Saturday, January 30, 2010

Atlanta Man Claims He Was Arrested for Catching Officer Chatting on Facebook

An Atlanta man claims he was arrested for catching an on-duty officer chatting on Facebook.

Chandler Brown told Channel 2 Action News reporter Erin Coleman that he has since filed a formal complaint with the Atlanta Police Department and the mayor's office.

Coleman obtained a copy of that complaint, which makes startling accusations about the officer allegedly chatting on Facebook when he was on the job.

“It was Thanksgiving night … my friend called me and said, ‘I’ve been in an accident,’” said Brown.

Brown said he immediately hailed a cab and went to the scene on Interstate 85 near Cheshire Bridge Road.

Brown said his friend wanted to leave, and as they pulled off, they were stopped by police because she couldn’t leave the scene of an accident. So they were put in the back of an Atlanta police car, and that’s when Brown said he noticed something.

“The police officer was chatting on Facebook,” said Brown. “I think that’s wrong.”

So Brown took out his cell phone and took a picture. That’s when he claims the officer arrested him.

“Pulled me out of the car, grabbed my phone, and I said I don’t think I’m breaking the law here … I’m not under arrest,” said Brown.

Brown said the officer then said “Well, you’re under arrest now.”

Brown said the officer handcuffed him, took the phone and hauled him off to jail.

Brown claims he was never read his rights and the officer wouldn’t give him his name. As for that picture, Brown said when officers returned his phone, the picture was gone.

Brown was charged with giving false information to an officer, even though he wasn't involved in the accident.

Brown went to court last week.

“The judge said, ‘There’s no evidence here, this is a joke and threw it out,” said Brown.

That’s why now, Brown has filed a formal complaint and hopes to shed light on what he calls a misuse of time and taxpayer money.

“I can’t sit on Facebook at work all day and neither can you. Why should someone whose salary is being paid by the taxpayers,” he said.

No one from the Atlanta Police Department would talk to Channel 2 on camera. They did tell us they've forwarded the complaint on to the division of professional standards and are looking into it.

Late Thursday, we learned that Brown, a former Channel 2 employee, got a call from police saying they are taking his complaint seriously.

Officer Troy Young Arrested in Case of Missing Lotto Winner

Ten months ago, Abraham Shakespeare simply vanished, along with all of his money: $12 million he won in the Florida Lottery.

"We fear he's died a sinister death with sinister motives," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Now investigators have arrested a fellow law enforcement officer.

Troy Young, a 20-year veteran of the Lakeland Police Department, is accused of selling confidential information about Shakespeare to a woman who is now considered a person of interest in the case.

"He's a very well-liked guy. He's a personable guy, well-liked by fellow officers and well-liked by people in the community," said Lakeland Police spokesman Jack Gillen.

Detectives say Officer Young sold the information to 37 year old Dee Dee Moore. Investigators say they met through a mutual friend, and that she claimed she was writing a book about the millionaire.

They say she paid the officer $200 and a plane ticket to run tag numbers and searches through law enforcement databases.

"For very little amount of money and Troy's bad judgment, Dee Dee Moore ruined his career in her overall confidence scheme," said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

The sheriff calls Moore a con artist who befriended Shakespeare and Officer Young -- a law enforcement veteran whose record was spotless, until now.

"Troy Young may not have known her ultimate sinister motive. But he knows as a police officer, it is illegal to run tag numbers and provide that data our of the confidential systems to the public," Judd said.

Young is charged with unlawful compensation, a 2nd degree felony; and misuse of confidential information, a misdemeanor.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Anthony Daly's Leg Severely Broken During Arrest

A Boston tourist says in an exclusive NY1 report that he is scarred for life after a New York City police officer allegedly brutalized him during an arrest last month. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

When Anthony Daly of Boston visited the city last month, he walked around normally. But his leg was broken in three places on December 27, the night he was taken into police custody at a Midtown hotel, and now doctors now say Daly may never walk the same way again.

A security video from the Hotel Chandler shows one of the arresting officers kick Daly twice in the back of the leg while he was handcuffed, which sending him screaming to the hallway floor.

"Scared [expletive deleted]. Thought I was going to die," said Daly. "He broke my ankle first. And I said, 'If my ankle broke,' and he said, 'I'm not finished.' And he put his foot again and he broke the back of my leg."

In the video, Daly appears to be walking fine between two officers as they remove him from the hotel room until he gets kicked and kicked again. He never gets back up until emergency medical technicians arrive and lift him onto a stretcher, and put a splint on his leg, for a trip to St. Vincent's Hospital.

Daly underwent surgery and X-rays show doctors put in a titanium rod and screws.

"When I was in the room, the cop who broke my leg in the hotel was there with me all the time," said Daly.

Daly was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and harassment. Police told NY1 the arresting officer, Joseph Bonner, was just trying to sweep Daly's feet out from underneath him and that Daly might have already broken his leg trying to keep officers out of the hotel room.

Daly's troubles started at the bar of the Hotel Chandler on the night of December 27. Police say Daly was drunk and abusive and assaulted the bartender, the doorman and two patrons.

Daly admitted he was drinking and getting rowdy, and exchanged some words with Englishmen who were singing English football songs.

"I put my hands on their backs and just said, 'Sing it up boys, sing it up. That's all that's left of your little empire, soccer,'" said Daly.

He said he then went upstairs to join his wife Ellen in their room but soon police come banging.

"I said if you haven't got a [expletive deleted] reason to arrest me, why don't you get the [expletive deleted] out of here because I want to go to bed. He said, 'I'll think of a reason,'" said Daly. "And with that, Ellen got out of the bed and I put my hand up to stop him and say, 'Stay where you are.' And he just pushed the door and pushed me on top of Ellen."

Bonner's incident report says he witnessed domestic violence in the hotel room, a claim Daly's wife Ellen denies.

"He said at that point, 'That's it, he just shoved you. You're under arrest for domestic violence.' And I said, 'What are you talking about? He didn't shove me," said Ellen Daly.

The Dalys say they want the charges dropped and have filed a complaint of excessive force with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Lt Ralph Schrader Sentenced for Stalking Ex-Wife

A Lakeland police lieutenant was sentenced Friday to 30 days in jail and 11 months of probation for stalking his ex-wife.

Polk County Judge Beth Harlan insisted on looking into Ralph Schrader's eyes before imposing the punishment.

The judge expressed outrage at Schrader's "arrogance," noting that both of his children suffered through testifying during his week-long first-degree misdemeanor trial.

"If they're not the most important people in your life, they should be," she said.

Harlan said she also was troubled by Schrader's misuse of his city-issued cellular phone and computer to harass his ex-wife.

She ordered that Schrader undergo psychological and domestic violence evaluations as well as any recommended treatment.

The judge ordered that the evaluations and treatment information be shared with the Lakeland Police Department.

The sentencing came after a six-member jury, consisting of three men and three women, found Schrader, 45, guilty of stalking.

Jurors spent about an hour and half deliberating before reaching their verdict.

The judge did agree to withhold adjudication - a formal finding of guilt.

Assistant State Attorney Hope Pattey urged the judge to adjudicate Schrader guilty of stalking.

She said Schrader refused to admit that he tormented his then wife for several months as they were finalizing their divorce.

"He should not be a law enforcement officer anymore," Pattey said.

The Lakeland Police Department's general orders say officers charged and found guilty of a misdemeanor can retain their jobs with the department or face penalties, which could include a maximum of termination.
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Officer Michael Sumpter Jr Arrested for Domestic Violence

An Oklahoma City police officer and a woman who lives with him were arrested Thursday after the report of a domestic assault, police said.

Michael Charles Sumpter Jr., 23, was arrested on a complaint of domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.

Kendra Nicole Hanley, 20, was arrested on complaints of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.

When police arrived about 4:20 p.m. to a house in the 400 block of Summit Ridge Drive, they found two sections of a wooden door trim with a security chain that appeared to have been broken in half. According to the police report, officers confiscated a pistol and a single round of 9 mm ammunition.

Both Sumpter and Hanley were taken to jail, and both later posted bail.

Police plan to have a press conference about the arrests today at 2:30 p.m.

Former Corrections Officer Samuel Martinez Jr Accused of Having Child Porn on His Blackberry

A former Nebraska Corrections officer could face up to 20 years n prison for allegedly having images of naked children on his phone, said Lancaster County investigators.

An arrest warrant was issued for 27-year-old Samuel Martinez Jr.

Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said investigators found the images on Martinez's Blackberry.

The images allegedly showed children as young as a year old, according to an arrest warrant.

The warrant detailed other findings, including photos of a young girl wearing a dog collar and another girl with hands bound by a rope.

Investigators said they don't believe Martinez took the photos himself.

"They were all disturbing and as young as 6 and 7 years old," Kelly said.

Martinez was an officer at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center in Lincoln. He held the job for year and then resigned after being accused of sending explicit text messages to a 17-year-old girl. Kelly said the teen's mother reported the messages to police.

Martinez was charged with misdemeanors and paid $50. He was released and investigators kept his cell phone. They then found the images on the phone.

Martinez has yet to be arrested on the new felony charge. Kelly said investigators don't know his location.

If convicted of the child pornography charges, he could face up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

He's scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 8 for the misdemeanor charges.

Officer Edmon Fulkerson Fired for Shooting Weapon into Air At Party

A Fort Worth police officer has been fired for shooting his city-issued weapon into the air at a party after someone squirted him with a water pistol.

In an internal investigation, officer Edmon S. Fulkerson admitted that he had been drinking throughout the evening and that he did not initially remember the incident, according to a letter filed with the Civil Service Commission on Friday.

The indefinite suspension went into effect on Monday. Fulkerson, who has been with the department since March 2004, has appealed.

Fulkerson’s attorney, Chris Barrett with the Combined Law Enforcement Agencies of Texas, said he disagrees with some of the purported facts outlined in the charging letter and looks forward to a hearing in which the city must prove what they allege happened.

