Saturday, November 27, 2010

Officer Lauren Fanning Arrested for Intoxication

A Louisville Metro Police officer who is still on her probationary period with the department was arrested early Saturday following an incident at Molly Malone's Irish Pub on Shelbyville Road, police said.

Officer Lauren Fanning, 24, of Spring Hill Court in Crestwood, was booked into Metro Corrections at 3:29 a.m. Saturday, and released about five hours later on her own recognizance, according to jail records.

Fanning was charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place, second-degree disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, third-degree assault on a police officer and fourth-degree assault. She is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Monday.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell said Fanning, who was hired in June 2009, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Mitchell said he wasn't sure what led to the charges against Fanning.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Officer Michelle Salentine Arrested for Smoking Cocaine

The FBI has arrested a Platteville Police Officer, charging her with smoking crack cocaine. The news came as a shock to the small police department.

Monday afternoon Platteville Police Chief Doug McKinley got a visit from the FBI. “They let us know that they’d had an ongoing investigation concerning a member of our department.”

Officer Michelle Salentine was arrested without incident when she reported for duty. She appeared in federal court Tuesday, accused of smoking crack cocaine.

Salentine joined the Platteville Police Department in September of 2004. “Been a very good officer, but apparently had some things going on that we were unaware of,” says McKinley. According to court documents, Salentine says she’s been smoking crack 4 to 6 times a week for the past year.

A confidential witness tipped off the FBI in February. Chief McKinley says Salentine is a patrol officer for the night shift.

“She was working predominantly 7pm to 7am.” According to the witness, Salentine has smoked crack while on duty. On March 4th, the witness texted a law enforcement officer at 1:35 am, saying, “your girl is here smoking she has a stem and a bag, getting f***ed up here and in the squad, she’s getting to go back on duty.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Officer Gabriel Villarreal Suspended for Using City Computer to Obtain Woman's Personal Information

A San Antonio police officer accused of using a city computer to glean a woman's personal information and then staging an emergency response to her house has been fired after an investigation revealed he boasted about other women on his patrol car terminal and pulled their personal data as well, according to Police Department records.

After 14 years on the force with no suspensions, Officer Gabriel Villarreal, 43, was indefinitely suspended last week, a punishment tantamount to being fired.

A second patrolman, 10-year veteran Officer Keith Floyd, 41, was found to have exchanged "crude, suggestive (and) disparaging" remarks about women with Villarreal via his patrol car terminal and was suspended Friday for 15 days without pay, police records state.

Assistant City Attorney Robert Reyna said another officer faces a possible 30-day suspension in connection with the same case.

The violations involve at least seven women and occurred through October, November and December 2009, according to the city's findings, which allege the following:

For "personal" reasons, Villarreal researched the criminal history of an apartment manager in his patrol district. In conversations via car terminals, Villarreal and another officer referred to the woman by "nicknames for her breasts."

Villarreal and another officer also held an "extended" electronic conversation about two other women in which "a comment is passed back and forth about whether (Villarreal) 'knocked' or 'knocked it out,' referring to sex."

A few days later, Villarreal ran the registration of a Mercedes-Benz owned by another woman and sent it to a fellow officer. The pair then discussed her "personal physical attributes, her breasts and her attractiveness."

From the registration information, Villarreal then pulled more of that woman's personal data, including calls for police service to her home address, her social security number and her municipal court files.

The same day, Villarreal ran the registration of a Lexus that belonged to another woman; he earlier had suggested to a fellow officer they "go knock" at her residence.

A few days later, Villarreal's car terminal conversations focused on a female San Antonio police officer, whom he suggested should be invited to a "clothing optional" shift party.

The following week, Villarreal brought his wife and daughter to The Art of Shaving, an upscale boutique at The Shops at La Cantera that sells $1,000 razors.

A female employee there sold him nearly $400 in shaving supplies, she told the San Antonio Express-News.

The next day, Villarreal used his patrol car terminal to determine her address, date of birth and cell phone number. Called to assist the public, Villarreal handled that call quickly, left the scene within four minutes and drove to the woman's house while holding the initial call open, according to the city's findings.

Rousing the woman from bed, Villarreal rang the doorbell and told her that someone had called 911 and hung up. He eventually left and drove to another location, where he conducted research on her prior residences and her father, the city alleges.

Over the next two days, Villarreal pulled her cell phone history and calls for police service to her home. Meanwhile, the woman reported the incident to the Police Department's internal affairs department.

The next day, Villarreal and another officer allegedly discussed via patrol car terminals where they should eat lunch, at one point making "inappropriate sexual references" about female officers, police records state.

Villarreal was indefinitely suspended without pay last Monday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Incidents caught on camera increase department scrutiny of officers

Minutes after a suburban Chicago police officer was charged with striking a motorist with his baton, prosecutors handed out copies of a video showing the beating - taken by a dashboard camera on the officer's own squad car.

In California, after a transit cop and an unruly train passenger slammed against a wall during a struggle and shattered a station window last fall, video from a bystander's cell phone was all over the Internet before the window was fixed.

The same cell phones, surveillance cameras and other video equipment often used to assist police are also catching officers on tape, changing the nature of police work - for better and worse.

Some say cameras are exposing behavior that police have gotten away with for years. But others contend the videos, which often show a snippet of an incident, turn officers into villains simply for doing their jobs, making them targets of lawsuits and discipline from bosses buckling to public pressure.

"We tell our officers all the time you've got to assume that everything you do is going to be videotaped," said Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis. "Everyone has a cell phone and almost every cell phone has a camera."

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said the video her office gave to the media on Tuesday shows police officer James Mandarino, from the Chicago suburb of Streamwood, hitting motorist Ronald Bell 15 times after a traffic stop last month.

In the video, Mandarino is seen firing a Taser at a passenger in the car and then striking Bell, who is on his knees with his hands on his head. Bell suffered a concussion and cuts that required seven stitches.

"It's a wonderful tool," Alvarez said of the video, which she says suggests that both men posed no threat to the officer.

Though police-behaving-badly videos have become popular staples of cable news shows and the Internet, Weis said he doesn't believe his officers are overly cautious out of fears they'll be videotaped - and their superiors are not advising them to be.

Quietly, though, some officers say the prospect of being videotaped makes them hesitate even if they know they should act.

"I've heard from officers who are sent to break up a fight in the street and see a group of people leaning out windows with handheld video cameras ... they go slower and are less aggressive," said Tom Needham, a Chicago attorney who has represented several police officers.

But University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman, who has studied police brutality, said videos are helping hold police accountable.

"My own view is that YouTube has done more to expose the reality of police abuse than all the blue-ribbon commissions combined," said Futterman.

A Chicago police officer who was arrested three years ago in the videotaped beating of a female bartender never would have been charged much less convicted if not for the video, Futterman said. Anthony Abbate initially was charged with a misdemeanor until the video played across the world.

Ronald Bell's brother, Stacey Bell, said he doubts the Streamwood officer would have been charged with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct without the video and his brother still would have faced charges of drunken driving and resisting an officer, which were dropped.

"I believe it would have been six witnesses against an officer and it would have been a different story," said Stacey Bell, who witnessed the alleged beating. The officer's attorney declined to comment.

But some caution that incidents caught on tape can misrepresent police work.

"The work of a police officer, even when done properly is ... not pleasant to watch," said Al O'Leary, spokesman for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in New York City. "We've had situations, circumstances where an officer doing his job by the book is caught on video is tagged as brutal. Sometimes the work is brutal but necessary."

In California when the Bay Area Rapid Transit officer slammed into a window with a suspect during a violent arrest, the cell phone video - viewed more than 160,000 times on one clip posted on YouTube - ended up exonerating the officer whose actions brought claims of excessive force, a union official said.

"It wasn't the suspect's head that caused the glass to break," said Jesse Sekhon, BART police officers union president. "When you freeze the video and enhance it you see it was the suspect punching it with his hand."

What's more, video viewers rarely hear the frantic 911 call for help, rocks hurled at an approaching squad car or the countless times police have been called to the same house.

In New York City in 2008, a man died after falling from a building ledge when police jolted him with a Taser. Video of the last few moments, including Iman Morales' fall, was posted on newspaper Web sites and played over and over again on local TV.

But before the cameras were running, "this guy was stark naked, running up and down the fire escape, he tried to get into a woman's apartment by tearing out the air conditioner, terrifying the woman," and swung a fluorescent light bulb at police before Lt. Michael Pigott ordered him shot him with the stun gun, said Tom Sullivan, president of the NYPD's Lieutenants Benevolent Association.

Eight days later, Pigott - stripped of his gun and badge and demoted - committed suicide, leaving a note saying he was trying to protect his men. His widow, who is suing the police department, said the discipline humiliated her husband. The department declined to comment.

There is little chance that the videotaped scrutiny of police will slow. In fact, groups with video cameras follow police in cities all over the country, including Orlando, Fla., where George Crossley launched Orlando CopWatch in 2006.

"If we come up on law enforcement, the whole shift knows immediately," said Crossley. "They get on the radio (and say) 'Watch out for CopWatch.'"

Sgt Jerry Blash Who Filed Ben Roethlisberger Report Resigns

The Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault investigation has led to a Milledgeville (Ga.) police officer’s resignation.

