Monday, September 04, 2023

20 more Arizona Cops Investigated for Misconduct by State Watchdog

Excessive force, bungling investigations and domestic violence are the most common allegations against misbehaving Arizona cops.

Arizona's law enforcement watchdog has opened misconduct investigations into 37 cops around the state so far this year, including a trooper who ordered his police dog to bite people and a Tempe officer who tased an unarmed man 13 times.

That's 20 new cases since March, when Phoenix New Times last reviewed misconduct probes from the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

AZPOST's work provides a rare glimpse into police misconduct in Arizona, much of which is investigated by individual law enforcement agencies. When an officer is terminated for misconduct — or sometimes when a particularly egregious case surfaces in the media — AZPOST steps in. The board considers whether to revoke or suspend the certification of troubled officers.

The 12-member board includes Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes and Ryan Thornell, director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry. The board's most recent meeting was Wednesday.

Earlier this year, AZPOST investigated a former trooper with the Arizona Department of Public Safety for his TikTok videos and a former Phoenix police officer who kept evidence in his closet at home. Now, several new cases have come before the board.

Tempe police tase man 13 times

At the board meeting on Wednesday, AZPOST investigator Richard Bradshaw detailed an incident in Tempe in which three officers repeatedly punched a man in the face and tased him 13 times — all in the span of three minutes. The officers were trying to handcuff a man accused of trespassing,

The board voted to open an investigation into Tempe Sgt. Latasha Hampton, the officer who deployed the taser, after viewing body camera video of the incident. Board members declined to take any action against the other two officers involved.

Tempe police placed Hampton on "restricted duty" pending the outcome of the AZPOST investigation, according to city Communications Director Nikki Ripley. That means the officer is "providing no direct law enforcement services."

According to Bradshaw and body camera video presented to the board, the incident occurred on Sept. 11, 2022, when an unidentified local business called about a man who was refusing to leave. He was in the women's bathroom when Officer Daniel Rodriguez arrived.

The man, identified only as James, "appeared to be slightly delayed in his actions and understanding" and later was found to have had meth in his system that day, according to Bradshaw. James kept asking why Rodriguez was ordering him to leave the bathroom and sit down. He refused to do so and asked to leave.

When Hampton got to the restroom, Rodriguez attempted to handcuff James, who resisted. James tried to evade Rodriguez's attempts to handcuff him, but did not try to hit or kick the officer. Still, Hampton tased James and he fell to the floor screaming.

Over the next two and a half minutes, Hampton tased the man 13 times.

While he was being tased, Rodriguez and a third officer, Alex Kitchens tried to handcuff James. He was still flailing — perhaps because he was being continually tased — and the two officers both repeatedly punched James in the neck and face. Eventually, the three officers managed to handcuff him. James was arrested, although it's unclear whether he faced criminal charges in the incident.

The Tempe Police Department asked the Mesa Police Department to investigate the incident, and Mesa investigators found that all three officers violated Tempe's use of force policy. Tempe police agreed. But since 180 days had passed since the beginning of the investigation, none of the officers received any discipline thanks to a provision in the department's labor agreement with the police union.

It's not clear when the investigation began, or why it took so long for it to be completed. The contract does allow for investigations to take longer than 180 days if proper notice is given, a provision that was not used in this case. Ripley did not answer questions about this.

Rather, Ripley provided a statement that confirmed the incident violated Tempe police policy. "Such incidents simply will not be tolerated in our city, or by our leadership team. Accountability is of paramount importance to maintaining trust with public safety. The city is committed to fully understanding and correcting any mistakes that may have been made in this incident and its investigation, and ensuring that they will be prevented in the future," she said.

Now, though, Hampton may face repercussions from AZPOST.

Although Mesa investigators also found that Kitchens and Rodriguez violated policy by punching James, board members weren't convinced. In a 7-2 vote for Kitchens and a 6-3 vote for Rodriguez, AZPOST declined to open an investigation into their actions.

Excessive force, bungled investigations spur AZPOST probes

Hampton is hardly the only officer this year to be accused of excessive force. Use of force is so far the single most common reason for an AZPOST investigation, New Times' review of months of board meetings shows.

Of the 37 total cases against Arizona police officers opened so far this year, eight involved allegations of excessive use of force.

That force ranged from a former Mesa police officer, Kaylon Hall, who was criminally charged for shooting at a vehicle that drove away from a traffic stop, to Derek Fraser, a former DPS trooper and K9 handler who was fired for ordering his police dog, Igor, to attack people.

In a March 2022 incident, body camera footage showed that Fraser commanded Igor to bite a man who initially had run from officers, but who then got on the ground, put his hands up and allowed himself to be handcuffed. Fraser told DPS investigators that he "felt the dog assisted in getting [the man] into custody," AZPOST investigator Arlene Heckel told the board.

DPS fired Fraser for the misconduct shortly after the incident, Heckel said.

Excessive force was not the only reason for the new AZPOST probes. In six cases, cops are being investigated by AZPOST for mishandling investigations or evidence. Domestic violence and dishonesty also were common, with five cases each.

DUIs and reckless driving together prompted another eight cases.

New Times' count of new cases against Arizona cops does not include the many AZPOST probes of recruits who are still in the police academy. It also does not include the cases that occasionally arise involving former officers who are illegally working off-duty security or traffic control jobs despite not working for an agency.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Ex-Oklahoma judge won't be charged with Sexual Misconduct

 A special prosecutor said he won't bring charges against a former Oklahoma judge accused of sexual misconduct with several women, including two prosecutors who practiced in his court.

District Attorney Jason Hicks confirmed last week there wasn't enough evidence to support criminal charges against former Oklahoma County Judge Tim Henderson, 63, The Oklahoman newspaper reported. Henderson abruptly resigned last year after being accused of sexual misconduct.

"In this investigation, it is crystal clear that Henderson preyed on young women whom he believed would respond in his favor," Hicks said in a statement to the newspaper. "His actions generally started with emails, text messages, and an acknowledgment that he was willing and could help them with their careers.

"It is obvious that he violated the trust of the public, and our profession, and as such should never be allowed to practice law again."

The married judge later acknowledged having a sexual relationship with two prosecutors, but insisted both were consensual. At least five women came forward during the investigation, including a sheriff's deputy.

Hicks was named a special prosecutor in May 2021 after Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater disqualified his office.

Henderson was in good spirits after learning of the decision, his attorney, Tracy Schumacher, told the newspaper.

"This was a very expensive investigation for taxpayers that should have been conducted by the Oklahoma Bar Association," she added.

It's not clear how many criminal cases presided over by Henderson could be affected by the scandal. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals last month granted a new trial in a drug trafficking case, and a decision is expected soon in a murder case.

Henderson has presided over a number of high-profile criminal trials in recent years, including that of ex-Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who Henderson sentenced to life in prison in 2016 after he was convicted of raping and sexually victimizing women while on his beat in Oklahoma City.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

California police sergeant resigned after engaging in oral sex on duty

 A Pismo Beach Police Department sergeant resigned last month after engaging in oral sex while on duty, among other violations, according to documents obtained by The Tribune.

Adrian Souza had worked for the agency for about 14 years, and served as a sergeant for about three years.

According to a report by the police department’s Internal Affairs Division, which the Tribune obtained via a public records request , Souza engaged in consensual oral sex at least three times while on duty.

He also sent sexually explicit messages, photos and videos via text and Facebook while on the job, including a photo of his penis sticking outside his police uniform pants and a suggestive video of himself unzipping his pants while in full uniform, the documents show.

According to the Internal Affairs report, Souza began a consensual on-and-off dating relationship with a woman a few weeks after Souza pulled her over for not wearing a seat belt in July 2020.

