Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Trial Set for Officer Richard Woodruff

A jury will decide the fate of a former Fond du Lac Police Department officer accused of a crime.

Richard C. Woodruff, 467 Rockrose Drive, appeared in court Tuesday morning for a hearing that resulted in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court Judge Richard Nuss scheduling a two-day trial.

Washington County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hanson said all requested documents about the alleged theft of two Wal-Mart gift cards from the Cops for Kids Foundation were delivered to the defense.

Before Woodruff's attorney, Kirk Everson, left the courtroom, he told Nuss he believed he did not receive all discovery information from the prosecution. Nuss said if the Fond du Lac Police Department is withholding any information about the case, that information would be excluded from a jury trial.

Woodruff is accused of using a $100 gift card to partially pay for a power washer June 27 and a $50 card to purchase food on July 5, according to the criminal complaint.

Surveillance videos show a man — identified as Woodruff by a Police Department employee — using the cards, the report states.

Six BP gift cards were also reported missing or had been cashed, according to the complaint.

The criminal investigation was handled by the Sheboygan Police Department.

Washington County District Attorney Todd K. Martens made the charging decision.

Rules Don't Apply to Them

In some states, the sordid downfall of George "Chris" Ortloff might be the year's biggest scandal.

Not in New York.

When Ortloff, a former state Parole Board member and longtime Plattsburgh-area assemblyman, admitted on Christmas Eve that he tried to entice two preteenage "sisters" into sex at a Colonie hotel, his guilty plea in U.S. District Court was not even the latest scandal at the Division of Parole.

In a year in which Americans faced an economic crisis and elected a new president, an assortment of politicians in the Empire State added new pages to an ever-increasing story leaders and lawmakers who break the law.

It is a story that spans the state from Buffalo to Queens and that is without former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who avoided criminal charges after being toppled in a prostitution scandal. His departure followed the exit of former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who was forced to resign in 2007 after defrauding the government.

The continuing legal troubles in state politics raise a simple question: Why does this keep happening?

"Far too many elected officials think that the rules don't apply to them," said Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group. "Because of their 'exalted status,' they are outside of the normal restrictions that apply to everyone else. This rogues' gallery should spur action on legislation to create truly independent ethics oversight entities."

The Times Union reported last December that nearly one-fifth of elected legislators in New York had, by some measure, broken a law in recent years, ranging from traffic violations to bribery and theft.

A year later, the Ortloff case arguably makes them all appear tame.

When the 61-year-old tough-on-crime Republican quietly pleaded guilty to online enticement of minors Dec. 24, it was while facing charges he tried to arrange sex trysts with girls, ages 11 and 12, through their "mother," an undercover police officer. Ortloff had acknowledged to the undercover officer that he not only had a fondness for "toddlers," but had previously molested at least one child.

Five days before the Ortloff plea, on Dec, 19, state Sen.-elect. Hiram Monserrate, a Queens Democrat, was charged with slashing and beating his girlfriend. A day earlier, Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, a longtime Queens Democrat, pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. He is accused of illegally accepting payments from groups with business pending before the state.

As it turns out, Monserrate took the seat of former Sen. John Sabini, whose own political career survived an alcohol-related driving arrest.

Meanwhile, Seminerio's arrest is said to have stemmed from cooperation from disgraced former Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, another Queens Democrat, possible mayoral candidate and former president of the New York City Central Labor Council convicted of stealing money and perks in March.

The cases go beyond Queens. Among the year's other highlights (or lowlights):

On Dec. 19, an investigation by state Inspector General Joseph Fisch revealed that Division of Parole Chairman George B. Alexander of Buffalo took home a $1,700 government computer in 2007 and did not return it until anti-theft software traced it to his home. He tendered his resignation.

When Rep. Vito Fossella, a Staten Island Republican, was charged with drunken driving in Arlington, Va. ,on May 1, he told police he was headed to pick up his sick daughter. But the arrest revealed the married lawmaker had an out-of-wedlock daughter with a retired Air Force lieutenant. He chose not to seek re-election, then was convicted of driving under the influence.

Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, a Brooklyn Democrat, was convicted last year of trying to have a private developer build her a $500,000 home for a dollar in exchange for arranging a $2 million land deal.

Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, D-Bronx, had been under indictment on allegations he funneled nearly half a million taxpayer dollars through a charity to finance his cigar company, purchase Yankees tickets and pay tuition for his daughter.

As the year drew to a close, it was unclear what new cases might arise, though at least one top name made headlines without facing any charges. A federal probe into former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno's business dealings was said to be nearing an end, with criminal charges being contemplated. The Brunswick lawmaker, the Legislature's most powerful Republican before he stepped down in July, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Officer Max Etienne Accused of Hit and Run


An Albany police officer suspected of losing his department-issued handgun during the city's LarkFest in September is now accused of crashing his personal vehicle into three parked cars and leaving the scene on Sunday.

The off-duty cop, Max Etienne, 37, was driving a Chevy sport utility vehicle when it struck a Honda sedan, a Chrysler and an Acura on Colatosti Place, said Detective James Miller, a police spokesman.

Officers were notified about 10 a.m., Miller said. No injuries were reported.

Chief James W. Tuffey declined to discuss the matter further Tuesday evening, citing department policy regarding personnel issues.

"We're doing an internal investigation now," he said. "We don't comment on internal investigations."

Miller said Etienne was issued two tickets, one for failing to keep right, another for leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Etienne, who has not been suspended or put on leave, was identified in September as the officer suspected of losing his semiautomatic service pistol while off duty at the LarkFest event on Sept. 20.

The weapon was said to have been dropped in front of Justin's restaurant on Lark Street. Detectives determined it was his pistol, according to two people familiar with the incident.

Police never publicly identified Etienne as the officer who lost the gun. It couldn't determined where that case may stand.

The crash happened in the early morning hours Sunday. The officer then went to his home in a nearby apartment complex. Police later determined he was the driver and he was ticketed, authorities said.

While he is on active duty, the department's Internal Affairs investigators are probing the crash.

Officer Jeff Vernatti Has Faced 3 Prior Civil Rights Lawsuits

The Belleville police officer being sued after arresting a man wearing a T-shirt printed with the word "Police" has faced three prior federal civil rights lawsuits since 1999 -- two since he's worked for the Belleville Police Department.

Both of those suits resulted in settlements for the plaintiffs.

Last week, Adam Weinstein, of Missouri sued Belleville police Officer Jeff Vernatti, who is president of the police officer's union, after Weinstein's arrest at a Christmas party on Dec. 23, 2006, at Crehan's Bar in Belleville.

Weinstein's lawsuit accuses Vernatti of abusing and falsely arresting Weinstein.

Weinstein, 36, was wearing an undershirt with the word "Police" on it.

The officers asked Weinstein, an emergency medical technician and licensed security officer, for his police credentials and when Weinstein told them he didn't have any, he claims Vernatti, 39, placed handcuffs tightly around his wrists, twisted his wrists, then shoved him against a police car and into the back seat.

Weinstein was ticketed for impersonating a police officer, but that charge was later dropped.

Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax declined to comment on the suit on the advice of the department's lawyer. He also said he couldn't comment on whether Vernatti ever faced discipline at the department because it was a personnel issue.

Weinstein's suit was filed in circuit court in Belleville, but the three other suits were filed in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

In 2005, a Belleville man sued Vernatti after he alleged Vernatti used a Taser on him after a rollover accident. Bryan Joseph Schmittling's suit alleged Vernatti failed to provide medical attention for Schmittling's broken shoulder after the one-car crash on Dec. 20, 2004.

The suit further alleged that Vernatti, then the department's Taser trainer, called Schmittling obscene names, then used the Taser on him three or four times until Schmittling, who stated he was not resisting arrest, lost control of his bowels.

Four years earlier, Arben Milleson, of Mascoutah, filed suit, alleging he was beaten by Vernatti and six other officers after an arrest on Feb. 15, 2000.

Milleson and Schmittling settled their cases and signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the terms of the settlement.

Vernatti also was sued in 1999 when he worked for the Shiloh Police Department, but that suit was dismissed after the plaintiff, Tommy Lee Maxwell Jr., failed to file an amended complaint.

Vernatti has worked for the Belleville Police Department since 1999.

More information:

Trooper Bruce Wrzosek Drunk At Taco Bell

One year after he graduated from the Maryland police academy state trooper Bruce Wrzosek, 22, found a strange way to celebrate.

The off-duty state trooper pulled up for some fast food and found big trouble on the menu instead. During the incident, police say Wrzosek was dressed in plain-clothes but was driving his police car.

According to WJZ news station, Baltimore County Police were called to Taco Bell by employees, who said they were being disturbed by a drunken trooper turning on his siren and trying to pull people over in the drive-thru lane.

Before police arrived the off-duty trooper Wrzosek had thrown a 20-year-old man into the front seat of his cruiser. That man said while in the drive-thru, the trooper yelled, “Get the [expletive] out of the way.”

After county police smelled alcohol on the troopers breath he decided to make a hasty retreat and drove off with the man he had previously arrested in tow, telling him: “They can’t do [expletive] to me.”

County police proceeded to chase the trooper into a residential area to Tilmont Avenue before he surrendered and was administered a heel-to-toe sobriety test, which the trooper failed. During the test Wrzosek said, “That’s great, I’m drunk.” Then before finishing he said, “I’m done, lock me up.” Which they did!