According to, Sgt. Jerry Blash, the only police officer who interviewed Roethlisberger in the investigation, resigned Wednesday following the release of investigation documents to the public. Milledgeville police chief Woodrow Blue confirmed Blash’s resignation Friday.

Blash resigned amid reports that he made negative comments about Roethlisberger’s accuser near friends of the Steelers’ quarterback. In addition, photos released one week after the incident revealed Roethlisberger and Blash together smiling just hours before the sexual assault allegation was made.

Blue stated Blash was involved in the investigation until March 12.

Additional documents released Thursday revealed a 16-year-old told officials that Roethlisberger had made sexual advances toward a friend’s sister, but the woman declined the opportunity to speak with authorities.

The allegations against Roethlisberger continue to haunt the quarterback and the Steelers organization as well.

Roethlisberger could face punishment from the league and from Steelers president Art Rooney II for his actions. The team also could face a six-figure fine as a result of the behavior of Roethlisberger and former Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

Officer Sidney Garcia Accused of Punching CabDriver

An off-duty city police officer was arrested after being accused of punching a cabdriver in the face on the East Side, the police said.

The officer, Sidney Garcia, 42, was charged with third-degree assault on Friday evening, several hours after the driver of a yellow taxicab reported that he had been assaulted during an argument with five people late Thursday.

Officer Garcia was stripped of his gun and badge, and was suspended without pay for 30 days, as detectives from the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Police Department began an inquiry.

Appointed to the force on Feb. 28, 1994, Officer Garcia is currently assigned to the department’s Applicant Processing Division, where he handles the submissions of candidates to become police officers.

According to the police, Officer Garcia was with four other people on Thursday night when they tried to hail a cab at Third Avenue and 35th Street about 11:20 p.m. When a taxi pulled over, the officer and the others tried to get in.

“The cabby said no,” said a law enforcement official, adding that the driver apparently felt that having five passengers would violate the rules of the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Words were exchanged as the five people got into the taxi, with Officer Garcia in front, the police said.

“Then, the off-duty cop allegedly hits” the driver in the face, said the official, who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

The cabby drove away after the encounter. It was not until finishing his shift and returning to his garage, about 3:30 a.m., that he came across Officer Garcia’s ID card and shield inside the vehicle, law enforcement officials said. He then contacted the police.

The extent of the driver’s injuries, if any, was not immediately clear, and the police did not identify the driver by name.

Officer Garcia was arrested about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, the police said.

“Our rules restrict the number of passengers to the number of seat belts available,” Allan J. Fromberg, a spokesman for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said.

“The number of authorized passengers would go on the rate card that’s in the vehicle, the card that goes next to the driver’s license,” Mr. Fromberg said, adding that the agency did not keep “crime stats” on events like assaults against drivers. He declined to comment on what led to Officer Garcia’s arrest.

The police would not say if Officer Garcia had previously faced disciplinary action in the course of his 16-year career.

Since 1984, on average, more than 100 police officers a year have been arrested.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two More Officers Suspended Over Beating

Prince George's County police said Thursday that they have suspended two more officers in connection with an incident last month in which officers in riot gear beat an unarmed University of Maryland student who had taken to the streets with hundreds of others to celebrate a victory by the men's basketball team over Duke University.

With those suspensions, a total of four county officers have been relieved of their police powers in connection with the attack of John J. McKenna, 21. The March 3 beating was captured on video by another student and has been aired all across the world since McKenna's attorney released it on Monday.

The video shows McKenna skipping on a sidewalk before stopping before a phalanx of officers on horseback. As McKenna backs up, two county officers in riot gear rush him and knock him against a wall; at least one of them hits McKenna repeatedly with a police baton. As McKenna crumples to the ground, the video shows, a third officer rushes in and strikes him repeatedly with his baton.

McKenna suffered a concussion and other injuries, his attorney said.

The FBI, the state's attorney's office and police internal affairs detectives are all investigating the incident.

In addition to the beating, they are focusing on official charging documents filed by Officer Sean McAleavey against McKenna and another student.

The charging documents allege that McKenna and Benjamin C. Donat, 19, assaulted officers on horseback and their mounts, and were injured by horses. Prosecutors dropped charges against McKenna and Donat before the video surfaced.

McAleavey is the only suspended officer who has been publicly identified by officials.

In another development, Maj. Daniel A. Dusseau, commander of the 1st District and the official who was in charge of the police response the night of the beating, is retiring, officials said.

Dusseau, a 21-year veteran, has taken a job in the private sector and will retire at the end of the month, said Maj. Andy Ellis, a police spokesman. Ellis said the retirement is unrelated to the controversy over the College Park incident.

Said Dusseau: "My retirement and movement to another job is something I've been working on since I was eligible to retire and has nothing to do with the incidents going on in College Park," he said.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden Indicted on Drug Charges

A former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent was taken into custody by Tulsa Police on Thursday.

Brandon J. McFadden was indicted by a grand jury for the Northern District of Oklahoma on four counts including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana; possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute; possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, McFadden was employed as an ATF agent from July, 2002, through September, 2009. He regularly investigated potential firearms and drug trafficking offenses, and the indictment alleges that he was guilty of selling drugs, falsifying evidence and lying on the witness stand.

In one case, a man and his daughter were sent to federal prison and have since been released.  The woman's only son was killed by a drunk driver while she was in prison, and she was not allowed to attend the funeral.

Related Story 3/31/2010: Tulsa Police Officer, Former ATF Agent Accused Of Corruption

If convicted, McFadden faces a possible sentence of not less than 10 years imprisonment to life. The McFadden investigation is related to an investigation of corruption in the Tulsa Police Department.
Tulsa Police Officer Jeff Henderson has been placed on administrative leave in connection to this investigation which is ongoing.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Former Officer Jason Laurin Has History of Misconducts

Former Police Officer Jason L. Laurin resigned under pressure in November after he was caught in an extramarital affair while on duty and then lied about it to his superiors, according to records in his disciplinary file.

Laurin had lied about other incidents during his 11½-year career and had a record of "progressive discipline" that included a reprimand and a suspension without pay in 2008, the records show.

In 2002, 2006, 2008 and 2009, Laurin was disciplined for using his police cell phone for personal calls and texts - several hundred in all, many of them sexual in nature and made while he was on duty. The 2008 investigation determined he fabricated one call to establish an alibi.

His conduct "has certainly brought this department into disrepute," an internal investigative report concluded Nov. 18, 2009.

But, when Police Chief Joe Collins issued a short press release about the resignation on Nov. 24, it said Laurin’s departure "was related to personal matters." The release said Laurin had been investigated for "a violation of work rules," and the investigation "was not related to any criminal activity and the safety of the community was never compromised."

The announcement did not mention specific misconduct or lying because, as it turned out, the Police Department had agreed to keep the details secret unless forced by legal action to share them. Even then, in response to a formal Open Records request submitted by the Herald Times Reporter, the city denied access to Laurin’s records on Dec. 30, citing protection of employee reputation, morale and the need to preserve the city’s ability to recruit quality candidates.

Faced with a possible Open Records lawsuit, the city reversed its position and made Laurin’s personnel files available to the HTR last month. Those records revealed Laurin’s disciplinary history and the events that forced his resignation, including his efforts to disguise and deny the dozens of daylight trysts that occurred once or twice a week for almost a year, sometimes while he was on duty.
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Officer Joe Fenison Arrested for Domestic Violence

A Birmingham police officer is in the city jail today after being arrested on a domestic violence charge, jail records show.

West Precinct Officer Joe Fenison was booked into the city jail at 12:46 a.m., according to the jail log. Sgt. James Jackson, a domestic violence supervisor, confirmed Fenison was arrested between 8:30 and 9 p.m. at a residence in the 600 block of Brussels Circle.

Police said the arrest followed an altercation over a child visitation issue.

Fenison is charged with third-degree domestic violence, a misdemeanor.

Former Officer Michael Lohman Pleas Guilty to Shooting

A former lieutenant of the New Orleans Police Department, who is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, has entered a guilty plea. He is alleged of having helped cover up fellow officers’ fatal shootings of two unarmed people during the chaotic period following Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Lohman, 42, was not initially present at the scene of the shootings, which took place on the Danziger Bridge and which injured four people in addition to the two who were killed. However, Lohman later went to the scene and concluded that the shooting was unjustified, but nevertheless file false police reports. Additionally, as the officer in charge of investigating the shooting, he allegedly looked the other way when another investigator planted a gun at the scene of the crime, asking only if the weapon in question was “clean” — police parlance for a gun that cannot be traced back to a prior crime.

According to survivors of the September 4, 2005 incident, the police fired at people who were crossing the bridge in search of food, during the aftermath of the infamous hurricane which threw the city into turmoil. None of those people were armed.

Killed by police gunfire were a 40-year-old mentally disable man, Ronald Madison, and a teenager, 19-year-old James Brissette.

A recently unsealed indictment says that Lohman and two sergeants, who remain unidentified, wrote two different accounts of the bridge shootings, both false reports. One of claims made was that a victim had come forward to say that her nephew was among those firing guns at police. Federal officials contend that Lohman, unhappy with a false report written by a fellow investigator, then crafted his own false report. He also allegedly told the investigator to collude with the shooters, to make sure that they were “OK with” the bogus report and with giving statements that would back it up.

Seven officers had been charged with murder or attempted murder in the shooting, but a state judge dismissed those charges in 2008, making Lohman the first person to face justice. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 26.

