Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lt. Ronald Netter Has Service Weapon Stolen for the Third Time

Authorities are searching for a D.C. police lieutenant’s service weapon that went missing after a carjacking in Prince George’s County, multiple police sources said.

Veteran police officer Lt. Ronald Netter told investigators that his weapon was stolen while his vehicle was stopped late Wednesday near Temple Hills, law enforcement sources told The Examiner.

Police used K-9 units Wednesday night and Thursday to try sniff out the missing gun.

A teenage boy has been taken into custody in the case, police said. The teenager denied stealing the gun and said he knew Netter personally, said police sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

The loss of his gun could be a problem for Netter because this is the third time he has lost his service weapon, according to two sources within the Metropolitan Police Department.

Around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Netter called Prince George’s County police from a 7-Eleven convenience store on the 5400 block of Silver Hill Road in Temple Hills to say that he had been carjacked by a black male, according to Prince George’s police Officer Henry Tippett. Netter said the suspect took off with his 1995 gold Lexus and was armed with a handgun. Police sent out a K-9 unit and found the suspect but had not found the car as of late Thursday, Tippett said.

Police officers are responsible for their service weapons and can be terminated for losing them through improper safekeeping or making poor personal choices.

The teenager was going to be charged in the carjacking, police said.

Netter had recently been transferred from a top manager in the 6th District in Southeast Washington, where he was lauded by Hillcrest residents . He now heads up the central cellblock, the jail in the basement at downtown police headquarters.

Before working on the other side of the Anacostia, he had been a sergeant in the 5th District in Northeast Washington.

Officer Misty Chandler Terminated After Drug Investigation

Termination processes have been started for Catoosa Police Officer Misty Chandler in the wake of a federal drug investigation.

The Catoosa Police Department and Catoosa City Hall have been in the spotlight after seven arrest warrants were issued Thursday following a five-month long drug investigation.

The News On 6 has learned Chandler was also a target in that investigation. Her court case is to be scheduled within the next 72 days.

Catoosa Assistant Police Chief Paul Whitmire, who's been on paid suspension since shortly after the investigation began, arrived at the police station Thursday after receiving a phone call informing him he'd been indicted for obtaining prescription painkillers illegally. U.S. Marshals were waiting for him.

Officer Anthony McFadden Accused of Inappropriate Convesations with Teen

State police at Hazleton arrested a Weatherly police officer Friday and charged him with unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors.

Full-time Weatherly police Officer Anthony James McFadden, 49, of Main Street, Weatherly, engaged in inappropriate telephone conversations with a 15-year-old girl for more than a month, according to troopers.

State police in Hazleton said they received a complaint on Oct. 30 that McFadden took part in phone calls described Friday in arrest papers as "phone sex" with the girl.

McFadden's cell phone log listed 171 calls with the juvenile's home telephone number between Sept. 24 and Nov. 2, according to arrest papers. One call lasted 144 minutes, state police said.

The calls were sexually explicit, and the girl understood her and McFadden to be "boyfriend and girlfriend," arrest papers said.

The state police investigation into the allegations began about two months ago, and McFadden has been on suspension with pay since then.

Charges were filed Friday with District Judge Bruce Appleton in Palmerton. McFadden was arraigned before Appleton and bail was set at $20,000 unsecured. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Weatherly Mayor Tom Connors called the charges "disgusting."

"It's just a shame," he said.

Connors said the borough will take a closer look at its police department to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. He also cautioned the public not to hold the actions of one officer against the entire force.

Weatherly Borough Council began hearing complaints about some members of the department last year, including those involved in an alleged drug raid of a home based on statements made by a 7-year-old at his school. Then-police Chief Gary Veasie resigned after that incident and moved out of state to take another police job.

Council appointed Brian Markovchick as the new chief in November. Since then, council has praised his work in trying to regain the confidence of borough residents.

Markovchick said he could not comment on the allegations against McFadden while the officer was under investigation.

Rookie Officer Stacy Lavon Moved to Different Jail for Safety Reasons

A rookie Hereford police officer accused of trying to hire someone to burglarize and burn down a Randall County home has been moved to another jail.

