner’s bond at $1.5 million.

Cooper says he was in this instance an undercover journalist and police informant, who had befriended Meissner under the false pretense that he wanted to use KopBusters for the purpose of clearing his name.

For the man whose living is paid for by a DVD series on how to grow, sell and smuggle marijuana without being detected by the police, he certainly seemed to have a natural rapport with the officers on-scene.

One of them even asked Cooper how his former law enforcement mentor in Odessa was doing.

“Oh man, he was a legend back in my day,” he replied. “Unfortunately, he planted meth on an innocent woman and I had to bust him.”

After officers kicked in Meissner’s door and cordoned off his home, the front yard became what seemed to be Cooper’s first campaign stop in what he says is a serious run for Texas attorney general. He even put on a suit before heading to the location with reporters and his camera crew in-tow.

“Within a short time, we hope to have a corrupt police chief in jail for seven felony warrants [for] harming kids,” he told reporters. “I acted as a undercover journalist-informant, they listed me as the informant on the arrest affidavit. I befriended this officer and made him believe that I was his friend and that I wanted to clear his name. The truth was, I was relaying all that information to the Combine police department.”

Cooper continued: “As an ex-narcotics officer, I’ve experienced corruption and seen it myself. My wife suggested that I use my experience to go and start busting corrupt police officers instead of citizens. That’s when we formed ‘KopBusters,’ a reality TV show. We’re hoping to have 13 episodes up on [...] TV very soon. I feel [passionate] about my job, and we’re using these stings so I can win Texas attorney general in 2010, because in that position I can expose police corruption even further, take their salaries and begin paying police officers six-figure incomes … The one’s that deserve it.”

Steve Allen, police chief in Combine, Texas, called Cooper’s brand of law enforcement activism an “excellent resource.”

“Police officers need all the help they can get,” he said. “There’s a lot of things, for example, [Barry] may have drawn him out of the woodwork for us — something that we couldn’t do that he did. So, I think [KopBusters] is an excellent resource and tool for us.”

In December, Cooper and his team of lawyers and investigators staged a sting on the Odessa, Texas police department, setting up a fake marijuana grow house and baiting officers to raid it without proper legal authorization. It was the first of what Cooper promises to be many future operations against allegedly dirty police.

This video was captured by a cameraman with Barry Cooper’s KopBusters on Sept. 14, 2009.