Sunday, February 28, 2010

Officer Chris Dixon Charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miranda later identified Dixon as the driver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Former Officer Christopher Swanson Will Stand Trial for Shooting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Officer Craig Nash Charged with Sexual Assault on Transgender Woman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Macias Shot by His Father

The Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Friday identified the 17-year-old boy who was shot to death by his father in an unincorporated county area near Monrovia.

Brian Macias died Thursday night after his father fired on him during an argument inside a home in the 100 block of East Andre Street, Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.

The shooting occurred around 6 p.m., sheriff's Deputy Aura Sierra said.

The boy's father is a reserve LAPD officer. He was not arrested, and authorities have not identified him.

 Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide detectives are investigating the homicide.

They have said it appears to be self defense.
A group of young men who identified themselves as Macias' friends said Friday the teen was a senior at Monrovia High School.

They said said Macias aspired to go to college and become a police officer. They doubted that an argument between the teen and his father needed to end in death.

"He was always respectful to his father because his father was a cop and he wanted to be a cop," said Paul Gilbert, 17."He was just a nice kid, he didn't mean any harm to anybody."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Officer Michael Darrah Accused of Taking Cash from People He Pulled Over

The indictment of a former police officer on charges he stole cash from people he pulled over follows a city probe that led to his firing.

Michael J. Darrah, who was fired in September after an internal investigation, was indicted Thursday on four counts of extortion by a police officer, five counts of larceny from a person, three counts of larceny under $250 and two counts of larceny over $250, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz and Police Chief William Conlon said.

Darrah is accused of stealing cash from three people he pulled over on what were described as bogus charges and from an intoxicated man at the police station who was being taken to a detox center.

The indictments were handed up late Thursday following a three-month grand jury probe.

Darrah, who joined the force in 2004, was officially fired by the city for conduct unbecoming a police officer.

Conlon said the investigation continued even after Darrah was fired as authorities tracked down victims who initially were wary of the police.

A number of the victims spoke little or no English and feared their complaints would not be taken seriously, he said.

“It was hard to get their confidence. They were easy prey,” Conlon said. “You can understand why they were uneasy. We had to convince them they were not the people in trouble.”

The chief said the indictments should send a message to the community that misconduct by law enforcement would not be tolerated.

“People should feel confident when they make a complaint, it will be taken seriously and it will be investigated,” Conlon said. “People will pay the penalty … it is shameful conduct and it can’t and won’t be tolerated.”

Darrah was the third Brockton police officer to be fired since January 2009 in unrelated cases. Darrah had been suspended – then placed on administrative leave – last August after several people came forward to police alleging misconduct.

Brockton police launched an investigation last year when several motorists reported they were pulled over and searched.

Each person said they discovered money or their wallets were taken from their pockets after the officer left.

In each case, the officer told them he could either arrest them or write them a ticket for offenses the witnesses said were false.

In another case, an officer was alleged to have taken $1,700 from the pocket of an intoxicated man he was transporting to the High Point detox facility.

The district attorney’s office reported that happened after the officer ordered the man’s mother to leave the room while he searched her son’s pockets.

The police investigation included witness interviews, photo arrays, a review of internal police records, and what license plates had been run by officers, among other things.

Investigation Determines Officer Jesus Cisneros was Drinking on Duty Before Crash

An internal investigation has determined that a Fort Worth police officer was drinking on duty before crashing a city vehicle and killing a mother of two.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram cited documents filed with the Civil Service Commission over the December incident.

The review found that Officer Jesus Cisneros drove to three bars and drank up to three beers in an unauthorized undercover detail before going off duty, drinking more and colliding with a vehicle driven by Sonia Baker.

The narcotics officer, charged with intoxication manslaughter, remains free on bail.

Cisneros resigned Dec. 21. Police on Feb. 18 took the additional step of suspending him indefinitely so the allegations would be included in his civil service record.

Cisneros attorney Jim Lane did not immediately comment.

Baker family attorney Mike Freden says the actions of Cisneros were "sickening."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

David Baker Files Lawsuit Against Officers for Violating His Civil Rights

An Ambridge man says a borough police officer beat him in a holding cell and jammed a gun into his mouth last year, then other officers tried to cover up the assault.

Claiming civil rights violations, David A. Baker, 41, of 614 Melrose Ave. has sued the borough, Police Chief Mark Romutis, officers Richard Heitzenrater, Robert Kuzma Jr. and Michael Slawianowski, and former Borough Manager Kristen Denne.

Heitzenrater and Kuzma are already facing federal criminal charges related to the incident.

According to Beaver County court records, Slawianowski arrested Baker around 4 p.m. Feb. 20, 2009, at 10th Street and Glenwood Avenue after an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old reported that Baker had urinated on a sidewalk across the street from them.

The children reported the incident to a parent; one of the children is a grandchild of Heitzenrater.

Slawianowski said Baker was drunk, disheveled and apparently had soiled himself. Once at the borough police station, Baker refused to get out of the police car, and “officers then grabbed Baker by his jacket and pulled him from the back seat of the patrol car. Once outside the car, Baker fell directly to the ground and refused to stand up.”

Slawianowski also said, “Officers then drug Baker by his jacket into the police garage and then inside the police station,” where he was searched and put in a holding cell.

According to the federal lawsuit, written by Pittsburgh attorney Tony J. Thompson, Slawianowski and Kuzma told Heitzenrater, who had been off-duty, of Baker’s arrest, and he went to the police station. There, according to the suit, Heitzenrater entered the holding cell and hit and kneed Baker in the head and body.

Heitzenrater also “assaulted and terrorized (Baker) by placing the barrel of a firearm into his mouth, thereby threatening him with grave bodily harm and death,” Thompson said.

The lawsuit also alleges that other borough employees didn’t stop the assault and then “conspired to destroy physical evidence capturing the incident, and/or falsified written reports regarding the incident.”

Thompson said Kuzma and Slawianowski allowed Heitzenrater to enter the cell and Heitzenrater and Kuzma, who also had been off-duty, destroyed surveillance video showing the attack.

Thompson also said that “Heitzenrater and other officers of the Ambridge Police Department have a history of acting erratically, violently and with excessive force, and in abusing their authority as police officers.” The borough has been sued by others in the past, accusing officers of violating their civil rights.

Thompson said in the suit that Romutis and Denne “knew or should have known that (Heitzenrater) was not fit to be a sergeant of the Ambridge police.”

Baker suffered severe head injuries and continues to suffer after-effects from the attack, according to the lawsuit.

In November, Baker pleaded no contest to single counts of open lewdness and disorderly conduct and was sentenced to one year’s probation in Beaver County Court. Baker could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Last year, his attorney on those charges, Gerald Benyo, said Baker was in an alcohol rehabilitation program. He added that Baker had about $30,000 in unpaid medical bills related to the beating.

In August, the U.S. attorney’s office charged Heitzenrater and Kuzma with obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. Heitzenrater was also charged with deprivation of civil rights, while Kuzma additionally was charged with accessory after the fact.

The allegations in the criminal case are similar to the lawsuit, with Heitzenrater accused of beating Baker, and then he and Kuzma working the next day to destroy surveillance footage.

Heitzenrater retired from the Ambridge force last spring. Kuzma, with the rank of lieutenant, was suspended without pay, but collected unemployment from the borough.

Slawianowski has left Ambridge and now works as a Leetsdale police officer. Denne resigned as borough manager in January and now works in Johnstown.

Heitzenrater’s attorney, James Ross of Ambridge, said Wednesday he was moving forward with the criminal case “and we have a defense to it,” but would not comment further.

Kuzma’s attorney, Mark Lancaster of Pittsburgh, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Romutis wasn’t available for comment Wednesday.

Officer Thomas Fees Keeps Getting Paid After Arrest

Tulsa Police Officer Thomas Fees has been suspended with pay for three weeks after being accused of pointing a loaded gun at employees of a bar. Viewers have asked why, in this budget crisis, is he getting a paycheck when other officers are not?

News On 6 viewers questioned Fees' paid suspension again after a recent story on a police officer who earned a Purple Heart and has been laid off. People wonder why Fees can't be suspended without pay and that salary given to someone else.

It's all about due process.

