Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Corrections Officer Ryan Freeman Charged with Unauthorized Use of Database

A corrections officer in the Mahoning County Sheriff's department who is also a Braceville police officer is arrested for misusing a law enforcement computer.

Thirty-year-old Ryan Freeman of Warren is charged with unauthorized use of the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway and obstructing justice.

He allegedly used the system improperly to search records in a heroin distribution investigation.

During that investigation, TAG Law Enforcement officers arrested 39-year-old Frederick Johnson and 26-year-old Brandy Purbaugh of Warren.

TAG Agents along with Warren police recovered a bag containing heroin, four ounces of cocaine and a firearm.

Deputy Javier Hinojosa Arrested for DWI for the Third Time

Police arrested a senior deputy constable Saturday after he allegedly lost control of his pickup truck and collided with a car driven by an elderly couple.

It was his third DWI arrest in three years.

Alamo police arrested Javier Hinojosa on driving while intoxicated and intoxication assault charges Saturday evening after he allegedly lost control of his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and collided nearly head-on with the elderly couple’s car.

Saturday’s DWI arrest is the second in about four months for Hinojosa — he has an August 2009 DWI case pending in Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 5.

Precinct 2 Constable Gilbert “Chato” Alaniz said he suspended Hinojosa for one week without pay after the DWI arrest last year.

Hired in June 2005, Hinojosa serves as senior deputy constable for Alaniz, who said he has been unable to talk with Hinojosa. The constable said he would conduct his own investigation into the matter to determine Hinojosa's job status.

“Something is going to be done, believe me,” Alaniz said. “Something is definitely going to be done.”

In his latest arrest, Hinojosa, 45, was driving on the 300 block of East Business 83 in Alamo about 6:50 p.m. Saturday when he allegedly lost control of his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, veered into the oncoming lanes of traffic and collided with a passenger car driven by an elderly couple, said Alamo Police Chief Arturo Espinoza.

“It looks like he went into the oncoming traffic and they collided almost head-on,” the chief said.

Hinojosa’s 12-year-old son was riding in the pickup truck with him at the time. The boy was transported to an area hospital for observation along with the elderly couple, Espinoza said. The couple, both who are in their 70s, remained hospitalized in serious condition Monday.

Hinojosa, of Edinburg, refused to provide a field sobriety test, Espinoza said.

Oddly, Hinojosa was taken to three different hospitals — Edinburg Regional, McAllen Medical Center and Rio Grande Regional Hospital — and no blood was drawn because he refused to provide submit to a blood test, Espinoza said.

State law requires anyone arrested for driving while intoxicated who is involved in an accident that causes “serious bodily injury” or death to provide a blood specimen.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra said he has never encountered a situation where a person arrested on intoxication assault or manslaughter charges did not provide a blood sample — and the hospital complies with a suspect’s request.

“No one has ever had an issue,” Guerra said.

Police did not try to obtain a search warrant, which would have forced Hinojosa to submit to the blood test because it was the weekend, and whatever alcohol or drugs he may have consumed had left his system, the chief said.

“We didn’t go that route as to try and get a warrant on him,” Espinoza said. “We’re going with a refusal” to submit to a blood or breath sample.

Hospital officials could not be reached for comment after business hours Monday.

Hinojosa was formally charged with intoxication assault and driving while intoxicated with a child passenger during an arraignment Sunday in Alamo Municipal Court. Bond was set at $150,000.

“It’s troubling to us when those entrusted with upholding the law don’t,” said Ana Verley, a local victims’ advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. “It’s sad and disappointing that these things happen and innocent people keep getting hurt.”

Records detailing Hinojosa’s career before he was hired by the Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Constable Office were unavailable Monday.

An open records request with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education, which maintains peace officers’ career histories, was not immediately returned Monday afternoon.

Hinojosa was also arrested in January 2006 on DWI charges that were dismissed by Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 5 later that year, court records state. Alaniz said he did not suspend Hinojosa at that time because he was not convicted.

