Saturday, December 05, 2009

Former Officer Gregory Perkins Charged with Sex Crimes Against Minors

A former Durham police officer is charged with sex crimes against a minor.

The Apex Police Department arrested 40-year-old Gregory A. Perkins for seven felony counts of sex related crimes Friday.

Perkins has been charged with two counts of first degree forcible sexual offense, two counts of statutory sex offense against a 13, 14 or 15-year-old, first degree statutory rape, statutory rape of a 13, 14 or 15-year-old, and other charges.

Further details about the incidents have not been released.

According to police, Perkins is being held on a $1 million bond.

Officer Jack Bosse Arrested for Public Indecency

A police officer was arrested Friday and charged with public indecency.

Jack Bosse, a 38-year member of the Columbus Division of police, works in the seizures and forfeitures department.

Bosse was arrested in an east side park, police said.

Police said Bosse's gun and badge were taken away but he will continue to work without police powers while an internal investigation is conducted.

Officers Caught on Tape Beating Man

A surveillance videotape showing an unarmed and apparently handcuffed man kicked and then beaten over the head several times with a flashlight by the police was made public by his lawyer on Friday.

The video, from the night of Oct. 20, was released on the day that the man, Luis Mendonca, 20, of Pawtucket, was sentenced in District Court, Providence, for assaulting two Rhode Island School of Design police officers in connection with that incident.

The grainy, black-and-white video shows a group of police officers struggling with Mendonca in a parking lot off Benefit Street on the city’s East Side while he is lying on the ground near a parked car.

It shows the officers dragging Mendonca from under the car and into the center of the parking lot, after he has apparently been restrained. The video then shows another police officer entering the fray, kicking Mendonca and following up with a number of blows to the victim’s head with what his lawyer says is a flashlight.

The video, which has no sound, ends with a visibly limp Mendonca being dragged by police officers up a flight of stairs leading to Benefit Street.

Mendonca’s attorney, Alberto Aponte Cardona, of Central Falls, says that following the beating, his client was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, required 12 staples to close a gash in the back of his head and was in a coma for nearly three days.

Cardona says that the officer shown repeatedly striking Mendonca is Detective Robert R. DeCarlo, a 15-year veteran who has received at least two awards for his police work, according to Journal archives.

“It is obvious from this video that that officer needs to go. He’s not fit to wear the badge. Officers need to be prosecuted,” he said.

Police Chief Dean Esserman says the department’s Internal Affairs Division has been investigating the incident, but he would not confirm whether DeCarlo was involved. The officer that is the focus of the investigation currently remains on duty, he said.

Esserman has also asked the attorney general’s office to open an investigation. Michael J. Healey, a spokesman for the office, says an investigation is ongoing.

“The department takes the matter very seriously,” Esserman said. “We are looking into everything … One officer is under investigation, but the entire incident is being looked at as well.”

During the court hearing on Friday, Cardona tried to submit the surveillance video as evidence that Mendonca had not resisted arrest, as the police alleged. Mendonca had been charged by Providence police with two counts of simple assault and one count of resisting arrest.

But District Court Judge Elaine T. Bucci said that the video was inadmissible since the attorney general’s office had withdrawn the charge of resisting arrest.

“They dropped the resisting arrest charge so that this video does not come out,” said Cardona.

Cardona released the video to the media on Friday after having made it available to Channel 12 at least a day earlier. The videotape came from a surveillance camera on an apartment building at 306 Benefit St., and was focused on the parking lot where the beating took place.

Esserman says that the department’s internal affairs division obtained the video from the building’s owner and launched an investigation into the incident soon after it happened. Investigators questioned the witnesses and officers at the scene and also contacted Mendonca, who subsequently filed a formal complaint with the internal affairs division.

Cardona received a copy of the video as part of the court’s discovery process.

Judge Bucci found Mendonca guilty of violating the terms of his probation on previous charges and sentenced him to 90 days in the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

Upon completion of his prison term, Mendonca must also serve one year of probation and a one-year suspended sentence on each of the two charges of simple assault. Cardona says his client will appeal the sentence in Superior Court.

Mendonca still suffers blurred vision, headaches and vomiting from his injuries and needs to receive the proper medical treatment while he serves out his prison term, said Cardona.

“My client is a good kid. He worked for the City of Central Falls. He volunteers with youths,” says Cardona, an assistant city solicitor in Central Falls. “He’s had his transgressions, but none violent.”

Friday’s court proceedings shed some light into the events that precipitated Mendonca’s beating.

At about 7:20 p.m. on Oct. 20, Mendonca had been stopped by RISD police near Hemenway’s Restaurant on South Main Street, following a report of an attempted trespass at the RISD dorm at 15 Westminster St.