On the one hand, you have Officer Thomas Fees, who's been arrested and charged. Witnesses say he got unruly in a bar three weeks ago, and when employees had to physically remove him, he pointed a loaded gun at them.

He's been charged with pointing a firearm and carrying a firearm under the influence. Fees has been suspended with pay. His employment records show he was suspended in 2005 for two days for being confrontational and three days in 2006 for trying to sell a drug used to make meth.

So, why not just suspend him without pay?

"It's not that simple because even though he's been accused, he's still afforded, just as every other person, due process," said Captain Jonathan Brooks of the Tulsa Police Department.

In a case that involves a felony, the city's legal advisor says you can't suspend someone right away with no pay because that's taking disciplinary action from the very beginning. They must wait until the employee has been bound over for trial at a preliminary hearing.

If that happens, the city can also begin the firing process.

On the other hand, you have a guy like Scott Osborn who served 10 years in the Air Force, became a police officer, was shot by a drug runner and awarded the Purple Heart.

He's been laid off almost four weeks. Some argue the city would be better off with someone like him getting a paycheck than Fees.

"Him being paid, yes, money is money but the fact is, he doesn't have a gun or badge, and he is being paid but is required to stay at home," Brooks said. "He can't even show up on premises based on the suspension with pay."

Department leaders say citizens can trust them to police themselves and do the right thing, once the time is right.

Officer Fees' attorney says they are doing their own investigation, and they expect him to have a strong defense to the charges.

His preliminary hearing hasn't been set yet and could take months. He'll keep getting paid until that time.
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Officer Denver Thomas Indicted for Sexual Contact with Teen

Ripley City Council unanimously voted Wednesday night to terminate Officer Denver Thomas.

That happened after Ripley Police Chief Raymond Fridley recommended that Thomas be dismissed from the police force. His termination is effective immediately.

Thomas had been indicted earlier Wednesday by a Jackson County grand jury. The indictment alleges he had sexual contact with a teenager in 2008.

Thomas has been on paid leave from the department since September 2009.

No other information is being released because the case involves an underage child.

Trial Set to Begin for Officer Michael Ficken

A jury trial for officer misconduct allegations against former Prior Lake police officer Michael Alan Ficken is set to begin next week in Scott County District Court in Shakopee.
Ficken, 34, of Savage was charged by the Dakota County Attorney’s Office in June with officer misconduct, fifth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
FickenJury selection is set to start Tuesday morning. Opening arguments are expected to start later that afternoon and the trial will continue into Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint:
While Ficken was on duty as a police officer, at about 7 a.m. June 10, he allegedly called his former girlfriend, and when she didn’t answer her phone, he drove his squad car to her house. When Ficken arrived at the woman’s home, he saw a vehicle he did not recognize and allegedly ran the license plate, without any known work-related reason to do so.
Ficken then allegedly entered the home and attempted to make contact with the woman, who was in a lower-level bedroom with the door locked. Ficken asked to be let into the bedroom, and the woman said, “No,” the complaint states.
Ficken then allegedly broke through the bedroom door while the woman attempted to hold it shut. While inside the bedroom, Ficken began to yell at the woman and a man who was inside the room with her, according to the complaint.

Officer Jesus Cisneros Accused of Drunking While Still on Duty Before Crash

An off-duty Fort Worth police officer who officials say was drunk when he crashed his city vehicle into another car in December, killing a mother of two, had started drinking while still on duty, an internal investigation has found.

Jesus Cisneros drove his city vehicle, a Toyota Highlander, to three bars from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 and consumed up to three beers as part of an unauthorized undercover bar detail, according to documents filed with the Civil Service Commission.

Lt. Paul Henderson, a police spokesman, called Cisneros' actions a "gross violation of policy."

The documents say that after completing the bar detail, Cisneros, then off duty, drove to a birthday party at The Pour House, where he drank about four more beers and four shots of alcohol, according to surveillance video obtained from the bar by investigators.

About 2:25 the next morning, Cisneros was driving the Highlander west in the 3800 block of Columbus Trail at more than twice the posted speed limit when he collided with a PT Cruiser trying to turn in front of him, officials have said. The Cruiser's driver, Sonia Baker, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tests on blood taken soon after the wreck indicated that Cisneros had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.17, more than twice the legal limit.

Cisneros resigned Dec. 21. Police officials, however, took the additional step of suspending him indefinitely — tantamount to firing — so that the sustained allegations would be included in his civil service record, Henderson said.

The indefinite suspension took effect Feb. 18.

"Because he resigned, it closes any potential loophole for him being able to get his job back in Fort Worth," Henderson said.

The allegations

According to the documents, the investigation found four allegations against Cisneros: that he consumed alcohol on duty without necessary supervisory approval; that he drove a city vehicle off duty without authorization; that he was intoxicated while off duty; and that he drove a city vehicle while impaired and in such a manner that resulted in the fatal crash.

Cisneros, who remains free on bail, was charged Feb. 10 with intoxication manslaughter.

Jim Lane, Cisneros' attorney, was out of the office Wednesday and did not return a message left with his staff seeking comment.

Sonia Baker's widower, Mario Baker, referred questions Wednesday to the Noteboom law firm.

Mike Freden, one of the attorneys for Baker's family, said Cisneros' actions were "sickening."

"With each additional fact, his behavior is becoming more and more outrageous," Freden said. "It highlights that there were so many people along the way that could have stopped him from going out there and killing her. It's tragic. We're going to continue to go after every one we possibly can to get justice for Mario and his boys."

Henderson said an investigation of whether any other officers violated department policy while celebrating with Cisneros on the night of the crash is nearing its final stages.
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Officer Roniel Dilone Charged with Drunk Driving

Another NYPD officer has been charged with boozing behind the wheel after he smashed his car in the Bronx, badly injuring his passenger.

Officer Roniel Dilone, who was off-duty at the time, told an EMT at the scene that he had four beers before the crash early Sunday, according to court papers.

He refused to take a Breathalyzer test. His blood was drawn after cops got a warrant, and results are pending.

The 27-year-old cop, who has been on the force for four years, was driving in Throgs Neck when he smashed his Nissan Altima into a parked Subaru - sending it into a tree before his car jumped the curb, court papers said.

He was not badly injured, but his passenger, Allan Reyes, suffered a fractured leg and shoulder and badly bruised his ribs.

Dilone had "a flushed face and bloodshot, watery eyes," according to court papers.

"I was driving, then the next thing, I heard my passenger screaming that he thinks his leg is broken," Dilone told police at the scene.

Dilone was charged with vehicular assault and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

The NYPD - which did not make the accident public, as normally happens when an officer faces a serious charge - suspended Dilone without pay.

Dilone, who is assigned to the 28th Precinct, was released without bail at his arraignment. He refused to open the door at his Parkchester home yesterday.

"I can't say anything," he said.

His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

The NYPD has been plagued by a recent rash of cops busted for drunken driving.

Two weeks ago, off-duty Officer Raphael Ospina plowed his Chrysler into a garbage truck in midtown, flipped over and smacked into Tiffany's, according to authorities. Ospina broke three ribs, and two friends in the car were also hurt.

In November, off-duty Detective Kevin Spellman was charged with running down and killing a Bronx grandmother after drinking at a nearby bar. And in September, Officer Andrew Kelly was charged in Brooklyn with killing a preacher's daughter while driving drunk.

Officer Ricardo Orosco Charged with Assaulting Girlfriend

Another sex scandal has rocked the Phoenix Police Department.

Officer Ricardo Orosco, 26, has been charged with unlawful imprisonment, assault and criminal damage after allegedly getting into an altercation with his girlfriend early Tuesday.

"It's an embarrassment, it's a very bleak situation for us," Phoenix Police detective James Holmes said of arresting a fellow officer.

Police say they received a call around 2:45 a.m. from a femaile who said her "boyfriend" had assaulted her and was currently following her with his own car.

The victim told police she and Orosco had been out for the evening and, after returning to his home, said he told her he wanted to have sex.

She told police that after she refused, Orosco forcibly removed part of her clothing and ordered her to disrobe.

"The officer became physical with the victim. He grabbed her, he tore her sweater, threw her down on the bed," Holmes said. "During all of this he tore part of her bra and he did put his hands around her throat and he hit her."