Wrzosek is in the Baltimore County jail on $500,000 bond. The county’s investigation showed the 20-year-old man forced into into the troopers car was falsely arrested. The trooper is charged with DUI, false imprisonment and eluding police.

And since the trooper was still within his two-year probationary period, he was also swiftly fired.

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Deputy Jose Avinael Lopez Charged with Stealing Bobcat loader

A Watonwan County sheriff's deputy is facing a felony charge after investigators allegedly found a stolen Bobcat skid loader at his home.

A criminal complaint filed Monday says the Bobcat was reported stolen in 2004 by Crow River Rental in Otsego. It says the loader was found in a pole barn during a Dec. 8 search at the home of Deputy Jose Avinael Lopez in rural Martin County.

Citing data practices laws, Watonwan County Sheriff Gary Menssen declined to comment about Lopez specifically but did say a deputy was on paid leave pending a criminal investigation.

Lopez, 33, is due to make his first court appearance Jan. 13.

He's the second Watonwan County deputy to face felony charges this year. Joe Dahl retired in April after being charged with theft for allegedly lying about hours worked. He is scheduled to go to trial in March.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Officer Edward Henry Arrested for Raping Hair Stylist


A reserve officer with the Oakland Police Department is on unpaid leave for allegedly raping his long-time hair stylist. Edward Henry was also working as a security guard for Disney.

A Disney spokesperson confirmed to Eyewitness News that Henry worked there as a security guard, but wouldn't give any other details. She said Disney takes the allegations very seriously and he is now on unpaid leave.

Oakland reserve officer Edward Henry was arrested by the Orlando Police Department after he was accused of raping his hairdresser. He asked his long-time stylist to come to his house to do his hair.

"She indicated her purpose was to color his hair, and to be taken advantage of, I mean, no means no, no matter what," said Sgt. Barbara Jones, Orlando Police Department.

When police confronted Henry, he tried to blame the hair stylist, but then later admitted he raped her.

The Oakland police chief told Eyewitness News, as soon as Henry was arrested he took away his badge, ID and gun. He's suspended from the force until the investigation is complete.

The corporal was on Oakland's bike unit. He's been part of the reserve unit for the past three years. Before that, Henry was also an officer with the Maitland and Eatonville police departments.

Aside from being a reserve officer, Henry also works at Disney and Columbia University as a security guard.

"Whether you're an officer or a civilian, the crime of rape is very violent and it can't be and will never be tolerated," Sgt. Jones said.

Henry's attorney said his client did have an intimate relationship with the woman many, many years ago. However, she said, for the past seven years they have only been friends.

Eyewitness News asked to get a copy of his personnel file and was told by the city of Maitland it will not be available until next week.

Officer Julio Morales Arrested for Sexual Battery

A San Jose police officer was arrested Tuesday afternoon on charges that he sexually touched an 18-year-old woman while he was on duty.

Julio C. Morales, a 41-year-old patrol officer, was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery and false imprisonment — both felonies, according to police.

"In a police department of 1,400 officers, allegations are not uncommon,'' said Lt. Mark McIninch, head of the department's sex assault unit. "It's very important to the department and the people of San Jose that they know when an allegation is made it will be competently and completely investigated. We expect people to have that confidence in us.''

A warrant for Morales' arrest went out Tuesday, police said, and Morales surrendered to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond.

Police said Morales inappropriately touched the woman during a pat-down search Dec. 3 after detaining her near Third and Keyes streets.

They did not know each other. The officer then drove her in his patrol car to another location, where he left her.

Later that day, a man called the police department to say his niece had told him of the incident.

The officer, a 13-year veteran and former member of the police department's elite SWAT team, was later placed on administrative leave.

Police have no evidence Morales has done this before, but they are asking anyone who has information about any inappropriate behavior by the officer during his contacts with the public to call investigators at (408) 277-4102.

Officer Kevin Brown Arrested for DWI


A Fulton police officer has been arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Oswego.

Officer Kevin Brown was ticketed for driving while intoxicated as well as leaving the scene of an accident after police say he hit a parked car Sunday night. Police arrested Brown at a Valero gas station.

Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward said he is aware of the situation and the matter is being investigated.

"We're not happy about it. But he's a human being. Made a judgment error obviously by getting in the vehicle after he consumed alcohol," said Woodward.

Officer Brown was not working Tuesday, but Fulton Police say it was his normally scheduled day off and they do expect him back later this week.

It is not known when Brown will appear in court.

Officer Ronald Hendrickson Arrested for Several Sex Crimes

A Newport News Police officer was charged Monday with several sex-related felonies in York County.

Ronald M. Hendrickson, 47, of Yorktown, was arrested Monday evening after turning himself in at the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office. He was charged with felony abduction with intent to defile, abduction, animate object penetration, and misdemeanor sexual battery, said York-Poquoson Sheriff's Lt. Penny Diggs, an investigator on the case.

Diggs said the victim in the case is known to Hendrickson, and the charges against him stem from an incident that was reported to the sheriff's office about 3:30 a.m. Monday.

Hendrickson is being held in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail without bond.

Newport News Police Department Spokesman Lou Thurston said Hendrickson — a lieutenant who has been with the Newport News Police Department for just under 23 years — has been placed on administrative leave with pay while an internal investigation is conducted.

At the time of his arrest, Hendrickson was assigned to the department's South Precinct patrol division in a supervisory position, Thurston said.

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Officer Ryan Warme to Remain in Custody

A federal judge this afternoon ordered Niagara Falls police officer Ryan G. Warme remain in custody because there is reason to believe he poses a danger to the community and witnesses in the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott issued the ruling at about 1:15 p.m., saying the serious charges against Warme, coupled with no other adequate confinement options that would reduce the risk to the public and witnesses, warranted he stay in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Warme was arrested Dec. 2 for alleged drug, gun and civil rights crimes.

His attorney, Joel L. Daniels, had argued during the detention hearing that Warme, 27, should be allowed to be released and confined to the Grand Island home of his father, Gordon, a retired Niagara Falls police captain.

Prosecutors have alleged Warme, who is awaiting trial, had threatened three witnesses prior to his arrest, including two witnesses who faced death threats.

Earlier, Daniels filed court papers conceding Warme did have sex with two women while on duty but Warme insists that the sex with both women was consensual.

Daniels contends that Warme has been wrongly accused of federal civil rights crimes against the women, identified only as Victim 1 and Victim 2.

Daniels filed 10 pages of court papers in Warme’s defense. The documents were filed in anticipation of a detention hearing scheduled for today in federal court.

“If accurate about the names of Victim 1 and Victim 2, [Warme] asserts the evidence will show not only an absence of violence in defendant’s conduct with these two alleged victims, but that no crime happened at all,” Daniels said.

“Simply put, [Warme] recalls having consensual sex with both ladies.”

Those admissions caught the interest of attorneys for the City of Niagara Falls, who are building an administrative case that they hope will lead to Warme’s termination and removal from the city payroll.

“Obviously, that is gross misconduct, whether consensual or not,” said Deputy Niagara Falls Corporation Counsel Christopher M. Mazur.

Federal prosecutors contend that Warme trafficked in cocaine — sometimes while on duty and in uniform — and that he used his gun and police powers to force two women to have sex with him.

The suspended officer has denied the allegations, pleading not guilty. He could face a lengthy prison term if convicted, particularly if found guilty of carrying his police handgun during civil rights crimes.

Daniels had also asked the judge to give him the names of alleged victims and witnesses in the case, so he can prepare a defense.

Warme believes he knows the identities of the women who have made allegations against him, Daniels said, but those names need to be provided so he can defend his client.

In his court papers, Daniels made the following allegations:

• Warme had a “one-time sexual tryst” with Victim 1, which was consensual, in September or October 2006, after the victim noticed Warme outside a Third Street tavern and told him he looked “hot” in his police uniform.

“Defendant was then on duty. . . . Defendant drove in his assigned police car to this young woman’s home,” Daniels wrote in court papers. “After the sex act, defendant got dressed, put on his police uniform, said goodbye and left. Defendant returned to patrol duty in the City of Niagara Falls.”

The woman tried later to establish a relationship with Warme, but he rejected it, Daniels wrote.

• Victim 2 was a woman who met Warme in early 2006. She invited him to her apartment and performed oral sex on him “countless” times.

According to Daniels, Warme was assigned to investigate a complaint the woman filed against an ex-boyfriend in September 2007. Warme went to the woman’s apartment to investigate the complaint, and she again performed oral sex on him. “There was no force, no gun, no nothing; all defendant had to do was ask,” the defense attorney wrote.

In charges filed against Warme, federal prosecutors and federal agents give a much different version of Warmes’ encounters with the two women.

In those charges, Warme is alleged to have used his position in the Police Department to intimidate and scare the women into having sex with him. He is alleged to have raped Victim 1 and, while holding his hand on his police gun, forced Victim 2 to perform oral sex.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce declined to comment in detail Monday about Daniels’ allegations concerning the two women. Bruce said prosecutors stand by their account of the events.

Bruce said Daniels has not responded to other allegations about Warme, including that he threatened other witnesses, sold and bought drugs, and gave the license plate numbers of undercover police cars to drug dealers.

