Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trooper Kevin Foley Arrested for Murder

Slain Blairsville dentist Dr. John J. Yelenic predicted he would be murdered in 2006 by a state police trooper living with his estranged wife.

On Thursday, the state Attorney General's Office arrested Trooper Kevin James Foley, 42, of 10 Susan Drive, White, near Indiana, for the April 13, 2006 killing of Yelenic.

A statewide grand jury meeting in Pittsburgh since May recommended filing a criminal homicide charge against Foley, who has lived with Michele Yelenic since 2004.

The jury's presentment said Pittsburgh attorney Effie Alexander, the dentist's divorce attorney, testified that shortly before his death, he offered to set up a fund to investigate his murder because he believed Foley would kill him. The Yelenics were wrangling over their pending divorce.

Foley is accused of entering Yelenic's home in the early-morning hours and repeatedly slashing the well-known dentist with a knife.

At a news conference yesterday, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said Yelenic, 39, bled to death from multiple slash wounds to his scalp, face, neck, trunk and right arm.

"It is extremely difficult to have to arrest a member of the law enforcement community, but as in any case, we follow the evidence wherever it leads," Corbett said.

Corbett gathered with Indiana County District Attorney Robert Bell, state police Maj. Robert Lizik and Blairsville police Chief Donald Hess at the Indiana County Courthouse to announce the arrest.

Investigators said they linked Foley, a 13-year veteran trooper, to the slaying by using his DNA, which matched skin found under the dentist's fingernails.

They also said they found a bloody shoe print at the home that matches the ASICS brand, which Foley preferred because of a discount offered to state police.

After the murder, Foley, an avid runner, suddenly switched to Nike brand running shoes, the grand jury found.

Foley was arraigned yesterday morning before Indiana District Judge Guy Haberl and is being held in the county jail without bond.

Lizik said Foley was immediately suspended Thursday without pay. He said Foley, who was a criminal investigator at the Indiana barracks at the time of Yelenic's murder, was placed on station duty, first in Indiana and later in Hollidaysburg, after he became a suspect.

Under station duty, an officer works at the station and is required to relinquish his badge and gun at the end of each shift. Foley, who has been on sick leave since June, was arrested yesterday at the Indiana barracks without incident, Lizik said.

According to the grand jury presentment, Foley was a suspect from the outset when his co-workers and a Blairsville police officer noticed an injury above his left eye, which the trooper blamed on a hockey game he played in Delmont the night before the murder.

But Foley's teammates, including Trooper Robert Worcester, did not see Foley sustain any injuries during the game, according to the grand jury.

Foley's co-workers, including troopers Deanna Kirkland and Daniel Zenisek, told the grand jury that Foley was always complaining about Yelenic.

Kirkland testified that she was stunned by statements Foley made in March 2006.

"They were on a prisoner transport, driving to Westmoreland County, and Foley said he wished that Dr. Yelenic would die or be killed in a car accident," the grand jury presentment quoted Kirkland as testifying.

Zenisek told the grand jury that Foley once asked him whether he wanted to "help him kill Yelenic." Zenisek said he didn't take Foley seriously.

Lizik said yesterday that none of Foley's threats about Yelenic were ever brought to his superior's attention.

"It's a very dark, disturbing day for the Pennsylvania State Police," said Lizik, Southwestern Pennsylvania state police commander.

Corbett defended the length of the investigation, which lasted almost 18 months. The case was first handled by Blairsville police and county detectives until earlier this year when Bell turned to Corbett's office for assistance.

Corbett said some of the forensic-analysis reports were not finished until they were presented to the grand jury earlier this month.

Corbett declined to comment about a motive, saying the issue will be addressed during the trial.

The grand jury heard from several witnesses who said Michele Yelenic frequently called the dentist's office "demanding money."

Just a week before his death, Michele Yelenic telephoned and Dr. Yelenic refused to take the call, his receptionist, Georgette Johnson, testified. He told his receptionist to tell his wife that if she wanted money she had to sign the divorce papers, according to the grand jury.

The divorce settlement would have slashed Michele Yelenic's monthly support check from the dentist from $3,800 to $1,300 a month.

The grand jury presentment said that Dr. Yelenic was insured for more than $1 million and Michele Yelenic and the couple's adoptive son, J.J., would be the beneficiaries.

Neighbors told state police, according to the grand jury presentment, they heard "blood-curdling screams or noises like pig squeals" about 1 a.m. on the day of the killing. Yelenic's body was discovered by a neighbor boy late that afternoon.

Corbett said the investigation is continuing. He declined to say whether Michele Yelenic is a suspect.

Attempts to reach Michele Yelenic for comment yesterday by telephone were unsuccessful. Foley's attorney, Thomas Johnson, of Indiana, did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Police chief Hess said the knife used in the slaying and the tennis shoes were never recovered.

Officer Melissa Kronebusch Charged with Arson


A Saukville police officer has been charged with arson after she allegedly set fire to a vacant home in March.

Prosecutors say surveillance tape captured 26-year-old Melissa L. Kronebusch entering a home after midnight. They say she exited about 20 minutes later, with a glow visible through the basement window.

According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, the video shows her leaving the adjacent parking lot in her squad car, and then returning a few minutes later to report the fire.

Saukville firefighters responded and extinguished the flames. The complaint says the fire caused $5,000 in damages.

Police Chief Bill Meloy says Kronebusch was placed on paid administrative leave June 26.

Online court records didn't list an attorney for Kronebusch.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com

Police Employee Kinyetta Bass Charged with Stealing Thousand of Dollars

A Norcross Police Department employee has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the evidence room.

Kinyetta Bass is accused of pocketing $763 on July 30 and $2,600 on Aug. 15. Warrants for her arrest were issued Friday on two felony counts of theft by taking.

Bass, 27, of Smyrna, was hired four years ago as a communications officer and later promoted to red light camera technician and evidence custodian, which is a civilian position. She had not been arrested as of Monday afternoon, Gwinnett jail records show.

Reached by phone at her home on Monday, Bass said, “I have no comment at this time.”