Hinojosa had a DWI arrest dismissed from Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 2 in September 2003. He also had assault charges dropped in Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 1 in March 2002.

Hinojosa remained at the Hidalgo County Jail on Monday. Intoxication assault is a third degree felony that has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine upon conviction. Driving while intoxicated with a child passenger is a state jail felony that has a maximum sentence of two years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

Hinojosa is not Alaniz’s only deputy to have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

In October 2007, Hidalgo County Precinct 2 chief deputy constable Sergio Hinojosa — Javier’s younger brother — was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated in San Juan. That case was dropped in Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 1 in May 2008 due to insufficient evidence. Alaniz said he fired Sergio Hinojosa after his DWI arrest.

With the latest DWI arrest, Alaniz would not say whether he intends to dismiss Hinojosa. Regardless, the constable said he plans on another suspension for his senior deputy.

“What can I say? We all do mistakes that we regret later on in life,” Alaniz said. “It’s sad, but what can we do about it?

“What’s done is done, my friend.”

Officer Bruce Jacobs Arrested for Murder

A Marion County special deputy and code enforcement officer was arrested Friday in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor in August.

Bruce Jacobs, 53, called 911 on Aug. 19 to report that he had just shot Edward Light, 48, near 20th Street and Forest Manor Avenue.

Light was pronounced dead in Jacobs' back yard.

"We received a call from his (Jacobs) home address, stating that he'd been attacked by his neighbor," said Indianapolis police Sgt. Paul Thompson. "At some point ... he felt it necessary to use deadly force, that being a firearm. He fired several shots at his neighbor, which resulted in his death."

At first it was believed that Light had attacked Jacobs with a chainsaw, but police said further investigation revealed that the chainsaw was not directly involved in the fatal shooting.

Investigators said in 2009 that Light might have damaged Jacobs' property with a chainsaw earlier in the day and that Jacobs told them he acted in self defense.

Jacobs, who was off duty at the time of the shooting, was questioned by police in August, but was never charged.

Neighbors told 6News' Sarah Cornell that Light had lived in his Forest Manor house for years and that after his father died, leaving him alone in the home, Jacobs began bullying him.

“Ed Light told me at lunch about a month before his killing that he feared for his life and that soon, he or the neighbor would be dead," said neighbor Craig Livers. "A month later, he was."

Police arrested Jacobs at his home on Friday on a preliminary charge of murder. If convicted, he could face up to 65 years in prison.

Jacobs had been suspended without pay since the shooting.

Vancouver Officer No Longer On Patrol After Arrest

One of two Vancouver police officers being investigated after a controversial arrest last Thursday is no longer on patrol.

He has been assigned to desk duty.

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has been advised of the move.

Police Chief Jim Chu offered a personal apology to 44-year-old Yao Wei Wu after he was roughed up by police who went to the wrong address while investigating a domestic violence complaint.

Wu had to be taken to hospital to have facial injuries treated.

He didn't know the plainclothes officers were police because he doesn't speak English.

He also says he didn't resist them because they had guns.

Judicial Services Officer Julis Wardley Arrested for Assaulting Woman

Investigators with the Richland County Sheriff's Department say Judicial Services Officer Julius R. Wardley was arrested Wednesday after deputies say he assaulted a female victim.

Deputies say they responded to Providence Northeast Hospital where they found a woman with several facial injuries. At that point, Sheriff Leon Lott ordered an investigation, and deputies found that Wardley had assaulted the victim during an altercation.

Lott says Wardley was terminated after the investigation.

Wardley was detained at the Richland County jail but the jail's website no longer lists him as a detainee.

Sgt George Chong Accused of Using Excessive Force

A veteran Victoria police officer has been suspended with pay and is the subject of criminal and Police Act investigations after a man was assaulted in police cells, Chief Jamie Graham announced Monday.

On Jan. 15, a 33-year-old man was arrested for violating court conditions and taken to the cells in the Victoria police headquarters on Caledonia Avenue. The sergeant monitoring the cells — identified as Sgt. George Chong — is accused of using force against the man, although the reasons for doing so were not made clear at a news conference yesterday.