In the days following Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that resulted, there were numerous reports of violence against police and rescue personnel, many of which were later proven untrue. The shootings on the bridge were one of the most highly publicized events, and this notoriety may account for the subsequent cover-up, which U.S. Attorney Jim Letten has called “a pretty elaborate ongoing conspiracy.”

Former Officer Kills Man at Sports Bar

A former Chisholm police officer is facing possible murder charges after a shooting at a sports bar on Saturday night.

Authorities say a 47-year-old patron was killed and another suffered life-threatening injuries when the suspect opened fire with one of two handguns inside Jim's Sports Club Bar and Grill just before 10 p.m.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Andy Skoogman said that the suspect had been kicked out of the bar minutes earlier after an altercation with a group of people sitting in the bar with his former wife.

Skoogman said the suspect, a former police officer in the '80s, returned minutes after being kicked out of the bar with two handguns.

"He fired off 5 shots, injuring two people and fatally shooting a third person," Skoogman said. "All three were sitting at the same table as his ex-wife and all three were shot at close range.

"We believe this was a domestic dispute that took place in a public place. It escalated to an extremely violent situation and the true tragedy here is that the victims are all individuals who tried to keep the peace."

A third patron was also wounded in the shooting, and authorities say as many as 100 people may have been in the bar at the time.

Police say a bystander knocked out the suspect with a chair to end the shooting.

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Retired Officer Stephen Young Accused of Molesting Children

Ada County Prosecutors said Monday that former Boise police officer Stephen R. Young is accused of molesting at least 13 children over the past 30 years. He has been charged for his interactions with four specific children, but more charges are coming, Deputy Prosecutor Jean Fisher said.

He turned himself in after he abruptly retired at the end of February, and is being held on a $250,000 bond.

Prosecutors said Young is estranged from his family, including his wife and family members are cooperating with the investigation.

Boise police officials say they were not aware of any criminal investigation into Young, and Ada County Sheriff’s detectives did not begin their criminal investigation into Young until early last week — after he retired.

By Friday, detectives had established enough probable cause to charge Young with four counts of lewd conduct with a child under the age of 16 and book him into the Ada County Jail.

Boise police and the Ada County Sheriff's officials say the charges involved incidents in the past five years and did not appear to involve on-duty work.

Sheriff’s officials say all four victims — all children between the ages of one month to 21 months — were known to Young and the abuse occurred at various homes in Ada County between 2005 and 2008. None of the victims lived at Young’s home. Detectives continue to investigate the case and are trying to find out if there are any other victims.

The 58-year-old Young worked for the Boise Police department for 30 years.

Young had several assignments with the BPD, including 10 years as a school resource officer between 1995 to 2005, spending much of that time assigned to Boise High School. Young also worked as an SRO at South Jr. High School.

Young was an officer with the Boise Police Department from October 1978 until he retired Feb. 28. He was a patrol officer from 1978 to 1994; a motorcycle officer from 1994 to 1995; a school resource officer from 1995 to 2005; and a patrol officer from 2005 until his retirement.

The charge of lewd conduct is punishable by up to life in prison.

Young has no previous criminal record in Idaho, according to state court records.

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson said Monday his officers fully cooperating with investigators from the Ada County Sheriff's office.

"Masterson also released a statement to the public on the department's Facebook Web page Monday. Here is the full text of that message:

"As a former BPD employee goes to court today on charges of Lewd Conduct with a minor, I'd like to communicate two important thoughts; first, I know I speak for all in saying our hearts go out to the alleged victims and their families.... The allegations against Mr. Young are more disturbing than I can put into words.

"Children are truly the most innocent of victims.

"Following Mr. Young's retirement, when the criminal allegations surfaced, we have cooperated fully with investigators from the Ada County Sheriff's Office.

"Secondly, it saddens me greatly that the thousands of fine men and woman who serve as peace officers risk being judged as a whole by the actions of one.

"Law Enforcement is a challenging, rewarding profession. I am reassured to know that within the Boise Police department our employees know that actions that may compromise the integrity of this profession are not tolerated, either within the ranks of officers or by their supervisors.

"My appreciation goes out to those who quietly and honorably wear the badge, who serve, lead and protect the citizens throughout Boise, Idaho and the nation. To the heroes who do not make headlines, you deserve our admiration and gratitude each and every day.

"Finally, for the victims in this case and all cases, especially those involving children, we put our trust in the investigators that they will provide the proper and necessary answers for the community. And our faith is in our judicial system that justice will be served and healing can begin for all the affected families."

Third Officer Charged in Perfume Robbery

A third New York Police Department officer, Kelvin Jones, 28, of Yonkers, New York, was arrested today for his involvement in the robbery of a perfume distributor of $1 million in perfume, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

The arrest was part of a continuing investigation by federal and state authorities into the heist of hundreds of boxes of high-end perfume from a warehouse used by a company known as In Style USA, Inc in Carlstadt, New Jersey.

On March 5th, the two other NYPD officers, Richard LeBlanca and Brian Checo, both of New York City, were arrested and charged with the same robbery in a criminal complaint, along with Gabriel Vargas of Brooklyn, Luis R. Morales of
Brooklyn, Anselmo Jimenes, a/k/a "Ansemo Jimenes", of Brooklyn, Alan A. Bannout of Brooklyn, and Orlando Garcia of New York.

The initial criminal complaint did not name Jones by name, but merely referred to him as one of the eight conspirators whose true name was unknown, but who used the alias "Mike Smith".

According to the complaint filed against Jones in federal court today, on February 9, 2010, Jones went to a truck rental company in Jersey City with some of the other men who participated in the heist, and rented a truck he had reserved in the name "Mike Smith". It is alleged that Jones attempted to pay for the truck in cash, but when that failed, Jones directed LeBlanca to pay for the rental truck, which was later used in the robbery, with LeBlanca's ATM debit card.

The complaint also alleges that Jones then participated in the ensuing perfume robbery of the Carlstadt warehouse where 11 company employees were restrained and held hostage. During the robbery, the complaint alleges that Jones, while reviewing sheets of paper that contained names on them, began yelling the names of several of the victims being held hostage. The complaint also indicates that law enforcement agents later recovered two sheets of paper that were thrown into a trash receptacle which contained personal identification information of an individual related to one of the victims of the robbery. Subsequent examination of these documents revealed that they were obtained from a database in the 46th NYPD precinct - the same precinct where Jones is employed.

"Though the arrest of police officers is discouraging news, the public should know that we will remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice, regardless of where or to whom that pursuit may lead," said Michael Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Newark Office. "Members of law enforcement are not above the law and if they forget that, they will be suject to the same penalties as ordinary citizens."

Jones will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo today to face this charge.

Jimenes, who is currently incarcerated in Bergen County on local charges, is also expected to appear before Magistrate Cox Arleo today. Bannout has not yet been arrested.

The charge set forth in the Complaint carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The FBI has requested that anyone having further information regarding this robbery, please call the FBI at (973) 684-6614.

Fishman again credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin B. Cruise, for the investigation. Fishman also thanked the Carlstadt Police Department and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Gramiccioni and Eric T. Kanefsky of the Office's Special Prosecutions Division and Criminal Division, respectively.

Sgt. David Romeo Found Guilty of Kicking Two Handcuffed Suspects

A southern New Jersey jury has found a Wildwood police officer guilty of kicking two handcuffed suspects.

Sgt. David Romeo was charged with official misconduct. The 39-year-old officer will remain free on bail until sentencing on April 16.

Prosecutors say Romeo kicked two handcuffed car burglary suspects in the head as they lay on the ground in a North Wildwood parking lot in July 2007.

The crime carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Romeo and defense attorney John Tumelty left the courtroom after the verdict today without commenting.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Officer Seth Castillo Arrested Again for Drunk Driving

According to court documents, a Phoenix Police Officer that was arrested for drunk driving in Gilbert, has been arrested for DUI before.

FOX 10 has obtained court records that show officer Seth Castillo was arrested 8 years ago for driving while intoxicated, when he was 19 years of age.

Records show Castillo plead guilty to the charge back in 2002, well before he began working for the Phoenix Police Department.

Phoenix Police tell FOX 10 that a DUI arrest doesn't stop them from hiring an officer, and a DUI arrest for an officer on the force doesn't guarantee they'll be placed on administrative leave.

Officer Castillo is still patrolling city streets, just days after his latest DUI arrest.

Officer Aaron Bailey Accused of Defrauding the County of $400,800

Montgomery County sued one of its police officers Wednesday, alleging that he defrauded the county of $400,800 while running a company that provided firearms training to officers.

Central to the officer's fraud, the county alleged, was that he enticed colleagues to take training classes by offering them deeply discounted weapons upon completion of the classes -- $99 for a handgun valued at several times that, for example. As for the training, that was free to the officers who enrolled because it was paid by the county's tuition assistance program.

The lawsuit said that it amounted to the officer using tuition assistance funds to subsidize the weapons, which one official has called "the candy" to get other officers enrolled in the training classes.

The officer, Aaron Bailey, declined to comment through his attorney, Charles Rand, who said he had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment until he does. It is unclear what their defense will be, but some officials have speculated that what Bailey did was akin to department stores offering "loss leader" merchandise, which they lose money on, simply to get shoppers in the door.