RISD officer Justin Wall testified that he had stopped Mendonca and was searching him when Mendonca “attempted to pull away,” striking the officer in the ribs with his elbow. Wall then put Mendonca in restraints.

When RISD Sgt. William LaPierre arrived, Mendonca identified himself as “Cory Garabedien,” but could not spell the name or produce any identification.

Still, the officers uncuffed Mendonca and said he was “free to go,” according to both officer’s testimony. But with Providence police on their way, the RISD officers say that Mendonca offered to show an ID.

Instead, LaPierre says Mendonca made a “lunging move,” struck the officer in the chest, and pushed LaPierre’s arm out of the way as he fled down South Main Street. Mendonca ran up a long flight of stairs behind the state attorney general’s office that led to the rear of an apartment complex on Benefit Street.

While the officer’s testimony on Friday ended there, the video released by Mendonca’s attorney shows what happened next.

After trying to hide under parked cars, the video shows that at about 7:41 p.m., Mendonca was seized by a group of at least eight police officers — mostly Providence police, but also one RISD officer –– and was beaten while “clearly” restrained, says Cardona.

“We want all of those police officers held accountable,” said Cardona. “Not one of those officers comes to this poor guy’s aid. They knew that this guy was defenseless.”

Detective James O'Connell Arrested for Drunk Driving

An off-duty New York City police detective has been arrested on a charge of drunken driving.

Police said Detective James O'Connell was arrested early Friday in Queens and charged with driving while intoxicated.

Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, a police union, was out of town and unavailable for comment.

O'Connell is at least the third off-duty NYPD officer arrested on DWI and other charges since September.

On Wednesday, Officer Kevin Spellman pleaded not guilty to charges of fatally hitting a 70-year-old woman while driving drunk in the Bronx.

Officer Andrew Kelly has pleaded not guilty to DWI and vehicular manslaughter in the September death of a woman in Brooklyn.

Both officers have been suspended.

Officer Juan Acosta Accused of Using Badge to Help Drug Dealer

A New York City police officer has been accused of using his badge to help a friend run a cocaine-distribution operation, providing tips on which streets were lightly patrolled by officers and stealing cash from a rival drug courier in the guise of a police seizure, officials said Friday.

The officer, Juan Acosta, joined the Police Department in 2000 and had been assigned to the 43rd Precinct in the Soundview section of the Bronx until his arrest Thursday. He has resigned from the force, the police said.

Since at least 2005, Officer Acosta served as a kind of enforcer for his friend, Yorick Rafael Corneil-Perez, as they and others worked to distribute “multiple kilograms of cocaine” in and around the city, according to the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The men, both 34 and from the Bronx, have been charged with participating in a cocaine-distribution conspiracy and with conspiring to commit extortion in connection with Officer Acosta’s improper use of his authority, a statement from the office said.

According to an indictment in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Officer Acosta used a police car in mid-2005 “to rob a drug courier of several hundred thousand dollars in cash derived from a drug deal” that involved Mr. Corniel-Perez. It was a ruse to make it look as if law enforcement authorities had seized the money, but Mr. Acosta and Mr. Corniel-Perez “took the cash,” the court papers said.

In October, the court papers said, the officer, “a k a Tino,” and Mr. Corneil-Perez, also known as Rafi, “agreed to provide protection for a 10-kilogram shipment of cocaine” in a Queens meeting with someone posing as a narcotics trafficker from Colombia who was actually working as a confidential government informant. They discussed how Officer Acosta could help ensure the safe transfer of drugs from a Long Island warehouse to the Bronx.

At a meeting, on Nov. 10, Officer Acosta showed handwritten notes identifying the “police precincts in the vicinity of the Long Island warehouse and the local routes that would be less likely to be patrolled by police during transportation of the narcotics to the Bronx,” the papers said.

Two days later, the officer drove to the warehouse in a rental car and picked up a duffel bag filled with fake narcotics from a second confidential informant, the papers said. When he got back to the Bronx, he was paid $15,000 for the job, they said.

Mr. Acosta was held without bail after pleading not guilty at his arraignment on Friday before Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox.

Mr. Corneil-Perez was held without bail after his arraignment on Thursday.

Two Narcotics Officers Arrested for Harassment

Two Wayne County Sheriff’s Narcotics officers were arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance in Newark.

The two, Sgt. Joseph Ayotte, an 11-year deputy, and Sgt. Jonathan Hall, an 8-year deputy allegedly went to an apartment on a personal matter while on duty and harassed the occupant until another resident called 911.

They were both arrested for criminal trespass and harassment. They were arraigned and released on their own recognizance.

The deputies also face departmental charges, and were suspended without pay until the both criminal and departmental charges are resolved. They could face termination.