A few weeks after the traffic stop, the two reportedly ran into each other while the woman, who is identified as a local journalist in the report, was reporting on a water rescue in Shell Beach.

The woman told investigators she sent Souza wine and her personal cell phone number, which was on her business card, to thank him for letting her go with a warning during the traffic stop.

Souza told investigators that he did not receive wine, only a thank you card.

Souza and the woman began texting, then dated on and off until April 2021, according to the report. The two continued to text until June 2021.

While they were dating, the two mostly met while Souza was off-duty, but had some on-duty encounters at Jenkins Middle School in Pismo Beach and the Shell Beach tennis courts, both parties told investigators.

Souza told investigators that he and the woman kissed and chatted briefly during their on-duty meetings. But the woman said they would “make out,” engage in heavy petting and on some occasions Souza would stimulate her with his fingers, according to the report.

The two kept in touch after their break up, despite Souza having a new girlfriend in June 2021, the report said.

The complaint the woman sent to the Pismo Beach Police Department alleges she and Souza met four times between November and January. During those encounters, she said, Souza would receive oral sex while on duty, in full uniform and driving a marked police vehicle.

“While I expect better behavior of myself for doing such a shameful act with a taken man, I know you expect your officers to hold themselves to the highest standard of honor and service,” the woman said in the complaint.

The Internal Affairs investigation found a total of 20 potential violations of the city of Pismo Beach’s personnel rules and regulations and the Pismo Beach Police Department’s policy manual, 13 of which were sustained.

Souza was sent a notice of termination on May 25 after the three-month investigation concluded. He resigned from the department on June 10 before his termination could take effect.

“The city of Pismo Beach has made available redacted records pertaining to former Sergeant Souza, consistent with California law,” Jorge Garcia, Pismo Beach assistant city manager, wrote in an email to The Tribune. “These records and related investigation materials indicate that the former officer engaged in inappropriate conduct while on duty with a consenting adult partner.”

“When first alerted to this conduct, the city took action within hours and proceeded to conduct a lengthy and thorough investigation,” Garcia wrote. “The sergeant is no longer a member of the Pismo Beach Police Department as he chose to resign prior to the conclusion of the disciplinary process.”

As of midday Thursday, Souza had not been charged with a crime related to his on-duty conduct.

Monday, November 10, 2014

How Police Caught Officer Daniel Holtzclaw

Prosecutors say Officer Daniel Holtzclaw made a mistake after a series of sexual assaults on black women in Oklahoma City — he profiled the wrong woman. His family says he’s a victim of “solicited testimony” from women who have “personal motives” to lie. BuzzFeed News reports from the Oklahoma County courtroom where, Wednesday, prosecutors described a pattern of sexual harassment and assault.

Daniel Holtzclaw made a mistake, an Oklahoma County prosecutor argued on Wednesday: “He messed up.”

Holtzclaw’s mistake was pulling over the wrong person: A woman who, when he allegedly assaulted her, wouldn’t hesitate to call the police.

It happened around 2 a.m. on June 18, when Holtzclaw, a 27-year-old police officer, was ending his shift on the northeast side of Oklahoma City. He switched off his patrol car computer. Then, without calling for assistance or otherwise notifying his station, police said, Holtzclaw made a traffic stop.

The woman — identified in court documents as J.L. and in local media reports as a 57-year-old grandmother — said she was driving home after playing dominos with a friend, according to detective Kim Davis, who recounted J.L.’s story at length during a hearing at the Oklahoma County Courthouse.

When Officer Holtzclaw approached J.L.’s car, she couldn’t roll down her broken driver’s side window, Davis said. So Holtzclaw directed her to the rear passenger side seat of his patrol car. He asked if she had been drinking — he had noticed a Styrofoam cup in her front seat. She said no, according to Davis, and that the drink was Kool-Aid. He continued questioning her, and she suggested he go taste it. He walked over to her car, but J.L. couldn’t see what he was doing. When he came back, Holtzclaw asked if J.L. had anything else on her.

“If you have something on you and you tell me now, then I won’t take you to jail,” he allegedly told J.L., according to Davis. “But if you don’t tell me about it now, and I find something, then I’m gonna take you to jail.” J.L. said no, again. She was still sitting in his patrol car.

“He opens the door and he tells her, ‘I’ve got to check you,’” Davis said. “And he says, ‘Lift your shirt.’”

She lifted her shirt to her stomach, and Davis motioned. “He goes, ‘I can’t see that. There might be something in your bra.’ And so she grabs the bottom of her bra, she said, and just shakes it … And he goes, ‘Nope, that’s not good enough.’”

J.L. lifted her shirt and bra, Davis said, and Holtzclaw shined his flashlight on her exposed breasts.

“She said about that time, she noticed that he started playing with his penis,” Davis said. “Then he tells her to stand up … and he says, ‘Pull down your pants.’”

J.L. lowered her pants but left her underwear up, and Holtzclaw turned his flashlight to her “vaginal area,” Davis said. Holtzclaw then told J.L. to sit back down. She planted her feet on the concrete, sitting sideways in his patrol car.

When J.L. looked up, Davis said, Holtzclaw’s penis was in her face.

“She started begging him, ‘Please don’t do this. You’re not supposed to do this.’ … She kept thinking in her mind, OK, this is a police officer, and if he’s gonna do this, he’s gonna kill me. And I’m not gonna make it out of this alive …”

“And he put it in her mouth, and she pulled away. And she said, ‘Please, please don’t do this.’ And he put it back in her mouth. And she said for about 10 seconds. Then he pulled it out and stopped, and he told her, ‘I’m gonna follow you home.’”

J.L. went back to her car, Davis said. She pulled into what she thought was a driveway, then did a U-turn. Holtzclaw pulled his car around her and unexpectedly took off.

At home, J.L. and her daughter did what middle-class people in Oklahoma City do when they’ve been the victim of crimes: called the local police station. When no one answered, according to Davis, they went to report the alleged assault in person.

Davis was the on-call detective in the Oklahoma City Police Sex Crimes Unit that night and met J.L. at the hospital, where she was receiving a sexual assault medical forensic exam. Two and a half months later, on Wednesday afternoon, Davis and another detective recounted for a district judge how J.L.’s report was similar to an unsolved May 2014 assault report allegedly involving an officer. The connection led the detectives to identify six more women who said they’d been assaulted, raped, or forced to expose themselves to Holtzclaw while he was on duty.

Holtzclaw’s “mistake” — the slip-up that prosecutors said landed him in orange jail scrubs in an unremarkable fluorescent-lit courtroom on Wednesday — was believing J.L. was similar to his other alleged victims: all black middle-aged women, but women of a lower social status and with reason to fear the authorities. They had been caught with active warrants or drug paraphernalia. J.L., Davis said, had no criminal record to be held over her. She was driving through the neighborhood where the other women were confronted, but she didn’t live there.

“He’s stepping out,” Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger said Wednesday. “He’s getting bolder.”

J.L.’s report would put Holtzclaw on administrative leave and make up two of the state’s 16 charges against the young cop. But more broadly, it would launch a case that underscores how alleged police abuse of minorities goes far beyond Ferguson, Missouri — but how national attention does not.

Daniel Holtzclaw “vehemently denies each and every” charge brought against him, his lawyer said in a statement Saturday. Holtzclaw didn’t speak at Wednesday’s hearing. He would occasionally whisper to his attorneys, but his expression remained unreadable as he intently watched the witnesses — among them his father, a childhood friend who lived with Holtzclaw while he was at the police academy, and a sports reporter. Many more family members and friends sat in the front rows of the courtroom, including Holtzclaw’s girlfriend of six months, his defense attorney Scott Adams said.