In addition, Barrett said he believes the discipline handed down by the department is extremely harsh.

"While we don’t downplay its seriousness and we realize there’s some accountability to be hand, termination is just grossly excessive in this case," Barrett said.

According to the letter, Fulkerson was off-duty when he attended the party at a police officer’s home in Burleson on the evening of July 31.

The letter states Fulkerson admitted to internal investigation that he had been drinking beer and a couple mixed drinks through the evening and that his faculties were impaired. The letter states he told investigator that he did not immediately remember the incident but that "memory of the events began to return after several days."

According the letter, Fulkerson was sitting near the pool in the backyard of the home in the early morning hours of Aug. 1 when someone squirted him with a water pistol.

"Officer Fulkerson 'became angry’, drew his City issued Sig .40 caliber firearm from a holster in his waistband and discharged the weapon one time into the air," the letter states.

The letter states that after the shot was fired, other off-duty officers at the party secured Fulkerson’s weapons and arranged a ride home for him.

The letter points out that the shooting occurred in a residential neighborhood in which houses are closely surrounded by others.

"Officer Fulkerson displayed his city issued firearm in complete disregard of those people around him," the letter states. "Officer Fulkerson then completely disregarded the safety of others by his decision to discharge a firearm within a populated area and placing innocent persons in peril, as it is unknown where that projectile landed."

The letter also states Fulkerson failed to immediately notify the police department that he discharged his weapon, a violation of policy.

Officer Jeremy Reynolds Arrested for Rape

DeKalb County Police Officer has been charged with rape and aggravated sodomy for an incident involving a person in custody.

Police arrested 23-year-old Jeremy Reynolds as he reported for work Friday. DeKalb County Police spokesman Jason Gagnon says the arrest stems from an incident occurred last September though he wouldn't reveal any more details about Reynolds' accuser.

Reynolds has been a DeKalb cop for two years and also faces two counts of violating his oath of office.

Gagnon says his former colleague has been placed on administrative leave pending termination.

Two Probation Officers Being Investigated

Muskegon County’s longtime chief District Court probation officer has been ordered to go on administrative leave, another probation officer has been fired, and an internal investigation of their activities is under way.

On paid leave since Thursday is the court’s Chief Probation Officer Ronald Malone. Fired Wednesday was Probation Officer Brandon Kantola.

Both were escorted from the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice by sheriff’s deputies.

Both officers are involved in 60th District Court’s Sobriety Court, which recently won a two-year, $500,000 federal stimulus grant to expand the jail-diversion program.

Malone’s leave is for an indefinite period while an investigation is under way, said Chief District Judge Harold F. Closz III. “It’s an internal investigation at this point,” he said Friday.

Closz declined to say what the investigation concerned or whether it was related to Sobriety Court.

Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said Friday he is aware of the internal investigation, but that it hadn’t been referred to police. “Law enforcement has been notified, and I expect that we will do an additional investigation once we are provided information from the District Court,” Tague said.

In recent years Malone and Kantola have been involved in Muskegon County’s Sobriety Court, which involves intensive, court-supervised probation and oversight of participating criminal defendants, mostly people charged with driving while intoxicated. Malone, the county staffer who oversees it, has been described as the court’s main organizer and “architect.”

Closz said Malone’s absence and Kantola’s departure won’t cripple Sobriety Court. “Obviously we’re short-staffed at this point in time, but we have other people that have picked up these responsibilities, and we’re marching ahead,” Closz said.

Malone did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Kantola does not have a listed telephone number.

Police Beating Caught on Video

The lawyer representing a man sentenced for assaulting a police officer is questioning how his client was handled when Winnipeg police officers arrested him.

The parking lot assault in February 2009 was caught on a store surveillance camera on Notre Dame Avenue. At one point it appears Cody Bousquet turns to officers but then is pushed back down. It appears officers strike and knee the man a number of times while he is on the ground.

Officials with the Winnipeg Police Association say the tape does not show everything that happened that night. There was a violent high speed chase where cars were rammed before the arrest in the parking lot of an auto parts store.

"The officers obviously don't have an opportunity to determine if this guy is completely defenceless, or without weapon," said Marc Pellerin with the police association. "So you do the appropriate and safe thing, which is take him down, take him down hard and be done with it."

At one point in the video officers remove an object from the suspect but CTV has not been able to confirm what that object was.

Although Bousquet pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and dangerous driving his lawyer Daniel Manning says the tape raises issues in respect to the Crown being able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

"There would have been credibility issues, one, and perhaps charter arguments down the road, unreasonable, excessive force," Manning said.

The Winnipeg Police Association says it was the officers themselves who realized the incident was caught on tape and obtained a warrant so the video could be turned over to the courts.

The video has impacted the outcome of the case according to the Director of Prosecutions at Manitoba Justice, Don Slough. Slough says normally the Crown asks for 24 to 30 months in this type of case but because of the tape, Bousquet's lawyer and the Crown came to a joint recommendation of 11 months which is essentially 22 months with two for one credit for time served.

Bousquet may consider filing a complaint about the conduct of the officers that night.

Former Officer Robert Kennedy Convicted of Sexual Assault Gets Early Release

A former city police lieutenant convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy won an early release from a parole board Thursday.

Robert Kennedy, who served 12 years as a lieutenant with the city's police department, is scheduled to be released on July 9 after serving 18 months in prison — exactly half his sentence. He was convicted of second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor, illegal sexual contact and third-degree possession of child pornography after a teenager said he and Kennedy engaged in oral sex.

Kennedy was one of seven men, including a judicial marshal and a city businessman, with whom the boy said he had sex in 2007, sometimes for money.

Although Kennedy, 48, didn't comment in January 2009 when he was sentenced to three years in prison, he gave the parole board detailed answers and explanations over the course of 45 minutes as he pleaded for his release on Thursday morning.

"Why I did that single incident is open for exploration," Kennedy said. "This person was really flattering me in exponential terms. You know, everything, from my teeth to my hair to the way I was built and here I was 45 years old and here was this very young, attractive, good-looking guy paying me all sorts of compliments. I can only equate it as a type of gay, mid-life crisis, Achilles' heel that I succumbed to."

The board conducted the parole review using a video conferencing system. Kennedy was in a small room in Cheshire Correctional Institution looking up at a camera, while the board watched him on an old Sony television in a conference room on the fifth floor of a state building on West Main Street in Waterbury.

Kennedy, who seemed calm through the review, could see and hear the board. Kennedy's family members, including his mother, two sisters and brother, filled a room in New Haven where they also watched the hearing via a video feed.

Kennedy is openly gay, and said he had long-term relationships with men, but the oral sex he had with the teen was the result of "unflattering urges."

He told the board his routine was to "tour the city" in his police SUV, then head to Hamilton Park to prepare himself for the day with a cup of coffee. He told the board he saw the boy on a grassy knoll in the park. Although it was a sunny day in March, the boy, who was 15 at the time, caught his attention because he was wearing a T-shirt and "inappropriate" clothing.

Kennedy said he struck up a conversation with the boy, finding he was a student in a city school.

The boy said Kennedy gave him a ride home in his police SUV and the two exchanged cell phone numbers. After his shift ended, Kennedy picked the boy up at his house and the two returned to Kennedy's home, where they had sex.

Witness Says Officer Shot Unarmed Teen

A teenage boy lays on the ground unarmed with his arms at his side, when police officer kicked him twice in the face, stepped back and opened fire, a witness states.

Atusabai Taimalia told the jury he was sitting at a table on his back porch drinking coffee and smoking with his mother when he saw Terrell Markham run into a courtyard at the corner of N. Medical Center Drive and Temple Street and hide behind a bush.

About 40 feet behind Markham, who was then 16, came Officer Adam Affrunti, who was holding his service firearm in his right hand as he yelled for the teen to stop.

Taimalia said the officer threw Markham, grabbed the teen's jacket, threw him on the ground and kicked him in the left side of the face.

"After the kick, I didn't see (Markham) move anymore and I thought he was passed out," Taimalia said, adding that he saw the teen's eyes roll up from more than 50 feet away.

Taimalia, who spoke in court through a Samoan interpreter, was the first witness called by the defense in Markham's criminal trial. The teen is charged with brandishing a firearm at a police officer, possessing stolen property and street terrorism.

Authorities say Markham ran from the officer, refused to comply with orders and was pulling a gun out of his back pocket when Affrunti shot him three times. Defense attorney Dale K. Galipo has argued that Markham did not have a gun.

A .40-caliber H&K semi-automatic handgun stolen from a federal agent's house was found at the scene.

During cross-examination, prosecutor Ron Webster asked Taimalia a series of detailed questions about exactly what the man could see from his porch, pointing out that an air conditioning unit attached to a nearby building could have partially blocked Taimalia's view of the incident.

The man claimed he could see everything and tried to pinpoint on a diagram where Markham's head and legs were as he lay on the ground.

Although it was clear that a language barrier caused some confusion throughout Taimalia's testimony, he did contradict himself at least once.

He initially said that his wife was in the courtyard watching the couple's 4-year-old son play at the time of the shooting. But Taimalia later insisted that she was inside the house sleeping when Markham was shot.

Whether or not a woman was present in the courtyard is important because Affrunti has said that a woman yelled, momentarily distracting him as he held Markham at gunpoint. When he looked back, the officer says the teen was pulling a gun out of his back pocket.

Galipo, the defense attorney, has implied that there was no woman and that Affrunti concocted a cover story out of fear of being disciplined for firing on Markham. It was Affrunti's sixth officer-involved shooting in 16 months.

The prosecutor also tried to show a relationship between Taimalia and the defense, bringing up the fact that Taimalia did not appear in court after the District Attorney's Office subpoenaed him but was there Thursday at the defense's request.

Taimalia testified that he had come to court the day prosecutors requested, but sat in the back of the courtroom without telling anyone he was there.

Webster also elicited information that at least three of Markham's friends or family members came up to Taimalia in the courtroom hall when the jury broke for lunch to shake his hand and say thank you.