Norcross police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr said Bass came under suspicion when another employee noticed “a discrepancy in our policy and procedures that Ms. Bass was involved in.” Bass has since been fired.

The department completed an audit of the evidence room and no other items are missing, Harr said.

“This was an isolated incident involving one person,” Harr said.


Officer Huy Chi Tran Charged with Harassing Several Women

A Houston police officer has been relieved of duty, charged with oppression and harassment of a least six women he pulled over during traffic stops, authorities said.

In each case, the women involved say Huy Chi Tran, 32, made harassing sexual advances toward them. After the traffic stops, Tran is accused of repeatedly calling the women and asking them out on dates in an exchange for dismissing their tickets, said Harris County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Donna Hawkins.

HPD spokesman Sgt. John Chomiak could only confirm that Tran had been relieved of duty last Thursday.

Tran's next scheduled court appearance is Thursday. The District Attorney's Office asks anyone who believes he or she may be a victim in this case to call 713-755-8330.

Click here to see the full video story by FOX 26's Isiah Carey.

Officer Paul Ewing Arrested for Raping 16 year old


A Portsmouth police officer is off the job and under arrest. 37 year old Paul Ewing is accused of sexually assaulting a 16 year old girl. Tuesday, he faced a judge.

Portsmouth Police information officer Ann Hope tells MyFoxHamptonRoads.com Officer Paul Ewing and the alleged victim are acquaintances. Ewing was arrested Monday night even though his accuser says she was raped in January of 2007.

More than a year and a half after the alleged rape occurred in January '07, Portsmouth police say the teen and her mother contacted them. On September 28th, the report was filed and the accuser passed a polygraph test according to the police report. September 29th, investigators arrested Officer Paul Ewing at the Portsmouth Police Department on rape charges. Tuesday, he was in court.

"He was placed on administrative leave and we can't really discuss that because it's a personnel issue," says Hope.

Hope says Ewing, now 37, was with the department for almost four years.

"He was a uniformed patrol officer who worked the midnight shift," says Hope.

It was right around noon New Years Day the alleged victim told investigators the rape happened. The report states after she got home, Ewing "followed the victim to her bedroom. The defendant began to remove the victim's pants."

It goes on to say, "The victim told the defendant to stop and was not comfortable with the situation..."

The report also states, "The victim took a polygraph exam in which she passed with no indications of deception."

As Ewing's family left the Portsmouth Courthouse Tuesday, they were too emotional to speak. No one in his neighborhood was willing to speak on camera, saying they didn't know him well enough. No one responded to our knocks at Ewing's home.

"It's sad. It's unfortunate and all we can do at this point in just wait for the court system to run it's process," says Hope.

Ewing's bond was set at 20-thousand dollars. A Commonwealth Attorney Spokesman tells me they requested another attorney be brought in to work this case because of conflict of interest. Ewing's preliminary hearing is set for November.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Veteran Officer Theodore Dixon Jr Charged With Pointing Weapon at Prisoner

A veteran McKeesport police officer was arrested and charged yesterday with threatening the life of a prisoner and pointing a gun at him.

Theodore R. Dixon Jr., 55, was placed on administrative leave by Police Chief Joseph Pero after he surrendered to detectives. He was charged with simple assault, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment and official oppression.

Early Saturday morning, shots were fired through Officer Dixon's living room window while his wife and child were inside the house. Though no suspects were named, Officer Dixon became convinced that the attack was related to Sakarr Bray, 30, whom Officer Dixon had arrested for aggravated assault and was awaiting arraignment at the McKeesport police station.

Officer Dixon became agitated after the shots were fired at his home, according to a criminal complaint, telling other officers that "someone was gonna die."

Upon returning to the police station, Officer Dixon pointed his service revolver into Mr. Bray's holding cell.

Mr. Bray told investigators that Officer Dixon said, "I should kill you right now. I'm going to handle this my way. I'm gonna kill you and your brother. You tell your mom I'm gonna kill both of you all."

A surveillance camera captured Officer Dixon pointing the gun into the cell and Mr. Bray backing up with his hands in the air, according to the criminal complaint.

Officer Dixon was released and ordered to stay away from the Bray family. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday before District Judge Eugene Riazzi, who once was a McKeesport police sergeant, serving with Officer Dixon.

Calls to Chief Pero and McKeesport Mayor Jim Brewster were not returned.

Officer Dixon, a former lieutenant who ran unsuccessfully for district judge last year against Judge Riazzi, was dismissed from the McKeesport Police Department in February 1994 for violating a protection-from-abuse order obtained by his ex-girlfriend, Paula Cauley. Later that year, after spending a few months in jail, Officer Dixon was acquitted of assault and reckless endangerment charges, though he was convicted of harassment.

He was reinstated in 1999 and later won $176,000 in back pay for unjust termination.

Officer Dixon also was accused in July 1994 of asking a fellow police officer to kill Ms. Cauley. But the district attorney dismissed those charges in April 1995 because two key witnesses could not be found.


City of New Orleans Settles Lawsuit Against Officers Accused of Planting Drugs

The raid on Russell's Tire Shop had the look of a successful garden-variety drug bust.

Acting on an informant's tip, police stormed the building on North Galvez Street and hauled out three suspects, a bag of heroin, a quarter-ounce of crack cocaine and more than $4,000 in cash. Police say they found the evidence in plain sight.

But 11 months after the August 2002 bust, prosecutors dropped the charges. And this June, attorneys for the city offered the men accused of dealing the drugs $85,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged the four New Orleans police detectives involved in the raid planted the drugs -- and uprooted the lives of innocent people.

Prosecutors had a problem: In the years since the bust, the police officers involved ran into legal troubles of their own.

One detective tested positive for cocaine and another was caught using a stolen Social Security number to lease a Corvette. A third officer was pulled over in Illinois driving an unauthorized New Orleans Police Department squad car; authorities found him with some marijuana and a woman wanted for prostitution. The fourth detective resigned as police were investigating a stolen gun found in his squad car. All four officers were ultimately fired or quit.

Sharply diverging claims surrounding the 2002 drug bust may never be put to rest; no judge or jury rendered a final judgment. But a look at the raid and its aftermath offers a window into the tactics of one team of narcotics officers -- the kinds of alleged abuses that critics say foster suspicion toward police.

