Thursday, October 15, 2009

Officer Andrew Kelly Indicted for Running Over Pastor's Daughter

NYPD COP Andrew Kelly was indicted for vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving and speeding Wednesday, two weeks after running over a pastor's daughter.

Kelly could face as much as seven years in prison if convicted in the Sept. 27 crash that killed Vionique Valnord, 32.

The off-duty officer's lawyer said he was not drunk. "This was a tragic, horrific accident," said Arthur Aidala. "He was driving on a dark, rainy, foggy night."

Authorities say he was glassy-eyed, reeked of booze and slurred his words - but he refused a Breathalyzer test.

A blood-alcohol test wasn't performed until more than seven hours later, and it showed no alcohol in his system by then.

Kelly declined to testify before a Brooklyn grand jury, but the panel heard from an accident reconstruction expert, witnesses at the scene and three of Kelly's passengers, sources said.

The witnesses included a buddy who told cops after the crash Kelly had been in two bars and drank six to eight beers.

Kelly was suspended, along with a cop at the scene who gave him water and gum. A sergeant has been transferred during an internal probe.

The Valnords' lawyer said his clients are confident they will get "justice."

"The family now awaits the investigation of the Internal Affairs Bureau to determine if there was an attempt to cover up," lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said.

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Officer David Reeves Jr Arrested for Robbing Auto Parts Store

A Riverside police officer was behind bars today on suspicion of attempting to rob an auto parts store in Moreno Valley, a sheriff’s sergeant said.

David Reeves Jr., 28, of Moreno Valley, allegedly tried to rob the AutoZone at 23510 Sunnymead Blvd. just after 9 p.m. Wednesday, said Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez.

Moreno Valley police arrived within one minute of the call and found Reeves detained inside the store, Gutierrez said.

“Nobody was injured, thank God. No shots were fired,” said AutoZone manager Robert Sedano. “I wasn’t here, but I’ve spoken to police.”

Sedano said he heard Reeves had been a police officer.

“That’s sad,” Sedano said. “An off-duty police officer. What’s this world coming to?”

Gutierrez and another sheriff’s public information officer today confirmed Reeves had been a Riverside police officer.

Reeves is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, with arraignment expected Friday in Riverside Superior Court.

Meanwhile, Reeves is no longer on the Riverside police force, as of noon today, according to Sgt. Jaybee Brennan, a department spokeswoman and adjutant to Chief Russ Leach.

Brennan said she could not say whether Reeves was fired or if he resigned, noting it was personnel issue and considered confidential.

“The fact that he’s been a police officer is a concern because we have hundreds of professional officers of integrity and honesty,” Brennan said. “It’s a sad day for us. This obviously occurred when he was off-duty and not working.”

Reeves started working for the Riverside Police Department on June 21, 2001, as a police cadet, Brennan said. He was sworn in as a peace officer on June 28, 2002.

He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap ransom with injury, strong-arm robbery and receiving stolen property and booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on $250,000 bail, a jailer said.

He is to be arraigned Friday in Riverside Superior Court, the jailer said.

Anyone with information on the alleged robbery was asked to call Moreno Valley police at 951-486-6700. Moreno Valley contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for the city’s police services.


Officer Douglas Spensley Arrested for Sexually Assaulting 9-year-old

Macon County authorities say a part-time police officer from Warrensburg has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl.

Decatur Police detectives say they arrested 42-year-old Douglas H. Spensley Wednesday morning at his Decatur home without incident.

Deputy Decatur Police Chief Todd Walker said Spensley was believed to be a family friend of the victim's parents.

Spensley was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault and was being held on $500,000 bond.

Spensley, who has been on Warrensburg's police force since 2006, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending an internal investigation and any other criminal proceedings.

Officer John Cumberland Arrested for Drunk Driving Resigns

A Metro Police officer arrested last month for drunk driving and possession of a gun while intoxicated resigned from the force today, police said.

East Precinct Officer John Cumberland was decommissioned by the police department on Sept. 24, one day after he crashed his unmarked police vehicle into a ditch on Newsome Station Road while off duty.

Cumberland, 32, registered 0.12% on a breath alcohol test. A person is considered legally drunk with a reading of 0.08%.

Police had been conducting an internal investigation of Cumberland. They say it ends with his resignation. He had been with the force five years, police said.

Officer Shayne Souza Pleads Not Guilty to Possessing Marijuana

A Honolulu police officer arrested in Las Vegas for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana and obstructing a public officer is pleading not guilty.

Shayne Souza's lawyer entered his plea Thursday in a Las Vegas court. Souza wasn't present and wasn't required to be.

The 47-year-old Souza allegedly ran from a Las Vegas Parks Police officer on Aug. 15.

Also arrested were a fellow officer, 37-year-old Kevin Fujioka, and a Honolulu social worker, 38-year-old Scott Wilson.