Police said the victim was able to free herself and leave the home, but only after Orosco - trying to get in the car - broke the handles off the driver's side front and rear doors.

It was then, after realizing Orosco was following her, that she called police.

Police said the victim had visible facial injuries but did not require immediate medical attention. Orosco was booked into the Maricopa County Jail.

Officer Maynard Richardson Fired

Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw says the department has fired an officer charged with attempting to sexually assault a woman in his patrol car earlier this month.

Officer Maynard Richardson faces criminal charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and non-felonious misconduct in office after an incident early Feb. 5.

Police accuse Richardson of placing a 22-year-old woman in his squad car and kissing and touching her without her permission.

In announcing Richardson's firing Wednesday, Bradshaw noted that he had previously been suspended for two days for making an inappropriate comment to a women while on a call in 2009.

The 35-yerar-old Richardson can appeal his termination to Des Moines Civil Service commission. Richardson's attorney, Alfredo Parrish, could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Information from: The Des Moines Register,
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Deputies Search Orlando Officer's Home for Child Porn

Lake County deputies were at an Orlando police officer's home for a child porn investigation Wednesday. The officer's home is in Tavares. He hasn't been arrested.

Police say there was child pornography downloaded to a personal computer at his home, but the police officer's work laptop was also confiscated.

Lake County sheriff investigators spent Wednesday afternoon searching the officer's home. They took personal computers, went through his patrol car and took his department-issued laptop.

“Right now we are not confirming who is the suspect. Multiple people live here and have access to the computers," said Sgt. John Herrell, Lake Co. Sheriff's Office.

Neighbors said the police officer, whose name has not been released, lives in the home with his two sons, who are 13 and 17 years old.

"He's a man who goes to work takes care of his two boys," one neighbor said.

The Cyber Crimes Task Force got a hit on the house, alerting investigators.

"They are able to determine when child porn is downloaded or transmitted from an IP address," Herrell said.

Investigators are not specific about the porn, but said it's not a case of one teen sending another teen an inappropriate picture.

Officers showed up at the house, were handed over what investigators wanted and left with the officer’s car.

Lake County investigators said the officer is on administrative leave now from the Orlando Police Department and there may be an internal affairs investigation.

Former Officer Martin Abreu Sentenced for Killing Pedestrian

An off-duty Jersey City police officer will spend up to a decade in prison for killing a pedestrian as she crossed a lower Manhattan street.

Martin Abreu, a Jersey City police officer since 2005, was sentenced Tuesday. He pleaded guilty on Dec. 16 to aggravated vehicular homicide.

Abreu's vehicle mowed down Marilyn Huang Feng a year ago as she walked near Battery Park City. The 26-year-old aspiring lawyer died at the scene, and her boyfriend was critically injured.

Authorities said Abreu was drunk, and according to witness accounts, he was driving more than double the speed limit.

Abreu will be eligible for parole in 3 1/2 years. His maximum sentence is 10 1/2 years.

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Former Deputy Robert Grimsley Sentenced to Five Years for Stalking

A 38-year-old former law enforcement officer in South Carolina was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to stalking and assaulting his girlfriend and trying to tamper with evidence against him.

The Morning News of Florence reports a judge on Tuesday ordered ex-Dillon County deputy Robert Grimsley to spend seven years in prison, with the final two years of the sentence suspended if he completes three years of probation.

Authorities say Grimsley was charged with criminal domestic violence in November after grabbing his girlfriend in the home they shared in Latta and kicking her.

A month later, investigators say Grimsley violated a restraining order and asked an officer working the case to switch or destroy blood samples that were collected.

Officer Daniel McBroom Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Clyde police officer charged with drunken driving and speeding has been placed on unpaid leave.

According to the Norwalk post of Ohio State Highway Patrol, a trooper pulled over off-duty Clyde police Officer Daniel McBroom, 38, on Maple Street near Race Street at 12:35 a.m. Friday.

The trooper clocked McBroom going 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. He suspected McBroom was driving under the influence of alcohol and asked him to submit to a test.

McBroom refused, and the trooper charged him with operating a vehicle under the influence and speeding. He has no prior offenses, according to the patrol.

McBroom was scheduled to appear for an arraignment Tuesday morning in Sandusky County District Court in Clyde, but clerks at the court said he obtained a lawyer and his hearing will be rescheduled.

Clyde police Chief Bruce Gower said he was out of town when the incident occurred, so McBroom was told to use a vacation day to cover his Saturday shift. Gower placed McBroom on unpaid leave after speaking Monday with city manager Dan Weaver. McBroom will remain under suspension while the case is ongoing, Gower said.

Officer David Spearman Suspended for Cussing

A Naples, Florida police officer has been suspended for two days after the police chief reviewed the dash-cam video from the officer's patrol car.

Police Chief Tom Weschler was reviewing in-car videos to check a problem with the sound when he stumbled upon an officer making derogatory comments about a fellow officer.

"That kind of behavior will not be tolerated. The citizens deserve better than that," said Chief Weschler.

The chief was reviewing video from Officer David Spearman's vehicle.

The 20-year veteran of the Naples Police Department was responding to a call at the Gordon River Apartments in July 2009.

In the video, Spearman curses several times when talking about the apartment residents and how he is repeatedly being called to the same area.

"I'm glad Schickfus decided to clear his 40 and come down. [Expletive deleted] weasel. He's nothing but a pansy [expletive deleted]. He takes three or four a shift," Spearman said on the video.

"I was concerned when I first started to watch it. The level of stress that he was showing in his voice and knowing Officer Spearman, that's not normally how he reacts. But it was enough of a warning sign that I knew I had to look into it a little further," said Weschler. "We have to hold everybody accountable for their actions here."

The chief says he reviewed about 10 more of Spearman's calls and found his conduct to be much more level headed and professional.

However, the chief says Spearman provided inaccurate information to dispatch and did not take the appropriate enforcement action in one of those calls.

Spearman was suspended for two days and is back on duty.

Two Palm Beach County Officers Arrested

A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Officer has been arrested on drug charges, while another deputy is accused of obstructing justice, state attorney Michael McAuliffe announced Monday.

Deputy Sarah Thompson was charged with three counts of purchasing or possession with intent to purchase oxycodone.

State prosecutors said Thompson bought or possessed the prescription pain pills on three separate occasions -- Jan. 17, Feb. 7 and Feb. 11.

Deputy Carlos Lisboa was also charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a marked police car and resisting an officer without violence.

Thompson could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison for each count if convicted. Lisboa could be sentenced up to five years in prison if convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude a marked police car, and an additional year in the county jail if convicted of the second charge.

Former Officer Kachina McAlexander Sentenced for Firing Weapon At Other Officers

A former Denver Police officer was sentenced to several years in prison for firing a handgun at local law enforcement officers in South Dakota.

Kachina McAlexander, who resigned from her job with DPD last April, was previously convicted of three counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and one count of reckless use of a firearm.

McAlexander was sentenced Tuesday to five years for each of the three counts but the judge suspended three years of each sentence. The judge also ordered that the reduced sentence be served concurrently, meaning McAlexander will now spend two years behind bars unless she is paroled early. The judge told McAlexander she would be eligible after one year.

McAlexander spoke in court Tuesday, apologizing for her actions, saying she was scared and would never try to intentionally hurt another law enforcement officer.

McAlexander was holed up in a Custer, S.D. motel room on March 24, 2009 when local officers arrived in response to a report that McAlexander might be suicidal.

The 10-year DPD veteran is accused of firing her weapon at the responding officers, none of whom was injured.

At the sentencing, the state's attorney said McAlexander had not taken full responsibility for her actions and noted her history of firing guns when emotional.

According to The Denver Post, McAlexander faced weapons charges in 2006 after firing at a television and at the walls of her home in Adams County. Like the March 24 incident, McAlexander was reportedly suicidal at the time.

A judge acquitted McAlexander of those charges and an appeal by prosecutors was not successful.