Taimalia said on the stand that they simply thanked him for coming.

Testimony in the trial resumes Monday.

Former Officer Michael Walters Arrested for Sexual Assault

A former Big Sandy police officer was arrested earlier this week and charged with aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault, Cass County Sheriff James "Troop" Estes said Thursday.

Michael Wesley Walters, 35, was arrested after his wife brought evidence of the assault to the sheriff's department and pressed charges, Estes said. He remained jailed Thursday on $500,000 bond.

The Big Sandy police chief was not available for comment on Thursday.

Cpl Nick Massaro Resigns After Posting Sexual Ad on Craigslist

A city police corporal has resigned after an internal investigation found he posted a sexually explicit ad on the Internet about a local woman without her knowledge.

Cpl. Nick Massaro stepped down rather than face disciplinary action for using a department computer to post the ad on Craigslist -- including the woman's name, picture and phone number, but without her knowledge or consent.

The woman is not being identified because of the nature of the case.

"He's been with us a long time and he's done a good job, but he failed with his mistake," said Chief Arthur Jones.

In 2007, Massaro, now 25, was named Bunnell Police Department's officer of the year. His four-year record with the department shows a string of commendations as well as disciplinary actions for neglect of duty and court absences.

Three complaints filed were found either unsupported or withdrawn, records show. The State Attorney's Office concluded this latest activity wasn't criminal, Jones said.

"Our job is to serve and protect and in serving and protecting, we should put the people first, satisfy the people first," Jones added. "He didn't put this girl first."

A seven-week internal investigation was launched in December into Massaro's alleged misconduct after Bunnell police received a complaint, Jones said.

The woman -- a friend of Massaro's wife -- told investigators that she began receiving text messages and phone calls Nov. 30 from several unknown men about an ad she never posted in the casual encounters section of the online classifieds Web site, according to the report from Bunnell police.

After flagging the ad for removal, Craigslist informed the woman that it had been placed from an Internet Protocol address belonging to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office using an e-mail confirmed by Massaro's wife as his own.

The woman said Massaro might not have approved of her friendship with his wife.

Massaro initially denied the claim but later confessed that he and another couple posted the ad as a joke and "not malicious in nature," the report states. He resigned Tuesday.

"This was a very scary experience for me and I was seriously afraid for my well-being," the woman wrote in an e-mail to Jones. "This was not a funny prank, but a very dangerous situation for me."

The woman told Sheriff's Office investigators that she had to change her e-mail address, phone number and social network information and was afraid for her safety in public.

The investigation also found that Massaro used the state driver and vehicle database to run searches for personal use and that he used department resources to view personal e-mail and pornography.

Massaro contended that the pornographic Web sites were from spam e-mails received while checking personal e-mail on his department-issued computer.

"He said himself that he made a mistake, but that he will learn from his mistake and move forward," Jones said.

Investigators recommended Massaro's termination for moral failure and department violations, but Massaro resigned after admitting misconduct and apologizing for its effect on his family and the department.

"We're not going to compromise the professional standards and bar that we set for our officers," said City Manager Armando Martinez. "Conduct of this sort will be dealt with swiftly, fairly and severely."

Officer Michael Taglienti Suspended for Sleeping on Duty

A Dallas Police officer received a 20-day suspension this week after internal investigators found he chose instead to continue eating rather than responding immediately to a police call and fell asleep while on duty.

Officer Michael Taglienti, who was hired in 2001, can appeal the suspension.

The incident where he did not respond immediately occurred in early June 2009.

The sleeping incident occurred late the following month. Officials said a citizen noticed he appeared to be asleep in his squad car. When a dispatcher tried to reach Taglienti, officers were dispatched to make sure he was ok.

In 2007, Taglienti received a 20-day suspension after investigators concluded that he filed a false report and made misleading statements while conducting police business.

Former Officer Sherrod Peace Charged with Distributing Cocaine

A former Durham police officer has been indicted on federal drug-related charges after an investigation by the Durham Police Department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sherrod Peace, 35, was indicted Wednesday on charges of distributing fewer than 5grams of cocaine base (crack cocaine) and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. He was not in custody Thursday.

Durham Police Chief Jose L. Lopez Sr. received a complaint in early October that Peace was involved in illegal activities, and started criminal and internal investigations, a news release says. The criminal investigation was conducted by Durham police investigators with assistance from the DEA Task Force.

Peace joined the Durham Police Department in 2003 and was assigned to the Uniform Patrol Bureau. He resigned Dec. 31, 2009.

Officer Joshua Gines Charged with Child Molestation

Bingen-White Salmon Police Department Officer Joshua Gines appeared in Skamania County Superior Court in Stevenson on Monday afternoon after being charged in a Skamania County case.

According to Chris Lanz, chief deputy prosecutor for Skamania County, the charges were alleged child molestation in the first degree and alleged incest in the second degree.

Gines, who lives in Carson, was detained on Friday following an investigation by the Skamania County Sheriff's Office.

Police Chief Bruce Brending said Officer Gines has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the case.

Gines has been employed with the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department since July 2006. He recently applied for a deputy's position with the Skamania County Sheriff's Office.

Brending issued a press release about the incident on Monday, which reads as follows: "On Friday, Jan. 22, the Skamania County Sheriff's Office notified me of an active criminal investigation involving Officer Joshua Gines. Due to this criminal investigation, Officer Gines has currently been placed on paid administrative leave ... He has worked for the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department since July 12, 2006. There is no history of problems with Officer Gines while working for the Police Department."

Gines was being held in the Skamania County Jail in Stevenson, with bail set at $50,000. Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28.

Superior Court Judge E. Thompson Reynolds presided at Monday's court session.
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Staff Fears Sheriff Joe Arpaio

As conflicts between Maricopa County's Board of Supervisors and the sheriff and county attorney escalated in 2009, rank-and-file county employees were plunged into a yearlong emotional roller coaster.

This month's announcement of a federal grand jury entering the fray brought county workers some relief and hope for an end to the extraordinary tensions. The grand jury is looking into allegations of abuse of power by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his chief deputy, David Hendershott, in their dealings with judges and county officials.

Now, as they wait to see what will happen, a cross-section of county employees spoke with The Arizona Republic, talking publicly for the first time about life inside the county offices during the political battles, lawsuits and arrests going on above them at the highest levels of county government. Most have little connection to the conflicts. Still, their runaway fears were such that they worried that Arpaio's deputies would come after them as well.

Fears first spiked in December 2008, when county administrators spent $10,000 to sweep county offices for illegal wiretaps they worried had been installed by Arpaio. None was found. But rank-and-file workers still became terrified of possible surveillance, lawsuits or even arrest. Arpaio's frequent retort to critics that the innocent had nothing to worry about did not allay their concerns.

Unsure what or whom to believe, many county workers quit talking about sensitive matters on the telephone or in e-mails, even when using their personal home computers.

Conversation in hallways and elevators stopped.

Some feared they would be arrested while pulling into the same parking garage where deputies took Supervisor Don Stapley into custody.

Others worried that even minor infractions - a chipped windshield, having a beer before driving home after work - would be an excuse for deputies to pull them over or arrest them.

One Superior Court judge moved meetings with her staff and other judges to the chamber restroom, believing it would be a less likely spot for a listening device.

Working for a county often at war with itself put employees on edge and stressed relationships with co-workers and spouses.

Anxiety at work

Worries took hold at work immediately after the wiretap sweeps and grew through 2009 with each exchange among the sheriff, board and county attorney.

As a compensation supervisor, Darrien Ellison spends a lot of time researching money requests from the Sheriff's Office.

In the course of his normal work over the past year, he denied two pay-raise requests for a high-ranking Sheriff's Office employee. Later, the thought crossed his mind several times that authorities might come after him. When he had to call sheriff's staff, he assumed he was being recorded. "Who knows what they would use from a conversation on one of their employees against me," he said.

Dexter Thomas is a senior management and budget analyst who works with the judicial branch's budgets.

He loved his job, but then, the easygoing atmosphere at work changed. After wiretap sweeps around him on the 10th floor, Thomas wondered who might be spying on him.

He instructed his wife and daughter to never call him on his work phone. He stopped using e-mail for personal matters. When colleagues copied him on chain e-mails, he asked to be removed from the distribution list in case authorities were reading his e-mails.

"You never know who's watching," Thomas said. "You look over your shoulder before you push the button to the 10th floor. And I don't talk to anyone anymore."

Supervisor Max Wilson was once an Arpaio supporter, even volunteering for years as a member of Arpaio's volunteer-posse program.

But as the infighting intensified, so did Wilson's stress levels. He braced for his own arrest. His wife, like many county worker spouses, tensed up whenever sheriff's cars cruised through the neighborhood.

In March 2009, Arpaio warned in a speech that Wilson "better be careful on cutting my budget." Wilson took that as a threat and pulled in his chief of staff to talk about whether he should resign.

Wilson stopped volunteering with the posse. Later, his son-in-law also turned in his posse-member badge.

Fears at home

Fear followed employees home. Many talked with their wives, husbands and children to warn them deputies might show up or follow them around town.

Marla Schofield is a compensation analyst who studies salary data and personnel information. At first, she doubted sheriff's deputies would ever have a reason to contact her.

Then, the battles heated up over the county's decision to build a new court complex.

Deputies showed up at her home twice one summer weekend to ask questions. She didn't answer the door. A deputy left his business card on her car windshield, just below a crack in the glass.

Later, she went out for groceries and gas. She scanned the road and parking lots for sheriff's deputies. She worried the card was strategically placed to send her a message about the cracked windshield, "a tactic to pull me over."

She quickly had the crack repaired.

Compensation supervisor Darrien Ellison and his family were away visiting in-laws last summer on the day deputies came to his house to question him.

When he didn't come to the door, deputies talked to his neighbor. They asked about Ellison and his job at the county. Later, Ellison felt like some kind of suspicion had been cast on his family.