Stacy Lavon Conway, 24, remained in custody Friday at the Potter County jail on a $50,000 bond, charged with the second-degree felony criminal solicitation. She is accused of attempting to hire an undercover Amarillo police officer, who was posing as a criminal, to burglarize and then torch the home where two Randall County Sheriff's Office employees live.

Conway had been housed at the Randall County jail.

Randall County Chief Deputy David Thurman said the decision was made to move Conway because some of the people involved in the matter work for Randall County.

"Just for everybody's safety and security, we felt it prudent to house her somewhere else," he said.

Former Corrections Officer Robert Fuentes Sentenced to ONE Year for Accident that Killed Motorcyclist

A former corrections officer who ran a red light and killed a motorcyclist in Albuquerque has been sentenced to a year in prison.

A judge imposed the sentence on 39-year-old Robert Fuentes for one count of leaving the scene of an accident under a plea bargain prosecutors offered because they would have a difficult time proving Fuentes was driving.

The former jail corrections officers reportedly ran several red lights at speeds up to 90 mph before hitting a motorcycle driven by 48-year-old Paul Souther on April 20, 2008. Souther died at the scene, and Fuentes didn't turn himself in until the next day.

Souther's family objected to the deal, asking Judge Neil Candelaria to reject it at Friday's sentencing. Candelaria ordered Fuentes to serve the year sentence in full.

Information from: KRQE-TV,

Officer Charles Cooper Charged With Taking Money Instead of Making Arrest

Delhi police officer Charles Cooper, 32, was arrested Friday, charged with taking money and sexual favors in lieu of making arrests.

Cooper was booked at the Richland Parish Detention Center on Friday with no bond set.

The arrest followed a three-month investigation by Louisiana State Police and the Richland Parish Sheriff's Office. In a prepared statement, state police said Richland Sheriff Charles McDonald had requested their assistance in the case after receiving complaints and hearing of allegations about the officer.

State police said the investigation was continuing.

Neither Delhi's mayor nor state police immediately returned phone calls about the investigation or the arrest.

Delhi's police department has had a troubled recent history.

Last April, an administrative assistant was arrested in connection with a charge related to prescription drugs.

In 2006, former Delhi Police Chief Gregg McKinney was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of simple arson. He had been accused of intentionally burning part of the police station to hide what prosecutors said was evidence of his own crimes.

Former Officer David Reveille Sentenced to 2 Years for Forcing Prostitute to Have Sex While on Duty

Former Gainesville police officer David Reveille was sentenced Friday to two years in prison on charges related to sexual activity with prostitutes while he was on duty.

The sentence by Circuit Judge Ysleta McDonald follows the terms of an agreement in which Reveille pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault with intent to commit the felony of sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, one count of official misconduct and two counts of battery.

Reveille was arrested last year on charges that included multiple counts of sexual battery.

Credit for 324 days Reveille has served in the Alachua County jail will reduce his time in prison.

"No one is above the law," Police Chief Tony Jones said of the sentencing when contacted by The Sun. "He went through the system and got his just desserts for his action."

Also, Reveille will serve 13 years' probation and will be prohibited from going into areas known for prostitution and from having pornographic material. He also must undergo a mental health/sexual deviance risk assessment.

Reveille, who has lost considerable weight since he was fired from GPD in late 2008, said nothing at the sentencing.

His wife, Sandi, said afterward, "It will be all right in the end."

GPD fired Reveille after an internal investigation concluded that he "used his official position as a law enforcement officer to obtain sexual favors."

One case involved a woman who police said Reveille handcuffed, took to a marked patrol car and threatened with arrest if she didn't perform a sex act.

Reveille was charged with eight counts of sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, one count of official misconduct and two counts of battery.

Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the plea agreement meets the goals of having Reveille serve prison time and the loss of his career. Mann added it also saves the victims from having to testify.

"It accomplishes multiple things for us," Mann said. "He is going to get some prison time and long-term probation with sex offender sanctions. He loses his law enforcement certification."

Reveille's attorney, Gloria Fletcher, said afterward she believes the sentence was a good resolution to a difficult case.

"Law enforcement is no different than news reporters, lawyers, doctors - we all make mistakes and we all make choices that we'd like to redo. I'm not suggesting that he made a mistake. I am suggesting that he would choose not to be in this situation," Fletcher said.