The three drug suspects -- Leo Hammond, his son Gregory Hammond and Tyrone Taylor -- say they were the victims of rogue cops who were willing to frame innocent men after a bust turned up empty. None of the accused had outstanding warrants or prior arrests at the time of the raid. All passed court-ordered drug tests, court documents show.

The city attorney who defended the officers, Jim Mullaly, still stands behind them, asking: Why would anyone plant so much heroin, more than 30 grams? Why frame men they didn't know?

None of the officers involved in the case could be reached to comment for this article, and NOPD superiors declined to discuss the matter until completing a records search. The officers' accounts come from sworn depositions in the civil case, as does the account of the unnamed police informant. Information about the officers' alleged subsequent misconduct was documented in internal police memoranda that turned up during the civil case.

Russell's Tire Shop is a tiny, one-story building tucked into the 100 block of North Galvez. Russell Taylor, Tyrone Taylor's father, bought the property in the late 1970s and the stoop out front became a hangout for acquaintances.

Leo Hammond, 48, an air-conditioning repairman, said the shop has long served as a place to rest between jobs since he has no office of his own. Tyrone Taylor, 41, was the shop's manager at the time and a lifelong friend of Hammond's. Gregory Hammond, a 23-year-old administrative assistant for the Recovery School District, spent time at the tire shop as a small child.

Detectives involved in the case -- Steven Payne, Eric Smith and Earl Razor -- testified during civil proceedings that they had heard rumors of drug dealing at the tire shop but didn't act on them until they were transferred to that part of town. It was around July 2002 that the officers were moved from the 5th District to the 1st, which includes the Galvez Street business. In the 1st District, they worked under the narcotics unit's supervisor, William Marks.

In his application for a search warrant, Payne said a longtime informant told him a man known as Cadillac was dealing crack cocaine and marijuana just outside the shop.

Payne said he conducted surveillance on the shop twice, watching with a pair of binoculars from an unmarked car.

Payne said he witnessed a man matching Cadillac's description selling narcotics. He said that he followed up with a controlled purchase, giving the informant cash to buy crack at the shop. During a stakeout, hours before the raid, he said two men later identified as Gregory Hammond and Tyrone Taylor made a similar sale.

Brett Prendergast, an attorney for the Hammonds and Taylor, says there were significant discrepancies in the police and informant accounts. He argues that Payne's surveillance probably never happened.

Payne wrote in his warrant application that Cadillac "will not let anyone else inside the tire shop with him." Instead, Payne said, Cadillac would make contact with customers outside and retrieve the drugs from inside the shop.

But the informant told lawyers otherwise during a discovery hearing: "I've never given Cadillac money on the outside. He would not accept money on the outside. . . . Every time I went there, I went in."

In the hours before the raid, Payne said, the informant contacted him again to say that Cadillac was in the tire shop. The informant testified that such a tip-off never happened.

Weeks later, the informant said, Payne turned up and warned against talking to investigators about the tire shop case: "He said in the event someone should come, I know nothing, I didn't see anything."

--- 'All I saw was their guns' ---

Police said that when they stormed the tire shop on Aug. 1, 2002, Cadillac was not there.

As police arrived, they saw Gregory Hammond dash inside. Razor, the fastest man in the unit, chased him inside, followed by Payne and Smith.

Gregory Hammond said he had reason to bolt: A spate of shootings in the neighborhood had left him anxious. He said when police pulled up in unmarked cars, "All I saw was their guns." Police said he ran to flush the drugs.

Razor grabbed Gregory Hammond when he fell, while Smith and Payne handcuffed his father and Taylor.

When Payne came inside the shop, he was angry and asked to see the man who ran, Hammond testified. When he saw the younger Hammond, the detective punched him in the eye, Taylor and Gregory Hammond said. The detectives maintained that Hammond had hit something on the ground or the edge of the desk as he fell. Hammond was taken to Charity Hospital before booking because of swelling under his eye.

Also in dispute is the exact placement of the drugs detectives said they found.

In his arrest report and in a hearing in criminal court weeks after the raid, Payne said he found the drugs in plain view on the desk, giving police cause to arrest all three men. But Razor and Marks both said Payne had the heroin and crack in his hand the first time they saw it. Another officer, Smith, testified that the drugs were found on Gregory Hammond.

"I don't know where, it may have been in the waist -- in his waistband," Smith said.

Gregory Hammond and Taylor filed a formal complaint with the NOPD Public Integrity Bureau, denying they sold drugs and alleging Payne had struck Gregory and stole money found on the shop desk. The investigation concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the claims.

--- Legal trouble ---

All three men were booked with possession and intent to distribute heroin and crack. Each pleaded innocent. But as they awaited trial, the detectives who arrested them ran into legal problems.

Smith resigned from the NOPD in March 2003, 11 days before he was indicted on identity theft charges. Investigators accused him of using a fraudulent Social Security number to lease a Corvette. He pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud.

Two months later, in May 2003, the NOPD began investigating Razor for allegedly stealing heroin from a suspected drug dealer in police custody. During that investigation, Razor tested positive for cocaine. Investigators also found two plastic bags with drug residue in the glove compartment of his squad car. Razor was fired but maintained his innocence.

In July 2003, the Orleans Parish district attorney's office dropped the tire shop case. In a written statement outlining its rationale, the office noted that the case relied too heavily on Payne's word. And that testimony, the office wrote, "will lack credibility due to his close working relationship with Det. Razor and Det. Smith."

With the criminal case scuttled, the subjects of the raid filed a wrongful arrest suit in federal court on Aug. 1, 2003.

Within months, the detective in charge of the police unit, Marks, had his own run-in with law enforcement.

An Illinois state trooper pulled Marks over in November 2003 for speeding. Marks had borrowed an NOPD squad car from Payne to make a trip to Milwaukee. The state trooper reported finding two women in the car. One was a convicted felon with an outstanding warrant for prostitution in Chicago. Under her seat, the trooper found a small bag of marijuana, "a partially burned marijuana stuffed cigar and a smoking pipe," according to police documents. A stolen 9 mm handgun was found in the trunk, documents show.