McAlexander, who originally faced attempted murder charges, eventually pleaded not guilty to the 2009 charges was convicted by a jury. She has been in custody since the trial

Former Officer Robert Brooks Could Get New Murder Trial

A former Calverton Park Police Officer sentenced to life in prison for killing his fiancé, a Normandy Police Officer, could get a new trial. This comes after the Missouri Supreme Court threw out the conviction Tuesday, sending the case back to Jefferson County for a new trial.

Normandy Police Chief Frank Mininni calls Amanda Cates a great police officer and says he still struggles with her death.

Now, Chief Mininni and others are struggling with the Missouri high courts 14 page decision.

"I was shocked. I was in shock, said Mininni reacting to the decision."

The move throws out the conviction of former Calverton Park Police Officer Robert Brooks.

"I don't think you'd be human if it didn't make you angry," explained Mininni.

In August of 2007, Brooks was convicted of shooting and killing his 26 year old fiancé, Normandy Police Officer Amanda Cates.

The incident happened a year earlier at the Crystal City home that Cates and Brooks shared. Cates was a school resource officer at Normandy Middle School. Mininni, who sat through the first trial, says coping with Amanda's death has been tough.

The prospect of another trial is daunting.

Mininni told us, "I think the most difficult part of this is that were going to have to sit in a courtroom with Amanda's family again. Were going to have to re-live everything that happened night."

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors violated Brooks' constitutional rights by using his right to remain silent against him. The court ruled that during the trial prosecutors pointed out that Brooks would not tell them what happened the night of the killing after he was read his Miranda Rights.

The court said those statements by prosecutors implied that Brooks was guilty because he didn't talk.

Joe Yeckel and Michael Gross represented brooks at the Missouri Supreme Court.

"I felt that Mr. Brooks didn't get a fair trial the first go around and the Supreme Court is giving him another opportunity to have a fair trial," said Yeckel.

Memories of Amanda are at the Normandy Police Department and at a nearby park. Mininni says he's still waiting for justice for Amanda.

He told us, "We're confident that the outcome of this new trial will be the exact same as the last trial."

The Normandy Police Department and Cates family have started a scholarship in Amanda's memory.

A spokesperson with the Missouri Attorney Generals Office tells us they haven't decided yet whether to ask for another hearing on the case before the Supreme Court.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Forrest Wegge says he will re-try the case if it comes back to his office.

Additional Charges Have Been Filed Against Officer Jaymin Murphy

Additional charges have been filed against a North Carolina police officer arrested last week and accused of a sexual assault on a girl, authorities said in a news release Tuesday.

Jaymin Lenwood Murphy, an officer in Navassa, N.C., a few miles west of Wilmington, was charged on Thursday after the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office received a report Feb. 15 from the N.C. Department of Social Services that Murphy had sexually assaulted a child between 2005 and 2007 when he lived at the juvenile's home, the news release stated.

The Brunswick County district attorney's office contacted the county Sheriff's Office on Feb. 15 and asked that investigators look into the allegation, filed with the Navassa Police Department.

The Sheriff's Office charged Murphy with first degree rape of a child on Thursday, the release stated.

On Friday, a second girl came forward with a sexual assault allegation against Murphy after learning of his arrest in a news broadcast.

Detectives learned that the second girl was the victim in a case Murphy had investigated in December 2009, while he was employed by Navassa Police Department.

After an investigation into the second girl's allegation, Murphy also was charged with one count of statutory rape, two counts of statutory sex offense, two counts of exploitation of a minor, and three counts of indecent liberties with a minor.

Murphy is currently being held at the Brunswick County Detention Facility in lieu of $1.1 million bail

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Former Officer Hamilton Riley Arrested for Child Sexual Assault

A former Searcy police officer was arrested at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning in the bedroom of a 16-year-old girl, according to the White County Prosecuting Attorneys Office.

"Usually, he's here directing the kids and getting them across the street. That's about it," says Andrew Briggs, who saw Hamilton Riley outside Ahlf Junior High on several occasions.

Riley served as the school resource officer for more than three years, and more than seven on the Searcy Police Department.

News that Riley was arrested in the home of a 16-year-old girl is upsetting to parents.

Briggs explains, "Having a son-in-law for a police officer and having children, it's just not right. It's just not right.

Prosecutors confirm information about an inappropriate relationship was developed only on Monday. Special agents from the state police were brought in. And at 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, those special agents arrested Riley inside the victim's home. By 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, Riley had offered his resignation as an officer with the Searcy Police Department.

White County Prosecutor Chris Raff says, "Anytime you see someone that has the trust and authority that a police officer does, and they are further placed in the position of being the go-to person for children and students, it's really a damning thing. It's a terrible situation. What we are alleging he has done is a terrible thing. And we're going to see that the law punishes him."

Tuesday, students at the school were not told about Riley's arrest. Now shocked parents are finding a way to tell their children their police officer won't be coming back

Briggs says, "Young girls and adults, that's just not the way it is."

Authorities released Riley after he posted a $100,000 bond. His next court appearance is in March

Former Officer Wilbert Jamison Fined in Child Abuse Case

Judge Cole sentenced Wilbert Jamison -- a former Gaffney police officer -- to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine plus one year of probation including 50 hours of community service.

He faced up to 10 years in prison.

Jamison has opted to pay the fine and walked out of court practically a free man.

The victim's mother -- Jamison's ex-wife -- said she is just glad the ordeal is over and glad her son did not have to testify during a trial.

In an exclusive on-camera interview with News Channel 7 after the plea hearing, Jamison said he never hit the boy with a belt as the victim alleged in Jan. 2009.

"I did make him run laps in the backyard as punishment because he had gotten in trouble at school for stealing," said Jamison. "But no abuse took place. I never hand-cuffed him and whipped him with a belt. I feel like this is just going to hurt children who really are victims of abuse."

Jamison says he agreed to plead guilty to the assault and battery high and aggravated charge because "you never know what a jury is going to do."

Former Officer Joshua Wiley Sentenced to 3 Years for Stealing from 89-Year-Old Woman

A Gary, Ind., police officer is sentenced to 3 years on work release after he stole money and a home from an 89-year-old neighbor who suffered from dementia.

Prosecutors say Joshua Wiley knew his neighbor had dementia and Alzheimer's and was not competent to make financial decisions on her own behalf.

Helen Chentnik died in 2006.

Wiley pled guilty to theft back in September. He has to pay restitution to Chentnik's estate and he'll be on probation for 5 years after finishing the work release program.

Detective Raphael Garcia Indicted for Aggravated Assault

A Passaic County sheriff’s officer charged with aggravated assault went to state court in Paterson Tuesday to defend himself against allegations he was reckless when shooting a drug suspect who eluded his pursuit.

The man defendant Raphael Garcia of Haledon shot and wounded in the left arm testified before state Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin that Garcia was in plain clothes, wore no badge and never identified himself as an officer as he walked toward his car “at a fast pace” with gun drawn.

“I thought he was a gang member or something who was trying to rob me,” said Todd De Lucca, 36, of Park Ridge. De Lucca, an unemployed construction worker and printer, said he had driven to the Riverside Terrace Housing Complex at Plesinger Place and 5th Avenue in Paterson on Feb. 27, 2009, about 2:45 p.m. to buy $18 worth of heroin and visit friends.

His account contradicted earlier testimony from a 20-year veteran Passaic County sheriff’s officer, who was on the warrant detail with Garcia that day. He testified that Garcia was clearly wearing his badge when he emerged from the unmarked vehicle they were both in and approached the suspect. Lt. Francesco Lombardo said he saw De Lucca’s vehicle moving forward and then heard a pop.

A grand jury indicted Detective Raphael Garcia on one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault in July. He faces as much as 18 months in state prison if found guilty.

The trial is being held without a jury. The defendant, with the prosecutor’s assent, chose a non-jury trial before state Superior Court Judge Raymond A. Reddin in Paterson.

Garcia was put on modified duty following his indictment in July. County officials said at the time that he was taken off the street and would not carry a weapon pending the case’s outcome.

Garcia is the son of former Passaic County Jail Warden Felix Garcia, who in 2008 announced he was gearing up to challenge Sheriff Jerry Speziale in 2010. The 30-year veteran of the Passaic County Sheriff's Department was embroiled in a wrongful termination lawsuit against Speziale for four years. Speziale fired Garcia in February 2003 for allegedly disregarding department regulations. The litigation was eventually settled.