“During the booking-in process, an incident occurred and the prisoner received injuries that required hospital treatment,” Graham said during a news conference.

That has led to an allegation of assault against Chong, who might have violated the department’s use-of-force policy.

Provincial cabinet minister Ida Chong confirmed that her brother is the subject of the complaint.

“It’s very troubling for all of us, for him and his family,” she said in a phone interview Monday. “I can only wish the matter is dealt with quickly.”

This is not the first time Chong, who is in his late 40s, has been investigated by the department.

He pleaded guilty to an off-duty assault that occurred in June 2008, which resulted in a written reprimand from Victoria police. A provincial court judge handed Chong a conditional discharge and nine months’ probation, as well as ordering him to undergo anger-management counselling.

Ida Chong, minister of Healthy Living and Sport, said she does not know whether her brother was attending anger-management classes. She said he has the support of his wife and children, and wants to continue to serve his community as a police officer.

Graham refused to name either the injured man or the officer, but did say the sergeant has 28 years of service with the department. Chong has been with the force for 28 years.

The speed with which the prisoner received medical attention is also under investigation, said Graham, as 30 to 45 minutes passed before he was taken to hospital.

Graham was vague on the details of the incident, saying only that the man received injuries to his face. He said he can’t go into specifics because the matter is being investigated. “I intend to make the findings public when appropriate.”

The sergeant disclosed the incident to his superiors later that day, Graham said, adding that there was enough information to warrant his suspension. The officer is co-operating with the investigation, Graham said.

Members of the Vancouver Police Department, who will lead the criminal investigation, are on their way to Victoria to talk to the officer.

The incident was captured on video cameras in the jail cells. While Graham said he has not watched the recording, it will be examined by the Vancouver officers as part of the investigation.

The Victoria department’s professional standards section will conduct a parallel internal Police Act investigation, which will be monitored by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

Police Complaint Commissioner spokesman Bruce Brown said the victim has not filed a complaint. The victim has recovered from his injuries and Deputy Chief John Ducker has contacted him and apologized.

“The incident is troubling,” Graham said, but added that it has to be put in the context of the 5,000 to 7,000 inmates a year that are processed in the cells.

As a result of excessive-force allegations in the past, Graham decided that a sergeant should supervise the cells around the clock. Asked if this policy backfired, Graham said it’s too early to tell.

Graham would not say whether the prisoner did anything to provoke the officer, but police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton said the 33-year-old man was sober when arrested. He did not say whether the man was known to police.

Graham could not say how long the investigations will take but added: “This will receive rapid attention. I want the facts quickly so we can make decisions quickly.”

Former Officer Brett Hobbs Guilty of Larceny

A Brunswick County jury convicted a former Leland police officer today.

The jury found Brett Hobbs guilty of felony larceny and felony possession of stolen goods. The case stems from an incident at a convenience store in Holden Beach.

Hobbs resigned from the Leland Police Department in 2005 after a conviction for selling drugs. A judge sentenced Hobbs today to five to six months in prison.

Officer James Formby Pleads Guitly to Having Sex with Woman He Was Helping

A Metropolitan Police officer has pleaded guilty to misconduct after he had sex on duty with a woman he was meant to be helping.

Pc James Formby, 31, and a colleague responded to a suspected domestic abuse incident in Bromley last September.

He stayed with the woman while a man was taken to a police station, then engaged in sexual activity with the woman, who had been drinking.

Formby, who has been suspended from the force, will be sentenced on 1 March.

'Vulnerable and scared'

The officer, based at Bromley Police station, pleaded guilty to one charge of misconduct in public office at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.

The investigation was carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following a referral from the Met.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Police officers hold a unique position of trust in the eyes of the public and it is disgraceful that Pc Formby abused that trust in this case.

"He should have been supporting a woman who was vulnerable and scared but instead he exploited the situation and his behaviour was completely inappropriate."

A Met Police spokesman said Pc Formby has been suspended pending disciplinary hearings, which will take place after sentencing.