Marks begged the trooper not to contact the NOPD, fearing he would be fired for taking the car out of state, police documents show. He was fired less than a year later.

Payne denied any knowledge of a gun in the trunk and testified that he took a dim view of Marks, calling him "a lazy pig." An internal police investigation sustained charges of possession of a stolen gun against Payne, who resigned for "personal reasons, and medical reasons" while awaiting a disciplinary hearing, documents show.

As for the accused, Leo Hammond said that when police accused him of dealing drugs, "that's when I knew they were dirty cops. Anyone who knows me, knows better."

"Drugs is something I never affiliated with, never," he said. "I said, 'You know what, I'm going to fight this all the way.' I couldn't live with just letting it go like that."

. . . . . . .


New Ruling Will Allow Officers to Taser Handcuffed Suspects

A case involving the stun-drive Tasering of a handcuffed arrestee was decided this month by a federal Court of Appeals panel in Florida, with some instructive language regarding what’s permissible in the handling of passively resisting subjects by an officer working alone.

In assessing a deputy’s actions in delivering Taser shocks to an arrestee who would not get off the ground to be moved to a patrol car, the panel ruled 2-1 on Sept. 9 that:

• applying Taser prongs in an effort to motivate a nonviolent subject to stand up was not excessive force under Section 1983 of the federal Civil Rights Act;

• to conserve valuable police time and energy, “the government has an interest in arrests being completed efficiently and without waste of limited resources”;

• an officer’s call for backup “does not make the use of force before reinforcements arrive unreasonable” per se;

• indeed, a single officer confronting a non-compliant suspect “need not…wait idly for backup to arrive to complete an otherwise lawful arrest.”

With its ruling, written by Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson, the 11th circuit appellate court reversed a U.S. District Court decision that had judged the deputy guilty of “grossly disproportionate and unnecessary” force for applying the Taser in a pain-compliance mode.

“The language in this decision is outstanding in its importance to law enforcement,” says Wayne Schmidt, executive director of Americans for Effective Law Enforcement, the nonprofit organization that monitors police- and corrections-related cases and provides legal guidance through its popular training seminars. “This decision goes beyond mere commentary on Taser use.

“Single officers faced with uncooperative subjects are often uncertain about what constitutes reasonable force in their situations. This court shows a realistic understanding of the challenges they face.”

Like many appellate actions, this decision is unpublished, which means it is not binding on lower courts, Schmidt explained to Force Science News. “But I believe it will still be cited for the moral and persuasive authority of its reasonable arguments.”


The case grew out of a traffic stop by Deputy Jonathan Rackard of the Washington County (FL) S.O., initiated on a speeder named Jesse Buckley on a dark, rural 2-lane highway one March night nearly 5 years ago. The incident was captured on in-car video and can be viewed here.

The 23-year-old violator, “financially destitute and homeless,” became agitated and “began to sob” over getting a ticket. Despite repeated requests, he refused to sign the citation, as required by state law. “Arrest me,” he said.

Rackard did. Buckley submitted to handcuffing without resistance, wrists behind his back. But as Rackard started to walk him toward the patrol car, Buckley “dropped to the ground behind his car, crossed his legs, and continued to sob,” according to the appellate court’s recounting of the incident.

Rackard cautioned him about the danger of getting hit by traffic on the nearby roadway. “My life would be better if I was dead,” Buckley responded. Rackard asked him “several times” to stand up. Buckley wouldn’t. The deputy tried to lift the 6 ft., 180 lb. subject to his feet. Buckley went limp and wouldn’t get up. Rackard repeatedly warned him that unless he cooperated, a Taser would be used against him. “I don’t care any more,” Buckley shouted. “Tase me!”

After allowing further time for compliance, the deputy pressed the Taser against Buckley’s clothed back in stun-gun fashion and initiated a 5-second burst. Buckley slumped forward and moved around, causing Rackard to struggle to maintain contact with the prongs…but the suspect still would not get off the ground. A second Tasing resulted in the same continued resistance.

Rackard walked to his patrol car and radioed for backup. In the 5 minutes before another deputy pulled up, Rackard issued more commands for Buckley to stand, tried again unsuccessfully to lift him to his feet, and finally applied the Taser a third time after a plain warning. Nothing worked—until the backup arrived. Then Buckley “promptly relented” and was escorted to the patrol car “without incident.”

Buckley’s physical injuries consisted 16 “small burn marks,” with some scarring and keloid growth around some of them. (The total reflected the fact that Taser contact was broken by Buckley’s movement and had to be reestablished several times across the 3 zappings to complete the cycles.) Buckley also alleged emotional suffering, claiming that he “now finds it difficult to trust police officers and to ask for their assistance.”

Although he pleaded no contest to charges of refusing to sign the speeding ticket and to resisting arrest and “does not quarrel with his lawful conviction” on those counts, he filed suit against Rackard and Sheriff Bobby Haddock for violating his constitutional rights under the 4th Amendment.


The U.S. District Court for northern Florida denied Rackard’s motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity and held that he had used excessive force.

If the deputy had used his Taser just once, that “might arguably have been reasonable,” the lower court said, but the additional applications “were grossly disproportionate and unnecessary, especially given that the arrestee had been ‘fully secured’ and given that backup was en route.” If Rackard had “simply waited for backup, 2 officers could have lifted [Buckley] and carried him to the [patrol] car without any application of force,” the court declared.

In addition to the repeated Tasing, the court “placed considerable stress” on the fact that Buckley was handcuffed and resisted only passively. Indeed, it described the situation as “analogous” to the circumstances in a 2002 11th Circuit case, Lee v. Ferraro (284 F.3d 1188). The officer in that case had pulled over a young woman for a minor traffic violation, forced her out of her car, handcuffed her, and led her to the back of the vehicle where he spread her legs with his foot and slammed her head against the trunk lid, although she did not resist the officer at any time.

Like her, the District Court said, Buckley “posed no threat to the deputy or anyone else and…never actively resisted or attempted to evade arrest by flight.” Buckley’s attorney had relied heavily on Lee in arguing his case.