"Your neighbors obviously probably think something has been done wrong," he said, asking how does anyone explain that it's "just politics."

Lee Ann Bohn is a deputy budget director. She led last year's budget negotiations with the Sheriff's Office. Later, while she was out of town with her two daughters, sheriff's deputies questioned employees from her department. Her personal cellphone voicemail filled up with messages from workers asking for help. One employee was so rattled she could barely speak.

From then on, Bohn was extra careful about driving under the speed limit. She also took good care of her swimming pool so it didn't turn green and provide anyone an excuse to enter her property.

Stress takes a toll

As the conflicts continued through 2009, the months of fear at work and home took its toll on county employees.

Scott Isham is chief of staff to Wilson. He tried not to let fear of arrest take hold of his family or staff. But, as time went on, he also tried to be realistic.

Isham called a criminal defense attorney for advice. He asked how much it would cost to get him out of jail. He put the attorney's phone numbers in his cellphone and business cards in his car. Regular after-work beers with his buddies ended. Isham told his wife to be careful. No U-turns. Never leave the kids in the car when returning videos. Who knows what they might call child endangerment?

Kenny Harris oversees construction of the county's court tower. It's the most expensive project in county history, a major point of contention between the warring factions of the county and the target of one of Arpaio's investigations.

In December, Harris got a panicked call from his 70-year-old mother-in-law. Deputies had been at the door of their home. His two young daughters asked if he was in trouble.

As a budget supervisor, Ryan Wimmer works on financial matters
involving the sheriff and county attorney.

Wimmer felt like a likely target. Early on, he didn't expect to be arrested or subpoenaed. But, after Stapley's arrest, Wimmer had more restless nights. Then, deputies came to his apartment with questions about the court-tower project.

Wimmer lay awake after that wondering: How would he find an attorney? How would he pay for an attorney?

Sometimes, Wimmer worked at home. He wondered if they could seize his home computer.

Wimmer stopped expressing any personal opinions about county officials and operations. He struggled to explain to his girlfriend and family what was happening at work.

"Everything I do," he said, "I just assume it will be used against me."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Trial Begins for Three East Orange Officers

An Essex County Assistant Prosecutor described how East Orange Police Detective Hakeem Davis pushed the barrel of his gun into 17-year-old James Littlejohn’s mouth and warned, "start talking now or I’ll kill you right here," during opening arguments today of the trial against three East Orange officers.

Davis and his partner, Detective Jon Cato, are accused of dragging Littlejohn and his friend, Darrel Slappy, also 17 at the time, from a second-floor apartment to the front porch, then threatening to kill them. The officers believed the teens had thrown a rock at their squad car the night of May 31, 2008, said Assistant Prosecutor Peter Sepulveda, who is handling the case. The boys were later let go.

Davis, 36, and Cato, 32, are charged with 21 counts of assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and falsifying records. They have been suspended without pay.

The third detective, David Sheridan, 25, who allegedly did nothing to stop the officers, was also suspended without pay. He was charged with misconduct and conspiracy, but his attorney, Patrick Toscano, said he "did absolutely nothing wrong in this case."

Today, Andrea Poyser testified that her son, Slappy, entered their Beech Street home late that night with Littlejohn. A few minutes later, Davis and Cato arrived. They were dressed in plain clothes, did not display badges but were gripping guns, she said. They began cursing at the boys, and, "were very rude," Poyser added.

Lawyers for all three officers said they followed law enforcement guidelines and added their clients have been "salivating" to tell their story.

Ronald Ricci, who is Davis’ attorney, said subsequent lab tests on the officer’s gun revealed none of Littlejohn’s DNA.

Davis and Cato had been responding to a call of shots fired around 11:45 p.m. that night when their patrol car was struck by rocks at South Arlington Avenue and Beech Street.

The detectives apprehended two youths, then spotted two more running away and gave chase, said Vincent Scoca, Cato’s attorney.

Ricci said the officers followed the boys to what was Poyser’s home, on the 20 block of Beech Street. He said badges were dangling from the detectives’ necks.

They knocked on the second-floor door and Slappy opened it, then slammed it shut after seeing the officers, Ricci sad. Once inside, the two officers grabbed the teens and brought them to the front porch for questioning. When the officers couldn’t prove the teens were involved, they "let them go," he said.

But Sepulveda described a much more violent scene, which began when Davis banged on the Beech Street apartment door. Slappy answered the door and was "met with a punch to the face by Davis, and a gun to the chest," Sepulveda said. The teens were dragged to the front porch, where they were forced to lie face down at gunpoint, he said. "Davis has to know who threw the rock," Sepulveda said. "He wouldn’t let it go."

The trial, which resumes Tuesday, is expected to last more than a week.

Officer Robert Semyon Accused of Sexually Assaulting Unconscious Woman

A Luzerne County police officer accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman has been ordered to trial.

Robert Semyon gave up his right to a preliminary hearing Thursday to see if there is enough evidence against him.

Robert Semyon, 46, is suspended from the Pittston Police Department.

Representatives from the attorney general's office said Semyon sexually assaulted an unconscious woman in September and took sexually explicit pictures of her.

The photos were found on a laptop belonging to the police department.

Semyon was suspended in October. He is charged with indecent assault and other crimes.

If he is found guilty, Semyon could be sentenced to spend up to 37 years in prison and pay up to $90,000 in fines.

No date has been set for his trial.

Officer Thomas Walker's Court Postponed After New Charges Filed

A South Fayette Township police officer accused of DUI after crashing into two Bridgeville police cars was in court on Thursday.

However, the hearing for Thomas Walker, 38, was postponed after prosecutors entered seven new charges in the case.

Investigators said Walker -- who was off duty at the time of the Dec. 18 crash -- was drunk when he slammed into two police cars that were blocking off Millers Run Road in Cecil Township.

Police suspected Walker was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, and the criminal complaint states that he refused a blood-alcohol test.

The two officers were taken to the hospital after the crash with non-life threatening injuries. One of them -- Sgt. Gary James -- will be off work for 12 weeks.

After the crash, police said they placed Walker in a police cruiser but he was spotted walking away. Police said they yelled for him to stop and arrested him when he continued walking.

At Thursday's hearing, Walker's attorney, Noah Geary, said that they didn't know more charges would be filed. Geary said that District Judge Valarie Costanzo granted a postponement for that reason.

The new charges include reckless driving, careless driving, resisting arrest, escape, recklessly endangering another person and fleeing the scene of an accident, Geary said.

Walker is due back in court Feb. 10.

The South Fayette police chief told Channel 4 Action News that Walker has been with the department for three years.
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Probation Officer Kimberly Kibbe Arrested for Animal Cruelty

An animal cruelty trial is set March 8 for an East Texas probation officer.

Kimberly Gale Kibbe is accused of keeping 10 cats and five dogs in filthy conditions at a home in Gregg County. Another five cats were found dead.

Kibbe, who worked for the Gregg County Probation Office, is accused of failing to provide necessary care or shelter for at least 12 of the animals.

Officer Frank Carter Arrested for Falsifying Records

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested a Melbourne police officer Thursday afternoon on five felony and several misdemeanor charges.

Officer Frank Carter was arrested as a result of an investigation by the FDLE, said resident-agent-in-charge Wayne Ivey.

“He faces five felony charges of official misconduct and misdemeanor charges of falsifying records,” Ivey said. “We have been investigating him for the last two months.”

Ivey said Carter conducted traffic stops for infractions that the drivers did not commit, and subsequently wrote them tickets. According to information released by Melbourne police, the traffic stops and citations were made on “people of color.” The investigation began after a complaint made by a citizen, according to Melbourne police.

Melbourne Police Cmdr. Ron Bell said that “Officer Carter is on administrative leave.” Bell did not comment on whether there had been an internal investigation by Melbourne police into the conduct of Carter and did not answer any other questions about him.

“This is based on union politics and retaliation,” said Reed Cary, an attorney for Carter. He said Carter was a union leader with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Carter was held on a $2,000 bond before being released.

Carter is a 21-year-veteran of Melbourne police and was assigned to uniform patrol.

Officer Brandon Valdez & Officer Patrick Fitzgerald Arrested for Assault

LAPD Officer Brandon Valdez, 29, and LAPD Officer Patrick Fitzgerald, 38, were arrested Tuesday night by Whittier police on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after the victim was hospitalized with head trauma. The elite LAPD Metro Division officers, who have been with the department since 2002, were immediately placed on administrative leave.

"The victim suffered serious injuries to his head as a result of assault," Whittier Officer Mike Dekowski said. The 31-year-old man was treated at a hospital and released.

Reached by phone, Valdez, who along with Fitzgerald was released on $30,000 bail, declined to comment. The incident began when Valdez got into an argument with his girlfriend about 8 p.m. Tuesday outside a Panera Bread restaurant in the 15600 block of Whittwood Lane, according to Dekowski. Witnesses told police that the officer took issue with a bystander who was watching the altercation while talking on his cellphone, and struck the bystander in the face.

A fight ensued, during which Valdez "pulled out a handgun and began hitting the victim in the head," police said.

The 31-year-old victim was able to break free, but both off-duty officers chased him and tackled him, and continued to attack, police said.

The victim escaped by running into a nearby store just as Whittier police took the LAPD officers into custody. Authorities believe the LAPD officers may have been drinking before the incident.

Valdez was featured prominently in a November 2007 Times front page story on the work of gang beat officers in South Los Angeles. Valdez displayed a mild manner and polite personality, even as he stopped and quizzed gang members.

Valdez also saw combat in Iraq in 2004 as a Marine reservist in Ramadi. He returned to the U.S. after being wounded by a roadside bomb.

In the second off-duty incident, which occurred about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday at Figueroa Street and Avenue 60, an unidentified female sheriff's deputy and another woman began fighting outside a cocktail bar. The 29-year-old deputy was cut with a sharp object, while her 25-year-old opponent was shot with a handgun.

A relative of the deputy, Taylor Olivarez, 20, was booked on charges of attempted murder, police said. A handgun belonging to the deputy was recovered at the scene.