The lawsuit is the latest twist in the county's troubled tuition assistance program, which top officials have acknowledged was not properly monitored. In recent years, employees have used the program to take classes ranging from "Bible Doctrines" and "Aerobics" to "The Christian Home" and "Life on the Down Low."

Within the next week, Montgomery County's inspector general, Thomas J. Dagley, is expected to release the findings of his office's investigation into the tuition assistance program.
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Three Rhode Island Officers Arrested in Cocaine Dealing Operation

Three Providence police officers, including a narcotics detective and a school resource officer, were arrested Thursday on charges that they helped with a cocaine-dealing operation.

Detective Joseph Colanduono, Patrolman Robert Hamlin and Sergeant Steven Gonsalves were arrested at police headquarters and have been suspended without pay, said Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman, who called it a "hard day" for his department. The officers either used the cocaine or helped arrange the drug deals, police said.

"These actions that we saw are an offensive display of a violation of trust that we cannot and will not tolerate," Attorney General Patrick Lynch said.

The chief of the State Law Enforcement Division met Thursday with the leaders of the tiny coastal town of Atlantic Beach to discuss a possible new partnership to stave off drug crime there during the coming summer months.

"Our plan is to be much more aggressive around the state, particularly when it comes to narcotics and violent-crime issues," said SLED Director Reggie Lloyd.

Lloyd traveled to Atlantic Beach for the informal meeting with the town's new attorney, Steve Benjamin of Columbia, a friend of his since law school. Sitting in the town's community center, Lloyd listened as Councilman Donnell Thompson, Police Chief Randy Rizzo and Town Manager Kenneth McIver described how Atlantic Beach's drug trade has mostly subsided.

Authorities arrested Guatemala's anti-drug czar and national police chief Tuesday in a case involving stolen cocaine and slain police, acting just two days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives to discuss the drug war.

The detentions were the latest embarrassment for Guatemala's embattled anti-narcotics effort and came amid U.S. complaints that corruption is impeding the battle to stop the flow of drugs north through Central America.

Attorney General Amilcar Velasquez said Police Chief Baltazar Gomez, anti-drug czar Nelly Bonilla and police officer Fernando Carrillo were detained after an investigation by Guatemalan authorities and the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity.

The arrests of Guatemala's drug czar and national police chief underscore how deeply the world's multibillion-dollar drug industry can corrupt small countries with weak institutions - a trend the Obama administration warned Wednesday threatens global security.

As U.S.-funded wars pressure cartels in Mexico and Colombia, drug gangs are increasingly infiltrating vulnerable countries, particularly in Latin America and Africa. Drug profits total about $394 billion a year, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - dwarfing the gross domestic products of many nations and making them easy prey for cartels.

"Violent traffickers are relocating to take advantage of these permissive environments and importing their own brand of justice," the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's intelligence chief Anthony Placido said Wednesday in testimony before a U.S. House subcommittee.

The State Law Enforcement Division is reviewing information city leaders provided Thursday regarding allegations that William Bailey covered up a criminal domestic violence case, according to SLED spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons.

Bailey, the city’s public safety director, is on administrative leave for lying about an unrelated handgun theft.

City Manager John Smithson told The Sun News on Thursday that SLED is investigating the allegations.

The arrests followed a more than four-month investigation that began with information from a state police detective and involved wiretaps and intercepted phone calls. Police seized several hundred grams of cocaine and firearms as part of the probe.

Three other men were arrested, including Hamlin's brother, Albert, who police describe as a major cocaine dealer and the primary target of their investigation. Police say Robert Hamlin, a school resource officer at a Providence high school, helped his brother avoid getting caught by giving names of narcotics detectives and providing descriptions of their police cars, said State Police Capt. David Neill.

The Providence Journal reported on its Web site that Gonsalves is a former driver for Providence Mayor David Cicilline and the husband of the mayor's executive assistant, Xiomara Gonsalves. The Journal said the mayor described his assistant as "incredibly heartbroken."

Cicilline's spokeswoman, Karen Southern, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday night.

Also arrested was Khalid Mason, who in 2007 faced drug dealing charges that were dismissed by a federal judge after a Providence police sergeant testified at a pretrial hearing that he didn't have any notes or reports from his investigation. That case is not connected to the current arrests, police said.

Mason supplied drugs to Albert Hamlin, who would purchase one kilogram of cocaine at a time for about $35,000 and break down the drugs into smaller quantities, which he would then sell, police said.

Gonsalves, 47, is charged with soliciting another to commit a crime. Robert Hamlin, 33, is charged with conspiracy to possess cocaine, and Colanduono, 44, is charged with conspiracy to deal cocaine and compounding and concealing a felony.

A phone message left with the police union was not immediately returned, and it was not immediately clear if the officers had lawyers.

State Police Col. Brendan Doherty told The Associated Press that at least some calls were made when the officers were on duty, though police say there's no evidence that any drug dealing took place at a school.

Doherty said the alleged drug dealing was "the act of a few rogue officers - rogue officers who compromised the trust of the citizens of city of Providence and the state of Rhode Island."

Cicilline called the arrests "gravely disappointing" and said the officers deserve to be prosecuted aggressively.

The investigation is continuing.

Gonsalves was released on personal recognizance by a bail commissioner Thursday evening and is due in court March 18. The other five defendants, including the two officers, are being held without bail overnight and will be arraigned Friday in Providence District Court.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Officer Matthew Cordone Arrested on Drug Charges

A Kennett Square police officer has been suspended with pay after being arrested on drug charges Tuesday by state police, authorities said. Officer Matthew Thomas Cordone, 36, of West Grove, tried to deliver "a number of pills" in a reclosable bag to a location on Woodcrest Road in Penn Township, a state police spokesman said.

The pills, which troopers believed to be the tranquilizer Xanax, were being analyzed yesterday at a state lab. Cordone, who was not on duty at the time of his arrest, was released after posting $5,000 bail. Kennett Square Police Chief Edward Zunino declined to comment

Monday, March 01, 2010

Officer Scott Morales Suspended for the 14th Time

Officer Scott Morales is walking on thin ice after his latest violation.

Police Chief Rusty York says he suspended Morales for five days without pay for problems with "alertness on duty."

"It resulted from him not being at his post for an assigned time within the building," explained York. The incident took place in January while Morales was working the third shift York told Indiana's News Center.

York says Morales wondered away from his post to another part of the building. While the offense may not be a major one, it further tarnished the record of the 19-year veteran, who has now been suspended for the 14th time since 1991.

Morales' last suspension was in February, after he was accused of inappropriately using a taser on an individual who was already handcuffed. He received a three-day unpaid suspension for that incident.

Prior to that, Morales was accused of going absent without leave multiple times, being involved in several accidents with his police cruiser, falsifying reports, excessive force and searching a home without a warrant.

When asked why Morales has been allowed to keep his badge, York explained that discipline problems are handled with a "progressive system."

"It shows that probably the attempts to correct any behavior is not working. So certainly, we've reached the point that any subsequent allegations will certainly take on a much more serious tone," responded York.

Members of the police merit board would ultimately decide Morales' professional fate. Members were notified of his suspension Monday afternoon.

Detective Thomas Sadler Convicted of Assaulting Prostitute

A veteran sheriff's detective was convicted Monday of picking up a prostitute and assaulting her in a Mission Valley parking lot, but he was acquitted of sexually assaulting the woman.

Thomas John Sadler, 49, was convicted of felony assault and battery by a peace officer, along with misdemeanor assault and false imprisonment. He could receive a sentence ranging from probation on the low end to three years in prison on April 14.

The defendant -- on unpaid administrative leave from the sheriff's department -- was acquitted of felony charges of sexual battery by restraint, sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Two charges of accessing a computer to defraud were dismissed by the judge before the case went to the jury.

Sadler stared straight ahead as a courtroom clerk read the verdicts. The 20-year veteran was immediately ordered into custody by Judge Michael Smyth.

Jurors, who did not want to be interviewed, deliberated about two full days before reaching their decision.

"I'm pleased, largely, with the verdict, because originally Mr. Sadler had been charged with five felony counts. He was convicted of only one," said defense attorney Mary Ellen Attridge, the senior supervising attorney for the Office of the Alternate Public Defender.

"I would have preferred, of course, that he be completely exonerated of all, but I think being found not guilty of four out of five is pretty good," she said.

Attridge said Sadler's sentencing range is better now than with a plea bargain offered by prosecutors. She said Sadler will not have to register for life as a sex offender.

"He was found not guilty of anything sexually oriented in any way, and so I think that overall it is an acceptable verdict, although I would have preferred he'd been found not guilty of everything," Attridge told reporters outside court.

Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Dort said in his closing argument that Sadler had a plan to sexually assault the prostitute during a search for drugs but ran into a problem when he didn't find any.

Sadler assaulted the prostitute just as he had sexually assaulted four other women during searches dating back to 2001, the prosecutor told jurors.

But Attridge said the prostitute got into Sadler's unmarked car on El Cajon Boulevard on her own about 11 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2008.

"When she smiled and he smiled back, she thought of money," Attridge said.

Sadler, "like a fool," drove to a Mission Valley parking lot but changed his mind about having sex with the prostitute, Attridge said.

"He thought, 'What in God's name am I doing?'" his attorney said.

Sadler testified that he thought of his wife of 22 years and didn't want to go through with his original plan.