The Lee decision “does not control” the Buckley case, the Court of Appeals ruled emphatically in reversing the District Court’s judgment. Lee pertained where force that was “wholly uncalled for” was used against a subject who was “resisting arrest in no way.”

Buckley, in contrast, “did resist,” albeit passively, by dropping to the ground, refusing to comply with reasonable orders, ignoring warnings that he would be Tased, and refusing to stand when lifted. The differences are “easily distinguishable” and Lee “decides nothing” about the gamut of force options appropriate for dealing with arrestee intransigence.

The appellate court was not judging whether Rackard used the best option for carrying out the arrest—only whether his conduct was “reasonable in the constitutional sense,” the decision noted. Chief Judge Edmondson cited several compelling factors in Rackard’s support.

• Safety was an issue. “[T]he incident occurred at night on the side of a highway with considerable passing traffic,” the decision pointed out. “[S]ome 14 vehicles passed nearby…during the approximately 8 minutes that the deputy and [Buckley] were both exposed on the roadside…not inside a car.” The government’s “legitimate interest” in the safety of the deputy, the violator, “and even passing motorists” would have been “advanced by putting [Buckley] in the patrol car.”

• Buckley’s resistance delayed completion of the arrest. Even though his refusal to sign the citation was relatively minor, “the government [has] a significant interest in enforcing the law on its own terms, rather than on terms set by the arrestee,” the decision declared. Arrests need to be “completed efficiently and without waste of limited resources: police time and energy that may be needed elsewhere at any moment.”

• Although handcuffed, the suspect remained a potential threat. Buckley “refused repeatedly to comply with the most minimal of police instructions—to stand up and to walk to the patrol car.” That he “did not attack or menace the deputy does not shield [him] from the use of force, even if it might result in pain….

“Never was [he] fully secured until after the second officer arrived. [He] was not bound at the feet (so, he could both run and kick),” he remained at risk near the highway, and he continued his defiance, despite Rackard’s pleas and warnings. “An objectively reasonable police officer could rightly believe that force was therefore necessary to…complete the arrest.”

• Availability of backup was not an issue. “The federal courts must not dictate…how the police should allocate their limited resources….No constitutional basis exists for requiring 2 or more officers to make routine arrests, even if deploying more officers might result in less force actually being used…. That an officer has requested more police assistance does not make the use of force before reinforcements arrive unreasonable….

“A single officer in the deputy’s situation, confronting a non-compliant arrestee like [Buckley], need not—as a matter of federal constitutional law—wait idly for backup to arrive to complete an otherwise lawful arrest….

“[O]fficers acting alone may not always use any and all force necessary to complete an arrest without assistance. If Deputy Rackard had used more severe techniques (beaten [Buckley’s] head with a club or shot him, for example), this case would be a different case.

“[But] Rackard only used moderate, non-lethal force; and he did so only after reasoning with [Buckley], then after trying to lift [him], and finally after repeatedly warning [him]—a warning given before each use of the Taser—that a Taser would be used….Even then, [Buckley’s] injury was not great….”

In conclusion, the Court noted: “We must always recall that police officers are making hard decisions under difficult circumstances and within severe time constraints. Such decisions are easy to criticize later….

“[But] this case is not one where a compliant arrestee was abused for no good reason….In the light of all the circumstances, therefore, we conclude that Deputy Rackard’s use of force was not constitutionally excessive.”

A heated, 17-page dissent was written by Judge Beverly Martin, a member of the appellate panel from Georgia. She argued that Rackard could have used “any number of less injurious, more effective and safer forms of pain-compliance techniques” and that his employment of “an electric prod” (the Taser) “repeatedly against a peaceful individual” was nothing other than “the infliction of gratuitous pain and injury” in violation of the 4th Amendment.

If you Google Deputy Rackard’s name, you’ll find more about the case on the Internet, including a number of commentators in the blogosphere who agree with Judge Martin’s dissent.

To read the full decision of the Court of Appeals, click here.

NOTE: Although unrelated to the issues of the Buckley/Rackard case, AELE has an enlightening article in its current Monthly Law Journal about litigation and liability related to claims of excessive force caused by “overly tight” handcuffing. The Journal can be accessed free of charge here.

Special note:

Are you up to date on critical lethal and less-lethal force issues?

A thorough updating on court cases and guidelines regarding the reasonable use of force will be presented at the renowned Lethal and Less-Lethal Force Workshop, sponsored by Americans for Effective Law Enforcement Oct. 20-22 in Las Vegas.

Faculty members will include attorney Michael Brave, the nation’s leading authority on Taser-related legal matters; Greg Meyer, an advisory board member of the Force Science Research Center and an expert on lethal and less-lethal force options; Dr. John Peters, noted authority on excited delirium and in-custody deaths; and Judge Emory Plitt Jr., well-known for his expertise in police liability issues.

Also on the program will be Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center and Dr. Alexis Artwohl, an FSRC board member and former police psychologist. Lewinski and Artwohl will address the latest research in biological, physiological, and psychological aspects of deadly force encounters.

For more information or for registration for this cutting-edge conference, contact AELE’s Law Enforcement Legal Center at 800-763-2802 or visit the AELE website at www.aele.org.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Officers Accused of Beating Black Man After Traffic Stop


A Montgomery police officer was fired and another officer was placed on administrative leave Saturday shortly after allegedly beating a black man Friday night.

Twan Reynolds and his wife, Lauren Reynolds, accuse Patrolmen Shawn Hutchison and Matthew Leavitt of repeatedly hitting Twan Reynolds over the head with a blackjack, kicking him in the back and spraying his eyes with mace at close range.

They also say Leavitt repeatedly used a racial epithet against Reynolds, and Lauren Reynolds accused Leavitt of licking her on the neck during an interrogation and saying, "Little whore, you like it like that."

Leavitt denied that he did anything improper. He said Twan Reynolds became violent more than once and had to be subdued.

Montgomery Mayor Jim Higgins said he fired Officer Shawn Hutchinson for insubordination. Higgins explained that Hutchinson was a probationary officer, so he was terminated immediately.