Police arrested Warme after an investigation by his own department, the FBI, the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Bruce and Assistant U. S. Attorney Marie P. Grisanti are prosecuting the case.

Warme has been jailed without bail since his arrest. He is currently on administrative leave but is still being paid because of vacation and personal time he had accrued before his arrest, according to Mazur.

Mazur said Warme’s base salary is more than $40,000 a year. “I believe he has about 25 more accrued days left,” he said. “After that, we will be filing administrative charges against him. He could then be suspended without pay for 20 days. After that, he could be reinstated [or] possibly terminated.”

Mazur said the city takes the charges against Warme “very seriously” and will seek to terminate him from his city employment.

Former Officer Geoff Jackson Jailed for 90 Days

A FORMER Metropolitan police officer who crashed a riot van he had taken from a high-security police station after a night out was today jailed for 90 days.

Geoff Jackson, who turned 28 yesterday, resigned from the force days after causing £2,300 worth of damage to the vehicle.

Today Jackson, of London Road, High Wycombe, pleaded with District Judge Daphne Wickham for leniency after admitting he had let “himself, his family, the police and the public” down.

But the judge told Jackson outside of work his “life was a mess”, after the defendant ran up gambling debts of £35,000.

She told Liverpudlian Jackson “something was clearly going wrong in your life”.

City of Westminster Magistrates' Court heard the defendant had consumed seven pints of Guinness, three whiskeys and a gin and tonic while on a night out with friends on January 18.

Emma Scheer, prosecuting, said Jackson had contacted his partner – who he has now split up from – to say he would get the last train from London back to High Wycombe.

She said: “Unfortunately he missed the last train and went back to Paddington Green police station, where he was based.

“He took a police carrier vehicle, which was required for operational duty the next day.”

Ms Scheer told the court Jackson drove along the A40 for around two and a half miles at speeds between 73 and 76 mph on a road with a speed limit of 50mph.

The front offside wheel collided with the road's central reservation, Ms Scheer said, and came off the van.

Jackson drove for a further kilometre before stopping the van. He twice attempted to restart the engine.

He then turned off the interior lights and fell asleep in the back of the van – meaning police officers called to the scene could not spot him.

CCTV footage at the police station proved Jackson had taken the vehicle.

But he was not found for a further five hours – after the van had been towed to a nearby garage.

Jackson was breathalysed and found to have a reading of 49 mg of alcohol in his bloodstream.

He opted to have a blood test, but this did not take place for another five and a half hours – by which time Jackson's blood-alcohol reading had dropped back below the legal drink-drive limit.

Jackson gave a no comment interview when spoken to by officers, before he resigned the following Monday morning, January 21.

The defendant told the court he had found work for a security firm and was awaiting the results of entry exams into the Oxfordshire fire brigade.

He said he would not be able to continue his work if he was banned from driving.

Accepting responsibility for what happened, he told the judge: “I have completely let myself down, I have let the Metropolitan police service down, I have let my family down and I have let the public down. What I did was wrong.

“A big part of my life was being a police officer. I enjoyed it and I enjoyed serving the public.

“One thing I have struggled with since is not being able to serve the public any more.”

He said he had tried to “shield” his court appearances from his family as he was ashamed of what had happened.

He told the court his family only found out about the crash after reading press reports.

Jackson's father is a retired police officer and his brother a serving one, he said.

“I don't believe I'm a bad person,” he said. “I am trying to rebuild my life.”

Sentencing Jackson, District Judge Wickham said: “With the massive lack of self awareness of your problems, it was almost inevitable something awful was going to happen.

“Fortunately that piece of careless driving did not hurt any member of the public or apparently yourself. Nothing else, I'm afraid, was positive.

“You did your day job extremely well but the other side of your life was a mess.”

She said Jackson faced “a long path to recovery”.

He was sentenced to 90 days in prison for taking a vehicle without consent. He will serve half that sentence.

Jackson was also disqualified from driving for six months and fined £500 for careless driving.

There was no separate charge for driving without insurance, which he had pleaded guilty to on his last appearance at court. He was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

He did not face drink-driving charges due to a lack of evidence.

Retired Trooper William Cotto Kills His Wife, then Himself


A retired New York state trooper is suspected of killing his estranged wife and then turning a gun on himself.

Troopers went to a home in the Ulster County community of Marbletown after getting a report of a man with a gun early Wednesday morning. Family members told police that 53-year-old William Cotto entered the home with a shotgun and killed his wife, 49-year-old Isol Cotto.

Authorities found Cotto in the parking lot of a nearby gas station, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot.

Cotto retired as a trooper assigned to the Thruway detail. He had been arrested Tuesday on unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment charges. Police believed they had secured all his weapons after the arrest and an order of protection was issued for his wife.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Officer Stephen Vaughn Accidentally Shoots Wife


The Pueblo County sheriff's office says a woman was injured after being accidentally shot by her husband, an off-duty Pueblo police officer.

The sheriff's office says deputies responded to a report of an accidental shooting at the couple's home at about 12:15 a.m. Sunday.

The woman, Robin Vaughn, was transported to Parkview Medical Center, where she was treated for a gunshot wound to her torso.

Authorities say a preliminary investigation showed Vaughn's husband, Pueblo police officer Stephen Vaughn, had just finished cleaning a pistol when it discharged.

The two were in separate rooms at the time, and the round struck Robin Vaughn after traveling through a wall.

The case is being investigated by the sheriff's office and will be sent to the district attorney's office for review.

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Officer Scott Garan Arrested for Drunk Driving

Aurora Patrolman Scott A. Garan was arrested Dec. 19 in Kent, where he lives, on drunken driving and criminal damaging charges.

Kent Patrolman Martin Gilliland stopped Garan, 41, driving his wife's car. Garan refused to take a breath-alcohol test, so his driver's license was automatically suspended. Kent Patrolman John Altomare brought the criminal damaging charge. Kent police would not discuss the case.

Mayor Lynn McGill placed Garan on leave from the police force he has been a part of for 17 years.

Kent Municipal Court Judge John Plough ordered Garan to wear a SCRAM alcohol monitoring device. The ankle bracelet will detect around the clock whether Garan drinks alcohol. Court records indicate that this was Garan's second drunken driving charge.

And Garan has a prior conviction in Kent for disorderly conduct. Then-Sgt. Garan pleaded guilty July 23, 2007, and was fined $130. McGill took away Garan's sergeant stripes.

McGill said any misbehavior is unacceptable for a police officer, "but I can't prejudge. We have to have the appropriate hearings" about the latest charges.

Garan is on paid leave for now. He's due back in Kent Municipal Court Jan. 20.

In October, the Portage County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving named Garan Aurora's top cop for getting drunken drivers off the road, McGill said.

Three years ago, an Aurora lieutenant was demoted to patrolman after a drunken driving conviction.

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Sheriff Leroy Green's Son Arrested for Raping Child

The son of Wyandotte County Sheriff Leroy Green Jr. was arrested Monday on charges that he raped or lewdly fondled children under the age of 14.

Police had been looking for Leroy Green III, 35, of Kansas City, Kan., since Dec. 19, when he was charged with nine counts of rape and six counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, according to charges filed by Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Lidtke.

All of the counts accuse Green of engaging in lewd fondling or sexual intercourse with his victims.
Wyandotte County Jail administrator Jeff Fewell said the sheriff was aware of the charges against his son but had no comment.

The charges accuse Green of criminal acts that began in 2001 and continued until August.

District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman said Monday that Green is accused of victimizing several girls he knew.

The investigation into at least one of the charges dates to 2007, Gorman said.

According to information on the Wyandotte County Jail’s Web site, Green has been booked into the jail five times since 2002, but the charges were not listed. Each time, Green was released on his own recognizance.

Green was taken into custody without incident about 8 p.m. Monday in the 600 block of Oakland Avenue, Kansas City, Kan., police said. Gorman said bond was set at $1 million.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Officer John Lewis Arrested Again...This Time for Drunk Driving


A Schenectady police officer already charged in connection with a domestic dispute has been arrested again following a car accident over the weekend.

John Lewis, 38, of Schenectady is charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, improper speed, and improper lane use.

A Schenectady police officer already charged in connection with a domestic dispute has been arrested again - this time for DWI following a car accident.

He was arraigned on Saturday and released on his own recognizance. He has been suspended without pay for 30 days.

This is not the first time Lewis has been on the other side of the law. He was arrested in November on stalking and aggravated harassment charges stemming from an incident with his wife. He was also charged with harassment earlier this year in a separate incident with his wife.

Lewis was also fired 10 years ago after using a racial slur but was later reinstated.

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Sgt. Richard Hale Accused of Choking and Shoving Victim


Sergeant Richard Hale has been enforcing the law for 20 years with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. However, he is now accused of breaking the law. A family member called deputies to Hale's home in Manor on Dec. 14. At that time, he was accused of choking and shoving his victim. Even though he is a detective within the department, he was arrested and charged with assault with injury/family violence.

"There is a dual investigation going on at this point," said Roger Wade, with the Travis County Sheriff's Office. "There's a criminal investigation for the assault and there's an internal investigation with our internal affairs office."

Hale is not on the streets during the investigations. The detective has been stripped of his law enforcement powers, and sits behind a desk, for now. That could change, thanks to a strict domestic violence policy in the Sheriff's Office.