But Dort told the jury that Sadler had a history of pulling over women, searching them for drugs with no one around and touching them inappropriately.

The prosecutor told the jury the defendant was "a rogue cop" who thought he was above the law. Sadler planned to search the prostitute and sexually assault her "because he had gotten away with it before," Dort said.

Attridge said the prosecution was relying on "unreliable" drug addicts, felons and prostitutes to convict a veteran deputy sheriff for something that "did not occur."

The attorney said Sadler admitted to making very poor choices but did not sexually assault the prostitute, who was on probation at the time.

Attridge said the prostitute became irritated when Sadler showed his badge and ordered her out of the car in the Mission Valley parking lot.

Sadler took the woman's cell phone away when she tried to take a picture of his license plate, Attridge said.

"This was a business deal gone bad by a foolish middle-age man and a very sad young woman with a very dicey job," Attridge told the jury.

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Trooper Marvin Norfolk Sr Charged with Child Abuse

A Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper is indicted on child abuse charges. Trooper Marvin Norfolk Sr. is facing charges of child abuse and filing a false police report in a December 2009 criminal investigation conducted by the Tipton County Sheriff's Office, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Children's Services.

The investigation surrounded a December 2009 allegation of physical abuse of a 9 year old family member at the Norfolk's home in Brighton, TN. Police say the child was at the home during a court approved visitation for the Christmas holidays. According to investigators, the child had bruising to the face, back, upper torso, arm, thighs, legs and groin area. The child was treated and released at Baptist Memorial Hospital after the incident.

During the investigation, Marvin Norfolk denied the allegation along with his wife, Dawn Norfolk who was present during the incident. The investigation revealed Marvin Norfolk and his wife lied about their role in the incident. Dawn Norfolk was indicted for filing a false police report.

The couple is scheduled to appear in court March 4th.

Investigation Ongoing for Officer Accused of Forcible Rape of Teen

It's been nearly a month since a high school student accused a Memphis Police Officer of forcibly raping her. No charges have been filed in the case. What's taking so long?

The 17-year old goes to Fairley High School in Whitehaven. She reported the rape to a police officer at the school on February 5th. She said happened off-campus on an earlier day.

Students at Fairley high school say they haven't heard much about the rape accusations since they were first reported a month ago.

“They really aren't saying a lot about it,” said Senior Jeremy Ross. “I think they're just trying to let it go.”

The Memphis Police Department put the officer on “Non-Enforcement” status pending the investigation. An investigation it says is still ongoing. Some of you want to know what's taking so long.

The MPD told Eyewitness News it was waiting on forensic testing. That's done by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI says DNA results take an average of nine weeks to complete in the Memphis lab.

“If you look around at other states,” said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm. “That’s probably one of the fastest DNA turnaround times that you'll find at any crime lab at any state.”

It can be done faster, however.

“Something that's a very serious nature that needs to be expedited, that's a threat to public safety,” said Helm. “They can always request us to expedite things and of course we will do that for them.”

Eyewitness News asked the Memphis Police Department about this case and if there was any consideration given the fact the accused is a Memphis Police Officer. The department issued a statement saying "This is a complex investigation and will take time. Sex crimes asked for an expedited examination when they submitted the request." The statement went on to say, ”This case is being investigated as any other complaint.”

The Sex Crimes Bureau and the Inspectional Services Bureau, the department that investigates criminal wrongdoing by officers, are working on the case.

Former Officer Pleads Guilty in Katrina Killing

A former police lieutenant pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to obstruct justice after federal officials say he helped cover for officers who killed two people on a bridge in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina.

Federal investigators say former lieutenant Michael Lohman knew two people shot to death as they crossed the Danziger Bridge had no weapons, but he and others filed false reports to make the shootings seem justified. Four other people were wounded.

Family members of the victims gathered at the downtown federal courthouse as Lohman arrived to enter his plea.

“We are very, very happy about the progress that the FBI and the US Justice Department have made,’’ said Dr. Romell Madison, brother of Ronald Madison, who was killed on the bridge.

“It’s a tremendous relief for us to see some sort of closure. The people of New Orleans should be relieved that there is still justice for everybody here.’’

Seven officers were charged with murder or attempted murder in the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings, just days after Katrina smashed levees and flooded 80 percent of the city.

But a state judge dismissed the charges in 2008.

Until Lohman’s plea yesterday, no one had been convicted in the deaths of Madison, 40, a mentally disabled man, and James Brissette, 19.

Four others were wounded.

Former Officer William George Charged with Breaking Mans Jaw

A former West Virginia small-town police officer was arrested Friday, accused of breaking his daughter's ex-boyfriend’s lower jaw during a January altercation.

William G. George, 41, of Bonita Springs, was charged with felony aggravated battery. He was released on pre-trial supervision. George was employed by Reedsville Police Department and lists retirement on his arrest report.

According to Lee County Sheriff's Office reports:

On Jan. 19, George's daughter, whose name was not released, and the teenage boy met at Coconut Point Mall to exchange property after they split as a couple. George parked nearby and listened to the conversation through a cell phone. The boy said he heard tires screeching, saw George get out of the car and then hit him repeatedly in the head. The boy got George to the ground, but a friend who was waiting nearby told the boy to let the 6-foot-tall, 220 pound former cop up. George left.

At first the boy and his mother, Keri G. Snider, 41, did not want to press charges. But the boy began having face and head pains. He sought medical attention and the broken mandible was found.

On Friday, George went to the Lee County Jail and surrendered.

Former Officer Faron White Expected to be Released from Prison

A Decatur police officer convicted of theft is expected to be released from federal prison at the end of the week. This Friday, Faron White will head home from a federal prison in Louisiana.

For 21 years, White fought crime in the city of Decatur.

"He was always the go-to guy. He always seem to know the answer," said John Bradford, who is now retired from the Decatur Police Department.

One day in January of 2009, White ended up on the wrong side of the law when he staged his own kidnapping with accomplice Sarah Richardson.

Bradford supervised White a few years before the incident.

"He was a great guy. It was just a total shock that he got involved with this," said Bradford.

Bradford believes White has some roads to mend when he gets out of prison. Namely, with the men and women who tirelessly searched for him.

"Those guys went at it 24-7, virtually not eating or sleeping, following every lead they could imagine in hopes of finding somebody they respected as a supervisor and a good friend. I hope he finds a way to somehow bring closure for those fellows for what he put them through," said Bradford.

Bradford hopes White will be able to land on his feet once he is released from prison. He'll have to find a job.

"To me, it's just obvious that the guy fell on some rough times, made some mistakes that snow balled on him and just got worse. It just got to the point that he couldn't get out of it and he did something very, very stupid," said Bradford.

White pleaded guilty to a federal theft charge for stealing $82,000 from the Decatur Police Department. A judge sentenced White to 16 months in prison.

He'll be getting out three months early, but will then be on supervised released for five years.

White's attorney, Jake Watson, says his client plans to get in the cabinet making business when he's released.

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Officer Keith Hicks Pleads Guilty to Harassing Women

A Camden police officer who served as a driver and ever-present confidant to former mayor Gwendolyn Faison has pleaded guilty to harassing women.

Keith Hicks, a 19-year veteran of the city police force, admitted Monday that twice last year he ordered women into his personal truck when he was off duty but in uniform, and touched them "offensively.''

He also admitted that he once demanded that a woman partially undress before she was processed for an outstanding warrant.

The 51-year-old Hicks, who lives in Gloucester Township, was suspended from the force in August 2009.

As a result of his plea, he is expected to be sentenced to probation and must forfeit his police badge.

His lawyer, William Buckman, did not immediately return a call.
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Officer Jorge Ibarra Charged with Drunk Driving

A McAllen police officer has been suspended without pay after his arrest Sunday on suspicion of driving drunk.

Jorge Ibarra, 43, of San Juan, refused to take a Breathalyzer test after state troopers pulled him over just before 3 a.m. near the intersection of North Alamo and East Minnesota roads, north of Alamo.

Shortly before the traffic stop, Ibarra reportedly ran off the road and hit a fence, causing minor property damage, said Trooper Johnny Hernandez, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. The officer did not hurt himself or anyone else.

He will remain on leave until the conclusion of the criminal charges against him, said McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez. Internal investigators have also opened their own probe into Ibarra’s alleged conduct.

Ibarra, a 12-year veteran of the department, was released from the Hidalgo County Jail on a $500 bond shortly after his arrest.

If convicted, he could face up to six months in the county jail, termination from the police force and $2,000 in fines.

Officer Torrey Sitterly Charged with Aggravated Harassment

A Herkimer village police officer who threatened to kill his former wife earlier this year was allowed to remain on duty with his service weapon until his criminal charge was resolved, officials said Monday.

Officer Torrey Sitterly was charged Jan. 17 with second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor, after he made 19 menacing phone calls within a 20-minute time span to his former wife, Kelly Stalter, of Cooperstown, state police said.

Stalter is a state trooper with Troop C based in Oneonta.

During that series of phone calls, the 31-year-old Sitterly threatened to physically harm Stalter, 29, and her boyfriend, police said. In addition to the misdemeanor charge, a temporary order of protection was also imposed for Sitterly to stay away from Stalter.

State police investigated the case. When Sitterly was charged, however, state police did not issue a press release.