Higgins said he will decide about Officer Matthew Levitt later. Levitt is also facing a charge of insubordination.

"I am still gathering information," Higgins said Saturday.

The Mayor said Montgomery Chief of Police Pete Lopez is investigating the allegations that the officers were abusive to a Montgomery husband and wife.

Higgins also explained that he is not able to comment on the allegations against the officers because he is also the town's municipal judge. He said he expects the case to come before him in municipal court.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Several Mexican Officers Charged with Homicide


Five Mexican police officers have been charged with homicide and other counts for the death of an Oregon man in a Mexican jail cell last August.

Regional Deputy Attorney General Omar Barajas says the five municipal officers were charged Wednesday with homicide and abuse of power. A sixth officer, the commander of the jail, was released after investigators determined he was not involved.

Sam Botner, 38, of Yoncalla, Ore, was arrested on Aug. 27 while vacationing in the resort of San Jose del Cabo at the southern tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are about 20 miles apart but fall under the same "municipio," or municipal jurisdiction.

Prosecutors say a surveillance video shows officers beating Botner, who was vacationing there with his wife Kym after he returned from a commercial fishing trip in Alaska.

An autopsy found traces of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine in his system. His wife said he resisted arrest but prosecutors said police still have a duty to protect people in custody.

Police spokesman Jorge Castaneda said the five could face 10 years or more in jail.

Under remnants of the old Napoleonic Code there is no presumption of innocence in Mexico or many other Latin American countries, and defendants must prove their innocence.

Castaneda said a judge has 72 hours to decide the fate of the officers charged, although the process can take longer.

Lawyers will submit written briefs, and a judge likely will decide Monday or Tuesday.

Jury trials are relatively rare in Mexico.

Castaneda said an autopsy concluded that Botner died of asphyxiation but prosecutors say he was beaten in jail.

His wife, Kym said that police were called after her husband got into an argument with a man at a resort. She said she was told the morning after her husband's arrest that he had died.

"I think the officers need to go to prison but I forgive them as people," Botner's brother, Paul, told The Oregonian. "I have no hatred for them."


Officer Abram Carabajal Under Investigation for Fixing Woman's Ticket in Exchange for Sex


A recently retired California Highway Patrol officer under investigation for allegedly fixing a woman's ticket in exchange for sex came under suspicion more than a year ago when questions arose about testimony he gave in traffic court, a CHP captain said.

“We were suspicious of a couple cases where it seemed like he didn't remember what happened on a (traffic) stop,” Capt. David Webb said.

The cases involved women who were ticketed, Webb said yesterday, and the officer, Abram Carabajal, was “heavily disciplined.” Webb said policy requires officers to keep careful notes about citations. He declined to provide more details.

The CHP is investigating whether Carabajal, 51, gave false testimony that resulted in the dismissal of a woman's speeding ticket in traffic court. CHP investigators observed Carabajal going to an Oceanside hotel with the woman, Shirin Zarrindej of Encino, shortly after the hearing July 1, search-warrant affidavits say.

Carabajal, who worked in the Oceanside CHP office, retired the next day after more than 26 years on the force.

In an interview yesterday, Zarrindej, 48, denied having sex with Carabajal at the hotel and that “he never told me he was going to fix any ticket.”

Zarrindej said she talked with Carabajal 50 to 60 times on the phone after he cited her on suspicion of speeding March 12 on Interstate 5, and that they became friends.

Carabajal reserved a hotel room for her on the day of her hearing because it was her birthday, Zarrindej said. After about an hour with her in the room, which Zarrindej said she paid for, Carabajal left to return to court. He planned to take her out to a birthday dinner later that day before going home to his wife, she said.

Webb said the CHP began investigating in June, after Zarrindej called the Oceanside CHP office asking to speak with Carabajal. The case has been turned over to the District Attorney's Office.

Zarrindej was investigated on bribery allegations in 1998 after she was arrested on suspicion of prostitution, Orange County court records show. About two months after her arrest, she was accused of offering $2,000 to a sheriff's deputy if he would make the case go away, said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Court records show that the bribery charge was dismissed, and Zarrindej pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit a crime. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years' probation.

Zarrindej acknowledged calling the deputy and making the offer, but said she quickly called back and withdrew it.

Carabajal's attorney, William Wolfe, declined to provide the officer's version of what happened.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Officer Robert Burch Arrested for Aggravated Assault


A Memphis police officer is facing an aggravated assault charge after his estranged wife said he pointed a gun at her and threatened her.

Thirty-nine-year-old Robert Burch was arrested Tuesday and made a court appearance the following day.

According to police, Mattie Burch told officers Robert Burch pointed a revolver at her last month and threatened to shoot her.

Police spokeswoman Monique Martin says Burch has been relieved of duty pending an internal investigation. He has been with the police department since June 2006.


Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

Officer Mike Briseno Accused of Assaulting Nurse


A San Juan Regional Medical Center nurse filed a complaint with Farmington Police on Wednesday, alleging an officer pushed him after arguing about patient privacy. The nurse was placed on leave.

The citizen's complaint accuses Officer Mike Briseno of assault, lack of courtesy during contact and disregard of federal hospital privacy laws during the Sunday altercation.

Nurse Jimmy Weaver reported the officer was supervising a patient in custody in an emergency medical treatment room around 11 p.m. Sunday when a second hospital patient was placed on the opposite side of a privacy curtain.

Briseno, a member of the police department's gang task force, apparently recognized the 14-year-old patient and refused requests to move closer to the man he was monitoring, out of sight of the boy changing into a hospital gown, Weaver claimed.

"He was staring (the patient and his mother) down. I just said, Hey man, would you mind stepping behind the curtain with your patient,'" Weaver said. "He just looked at me and flat said, "No, I'm not getting behind the curtain."

Following a verbal altercation, Weaver claims Briseno shoved him in the chest.

"He had no right to lay a hand on me. (Police) just can't come into the emergency room treating us that way," Weaver said.

Briseno was unavailable for comment. No contact information for the officer is publicly listed.