"First and foremost, we think of the victim," said Wade. "We don't take a person's job status into consideration when we go to these calls. We are thinking of the victim and the protection of the victim."

The Travis County Sheriff issued a resolution last year, written in honor of Dana Conley, who is undergoing physical therapy. Her husband, Julius Conley, a Travis County corrections officer, beat her with a dumbbell in February 2007 at their Round Rock home. Dana, who was pregnant at the time, was comatose for months following that beating. She gave birth to a healthy child while still in a coma in September 2007. The 39-year-old's mother's parents, who live in California, took temporary custody of the baby.

A friend of Dana's, Quincy Johnson, was also beaten in that attack. He died as a result of his injuries. The Conley's were going through a divorce at the time after a tumultuous and abusive marriage, according to investigators. Julius pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated assault in July, 2007 and was given two life sentences.

After that incident, the domestic violence resolution was posted in almost every office in the department, warning employees against family violence.

"We take family violence seriously, and we will investigate fully, even if you're an employee," said Wade.

This is something Wade said Hale should have known.

"He was a supervisor in this agency and knew and he had the responsibility of passing that information on to the people that he supervised," said Wade.

Hale will appear in front of Travis County judge on Jan. 6, 2009. A representative for Hale said the sergeant denies choking, shoving or hurting anyone. He is cooperating with investigators and expects to be exonerated.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Officer Michael Welch Charged with DWI

A Shreveport police officer has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Shreveport police officer Michael Welch, 32, was charged Saturday with first-offense DWI, a misdemeanor, in connection with an incident that occurred in the 6200 block of Bert Kouns Industrial Loop.

Welch was off duty but was driving a marked police car when he was arrested, police said.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Shreveport police received a complaint from a concerned citizen regarding a marked patrol unit being operated in a careless manner on Bert Kouns. Officers were immediately sent to the area and soon found Welch.

According to his booking report, he was found asleep behind the wheel of his police cruiser with the engine still running. After investigation, he was arrested just after 4 a.m. and booked into the Shreveport City Jail. He later was released on a $1,086 bond.

Welch, a three-year veteran assigned to the Uniformed Services Division, of the 6200 block of Bert Kouns, has been placed on administrative leave by Chief Henry Whitehorn pending an internal investigation.

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Charges Against Seven People Dropped After Officer Andrew Collins Arrest


The Berrien County prosecutor says drug charges against seven people will be dismissed after further investigation into possible misconduct by a former police officer.

Former Benton Harbor narcotics officer Andrew Thomas Collins was arrested Dec. 2 and faces one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine.

The South Bend Tribune in Indiana says an indictment filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Grand Rapids claims the 26-year-old Collins used his position to keep seized drugs. The indictment also says he reported fictitious drug sales to improperly gain search warrants and embezzle police funds.

Police didn't have information about whether Collins had an attorney.


Information from: South Bend Tribune,

Several Inglewood Officers Involved in Sex-Related Scandals

Inglewood police officers have repeatedly been embroiled in sex-related scandals over the last five years, according to court documents, law enforcement records and interviews.

In May 2004, Officer Ron Navarreta, a 13-year veteran, was fired after FBI agents discovered that a suspect in a child pornography investigation had e-mailed explicit images to Navarreta's AOL account, according to court records. Investigators found that Navarreta's AOL account included a screen name called "PlyGRoUndObsver." An agent alleged that the screen name's user prowled the Internet seeking a relationship with a mother and daughter and listed "teaching vey yng fem students about love" as a hobby, according to internal affairs records that Navarreta's attorney included in a civil court case filed to get his job back.

Navarreta denied receiving the images e-mailed to him by the child-porn suspect. FBI agents were unable to examine the computers he used because they had been sold or reported stolen.

An arbitrator found there was not enough evidence to prove Navarreta knowingly received child porn but concluded that he lied to the FBI and Inglewood investigators and should be fired. A judge upheld his termination.

Later that year, an anonymous letter sent to the department's Internal Affairs Bureau prompted a sexual harassment investigation of traffic Officer James Manzi.

Manzi, according to an internal affairs report included in court records, played for on-duty colleagues a videotape and an audio recording of himself having sex. Manzi was suspended for 20 days but retired on disability before the discipline was imposed. He declined to comment.

In January 2006, another officer was accused of taking a cellphone photograph of an inmate during a strip search. The officer was suspended and then fired for unrelated misconduct.

Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said supervisors now monitor strip searches. "That's one of the circumstances where we have to be exceedingly careful because it has the potential to be interpreted as something very demeaning," she said.

In December 2006, a woman visiting from Florida claimed that an on-duty Inglewood officer raped her and forced her to perform sexual acts while he kept his hand on his holstered gun.

According to a district attorney's report, the woman was standing on a street corner wearing a miniskirt and fishnet stockings when Officers Donvey Lindsey and Brandon Beak pulled up, suspecting she was a prostitute.

The officers followed the woman back to her motel and confirmed she was a registered guest, according to the report. Lindsey then followed her to her room, telling Beak that he would check her identification, Beak told authorities.

The woman, in a statement to the FBI, claimed she complied with Lindsey's orders to perform sexual acts because he threatened to arrest her.

Prosecutors declined to file charges, saying it would be difficult to prove the case because the woman had been arrested for prostitution in her home state. The woman has filed a federal civil rights suit against the city. The suit is pending.

Seabrooks said Lindsey has been fired. He did not return a call seeking comment.

Just two months after the rape claim, the city was shaken by allegations that other officers visited prostitutes at massage parlors. Among them was six-year veteran Officer Richard Correa. According to civil court records, a prostitute who worked at a massage parlor on La Brea Avenue told investigators that she had performed a sex act on Correa while he was on duty and in uniform. She implicated other officers who she said frequented the massage parlor for sex and promised to alert her to police raids.

Correa told internal affairs investigators that he had sex with an employee at a different massage parlor on Manchester Boulevard while in uniform, court records show. He denied paying her and said it happened only once.

"That was a bad decision on my part, and it's stupid," he told investigators. He was fired in March 2007.

A department spokesman said seven officers were fired for allegedly visiting the massage parlors or covering for officers who did.

Seabrooks said she and her predecessors have moved swiftly to rid the department of officers who commit serious misconduct. She said the 195-officer force should not be judged based on the conduct of a relative handful of officers.

"It is unfortunate that these things seemed to have plagued us," she said. "In any barrel, you're bound to find some bad apples that touch each other, and you're going to find the vast majority that are just fine."

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Officer Rory Rogers Arrested for Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend

A San Antonio Police Officer is arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The officer, Rory Rogers, is out of jail tonight. He’s accused of pushing down his ex-girlfriend at a Stone Oak Parkway bar.

Police say there was broken glass on the dance floor and she cut her arms, knees, and side. Sergeant Gabe Trevino with the San Antonio Police Department says they collected all the evidence they could before issuing a warrant.

“You can imagine at a club like that there are a lot of people that are there that saw what happened and we’re going based on that, and if he wants to tell us something later on, then certainly we will listen to that.”

Rogers is placed on administrative leave pending an outcome in the case.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Former Trooper Robert Breeding Arrested for Burglary


A former Maryland State Police trooper is behind bars after he allegedly broke into a woman's home on Christmas Eve.

Robert Breeding is being accused of breaking into his estranged wife's home, on Louisiana Ave., and stealing her personal property.

Witnesses, at the scene, told police that Breeding had fled into the woods on foot.

Officers checked the areabut were unable to find him.

Four hours later, a Cumberland Police K-9 unit located Breeding walking near Byrd Avenue towards Louisiana Avenue.

The officer approached Breeding and told him he was under arrest.

Breeding refused to stop and tried to run from the officer.

The Police K-9 was released after him, but was called off when Breeding stopped running.

As police tried totake Breeding into custody, officers sayhe was resisting and attempted to pull an unknown object from his pants pocket.

A Taser was deployed to take Breeding down.

Breeding was then transported to Police Headquarters and charged.

The former trooper has already been in trouble with the law.

Court documents show he's already been convicted on assault and theft charges.

Police say, because of his extensive criminal history, he's being held on almost a half million dollars bond.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Officer Adam Gallegos Accused of Being a Peeping Tom

An off-duty and possibly intoxicated Santa Fe police officer was caught earlier this month allegedly trying to peek into the house of a woman from whom he had taken a burglary report days earlier, The New Mexican reported.

A friend of the woman told police he confronted Officer Adam Gallegos, 37, at the scene and tried to keep him there until officers arrived, saying whatever the officer was doing "wasn't cool," according to police reports.

"It just wasn't right," said Luis Flores, 28, a Santa Fe construction worker and bartender. "Honestly, it's pretty creepy. That dude should not be a cop."

Deputy Police Chief Benjie Montano told The New Mexican that the department is awared of the allegations against Gallegos and is conducting an investigation of the incident.

City, county and State Police officers responded to the scene on Dec. 13 after a radio dispatcher alerted them that a Santa Fe police officer had reported he was being attacked by two men, but when officers arrived, Gallego was gone, The New Mexican said.

A State Police officer who ultimately handled the investigation of the incident said Gallegos told him he had driven to his home in Villanueva after the incident, the paper reported.

Gallegos allegedly told the State Police investigator that he had been at a holiday party that night, dropped off some friends, then drove to the Contenta Ridge neighborhood to visit another friend -- an area where he'd taken two burglary reports a few days before, The New Mexican said.