A not guilty plea also was entered for Wilson on Thursday. Fujioka is to enter a plea on Nov. 16. Non-jury trials are scheduled for Souza on Nov. 18 and for Wilson on Feb. 9.

Souza and Fujioka have been suspended and placed on administrative leave without pay.

Information from: The Honolulu Advertiser,
Other Information:

Corrections Officer Michael Craven Accused of Protecting Inmate in Exchange for Tires

A former state corrections officer has been arrested and accused of protecting an inmate at his prison in exchange for four tires.

Michael L. Craven was a sergeant at Marion Correctional Institution north of Ocala. He is charged with unlawful compensation for official behavior.

Officials say an inmate's father purchased four tires in June and gave them to Craven in exchange for protecting his son while in jail.

Craven was released from the Marion County jail after posting a $5,000 bond.

Officer Kenny Lewis Arrested for Raping Lap Dancer

A police officer raped a lap dancer after handcuffing her in her own home, a court heard yesterday.

Kenny Lewis, 26, also had sex with a woman after she was arrested, taking her to a beauty spot in his police car, jurors were told.

It is claimed that when the woman moved house in an effort to escape him, he tracked her down using the police computer.

The married officer abused his power and position and told his victims that nobody would believe them if they complained, it is alleged.

Lewis met one of his alleged victims, a 33-year- old lap dancer, after she witnessed a road accident. He visited her at home where she was watching a recording of her own performance in a pole dancing competition.

She told the court: 'He saw me watching a DVD and asked where I worked and started making jokes. He handcuffed me and pushed me on to a sofa.'

She said the policeman forced her to perform a sex act and then told her to 'shut up about it'.

The dancer, who is married with children, added: 'He then came back on numerous occasions and handcuffed me two other times.

'The last time he came round the door was open and he let himself in and started watching pornography on my computer.

'He told me if I complained nobody would listen to me because I'm only a dancer and he is a cop.' She said the other two attacks were very similar and she did not resist because she was scared.

Officer David Hendrik Accused of Pointing Weapon Appears in Court

The off duty NYPD officer accused of pointing a loaded gun at a group of "unruly" Rangers fans aboard a LIRR train appeared in court Thursday.

Officer David Hendrik, 38, appeared this morning and the case was adjourned until November 20. Hendrik has pleaded not guilty to the charges that include misdemeanor menacing and felony criminal weapon possession.

Hendrik himself did not speak to reporters outside the courthouse, but his lawyer, Steve Worth, said that Hendrik is the kind of guy you would want on the train if you needed help.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority police say Hendrick was riding a Long Island Rail Road train to Ronkonkoma Sunday night when he showed his a gun to quiet down four passengers who had attended a New York Rangers game.

Hendrik said that he was defending himself from the fans and "letting them know who's boss," after he tried to stop them from cursing in front of an 8-year-old girl, according to Newsday.

However, a train conductor, fare collector, the four hockey fans and even the 8-year-old's parents portrayed Hendrik as the instigator who picked a fight with the fans.

Former Officer Sammy Cohen Accused of Making Child Porn Takes Stand

The former Anchorage police officer accused of making child pornography and molesting children says it's all a big misunderstanding.

Sammy Cohen testified again Thursday in his defense, offering an explanation for every allegation.

Four women came forward with accusations that Cohen sexually abused them or tried to. One woman said that when she was 13 Cohen took naked pictures of her.

The defense says there is no way to know for sure who took the pictures, but they have their own idea of what happened.

The former police officer searched for mail-order brides online and admitted to keeping a subscription to a porn site, but he says it didn't involve children.

"You would go to this site and you would look for foreign brides?" defense attorney John Cashion asked Cohen.

"Yes, sir," Cohen replied.

"In bitter frustration after some phone calls I would tell myself, ‘Well, there's got to be someone else out there that actually wants to be married and I started looking," Cohen continued.

Cohen also says other people had access to his home computer and that guests would use his user name and password.

His attorney claims someone else took nude photos of the teenage girl, who accused him of touching her along with taking the photos and he says whoever did that also manipulated the photos on his computer.

Cohen says the child porn found on disks in his home came like that when he ordered them on eBay.

As for the books with pictures of naked children, Cohen says he bought a whole box of books at a garage sale and had no idea what was inside.

The prosecuting attorney, John Skidmore, pressed Cohen in cross-examination.

"I'm asking, do you agree that some of your behaviors, they had interpreted as inappropriate?" Skidmore asked.

"To listen to them here in the courtroom, yes," Cohen replied.

He denied allegations that he bought a 13-year-old girl lingerie and watched her put it on. He says he wouldn't even know where to begin shopping for a teenager.

"Did you go out and purchase a purple bra, satin bra and underwear set?" Skidmore asked.