An internal Farmington Police investigation of the incident has begun, but the department will not comment on details, Lt. Vince Mitchell said.

"I can't release any of that because it involves an internal investigation and has to deal with personnel issues," he said.

Briseno has not faced disciplinary action regarding the Sunday altercation, Mitchell said.

Hospital spokesman Dennis Mathis said Weaver was placed on administrative leave following the incident.

Mathis did not know what hospital policy the nurse violated to be suspended, but said an independent hospital investigation is being conducted. He declined to comment on specifics of the alleged incident.

Weaver has worked as a nurse at the San Juan Regional Medical Center for one year.

Briseno's full record of citizen complaints can not be confirmed. The city of Farmington repeatedly has denied state Inspection of Public Records Act requests to make public all citizen complaints filed against city officers.

Briseno in 2004 was accused of misconduct by Juan Mata, a publicized incident that led to criminal and civil lawsuits against Mata and the Farmington Police.

Officer Joseph Motte Charged with Drunk Driving

A minor traffic accident that resulted in several citations being filed by the Missouri Highway Patrol against a Springfield police officer has prompted an internal investigation by the Springfield Police Department.

Officer Joseph N. Motte, 54, was cited on misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident, careless imprudent driving, driving while intoxicated and two felony counts of being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated after an accident Tuesday on Interstate 44 near Waynesville, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol.

The police department indicated it is investigating the incident.

The patrol reported that Motte was driving a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse toward Springfield when it left the road and was caught by the cable barrier in the median.

Motte suffered minor injuries in the crash, the patrol reported.


Former Sheriff's Employee Ty Lintner Indicted on Sex Charges


A former civilian employee of the Sevier County sheriff's office has been charged with having sex with an inmate.

A news release from the District Attorney's office says Ty Paul Lintner of Sevierville was named in a six-count presentment returned by a grand jury charging him with multiple counts of sexual contact with an inmate.

The incidents allegedly took place between September 2006 and February 2007.

Lintner was being held in lieu of $25,000 bond and is scheduled for an Oct. 14 arraignment.

Lintner has also been accused in two federal civil-rights lawsuits of sexually harassing two prisoners at the jail. The latest lawsuit was filed in July while a similar suit was filed in February.

County officials and Lintner denied all allegations in the February suit. Lintner's attorney, Jeffrey Ward of Greeneville, said he had not seen the new lawsuit and could not comment.

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

UPDATE: Officer Chris Morris Fired After DUI Arrest


The police officer of the year in McAlester has been fired after being arrested for driving under the influence.

Officer Chris Morris was arrested by McAlester police on August 10th for DUI, failure to signal and failure to stop at a stop sign.

He was suspended with pay until being fired Monday afternoon by Police Chief Jim Lyles.

Morris was off duty at the time of the arrest and has pleaded not guilty to the three misdemeanor charges.

In addition to being the city's officer of the year Morris served as president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

He can appeal the firing through the police union or the city's personnel board.

Officer Adam Treinen Arrested for Stalking


A Titusville police officer was arrested Wednesday in Alachua County on stalking and other charges.

Adam Treinen faces several charges, including stalking, cyberstalking, accessing a computer without authority, making a false statement and falsifying an official document.

According to University of Florida police, Treinen used his authority as an officer to harass, secure information and alter a computer account in connection with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend, a student at the university. Records indicated the warrant for Treinen's arrest stems from an incident that occurred Sept. 9 in which he breached the university's computer network and altered personal account information.

Treinen has been placed on administrative leave pending an Internal Affairs investigation by the Titusville Police Department.

Treinen has been employed as a Titusville police officer since February 2004.

No further information can be released until the investigation is completed, Titusville police said.

More Information:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Officer Charged with Possessing Child Porn

A POLICE officer from has been charged with possessing child pornography after a raid triggered by authorities in Croatia.

The 44-year-old probationary constable's home, in the New South Wales central west town of Cowra, was raided by police today after a tip off provided to Interpol by their Croatian counterparts.

Croatian police were investigating pornography downloaded from a website hosted in that country, NSW Police said.

Police raided the policeman's home at 8.15am (AEST), seizing a computer hard drive and a replica pistol.

Child pornography was allegedly found on the computer, police said.

The officer has been charged with possessing child pornography and a prohibited weapon.

He will appear in Cowra Local Court in November.


Former Police Chief Todd Vecellio Arrested in Internet Sex Sting

A former police chief with the Calhan Police Department is in jail for allegedly trying to arrange sex with a minor. The Canon City Police Department arrested Todd Vecellio, 38, on Wednesday in Penrose as part of a month long internet sex sting.

Vecellio is not only a former police chief, but he was also working as a police officer at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). He has been suspended without pay. A university spokesman said there is no reason to believe that Vecellio acted inappropriately with students and did not use University equipment, computers, in unlawful activities.

Vecellio is facing more than half a dozen charges, including conspiracy to commit sexual assault on a child. According to an arrest affidavit, Vecellio meet a woman online and made plans to have sex with her and her 13-year-old daughter. What Vecellio didn't know, was the woman was an undercover Canon City police officer working with the internet crimes against children unit.

After a month of online chatting and several phone conversations, Vecellio made plans to drive from Colorado Springs to Penrose to meet-up with the woman.

On Wednesday, on his way down, officers arrested him outside a liquor store on highway 115.

The undercover officer says although Vecellio was suspicious that she was a cop, he made it clear he wanted to have sex with both her and her 13-year-old daughter. In one conversation he told the undercover officer that he had been with a 15-year-old once before.

After he was arrested, Vecellio told police he was conducting an investigation on the woman. However, he made no reports, nor told his supervisor at UCCS or law enforcement about the investigation.

As for his background. Vecellio has been arrested twice for domestic violence, and once for child abuse in El Paso County. But all three of those cases were dismissed.

Vecellio remains in the Fremont County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

UPDATE: Skip Brinkley Still on the Loose

The alleged murderer of Caldwell County Sheriff’s (N.C.) deputy Adam Klutz is still on the loose.