De Lucca, In explaining his actions, said, “It’s a high-crime, drug-dealing, gang-related area. It’s extremely dangerous.” Thus, when he saw Garcia coming toward him in street clothes and aiming a gun, the last thing he thought was that he was about to be arrested.

“I immediately thought to get the hell out of there, to avoid bodily injury. I hit the gas. But at no time was he in front of my car,” he testified, noting he never aimed the car directly at Garcia. “I heard a bang. The glass in my car shattered on the driver’s side door window.”

At that point, he testified that things got “foggy” and he can’t remember every detail. “I was in a daze,” he said, as he realized he’d been shot in the left arm. He said he heard people screaming at him and only then did they identify themselves as officers.

De Lucca, who was treated for his injury and recovered, was charged and pleaded guilty to drug possession. He is currently serving a two-year probationary sentence. He appeared in court limping and with a cane, explaining that it was due to lower back problems that he has suffered for some 15 years and for which he takes a variety of pain medications.

“If you knew this was a police officer, would you have stopped?” asked Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Di Lella.

“Yes, I would have. I could have avoided a lot of trouble.” He later added: “I know better.”

The defense argues that Garcia was acting in self defense, as DeLucca gunned the car toward him and failed to heed Garcia’s warnings to stop. Under cross examination by defense attorney Robert Galantucci of Hackensack, De Lucca admitted he’d been charged seven times in the past with resisting arrest.

Di Lella strenuously objected to the introduction of that history, as only one of those arrests resulted in a conviction and the other charges were dismissed. Reddin allowed it, however, saying the charge Garcia faces is too serious to discount it as part of his defense.

“So you’re saying these officers came after you and shot you because you bought $18 worth of heroin,” Galantucci said, sounding skeptical.

“Yes,” De Lucca responded, noting he only gunned his engine when he was parallel to – or alongside – Garcia and that he was never driving straight at him.

Former Officer Michael Lohman Preparing to Enter Guilty Plea

A former New Orleans police official is preparing to enter a guilty plea in connection with a federal probe of a deadly police shooting in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, two people familiar with the case said Tuesday.

Former police Lt. Michael Lohman is expected to enter the plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court, and he is cooperating with prosecutors, said the two people. They requested anonymity because the charge would not be announced before his court appearance.

It's unclear what charge he faces because the case hasn't been unsealed. Lohman wasn't one of the seven police officers charged in the shooting on the Danziger bridge several days after Katrina's landfall in August 2005. He helped oversee a department probe of the men's actions.

A lawyer for one of the original defendants said federal investigators have been looking into what they described as a "corrupt investigation" of the fatal shootings of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, and James Brissette, 19.

The Justice Department's civil rights division opened its investigation after a judge threw out state murder and attempted murder charges against the seven in 2008. So far, lawyers for two other officers have identified their clients as targets of the current probe.

Sgt. Robert Gisevius, who was charged in state court with first-degree murder and attempted murder, received a letter informing federal authorities were targeting him. His attorney, Eric Hessler, said the letter accused him of using excessive force and participating in a "corrupt investigation" of the shooting. Hessler defended his client's actions.

"By all accounts, he was involved in a situation where a reasonable person would be in fear for his life," he said.

Steve London, a lawyer for New Orleans police Sgt. Arthur Kaufman, said his client also received a letter informing him he is a target of a federal investigation. The letter doesn't specify why, but Kaufman worked on the department's investigation of the bridge shooting. Kaufman wasn't one of the seven who faced state charges.

London said his client denies any wrongdoing.

"My client is a 30-year police veteran with not one complaint, has received many awards and is considered an exemplary officer," he said.

Lohman, who retired earlier this month, helped supervise the department's investigation of the fatal shootings, said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Donovan Livaccari.

Lohman's attorney, Dylan Utley, and U.S. Attorney Jim Letten wouldn't comment Tuesday.

Police superintendent Warren Riley said, "We hope that justice is served," declining to elaborate.

The case is among several involving New Orleans police in Katrina's aftermath that are being probed by the federal government. The others include the fatal shooting of Danny Brumfield Sr. outside the New Orleans convention center; the death of Henry Glover, whom witnesses claim died in police custody; and the fatal police shooting of a Connecticut man, Matthew McDonald.

Survivors of the Sept. 4, 2005, shootings on the Danziger bridge have said the officers fired at unarmed people who were crossing to get food at a grocery store. Madison and Brissette were shot and killed by police; four other people were wounded.

The officers acknowledged shooting at people on the bridge, but said they did so only after taking fire.

Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. In its aftermath, levees broke, flooding 80 percent of New Orleans. Chaos gripped the city, and looting was reported in some areas. Rescuers sometimes said they thought gunfire was directed at them.

Survivors of the bridge shooting said in civil suits that they were ambushed by the officers who jumped out of the back of a rental truck.

Daniel G. Abel, a lawyer for the Brissette family, said they are grateful for investigators' work on the case.

"This first conviction bolsters their hope that the individuals responsible for these and related crimes will be brought to justice," Abel said.

Gisevius, Sgt. Kenneth Bowen, Officer Anthony Villavaso II and former Officer Robert Faulcon Jr. each faced first-degree murder and attempted murder charges in the case. State district Judge Raymond Bigelow also threw out attempted first-degree murder charges against Officer Mike Hunter Jr. and Officer Robert Barrios and attempted second-degree murder charges against Officer Ignatius Hills.

Faulcon resigned from the police force; the other officers were assigned to desk duty after their indictment.

Reserve Officer Jenna Maldonado Charged with Threatened to Shoot Boyfriend

A reserve police officer has been suspended after, investigators said, she threatened her boyfriend with a firearm.

Jenna Maldonado, 28, is a single mother with four children. As a reserve officer with the Homestead Police Department, she gets paid $1 a year and goes into work when needed, on a voluntary bases but has all the duties of a police officer.

Maldonado turned herself in to police Monday night on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm. She was released on a $5,000 bond Tuesday.

According to Miami-Dade Police, Maldonado was trying to get a hold of her boyfriend on Super Bowl Sunday. When the 28-year-old could not get a hold of him, she went to the boyfriend's friends' house, and that is when, investigators said, she put her gun in her boyfriend's face and threatened to shoot him. Police said some friends were able to subdue Maldonado, and the incident ended peacefully.

Maldonado is the daughter of Linda Bell, who is the former mayor of Homestead. Maldonado's attorney argues that there is politics at play, and calls this a vendetta against the family. "Unfortunately, Ms. Maldonado is being wrongly accused in this circumstance. Not only was she the actual victim here, but she's also the victim of a political vendetta. She's the daughter of the former mayor of the City of Homestead, and there is certainly some ill winds behind these charges," Sean O'Connor said.

Homestead Police said Maldonado is suspended until further notice.

Officer John McCalister Sentenced to Probation for Punching Man

The former Oakwood Public Safety officer who was caught on surveillance tape punching a Dayton man inside a local convenient store while off-duty, was sentenced Tuesday, Feb. 23, to one year of non-reporting probation.

John McCalister was originally charged with misdemeanor assault, but he entered a plea of guilty for disorderly conduct before Dayton Municipal Court Judge John Pickrel sentenced him.

The misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge was the result of an agreement between McCalister’s attorney, Richard Skelton, and the Springfield Prosecutor’s Office, the special prosecutor assigned to the case.

Pickrel also ordered McCalister to pay $42 in restitution to victim Paul Watts and not to have any contact with Watts.

The incident occurred Oct. 14 at the Rite Aid, 1158 Wilmington Ave., after Watts, who was 48 years old at the time, asked McCalister for some change.

Video surveillance, which did not have audio, showed McCalister striking Watts twice without Watts attempting to strike McCalister back.

Watts arrived at the court building on Tuesday but did want to appear in Pickrel’s courtroom, according to Elizabeth Smith, assistant Springfield City Prosecutor.

McCalister’s wife and fellow Oakwood officer Tiffany McCalister witnessed the Oct. 14 event but was not charged.

John McCalister, who for 25 years has served both as a public safety officer and a Dayton firefighter, declined to speak in court.