"No, sir," Cohen responded.

The prosecution claims Cohen's court testimony doesn't match up with police interrogations.

"These dating services, in 2000, ‘someone else did it for me, I didn't do it.' He's clearly said here that he did," Skidmore argued.

Cohen says he can't remember everything years later, but he says he didn't do it and wants to set the record straight.

During the cross-examination the prosecution noted Cohen's skill at manipulation and coercion -- skills he learned as a police officer.

Cohen agreed that he could get people to do what he wanted -- willingly.

Cohen will continue his testimony next week. That will be his third day on the stand.

Chicago Police Being Investigated for Forcing Suspect to Pose for Photo

The Chicago Police Department is investigating several of its officers accused of forcing a college student they arrested during last month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh to pose for a group photo with them.

The department, which has been dogged by embarrassing allegations of misconduct in recent years, began investigating the Pittsburgh claims after video of the alleged incident was posted on YouTube.

The video apparently shows about 15 police officers in riot gear posing for a photo with a man they detained kneeling in front of them.

Kyle Kramer, the 21-year-old University of Pittsburgh student forced to pose with police, was returning to campus from a pizza parlor when he was detained by police who were rounding up protesters, his attorney Cristopher Hoel told The Associated Press on Friday.

"He was a college student arrested for walking on campus. That seems to me to make him a victim," Hoel said.

Kramer faced a preliminary hearing Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and disorderly conduct. Hoel said his client is innocent of both charges.

The department issued a statement saying the officers were working in Pittsburgh on their own time, but that they were still representing the city of Chicago.

"The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate misconduct by any of its members, regardless of where it might occur."

It's possible the officers violated Kramer's constitutional rights, as well as internal departmental rules, said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who has studied the department and allegations of police brutality extensively.

If the officers were retaliating against Kramer for something he said that offended them, it is possible they could have violated Kramer's First Amendment right of free speech. The officers also might have violated Kramer's 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search or seizure, Futterman said.

Some fellow police officers declined to comment publicly about the investigation. But they pointed to a popular blog — Second City Cop — that blasted the officers for heaping more ridicule on a department dogged by several recent embarrassing incidents, including the beating of a female bartender by an off-duty officer.

"How do you even begin to defend something like this?" reads the blog. "You can't it's impossible... You are embarrassments."

Pat Camden, who spent more than 30 years with the department and was its spokesman for several years, harshly criticized the officers for damaging the reputation of a department that has been trying to rehabilitate its image that was hurt by several incidents, including one, captured on film and shown worldwide, of an off-duty officer beating up a female bartender.

"When you put on a police uniform you represent the Chicago Police Department and we've got these idiots with a prisoner right in front of them, and supervisors are standing right there," he said, incredulously. "That kind of childish behavior is totally unacceptable."

Some, though, wondered whether Kramer may have willingly posed for the photo with the officers.

Robert Weisskopf, a Chicago police lietenant, said he remembered an incident when a man insisted on being in a photograph along with several officers in riot gear.

And Daniel P. Smith, who wrote "On the Job: Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police Department," had the same thought when he saw the video.

"I could see the guy, thinking, 'They handcuffed me, this would be a great photo for my frat house,'" he said. "That's what it looked like to me."

But Camden said it's hard to imagine how something like this could have occurred, with all of the efforts that have been made to get officers to understand they should always act in public as if their actions are being recorded.

"You continue to make people aware that everything you (police officers) do from the moment you walk out the door until you get home at night is on camera somewhere," said Camden, who said he stresses that in media relations classes he teaches to police supervisors at Northwestern University.

"If you're in the public way, it's more than likely being recorded."

YouTube video of incident:

Trooper William Grissom Charged with Falsifying Documents

A Florida Highway Patrol Trooper was arrested Wednesday evening for official misconduct and has been placed on administrative leave from his job.

According to court records, 29 year old William Lee Grissom was charged with a felony count of "Public Servant Falsifying Official Documents." He was booked into the Leon County Jail and promptly released on his own recognizance.

According to the arrest warrant, Grissom's friend contacted him after receiving a speeding ticket from another trooper on August 14th. The warrant says Grissom completed a Notice of Dismissal, signed the other trooper's name on it and wrote "My radar failed end of shift test." The warrant says Grissom filed the notice with the Leon County Clerk's Office on September 4th.

The trooper who originally wrote the ticket, Matthew Rabun, told investigators that Grissom later realized the severity of what he'd done, called his friend and told him to pay the ticket and then called Rabun to tell him what had happened. Rabun says Grissom claimed his friend was having financial difficulties and needed the money to travel to see a sick family member.

According to FHP Spokesman CAPT Mark Welch, Grissom is on paid leave pending an internal review. Welch says Grissom has worked with FHP since June of 2005 and has no other disciplinary history.