Former Officer Nelson Salinas Wanted for Aggravated Sexual Battery on Minor


U.S. Marshals are on the hunt for a former Peruvian police officer accused of molesting his friend's daughter, and authorities want to catch him before he leaves the country.

"Time is of the essence," said Rob Fernandez, commander of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force. "We want to get this guy before he runs back to his homeland."

Nelson Salinas, 54, is wanted by Fairfax County police on two counts of aggravated sexual battery on a minor.

Authorities said Salinas and the victim's father were police officers in Peru before both families immigrated to the United States and settled in the Alexandria and Arlington area.

The girl's family temporarily stayed with Salinas' family. Police said Salinas snuck into the girl's bed twice and touched her inappropriately. She was about 11 years old.

Salinas was charged with sexual battery after the victim conducted a phone sting and the man admitted to the accusations, police said.

A warrant was issued for his arrest, and police would like the public to provide information to help bring him to justice.

Salinas is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and 175 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Salinas' whereabouts is urged to call the U.S. Marshals Service at 800-336-0102. The Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, run by the U.S. Marshals Service, comprises 30 federal, state and local agencies from Baltimore to Norfolk. Since its creation in 2004, the unit has captured more than 29,000 wanted fugitives.

Former Officer Drew Peterson's 4th Wife Feared for Her Life

Former Illinois police officer Drew Peterson's sister-in-law says Stacy Peterson warned two days before she disappeared that if anything happened to her, Drew Peterson was involved.

Cassandra Cales testified Thursday at a pretrial hearing to determine what hearsay evidence can be admitted at Drew Peterson's upcoming trial on charges of murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Stacy Peterson is his fourth wife, who disappeared in October 2007.

Cales, Stacy Peterson's younger sister, says the whispered conversation took place in the Petersons' bathroom two nights before her sister disappeared. Drew Peterson is the only suspect in her disappearance but has not been charged.

The former Bolingbrook police sergeant has pleaded not guilty to charges of killing Savio in 2004.

Former Officer Michael Polen Arrested for Failing to Return Taser Weapon

A former officer accused of taking a Perry Township Police Department Taser gun now faces a felony theft charge.

Michael P. Polen, 30, remains free on bond. He was arrested Wednesday on a felony theft-in-office charge.

Polen is accused of removing an $820 Taser X-26 gun and cartridge while still employed with the Police Department. He failed to return both upon his termination, court records say.

Polen denied the allegation when reached Thursday.

“It’s something that happened a year ago. I forgot that I had it. I had put it in a safe, and it was returned,” Polen said.

“They have it in their possession, so I don’t see how it’s theft.”

Polen was fired after he was found guilty of driving drunk while off-duty in 2008. State troopers said they found him passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle.

Polen will be arraigned on the theft allegation Friday in Municipal Court.
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Officer Joe Serrato Charged with Drunk Driving

Things went from bad to worse for an officer with the San Antonio Police Department on Sunday, Jan. 24. Joe Serrato, 36, of Mico, was arrested on FM 1283 in Lakehills, charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

According to Chief Deputy Richard Smith, a driver notified emergency dispatch about a possible intoxicated driver on Highway 173 from Hondo. The vehicle then turned east on Highway 16, apparently traveling at a high rate of speed. Complaints to emergency dispatch continued. On FM 1283, reports indicated that Serrato’s vehicle had crossed a yellow centerline several times.

Bandera County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputy Casey Young eventually stopped Serrato by Lakewood Park Estates on FM 1283.

When asked for his driver’s license, Serrato instead flashed a SAPD badge. Casey had to request the driver’s license several times before Serrato finally produced it, Smith said.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Glenn Scales, who assisted with the traffic stop, conducted a field sobriety test, which Serrato subsequently failed. Based on the failure, a strong smell of alcohol and obvious signs of intoxication, Casey arrested Serrato and transported him to the Bandera County Jail at approximately 8:30 pm.

While at the jail, Serrato refused an intoxilyzer test. According to Smith, it is standard operating procedure to offer an intoxilyzer test to motorists arrested on DWI charges.

In Texas, such refusal can lead to suspension of a driver’s license. It is against the law to operate a vehicle – or to even “attempt” to operate a vehicle – at or above .08 percent blood alcohol concentration.

BCSO Cpl. Mike Dickerson transported a passenger in Serrato’s vehicle to a convenience store in Lakehills. The passenger exhibited no signs of intoxication and was not arrested.

Serrato posted bond and was released from jail on Monday, Jan. 22. This was his first DWI arrest.

As a courtesy, Smith called the office of San Antonio Police Chief William McManus to inform him one of his officers had been arrested for DWI.

DetentionOfficer Lt Pedro Trevino Charged with Sexual Harassment

A nurse filed a sexual harassment complaint against an Hidalgo County detention officer. Lt. Pedro "Pete" Trevino was charged with official oppression, a Class A misdemeanor.

The 39-year-old was arrested after an internal investigation by the county's public integrity unit. We're told Trevino confessed and was fired at the time of his arrest.

"We will continue to enforce our zero-tolerance policy, because we believe that nobody should be subjected to that type of treatment by a work supervisor," says Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino.

Court documents state the sexual harassment happened while Pedro Trevino was on duty earlier this month. The nurse claims he cornered her up against the wall of his office, kissed her, and touched her inappropriately.

Officer Todd Lappegaard Accused of Tasering Cooperative Teen

A Minneapolis police officer accused of Tasering a compliant suspect to the ground has been fired from the force, a source close to the department said.

Todd Lappegaard, who faces a federal lawsuit over the April 30, 2009, incident, sent an e-mail to many in the police department in the past several days in which he said he had been let go. He said in the e-mail that he was proud to serve with the city department, according to the source.

Jesse Garcia, police department spokesman, said he could not confirm the termination due to rules regarding personnel matters. Lappegaard, who was hired in 1993, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The lawsuit stems from an arrest that took place shortly before midnight in which Rolando Ruiz, 18, was suspected of damaging a police cruiser parked at the Second Precinct on Central Avenue. The arrest, recorded by a video camera on Lappegaard's cruiser, began with Ruiz standing in front of Lappegaard's car with his hands on the hood. Lappegaard then places a Taser on Ruiz's neck and stuns him.

"As plaintiff Ruiz slumped to the ground, Lappegaard held his knee on the plaintiff's back to prevent him from avoiding the electrical shock of the Taser device," the lawsuit reads. "Lappegaard held his free hand on the squad car hood to brace himself as he pinned Ruiz to the ground and continued shocking him."

Along with the civil rights violations, the suit lists nine causes of action. Among them it cites a 2002 incident in which Lappegaard was driving a squad car that made contact with a sport utility vehicle driven by a woman fleeing police. She later drove the SUV off the street, hitting and killing a Richfield man who was jogging.

Ruiz has sued for damages between $75,000 and $400,000 as well as punitive damages. A jury trial has been placed on the U.S. District Court schedule for 2012.

Former Officer Bob Ingle Convicted of Raping Child


A Mobile County Jury convicted a former Chickasaw Police Officer of sexually abusing his step-daughter. Bob Ingle was convicted of raping and sodomizing the 10-year-old. For Rebecca McEvoy's family, the verdict has been long overdue.

It took several years for the case to make it to a courtroom. But it took a jury less than two hours to find Bob Ingle guilty of raping and sodomizing his ten year old step daughter, Rebecca McEvoy.

It's a bitter sweet verdict for Rebecca's father.

"Been a long three years and Rebecca finally got justice, and took a pervert off the streets so other kids can be safe," said Aden McEvoy, Rebecca's father.

Rebecca died in a car accident in 2008, before the case could be heard. Her death played a part in the delay because in Alabama, a defendant has the right to cross examine a witness.

So, Assistant District Attorney Ella Byrd called on Rebecca's best friend, and Rebecca's sister to tell her story of sexual abuse. The state showed Rebecca shared with them, the horror she suffered at the hands of her step father.

"I didn't know what the verdict was going to be, if they were going to find him innocent, I didn't know how I would act. When they said guilty, all I could do was look up and say thank you Becca, thank you God," said Nina Tucker, Rebecca's sister.

Bob Ingle, now a convicted child rapist, faces life in prison for raping and sodomizing Rebecca. A little girl whom her father said had a contagious smile.

Ingle will be allowed to remain out on bond until a hearing in February. Judge Michael Youngpeter ordered Ingle to wear a monitoring device and have no contact with children. Ingle will be sentenced February 25, 2010.
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Officer Michael Kavenius & Sgt. Paul Brown Firing Upheld for Tasering 76-year-old Man


Officials in the small Wyoming town of Glenrock have upheld the firing of two police officers who chased and Tasered a 76-year-old man driving a tractor in a parade.

The Glenrock Town Council voted Monday night to uphold last year's terminations of Officer Michael Kavenius and Sgt. Paul Brown.

According to a state review of the incident, Bud Grose was shocked five times with Kavenius' Taser during Glenrock's annual Deer Creek Days Parade in August.

Grose was driving an antique tractor in the parade and disobeyed Kavenius' traffic command, police said. Brown pulled a police vehicle in front of Grose's tractor, and the tractor collided with it.

Neither former officer was present at the council meeting. A lawyer representing the two has said they violated no police policies or procedures and deserved to be reinstated.

"Sgt. Brown and Officer Kavenius are decent, hardworking men who have generously volunteered to the community and worked in the law enforcement establishment for years," Casper lawyer John H. Robinson said last year.

Grose didn't attend the meeting either but said in a telephone interview afterward he was grateful to the Glenrock community and the council. Glenrock has a population of about 2,300 and is about 25 miles east of Casper.
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"It just kind of shows what people can accomplish when they hang together," Grose said. He said he's been consulting with a lawyer but hasn't decided whether he will sue over the incident.

The incident drew an angry mob, with many people shouting that police mishandled the situation, according to investigators' reports. It has since focused attention on the performance of Glenrock's seven-member police department.