Holtzclaw joined the Oklahoma City Police Department in September 2011, officials said in a press conference after his arrest. A year earlier, he had graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a criminal justice degree and had tried and failed to get drafted into the NFL.

Holtzclaw today looks the same award-winning linebacker he did then: 6-foot-2, 260 pounds, tree-trunk neck, short black hair. When he was arrested, it was outside his gym.

Holtzclaw’s father, Eric, is a 17-year veteran of the Enid Police Department. His mother, Kumiko, is unemployed but does some baking from their home, Eric Holtzclaw said. He has two sisters. One of them, Jenny, has been leading the movement to raise support for him online, selling shirts that say “Free the Claw” — his nickname.

Recently, on the Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw Facebook page she created, Jenny posted a message her father sent her after he passed a Coke machine at work and saw two bottles with their names — Daniel and Eric — side by side. He saw this as a “sign from god” and bought them. “I am determined to help him through these tough [times] for he is my son and I love him dearly!!!”

In a statement, the Holtzclaw family said much of the “witness and officer testimony presented by the prosecution … is based on solicited testimony by the police department of felons, prostitutes and others who would have personal motives beyond the basic truth to fabricate their stories.”

“We ask the public to wait to cast judgment on Daniel as he is entitled to the same rights under the law as any other citizen,” the family said.

AP / Sue Ogrocki

In May, a woman known as T.M. approached a group of officers and reported that an unknown officer had sexually assaulted her, Detective Rocky Gregory testified Wednesday.

Gregory said T.M. — an “admitted drug user, prostitute” — was at an apartment complex “kind of known for drugs,” around 9 p.m. on May 8. She left on foot but was stopped by Holtzclaw, whom she’d allegedly seen at the complex earlier that night.

Holtzclaw put her in the backseat of his patrol car and took her purse, Gregory said. He drove for about two blocks before stopping to check her name for existing warrants. He then went through her purse and allegedly found a crack pipe.

“What are we gonna do about this?” Holtzclaw asked, according to Gregory.

“She says, ‘Why don’t you just stomp out the pipe, we’ll call it good?’” Gregory said. T.M. was still sitting in the backseat, she said, when Holtzclaw got out of the car and exposed his erect penis to her.

“He’s made it very clear it’s basically this or jail,” Gregory said. “She then turns her head, places her mouth on his penis, and performs oral sex for a short period of time.”

Holtzclaw did not ejaculate, Gregory said, but he stopped after about two minutes. He offered to give her a ride, but she said no.

“He says, ‘No, I want to make sure that you’re safe,’” Gregory said. “He was supposed to take her to another location to let her go, but then he goes almost in the exact opposite direction, kind of zigzags through the neighborhood … And then he starts to pull off by an open-field park area. Once he stopped there, she got real worried. She started to scream, thinking that this is not where it’s gonna end.”

But then Holtzclaw drove back around again, taking her to the place she originally wanted to go and letting her out. Later, T.M. showed Gregory in person the route they went. Gregory then referenced the route with Holtzclaw’s automated vehicle locator, a GPS recorder on all patrol cars. It was an exact match, he said.

After connecting T.M. and J.L.’s reports, the Sex Crimes Unit began looking through Holtzclaw’s automatically recorded history of running names through the department’s two databases, looking specifically for people who’d been checked out multiple times. (One system shows information including someone’s arrest record, what kind of contact they’ve had with police, whether they’ve reported a crime, and their address. The other system is used to check for existing warrants.)

Davis and Gregory took two lists of names — created by the unit’s lieutenant through a victimology profile — into northeast Oklahoma City, telling each woman on the list that they had received a tip that she may have been sexually assaulted. An undisclosed “percentage” of the women said yes. By the end of the investigation, six more women joined T.M. — who initially did not want to prosecute — and J.L.

“They all matched up basically in age,” Gregory said. “The earliest one was probably in her thirties. The oldest in the fifties. They all kind of looked like they were in their fifties.”

They were all black women — a majority, he added, had “some kind of drug history, maybe a prostitution history.”

By allegedly focusing on poor black women with criminal records, Holtzclaw kept himself from being caught — until he met J.L., a black woman who was just passing through the neighborhood he patrolled. “Not only is this individual stopping women who fit a profile of members of our society who are confronted rightly or wrongly by police officers all the time,” said the prosecutor, Gieger. “He identifies a vulnerable society that without exception except one have an attitude for ‘What good is it gonna do? He’s a police officer. Who’s going to believe me?’”

There was T.B., a woman who said she was confronted by Holtzclaw while sitting in a parked car in front of her house on Feb. 27, 2014. He ran her name and found existing warrants, Gregory said. He began asking her about drugs in the house and brought up the warrants, telling T.B. he could place her under arrest. He told her he needed to “check her for any drugs,” Gregory said.

“He then tells her to lift her shirt. He lifts her shirt to her belly, says, ‘Now I need to see everything.’ He then makes reference about the warrants and the arrest … She just goes ahead and lifts her bra and shirt according to what he requested.”

Oklahoma City Police Department policy is to call a female officer over to do a complete search when the suspect is required to lift her shirt above her belly. T.B. had been stopped before and knew that was the procedure, Gregory said. But according to court documents, Holtzclaw touched her bare breasts with his hand and without her consent.

Through Holtzclaw’s car GPS record, Gregory confirmed that the officer returned to T.B.’s house multiple times over the following month. In one instance, Holtzclaw allegedly broke into the house without permission, woke T.B.’s sleeping boyfriend — the only person in the house at the time — and told him to go outside, running his name for warrants.

Shortly afterward, T.B. pulled up to the house with her kids in the car, Gregory said, and Holtzclaw told her to step back to his patrol car.

He repeated the same motions, Gregory said — running her name for warrants, asking about drugs, and making “reference to, you know, ‘We can kind of take care of these warrants … Just play by my rules.’”

T.B. said she knew Holtzclaw meant that she could “do sexual favors and the warrants could probably disappear,” according to Gregory.

Holtzclaw told T.B. to lift her shirt again, and T.B. complied, though “it was obvious she did not have a bra on,” Gregory said. Then he looked down her pants; she said she didn’t have any underwear on, according to Gregory.

T.B.’s boyfriend, Terry Williams, testified on Wednesday that Holtzclaw woke him up and “ran me outside,” though he couldn’t recall many specific details — he was “kind of tipsy that day,” he said. But when T.B. later told him about her interactions with Holtzclaw, Williams “got kinda mad, and I just told her just to handle it the best way she can.”

“Afterwards, [Holtzclaw] told [Williams], ‘If I ever see you in this neighborhood or around this area, I’m gonna stop you every time,’” Gregory said. “He made it very clear he was not welcome around there, at this woman’s house.”

The next day, around dinnertime, Gregory said, T.B. saw Holtzclaw walking up to her house. She still didn’t know the officer’s name; she called him “Spike,” because of his hair. “She knew that she was gonna be harassed by him again,” Gregory said, and started to call her mother. Holtzclaw knocked at the door, and T.B. answered.

“She says, ‘I’m making dinner for my kids,’” Gregory said. “He asked to come in. She tells him, ‘No, you can’t.’ He says, ‘Well, I need to check your house for drugs.’” They argued, and Holtzclaw told her that he would be back, according to Gregory, while T.B.’s mother listened on from the phone. T.B.’s mother later allegedly told the detective she could hear Holtzclaw “bullying her daughter.”

T.B.’s allegations make up five of the 16 counts against Holtzclaw, including sexual battery, burglary, two counts of indecent exposure, and stalking.