McCalister resigned from the public safety department in December. Tiffany McCalister, who is a former Dayton police officer, was still listed on Oakwood’s payroll as of Tuesday, Feb. 23. However, Oakwood’s Assistant City Manager Jay Weiskircher said she is expected to resign in April.

Officer Nick Gattermeyer Suspended for High Speed Crash

A West Chester police officer critically hurt in a crash has been punished for his actions leading up to the crash.

West Chester police said Officer Nick Gattermeyer was driving more than 100 mph prior to losing control of his cruiser and crashing into a tree while responding to a burglary call.

Gattermeyer spent several weeks in the hospital and returned to light duty.

West Chester police said Gattermeyer has been suspended for four days without pay for his actions.

Officer Jim Torrez Being Investigated in Shooting Death

The Platteville police officer who is being investigated for his role in the shooting death of a 30-year-old man last month was fired from his previous job as Frederick Police Chief.

In 2006, Frederick's town administrator Derek Todd accused Jim Torrez, 50, of using town resources to run his personal firearms-training business, Tactical Skills Institute, according to a Longmont Times-Call article dated June 20, 2006.

Torrez was terminated on March 20, 2006.

In the article, Todd said he cited Torrez with 12 personnel policy violations. He said some of those were related to his business and some were not. Todd did not elaborate on the other citations.

Torrez had been with the Frederick Police Department since 1993, according to the article. In the article, Todd said, "Many of these violations have taken place for many years."

Torrez is now an officer with the Platteville Police Department.

On Jan. 24 of this year, Torrez shot and killed Matt Herrera in a mobile home park in Platteville.

The shooting occurred after a brief car chase. Torrez told police that Herrera tried to run him over with his car, but Herrera's fiancée, who witnessed the shooting, says Herrera did nothing to provoke Torrez.

The Weld County District Attorney has asked a grand jury to review the report and decide if charges against Torrez are warranted.

He is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Cape Coral Officer Fails to Put Car in Park

A Cape Coral Police Officer responds to a call, gets out of his car, but forgets to put the car in park.

It all started as a disturbance report at the Dek Bar. Witnesses say someone was causing trouble after having one too many drinks. A Cape Coral Police Officer arrived on scene, and soon after, a second came to assist. Witnesses say the second officer got out of his car, closed and locked the door, but there was one little problem - the car was still in drive.

The officer couldn't get back into the car to take control of the wheel, and according to the police report, the runaway cruiser coasted into 4 parked Harley's. Like dominoes, the car collided with bikes 1 and 2, and the momentum from that knocked bikes 1 and 2 into bikes 3 and 4. They all fell onto the blacktop.

Although bar management and witnesses were hesitant to go on camera, one witness sent us several pictures. All four motorcycles had only minor damages, estimated at about $1,000 each, while the damage to the police car is estimated at $500.

The Police Department plans to conduct an administrative review of the incident within the next several days. The city wouldn't give us any more information about the officer.

Council Overrules Mayor to Discuss Officer Frank Carter's Arrest

Melbourne Mayor Harry Goode made a motion tonight to prevent another discussion about officer Frank Carter, but it was overruled by the council, revealing public discontent over the Melbourne police department, and bitter comments between City Manager Jack Schluckebiar and Council Member Joanne Corby .

When she questioned the Schluckebiar on his promise to investigate how race became an issue in the suspension of officer Frank Carter, the fireworks began.

"I believe I can appropriately assign tasks as I deem appropriate" said the city manager. Corby fired back. "I want to make sure that your lack of management and attention to this matter goes on the record

One month ago, officer Frank Carter was arrested for writing bogus tickets on quote "people of color." But two weeks later, the Melbourne Police department backed off their insinuation Carter was racially profiling.

Since then, the issue of his suspension has motivated Carters supporters to vent their anger at the council.

"Put officer Carter back on the payroll and make the community a better place," said resident Mike Kelly.

Gurdy O'Conner, a young African American woman followed. "Officer Carter has been a good mentor in my life and help me purchase my first car. I've always called him and he's always been there for me."

The Fraternal Order of Police, is accusing Melbourne Police Chief Donald Carey of playing politics against union leaders by insinuating officer Carter was racist, and intimidating officers. The matter is being reviewed by the Seminole county state attorney's office, but it is not a formal investigation.

Melbourne resident Bruce Daufort extolled, "If Chief Carey is wrong about the racism issue, what else is he wrong about? I think the council should look into the police chief."

Dale Davis went a step further. "I'm going to call on the Fraternal Order of Police to hold a vote of no confidence on the chief of police, and I'm going to ask the city manager to suspend him without pay, because he doesn't belong here."
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Lafayette Officer on Leave After Video Shows Him Shaking Girl

The Lafayette Police Department has placed an officer on paid administrative leave after a video surfaced that showed him raising his voice and shaking a girl who was being detained.

The video was posted on CNN’s, a site where the public can post their own stories and videos.

The footage was taken Feb. 16, Mardi Gras day, in the downtown Lafayette area and showed several officers handling an incident involving several young people.

The Lafayette Police Department was informed of the incident Feb. 19 at about 5 p.m., according to a news release.

Chief Jim Craft ordered an immediate criminal and administrative investigation into the incident and placed the officer on leave pending the outcome, the release stated.

Cpl. Paul Mouton, spokesman for the department, declined to release the officer’s name.

The department stated that it would offer no further comment until the investigation is complete.

Internal investigations typically take 60 days to complete.

The video was posted Feb. 17 and had garnered more than 2,000 views as of Tuesday afternoon.

The person who posted the video lists his username as “MEspree” and states in the synopsis that the police chased and tackled the teen and then shook her.

Police later attempted to arrest “MEspree” and take his iPhone, which prompted him to ask “Is this Iran?”

The video, which is more than five minutes long and was recorded with an iPhone, does not appear to show officers tackling the girl.

The video shows the girl sitting on the street talking and pointing around when the officer leans over and screams “shut up” repeatedly at her while he shakes her by the shoulders.

Afterward, another officer walks over and handcuffs the girl. She is one of three teens being detained by officers.

The man continues to film officers as they walk the teens through the parade barricades toward nearby police units.

Toward the end of the video, an officer approaches the man behind the camera and asks him if has video of the fight.

The man tells officers that he only has video of the arrest and then adds, “I’ve got a video of somebody tackling a little girl.”

Another officer approaches him and gives him a warning that he’ll be taken to jail if he continues to cause a disturbance.

“You can go ahead and put that in your video,” the officer says. “One more warning and that’s it.”

Afterward, yet another officer approaches and appears to reach for the man’s arm while informing him that he’ll get a receipt for his phone.

“You can’t take my phone,” the man says.

“You want to bet,” the officer says.

The video ends soon after while the two continue to argue over the phone.

Detective Robert DeCarlo Indicted for Beating Handcuffed Man with Flashlight

A Providence police officer was indicted yesterday on charges that he beat a handcuffed man with a flashlight, prosecutors said.

A Providence County grand jury charged Detective Robert DeCarlo with assault with a dangerous weapon and misdemeanor simple assault in the Oct. 20 arrest of Luis Mendonca, 21, who was taken into custody following a chase.

Surveillance video in a Providence parking lot shows police surrounding an apparently handcuffed Mendonca as one officer kicks and strikes him. A lawyer for Mendonca has said his client was in a coma for two days and needed staples to close a gash on his head. Mendonca is in the custody of federal immigration authorities.

“Today’s indictment is a reminder that everybody is the same in the eyes of the law,’’ Attorney General Patrick Lynch said in a statement. Providence Mayor David Cicilline said the alleged actions were unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

DeCarlo, 45, is to be arraigned tomorrow in Providence Superior Court.

DeCarlo’s attorney, Peter DiBiase, said yesterday he had not seen the indictment. But he said the surveillance footage does not show the full story and pointed out that DeCarlo was responding to a dangerous situation at night involving a suspected robber who allegedly assaulted a police officer.

“What you’ve seen in that video does not tell you what was happening for the 20 minutes this suspect was running through the city of Providence and assaulting people and running away from police,’’ DiBiase said. He said the suspect refused police commands to stop fighting and resisting. “None of that is seen on the video,’’ DiBiase said.

