Friday, April 04, 2014

Officer Matthew Switzer Arrested for Stealing Pain Medication From Senior Citizens

The Concord police officer arrested for illegally obtaining pain medication from senior citizens made his first appearance before a judge Friday.

The officer is facing two counts of first degree burglary, one count of second degree burglary, one count of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, and one count of elder abuse.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office says, Matthew Switzer used his status as a police officer to steal prescription drugs from the apartments of several Concord senior citizens.

Friday the judge postponed the arraignment until Tuesday, giving attorneys on both sides more time to work the case.

Switzer's attorney Harry Stern says his client has a drug problem.

"Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States. Unfortunately it appears that Officer Switzer is another casualty of that unfortunate trend," Stern said.

Stern says Switzer is battling an addiction, and had checked into rehab for treatment.

"He had prescriptions, and the particular drugs that were involved were essentially heroine," said Stern. Stern continues on to say his client has numerous issues, including suffering from post-traumatic stress.

"He was fighting a very serious addition problem.  It started out with prescriptions. He had an on-duty injury," says Stern.

Officials have not said what that injury was or how it happened.

Concord Police Chief Guy Swanger, who requested the District Attorney investigation, would only say Switzer will be on paid leave, while the department conducts its own internal investigation.

Switzer's bail is now set at $480,000.

Dectective Hassan Hamdy Charged in 2012 Fatal Shooting

Police in New York City say officers involved in a fatal 2012 shooting of an unarmed National Guardsman should face departmental charges.

NYPD Deputy Chief Kim Royster says in a statement Friday the charges were determined based on an internal review of the Oct. 4 shooting of Noel Polanco during a Queens traffic stop.

Royster says a disciplinary process will now commence. She says regardless of the department's findings, the police commissioner will ultimately decide their penalties.

Polanco was shot by Detective Hassan Hamdy through an open passenger window after he believed Polanco was reaching under the seat.

A grand jury cleared Hamdy of criminal wrongdoing and federal prosecutors said Hamdy didn't intentionally violate Polanco's civil rights. The city has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement with Polanco's family.

Former Officer Jeffrey Copeland Arrested for Misconduct

A former City of Greenville police officer was arrested by SLED agents on Wednesday and charged with misconduct in office and unlawful possession of a sawed-off rifle.

According to a warrant, the former officer, Jeffrey Scott Copeland, 36, of Greenville, responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle. He's accused of taking a Glenfield .22. caliber rifle with a sawed off barrel and two knives from the vehicle's occupant.

No arrest was made after the seizure, and the warrant accuses Copeland of keeping the items.

Copeland was booked at the Greenville County Detention Center.

The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by SLED at the request of the City of Greenville Police Department. The case will be prosecuted by the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office.