Prosecutors said they believe that Holtzclaw gradually escalated his behavior; on March 14, one of the earlier instances of misconduct uncovered, he stopped a woman known as C.R. and had her expose her breasts in the same way he allegedly did the others.

“She said she had been stopped several times by officers, but this was the only time she felt like she was forced into doing something that she didn’t feel comfortable with, [and] was inappropriate,” Gregory said.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor asked Gregory why C.R. didn’t report the incident.

“The reason she didn’t is the reason that she would feel [like] a lot of females probably wouldn’t either,” Gregory said. “If they had turned in an officer, the officer would cause a lot more problems for them — maybe tell a drug house they’re a snitch — and then they have a lot of problems in the neighborhood. And she said that that would keep her from ever telling on an officer.”

On April 14, Holtzclaw allegedly stopped a woman known as F.M., following the pattern described by prosecutors: putting her in the backseat, asking about drugs and prostitution, running a check on her through the police systems, and telling her he needed to search her.

“She said that she kind of turned her back to him, because she thought he was going to do a pat search,” Davis said. Holtzclaw allegedly “reached up behind her and grabbed her butt and boobs” over her clothes. Davis added that when she first approached F.M. about the possibility she’d been assaulted, F.M. “immediately bowed her head and started crying.”

On April 24, a woman named R.G. had “just left a crack house,” Davis said, when Holtzclaw pulled his car beside her and asked what she was doing. She allegedly told him she was getting high.

Holtzclaw got out of the car and searched R.G.’s purse, Davis said. He found her pipe and made her break it on the ground in front of him. He put her in the backseat, and she acknowledged that she had been getting “some dates” that night, according to Davis. He offered to give her a ride home.

“Her words were, ‘He pulled up in the driveway like he lived there,’” Davis said. R.G. told Davis she noticed Holtzclaw was following her into the house, but she assumed it was because she was on probation and he was trying to verify her address.

“She kind of was giving him a tour,” Davis said. “She was like, ‘This is the living room, this is the den, this is where I live.’ He doesn’t say anything. He follows her upstairs.”

In her bedroom, Holtzclaw told R.G. to sit down. “He said, ‘This is better than the county,’ unzipped his pants, and, she said, he put his erect penis in her face,” Davis said.

R.G. began performing oral sex, according to Davis. Then “he told her to lay back, and she did, and he climbed on top of her and had vaginal sex with her and he did not use a condom.”

Afterward, R.G. told Holtzclaw she thought she heard the front door, Davis said. “He zipped up his pants and left.”

On May 7, Holtzclaw stopped a woman known as S.E. Like in the other alleged victims’ accounts, he put her in the back of his patrol car and asked her questions about drugs before getting out, standing next to her open door, and unzipping his pants. “His penis was erect, and he forced her to put it in her mouth,” Davis said, but he didn’t ejaculate.

Then he got back into the driver’s seat, Davis said, and headed down a dead-end street. He allegedly drove over a curb and toward an abandoned school.

“He pulled between a building and a tree, got out of the car, opened the back door, made her get out of the car, told her to bend over, and he put his penis in her vagina,” Davis said. “When he let her go, he said, ‘Have a nice night,’ and she walked off.”

The police computer system later showed that Holtzclaw had run S.E.’s name twice on May 7 and twice on May 8, the day after.

“I thought he was running her to see if she reported him,” Davis said.

On May 26, Holtzclaw allegedly stopped a woman known as C.J. and put her in the backseat of his car — asking about drugs, running her name, etc. He’d done this before with C.J., in March, but let her go before any misconduct occurred, Davis said. This time, during the search, “he fondled her boobs and he put his hand down the front of her pants and fingered her vagina,” Davis said.

When C.J. was later interviewed by Davis, the woman, like F.M., began crying.

In court on Wednesday, Davis also revealed that a DNA sample was found on a triangle-shaped flap on the inside of Holtzclaw’s uniform pants, near the zipper. Seven of the eight victims were tested against the sample, along with Holtzclaw’s girlfriend. The DNA did not match any of them.

When he cross-examined Davis, Holtzclaw’s defense attorney Scott Adams said, “it could also be that Mr. Holtzclaw could have cheated on his girlfriend and not wanted to tell anyone.” Davis confirmed this was a possibility. But the prosecutor later redirected the question.

“If that was the case and [he] had cheated on his girlfriend and didn’t want that to be uncovered, certainly he lied to you, because you asked specifically about that,” Assistant DA Gieger said.

“Correct,” Davis said.

In an interview with a local station later on Wednesday, Adams presented an alternate theory:

“It could be as simple as someone at the cleaners grabbing his pants and transferring the skin cells,” he told KOCO. “None of what the detectives said surprised me. They can make anything look sinister, and that’s what they attempt to do.”

“The facts are that there is no DNA linking him to any of these women as far as was presented in the hearing,” the family said in their statement.

In his closing argument at the hearing, Adams suggested that he didn’t have ample time with the prosecution’s discovery materials, and that Holtzclaw — being held in solitary confinement under $5 million — could not adequately defend himself either. The judge reduced Holtzclaw’s bond to $500,000, based largely on Holtzclaw’s lack of criminal record and under the conditions that he stay with his parents under house arrest, wear a GPS tracker, and not contact any of his alleged victims. He left jail on Friday afternoon.

Oklahoma NAACP President Anthony Douglas first learned of the Holtzclaw case on Thursday, Aug. 21 — the day Holtzclaw was arrested — while at a rally showing support for the people of Ferguson, who were still protesting the death of Michael Brown and the Ferguson police’s display of force in response to their protests. Local media began calling for Douglas’ reaction to the Holtzclaw case. On the heels of the Ferguson, Douglas prepared for a storm. But it never came.

“Where’s my media and where’s my women’s groups?” he asked BuzzFeed News on Thursday.

Douglas said Ferguson had no impact on how he approached the Holtzclaw case, but the media spectacle in Missouri made him examine how the media was “not providing the coverage as it should be brought to light.” Douglas’ contribution to the mostly local coverage has been to call for the Department of Justice to “look at whether this fits a pattern of racial profiling.” The president views Holtzclaw’s targeting of black women as a hate crime.

“[People] have not grasped the severity of the case,” Douglas said. “I don’t look at this gentleman as a sex offender or a rapist. I look at him as a racist, because he racially profiled and targeted African-American women.”

Garland Pruitt, NAACP Oklahoma City Branch president, suggested that cases involving abuse simply don’t get the kind of attention that cases involving death do. “How many folks have been beat down […] that didn’t die at the hands of the police officers? That did not get the recognition that’s possibly needed?” he said.

The local NAACP also disagrees with how the neighborhood where Holtzclaw’s alleged attacks occurred has been portrayed. During the Wednesday hearing, a detective said there was an unknown man lying in T.B.’s yard on a day Holtzclaw dropped by her house. The prosecutor asked the detective if that was an “unusual occurrence in this part of the city.” The detective said no. At another point in the hearing, in addressing the victims’ struggle to remember specific dates, the prosecutor said, “These people don’t live by calendars.”

Douglas challenged that assumption, saying the northeast side is a low- to middle-class neighborhood of “hardworking families” and professionals, while acknowledging “every neighborhood has issues with drugs.”

“They attempt to paint this as a depressed area,” he said. “That’s not the truth.”

The neighborhood’s real struggle going forward, Douglas said, will be having trust in the police — something the chief of police himself acknowledged in a press conference last week, when he said he hopes the community “realizes that our officers, 99.9% of them are trustworthy.”

