Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Veteran Officer Kent Scott Arrested for DWI

Portland Police arrested one of their own, accused of intoxicated driving.

Police say Kent Scott was off-duty when he was pulled over at 9:50 p.m. Tuesday on Southeast 148th and Division Street. He was cited for driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. He was not booked in jail.

Scott is a 22-year veteran of Portland Police and was assigned to the transit police division. He has now been placed in an off-street assignment pending an internal review.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Stephen Tanabe Sentenced to Prison

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer sentenced former Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy Stephen Tanabe to 15 months in prison for aiding in the drunken driving arrests of three men who were set up by a private investigator. He was sentenced in federal court in San Francisco today to a year and three months in prison.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer told Stephen Tanabe, "Your decision to embark on this process was so outside the scope of what would be viewed as professional responsibility that it should have been an alarm.

"This was a case where what this officer did that was wrong was basically negotiating and receiving money or property to do his job, which he did. But he did so with the knowledge that the circumstances of the offenses were initiated by others," Breyer said.

Tanabe, 50, of Alamo, was convicted by a jury in Breyer's court last year of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion related to a scheme by disgraced former investigator Christopher Butler to arrange the driving-under-the-influence arrests of three men in Danville in 2010 and 2011.

The men were husbands of Butler's female clients in divorce cases and the arrests became known as "dirty DUIs."  According to testimony the trial, attractive women employed by Butler enticed the men to become intoxicated at Danville bars.

After being alerted by Butler, Tanabe arrested two of the targets as they drove away from the bars on Jan. 9 and 14, 2011. In the first arrest on Nov. 2, 2010, Tanabe was off duty and watched with Butler inside a bar as the man became intoxicated and then alerted a fellow officer to arrest the man after he began driving, according to trial testimony.

In two extortion convictions, the jury found Tanabe guilty of receiving an expensive Glock gun from Butler in exchange for making the second and third arrests.

But the jury acquitted him of a third extortion charge that alleged he received cocaine from Butler for the first arrest.

Tanabe was also convicted of three counts of wire fraud for text messages exchanged with Butler in the three incidents, and conspiracy to deprive the public of his honest services.

Tanabe, who did not testify at his trial, told Breyer today that at the time of the arrests, he believed he was carrying out his duty to protect the public and didn't think that he was doing anything illegal.

"I justified it in my mind that it was a legitimate arrest of drivers who were intoxicated. In my mind, I was arresting people who were breaking the law in the town in which I worked," Tanabe said.

He said he thought of the receipt of the gun as a "casual" arrangement and not a payment.

Now, Tanabe said, he realizes "I did something wrong and made a mistake. I accepted a Glock gun from Christopher Butler and I made arrests.

"All I ever wanted to do was be a cop and I destroyed that," he said.

Tanabe said he knew Butler's employees were observing the targeted men, but said he wasn't aware of the broader scheme to entice the men to drink too much.

Prosecutor Philip Kearney argued that text messages presented as evidence at the trial showed that there was "active participation and knowledge" of the scheme by Tanabe.

Tanabe's defense lawyers had asked for a lower sentence of six months in a halfway house plus six months of home confinement, while prosecutors had asked for three and one-half years in prison.

Breyer ordered Tanabe to surrender to begin serving his sentence on April 15. Tanabe will also be on supervised release for three years after he is released and must perform 240 hours of community service during that time.

"Law enforcement officers have enormous power. The police officer in day-to-day law enforcement must have the confidence of people that law enforcement will be even-handed," Breyer said.

Outside of court, defense attorney Alan Miller said no decision has been made on whether Tanabe will appeal.

Tanabe, Butler and others face three civil lawsuits filed by three men who were arrested. The cases are pending in Breyer's court and were stayed by the judge last year until Tanabe's case was completed. An attorney for two of the plaintiffs, Brian Gearinger, said he expects Breyer will now hold a status conference on the cases within the next few weeks.

Butler's drunken driving stings were part of a larger Contra Costa County corruption scandal in which he and former state narcotics squad chief Norman Wielsch sold drugs Wielsch stole from evidence lockers, arranged phony arrests and extorted money from prostitutes. Butler also placed hidden eavesdropping devices in the cars of clients' husbands.

Butler pleaded guilty in 2012 to seven charges and received a reduced sentence of eight years in prison in exchange for agreeing to aid prosecutors. He testified at Tanabe's trial and maintained he paid the officer for the arrests with both cocaine and the Glock gun.

Wielsch separately pleaded guilty to five charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Tanabe was charged only in connection with the three Danville arrests.

Trooper Jeremy Garner Arrested Again for Drunk Driving

An Ohio State Trooper is accused in a case of extreme drunk driving. And this is not the first time he's been accused of breaking the law he gets paid to enforce.

Columbus Police say Trooper Jeremy Garner plowed into two parked cars Sunday night, and then attempted to drive away.

Investigators say his blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

Columbus Police records indicate Garner was aggressively drunk when he got behind the wheel Sunday  night, and crashed into two parked cars.

"I heard a big loud boom outside of my window," said Nicole Celebrezze.
She says she looked out her window to see her car had been hit.

She says she called 911 and ran down to the street, to see the SUV that hit her car pulling away.  "He almost made it to High Street, but I don't think he would have gotten far because his tire was sideways."

By that time, Columbus Police were there, keeping the driver from going any further.

"He pretty much fell out of the automobile," Celebrezze said. "That's when I knew this was a drunk driver."

A Columbus Police crash report shows Garner tested at .277, more than three times the legal limit.