Otsego County prosecutors ultimately adjourned the charge in contemplation of dismissal on Feb. 18 in Oneonta Town Court, which means the charge would be dropped in a year if Sitterly does not break any laws. The order of protection also was dropped last month.

Stalter said she hasn’t had any problems with Sitterly since the arrest, even while she occasionally encounters him during Family Court proceedings.

“I do feel safer now,” Stalter said. “This was just my way of saying I’m not going to allow this to go on anymore, and that he can’t be saying these things or making these kinds of threats.”

Sitterly could not be reached for comment Monday.

While the case was pending, Herkimer Village Police Chief Joseph Malone said he believed there was no need to suspend Sitterly, reassign him to other duties, or prohibit him from carrying a weapon on the job.

Instead, Sitterly was required to secure his firearm at the department while he was off-duty to comply with the order of protection, Malone said Monday.

“Obviously, if we felt there was any kind of threat we would have taken other action,” Malone said, who previously discussed the matter with the village’s Albany-based labor attorney, Bryan Goldberger. “We felt there was no need for any type of action, just based on the circumstances and what I know about it.”

Goldberger could not be reached Monday.

Sitterly, one of the department’s 21 full-time officers, has been with Herkimer Police for three years and previously was employed by the Fort Plain Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Stalter on Monday declined to elaborate on the details of what happened with Sitterly because they have a child together. Their divorce was finalized in August, but they still have matters pending in Family Court, she said.

“Both agencies – state police and the village of Herkimer police – acted in the best manner they could,” said Stalter, whose own Troop C investigated the incident. “They were professional, and both agencies were more than willing to help me with whatever it was that I needed.”

News of Sitterly’s threats drew comparisons to a more serious domestic incident involving a police officer that occurred less four months earlier. In September, Utica police Investigator Joseph Longo Jr. stabbed his wife, Kristin, to death before killing himself shortly after the couple began divorce proceedings.

Now, the Utica Police Department faces a potential lawsuit alleging that it failed to do enough to prevent Longo from killing his wife after she repeatedly expressed concerns about Longo’s mental state. In Longo’s case, however, the department did take away his firearms and reassigned his duties.

Eugene O'Donnell, professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York City police officer, said it would be unfair to question Malone’s judgment without knowing how immediate the threat really was.

“You have to be careful as a police chief not to rush to judgment,” O’Donnell said. “If there’s going to be a perception that the chief’s kneejerk reaction is to immediately take adverse personnel action against an officer, then that could result in a collapse of morale at the agency. Punish first and inquire later is not fair, and it’s not the right way to do things.”

Sitterly is the latest among a series of Herkimer police officers to find themselves in trouble with the law:

* Investigator Robert Risi, 42, currently is serving 1 to 3 years in state prison after he admitted to stealing nearly $16,000 from the Herkimer Police Department’s evidence room to fuel his gambling addiction.

* Officer Shauna Wright, 40, was charged by state police with second-degree harassment, a violation, in May 2009 following a confrontation with her sister-in-law, Heather Wright, in the parking lot at West Canada High School. Shauna Wright was ticketed to appear in Newport Town Court, but the outcome of that case could not be determined Monday.

Malone acknowledged these incidents involving the three officers have placed a dark cloud over the department.

“Do we suffer a black eye for a while? Yes, but you retain your professionalism and move on,” Malone said. “Everyone has problems in their lives, and we’re obviously held to a higher standard in the public’s eye, so it becomes more of an issue than the people we deal with on a daily basis with these same issues that aren’t police officers.”

Officer Jared Bledsoe & Wife Charged with Child Endangerment

A Las Vegas police officer and his wife will be charged with child endangerment with substantial bodily harm after their 2-year-old shot himself with the officer’s gun in February.

Las Vegas Metro police Officer Jared Bledsoe and his wife, Shawnee Bledsoe, both 27, face one count of the felony charge after their son discovered a loaded gun in the night stand after he was put to bed.

The toddler, Jared Benjamin Bledsoe, was hit in the arm and abdomen after the gun went off and was at one point in critical condition after the gun discharged.

The complaint, made in Moapa Valley Township Justice Court, said the toddler suffered “unjustifiable physical pain and substantial bodily harm.”

Officer Shaun Harder Pleaded Not Guilty To Aggravated Menacing

An Elmore police officer and humane society volunteer has denied threatening members of a horse rescue group last month on his Facebook page.

Shaun Harder, 23, Elmore, pleaded not guilty today to one misdemeanor count of aggravated menacing in Ottawa County Municipal Court. He was released on a recognizance bond and will have a pre-trial next month, said his attorney, Tom DeBacco of Port Clinton.

Harder is charged with posting a message on Facebook that threatened Arabian Horse Rescue, a group that has on-going disagreements with the Humane Society of Ottawa County over malnourished horses the humane society confiscated in January from Robin Vess’ Carroll Township farm.

“The horses need ppl (sic.) like us; the Arabian rescue group needs to be slaughtered like livestock,” authorities allege Harder wrote.

Authorities arrested Harder Friday, and he spent the weekend in jail, said Detective Amy Harrell of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

This comes after the FBI agents from Toledo investigated the posting when ARM’s attorney, Leonard Yelsky of Toledo, called them and reported it, she said. They decided not to charge him federally and turned the case over to the sheriff’s office.

Vice Officer Samuel Roccaforte Arrested for Tampering with Records

A Houston Police Department vice officer appeared in court this morning after being arrested during the weekend on two charges of tampering with a government record in connection with a prostitution arrest.

Samuel Anthony Roccaforte, 57, is accused of arresting a woman for prostitution and filing a false police record about what the 45-year-old said in her bedroom.

The woman, whose prostitution charges have been dropped, protested being arrested for offering sex in exchange for money.

On tape, the officer can be heard saying, “Well, you did, you know you did, I know you did. There's no audio, there's no video. It's gonna be my word against yours and who do you think they're going to believe?” according to court records.

Documents show Roccaforte called the woman after seeing an advertisement with her phone number on a website. The woman invited the officer to her apartment and once inside, into her bedroom, where she invited him to place a donation on a table.

Because Roccaforte began asking questions about having sex for money, the woman believed he was a police officer, the charging document shows. She said she did not provide that type of service.

Roccaforte arrested the woman for prostitution and wrote that she agreed to have sex for $200.

Roccaforte is free after posting $4,000 bond Sunday. Both charges stem from the same incident. The state jail felony is punishable by a maximum of two years behind bars.

Harris County records show that the woman has been convicted of DWI and was placed on deferred adjudication for drug possession.

Roccaforte's attorney Chip Lewis said he had not heard the tape.

“Our preliminary investigation directly contradicts the state's version,” Lewis said. “However, I will not be able to be more specific until we've had an opportunity to review the evidence.”

Calls to HPD were not immediately returned.

Trial Starts for Officer Kenneth Tomlinson II Charged with Sexually Assaulting Boy Scout

The top police officer in a remote eastern Missouri town was ordered to stand trial Monday on charges that he sexually assaulted two members of the Boy Scout troop he led after an investigator testified that the officer had confessed to the crimes.

Kenneth Tomlinson II, 42, faces 16 counts of sodomy. Madison County Judge Robin Fulton set an arraignment date of March 18 following emotional testimony at the preliminary hearing, at which only prosecutors presented evidence. Fulton determined they had enough to warrant a trial.

Tomlinson, who stands about 6-foot-2 and weighs well over 300 pounds, sat passively during the hearing, his wrists cuffed in front of him. The alleged victims, ages 12 and 14, were also in the courtroom but mostly looked away from him.

Fulton closed the hearing to the public during testimony from the boys. The Associated Press generally does not identify those who say they were victims of sex crimes.

During the open session, a teenage girl sobbed as she testified that she became aware of the abuse on Jan. 2, when she found sexually explicit text messages on the 14-year-old boy's phone. She told her parents, who contacted police.

The case was turned over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Investigator Scott Rawson was the first to interview Tomlinson.

"He dropped his head," Rawson testified. "I said, 'This happened, didn't it?' He shook his head yes."

Rawson said Tomlinson admitted the assaults began last spring, usually on Mondays after Scout meetings, and usually in his truck. Sometimes, Rawson said, Tomlinson would drive the boys to an old lead mine or an industrial park. Other times, the assaults happened at the location of the Scout meetings, Rawson said.

Public defender Susan DeGeorge asked whether Rawson had taped the confession, and Rawson acknowledged he was able to tape only part of it.

A probable cause statement from the Highway Patrol also said Tomlinson admitted videotaping some of the acts. The statement said Tomlinson and the boys viewed the video on the camera screen, then he destroyed the recordings.

Tomlinson joined the police department in Fredericktown — a community of 4,100 about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis — as a patrolman in 1997. He was promoted to captain, the equivalent of the town's police chief, in April. Tomlinson is on unpaid leave until the case is adjudicated, and he remains jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

The judge on Monday denied a request from DeGeorge to reduce the bond and allow Tomlinson to stay near relatives in the Chicago area.

DeGeorge left the hearing without commenting to reporters.

Joe Mueller of the Boy Scouts of America's Greater St. Louis Council said the council has not been contacted by police or prosecutors and officials did not previously know that the victims were members of Tomlinson's Scout troops.

Mueller said Tomlinson had led the troops in Fredericktown since 1998. His association with Scouting was revoked after his arrest.

84-Year-Old Man Tasered by Officer

The Waupaca County Sheriff's Department says an officer who used a stun gun on an 84-year-old man acted within department policy and procedure.