But even outside Oklahoma City, many people are talking about Oklahoma City and Holtzclaw in the same sentence as Ferguson and Darren Wilson.

“The only thing that I can say is that anytime a police officer anywhere in the country makes a mistake or indulges in misconduct, police officers around the country are held in that same light regardless of the circumstances,” Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Capt. Dexter Nelson said in an email. “OKC is not Ferguson, Missouri and there is no comparison. Our departments are very different in many ways. Our department and community demographics are different, and our working relationship with the community is different.”

This is certainly true — the population of Ferguson is not even 4% that of Oklahoma City. And while black police officers make up only 6% of police forces in both cities, only 15% of Oklahoma City residents are black, compared to 67% of Ferguson residents.

Oklahoma City Police also opened an investigation the day the first report about an unknown officer came in, and closed it within two months of identifying Holtzclaw as a suspect. They kept the investigation quiet for that entire time, in an effort to make sure the women bringing forward allegations weren’t influenced by media reports or neighborhood gossip.

Still, both incidents of violence deeply affect black communities. And with them occurring so close together, the comparisons have been unavoidable, particularly in light of how people have rallied around the alleged offenders.

On Aug. 24, Holtzclaw’s sister, Jenny, created a GoFundMe page for her brother (“JUSTICE FOR DANIEL HOLTZCLAW”) two days after a judge set his initial bond at $5 million in cash. On Aug. 26, GoFundMe verified the page, making it fully visible to the public. On Sept. 2, GoFundMe pulled the campaign, which had raised more than $7,000.

“GoFundMe reviews campaigns that have received a high number of complaints on a case-by-case basis,” a customer service representative wrote in an email to Jenny. “In this particular case, your campaign contains subject matter that GoFundMe would rather not be associated with.”

Jenny was livid. “PEOPLE DO BELIEVE IN DANIEL’S INNOCENCE and not into the media hype that everyone is believing into!!!!” she wrote in a statement. “It looks like clearly they have caved into the media hype and social pressure rather than stand on the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

GoFundMe is still hosting a campaign to raise funds for the Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown. When asked what distinction it drew between the two campaigns, GoFundMe did not respond, only saying it conducted “an internal content review.”

In the meantime, Jenny has become the family spokesman on the Facebook page, where she sells T-shirts, deletes negative comments, and shares messages from Holtzclaw’s friends and family. One of the recent messages appears to hint at what’s to come as Holtzclaw’s case inches toward a trial.

Someone claiming to be Holtzclaw’s childhood friend who attended the court hearing Wednesday later wrote about how “disgusted” he or she was by the lack of “physical evidence” presented:

“The media is giving one side of the story and leaving out major details like the fact that all of these women are active drug addicts and prostitutes from the same area of town who ‘happen to not know each other.’”

It appears the prosecutor is prepared for more reactions like this one. At the hearing on Wednesday, Gieger told the judge he could see “what’s coming for these ladies … ‘You’re liars. Look at your lifestyle.’”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Officer Ryan Eric Galliher Arrested for Committing Lewd Act

An off-duty LAPD officer was arrested for committing a lewd act in Huntington Beach.

Authorities say officers were conducting surveillance on Bolsa Chica Street, south of Los Patos Avenue, because of reports of a man exposing himself to several women over the last several months.

"Some were jogging, some were walking, some walking to school," Huntington Beach police Lt. Mitch O'Brien said.

Detectives observed a suspect, identified as 33-year-old Ryan Eric Galliher of Huntington Beach, committing a lewd act along an open pathway the morning of Oct. 23.

"He was on foot, he was dressed in shorts and he went down to the jogging trails, somebody watched him, and then on a public path committed a lewd act, which I don't want to get into the specifics because again there are still interviews being conducted," O'Brien said.

Galliher was hired by the LAPD in November 2011 and was assigned to the Southwest Division at the time of his arrest. LAPD has been notified of the arrest and is cooperating.

"It is appropriate that I reserve judgment on this matter until all of the facts have been gathered and the investigations have been completed," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "However, let me be very clear, I will not tolerate any behavior that reflects negatively upon this Department and tarnishes our relationship with our Communities near or far."

Galliher was released from custody and is on administrative leave. Police say he lives in the area where the crimes took place.

Investigators are working to determine if there are any additional victims. Police have not released Galliher's booking photo because they say they don't want to harm the investigation by showing his picture before other victims have identified him.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Huntington Beach Police Tip Line at (714) 375-5066.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Former Officer Erasmo Mata Jr Headed to Trial for Sexual Assaulting Child

Trial is set to begin December 1, in the case of former Pharr police officer Erasmo Mata, Jr., accused of repeated first-degree felony sexual assaults of a child.

A federal civil lawsuit filed with Texas Southern District Court back in May accused Mata of assaulting the minor five times, on five separate occasions, all while on duty.  The suit alleges that the attacks took place in abandoned houses around the city as other Pharr police officers stood by and watched.

The lawsuit also accused the department of engaging in a cover-up to protect the officers from criminal charges, as well as not conducting a rape kit or immediately testing the evidence.

The lawsuit was filed against the officer, the City of Pharr, the Pharr Police Department and the Pharr police chief.

Claims against the City of Pharr and the Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas were dismissed, however the motion to dismiss Mata was denied.

The Pharr Police Department did an internal investigation, but the family claims Chief Villescas told them not to hire an attorney and that he would personally take care of the allegations against the officer, Valley Central reports.

While the officers were terminated, neither Mata, nor the officers who allegedly watched, initially faced any criminal charges for the 2013 attacks.

After the lawsuit was filed, the lawyer for the teen asked the Texas Rangers to conduct their own investigation into the allegations. The Rangers found the accusations to be accurate and turned over the results to prosecutors, who presented the case to a grand jury and indicted Mata on July 30.

Pharr’s city attorneys deny that other officers watched the sexual assaults.

If convicted, Mata faces between five and 99 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Isolated incident? Hardly.

Sexual misconduct is the second highest of all complaints nationwide against police officers, representing 9.3 percent in 2010, according to an unofficial study.

In 2010, 354 of the 618 complaints involved non consensual sexual acts, and over half of those involved were minors.

Earlier this month we reported on an officer in charge of a rape case who is accused of stalking and sexually harassing the victim.

Last month Oklahoma made headlines with three serial rapists in 3 weeks, all officers, as well as one police chief molesting children.

In July, a former New York Police Department officer convicted of planning to kidnap and rape women before killing and eating them was set to go free after a federal judge overturned his conviction.

Officer Jeremy Sweet Arrested for Aggravated Assault

A Phoenix police officer has been arrested for aggravated assault. Seven-year veteran Jeremy Sweet was arrested and booked Tuesday evening on one count of aggravated assault.

The arrest stems from an investigation that began Monday afternoon. That's when a complaint was brought forward by a Phoenix resident calling 911. Investigators are alleging that while on-duty, Sweet pointed a handgun at the occupants of another vehicle during a traffic altercation on South Central Avenue

"His justification for this was indicating that someone may be trying to ram or cut him off to take a prisoner from his vehicle," says Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump.

"He did not get on his police radio," Crump continued. "He did not ask for assistance. He did not document this in any way. In fact, pulled up next to the vehicle, lectured the driver about their driving behavior while the gun was pointed at him, and continued on his way to the jail to perform his duties."

Sweet was hired by the Phoenix Police Department on July 16, 2007 and was assigned to the Department's Central Booking Detail at the time this incident occurred. Sweet was operating an unmarked police vehicle designed to transport prisoners, some of whom witnessed portions of the incident.