"He stated that he drove by (the woman's) house so he could check on it," the investigator's report said.

State Police spokesman Peter Olson told The New Mexican the report has been forwarded to the District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether any charges are warranted.

Officer Andrew Cummings Charged with Stealing Motorist's Laptop


A southwest Missouri police officer is charged with stealing a motorist's laptop computer during a traffic stop.

Southwest City officer Andrew Cummings of Anderson is free on $7,500 bond after felony theft charges were filed Tuesday in McDonald County. Authorities say the 25-year-old was working for Pineville police when the alleged theft on July 4, 2007.

Cummings is currently a part-time officer with Southwest City police and a reserve officer with Noel police.

Court documents say Cummings had arrested a woman for suspected DWI when he put her laptop it in his patrol car, later denying that he had it.

This week Cummings left the laptop at the Noel marshal's office to have software installed, and a staffer discovered the computer had been reported stolen.

Information from: The Joplin Globe,

Former Trooper Brian Smith Goes on Deadly Shooting Rampage, then Shoots Himself


Police say a former Utah State Trooper is responsible for a deadly shooting rampage that left two Texas motorists dead and a third person injured on Monday.

Former Utah state trooper Brian Smith is on life support after shooting himself as police tried to arrest him after a deadly shooting rampage in the Dallas area.

"I certainly think he is going to be linked to the three shootings in Dallas," Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said on Tuesday. "Right now I can't say definitely say he's involved in the Garland shooting."

The rush hour rampage began in Garland, Texas on monday.

20-year-old Jorge Lopez was shot for no apparent reason, as was truck driver and Desert Storm veteran William Miller.

Two other truck drivers, who asked not to be identified were also shot at along 635, but not seriously hurt.

Police say preliminary ballistics tests point to Smith as the triggerman.

Officers pulled him over Monday night for outstanding warrants, but heard a gunshot as they approached his vehicle.

Utah Highway Patrol records indicate Smith had been suicidal in the past.

In may he resigned after allegations of theft, DUI and prescription drug use surfaced.

The former officer is now the sole suspect in a rampage that left two dead and thousands of other drivers in fear.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Four Officers Accused of Stealing from Toys for Tots

Four D.C. police officers are suspected of stealing toys donated to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, police said Wednesday.

No arrests have been made in the incident, which is still under an internal investigation, according to Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Traci Hughes. The four officers were operating out of the Sixth District Station in Southeast. They have been taken off the street and put on “non-contact status.”

A Toys for Tots spokesman could not be reached Wednesday.

The charity, which has existed since 1947 and operates nationwide, collects toys and distributes them to needy families who cannot afford to buy Christmas gifts for their children. It operates drop-off points throughout the district.

The Metropolitan Police Department has come under fire from community leaders in the crime-ridden sixth district for closing a substation on Pennsylvania Avenue, even as violent crimes are on the rise in the district. The 6th District, which encompasses the area east of the Anacostia River between Good Hope Road and Eastern Avenue, is one of the city’s most dangerous.

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Officer Patricia Tidd Charged with Drunk Driving

Montville, Conn.

A New London police officer was charged Tuesday with drunken driving in connection with her Sept. 7 off-duty motorcycle accident.

Patricia Tidd, 38, of Bloomingdale Road in Quaker Hill was arrested at 1 p.m. Tuesday by state police in Montville where she turned herself in. She is charged with failure to drive in proper lane, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and reckless driving.

Police said Tidd was injured in the motorcycle crash on Interstate 395.

Free on a $2,500 bond, Tidd is scheduled to appear Jan. 6 in Norwich Superior Court on Jan. 6.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Three Richmond Officer Charged with Covering up Crime

Three Richmond police officers charged with a crime. Now the Commonwealth's Attorney is admitting his office made mistakes handling the case.

It all stems from a Shockoe Bottom bar fight nearly one year ago. Now a special prosecutor is being asked to figure out whether two Richmond police officers covered up a crime for a brother in blue. And whether one of the City's top lawyers broke the law while handling this case.

According to court papers, off-duty Richmond Police Officer Ian McCloskey got mad at an ex-girlfriend inside "Wonderland Bar" and hits a man sitting with her. Two police officers respond.

They're now accused of filing an incomplete report -- covering up what happened. And allowing McCloskey intimidate witnesses.

When the fight came to light, McCloskey should have been charged with a felony in the courts but he wasn't...

"The average citizen would have likely been staring at felony exposure for that assault. That is something that we should not have allowed to happen. I should not have allowed my subordinates to go forward on a misdemeanor charge," says Mike Herring, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney.

And Herring says, according the law, police officers charged with a misdemeanor cannot pay an accuser's medical bill, a fact that Herring says no one was aware of.

Now, Herring is hiring a special prosecutor to come in and take over this case.

" But it doesn't look right to people to know a police officer is covering up an illegal action by another police officer regardless of how benign it may be," says Herring.

Now we spoke to the Richmond Police Department to find out if those three officers are working out on the streets, but they said they can't tell us because it's a personnel matter.

Sheriff Jimmie Williamson Charged with Fraud

Telfair County Sheriff Jimmie W. Williamson has been charged with “honest services fraud” in connection with allegations he embezzled county money and accepted bribes, according to federal court documents.

Williamson, 48, is accused of embezzling fine and bond money paid by people arrested in Telfair County and using the money for his personal use instead of turning the money over to the county court system, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Southern District of Georgia.

He also is accused of accepting bribes from people arrested in Telfair County in exchange for reducing or dismissing pending charges and for granting special privileges for people housed in the county jail, according to the release.

Williamson also is accused of using sheriff’s office money to buy items for his personal use, including an all-terrain vehicle, according to a document filed Monday in federal court. That document was filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring charges against an individual in lieu of an indictment or arrest, said Edmund A. Booth Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.

On Dec. 2, 2005, Williamson mailed a letter from the Telfair County Sheriff’s Office to Lendmark Financial Services with a check drawn from the sheriff’s office’s inmate account fund to make a monthly payment on a loan for the all-terrain vehicle, according to the court records.

Ashley McLaughlin, Williamson’s attorney, said the sheriff has cooperated with investigators.

“He’s been straight with them since day one,” he said.

McLaughlin said the sheriff is guilty of “ignorance, not malice.”

He explained that the sheriff’s office didn’t utilize a “lock box” until the past couple of years. When a fine was paid to the sheriff’s office, the money was clipped to the back of the citation.

“There were times when anybody could have access to (the money),” McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said the sheriff denies accepting any bribes.

With no money in the budget for an all-terrain vehicle, Williamson purchased one with his own funds with the thought that the county would pay him back when funds became available, McLaughlin said.

“He thought that was OK,” McLaughlin said.

The four-wheeler always was used for sheriff’s office purposes, commonly when deputies searched for marijuana fields, he said.

Booth said Williamson has not been arrested and doesn’t anticipate the sheriff will be arrested. Instead, Booth said Williamson will be summoned to appear in court in January for an initial appearance and arraignment.

The GBI launched an investigation into allegations of fraud and financial impropriety against Williamson in May following a request from the Oconee Circuit District Attorney’s Office. A search warrant was served at Williamson’s home in November.

At the time of the search warrant, GBI agents said they couldn’t estimate how much money was involved or what time span during which the alleged thefts occurred.

The federal court documents filed Monday indicate the alleged embezzlement, bribery and improper purchases began in January 2004.

If convicted, Williamson faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years on supervised release, according to court records.

Williamson, a two-term sheriff, did not run for re-election this year because of the county’s two-term limit.

Johnny O. Smith, the incoming sheriff, said he plans to bring credibility back to the sheriff’s office once he takes office in January.

“We’re going to work hard to make the people proud of us,” he said.

Information from The Telegraph’s archives was included in this report.

Deputy Michael McCroskey Accused of Domestic Violence Fired Today


Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson today fired a deputy who is accused of domestic violence.

Swanson said Michael D. McCroskey, 34, can appeal his decision. “But, as of this morning, I gave him his letter, and he’s done,” he said.

Swanson declined further comment.

McCroskey has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of domestic violence and unlawful restraint.

The charges stem from a Dec. 5 incident in Jackson Township. His next court date is Dec. 30 in Massillon Municipal Court.

According to court documents, McCroskey pushed a woman while she was holding their infant son, then threatened to kill her and commit suicide.

McCroskey had been employed with the Sheriff’s Department since April 19, 2007, working in the county jail.

McCroskey also was arrested for domestic violence involving the same woman Aug. 25,. He was found guilty on a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

A disciplinary hearing was held Monday.

Officer Randi Hieb Arrested for Firing Her Weapon at House


An Ashland police officer has been arrested for allegedly firing her weapon at her home.

Saunders County Attorney Scott Tingelhoff says the officer was arrested Sunday on two felony weapons charges.

He says the woman and her boyfriend got into a fight in Omaha. When they returned to their home in Ashland, she fired a gun and hit the house. Tingelhoff says the gun was her off-duty back-up weapon.

The officer has been with the Ashland Police Department for two years.

Information from: KETV-TV,
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Officer Royderick Oliver Charged with Raping 14-year-old

A 20-year veteran of the UAB Police Department has been charged in connection with the rape of a 14-year-old girl, according to Homewood police.

Royderick Undray Oliver, 45, was arrested this morning on two counts of rape second degree and one count enticing a minor for immoral purposes.