Police say Mendonca was stopped by campus police for the Rhode Island School of Design but struck one of the officers and ran away. A group of Providence police officers tracked him down in a parking lot, where his arrest was recorded by a nearby surveillance camera.

DeCarlo is the third Rhode Island officer since December to be charged with beating a suspect.

A Woonsocket police officer, John H. Douglas, is accused of federal civil rights abuses in the alleged assault of a teenager, and Lincoln police officer Edward Krawetz is facing state charges that he kicked a handcuffed woman in the head outside the Twin River slot parlor. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Assault with a dangerous weapon carries a maximum 20-year sentence, while misdemeanor assault is punishable by up to a year in prison.

Deputy Samantha Lewis Being Investigated for Going 100mph in Her Personal Vehicle

A vehicle crash that involved a Brunswick County, N.C., sheriff deputy, who was estimated at going 100 mph in her personal vehicle while off-duty, remains under investigation, according to authorities.

Samantha Lewis, a 24-year-old deputy who has been with the department since August 2007, crashed her 2010 Ford while off-duty about 12:30 a.m. Thursday along U.S. 17 Bypass in Shallotte near Smith Avenue, according to police.

Lewis was traveling south when her vehicle ran off the road, into a ditch and the vehicle overturned several times, according to the report. Lewis was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where she is being treated for her injuries.

The posted speed limit is 60 mph in the area where the crash occurred, but according to the report.

Officers wrote in the report they did not suspect drugs or alcohol in the crash in which Lewis was traveling at an estimated speed of 100 mph.

Shallotte police continue to investigate the crash and charges are pending against Lewis, according to authorities.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram issued a release Tuesday that showed Lewis came upon two on-duty deputies, who had cleared a domestic disturbance call when Lewis drove up next to them and attempted to pass one deputy on the right at a high rate of speed.

Lewis lost control of her vehicle and crashed suffering life threatening injuries, Ingram said in the release. Drag racing was not an issue, according to an internal investigation by the department’s professional standards unit.

“At this time our concern is for the well being of Ms. Lewis,” Ingram said in a release. “Our prayers go out for her and her family and for her recovery.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reserve Officer Gary Lambert Charged with Pointing Weapon

A reserve Wayne police officer finds himself on the other side of the law. Gary Lambert was arrested Saturday in Southwest Oklahoma City after he said he came to his daughter's rescue. Lambert says his daughter Crystal dialed him on her cell phone during a fight with her boyfriend.

She didn't talk, but he said he heard the boyfriend making serious threats.

Lambert said he was scared for her life and rushed over to the apartment with his gun; on the way he dialed 911.

Oklahoma City Police tell us that both Lamberts threatened the boyfriend with a gun.

Crystal and Gary Lambert are charged with pointing a handgun while Teddy Parker is charged with domestic abuse by strangulation.

Gary Lambert said he did what he believes any dad would have done.

"I was acting as a daddy going in there to get his daughter; my child was being murdered in that house and I was going in to get her."

Officer Matthew Sharkey Arrested for DUI After Crashing Into Troopers

An off-duty Philadelphia police officer suspected of driving under the influence injured two state troopers and a tow-truck driver yesterday when his vehicle crashed into a state police car on a shoulder of I-95, authorities said.

Officer Matthew Sharkey, 23, was detained on suspicion of DUI after the accident, which hurt Troopers Matthew Sheeran and Michael Sadowski, state police said. The agency is investigating the crash.

Sheeran was in fair condition at Hahnemann University Hospital, according to a spokesman there.

Sadowski was treated at Hahnemann for cuts and bruises and released. Sharkey also briefly received medical care there. The tow-truck driver was also treated at Hahnemann, but there was no word on his condition.

The accident happened about 3:30 a.m., after the troopers had parked their cruiser behind an abandoned car on northbound I-95 near the Girard Avenue interchange, state police said.

The tow-truck driver had pulled in front of the abandoned car and was underneath it, hooking it up, when Sharkey's car drove through warning flares and hit the back of the cruiser, authorities said.

Sheeran was pinned between the cruiser and the abandoned car. Despite his cuts and bruises, the tow-truck driver crawled out from underneath and pulled the truck forward, freeing Sheeran.

State police did not identify the tow-truck operator, saying only that he worked for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Sharkey was tested for alcohol and drugs, but no results were immediately available. No charges had been filed, and the state police asked witnesses to call 215-560-6200.

Sharkey joined the force in 2007 and has been assigned to the 17th Police District at 20th and Federal Streets in South Philadelphia.

Officer Jason Cortez Runs Through Checkpoint

An off-duty Covington police officer and a woman were critically injured in a car crash early Sunday, police said.

Col. Michael Edmonson of the Louisiana State Police said the single-vehicle crash happened at about 2:10 a.m. on Louisiana Highway 21 in St. Tammany Parish.

Police said Jason Cortez, 26, of Bush, La., was traveling north on LA 21 in a 2008 Ford Mustang when he approached a St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office checkpoint manned by three deputies who were searching for an escaped inmate.

"Cortez came to a stop prior to the checkpoint and was instructed to proceed forward by the deputies, at which time he accelerated and sped through the checkpoint proceeding northbound on LA 21 at a high rate of speed," Edmonson said.

As deputies attempted to catch up with the Mustang to conduct a traffic stop, Cortez failed to negotiate a left curve and ran off the right side of the roadway. The vehicle traveled about 72 feet through a ditch before hitting a culvert and becoming airborne.

"The Mustang rotated counterclockwise and began to overturn when it impacted a utility pole, breaking the pole in half. The vehicle came to a rest upright on its wheels in a ditch on the east side of LA 21," Edmonson said.

Cortez and his passenger, 23-year-old Brittany Thornhill, of Covington, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and were ejected from the vehicle. They were transported to St. Tammany Parish Hospital in critical condition.

Edmonson said authorities believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. Investigators are awaiting the results of a urine and blood sample taken from Cortez, against whom charges are pending.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Trial Begins for Sgt. Michael Tindall Charged with Bank Robbery

A Conroe police officer robbed a local bank two years ago because he had mounting financial problems and used his knowledge about the inner workings of the bank to pull off the crime, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.

Former Conroe police Sgt. Michael Tindall had maxed out all four of his credit cards and had two overdrawn bank accounts when he allegedly robbed the First Bank of Conroe, where he worked as a security guard for 17 years on his off days, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith during opening statements of Tindall's trial in Houston federal court.

A road map of the evidence will show “he prepared for this crime,” Smith said.

Defense attorney Robert Scardino acknowledged Tindall was a bad money manager, but told jurors that the evidence is mostly circumstantial and that investigators failed to look at a suspect known to have robbed several banks in Montgomery County.

Tindall, a 22-year veteran police officer, is accused of robbing the bank on Aug. 11, 2008, stealing more than $28,000. He was arrested by FBI officials March 24, 2009.

Bank employees recognized Tindall as the robber from the video surveillance and the bank senior vice president notified authorities the next day, investigators said.

The video captured the suspect entering the bank shortly before 9:30 a.m., wearing a white motorcycle helmet with a clear visor, aviator-style sunglasses, gloves, a dark jacket or shirt, blue jeans and carrying a black bag. Employees said the suspect had physical characteristics similar to Tindall. A bank teller said the suspect's voice sounded similar to Tindall's voice.
Prosecution evidence

Conroe police officers, after reviewing the video, also said that the suspect walked and used gestures similar to Tindall, investigators said.

Smith said the evidence will show that two days before the crime Tindall rented a Chevrolet Malibu. The vehicle's odometer showed he drove 10 miles, about the same miles it took to drive from the rental car lot to his apartment, then to the bank and back to the rental car lot.

Police records will show that he also used his police radio to monitor traffic to wait for the opportune moment to rob the bank. He turned on the radio 30 minutes before he robbed the bank and turned it off about 30 minutes after the crime, Smith said.

Investigators found a white helmet in Tindall's garage, Smith said.

He also used his inside knowledge of the bank. He demanded the teller open the “bottom drawer” because he knew that's where the bank kept the large bills, the prosecutor said.