The following is a statement from the Phoenix Police Department:
"The Phoenix Police Department takes this incident very seriously and has taken swift and appropriate action to help ensure public trust remains high. We understand our role in the community of upholding the law and anything less will never be tolerated."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Officer Sean Harrington Stole Nude Photos of Woman

A California Highway Patrol officer suspected of stealing nude and racy photos from the cellphones of women arrested on drunken driving charges sent the pictures to at least two fellow officers in what he called a game, according to court documents.

Officer Sean Harrington, 35, confessed to investigators that he sent such photos at last six times over several years to colleagues in Dublin, but learned to do it while working in Los Angeles, the Contra Costa Times reported Friday.

Harrington has worked for the CHP for five years, and the newspaper reports that he is assigned to administrative duties pending the investigation.

Contra Costa County prosecutors say they expect to announce if they will file criminal charges in the coming days. Officers Robert Hazelwood and Dion Simmons are named in an Oct. 14 search warrant affidavit, suspected of receiving the photos and exchanging banter with Harrington.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a statement that his agency has launched an investigation, citing a similar case several years ago involving two officers in Los Angeles.

“The allegations anger and disgust me,” Farrow said. “We expect the highest level of integrity and moral strength from everyone in the California Highway Patrol.”

The investigation was sparked by a 23-year-old San Ramon woman arrested Aug. 29 on suspicion of drunken driving, who had a blood alcohol content of .29, more than three times the legal limit. Court papers say that she later discovered nude photos of herself had been sent from her phone to an unfamiliar number. Drunken driving charges against the woman have been dismissed in light of the investigation of Harrington, the newspaper reported.

The affidavit says Harrington also sent Hazelwood photos of a 19-year-old woman arrested following a suspected drunken driving crash in Livermore on Aug. 7. The photos show her wearing a bikini, and Hazelwood responded in a text asking if there were any nude photos, court papers say.

Harrington sent those photos next to Simmons, who replied favorably, saying “Nice,” according to the affidavit, and Harrington asked his colleague to return the favor, “down the road buddy.”

Darryl Holcombe, a senior investigator with the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, said in the affidavit that the behavior amounts to felony computer theft.

Attorney Rick Madsen, who represents the 23-year-old woman, said the officers’ communications were “dehumanizing” and “horribly offensive” to his client and all women, saying, “It’s going to lead to another level of mistrust and skepticism to the motive of law enforcement in general.”

Friday, October 17, 2014

Highway Patrol Officer Eric Lund Arrested for Child Porn

A longtime California Highway Patrol sergeant nearing retirement now faces child pornography charges.

Eric Lund, 49, is from Chico, but was arrested in Fairfield at the CHP office where he works.

He lives part of his professional life in the public eye, but in his personal life, neighbors describe him as reclusive, and say he hardly ever came outside.

Part of his job was to talk to the press as a police spokesman, but at home, his neighbors wondered why he said next to nothing to them.

On his former Chico street, the sergeant and his family were known to some as a neighborhood mystery.

“They had a couple children, I guess, but we never saw them outside. I wouldn’t even know what they looked like,” said former neighbor Mary Young.

Vacaville Police had a mystery of their own. Using sophisticated software, a detective was tracking an unknown person downloading child pornography in Suisun, Fairfield and Vacaville.

Police say they traced the downloads to a surprising suspect—Sgt. Lund. They allege he looked at child pornography on and off duty. During a search of his personal car, investigators say they found a hard drive with nearly two-dozen videos.

“Oh my gosh, that’s too bad. I hope he gets the help he needs. People like that need help,” said former neighbor Richard Young.

Neighbors say Lund moved to an upscale neighborhood north of Chico. He’s out on bail, but nobody answered the door at his most recent address.

Police say Lund took a temporary transfer to the Fairfield CHP and would stay in the area during his work week. At age 49, investigators say the sergeant with a six-figure salary was already contemplating retirement.

The CHP released a statement calling the charges and disturbing. They have put Lund on administrative leave and stripped him of his peace officer powers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sheriff Deputy Gerald Nuckolls Arrested for Sexual Assault and Battery

An Oklahoma sheriff's deputy resigned Wednesday after two women said he sexually assaulted them at a Tulsa County home while he was on duty, a case that comes on the heels of a state trooper and an Oklahoma City police officer being arrested on sexual assault complaints.

Tulsa County Deputy Gerald Nuckolls, 26, was arrested late Tuesday on complaints of sexual assault and battery and indecent exposure. He remained jailed on $125,000 bond Wednesday. It's not clear from jail records whether Nuckolls has an attorney.

Undersheriff Tim Albin said Nuckolls resigned after being placed on unpaid leave. Nuckolls hasn't been formally charged, and authorities believe there could be at least five more women who have yet to come forward.

"It's been a real punch in the gut for us," Albin said at a news conference. "There's a real sense of betrayal for us on this."

Nuckolls' arrest came a day after Oklahoma State Trooper Eric Roberts was arrested on complaints of kidnapping, rape and other crimes. Roberts is accused of sexually assaulting three women while on duty.

Roberts' arrest came just weeks after Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was accused of sexually assaulting at least eight women while on duty. Holtzclaw has pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts, including rape and sexual battery.

The recent allegations against the three lawmen are among similar complaints lodged against Oklahoma officers in the past decade.

In 2011, Delaware County commissioners agreed to a $13.5 million settlement after 15 women complained they were raped, sexually assaulted or fondled by their jailers. In 2009, Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess was sentenced to 79 years for sexual assaults against an inmate and the county agreed to pay about $10 million to settle claims by more than a dozen women.

Former Latimer County Sheriff Melvin Holly was sentenced to 25 years for sexual crimes, including abusing a 19-year-old inmate in 2004 and warning her she would "end up dead somewhere, floating face-down in a river" if she ever reported what happened to the authorities. A settlement with at least 16 women totaled around $670,000.

Nuckolls, who had worked for the sheriff's office for two years, showed up at the women's home investigating a 911 hang-up call about halfway through his shift, according to his arrest and booking report.

The report alleges that Nuckolls pulled one of women inside his patrol SUV and eventually exposed his genitals to her. The woman said she began rubbing the officer's genitals because he told her that it would keep her boyfriend out of jail.

Nuckolls then got out of the SUV and asked a second woman at the house asked if she had drugs inside, according to the report. The woman gave Nuckolls permission to search her residence and he found nothing. She told detectives that Nuckolls urinated near her garage and then went inside the garage with her, making small talk.

Nuckolls asked the woman about her tattoos and if she was wearing a bra, and then reached up and pulled her dress down, according to the report.

The woman said she pulled her dress up as Nuckolls began to touch his genitals. She said she told him she wanted to leave and go back inside and that Nuckolls said he would return when his shift ended at 8 a.m.

The report says Nuckolls told detectives who interviewed him that "he has a problem for pretty women" and that "sexual type activity has occurred" during encounters with about six women on traffic stops or calls.

Missy Iski, director of programs and counseling at DVIS/Call Rape in Tulsa, said Wednesday that potential victims may be reluctant to come forward especially when a law officer is alleged to have been involved.

"When you add a law enforcement person, it even adds to the difficulty," Iski said.

Monday, September 15, 2014

State Trooper Eric Roberts Arrested for Sexual Assault

Eric Roberts was arrested Monday in Creek County. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was jailed in connection with sexual assault and kidnapping complaints.

The leader of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said his agency is sickened after the arrest Monday of a trooper on sexual assault complaints.

Trooper Eric Roberts, 42, was arrested Monday morning on complaints of sexual assault and kidnapping. Roberts was booked at the Creek County jail, officials said.

Roberts was released from jail Monday afternoon on a $66,000 bond. Formal charges had not been filed against the trooper as of Monday afternoon.