Oliver, a resident of the Mayfair apartments in Homewood, was arrested after a joint investigation by the Homewood and UAB police departments. He had been held on $45,000 in bonds and has now been released.

Homewood police arrested Oliver at 1 a.m. at his residence, said Sgt. Andrew Didcoct. A victim's relative contacted police about the allegations last week. The victim is not related to Oliver.

Oliver met the victim in an online chatroom, Didcoct said.

Officer James Clayton Arrested on 5 Counts of Misconduct

North Las Vegas Police Detectives arrested 40-year-old James Vernon Clayton Tuesday morning.

Clayton has over three years of service with the North Las Vegas Police Department.

He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on five counts of misconduct of a public officer (felony), two counts of oppression under color of office (felony), and one count of open and gross lewdness (gross misdemeanor).

Clayton was arrested on a warrant obtained after a five month investigation conducted by North Las Vegas Police Department Investigators.

That investigation was prompted by third party allegations of misconduct on Clayton's part while he was on duty as a patrol officer for the department.

Clayton has been on paid administrative leave during the investigation and remains in that status.

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Couple Suing Police for Beating their 12-year-old Daughter

A Galveston couple is suing three police officers who they say arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute.

The officers have filed documents saying their conduct was reasonable in light of the facts they had at the time. Named as defendants are Galveston Police Sgt. Gilbert Gomez and Officers David Roark and Sean Stewart.

Bill Helfand, an attorney for the officers, stressed that the lawsuit allegations have yet to be proven.

"If you go to the courthouse and read any complaint, the allegations are always bombastic," Helfand said. "There's nothing about the allegations that makes them true, just because they've been made."

The suit was filed against the officers individually, not the city of Galveston or the Police Department, on August 22, the last day to file before the statute of limitations ran out.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Galveston, Dymond Larae Milburn went outside her home in the 2000 block of 24th to flip a circuit breaker about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2006.

Responding to a call that three white prostitutes were soliciting in the neighborhood, the plainsclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked van on Gomez's orders and one of them grabbed the girl, who is black, the lawsuit states.

The girl contends that the officers did not identify themselves as police and that the officer who grabbed her, later identified as Roark, told her, "You're a prostitute. You're coming with me."

Her parents, Wilfred and Emily Milburn, heard her cries for help and came outside to see the hysterical girl hanging on to a tree and screaming "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" while two officers hit her in the head, face and throat, the family alleges.

One officer hit the girl in the back of the head with a flashlight during the incident, the lawsuit alleges. The police then left the scene.

Two hours later, Dymond Milburn was examined at the University of Texas Medical Branch emergency room and doctors found she had a sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose and blood in an ear, according to the lawsuit.

Weeks later, the girl was arrested during classes at Austin Middle School, where she was an honors student, the lawsuit states. She was tried a year later on a charge of resisting arrest, but the judge declared a mistrial on the first day, according to the lawsuit.

Anthony Griffin, the attorney for the Milburns, said the mistrial stemmed from a remark by an officer on the witness stand. A new trial is scheduled for February.

Wilfred Milburn was arrested the next day for interfering with police and assaulting an officer in connection with the incident involving his daughter. Police also found drugs in Milburn's car, Griffin said. He said Milburn pleaded guilty to possession of drugs in exchange for having the other charges dropped.

The Milburn family is asking for unspecified damages for physical injuries and emotional problems.

Helfand said the actions were justifiable, given what the officers knew at the time.

Because the Milburn family never filed any complaint with the police department, the incident was not investigated. The officers remain on the force, a spokesman said.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Former Officer Michael Johnson Accused of Raping Woman Takes His Own Life

A Pennsylvania municipal official accused of raping a woman in Baltimore was found dead yesterday after an apparent suicide in upstate New York, authorities said.

Michael L. Johnson Jr., 40, of York, Pa., shot himself in the head and chest after fleeing U.S. marshals and hiding in the closet of an apartment in Cohoes, N.Y., law enforcement officials said.

Federal authorities and local police were closing in on Johnson when they heard gunshots come from a room the fugitive had locked himself into, according to Gary Mattison, supervisor of the Albany, N.Y., division of the U.S. Marshals Service.

About an hour later, officers knocked down the door and found Johnson, Mattison said. He is believed to have died at the scene, authorities said.

Johnson, president of the Penn Township Board of Commissioners, disappeared about two weeks ago after he was released on $100,000 bail after being charged with raping a Baltimore woman. Police eventually linked Johnson to two other rapes in York, where he had served as a police officer. In each incident, he is accused of posing as a police officer and raping a woman in a minivan.

According to court documents, Johnson, a York police officer from 1994 to 1999, was born in Baltimore and was an Army veteran. He was also a married father of two who ran for Congress in 2002.

Police said Johnson picked up a 21-year-old woman in the Baltimore Highlands area Nov. 2 and told her he was arresting her for prostitution as part of a sting operation. According to court records, he handcuffed her to the back seat of a minivan, drove her to an industrial area in the rear of the 4400 block of E. Monument St. and sexually assaulted her.

The victim gave investigators a license plate number and a description of the silver van, information that led to Johnson's arrest after a two-hour standoff. Although he was released on bail, Johnson was to turn himself in after allegations of the two other rapes. But he failed to do so and had been on the run since.

Mattison said police didn't know why Johnson was in New York.

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Nathan Vaughn Dies After Being Tasered

A man died Saturday after a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy responding to a violent attack in a Santa Rosa home stunned him three times with a Taser, according to the sheriff's office.

Nathan Vaughn, 39, was throwing and breaking things in a home on Brighton Drive when the deputy arrived at the house, the sheriff's office said in a statement Sunday. The deputy stunned Vaughn once, then hit him twice more when Vaughn continued to fight.

The deputy, who has not been named, was able to handcuff Vaughn, but shortly thereafter Vaughn showed signs of medical problems, according to the sheriff's office. An ambulance crew already on the scene treated Vaughn and took him to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The incident started at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when Vaughn's mother, Doris Vaughn, called 911 and told a dispatcher that her son was very violent and was destroying the house and hitting his dad, according to the sheriff's department.

Vaughn's father, Ronald Vaughn, suffered multiple cuts and bruises in the incident, none of which required immediate medical attention, according to the sheriff's department.

Investigators later learned that deputies had responded to another disturbance at the same house at 4:30 a.m. Friday. No one was arrested in that incident, but Nathan Vaughn was taken from the home to stay with friends.

Shortly after deputies left Vaughn, he went to a pay phone and made several calls to 911 but hung up on dispatchers, according to the sheriff's office. Deputies then arrested Vaughn for making repeated, unnecessary emergency calls. Vaughn was cited and released from Sonoma County Jail at about 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Vaughn had an extensive history of arrests and convictions in a 15-page criminal history report, according to the sheriff's office. He had been convicted multiple times for drug possession and being under the influence. He also had several theft-related convictions and had served time in state prison for burglary, according to the sheriff's office.

Because Vaughn's death happened while he was in custody of the sheriff's department, the incident is being handled by another law enforcement agency, the Petaluma Police Department.

Former Trooper Jesus Larrazolo Relatives Offering to Post His Bond


Relatives of a now former state trooper arrested last month on allegations of trying to distribute cocaine are offering to use personal property as collateral to post his $500,000 bond.

According to court documents, Jesus Rafael Larrazolo's aunt and uncle said they were willing to pledge land valued at $454,842 as collateral for his release.

Larrazolo, 35, the now former Texas Department of Public Safety trooper, is set to be arraigned next month on a count of possession with intent to distribute following his Dec. 18 indictment by a federal grand jury.

According to the indictment, the violation involved five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.

Larrazolo was arrested Nov. 21 in the parking lot of Best Buy in Brownsville as he was loading his car with cocaine. He had just received the cocaine from another man, who fled the scene, Brownsville police said.

Brownsville police were conducting an unrelated surveillance when they saw Larrazolo with suspicious suitcases that carried the cocaine, according to police.

Larrazolo's relatives, Jorge Emilio Larrazolo Rubio and Concepcion Elisa Martinez Islas said they would not pledge their property if they believed their nephew was a flight risk, according to court documents.

The real estate property is the only U.S. assets the aunt and uncle have, court documents state.

"Mr. and Mrs. Larrazolo would not pledge their property to post defendant's bond unless they were absolutely sure the defendant will present himself in court to answer the charges that are pending against him," the document reads.

As of Dec. 15, Larrazolo's family had raised $5,000 in bond money.

The motion to reconsider bond was filed before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio. As of Monday, Recio had not ruled on the motion.

Although pre-trial services during a Nov. 26, detention hearing recommended Jesus Rafael Larrazolo's bond be set at $100,000, Recio declined the recommendation and set the $500,000 bond.

During that hearing, assistant U.S. Attorney James Lancaster asked that the former trooper be held without bond because of fears he would flee to Mexico.

FBI authorities earlier said that Jesus Rafael Larrazolo's family ties in Mexico are powerful and wealthy enough that they would allow him to disappear.

Trooper Bruce Wrzosek Arrested for Abducting Man & DUI

Baltimore County Police have arrested a Maryland State trooper for allegedly abducting a man and driving while intoxicated.

Police say Trooper Bruce Wrzosek abducted a man at a Taco Bell in Towson early Saturday morning. When police caught up with the trooper near his home, police say he had alcohol on his breath.