"Didn't seem coherent. I highly doubt he remembers anything that occurred," Celebrezze said.

Records show this wasn't Garner's first OVI charge.

In 2007, Grove City Police stopped him for speeding, clocking him at 69 miles per hour in a 35 zone.

He failed field sobriety tests, and registered a blood alcohol content of .209.

The test was thrown out because of a machine malfunction, but he pleaded guilty, getting 3 days in jail, two years' probation, and a 6 month license suspension.

"When are you going to learn?" asked Celebrezze. "At least learn from the first mistake, if you're going to make a mistake at all."

She knows this could have been worse. "I'm just glad no one got hurt," she said.

But she's troubled by the actions of a public safety professional who should know better.

"It's a serious thing, State Trooper or not. When you're in that position, in the public eye, you should really, really have some consequences for those actions."

Garner faces charges tonight including OVI and fleeing the scene of a crash.

The State Patrol said he is using his own leave time right now as the Patrol investigates the matter.

We asked how his last OVI was handled by the Patrol, but they can't tell us.

The Department of Public Safety only retains internal investigation records for 5 years, so a spokesperson says those records from 2007 no longer exist.

Three Officers on Leave After Death of Man Pepper-Sprayed and Beaten

Three police officers have been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate the death of a man outside an Oklahoma movie theater, police said Tuesday.

Luis Rodriguez, 44, died after five law enforcement officers pepper-sprayed and handcuffed him early Saturday morning after an altercation in a theater parking lot in the central Oklahoma city of Moore, said Police Chief Jerry Stillings.

But Rodriguez's wife, Nair, and daughter, Luinahi, have said that police beat him.
A spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner's Office said the cause and manner of death are pending.

Two on-duty officers, who were already at the theater for an unrelated incident, were alerted to a possible domestic disturbance and attempted to question Rodriguez, Stillings said. They were joined by three other off-duty officers — one from the Moore police department and two game wardens — who were working security at the theater.

Stillings said Rodriguez tried to leave and "took an aggressive stance." Officers attempted to detain him, but Rodriguez continued to be uncooperative, Stillings said, and officers used pepper spray to subdue him before handcuffing him. The man's wife and daughter have said he did not resist officers.

At that point, an ambulance was called — which, Stillings said, is common in situations where force is used — and Rodriguez was taken to a nearby hospital.

It's unclear when Rodriguez died, and Stillings refused to say whether or not Rodriguez was conscious when he was handcuffed.

Stillings said there are no indications that batons or other weapons were used. Moore Police spokesman Jeremy Lewis said it's under investigation whether other force, including punching and kicking, took place.

"Mr. Rodriguez made statements that the fight was a case of domestic violence," Stillings said during a news conference. "Domestic violence is a serious situation and officers are obligated to investigate all matters of suspected domestic violence."

Nair Rodriguez said that she slapped her daughter and her husband was trying to calm her down. Nair Rodriguez said her husband bypassed the officers in order to try and stop her from driving away. She said officers then took him down and started beating him.

A message was left at one phone listing for Nair Rodriguez. Other phone numbers rang unanswered, were wrong numbers or were disconnected.

Officers confiscated a partial cellphone video that Nair Rodriguez captured of the incident and obtained a search warrant to view and make a copy of it, Stillings said. There are no plans for the police department to release the video, but Stillings said it he didn't see anything inappropriate in the video. Police have attempted to return the phone to Nair Rodriguez on Tuesday but have been unsuccessful, he said.

The three Moore officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated. The officers have been with the department between 1 1/2 years and 6 years and have had no other incidents like this one, Stillings said.

The two game wardens have not been placed on leave, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said.

The names of the officers involved have not been released.

Officer Christopher Luzinski Arrested for Drunk Driving

An Oak Creek police officer is on paid administrative leave as he faces criminal charges of driving drunk and leading Elm Grove police on a high-speed chase.

Christopher Luzinski, 37, of Franklin has been an officer with the Oak Creek Police Department for about three years and was placed on leave as a result of his arrest early Saturday, Oak Creek Chief John Edwards said.

An internal investigation has been opened and will parallel the criminal investigation, Edwards said.

Luzinski faces a felony charge of fleeing police, and if convicted, he faces a potential maximum sentence of 31/2 years in prison. If convicted of a felony, Luzinski could not serve as a police officer, as federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms.

An Elm Grove police officer first noticed Luzinski's vehicle about 3 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of Elm Grove Road and Watertown Plank Road, where Luzinski slowed but did not stop at the intersection, according to a criminal complaint.

Luzinski, who was off-duty, then made several turns on different roads before finally turning onto Watertown Plank Road, where he accelerated to speeds between 75 and 85 mph, records show.

The Elm Grove officer activated his emergency lights and sirens to try to stop the vehicle, which fled. Luzinski slowed to turn westbound onto Blue Mound Road but then accelerated again reaching a speed of 101 mph, police said. Luzinski lost control on Blue Mound Road at Terrace Drive and finally came to a complete stop at a red traffic signal, having led police on a 1.7 mile-pursuit, according to documents.

Officers gave the Luzinski a field sobriety test after noticing his bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, and then gave him a breath test that showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.19, the criminal complaint states. That is more than twice the level of 0.08 considered proof of intoxication in Wisconsin.

Officers noted that Luzinski admitted to being an Oak Creek police officer, did not remember leaving the bar and was apologetic throughout the traffic stop.
Luzinski was charged Monday and posted his $1,500 bail later that day. He is due back in court March 12.