Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Officer Clint Reed Arrested for Malfeasance in Office

On February 3, 2014, investigators with the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations arrested a Lake Providence police officer for one count of malfeasance in office. The arrest is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations, the East Carroll Sheriff's Office and the Lake Providence Police Department.

An Arkansas resident advised investigators that he was traveling through Lake Providence and was stopped by a Lake Providence police officer for speeding. The Arkansas resident advised investigators that the Lake Providence police officer requested $50 from the driver in lieu of issuing a citation.

Investigators arrested Clint Reed, 51-years-old of Lake Providence, for one count of malfeasance in office. Reed confessed to investigators during questioning that he requested and took $50 dollars instead of issuing the citation.

Reed faces up to a $5,000 fine and 5 years in prison if convicted.

The Louisiana State Police on-line reporting system is available to the public through a secure reporting form that is submitted to investigators. Citizens can access the form by visiting and clicking the suspicious activity link.

Officer Benjamin Whitmore Arrested for Assault

A Frederick police officer faces a second-degree assault charge in Garrett County, according to Richard Hetherington, deputy city police chief.

Benjamin Whitmore, a 2009 graduate of the Frederick Police Academy, has been placed on administrative duties pending the outcome of a criminal investigation conducted by the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office.

Frederick police will also investigate, according to a news release issued Tuesday night.
“We will do an internal investigation, and we will see how that goes,” Hetherington said in a telephone interview.

Hetherington did not disclose details Tuesday night about why Whitmore was arrested by the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office. In a news release, Frederick police said questions about the arrest should be directed to the Garrett County Sheriff’s Office.

Whitmore was arrested by Garrett County sheriff’s deputy Eric Parks, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

According to online court records, Whitmore, 28, of the 1600 block of Coopers Way in Frederick, was released from jail on bail Sunday.

Whitmore holds the rank of officer and has worked for the agency for about five years, Hetherington said. He was assigned to the agency’s patrol division, according to the news release.

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Officer Joseph Freda Charged with Excessive Force Waives First Court Appearance

Joseph Freda was fired by the town after being arrested for using excessive force against a suspect.

 A former Salem police officer charged with assaulting a Maine man following a motor vehicle pursuit has waived his first court appearance.

Joseph Freda, 33, entered a not guilty plea in 10th Circuit Court to two counts of simple assault by an on-duty law enforcement officer.

He also passed on having his Feb. 24 arraignment in district court, according to a notice filed by defense lawyer Donald Blaszka.

Freda faces up to two to five years in state prison for allegedly striking Thomas Templeton, 39, of York, Maine, while he was being arrested on Oct. 6.

The charges against Freda are misdemeanors, but carry enhanced penalties because the alleged assaults happened while he was working as a Salem police officer, according to court complaints filed by state prosecutors.

Salem Town Manager Keith Hickey terminated Freda from his job on Jan. 21.

An affidavit filed by N.H. Attorney General Investigator Richard Tracy said that at least 12 people were interviewed – including other police officers and Templeton himself – before an arrest warrant was sought for Freda.

The pursuit began about 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 6 when Windham police Sgt. Bryan Bliss began pursuing a black Jeep Cherokee driven by Templeton heading southbound on Interstate 93.

State Trooper Andrew Monaco became the lead vehicle in the pursuit as it neared Exit 2 in Salem. The Jeep was traveling  90 to 100 m.p.h. when it took Exit 1 in Salem and kept driving in the opposite lane of traffic along Veterans Memorial Parkway, according to court records.

Monaco was ordered to back down by his supervisor, but the pursuit was then picked up by Salem police officers as Templeton headed east onto Main Street, according to Tracy’s affidavit.

Templeton eventually stopped in the Nissan Car Dealership at 343 Main St. near the Massachusetts state line and hid in nearby brush. Monaco and Salem police Sgt. Marc Prescott arrested Templeton without incident, the affidavit said.

