Friday, October 09, 2009

Officer Rio Davis Charged with Battery on a Police Officer

A police officer was arrested and suspended from the department for allegedly attacking other officers who were investigating citizen complaints against him.

According to Chief Bry Layrisson of the Ponchatoula Police Department, Rio Davis, 23, was charged with battery on a police officer and extortion.

He was suspended from the Ponchatoula Police Department without pay.

Layrisson said the complaints against Davis came over the past few weeks, but did not specify what they regarded.

Layrisson said as Davis was being questioned, he began verbally and physically attacking the investigators.

Davis was booked into the Tangipahoa Parish jail.

Trooper Jeremy Fountain Arrested for Domestic Violence

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper who was hailed as heroic last year has been arrested for assault/family violence.

According to trooper Jean Dark, the Tyler District public information officer, Jeremy Fountain, a trooper stationed in Henderson since 2003, was taken into custody by Texas Rangers Wednesday on the third-degree felony charge of assault/family violence.

Dark said Fountain posted a $10,000 bond and was released from the Rusk County Jail later Wednesday.

“He has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” she said.
Fountain was highlighted in the news last October when he was dragged down the highway at speeds topping 50 mph after attempting to arrest an individual.

Despite the harrowing ordeal, Fountain was able to hang onto the fleeing vehicle and pull his gun forcing the man to pull over.

Once the vehicle was stopped, Fountain learned the person driving was wanted on felony warrants and the car was stolen.

A Rusk County jury found Gabriel Dewayne Lewis, 22, of a first-degree felony aggravated assault of a peace officer for the incident and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Corrections Officer Vincent Czechorosky Arrested for Armed Robbery

Police in Nye County have arrested a Nevada corrections officer in connection with a pair of armed robberies at a Pahrump convenience store.

Pahrump resident Vincent Matthew Czechorosky, 24, was taken into custody by the Nye County sheriff’s office early Wednesday morning after a car chase that ended with a deputy firing shots at the suspect’s vehicle.

Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said deputies found Czechorosky’s Department of Corrections badge in the vehicle along with a handgun and money from the most recent robbery.

Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Pardee confirmed on Thursday that Czechorosky worked at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs, where he was in his third year with the department.

“That’s ‘was,’” Pardee said. “Let’s just say he’s been terminated as of yesterday.”

The Rebel gas station at Pahrump’s busiest intersection was robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 21 and again at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday by a man dressed in black.

After the second robbery, deputies were searching the area near the gas station when they came across a vehicle parked on the side of the road with its lights off. The vehicle took off when deputies approached, and officers gave chase.

DeMeo said that when deputies cornered Czechorosky in a playground parking lot, he sped toward them, prompting Deputy Jeffrey Benson to fire two shots into the suspect’s windshield.

DeMeo said Czechorosky stopped his vehicle and fled on foot, only to be captured in the desert by a police dog.

Czechorosky was booked on multiple charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand larceny. He is being held without bail.

DeMeo said state corrections officials called his office to express their concern and regret over the incident.

“They were deeply troubled by it, as I would be if it was one of my people,” he said.
Other Information:

Russellville Officers in Court for Beating Death

A federal appeals court has refused to drop a lawsuit against five Russellville policemen.

The family of Bobby Lee Rylee says he died after the policemen beat him.

The case has been in the Federal Appeals Court for nearly six months and the court's decision will allow it to go to trial. The Rylee family's lawyers say they are pleased the case will finally be back in motion.

Three years after 61-year-old's death, the plaintiff's lawyer Charles Harrison says, the family is still terribly troubled and upset. Harrison charges that Rylee was a victim of police brutality.

"He was a peaceful man that did not deserve the beating that he received and it's still a horrific event for them to think that that's the way that their father left this earth," he said.

Russellville police say they pulled Rylee over just after 1 a.m. in July 2006 for acting strange and veering out of his lane. When they tried to arrest him, they say Rylee resisted, hit one officer and stabbed another with a pen, so they called for backup. By the time the fight was over, Rylee suffered a broken neck, legs and had several bruises on his head. Pictures are too graphic to show.

The officers argue Rylee broke his neck when he fell on the pavement, along with two other officers, but the family's lawyer is skeptical.

"Our position and we think our evidence will show is that his neck was broken during the course of this beating and stomping and kicking," said Harrison.

Defense Lawyers for officers Lee Goemmer, Bobby Stevens, Keith Spears, Terry Cob and Todd Winesburg say, the policemen used just enough force to subdue Rylee and the whole scuffle could have been avoided if he had cooperated with the officers.

In addition, Defense Attorney Keith Wren says the victim refused medical treatment when he was arrested and taken to the Pope County detention center. Riley died five days later in the hospital.