The county's investigation showed there was no reason for Wrzosek to force the 20-year-old man into his car at the restaurant's parking lot. The trooper is charged with DUI, false imprisonment and eluding police.

State police spokesman Greg Shipley says Wrzosek has been fired.

During the incident, police say Wrzosek was dressed in plain clothes but was driving his police car.


Information from: WBAL-AM,
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Former Officer Kam Ng Faces Federal Charges


A former Columbus police officer faces charges after a federal investigation uncovered alleged schemes to rob armored trucks and restaurants.

According to the FBI, investigators had been watching Kam Ng for more than a month after receiving tips from informants.

An informant told investigators that Ng, 53, had said that he wanted to rob a restaurant before Christmas to "spread some holiday cheer," Kocot reported. Ng also allegedly told the informant that his "training as a police officer" would give him a "big advantage."

Ng worked as an officer with the Columbus Division of Police until 1985.

The FBI said that Ng was plotting to hold up armored cars because he knew the best time and day to strike "when police presence is light," Kocot reported.

Federal agents also claimed that Ng conducted surveillance at nearly half-dozen Asian restaurants and wanted to obtain a .22-caliber pistol with a silencer. Court records allege that Ng told an informant that he would use a weapon if robbery victims failed to follow his orders.

Ng was arrested Saturday outside a Columbus restaurant. The FBI said he was in possession of a loaded handgun, a ski mask and a stun gun at the time of his arrest, Kocot reported.

Agents said that Ng told them that the alleged scheme was nothing more than a "big joke." An informant said that Ng said he was broke and needed money, according to the FBI.

Ng remained in custody Monday and faces federal charges of attempted armed robbery.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Former Deputy Russell Burton Accused of Engaging in Sexual Acts with Daughter

A former Kentucky sheriff's deputy accused of engaging in sexual acts with his daughter pleads not guilty to the charges.

Forty-four-year-old Russell Burton appeared in Pulaski Circuit Court Thursday.

In October, Burton was indicted on ten counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of sodomy, and turned himself in.

The Commonwealth Journal reports the complaint also alleges the girl was under 12 years old when the incidents took place.

Burton retired from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department three years ago.

Sheriff Robert Chavez Charged with Aggravated DWI

Santa Rosa

State Police arrested Robert G. Chavez Sheriff of Guadalupe County for charges of Aggravated DWI.

Early Friday morning Officers from the New Mexico State Police were advised of a 911 report of a possible drunk driver in a blue Chevy pick-up in the Santa Rosa area, Officer White while patrolling Old Route 66 just after 2:00 AM observed the reported vehicle with New Mexico license plate GGD460.

After the officer made contact with the reported vehicle the driver was observed violating a couple traffic infractions. The officer initiated a traffic stop and the driver was positively identified as Robert G. Chavez.

Officer White had Mr. Chavez perform a few standardized field sobriety tests and subsequently arrested Mr. Chavez for the following;

- Aggravated driving while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or drug 1st offense.

- Failure to stop at a posted stop sign

- Open containers

- Failure to wear a seatbelt.

Mr. Chavez was transported to the De Baca County jail in Fort Sumner, NM where he was booked into jail.

Officer Johnny Baltazar Investigated for Smuggling Handguns

A department veteran allegedly bought guns at the Police Academy and sent them to Belize, where he runs a security firm.

A veteran Los Angeles police officer who operates a security company in Belize is under federal investigation for allegedly smuggling handguns into the Central American nation, according to law enforcement sources and internal LAPD documents.

Officer Johnny Baltazar is accused of purchasing eight .40-caliber Glocks from the LAPD Academy store and secretly shipping them, along with two other guns and 1,530 rounds of ammunition, to Belize where he runs a company called Elite Security, according to documents obtained by The Times.

Baltazar, 49, who was assigned to the West Los Angeles Division, has been accused administratively by the LAPD with exporting firearms without a license, failing to declare firearms he exported and failing to notify his LAPD superiors that he was under federal investigation, documents show. He has been suspended with pay pending a disciplinary hearing that could result in his firing.

Such hearings, which were open to the public for decades, have been conducted in secret since a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling that limited access to police personnel information.

Baltazar, who serves on the board of directors of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation, an association of African American employees of the Los Angeles Police Department, could not be reached for comment.

Beyond the current charges, LAPD officials are also seeking additional information about his security company and specifically what it does.

"The question is what was he doing in Belize?" said one police official, who asked to remain anonymous because of the confidential nature of the investigation. The official said Baltazar did not have a department-issued off-duty work permit, which is required for officers who work second jobs.

The official added that Baltazar had been working a compressed work schedule in which officers work either 10 or 12 hours a day, three or four days a week, and that he told fellow officers he had been traveling to Belize.

Michael Gennaco, head of the Office of Independent Review at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said most major law enforcement agencies have strict policies regarding outside work by officers "because they don't want their people engaged in illegal activity or activity that's detrimental to the reputation of the department."

When officers working second jobs don't obtain permits, it makes it difficult for department officials to assess whether the work they are doing is consistent with the principles of their law enforcement day jobs, Gennaco said.

Federal authorities are continuing to investigate the allegations against Baltazar and are expected to present their findings to a grand jury, according to documents.

The documents state that Baltazar bought the handguns from the academy store in February 2007. In July 2007, he placed them in a safe, along with a pair of 9-millimeter handguns and the ammunition, and arranged to ship them to Belize with a company called Amerijet.

The officer did not declare the guns or ammunition in paperwork associated with the shipment and allegedly told Amerijet employees the safe was empty. Baltazar declared the value of the safe at $231.84, the documents show, but insured the shipment for $6,000 -- the approximate value of the guns and ammunition.

Importing handguns larger than 9 millimeters is banned in Belize under a 2002 law, according to the police documents.

Law enforcement sources said officials in Belize somehow discovered the guns were inside the safe and determined they were not legal. The safe was returned to the U.S.

The safe and guns were seized by customs officials on their arrival in the U.S., according to documents.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, would not confirm or deny that Baltazar was under investigation and declined to comment for this article.

Former Officer Mark Standen Arrested for Drug Conspiracy Says he's going Insane

FORMER top cop Mark Standen, arrested over a $120 million drug conspiracy, is being driven to the edge of mental illness by his life in prison, a court heard yesterday.

Spending almost every day of his remand isolated in a maximum security cell, the one-time NSW Crime Commission assistant director has been verbally abused by other inmates.

As he asked for bail at Central Local Court yesterday, Standen's defence barrister Greg Farmer said Standen was subjected to "an onerous type of custody brought about merely by the fact that he is who he is. There is a risk that if it continues he will suffer a psychiatric illness."

Court documents reveal how the former crime fighter has been spending his time at Long Bay Jail since he was arrested in June, charged with conspiring to import enough pseudoephedrine to make $120 million worth of the drug ice.

He spends most days alone in his cell. When he uses a larger yard or the gym, he is locked in alone.

"His activities in the yard are limited to throwing a basketball and chasing it, hitting a tennis ball against a wall and jogging around," according to an affidavit sworn by his solicitor Gordon Elliot.

Standen, 47, is due to sit his final law exams in March, but has no access to computers, educational activities or the library.

But magistrate Allan Moore refused his bail application, saying it was "a substantial case" and Standen's knowledge of police methodology made him a flight risk. He will face court again in February.


Deal with it bitch!!!...isn't that what he's told other 'prisoners' before? You can do the crime, you can do the time?...remember those words.

More information:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Richard Laude Speaks out About Traffic Stop


A man spoke out for the first time Friday about a traffic stop involving a Tennessee state trooper.

Richard Laude said he told Trooper Jimmy Knowles he had the wrong guy when he was pulled over for speeding, but he said he was cited and even roughed up anyway.

Laude was pulled from his motorcycle by a Tennessee state trooper following a traffic stop on Oct. 4.

"I kept telling him, 'You have pulled over the wrong vehicle. It wasn't us,'" Laude said.

Laude was on his motorcycle with girlfriend Angela Cousens.

Knowles is under investigation.

"We're looking at the situation as a whole," said Col. Mike Walker of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "We need to know everything involved in that traffic stop."

That night, Knowles said he clocked about a half-dozen motorcyclists speeding on Interstate 40 in Wilson County. He said they were going at least 133 mph.

Laude said he saw the speeding motorcycles, too, but wasn't part of the group.

"Another motorcycle passed me in excess of 130 miles per hour on the shoulder," said Laude.

The pursuit had gone on for nearly 30 miles when Knowles spotted Laude and pulled him over. Lebanon police cruiser video shows Laude on the side of the interstate.

"He instantly jerked me off the motorcycle, threw me onto the ground. He put his knee in my back," Laude said.

The video only shows Laude being pulled from his motorcycle.

Laude wasn't arrested, but he said the reckless endangerment citation could force him to lose his commercial driver's license. He's been driving trucks for more than 20 years.

The THP is investigating what happened, but Laude said he wants his day in court and Knowles off the job.

Cousens said Knowles forced her to sign a false statement about what happened.

Knowles has been with the THP for six years with no disciplinary problems.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Trooper Andrew Mohan Arrested for Theft


Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced the arrest of Maryland State Police trooper Andrew A. Mohan, 36, following his indictment in Prince George’s County on charges of theft of money from the Maryland State Police and Misconduct in Office. The indictment alleges that Mohan stole money from the Maryland State Police (MSP) totaling over $3,200.

