Thursday, January 21, 2010

Officer Charles Wells Arrested on Drug Charges

A Jacksonville police officer arrested on multiple drug-related charges by the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office has been fired following an internal investigation by the Jacksonville Police Department.

Initially, a Jan. 4 drug raid conducted by the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office netted not only Jacksonville officer Charles Wells, but his wife, Melissa Wells, at their Cabot home.

Both were arrested and then taken to the Lonoke County Detention facility. A narcotics investigation prompted the search warrant, officials say.

The couple was arrested on nine misdemeanor counts of possession of a prescribed medicine without a prescription and one felony count of possession of a prescribed medicine without a prescription, according to a press release from the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office.

The press release reads, “Located and seized at the residence were numerous bottles of prescription medication in various names.” Some of the prescription medication allegedly belonged to deceased individuals.

The day after the Wells’ arrest, Jacksonville Police Department public information officer, Capt. Kenny Boyd, said Wells was on leave pending an internal investigation. Boyd said Wells has worked for the department since 1998.

That investigation uncovered several allegations and Boyd said on Wednesday, Jan. 13, that Wells had been fired the day before.

Documents released Jan. 13 by the department revealed that Wells had warrants listing both theft of property and abuse of power offenses issued against him by the Jacksonville District Court. Around 4 p.m. of the same day, Wells turned himself in at the police station in downtown Jacksonville. Wells was then arrested on one misdemeanor count each of theft of property and abuse of office. Bail for his second arrest was set at $1,000.

The incident uncovered during the investigation apparently took place Feb. 5, 2009. One of the documents released by the department alleges two officers, one identified as Wells, had responded to a Madison Street residence in reference to a deceased person. A witness told the other officer that the woman had refused to go to the emergency room at 5 a.m. and she was found unresponsive at 2:30 p.m. That woman had been treated for cancer for about five years.

A funeral home was summoned to the scene and medications prescribed to the woman were collected and listed on the report as destroyed, police say. Those medications included Gabapentin, Spironolactone, Ondanesetron and Clonidine.

During a Jan. 11 search of Wells’ home, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported finding five bottles of prescription medication in the name of the deceased woman.

Those medications were identified as Gabapentin, Spironolactone, Ondansetron and Clonidine. Gabapentin may prevent migraine headaches as well as being used to relieve pain. Spironolactone is a diuretic. Ondansetron is given to patients undergoing chemotherapy to lessen nausea. Clonidine treats various medical conditions ranging from insomnia to Tourette Syndrome.

On Jan. 11, the other officer who responded to Madison Street residence advised that the medicine had been placed into two plastic bags and “Sgt. Wells stated [to the officer] that he would take the medicine to the PD [Jacksonville Police Department] and destroy it.”

Wells had been promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2004 but in 2009 he was demoted to the position of officer, Boyd said.

Officer Nikia Adams Arrested for Being Cruel to Animals

A call to the St. John animal shelter for help to remove a dead dog has landed a New Orleans police officer behind bars.

Nikia Adams was arrested Thursday for allegedly being cruel to animals. St John Parish deputies say Adams was arrested after two of her dogs were found earlier this week severely malnourished.

The St. John animal shelter called deputies after going to Adam’s home Tuesday to help with the removal of a deceased pet.

Adams is now out on bond.

Officer Charles Henderson Charged with Pulling Weapon During Altercation While Off-Duty

An off duty Canton Police Officer is accused of pulling his gun on a man during an altercation outside a restaurant. Officer Charles Henderson faces a misdemeanor charge for the threatening behavior.

“It’s always disappointing anytime any of our officers is focused on in a negative manner,“ said Canton Police Chief Vickie McNeill. “That’s hurtful to the department, but we’ll deal with it. He is a part of our department. We’ll look at every side of it and make a decision based on that.“

Yazoo City Police say Henderson got into a scuffle with a man at the Rib Eye Steak House in Yazoo City. When the fight heated up they went outside, and Henderson reportedly pulled his gun on the man.

The Canton Police Chief says Henderson has been taken off the streets and is doing desk duty until the case is heard in justice court.

The chief says officers are not allowed to carry their guns off duty.

“This situation came as a surprise to us,“ said Chief McNeill. “Before we can make a call one way or the other, we first must know the investigative report details.“
Chief McNeill says because he faces only a misdemeanor charge and not a felony, even if he is convicted there’s a good chance he won’t won’t lose his job over it.

“I realize that there are gonna be shortcomings here and there because humans are still human beings,“ said Chief McNeill. “And you can’t make them be anything else other than that.“

The chief says Henderson has been an officer with the Canton Police Department for about three years.

Officer Stephen Mitchell Charged with Rape

Pc Stephen Mitchell, an officer with Northumbria police, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address during the brief hearing at Newcastle magistrates’ court.