The department says the man, who is a resident of the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, was suicidal and became combative with the officer last Monday.

After the officer issued several warnings to comply and warned about the Taser, the officer stunned the man, authorities say.

The man was taken away by ambulance for treatment. We were told last week he was doing fine.

Officer Charged with Domestic Violence

A 52-year-old OPP officer has been charged with assault after an off-duty domestic incident, police said Monday.

On Feb. 26, the OPP professional standards bureau finished an investigation into the December 2009 domestic incident.

As a result, the officer was arrested and charged with assault, police said. The man was released from custody on a promise to appear in court on March 23.

Police said they will not release the officer's name to protect the identity of the victim. Police have not released any details of the assault.

The officer is a 16-year veteran of the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry OPP detachment.

He has been assigned to administrative duties, police said.

Corrections Officer James Mikesell Accused of Having Sex with Inmate

A Louisville Metro Corrections officer accused of having sex with an inmate appeared before a judge Monday morning to answer to that charge and others.

During a proceeding that lasted less than five minutes, Officer James Mikesell entered a plea of not guilty in Jefferson District Court.

Mikesell is charged with tampering with physical evidence, sexual assault and official misconduct. The charges stem from what has been described as an "inappropriate relationship" with a female inmate.

"Mr. Mikesell maintains his innocence of all these charges," said Steve Schroering, Mikesell's attorney. "We're awaiting any evidence that they say they have to review that so we can actively defend the case."

Mikesell is on unpaid leave from Metro Corrections and has been removed from a freshman high school coaching position at Butler Traditional High School pending the outcome of the case.

He is scheduled to return to court for a pre-trial hearing March 26.

Const. Doug Lemna Accused of Using Excessive Force

A longtime veteran of the Abbotsford, B.C., police department has been charged with assault.

Const. Doug Lemna is accused of using excessive force on a mischief suspect in September 2009.

Police say the 19-year member was responding to a disturbance call on Jasper Court around 4 a.m. when two suspects believed to be yelling and breaking windows fled on bikes.

The duo was eventually located three-and-a-half blocks away. The alleged assault happened while one of the suspects was being detained and other officers went back to the scene to investigate.

Abbotsford Police Chief Constable Bob Rich ordered an investigation after "an issue with the use for force" used by Lemna was brought to the department's attention by a member reviewing the case file.

A criminal charge was recommended after the completion of a probe by the department's professional standards section.

Crown Counsel approved a charge of assault late Friday night.

Lemna was re-assigned to desk duties in October, where he remains.

This is the second investigation into an Abbotsford police officer in recent months.

In February, B.C.'s Police Complaint Commissioner ordered a public hearing into the conduct Const. Alex Wood after he allegedly broke a man's finger while seizing his camera in September 2008.

Civil Trial Begins for Officer Jason Smith

A civil trial began Monday in Trumbull County for a police officer involved in a fatal car accident.

Cassandra Thompson died in 2006 after being hit by a Cortland police cruiser driven by officer Jason Smith on South High Street.

Troopers investigating the accident then said the 16-year-old walked out in front of the cruiser, which didn't have its sirens or lights activated even though the officer was responding to a fight at a high rate of speed. Police did not have sufficient evidence to charge patrolman Jason Smith, who was driving the cruiser, with a crime.

Surviving members of the victim are seeking damages from the city of Cortland, its police department and Smith.

A jury in the wrongful death lawsuit was seated Monday and began hearing testimony. The trial is expected to last several days.

Trial to Begin for Officer Michael Ficken Accused of Misconduct

A jury trial involving officer misconduct allegations against former Prior Lake police officer Michael Alan Ficken is set to begin next week in Scott County District Court in Shakopee.

Ficken, 34, of Savage was charged by the Dakota County Attorney’s Office in June of last year with officer misconduct, fifth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. He has pleaded not guilty.

Jury selection is set to start the morning of Tuesday, March 2. Opening arguments are expected to start later that afternoon and the trial will continue into Wednesday, March 3.

According to the criminal complaint:

While Ficken was on duty as a police officer, at about 7 a.m. June 10, he allegedly called his former girlfriend and when she didn’t answer, he drove to her house in Prior Lake. When Ficken arrived, he saw a vehicle he did not recognize and allegedly ran the license plate, without any known work-related reason to do so.

Ficken then allegedly went inside the house and attempted to find the 30-year-old woman, who was in a lower-level bedroom with the door locked. Ficken asked to be let into the bedroom, and the woman said, “No,” the complaint states.

Ficken then allegedly broke through the bedroom door while the woman attempted to hold it shut. While inside the bedroom, Ficken began to yell at the woman and a man who was inside the room with her, according to the complaint.

Ficken was then escorted out of the home by the woman and returned to duty. The man and woman then called 911, and Ficken was arrested by the Shakopee Police Department later that day to avoid a conflict of interest.

Following an internal investigation into the matter, Ficken was terminated from his position as a Prior Lake police officer on Sept. 21, 2009.

The Dakota County Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case to avoid a conflict of interest.

Officer Brian Cloninger Resigns

A North Carolina police officer has resigned after prosecutors say he tried to get a robbery victim to pick out a predetermined suspect from a photo lineup.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Officer Brian Cloninger gave the robbery victim the photo of the man he thought committed the gunpoint holdup, then urged the victim to study the suspect's face until she could pick him out.

Prosecutors say Cloninger said he tried to get a bad guy off the streets.

Prosecutors reviewed pending cases in which Cloninger's testimony was crucial and dismissed two other felonies and about 70 misdemeanor charges and traffic offenses. They say they couldn't trust Cloninger.

The former officer's attorney says he's sorry and paid for his mistake with his job.

Did Officer Intentionally Strike Bicyclists?

Once a month, bicyclists converge on downtown's Woodruff Park and begin a two-hour ride through city streets. Well documented with helmet-mounted cameras, the ride is called Critical Mass, with the dual roles of good times and raised awareness.

"It is pretty controversial," said cyclist Stephen Toucet.

It's controversial because the bicyclists of Critical Mass routinely block intersections, regardless of whether they have a red light or green light. Called "corking," they say they do it because it keeps the cyclists together and makes the ride safer.

They admit that some motorists find the practice obnoxious and strongly display their annoyance.

Friday evening, they corked the intersection of Peachtree St. and Eighth. One motorist strongly took exception.

"You can't go through a red light if you're a vehicle," the motorist is heard saying on a YouTube video.

The video, shot by cyclist Matt Todd, shows the driver threatening to strike a bicyclist with his car.

"If you don't move, I'll run you over," he said just a few seconds before putting the car in gear, lightly striking a bicyclist.

The driver dares the cyclists to get his license number as he pulls what appears to be a police badge.

"A badge was the last thing I was expecting to see," said Todd. "And when he pulled it out, it was like, OK. You're trying to intimidate us, you're trying to bully us."

"Because he was a police officer, he had the option of pulling us over and giving us a ticket for going through a red light. I totally accept that," said Toucet. It makes his action inexplicable, said Toucet.

Both bicyclists say they want to file a complaint against the motorist -- if he's a police officer, and if they can ever identify him. They never got a badge or license number.
You Tube Video

Former Officer Gary Pignato Pleads Guilty to Another Charge

Former Greece Police Officer Gary F. Pignato, who already is in prison for sexually coercing a woman he met on duty, pleaded guilty today to charges involving another woman.

Pignato pleaded guilty before Monroe County Court Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to misdemeanors of official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass.

He will receive two years in the Monroe County Jail to run at the same time as his sentence for the previous conviction.

Pignato, 49, is serving a prison term of two to six years for forcing a woman to have sex with him in 2008 in exchange for not reporting her for violating probation on a misdemeanor conviction for petit larceny. He was convicted after a trial last spring.

The latest charge he admitted to involves a woman who said he forced her into having sex with him in 2005 in exchange for not reporting her for smoking marijuana.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Officer Chris Dixon Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident

One night last summer, following a Rays game, a Riverview man flagged down a police officer about a hit-and-run accident.

The man said his van was rear-ended leaving Tropicana Field. No one was injured, and there was no real damage. Typical stuff, really. Except for this:

He said the car that hit him was a marked, city police cruiser.

St. Petersburg police are investigating the crash and have zeroed in on one of their own: 25-year-old Officer Chris Dixon.

Dixon was cited in September for careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. He has been on restricted duty, pending resolution of his case and the completion of an internal investigation.

Dixon denies involvement in the July 29 crash and has entered a not guilty plea to both charges. A pre-trial hearing is set for March 23.

"Based upon the witness identification, physical evidence, circumstantial evidence and Officer Dixon's statements/mannerisms, there is an abundance of probable cause and I am confident that Officer Dixon fled the scene of the crash," Officer Scott Blanchette wrote in his report of the incident.

Before charging Dixon, Blanchette and Officer Mike Jockers spent six weeks investigating. Among the things they say they found:

• Dixon had been assigned a cruiser for an off-duty assignment that night. He worked at a traffic post and inside the stadium.

• Two other officers who were working near the stadium that night, officers Lisa Gaskins and Richard Miranda, said they heard what sounded like a crash as they directed traffic. When they looked up, they saw a van and a police car near each other.

"It was loud enough for me to understand that two cars collided, but what took me by surprise was seeing the cruiser leave the area," Miranda said in a deposition.