An investigation was being presented to the Creek County district attorney’s office for review, Col. Ricky Adams, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s chief, said during a news conference Monday afternoon in Oklahoma City.

“This particular matter sickens us as an agency,” Adams said.

The incident marks the second high-profile case during recent months in which a law enforcement officer was arrested on sexual assault complaints.

Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was arrested last month and accused of groping and raping several women while he was on duty in northeast Oklahoma City.

In Roberts’ case, the patrol started an internal investigation after a woman called the agency on July 23 and reported that she had been sexually assaulted during a traffic stop, Adams said.

Roberts was suspended with pay July 24.

The patrol is moving forward with termination proceedings, Adams said Monday.

Patrol investigators have identified three potential victims, Adams said.

Two of the women are considered victims of rape, and the third woman is considered a victim of inappropriate physical contact during a traffic stop, patrol Capt. George Brown said in an email.

The incidents in question occurred during the daytime in the Sapulpa area, Adams said, adding that during all of the stops, Roberts turned off his camera and his microphone.

In a civil lawsuit filed last month, one woman accused Roberts of raping her during a traffic stop in July.

The lawsuit alleges that Roberts made the woman get into his patrol car and asked her inappropriate questions before driving to a secluded area and assaulting her.

The lawsuit was later amended to include a second woman who came forward with similar allegations.

The woman contended that Roberts made inappropriate comments to her during a traffic stop in July and drove her to a secluded location where he sexually assaulted her, according to an amended complaint.

Attorneys’ responses

Roberts’ attorney, Gary James, said the criminal allegations that were made against his client are untrue.

“He is innocent of these allegations,” James said.

Kevin Adams, an attorney for the women in the civil case, said Monday “it’s about time” Roberts was arrested.

“They allowed a guy that they have alleged is a serial sex offender to be out on the street for two months,” Kevin Adams said.

“To me, that’s a little troubling. I think if he would not have been law enforcement, that they would have arrested him a long time ago.”

James suggested Roberts did not receive special treatment.

“I think he was actually probably treated harsher because he was law enforcement,” James said.

Another case

Roberts is the second trooper in a little more than a year to face sexual assault allegations.

Last year, former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Patrick Venable pleaded guilty to a felony count of aggravated assault and battery after he was accused of having sex with a woman he stopped while on duty.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Officer Tahreem Zeus Rana Arrested for Kidnapping, Murder, and Arson

Officer Tahreem Zeus Rana, 23, was arrested at an airport Thursday morning for kidnapping, murder, tampering with evidence, and arson while attempting to flee to Mexico.

Last Friday, Rana met up with a woman named Valencia Woodard, 26, after responding to an ad she had posted.  Woodard had been in Georgia from New York for less than a week, it is likely she moved to be closer to her eight year old daughter who was living in Georgia with her grandmother.

Detective Stephen Cushing reports that Rana picked her up, brought her to a dead end street not even a mile from his house, and shot her repeatedly with his .40 caliber glock issued by the department.

Rana then allegedly set her body on fire to destroy the evidence.  A city worker found her body, still burning, on the side of a road.

The department has issued a statement saying:

“We are shocked and saddened by these developments. The officer has been relieved from duty, and is in a non-enforcement status. Chief Turner will schedule an emergency hearing immediately today to determine the next course of action. We must allow the justice system to run its course. But these clearly are very disturbing allegations that are not in line with the expectations we have for our officers, and will be immediately dealt with.”

“Officers remember him actually walking to school here as a young boy saying when I grow up I want to be a police officer,” said Cushing according to 11Alive.  Psychopathic tendencies start early folks.

The killer cop waived his first court appearance on Friday will remain held without bond until his preliminary hearing, Sept. 12, in Fulton Superior Court.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tulsa Officer Shannon Kepler Kills Daughter's Boyfriend

A Tulsa police husband and wife were arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man on a street near downtown, and the couple's daughter said her father shot at her, too.

Shannon Kepler, 54, a 24-year veteran of the Tulsa Police Department, was booked into the Tulsa Jail on first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill complaints. His wife, Gina, 48, also a Tulsa police officer, was jailed on an accessory to murder complaint.

The two weren't on duty at the time the shooting of 19-year-old Jeremy Lake occurred in the 200 block of North Maybelle Avenue about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Shannon Kepler works at TPD's police academy and worked Tuesday, public information officer Jillian Roberson said. Gina Kepler is a patrol officer at the department's Gilcrease division, and did not work Tuesday, Roberson said.

Both are held at the Tulsa jail, police chief Chuck Jordan said, but are confined in an area away from other inmates they may have come into contact with on the job.

The gun involved in the shooting was not a service weapon, Jordan said. Police have not said whether the weapon has been recovered.

Police said an argument occurred between Lake and Shannon Kepler, who was in a black Chevrolet Suburban. Lake, who reportedly was with Kepler's daughter, was shot "two or three times" after he told Kepler that he was her boyfriend, according to an arrest report.

Lisa Kepler, the 18-year-old daughter of Shannon and Gina Kepler, spoke with the Tulsa World on Wednesday morning from the front porch of the home she shared with the homicide victim, who also was her boyfriend.

Lisa Kepler and Lake were walking back from Guthrie Green and were in the street in front of their home when a black SUV pulled up, and Shannon Kepler stepped out.

Lisa Kepler said her father shouted at her and that as Lake attempted to introduce himself, Shannon Kepler shot Lake.

Lisa Kepler said she had attempted to stop the shooting but then ran and hid behind a large rose bush in the front yard as her father fired a shot at her that missed. Lisa Kepler said she told authorities it was her dad who was the triggerman.

"I'm not scared of my dad," she said, in tears and openly wondering why he would shoot someone he didn't know.

Josh Mills, 23, a friend of Lake's, said he was also at the scene during the shooting. He said Shannon Kepler also fired a shot at Lake's 13-year-old brother, who was sitting on the front porch. The bullet ricocheted and grazed the boy in the upper arm, Mills said.

Mills said he had paramedic training and tried to stem Lake's bleeding and locate the bullet wounds. Mills said it appeared Lake had been shot in the chest and neck from about 3-feet away. Mills and Lake hadn't known each other long but had become close.

"He was like a brother to me for two weeks," Mills said, tearing up as he described how Lake died in his arms.

Lisa Kepler said her parents had kicked her out of their home recently because of poor "life decisions" she had made and dropped her off at the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. Lisa Kepler declined to say what those life decisions were.

"I really hope they rot in prison for a very long time," Lisa Kepler said of her parents.

A neighbor of the Kepler family, who wished not to be identified, said the husband and wife are "wonderful neighbors." She said the parents had "given and given" to their three daughters.

Friends and neighbors said the couple had adopted Lisa Kepler and her two siblings several years ago.

"They've done everything in the world for (Lisa)," the neighbor said.

She said Shannon and Gina Kepler were the type of neighbors who would shovel sidewalks or bring food over.

A second neighbor, who also asked for anonymity, said he was "tickled to death" two police officers lived nearby because it made the neighborhood feel secure. The neighbor said he didn't have a lot of interaction with the Keplers, whom he called "the perfect neighbors," but that Gina Kepler sometimes would stop in her patrol car and say hi to him.

"The whole neighborhood — it's unbelievable," the neighbor said when asked if he was surprised by the turn of events.

Lisa Kepler said the Day Center is where she met Lake, who offered to let her live with himself and his aunt, Pam Wilkins, within the past week. She said Lake was a sweet man and had been nothing but good to her since they had met.

Sandra Lewis, executive director of the Day Center, said Lake had never been a volunteer or employee with, nor a client of the center.