Monaco had escorted Templeton from the wooded area, but “at some point along the way” two Salem police officers assumed control of him. Monaco went on to speak with Prescott and Bliss about charges and the booking process, when he heard a commotion near his cruiser, Tracy said in the affidavit.

“Templeton reported that after he was taken into custody in the rear of the dealership, while handcuffed and being brought back to the area of the cruisers, he was struck twice on the top of his head with what he believes to be a flashlight by one of the officers at the scene,” Tracy said in the affidavit.

After being assaulted, Templeton said one of the officers continued to taunt him. While seated on the ground, that officer also stepped on Templeton’s hand, according to investigators.

Templeton, who was charged with reckless driving and disobeying a police officer, received five staples to his head to close his wounds. He remains held at the Rockingham County jail.

Freda apparently was worried about his interactions with Templeton the day after the pursuit, according to court records. Freda approached Monaco, the state trooper, “asking if he had anything to worry about,” while the two worked a construction detail along Interstate 93.

"Not wishing to engage Freda in conversation, Monaco told Freda 'no,'" Tracy wrote. State police forwarded the matter to the Attorney General's Office on Oct. 22.

Sgt. Thomas Winkis Charged with Killing Driver Will Stand Trial

A former Philadelphia police officer will stand trial on charges stemming from an off-duty car crash that killed the other driver.

The Philadelphia Inquirer said a judge Wednesday ruled that there was enough evidence for the case to proceed against 46-year-old former police Sgt. Thomas Winkis on charges including vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.

Investigators say Winkis was drunk and driving 100 mph in a 35 mph zone when he broadsided a van around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 in northeast Philadelphia.

The driver of the van, 55-year-old David Farries, died in a hospital several days later.
Winkis had been fired from the police force.

Officer Candace LaForest Charged with Drunk Driving

A 12-year veteran officer of the Troy Police Department has been charged in a drunken driving case following a nearly three-week investigation.

An internal investigation remains underway and the officer is on administrative leave.

Candace LaForest, 34, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in Troy District Court with operating with a high blood-alcohol content, a misdemeanor that carries up to a 180-day jail stay upon conviction, according to Michigan’s super drunk laws.

The 34-year-old, who has been a sworn officer since 2005, had personal bond set at $1,000.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said Troy’s district judges had been considering whether to recuse themselves from the case, slowing the process. They did so after LaForest’s arraignment, and the case is now being reassigned to another court that hasn’t been named yet. A future court date will be scheduled.

The investigation stems from a traffic stop around midnight Jan. 18 when LaForest was in a pickup truck headed eastbound on Big Beaver, near Rochester Road. Patrol officers said they saw the driver hit a median curb twice.

Police approached the driver, identified her as LaForest — who was off duty — then detected a “very strong odor of alcohol coming from the driver and compartment area,” according to police reports.

She refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested for operating while intoxicated, but a blood sample was taken and submitted to Michigan State Police for analysis, police said.

The results, which returned from the lab about a week later, indicated that the driver had a 0.27 percent blood alcohol content — more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 to drive a car, prompting the charges.

The blood draw in lieu of the Breathalyzer test slowed the process, said Troy Sgt. Andy Breidenich.

“Most drunk driving cases where there is a blood draw take a month or more while we’re waiting for blood results … then you have to review, submit to prosecutors and await the signing of a warrant … then come charges,” he said.

Troy Capt. Robert Redmond added that officers personally handled the criminal investigation — and he is heading the internal investigation — in an “expeditious manner,” to avoid accusations of “stone-walling” the investigation.

“We drove (the case) there (to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office) in person, got blood-alcohol results from the Michigan State Police in five days,” he said. “Also, it takes time to set a date with an attorney, so we let it go through the proper course ... but she will be held accountable for her actions.”

LaForest has been with the Troy Police Department since 2001. She started her career as a civilian employee in various units, then was sworn in as a uniformed officer in 2005.