"About everybody thinks it was uncalled for, it could have been handled strictly different," Grose said.

His son, Mike Grose, attended Monday's meeting and thanked the council for making what he called a hard but just decision.

Councilor Bruce Vinolla was among the three who voted to uphold the officers' firings. "As the process went forward, everything just kind of pointed toward the decision," he said after the meeting. "It just kind of made itself."

Vinolla said he believes many in the community were concerned that the situation would be swept under the rug. But he noted that the town called in outside law enforcement agencies to investigate, and said such things take time.

Glenrock Mayor Steve Cielinski and a fourth councilor didn't take part in the vote; the mayor was involved in the investigation, and the councilor had connections to people involved.

Glenrock Police Chief Tom Sweet said after the council vote that he had recommended the firings be upheld. He said the officers were put on administrative leave in August and terminated in September.

"It's been highly emotional for the community - for everyone involved," Sweet said. He said he expects to have two new officers working by this summer.

"I just hope that the community will have confidence in and support the police department as a whole, and the individual officers as they're trying to do their jobs," Sweet said. "I think this incident kind of brought to light even bad things happen in small communities, and your officers have to be professional whether they're in Glenrock, Wyoming, or New York City."

Officer Nick Petrone Accused of Firing Weapon During Argument with Wife



Bond was set Thursday morning at $1,500 for an Horry County police officer charged a day earlier with criminal domestic violence after being accused of firing a shot during an argument with his wife.

Nick Petrone, 40, was charged Wednesday after being taken into custody on Sunday, police said. The bond requires cash or surety before Petrone will be released from J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Petrone, a patrol officer who has been an employee of the department since February 2006, has been suspended without pay, according to Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.

An Horry County police officer was arrested on criminal domestic violence charges after being accused of firing a shot during an argument with his wife.

Patrol Officer Nick Petrone was booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center Wednesday, and a bond hearing for him is pending, according to jail officials.

Petrone, 40, an employee of the department since February 2006, has been suspended without pay, according to Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.

An Horry County police officer was arrested today and charged with criminal domestic violence.

A statement released by Horry County Public Information Officer Lisa Bourcier says Patrol Officer Nick Petrone has been booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center on the charge.

Petrone, 40, who worked for the department since February 2006, also has been suspended without pay, according Bourcier.

Authorities say a South Carolina police officer was charged with criminal domestic violence after firing a gun and threatening his wife in their coastal home.

Investigators say 40-year-old Horry County police officer Nick Petrone was arrested Sunday after he became angry with his wife because she wouldn't hang out with his friends, breaking bar stools in his garage and damaging the door.

Authorities say Petrone and his wife kept arguing and he grabbed a gun and walked outside. She called 911 after hearing a gunshot.

On Sunday, police said Petrone grabbed a loaded semi-automatic handgun and fired a shot while friends were at his home, making his wife afraid for her life after the two argued in their Loris-area home, according to the arrest warrant.

Petrone denied the allegations when interviewed by Horry County police.

An incident report said Petrone was put in emergency protective custody immediately after the incident and was taken Sunday to Conway Medical Center to be evaluated.

Police said Petrone and his wife argued after she went inside to cook dinner, while he was drinking and hanging out in the garage with friends.

She told officers that Petrone became upset because she wasn't hanging out, and tried to talk her into coming back outside, according to the incident report.

After she told him to, "Just stop," Petrone allegedly went to the garage and began breaking bar stools and messing up the light over the pool table, according to the report.

His wife then went upstairs to hide his duty belt and his service weapon in a closet, because she was scared.

Petrone followed her to the bedroom, went to his night stand and took out a pistol, then went down the stairs, the police report stated.

His wife said she heard a shot as she was trying to leave through another exit with the children, and she said she heard Petrone say he "couldn't live like this."

She then called police.

The woman told officers that Sunday's behavior was out of character for her husband.

Police found Petrone sitting in the yard and found the pistol in his front pocket.

He told officers he made no threats to himself or his wife and did not fire his weapon.

Petrone said he only damaged his property, but did not break any laws.

He said he just went for a walk and always carries a gun when he leaves the house.

When interviewed, the children said they heard a gunshot.

Officer Michael Minor Arrested for Beating Girlfriend

A Philadelphia police officer was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend and threatening to kill her family.

Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Minor, 36, was arrested after Upper Darby police responded to a 911 call for an alleged domestic dispute 1:45 a.m. Wednesday at Minor’s home on the 7000 block of Clover Lane, police say.

“The officer was met by a 26-year-old female who stated her boyfriend, Michael Minor, struck her in the face and dragged her off the couch and onto the floor,” Chitwood said, according to delcotimes.com. “Furniture was broken. She said he threatened to come back and shoot the family.”

The couple has two children, Chitwood told the delcotimes.com.

The woman was brought to Delaware County Memorial Hospital where she was treated for a bruised and swollen forehead and abrasions on her neck and leg.

“The victim advised the emergency-room nurse that she was assaulted, choked, punched in the face multiple times and kicked by her son’s father,” Criminal Investigator Matthew Rowles wrote in the affidavit.

But a Fraternal Order of Police lawyer says he questions the alleged victim's story, saying it has changed at least once.

Minor was arraigned Wednesday and is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail on charges including simple assault and harassment.

Pending its review of the arrest, the Philadelphia Police Department will be assigned to desk duty when he is released from Delaware County Prison.

Lt Howard Watson Arrested for Coercing Two Woman into Performing Sexual Acts on Him

A Dallas County constable lieutenant was arrested Wednesday and charged with multiple felonies as part of an investigation by the district attorney's office into activities at some constable offices, authorities said.

Lt. Howard Watson, 66, of Dallas is a senior officer in Constable Jaime Cortes' Precinct 5 office in Oak Cliff. His arrest is the first to come from a months-long investigation of constables by the DA's public integrity division.

Watson was booked into Dallas County Jail late Wednesday afternoon, sheriff's officials said. He is being charged with sexual assault, bribery, official oppression, the unauthorized use of two motor vehicles and tampering with government records.

Watson is accused of, among other things, coercing two women into performing sexual acts with him in exchange for not arresting them on outstanding warrants. Watson also used an incorrect address for a certificate that allowed him to help register voters, court records show.

Peter Schulte, an attorney for Cortes, said the constable "understands the seriousness of the allegations" and has placed Watson on leave until further notice.

Schulte said Cortes is opening an internal investigation on the matter.

Watson's wife, Janette, 64, also was arrested late Wednesday. She is charged with providing a false seller's name and previous owner's name on a vehicle title certificate. She also is charged with tampering with a government record by altering a vehicle title.

The Watsons were unavailable for comment.

Watson was one of several Precinct 5 officers who aroused suspicions in the county tax office about two years ago by driving personal vehicles with 30-day registration tags.

In August, The Dallas Morning News reported that the deputies had been renewing the temporary permits every month, paying $25 each time, leading some officials to wonder whether they had title to the vehicles.

The transactions raised questions about where the constables were getting the vehicles, some of which were in salvage yards after being damaged in crashes. The constables, however, wouldn't say where they got the vehicles.

At the time of the News report, County Judge Jim Foster said he wanted to make sure the vehicles did not come from Dowdy Ferry Auto Services, the towing company whose contracts with Cortes and Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans have been questioned by county officials.

Some constable officers using the paper tags only recently applied for titles to their vehicles, with Watson seeking a bonded title. A bonded title can protect your against future claims to a vehicle. It is generally sought after the state denies a title application because of a lack of proper ownership evidence.

It's unclear from the indictment whether the situation described by The News is tied to Watson's and his wife's arrests.

The News' investigation found that Watson received a bonded title in July for a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria he was driving with temporary tags, records show. He also was driving a 2001 Cadillac Catera with paper tags. That car, originally registered in Florida, was sold at auction in Texas in April 2007. Records don't indicate when and how Watson obtained the car.

Title records show that Watson's wife became the owner of the Cadillac in August.

Foster said some information compiled by a special investigator helped make the arrests possible. In September, county commissioners hired former FBI agent Danny Defenbaugh to conduct a civil investigation into operations at the Precinct 5 and Precinct 1 constable offices.

As part of that investigation, which is continuing, Defenbaugh turned over evidence of crimes to the DA's public integrity division.

The district attorney's office declined to comment on the arrests.

Foster said he hopes Wednesday's arrests are just the beginning.

"I just wish that this would have happened sooner," he said. "It's very serious. And I'm looking forward to all these issues being resolved."

Cortes hired Watson in July 2007 when county commissioners appointed Cortes to replace former Constable Mike Dupree, who resigned while facing criminal charges.

Previously, Watson worked briefly at two small Ellis County police departments – three months at the Maypearl Police Department and five months at the Life School ISD police department, state records show.

Watson lost his ability to park his Dallas County constable vehicle at his home about a year and a half ago after wrecking it while off-duty.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield said he hopes more arrests will follow.

In recent months, numerous current and former deputy constables from Precincts 1 and 5 have reported wrongdoing to some of the commissioners and to the district attorney.

Mayfield said several more deputies are scheduled to appear before the grand jury investigating constable affairs.

"It's somewhat encouraging," Mayfield said about Wednesday's arrests. "It's a good sign. We'll wait to see what follows."

Officer Alex Alvarez Avoids DWI Conviction After Arresting Officer Fails to Appear

An Hidalgo County judge killed a McAllen policeman’s criminal case after one of the defendant’s fellow officers failed to appear in court and testify against him, court records state.

Judge Jay Palacios of Hidalgo County Court-at-law No. 2 dealt a “fatal” blow to the prosecution’s case, Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said, when he granted a motion to suppress evidence in Officer Alex Alvarez’s pending case on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

McAllen police arrested Alvarez on July 5, 2009, after they found him in his red Ford pickup truck at Chili’s, 521 E. Nolana. An anti-theft locking device was still attached to the steering wheel as he allegedly attempted to leave the restaurant while drunk. In the process, his truck collided with a parked car.