Lewis said she knew of Lake and that he "came around" sometimes. There weren't any incident reports involving him, she said. Lake would help carry in donations or pick up trash.

"He was always very helpful," Lewis said.

Wilkins, 50, said Lake had "a lot of love" for people, including those in the homeless community. She said her nephew was "the life of the party."

"No matter if we argued, he never let a day go by without saying, 'I love you,'" Wilkins said.

Police said Shannon Kepler turned himself in after investigators contacted his wife, Gina Kepler.

The couple are expected to be placed on paid administrative leave until they are charged, Roberson said.

Lake's death is the city's 27th homicide.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sgt. Barry Antwine Arrested for Poisoning Dogs with Antifreeze

A Police Sergeant in Ardmore, Oklahoma was recently put on leave after he was charged with poisoning dogs in his neighborhood with antifreeze.  This week it was reported that sergeant Barry Antwine was charged with “laying out poison for domestic animals”, after his neighbors filed a complaint.

Antwine is scheduled to be in court June 11, and there are at least 6 dogs in his neighborhood that he is under suspicion of killing.

This is not the first time Antwine has been arrested either. In 2013, when he was a school resource officer, it came to light that he was arrested under the charges of second degree rape and molestation while he attended Wagoner High School in 1997.

An affidavit shows that a 14-year-old girl accused Antwine of touching her inappropriately while they were in class, to which Antwine admitted doing so.

Antwine then entered into an agreement of deferred prosecution with the State of Oklahoma that stated charges would not be filed if he met the conditions of the agreement for four years. Now 17 years later, he is a cop and still breaking the law.

This particular police department has a long history of abuse, specifically animal abuse as well.

Just this year The Free Thought Project reported that a police officer in the same district actually killed a dog and then later bragged about it, even after he tried to cover it up.  The guilty police officer allegedly attempted to conspire with an animal control agent to make up lies about how the dog was hostile.  The facts of the case were later uncovered because of his public bragging.

Dog killings have become commonplace among police.  Stories of police officers murdering animals are seen in the news every day.  The vast majority of these cases are avoidable, and in circumstances like those mentioned these officers actually seem to sadistically enjoy what they are doing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Former Officer Manuel Williams Sentenced for Child Molestation

DeKalb County prosecutors say a former police officer has been sentenced on child molestation charges.

Officials said Tuesday that former DeKalb County police officer Manuel Williams was sentenced to 10-years and is ordered to serve five of them in detention.

Prosecutors say Williams resigned from the department after he was arrested on molestation charges in 2012.

Officials say Williams is expected to be taken back into custody Friday. Williams have to register as a sex offender and is also ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.


Previous Story - Arrest

Officer Naaman Adcock Arrested for Holding Gun to 5-year-old's Head

A Fort Smith police officer who was arrested after Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office deputies said he fired a gun inside his home and held a gun to a five-year-old's head has resigned.

Naaman Adcock resigned from the Fort Smith Police Department early Wednesday, according to KFSM, the CBS affiliate in Fort Smith.

Adcock was arrested Tuesday on complaints of suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm while intoxicated, reckless conduct with a firearm, felonious pointing a firearm and child endangerment.

Deputies also arrested his wife, Tabatha Adcock, on complaints of failure to protect a child, child endangerment, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and reckless conduct with a firearm.

The sheriff's office told KFSM both fired guns inside their rural Sequoyah County home with at least two children inside.

Deputies confiscated nine guns found in the home.

KFSM says Fort Smith Police had placed Adcock on administrative leave with pay while the department conducted an internal investigation.

Jail records show Naaman Adcock's bond was set at $24,000, while Tabatha Adcock's bond was $14,000.

Sheriff Ron Lockhart says their report has been turned over the Sequoyah County district attorney's office.

Trooper David Corkett Pleads to Child Sex Abuse Charges

A former Oregon state trooper was back in Clatsop County on Tuesday to face more than two dozen child sex abuse charges.

David Corkett, 52, was a senior trooper in Astoria until he resigned in January 2013 after he was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation in October 2012, according to Oregon State Police (OSP).

He appeared in court on Tuesday to face a 29 count indictment for encouraging child sex abuse. Two of those charges were in addition to the original 27 that came about as a result of an international investigation into the production and viewing of child pornography, according to the indictment.

The indictment also revealed that Corkett is charged not only with looking at child pornography, but also being in possession of a photograph of two nude boys holding hands on the beach. It was not known if the boys are from Clatsop County.

Clatsop County’s District Attorney Joshua Marquis would not talk about specifics of the case, but he did say Corkett pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. Corkett posted bail last month and is currently living in California.

No one answered the door of Corkett’s last known residence in Seaside on Tuesday to comment on the charges.

Neighbors who spoke with KOIN 6 News last month after Corkett’s arrest said they felt deceived by a man who they thought they could trust because of his position.

OSP also said last month there is no indication Corkett was looking at any of the images while he was on duty.

Corkett’s next appearance in court is scheduled for Aug. 8.

Deputy Roger Aaron Kirby Arrested for Beating Child

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested last week after allegedly battering a 5-year-old boy, leaving the child with hemorrhaging around the eyes and a swollen lip, according to a police report.

Roger Aaron Kirby, 37, was arrested Thursday and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail. Court records show Kirby was released Friday after posting $25,000 bond. Kirby is on paid administrative leave from PBSO pending an investigation.

The child, whose relationship to Kirby could not be verified, was admitted into the pediatric intensive care unit at Palms West Hospital on April 22 for what doctors diagnosed as petechial hemorrhaging that resulted from “manual asphyxiation,” the report said.

According to a medical report, the “most likely possibilities” for the boy’s injuries were that “he was smothered over the mouth and nose while he struggled to breathe or that he had ‘fallen’ off the bed and his face was forcibly pressed against the floor impeding his ability to breathe freely.”

After spending several days in the hospital, the boy was discharged. He was interviewed by a member of PBSO’s Child Protection Team but “was timid and reluctant to speak,” about what happened.

On May 22, a member of the Child Protection Team met with the boy, who said he was in the hospital because Kirby had choked him and hurt his eyes. The boy said he was in his bedroom when Kirby went into his room, whispered something then covered his mouth and nose. The report said the boy demonstrated a “choke hold” while re-enacting what happened to him. When he tried to get away, the boy said, Kirby squeezed him harder.

The boy indicated to the detective the alleged abuse has been ongoing. He said Kirby had become angry and disciplined him harshly after the boy wet the bed. The boy said Kirby has made him stand in the bathroom for “hours” and also made him jump up and down in front of the toilet. He’s forced to spend so much time in the bathroom that he falls asleep, which angers Kirby and causes him to hit the boy, the report said.

On one occasion, the child said, Kirby shoved a wet diaper into his face after a wetting accident. Kirby also “punches” him, including in the face, the boy said. Kirby is listed on his arrest report as 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds.

An unidentified person in the home cries and begs Kirby not to hurt the boy, the report said.

Kirby, a Wellington resident, joined the sheriff’s office in 2004 and works in the training division, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

In February 2012, Kirby was arrested after he allegedly slammed his girlfriend against an aluminum bi-fold door during an argument. Kirby told deputies that he and his girlfriend had argued about his 2-year-old daughter. The girlfriend, whose name was not released, said they had argued over Kirby’s drug use, according to the arrest report.

Court records show that the state attorney’s office did not file a charge of battery against Kirby.

Kirby is the second sheriff’s deputy arrested in less than a week.

Joaquin Fonseca, an undercover agent, was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on May 20. He faces charges of official misconduct, possession of cocaine and false statements to a law enforcement officer during an investigation.