It is also alleged that TFC Mohan misused his official police duties to improperly access and disseminate restricted criminal records information and motor vehicle registration information in State and federal data systems. The pending case was investigated by the Maryland State Police and the Criminal Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

No trial date has been set.

While an indictment is merely an accusation of wrongdoing and every individual is presumed innocent unless the State proves the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, felony theft is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years or a fine of $25,000, or both. Misconduct in Office, a Common Law misdemeanor, is punishable by any sentence deemed not cruel and unusual.

Source: Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler

Officer Ernest Fimiano Jr Arrested for Assaulting His Girlfriend Will Avoid a Criminal Record

A former Forks Township police officer accused of assaulting his girlfriend was readmitted Friday into a state probationary program for first-time offenders, a move that will again allow him to avoid a criminal record.

Ernest D. Fimiano Jr., 44, of Palmer Township had been booted earlier from the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program after Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli said she was unaware he was in law enforcement and had a drunken-driving charge pending in another county.

Fimiano was charged with simple assault and criminal mischief in the Dec. 24, 2007, fight with his girlfriend at her Forks Township home. He was accused of pushing Patricia Reilly into walls and breaking her cell phone during the dispute.

Fimiano was accepted into ARD in Columbia County in October, about a year after he was arrested on charges he led state troopers on a 40-mile chase east on Interstate 80 through Union, Northumberland, Montour and Columbia counties.

In Friday's hearing, Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Taschner said someone placed into ARD for drunken driving is not ineligible for the program on other first-offense charges.

Reilly, who is now Fimiano's ex-girlfriend, wrote a letter also asking that he be let into the program. She said he has already been punished through the loss of his reputation, his livelihood and his driver's license.

''Isn't that enough?'' Reilly asked.

Forks police suspended Fimiano, a member of the force since 1999, after the drunken-driving arrest. He resigned a month after he was charged with assaulting Reilly.

In court, his attorney, Gregory Paglianite, said he doubts Fimiano will return to law enforcement soon, given the charges that were against him. He said the police chase was not as serious as has been described, and noted that Fimiano was hit by a car in April in an accident that landed him in the hospital.

Roscioli said she was satisfied that the probationary program was appropriate for Fimiano. She stressed that he is no longer a police officer, saying she had worried he had access to guns.

''That makes a big difference to me,'' Roscioli said. ''That was a major concern that I had.''

The ARD program allows first-time offenders to have the charges against them dropped provided they complete a period of probation and community service and pay fines and court costs. Roscioli also ordered Fimiano to have no weapons.

Sheriff Robert Chavez Arrested for Drunk Driving

The sheriff of Guadalupe County was arrested Friday morning in Santa Rosa and charged with drunken driving.

A state police spokesman says that Sheriff Robert Chavez was pulled over after running a stop sign.

Officials report that Chavez was not wearing a seatbelt and had open containers of alcohol in the car.

Chavez was booked into the De Baca County jail and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated.

More information:

Former Officer State Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate Arrested for Assault

State Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate, a Queens Democrat, was arrested early Friday and accused of slashing his companion in the face with a broken drinking glass during an argument in his Jackson Heights apartment, the authorities said. He then drove her to a hospital outside the city, officials said, where she required 20 stitches.

Mr. Monserrate, 41, who is in his final days as a city councilman, was charged with second-degree assault, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, the police said. If Mr. Monserrate is convicted, state law requires that he be expelled from the Senate.

At 4 p.m. on Friday, after nearly 12 hours at the 105th Precinct headquarters in Queens, Mr. Monserrate, wearing a dark baseball hat and striped track pants, was led out in handcuffs and put into a police car. His lawyer was James Cullen.

At Mr. Monserrate’s arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Friday evening, the assistant district attorney, Scott Kessler, said that Mr. Monserrate told the police he was bringing his companion, Karla Giraldo, 30, a glass of water and leaned over and tripped, and the glass hit her. But the prosecutor said that Ms. Giraldo later said that the couple had a “loud and boisterous” argument about an item he found in her purse. He was holding a glass, which broke in his hand, she told officers.

“Then, in emotion, he stabbed her,” Mr. Kessler said.

He said Ms. Giraldo was now saying that it was an accident and that she did not want an order of protection. Mr. Kessler noted that that was common in domestic violence cases.

The police searched Mr. Monserrate’s apartment and found broken glass and blood on towels.

“Basically, your honor, this appears to be an accident,” Mr. Cullen said. He noted Mr. Monserrate’s family and supporters in the room, including his father, niece and nephew.

As is customary in these situations, the judge, Toko Serita, gave a full order of protection, which bars contact between Mr. Monserrate and Ms. Giraldo. She told Mr. Monserrate that he must stay completely away from her, by phone, e-mail or third-party contact, even if she reaches out to him.

“Do you understand?” Judge Serita asked him. He replied, “Yes.”

Bail was set at $5,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 16.

The authorities said Mr. Monserrate drove Ms. Giraldo to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park in Nassau County, near the Queens border. It was unclear why he chose a hospital outside the city and 12 miles from his apartment, on 83rd Street in Jackson Heights. There are at least three hospitals closer, including Elmhurst Hospital Center, five blocks away.

The incident took place several hours after Mr. Monserrate, a former police officer who has sponsored at least half a dozen domestic-violence bills in the City Council, gave a departing speech on Thursday in the Council, where colleagues praised his years of service. That evening he attended a holiday party held by Queens Democrats.

He is scheduled to be sworn into the State Senate in January, where he is part of an incoming class that promised to give Democrats control of the chamber for the first time in decades. However, three newly elected Democrats have refused to align with the party, and his arrest further clouds the party’s hopes. Colleagues who attended Thursday night’s party said Mr. Monserrate arrived alone at about 7:45 p.m. He appeared to be in good spirits but not intoxicated, they said. The party, held at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing, ended about 9 p.m.

At the hospital, officials said that when officers arrived, Ms. Giraldo said she did not want Mr. Monserrate arrested, but under state law, arrests are mandatory in domestic-violence cases.

It is unknown how long Mr. Monserrate and Ms. Giraldo have been romantically involved. In July, Ms. Giraldo gave a $20 campaign contribution to Julissa Ferreras, Mr. Monserrate’s chief of staff and a candidate for the Council seat he was vacating. Ms. Giraldo listed her occupation as student.

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn called the allegations “deeply, deeply troubling.” She added, “Council member Monserrate, just like any individual in the city or anywhere else, is innocent until proven guilty, and I’m glad that the N.Y.P.D. is taking up these charges and is going to pursue them quickly and thoroughly.” Michael Nieves, a spokesman for Mr. Monserrate, declined to comment on the case.

Other colleagues said they were startled by the news.

“Yesterday was a happy day for Hiram and people were happy for him,” Councilman John C. Liu, a fellow Queens Democrat, said on Friday morning.

Mr. Monserrate — a former marine who served 12 years with the New York New YorkPolice Department — is less than two weeks away from resigning his seat on the City Council, where he has served since 2002, to join the Senate. He was the first Latino from Queens elected to the City Council.

His arrest caps a tumultuous year for Mr. Monserrate. In May, as the Council was in the midst of a slush-fund scandal, a law enforcement official said the authorities were investigating whether a Queens social service agency called Libre that was financed by Mr. Monserrate’s Council earmarks used that money to help Mr. Monserrate politically.

The investigation, by the Queens district attorney’s office and the city’s Department of Investigation, is looking into allegations that more than two dozen workers for the nonprofit agency collected signatures to help Mr. Monserrate get on the ballot in 2006 during his unsuccessful primary battle with Senator John D. Sabini for the incumbent’s State Senate seat. Mr. Monserrate, who has directed more than $2.7 million in earmarks to the group, has said that he was unaware of any investigation and knew nothing about any efforts by Libre to collect signatures for him.

In June, Gov. David A. Paterson announced that he would nominate Mr. Sabini to be chairman of the State Racing and Wagering Board, sparing the party another divisive primary. Uncontested in the primary, Mr. Monserrate sailed to election in November.

Mr. Monserrate’s legal troubles are only the latest complication for the imperiled Senate Democratic caucus, which is struggling to cobble together a majority before the new Legislature convenes in January. Although 32 Democrats were elected to Senate seats in November, three holdouts have refused to align themselves with the current party leadership, leaving open the possibility that the Republicans could retain the majority.

Malcolm A. Smith, the Senate Democratic leader, said little in a written statement.

“These are very serious charges that will be addressed by the proper authorities,” he said. “We will await the determination of these charges before we make any further comment.”

A spokesman for the Senate Republicans, John McArdle, declined to comment.

On Friday night, residents of Corona, one of the neighborhoods Mr. Monserrate represents, said they would stand by him.

At a holiday event for children at the Elmcor Community Center, Jose Castillo, 36, a livery-cab driver who distributed leaflets for Mr. Monserrate four years ago, said he was reluctant to believe the charges against him. “I think they’re making this thing up,” he said. “He helped the people a lot for eight years. He’s helped out the Hispanic people.”

Carlos Salazar, 37, a limousine driver, said he supported Mr. Monserrate because he fought to change a state law on insurance compensation for limo drivers. “He’s always open to hear what you have to say,” he said.