“The outcome of last night may determine his future,” McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said the day after Alvarez’s arrest.

But in criminal court, at least, it appears Alvarez may have avoided a DWI conviction. The arresting officer failed to appear for a court hearing where he was to explain why Alvarez had been arrested.

“Nobody showed up to testify,” said Alvarez’s attorney, Toribio “Terry” Palacios. “We got all the evidence suppressed. There’s not much I can comment on.”

Alvarez refused a breath test and would not submit to other sobriety tests at the police station, according to Monitor archives.

Restaurant employees told police Alvarez had been bothering four female customers and was told to return to his table. The restaurant manager suspected Alvarez was too drunk to drive and called a taxi to take him home. While waiting for the cab to arrive, the manager tried to stall Alvarez, who apparently stripped a pair of glasses from his head and threw them to the floor.

District Attorney Guerra said he learned Wednesday that the case was set for dismissal when a Monitor reporter contacted him about the matter. Guerra said he would ask Palacios to reconsider his decision to suppress the evidence in the case.

“Legally, I don’t know if he can reconsider it,” the district attorney said. “I don’t know until I try.”

But why the arresting officer missed the court date remains unclear.

Court records show the officer was served a subpoena Jan. 12 to appear in court for the scheduled hearing one week later.

Guerra said he learned the arresting officer had worked the graveyard shift the night before the hearing and missed the Jan. 19 court date.

McAllen’s Police Chief Rodriguez said he believed the officer was hospitalized. Rodriguez provided no further details.

Two officers from the McAllen police force’s internal affairs division were in the courtroom that day as part of their administrative investigation, Guerra said.

“They knew he had been subpoenaed and failed to show up,” the district attorney said.

Alvarez, meanwhile, remains on unpaid administrative leave — as he has since his arrest last summer, Rodriguez said.

No decision has been made about any consequences the 14-year police veteran could face, the chief said, but those could range from suspension to Alvarez’s firing. The arresting officer could face administrative consequences for failing to appear in court, as well.

“Now I need to figure out what will happen in this one,” Rodriguez said.

Former Officer Pierre Dorsey Charged with Impersonating a Police Officer

A former city police officer is due in court this morning after being charged with posing as an undercover officer at a Southwest Baltimore high school.

School police say 26-year-old Pierre Dorsey of the 4400 block of Shamrock Ave. told an officer he was working for the principal of Edmondson High School on an undercover detail to investigate illegal activities occurring in the school and crimes that involved students at nearby Edmondson Village Shopping Center.

But Dorsey said he did not have any identification, and the principal said that she had not asked Dorsey to conduct any observation, according to records. She believed he had been assigned there by the Police Department. When she approached him, he had flashed a yellow Baltimore City license and said he was not required to carry a badge in his undercover capacity, records show.

Anthony Guglielmi, a city police spokesman, confirmed that Dorsey worked for the department from 2005 until his resignation in 2007. Citing personnel rules, Guglielmi said he could not reveal whether Dorsey had been facing internal discipline when he resigned.

Dorsey told school police that he was assigned to the Southwestern District and gave the name and phone number of Duane Verderaime from the City Union of Baltimore. Verderaime did not return phone messages.

Officers towed Dorsey's vehicle from the school and inside found a black bag with books containing tickets for traffic and criminal citations, as well as citizen contact tickets.

According to court records, Dorsey's wife, Centria Dorsey, works at Edmondson High School and also told police that her husband was working on behalf of the principal. Edie House-Foster, a city schools spokeswoman, confirmed that Centria Dorsey was an employee and said that Pierre Dorsey had been visiting the school beginning in October, though she said he was not there every day.

A phone number for Pierre and Centria Dorsey was out of service, and neither could be reached for comment. Records show that they faced foreclosure proceedings last month.

Officer Mark Young Pleads Guilty to Misuse of Data System

A former Marion police officer pleaded guilty to one count related to the misuse of the law enforcement automated data system.

Mark A. Young, 56, pleaded Wednesday in Marion County Common Pleas Court, said Assistant County Prosecutor Dave Stamolis.

Young's trial on three counts of improper use of a telecommunications device, all fifth-degree felonies, was to begin today. He resigned in February, the same day he pleaded not guilty to the three charges. His trial had been continued multiple times since then because of unavailability of counsel and witnesses.

He faces up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine on the single charge. The other two counts were dismissed in a plea agreement.

Stamolis said the prosecutor's office likely will recommend community-control with some jail time. He requested a presentence investigation.

Sentencing has not been scheduled.

Prosecutor Brent Yager said his office did the plea agreement in large part because the incidents "all happened fairly close to one another in time." He said he doubted the "outcome would be any different" regarding the sentence had Young been convicted of all three charges.

Local attorney J.C. Ratliff was appointed to represent Young. He could not be reached for comment.

Yager said Young's being a police officer wasn't a factor in the prosecutor's handling of the case.

"I think what you try to do is treat it like other cases," Yager said. "He broke the law. Should he be punished worse because he's a police officer? Maybe not, because being a police officer is why he had access to LEADS (the database). You really can't violate that section if you're not a police officer, and it's not a crime of violence or anything. We try to treat people equally."

If sentenced to serve time, it wouldn't be Young's first stay behind bars.

He was convicted of misdemeanor violation of a protection order after a fight with his estranged wife in December 1999. Young was fired the same month for using his badge to try to obtain information at a hotel about the estranged wife, who he suspected was there.

An arbitrator later ruled Young should be reinstated as a police officer, though the city had found four violations of general rules of officer conduct.

The arbitrator ruled three of the complaints were minor violations, not warranting termination. They included conduct unbecoming of an officer, abuse of official position and concealment of material facts.

The city had filed a final grievance - that Young had committed a criminal violation. But the arbitrator ruled Young had not been found guilty in court before his termination.

Before his February resignation, Young had signed a last-chance agreement after a series of conduct violations. Young was a police officer for about 19 years. He was paid $25.84 an hour and $53,747 a year.

Officer Philip Spaman Admitts to Fondling Teen

The Ilion police officer who admitted to charges this week in connection with the fondling a teenager is resigned from the department, officials said.

Philip Spaman submitted his resignation – effective immediately – to the Ilion Village Board during their meeting Wednesday night, Chief Timothy Parisi said today.

Spaman, 47, was with the department for more than eight years.

Initially accused of forcible touching, Spaman to have his case heard in front of a jury Tuesday when he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child. He is due to be sentenced to three years of probation on Tuesday, March 23.

He will not have to register as a sex offender.

With Spaman’s immediate resignation, Parisi said the department can now move past the shadow of Spaman’s allegations.

“As far as the department performing its duties, we still have a job to do,” Parisi said. “Despite adversities, whether they come from internal or external forces, we still have those challenges to face on a daily basis to protect the community.”

According to a grand jury indictment, Spaman had grabbed the teen’s genitals on several occasions between September 2007 and October 2008. The teen is now 18.

Spaman was the regional representative for the New York Police Juvenile Officers Association, whose members attend training workshops that explore investigative techniques for dealing with sex crimes against children. Spaman was suspended from the group after he was charged.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Former Deputy Richard Miller Charged with Sending E-Mail Threats

A former Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with a felony for an alleged e-mail threat he sent to other deputies in November.

The terroristic threats charge was filed Wednesday against Richard Glenn Miller, 36, of Mankato. Miller resigned from his job as a deputy in December after being placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 11.

That was the day Miller allegedly sent an e-mail, with the subject “Union Contract,” to 14 other deputies at 5:46 a.m. He was the only deputy on duty at the time, the criminal complaint said.

After discussing upcoming union negotiations, Miller allegedly ended the e-mail with, “We absolutely need to have this added to our contract and if we don’t I’m gonna bring a gun into our office and shoot this place and everyone to hell.” The e-mail allegedly ended with “MILLER” in all capital letters.

Miller was put on administrative leave later that day after the e-mail was shown to Lt. David Karge and Capt. Rich Murry. Miller allegedly told Karge and Murry, who went to his house to confront him, that the e-mail was a joke, and he ends all of his e-mails with a “bit of his sense of humor,” the complaint said. Miller’s squad car, M16 rifle and handgun were taken at that time.

All of the deputies who received the e-mail, as well as Karge and Murry, were interviewed by Sgt. Steve Collins of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. Three of the deputies said they felt threatened by the e-mail and several said they felt “slightly alarmed,” Collins reported.

Others said they weren’t threatened but could understand how the e-mail could be perceived as a threat, the complaint said.

Miller said Wednesday that he never intended to harm or threaten anyone.

“It was an expression meant in a humorous way, and it was taken out of context,” Miller said. “It was a phrase that’s commonly used.

“If I would have known I was going to threaten someone with what I said, I most certainly wouldn’t have said it.”

Miller also said it might have been a mistake to make the comment in an e-mail because it’s more difficult to convey that a phrase is meant to be humorous. If he would have said it in person, the other deputies would have seen him smiling and understood it wasn’t meant to be a threat, he said.

“They were co-workers and friends,” Miller said. “It’s a real tight group of people. Whenever you’re dealing with union negotiations, you always try to lighten the mood.

“It’s really hurtful that someone would think I’m capable of something like that. I’ve spent the last 13 years of my life trying to help people. To be accused of something like that is really hurtful.”

After Miller’s resignation, Blue Earth County Chief Deputy Mike Maurer would not disclose why Miller had been placed on paid leave or the reason for his resignation. Maurer would only say there was an internal investigation and that the Scott County department had been asked to do a criminal investigation.

The investigation ended in early January and was turned over to the Brown County attorney’s office to decide if any criminal charges should be filed. Scott and Brown counties were asked to help to avoid any conflicts of interest, Maurer said.

Miller, who had been a Blue Earth County deputy since 1999, had been disciplined twice before by superiors, according to personnel records available to the public.

