Friday, October 23, 2009

Two Deputies Accused of Extorting Hush Money

A Broward County judge granted bail this afternoon to one of two deputies accused of extorting hush money from a Fort Lauderdale marijuana grower.

Fausto "TJ" Tejero, 34, was arrested Oct. 9 on charges of extortion, attempted bribery, armed burglary and unlawful compensation.

Armed burglary is a no-bail offense, but prosecutor Tim Donnelly advised the judge today that the state would not be filing that charge, said Tejero's defense attorney, Mike Dutko.

Judge John Hurley granted Tejero $75,000 bail and ordered that he wear an electronic ankle monitor, Dutko said.

Also charged in the cash-for-silence scheme is Deputy Manuel Silva, 40. He has been held without bail since his Oct. 2 arrest.

According to a search warrant, the deputies promised to protect the pot grower in exchange for $15,000.

Silva proposed the arrangement after seeing five marijuana plants at Orlando Gutierrez's home in Fort Lauderdale, the warrant states. Tejero is accused of acting as Silva's accomplice.

Gutierrez reported the deputies to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, which provided the cash and set up a sting operation to record the transaction.

"I've spoken at length with my client and in the end I think he'll be vindicated of all these charges, but we're not there yet," Dutko said. "Although the bond is high, it is justifiable and appropriate under the circumstances."

Tejero's family is working with a bondsman to try to post the bail, Dutko said.

Beach Patrol Officer Robert Tameris Get's Bond Reduced

Volusia County announced on Friday that it will fire a Beach Patrol officer accused of having sex with a minor multiple times.

Also on Friday, a judge slashed 44-year-old Robert Tameris' bond dramatically. He had faced a $250,000, but a judge on Friday morning cut that to $10,000.

Authorities said Tameris had sex with a teenager more than 20 times over a one-year period. The teenager was 16 years old at the time, and Tameris was 42 years old.

Tameris also allegedly videotaped the teenager on one occasion without her knowledge and sent an image of his private parts to her via e-mail.

Investigators said the teenager came forward while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was investigating Tameris and two other beach patrol officers. No charges were filed in the original investigation, but investigators began monitoring Tameris' contact with the teenager.

Florida law states that it's a felony for anyone over 24 years old to have sex with a person who is 16 or 17 years old, whether the sex is consensual or not.

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Oklahoma Highway Patrol Has Yet to Release Dashboard Video

It’s been three weeks since two state troopers were involved in a controversial arrest at Holdenville, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol has yet to release video taken from their vehicles’ dashboard cameras.

The two troopers were put on paid administrative leave while the OHP’s internal-affairs team investigates complaints made against them.

The Tulsa World made a request on Oct. 5 to obtain copies of the videos.

One of those troopers, Daniel Martin, has already been in the national spotlight for a scuffle he had with a Creek Nation paramedic in Okfuskee County, which led to the officer’s suspension for five days in July.

On Friday, Lt. George Brown and Capt. Chris West, both spokesmen for the OHP, said they didn’t know when the videos would be released, noting that investigators are still reviewing the footage.

West said the videotapes would be released to the public eventually.

The OHP took less time to release the dashboard video in the previous incident involving Martin in Okfuskee County.

That scuffle, which captured the nation’s attention, happened at Paden on May 24. On June 12, the OHP released the video.

The Holdenville incident occurred on Oct. 3. Trooper Tommy Allen, along with Martin as backup, arrested Kristopher Douglas, 28, of Holdenville, for not heeding their commands to stay away from a traffic stop.

That stop was located in front of Douglas’ uncle’s home. Douglas, who lived nearby, told the officers he was going to his uncle’s home to help him install drywall.

However, Martin, in his report, said he told Douglas three times to stand by the street until the officers were finished with the traffic stop.

Eventually, Allen went to arrest Douglas, grabbing him around the neck to bring him to the ground, while Martin struck Douglas in back with a baton.

Douglas was arrested and charged with obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor.

Douglas’ uncle, Jerry Ford, witnessed the arrest and said the troopers overreacted and used excessive force.

In the May 24 incident in Paden, Martin has stated he thought the ambulance crew had given him an obscene finger gesture.

The subsequent scuffle with paramedic Maurice White had been captured on a cell-phone video, which became a popular played on the YouTube Web site.

Martin had tried to arrest White for obstructing an officer.

White has stated he repeatedly told Martin that his crew was taking a woman to the hospital and asked to continue the traffic stop there.