"While we recognize that he was injured during the incident, and that may have ultimately led to his death, that doesn't necessarily mean that the force that was used was excessive," said Wren.

Earlier in the case, the court ordered the defense to attend a settlement conference, but the two parties couldn't resolve the case. The trial is expected to start sometime early to mid-2010.

One of the police officers involved was suspended for a brief period, but all five are back on the force.

Officer Dan McDow Investigated for Bringing Contrabrand Across Border

A San Luis Obispo police officer, currently under a criminal investigation for attempting to bring contraband across the border from Mexico, has faced allegations of elderly abuse in the past, CalCoastNews has learned.

Interviews with sources in the know say San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deborah Linden has either mishandled or ignored reports that officer Dan McDow, one of two San Luis Obispo officers suspended as a result of the border investigation, had attempted to take advantage of an elderly woman suffering from dementia.

In early 2007, 87-year-old Margaret Bazzani, known to suffer from dementia and auditory delusions, called police to her home in San Luis Obispo repeatedly for various reasons, including hearing strange noises outside the residence.

McDow responded on one occasion and subsequently began making regular visits to her home.

Following a call from a Bank of America employee concerned when McDow brought the wheelchair-bound woman to the bank to look into the contents of her safety deposit box, Bazzani’s children started to question the officer’s intentions, her son said.

Shortly afterwards, the widow’s son, Leonard Bazzani, discovered a gold coin worth about $1,000 had disappeared from his mother’s safety deposit box.

Family members began asking questions and learned that the patient’s caregivers had called county Adult Protective Services officials at least three times to report that McDow appeared to be taking advantage of the elderly Bazzani.

Leonard Bazzani then took his concerns to Linden, who had police administrators look into the son’s allegations.

“They said it was his business what he (McDow) does after hours,” Leonard Bazzani said. “We than hired (San Luis Obispo) attorney Hank Mott, who said it sounded like elder abuse.”

On July 30, 2007, Mott sent the following report of possible elder abuse to Linden:

“Dear Chief Linden,

“I represent the adult children of Margaret Kelly Bazzani, a widow age 87 years.

“Mrs. Bazzani suffers from dementia and is under medical treatment. She is receiving around the clock assistance from caregivers….

“A member of your department, officer Dan McDow, has been visiting with my client’s mother. Mrs. Bazzani has advised my clients that McDow brought a person to her home to prepare a will for her, to handle her finances, and do her taxes.

“Mrs. Bazzani has told numerous persons that officer McDow has proposed marriage to her. McDow is approximately 50 years younger than her. Adult Protective Services has been called numerous times by Mrs. Bazzani’s caregivers due to their concerns that McDow is taking advantage of her.

“McDow was recently overheard by her caregivers, on Mrs. Bazzani’s speaker phone, advising Mrs. Bazzani she should not have a CAT Scan because her family was trying to prove she was crazy and not to allow Adult Protective Services in her home in the future.

“Mrs. Bazanni is easily taken advantage of and I request that you immediately investigate the actions of McDow so that an 87 year old widow suffering from dementia is not taken advantage of by one of your own officers.”

In response to the letter, Linden ordered McDow to stay away from the elderly woman, adding that she would look into the allegations of elderly abuse.

But since the 2007 order to stay away from the woman, Linden has refused to make public the department’s inquiries into McDow’s relationship with Margaret Bazzani.

“Linden said they had conducted an investigation, but it was a personnel issue, and as such, it was not public information,” Leonard Bazzani said. “She said McDow would be fired if he contacted my mother again.”

In late 2007, a few days after Margaret Bazzani passed away, someone broke into her home by kicking in the door. However, once inside, the thief was able to open, with a key, a locked cabinet in which the elderly woman kept thousands of dollars in a vase.

Aside from the contents of the vase, and a picture of Leonard Bazzani, removed from a frame, nothing else was taken from the home during the burglary, the son said.

City officials did not respond when asked why it took a letter from an attorney to get Linden to keep her officer away from Margaret Bazzani. In addition, city officials have not yet responded to a FOIA request for information about the department’s investigation into the allegations of possible elderly abuse.

On Sept. 15, immigration officials detained McDow and fellow officer Armando Limon at the San Ysidro port of entry because of suspicions that the officers were attempting to transport contraband into the United States.

Authorities at the San Ysidro port of entry have not said what kind of contraband was involved and what prompted U.S. border inspectors to inspect the officers and the vehicle they were in.

"Officers Limon and McDow are on paid administrative leave and have been since September 16, 2009, the day the City learned of their detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” city attorney Jonathan Lowell told CalCoastNews in an e-mail.