In 2005, he was suspended for 10 hours without pay for failing to complete two training courses. He also was suspended without pay for one work week in February 2002 after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated. In that incident, Miller also was accused of distracting a state trooper so he would be pulled over instead of an intoxicated friend who was driving another car.

Former Deputy Carl Graves Accused of Raping 13-year-old

Jurors heard opening statements Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a former Brevard County sheriff's deputy accused of raping a 13-year-old girl.

An attorney for Carl E. Graves, 47, said he maintains that he is innocent of six counts of sexual battery and three counts of molestation. Each charge is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

A two-day jury selection process wrapped up Tuesday in Circuit Judge George Maxwell’s courtroom at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.

Legal wrangling between Graves and his attorneys over their possible withdrawal from the case halted proceedings until this afternoon. Attorneys resumed about 2 p.m. to go forward with opening statements.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Graves in May 2007, a month after his former girlfriend went to police with allegations that she caught the Cocoa man holding her daughter against a wall and trying to kiss her, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police said the teen told them that the sexual contact progressed from inappropriately touching her during trips to buy the girl candy, soda and cigarettes to forcing her to have sex several times in summer 2006.

Officials said Graves was fired in February 2007 before the rape allegations.

Deputy Richard Heverly Charged with Bringing Weapon to Court

A San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy facing criminal charges for allegedly holding a gun to a man's head while off duty has been charged with an additional felony for allegedly bringing his service weapon to court on his trial date.

Richard Charles Heverly, 43, of La Verne arrived last week at the Larson Justice Center in Indio in full uniform, with his duty belt and service weapon, according to an arrest declaration written by the bailiff in the courtroom.

His trial date was postponed, and a new court date was set for Monday. Prior to the Monday court appearance, prosecutors filed criminal charges against Heverly for unlawful possession of a weapon in a public building.

When Heverly returned to the court, he was arrested on the gun charges. He was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail.

Heverly appeared in court on Wednesday to be arraigned on the new charge, but the hearing was postponed to Feb. 9. A jury trial in Heverly's prior case is also set for that date.

Heverly remains employed by the Sheriff's Department and is assigned to work at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, sheriff's spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire said.

"He is not on any type of paid administrative leave or anything like that," Wiltshire said.

In August 2008, Heverly was arrested by California Highway Patrol officers after he allegedly held a gun to a tow truck driver's head and threatened to kill him in an apparent off-duty road rage incident.

Prosecutors have charged Heverly with four felonies for his role in the incident, which occurred on the 10 Freeway about 50 miles east of Indio.

One of the officers who arrested Heverly testified in a preliminary hearing last year that Heverly claimed he felt threatened by the tow truck driver and said he was acting in self-defense.

Law enforcement officers are allowed to carry weapons in courthouses and other public buildings if they are there carrying out their official duties. Heverly allegedly violated the law because he was armed during an appearance in a case where he was the defendant.

Heverly and his attorney did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Former Officer Anthony Tuleta Indicted for Purchasing Steroids

Dr. Ramon Scruggs was indicted for illegally writing prescriptions for Schedule III Steroids. Anthony Tuleta, a Cleveland Police Officer, was indicted for illegally purchasing the steroids.

Dr. Scruggs, 61, of Santa Ana, California, prescribed Schedule III Steroids over the internet for non-medical purposes from January 2003 to June 2007. Prosecutors say Anthony Tuleta illegally bought and submitted insurance claims to Medical Mutual.

Medical Mutual contacted the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) after it identified excessive amounts of steroids being prescribed. Dr. Scruggs pleaded guilty to 5 counts of drug trafficking. On December 14, 2009, Dr. Scruggs was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Anthony Tuleta's trial is scheduled for tomorrow, January 27, 2010, at 9:00 am in front of Judge John O'Donnell.

Lt Brian Leary Faces Drunk Driving Charges

A city police lieutenant faces drunken driving charges after his car rear-ended another vehicle while he was off-duty over the weekend, the chief said.

Lt. Brian Leary, 48, will be summoned to Brockton District Court to face charges of operating under the influence in connection with the accident on Saturday, Police Chief William Conlon said.

Leary was also cited for following too closely, the chief said.

Conlon said the accident occurred Saturday, around dinner time, at Court and Cary streets. Leary was driving his personal vehicle and was off-duty at the time, Conlon said.

Leary was not arrested at the scene because he was taken to the hospital after suffering head trauma when the airbag deployed, Conlon said.

The other driver was not injured, the chief said.

Leary could also face disciplinary action by the department even though the crash occurred while off-duty. “It is a serious occurrence,” Conlon said.

Leary has not been back to work since the accident, he said.

The chief said Leary has been a hard-working officer and is considered “a great officer, a smart guy.”

However, Conlon said police officers must be held to a high standard.

“Incidents such as this are unacceptable,” he said.

Officer Sean O'Brien Arrested for Hitting Handcuffed 14-year-old

A Chattanooga police officer has been arrested and relieved of duty after he reportedly hit a teenager in juvenile custody. Members of the Internal Affairs Division arrested Officer Sean O'Brien Wednesday.

Investigators say the alleged incident happened at the Juvenile Detention Center. Employees there filed a complaint after they reportedly witnessed O'Brien hitting the handcuffed 14 year old who was under arrest. The juvenile was seated in the intake hallway when he reportedly exchanged words with O'Brien who then hit him on the head then pushed him to a wall.

O'Brien has been charged with simple assault and was taken to Hamilton County Jail.

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More Information

Family Says Kenneth Howe Beaten by Police

The family of a Worcester man who died after being stopped at a state police sobriety checkpoint filed a federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit yesterday, alleging that Kenneth R. Howe was beaten to death by police.

The family's lawyer, Frances A. King, called on the U.S. attorney to take over the investigation from the Essex district attorney's office. State police are working with the DA's office on the investigation into the Nov. 25 incident, she said, which is unacceptable.

“It is nothing short of absurd to think that the Massachusetts State Police can investigate the Massachusetts State Police,” she said at a press conference in front of the U.S. District Courthouse in Boston.

She called it outrageous that none of the officers at the checkpoint that night had been disciplined or suspended, even after the state medical examiner declared Mr. Howe's death a homicide. The medical examiner recently ruled that Mr. Howe died of “blunt impact to the head and torso with compression of chest,” and that he died as a result of a “struggle with police.” The medical examiner also said Mr. Howe had a history of high blood pressure and heart problems that might have contributed to his death.

The lawsuit noted that Mr. Howe, 45, did not receive medical attention for 46 minutes after he was arrested at the checkpoint. Had he been immediately rushed to Lawrence General Hospital, a seven-minute ambulance ride away, he might still be alive today, Ms. King said.

The lawsuit requests monetary damages, Ms. King said, as well as changes to police procedure at sobriety checkpoints. She said there is no cap to the amount of money that the family might receive, and that no figure has been requested.

Margaret Howe, Kenneth's wife, appeared at the press conference with two of their three daughters, 15-year-old Ashleigh and 10-year-old Dakota. Mr. Howe, who co-owned the Majestic Barber Shop in Clinton, also had a 1-year-old daughter, Raynemarie Howe.

“We want justice done, for me, for my kids, and for Kenny,” Mrs. Howe said yesterday. “My life hasn't been the same since he has been gone. It's hard, especially with my kids not having a dad right now.”

The lawsuit names 20 state police officers, 13 North Andover police officers, and two Essex County deputy sheriffs as possibly causing Mr. Howe's death. Ms. King said the lawsuit names every officer on the duty roster of the sobriety checkpoint that night. Ms. King said she would seek to drop the names of those officers not involved as evidence became available.

A spokesman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said the office's investigation continues, and he declined to comment further. A state police spokesman referred all questions to Mr. Blodgett's office. A spokesman for the North Andover Police Department was unavailable yesterday.

According to the lawsuit, on Nov. 25, Mr. Howe had gone to North Andover with two friends, Michael Garbauskas and Michael Barbour, to buy a speedboat they found in an online ad on Craigslist. Mr. Garbauskas drove a gray Chevrolet Silverado truck, Mr. Howe sat in the front seat, and Mr. Barbour sat in the back. Also in the car was Mr. Howe's pet pit bull, a fact that had not been disclosed.

After buying groceries for Thanksgiving dinner, they headed for home on Route 114. Mr. Howe was smoking a marijuana cigarette and did not have his seat belt on. Upon seeing police, Mr. Howe tried to extinguish the joint and put on his seat belt, the lawsuit said.

At the checkpoint, Mr. Garbauskas and Mr. Howe were ordered from the truck by state police. State Police Officer Jodi Gerardi “forcefully removed” Mr. Howe from the truck, according to the lawsuit.

The dog apparently started barking. The lawsuit notes that Mr. Howe's pit bull was “never commanded to attack officers, nor was it intentionally ‘released.' ” The police report noted the dog was controlled without incident.

“Trooper Gerardi forcefully removed Kenneth from the truck and screamed, ‘He assaulted me!' ” the lawsuit stated.

Police say Mr. Howe then ran away.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Garbauskas said Mr. Howe never assaulted the female trooper.

“We deny any struggle took place,” Ms. King said yesterday. “But even if a struggle did take place, there is a proper protocol for placing a person under arrest. You do not beat them to death. There's no justification and no rationale.”

The lawsuit then stated, “At that point, between 10 and 20 law enforcement officers swarmed on Kenneth.”

The arrest occurred very close to the offices of The Eagle-Tribune, a daily newspaper. Photographer Carl Russo saw the commotion from the parking lot and rushed over to photograph the scene. He shot 43 photographs, which showed Mr. Howe face down on the pavement for 10 minutes, with seven to 12 officers standing “very close” to him, according to the lawsuit. One to four officers sat on him, according to the photos, while handcuffs and leg irons were placed on his wrists and ankles.

“Between two and seven officers picked up Kenneth off the ground and dragged him to the cruiser,” the lawsuit stated. He was taken to the state police barracks in Andover. While awaiting booking, he slumped over, unresponsive. He was taken by ambulance to Lawrence General Hospital and was pronounced dead upon arrival.