Miranda later identified Dixon as the driver.

• As supervisors inspected cruisers later that night, Dixon offered information about scuff marks that were on the vehicle's front bumper. He said the marks had already been noted in a previous damage log in 2008.

Investigators later learned the 2008 damage had been fixed in January 2009. Further, a report says: "The damaged cruiser and the victim's vehicle were compared side by side and the damage on the van appeared to be almost an exact match to the cruiser."

• Dixon's GPS didn't show his cruiser at the crash site at the time it was reported. Investigators believe he may have had the system disabled at the time of the crash, then enabled it later. Dixon told investigators he knew the GPS could be disabled and had done it before, but not in this instance.

Blanchette and Jockers both noted in their reports that he behaved in a way they interpreted as being untruthful.

He rocked back and forth in his chair, had his arms folded tightly across his chest, wouldn't make eye contact and at one point had his head in his hands, they said.

When confronted with the indications he may be involved, Dixon's hands and knees started to shake, Jockers wrote.

"Several times during the course of the conversation, Officer Dixon made the unusual statement of 'I will do anything to help you prove that I did not do this,' " Blanchette wrote.

After the case is resolved and the internal report is completed, then the Police Department will weigh in. The case will be reviewed by a chain-of-command board, but any discipline is decided by the police chief alone.

Dixon's slim personnel file with the department contains no blemishes. Supervisors noted his strength in investigative techniques, and rated him acceptable in all areas, including when it came to the operation and care of his police vehicle.

Dixon's attorney, Joseph Ciarciaglino, could not be reached for comment.

In written remarks, Dixon repeatedly stated how much he enjoys being on the force.

"I really love working for this agency," he wrote.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Former Officer Christopher Swanson Will Stand Trial for Shooting

A former Salinas police officer will be required to stand trial on a felony charge of discharging his firearm with gross negligence stemming from a 2009 incident during which he and another officer fired 14 shots into a vehicle occupied by two unarmed people.

A jury trial for Christopher Swanson, 37, is scheduled to begin March 24 in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Russell D. Scott.

Swanson was on the Salinas police force for about a year late Feb. 3, 2009, when he pulled over a Ford Expedition SUV about 11:30 p.m. in a violence-torn neighborhood in East Salinas.

The routine traffic stop turned volatile when thought he heard a pop, saw what he believed was the flash of a gun muzzle, and felt what he assumed was a bullet striking his Kevlar vest.

As he reeled away from the car, he heard several gunshots fired by officer Steven Mattocks. Swanson then opened fire.

The officers put 14 rounds into the SUV, shattering the rear window and a side window, but did not injure the occupants.

Swanson was terminated from the force, and the city of Salinas paid a settlement of $130,000 each to driver Adriana Velazquez and passenger Julio Hernandez.

Judge Scott determined Thursday that sufficient evidence was presented during pre-trial hearings to warrant a trial, concluding that Swanson "grossly overreacted" after misinterpreting a series of events.

Swanson's defense attorney, Mike Lawrence, suggested during hearings the popping sound the officer heard might have been created when Hernandez crushed a beer can while attempting to conceal it. He implied the flash could have been a reflection from Swanson's flashlight off the can, or a change purse, or CDs in the vehicle.

But Scott noted Mattocks heard and saw nothing as he stood at the passenger-side window, and opened fire because he thought Swanson yelled, "I've been shot!" Swanson testified Thursday that he didn't recall yelling "I've been shot!"

Lawrence expressed confidence Friday the evidence that will be presented during the trial will clear Swanson, a retired Marine who served two combat tours in Iraq before becoming a police officer.

"There is a substantial difference between a preliminary hearing and a jury trial," he said. "At the jury trial, all the witnesses will be subpoenaed and we're confident that we can show that the beer can played a significant part in officer Swanson's perceptions that night in a dangerous area of the city."

Swanson faces as much as three years in prison, or as little as probation, if convicted.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Officer Craig Nash Charged with Sexual Assault on Transgender Woman

A San Antonio police officer was arrested Thursday night after a transgendered woman accused him of rape while the officer was on duty, authorities said.

Officer Craig Nash, 39, has been charged with sexual assault and official oppression. Bail was set at $27,500. He was released from Bexar County Jail after posting a bond. Police said Nash does not have a history of disciplinary action. He is the second San Antonio police officer arrested this year.

Last month, Bandera County deputies arrested Joe Angel Serrato, 36, on a charge of driving under the influence.

“This is a slap in the face to every good police officer, every command officer, to the public and to the victim,” said Police Chief William McManus, who was visibly frustrated as he announced Nash's arrest Friday morning. “This is about as hard a slap in the face as you could possibly get.”

McManus said the incident wasn't reflective of the department's culture but was instead the result of a single officer's bad behavior.

Nash, a seven-year police veteran, is accused of picking up the alleged victim shortly after 3 a.m. at Guadalupe and Zarzamora streets on the city's West Side, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The complainant, who authorities say is a prostitute, told police that Nash handcuffed her in the back of a marked patrol car before taking her to an unknown location and forcing her to engage in multiple sexual acts, the affidavit states. Nash reportedly was wearing his police uniform at the time.

The woman told police that after the assault occurred, the suspect dropped her off at a nearby school on Guadalupe Street.

The affidavit states that the woman then took a bus to a police substation to report the incident, telling officers Nash “wasn't going to get away with this.”

The affidavit states the complainant was able to pick Nash out of a police lineup and that police used a Global Positioning System to confirm that Nash's vehicle was in the area at the time of the alleged incident.

Nash has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.

“We will not for a second tolerate this or make any excuses on behalf of anyone who is found guilty of misconduct in this department,” McManus said.

At least 10 officers were effectively fired in 2009 from the department on allegations ranging from sexual assaults to indecent exposure to witness tampering. The amount represents more than twice the number of officers placed on indefinite suspension in 2008.

Cpl Mike Jones Charged with Pointing Weapon During Off-Duty Confrontation

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for a Dallas police officer who is accused of illegally pointing his gun at a man and ordering him to his knees during an off-duty confrontation in July.

Senior Cpl. Mike Jones, who joined the department in 1999, faces a Class A misdemeanor charge of deadly conduct, an offense punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Jones was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday. A conviction would cost him his job.

Jones, 42, was expected to turn himself in at the Dallas County Jail. He told police investigators that he ordered a man who was urinating on a wall at an apartment complex on Washington Avenue in Old East Dallas to stop. He said that when the man didn't follow his commands, and after he identified himself as a police officer, he drew his weapon and ordered Brandon Schroder, 23, to his knees.

The decision by prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against Jones immediately riled officers throughout the Dallas Police Department, with many saying Jones was being punished for simply doing his job.

"It sends a very bad message to police officers," said Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association.

"He did everything by the book," said White. "It's not like he clocked the guy in the back of the head, split the guy's head and left him. If someone does not comply with loud, clear verbal instructions, you go to plan B."

John Haring, Jones' attorney, said, "Officer Jones was only doing his job and he looks forward to presenting his side of the story in court."

The Dallas County district attorney's office declined to comment other than to say that prosecutors determined the facts of the case constituted deadly conduct.

"I can confirm that we made the decision that it was a misdemeanor offense, not a felony offense. There was no need to go to a grand jury," said First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore.

Harvey Hedden, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, said the actions that Jones took do not appear to violate the training that police give law officers.

"To me, [the arrest] does seem like an overreaction and might have a chilling effect on how officers might interrupt criminal activity in their off-duty hours," Hedden said.

According to police records, the confrontation occurred about 6:45 p.m. at the AMLI at Cityplace apartments, where at the time Jones provided security work and had an apartment. Schroder and his friends had been drinking all day, the records state.

Jones wrote in his police report of the incident that he had just returned to the complex when he noticed a swimsuit-clad Schroder urinating on a wall. Jones, dressed in civilian clothing, told Schroder to stop and go somewhere else. Schroder continued to urinate, the report states.

Jones then identified himself as a Dallas police officer and displayed his badge. When Schroder ignored him, Jones wrote, he showed him his badge and was again ignored. Still showing his badge, he then pointed his service weapon at Schroder and ordered him to his knees.

Jones then wrote Schroder a ticket for urinating in public, an offense punishable by a fine. Information on what happened to the citation was unavailable.

Schroder, who didn't want to immediately comment on the case, filed a complaint with the police, telling investigators that Jones simply screamed at him to stop, pulled a gun on him and ordered him to his knees.

"The complainant did not realize the suspect was an officer until he observed suspect's identification," the report said. "The complainant believed the suspect to be a person that was going to cause him injury by shooting him."

Jim Bristo, vice president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police, said it is not unusual for an officer to draw his weapon when lawful orders are ignored. "This all seems to be to be a witch hunt," he said.

Hedden said officers are trained that when confronting someone, even those committing a minor violation, they should draw their weapon if the person does not respond to verbal commands after a police officer identifies himself.

"It's better to have a weapon out and in hand than to have it in a holster especially in a situation where someone is acting suspiciously," said Hedden, a former police officer.

In off-duty situations, officers need to be even more cautious because they typically don't have a radio, baton, handcuffs or an easy way to call for backup, he said.

He also said ordering a violator to his knees or even to make him lie face-down is standard police procedure for controlling a suspect. "By putting themselves on their knees it makes them less likely to attack him and easier to control," Hedden said.