Reveille recently suffered facial injuries in a scuffle with another inmate at the Alachua County jail. Fletcher expressed concern to McDonald over whether his treatment for those injuries had progressed enough to make it safe to turn him over to the state Department of Corrections.

A doctor on the case was summoned to court and after talking with her, McDonald said she felt comfortable proceeding with the sentencing.

Reveille's case was one of several involving city police officers in the past few years that created image problems for the agency and were termed an embarrassment by former Chief Norman Botsford.

Ex-Cpl. Bill Billings pleaded no contest to felony charges of scheme to defraud and official misconduct in June. He later admitted in court that he paid women for sex while on duty.

Meanwhile, two GPD officers admitted to the off-duty harassment of prostitutes in certain neighborhoods, including throwing eggs at them.
Other Information

Former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Charged with Murder Appears in Court

More than 100 protesters demanding justice for a Bay Area man shot to death by a BART police officer on New Year's Day last year converged on a downtown Los Angeles courthouse today for the first proceedings since the racially charged case was moved here from Alameda County.

Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the Bay Area Rapid Transit police force a week after the shooting he admits to but contends was unintentional, will stand trial for murder before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry in May, the judge said at his pretrial hearing.

Perry prolonged a gag order issued by an Alameda County judge prohibiting either side in the case from discussing it in public. He also rejected a request from Bay Area broadcasters to allow televised coverage of the trial in light of the intense public interest in the shooting death that provoked three days of rioting that damaged dozens of Oakland businesses.

Perry said his experience of high-profile trials is that allowing cameras in the courtroom "is detrimental to the search for truth and justice." The judge said he would prohibit cellphones, texting, the use of laptop computers and all other means of recording or transmitting the proceedings when the trial begins in mid-May.

Mehserle, 28, has received death threats, as have his family and attorneys, posing a risk to the safety of witnesses who might testify on his behalf, Perry said in denying broadcast coverage of the proceedings for the benefit of Bay Area residents unable to travel to Los Angeles for the trial.

Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, told the court that his client wasn't contesting the cause of death in the Jan. 1, 2009, slaying of Oscar J. Grant III at Oakland's Fruitvale station. What is at issue in the case, Rains said, is the former officer's "intent" in the incident. It is rare for a police officer to be charged with murder in an on-duty shooting due to the qualified immunity accorded law enforcement.

Many of the protesters who picketed the courthouse traveled from the Bay Area to hoist placards demanding justice for Grant, the 22-year-old Hayward man shot to death as BART officers were trying to subdue a trainload of unruly New Year's revelers.

Dozens of witnesses reported seeing the white officer shoot Grant, who is black, including some who captured the killing on cellphone cameras.

Mehserle told Alameda County authorities at preliminary court proceedings that he was reaching for his stun gun and accidentally drew his revolver instead.

"There are thousands of Oscar Grants everyday," Hannibal Shakur, a 23-year-old Oakland student making a documentary about the victim, said in front of the crowd outside the courthouse.

"It was a shame. It was a clear murder," Shakur said. "Young brothers get killed by the police everyday. I'm guessing (Mehserle) won't be held accountable. L.A. has a history. If they wanted to give us justice, they could have done that in Oakland."

The trial was moved to Southern California because of the high publicity surrounding the case in the Bay Area.

Officer Johnny Rodriguez Now Accused of Stealing Boots

A Dallas police officer once fired – and subsequently reinstated – over accusations that he stole tires from the police auto pound is in trouble again after being accused of pilfering the belongings of a fellow law enforcement officer.

Officer Johnny Rodriguez, 33, was placed on leave this week as the Dallas Police Department's public integrity unit investigates an allegation that he took a pair of boots owned by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper this week.

"There has been a complaint referred to us," said Assistant Chief Ron Waldrop, who oversees the department's investigations bureau. "We're investigating it, and we haven't come to any conclusions."

Rodriguez was already working under a cloud. When he was hired in 2002, he had been accused of stealing at his previous job, as a campus officer at Mountain View College. He was eventually cleared.

Rodriguez declined to comment about the latest incident and referred all questions to his attorney, John Haring. Reached Friday, Haring also declined to comment.