Scardino said there were explanations for many of the coincidences described by Smith. He said his evidence will show that Tindall rented the car because his girlfriend was using his car to visit relatives. He used the radio on Aug. 11, his day off, because he wanted to keep tabs on his district, he said.
Explaining details

Scardino acknowledged the evidence will show that Tindall deposited a hot $1,500 check from another account into his account at First Bank of Conroe on Aug. 10 to cover overdrafts. He also acknowledged that Tindall made a $5,000 cash deposit in his account at another bank near his home on the day of the robbery, but that money was a loan from Tindall's parents, not a bank robbery. Besides, Tindall had $150,000 in a retirement account, he said.

He also said that all five tellers at the bank during the robbery each gave different descriptions of the suspect.

In addition, FBI investigators never looked into another potential suspect until two weeks ago.

The man in question is known to have robbed banks in the area and had similar physical characteristics as the robbery suspect.

Homeland Security Officers Have Lost Nearly 200 Weapons

In the first such accounting, Homeland Security officers lost nearly 200 weapons in bowling alleys, restrooms, unlocked cars and other unsecure areas from fall 2005 through 2008, USA TODAY's Thomas Frank reports. At least 15 guns ended up in the hands of gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers.

The report, by Inspector General Richard Skinner, said most weapons were never found. They included hand guns, shotguns and military rifles.

He documented 289 missing firearms, though some were lost after Hurricane Katrina and others were stolen from safes.

DHS has disciplined some offenders and beefed up training.

CNN writes that 179 guns -- 74% of the total -- were lost "because officers did not properly secure them," the report said.

DHS had nearly 190,000 weapons in its inventory as of last summer, the report said. Most are assigned to Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers.

Though the number of lost guns is a tiny fraction, any lost weapon "is a very serious matter," said Hubert Williams, president of the Police Foundation, a think tank on law enforcement issues. "It reflects the competence of the officer."

Read the full report here.

Former Officer Tommy Swint Kills Self

Montgomery County Tree trimmers were working in Jefferson Township when a worker noticed something strange in a trash heap.

Amid the broken furniture and other junk, he saw "a blanket that was formed as a body," he later told Montgomery County sheriff's detectives.

It was Dec. 17, 1991. What he saw was actually a quilt, which had been taped around a woman's body. The woman was nude from the waist down. Under the quilt were two plastic trash bags, one over her legs and one over her head and torso. Those bags were taped together.

The woman had no identification, but wore several pieces of jewelry. Her panties, pants, jacket and shoes were inside the bag over her legs.

Coroner's investigators identified Tina Marie Ivery through her fingerprints. Ivery, 33, a known drug user and prostitute, was strangled. A family member last reported seeing her three days earlier.

There were no suspects. For 16 years, there were no good leads. Then Tommy Swint entered the case.

A review of the Ivery case file reveals that Swint was not the only suspect authorities looked at, but he became the best one. He committed suicide Feb. 3, the same day he was indicted in Ivery's murder.

Swint always wanted to be a police officer. Sworn in as a Trotwood officer on July 16, 2007, he resigned six weeks later after Richmond, Ind., police informed Trotwood officials that Swint was a suspect in the disappearance of Marilyn "Niqui" McCown.

The two had worked together at the Dayton's Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center, a state prison. McCown was last seen at a Richmond Laundromat in July 2001. Her SUV was found four months later at a Harrison Township apartment complex.

The Dayton Daily News reported Swint's resignation in October 2007. A month later, a confidential informant told Dayton police they should look at Swint as a suspect in Ivery's death.

Detectives soon learned that Swint was born in 1966 and raised in Alabama. He joined the Marine Corps in 1986 and was stationed in Japan and Panama. Swint would later admit to having sex with prostitutes in both countries.

In December 1989, he went absent without leave and fled to Dayton, where he had relatives. Swint was arrested and returned to Camp Lejeune, N.C., in June 1990.

In a letter requesting a discharge after his return, Swint wrote that his father never told him that he loved him, that he had experienced significant racism growing up in the South, and that he was the only of his siblings to graduate high school.

"I became a very big celebrity in high school because I was very good in sports," Swint wrote. "My high school loved me and so did my whole town and city."

He also wrote that while he was thankful for the discipline the corps gave him, "I really wanted to be a military police but ended up as a grunt."

The Marines discharged Swint "under other than honorable conditions," according to records. Swint moved back to Dayton.

For the rest of his life, Swint would pursue jobs in security and law enforcement. He applied to the sheriff's office in 2007, but was turned down. He told interviewers he had tried to join the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 1995.

He also told Trotwood interviewers he had applied with Beavercreek, Wright State University, Butler Township and Sinclair Community College police departments. He also admitted to Trotwood that he had pleaded guilty to passing bad checks in 1992.

Several former co-workers of Swint wrote glowing recommendation letters for him. But Trotwood also knew about a 2006 incident in which he received a written reprimand for threatening a female captain at the pre-release center.

"If I have anything to say to you, I will say it in the parking lot," Swint reportedly said. "You don't know who you are missing with. I'm Officer Swint."

But there's no record of Swint telling Trotwood about his AWOL incident or Niqui McCown.

Dayton cold case detectives investigating Swint interviewed his friends and relatives. They shared stories about prostitutes and Swint's visit to a gay club, even though Swint said he hated prostitutes and gays.

Interviewed by police in May 2008, a former girlfriend said Swint had dated Ivery. She also said the blanket Ivery was wrapped in looked familiar to one Swint carried in his car.

Her nephew, who lived with her when Swint was there, told police in April 2009 he remembered seeing a blood trail from the basement window through the grass to the trunk of Swint's car.

The nephew also mentioned a blanket missing from his bed in the basement. Shown a picture of the quilt Ivery was wrapped in, the nephew said it was very similar to the missing blanket.

The Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory had been analyzing DNA evidence long before Swint came to investigators' attention. Records show the lab was running tests by November 2005.

There were four semen stains on the back of Ivery's jacket, and one on the front, but they came from different men. There was also a blood stain on the quilt.

The lab did not have a DNA sample for Swint. But Richmond police had an oral swab from him. In April 2008, they agreed to share the sample with the lab.

In May, the lab matched Swint's DNA to the semen on back of the jacket. Swint also could not be excluded as the source of the blood stain on the quilt. On October 21, 2008, detectives visited Swint at the Harrison Township home he shared with his wife. They showed him a picture of Ivery and the blanket. He denied knowing her or ever seeing the blanket.

Then a lab worker found a partial fingerprint onthe adhesive side of the tape that had been wrapped around Ivery's body. The original investigators missed that in 1992.

By this time, Swint had moved to Alabama. Dayton detectives, working with local law enforcement, got a search warrant to obtain Swint's fingerprints.

After Swint gave his fingerprints, he was again shown a picture of Ivery. Again he denied knowing her, but said he thought she was pretty. The officers asked him if he had killed her and he said no.

Then the officers told him his DNA matched evidence at the scene.

"I have nothing to say about that," Swint said.

After some more discussion about the DNA, Swint ended the interview.

"With all due respect, we need to bring this interview to close," Swint said. "I am sure I will see you again. My attorney would not want me to get into this."

On Nov. 25, the crime lab matched the latent print to Swint's left middle finger. By mid-December, a three-prosecutor panel was reviewing the evidence.

On Feb. 1 and 2, prosecutors presented evidence to the grand jury, which indicted Swint just before noon on Feb. 3. An hour later, Swint shot himself in the head as officers approached his Phenix City, Ala., house.

Tommy Swint took the answers to investigators' questions with him.

Records show the detectives were looking at Swint in other cases. Swint's DNA was tested, but did not match, evidence taken from another prostitute homicide, according to an e-mail Montgomery County Assistant Prosecutor Tracey Tangeman sent to other prosecutors.

They should keep looking, said Art Jipson, a sociologist and director of criminal justice studies at the University of Dayton. Jipson recommended doing "geographical profiling," looking at all unsolved homicides in the areas where Swint lived and worked.

It is common for serial killers to be drawn to careers in law enforcement or the military because they like the idea of using force and having authority over others. However, Jipson said, it's equally common for them to fail in those professions, either because they can't get through the screening processes or because they do not submit well to authority themselves.

"Everything you're telling me raises the hackles on the back of my neck," Jipson said. "This guy really fits the profile."


Information from: Dayton Daily News,