Mitchell, 41, has been charged with six offenses of rape, two of sexual assault, 16 of indecent assault and 19 of misconduct in a public office.

The allegations involve 19 people are said to have taken place between 1999 and 2007.

He was remanded in custody until Thursday, when his solicitor is expected to make an application for bail.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Mitchell, who has

served in the Newcastle and Northumberland area commands, was arrested in

Glasgow on Monday and taken back to the North East.

He appeared in court yesterday flanked by two officers and wearing jeans, a white t-shirt and black sweatshirt.

An IPCC spokesman added: "This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with information which they feel could be relevant to the inquiry is asked to contact Northumbria Police.

A spokesman for Northumbria police said that Mitchell, from Whitley Bay, was suspended last year.

The alleged victims are believed to have been suspected criminals, drug addicts and homeless women.

His arrest came following a year-long investigation by Northumbria Police's Professional Standards Department, under the management of the IPCC.

Two New York Officers Suspended After Video Shows Them Striking Handcuffed Man

Two New York City police officers were suspended without pay after a video surfaced showing them striking a handcuffed man this month in the Bronx, officials said Thursday. The video was shot after a failed undercover drug operation during which two other officers were wounded when they were hit in a ricochet of shots fired at a charging pit bull.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the Bronx district attorney’s office and the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau were investigating but had not determined if the officers would face criminal charges.

“If you see this film, you see a prisoner who is handcuffed, who is laying on his face, and he is struck by a uniformed officer,” Mr. Kelly said. “We simply are never going to tolerate something like that; we’re going to take swift and firm action when we see activities of that nature.”

Police officials identified the two officers, both from the 52nd Precinct, as William Green, 26, who joined the force in 2005, and John Cicero, 28, who became an officer in 2008.

Mr. Kelly said two supervisors on the scene had been placed on modified assignment, but he declined to say if anyone else would be disciplined. Police officials identified the disciplined supervisors as Sgt. Junior Carela of the 52nd Precinct and Sgt. Phillip Connor of the 50th Precinct.

“They were in the vicinity and either should have known or, at a minimum, reported the fact that this had happened,” a law enforcement official said of the sergeants. He did not want to be quoted by name because the investigation was continuing.

The official said it was unlikely the investigation would be broadened to include other officers who were outside a residential building on Davidson Avenue when the undercover drug operation fell apart on Jan. 5.

Officers Green and Cicero were suspended within 24 hours after a video of the two men hitting the man — filmed by a civilian from an apartment window — was given to the Internal Affairs Bureau by investigators from the district attorney’s office, officials said.

Jeffrey L. Emdin, a lawyer for the handcuffed man, said he gave the footage to prosecutors at the end of last week.

Officials identified the handcuffed man as Jonathan Baez, 24, of the Bronx. Mr. Baez was initially charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest, but the charges have been dropped. It was unclear what role, if any, he played in the events that occurred after the undercover drug operation fell apart.

Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, declined to characterize the nature of the investigation.

“We are aware of allegations concerning this videotape and this beating, and we are investigating it,” he said.

Albert W. O’Leary, a spokesman for Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, declined to comment on the matter.

The events began about 8 p.m. as officers were chasing a suspect as part of the undercover investigation. During the chase, one officer fired at a pit bull that charged them; a bullet ricocheted and injured two other officers. The police said they did not believe that Mr. Baez released the pit bull.

Mr. Emdin said the videotape suggested that other officers should be investigated “and perhaps arrested.”

“There is no shock among the officers,” Mr. Emdin said. “There is no sign of outrage by any officers who witnessed it, who heard the cries for help. In fact, they just look as if it was business as usual.”

Officer Richard Leese Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Clarksville Police Department officer was arrested for driving under the influence on Macedonia Road in an incident early this morning.

Richard Allen Leese, 27, of Dover, was arrested at 1495 Macedonia Road by Deputy Jim Sanders of the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.

Sanders and Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Eddie Forrest responded to a complaint that someone who was possibly drunk had wrecked a truck into the yard at a Macedonia Road residence.

The Sheriff’s Department officers were allegedly greeted by Leese holding out his badge as he told them that he was an officer with the Clarksville Police Department.

Leese allegedly told officers that he had drank three beers between 6 and 7:30 p.m. and said he thought it was about 9 p.m., when it was actually 2:20 a.m.

After failing a field sobriety test, Leese refused to to take a breathalyzer test and was arrested and charged with violation of implied consent and driving under the influence. He was placed in a safe area in the jail pending his bond because of his status as a Clarksville police officer.

Bond was set at $1,500; he is scheduled to appear Feb. 23 in Henry County General Sessions Court.