According to police officials, in the latest incident, the trooper left new boots with a jail trusty to be shined. When the trooper returned, the boots were gone. The trusty told authorities that a Dallas officer, subsequently identified as Rodriguez, had come by, wanting his shoes shined.

The trusty told authorities that he indicated to the officer that he needed boots that looked like the ones he was shining because those boots look better polished. The officer then left with the trooper's boots, officials said.

Rodriguez has denied stealing the footwear, police said.

In June 2006, Police Chief David Kunkle fired Rodriguez after internal investigators concluded he had taken a set of tires from the auto pound.

According to court records, a thief took four tires and four rims worth about $4,000 from a stolen vehicle at the police auto pound in April 2005. The victim later saw what he thought were his tires offered for sale on eBay.

A civilian employee told detectives that she had seen Rodriguez leaving the pound with two tires and rims from the stolen vehicle. Police also obtained cellphone records showing that he was in daily contact with the woman who had the tires placed on eBay.

Rodriguez denied the allegations, and a grand jury twice declined to indict him.

About six months after his firing, an administrative law judge ordered the city to reinstate Rodriguez with full back pay and benefits.

The order included no explanation of the reasoning behind the decision, which still bothers Kunkle.

"There was no way in the world that all this stuff could have happened without him being involved in the theft," Kunkle said Friday. "Out of all the disciplinary appeals and all the decisions, this was the one that most surprised and disappointed me."

The Rodriguez decision was among the last of a string of controversial police officer reinstatements. Since then, administrative law judges have become far less likely to give officers their jobs back, in part because of intense media attention and a stiffening of the rules in the city charter.

His case may also be indicative of another previous problem: flawed hiring practices that brought in officers with questionable pasts.

Employment records show a co-worker at Mountain View accused Rodriguez of stealing a big-screen television and taking tests from the school's testing center in 2002, shortly before his hiring as a Dallas police officer. Mountain View investigators cleared him of the allegation, and his supervisors recommended that Dallas hire him.

Since his 2007 reinstatement, Dallas police commanders have kept Rodriguez off the streets, assigning him first to the communications unit and later to the jail. He has also been suspended from working off-duty jobs.

Rodriguez recently requested a transfer back to patrol, but supervisors denied the request because Dallas County prosecutors informed them that Rodriguez could not testify in court proceedings.
More Information

Constable Kevin Gregson Charged with Murder

The man accused of stabbing Ottawa Police Constable Eric Czapnik to death last week showed up on the doorstep of the Ottawa-area home of RCMP Commissioner William Elliott last year, the Ottawa Citizen has learned.

The Citizen has also learned that RCMP Constable Kevin Gregson, now charged with first-degree murder, was later instructed at an Ottawa disciplinary hearing in November to quit the national police force within two weeks or be fired.

"The RCMP can confirm Const. Gregson did go to the commissioner's home to drop off some material, without incident. This was in violation of one of the conditions of his earlier suspension, which was to not attend the home of any employee of the RCMP without being specifically invited," Sergeant Pat Flood said in a statement to the Citizen. The force would not say when Const. Gregson went to the commissioner's home.

"A disciplinary hearing on violations of the conditions of his suspension was held in November 2009 in Ottawa under the RCMP code of conduct.

"The board directed Const. Gregson to resign from the force within 14 days or be dismissed. He appealed that ruling," Sgt. Flood said. The appeal has not been heard.

Const. Gregson, 43, told his parents about the visit he paid to the RCMP commissioner's home, the Citizen has also learned.

The Citizen has learned that Const. Gregson visited his parents, who live in Gloucester, an Ottawa suburb, in the hours before the stabbing.

Const. Czapnik, 51, was attacked at 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 29 as he wrote notes from his final call -- an alleged sex assault on a librarian -- in his cruiser outside the emergency department of the Ottawa Hospital's Civic campus.

Four paramedics -- three women and one man -- were busy filling out reports from their night's calls when they saw the struggle and intervened.

The attacker raised his bloody knife to slash a paramedic when a female paramedic grabbed his arm and kicked him, downing the attacker.

Const. Gregson is in an Ottawa jail awaiting trial.