Skip Brinkley, also known as Larry Wayne Brucke Jr. in his native Walhalla, stands accused of shooting Klutz in the head and Lt. Chris Martin in his vest three times Friday night while following up a 9-1-1 hang-up from the home. Martin suffered no major injuries.

According to reports, Brucke was last seen riding away from the scene on horseback.

“We do know that the authorities in North Carolina have confiscated all of his vehicles,” Capt. Steve Jenkins with the Oconee County Sheriff’s office said. “If he does have a ride, it is borrowed or stolen. We do have information that he possibly still has a weapon in his possession.”

Brucke is described as a white male, standing 5’8’’, weighing roughly 180 pounds with blonde hair, green eyes and a recently grown goatee. Jenkins said their information indicates his name change from Brucke to Brinkley is fairly recent, as he was born a Brucke.

“The information we’ve gathered is that his mother moved to North Carolina and remarried a fellow whose last name is Brinkley,” Jenkins said. “That is when he started going by Brinkley.”

Brucke is a former member of the Army National Guard and has served a tour of duty in Iraq. He is best known in the area for having grown up in Walhalla and served as an officer in the Seneca Police Department from 2001 to 2002. Seneca Police Chief John Covington confirmed the dates of Brucke’s employment, but said he could not specify his reasons for leaving, as it was technically a personnel matter. The lead agency in the matter is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), while Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) are all contributing to the investigation.

“I have been in contact with Caldwell County authorities there, and with the FBI,” Jenkins said. “We do know that he still has some family and friends here, and we have been in contact with them. We don’t know if he has attempted to contact anyone down here yet.”

Jenkins stated further that those who do know him have not seen him for a long period of time, and most of them were only “acquaintances.” Authorities do not have any concrete information leading them to believe he is back in South Carolina, he said.

“The authorities in North Carolina are working on several locations up there,” Jenkins said. “Down here we’re patrolling areas we know he’s acquainted with, so that is our role right now.”

More Information: http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stories/wcnc-092308-krg-deputyphoto.a6d91525.html

Jevenile Detention Officer Parris Woods Arrested for Trying to Meet 14-year-old

Police have arrested a state juvenile detention officer after they say he tried to meet a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

The ninth-grader at Boca Ciega High School approached a school resource officer Wednesday morning and reported that Parris C. Woods, 27, sent her a text message with photos of himself nude and in obscene poses, police said.

The girl had never met Woods, a state employee with the Department of Juvenile Justice. But she had been incarcerated in July at the Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center in Largo where he works, said Lt. Robert Vincent of the Gulfport police.

Vincent said it's unclear whether there are more victims.

"It's kind of hard to tell. The man has access to all sorts of information and kids there where he works," Vincent said. "That's something we're looking into right now."

Police say Woods wanted to arrange a meeting with the girl, so they set up an appointment at a convenience store at 15th Avenue S and 58th Street. Police and officials from the attorney general's Tampa region cybercrime task force were waiting there to arrest Woods.

Woods, who has no prior criminal history in Florida, was charged with traveling to engage in sexual activity with a minor, providing harmful material to a minor and soliciting a minor for sexual activity.

Frank Penela, a spokesman for the Department of Juvenile Justice, said Woods was terminated as soon as the department heard of his arrest. Woods had worked there less than six months and was still on probation, so the department didn't need to follow a firing process, Penela said.

"We don't tolerate this," Penela said. "We do not want people like this taking care of our kids."


Former Deputy Dexter Morris Jr. Arrested for Civil Rights Violation


DEXTER L. MORRIS, JR., age 34 of Morristown, Tennessee, was arrested today in Greeneville by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on charges involving civil rights violations and making false statements to the FBI. This arrest was announced by FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Richard Lambert and United States Attorney James R. "Russ" Dedrick.

Morris had an initial appearance later that morning in the United States District Court in Greeneville before the Honorable Dennis H. Inman, United States Magistrate Judge.

The details of the charges are outlined in the criminal complaint and supporting affadavit, and are filed as public records in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.

In summary, the affidavit alleges that Morris, while a deputy sheriff with the Hamblen County, Tennessee Sheriff's Office, willfully deprived a woman, identified as "JL" in the complaint to protect her privacy, of her constitutional rights by forcing the woman to engage in sexual acts after a traffic stop on August 24, 2005. Morris is also charged with violating the constitutional rights of a second woman, identified as "NE," by having the woman expose her breasts in exchange for Morris not filing a charge for a traffic offense. Morris is further charged with making false statements to FBI agents during an April 2007 interview when he falsely claimed he could not recall whether he had ever had sexual contact with any woman he encountered during a traffic stop.

United States Attorney Dedrick said, "The protection of our citizens and their civil rights is of paramount importance in our society. It is important that those freedoms guaranteed to all citizens be strictly enforced, especially when a law enforcement officer violates his/her oath and attacks the very citizen they are responsible for protecting."

Morris faces maximum penalties of up to life imprisonment and fines of up to $600,000. Morris was released on bond to return for a preliminary hearing or arraignment on October 14, 208 at 1:30 p.m.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Hamblen County Sheriff's Office.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Man Charged with Battery After Passing Gas

Weird News of the day...WTF??


South Charleston police have charged a man with battery after they say he intentionally passed gas on an officer while under arrest for suspicion of drunken driving.

Police say they were fingerprinting Jose Antonio Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, at police headquarters Tuesday when Cruz moved near Patrolman T.E. Parsons, lifted his leg and passed gas "loudly" on the officer, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

Cruz then waved the air in the direction of Parsons, who was preparing a breath test machine nearby.

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint says.

Cruz allegedly failed to give an adequate breath sample because he has asthma, the complaint says. Cruz asked to be taken to a hospital, but allegedly resisted when emergency medical technicians showed up. Police say they struggled to get Cruz handcuffed while he was on a cot.

The defendant was initially arrested after police observed him driving his Mazda 626 east on U.S. 60 without headlights, the complaint says. Police say Cruz was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol when they pulled him over at the intersection of Park Avenue and U.S. 60.

Cruz was charged with DUI, battery on a police officer and obstructing. He was jailed on $5,000 bond.


Two Veteran Officers Arrested for Break-in


Two veteran Sarnia police officers have been arrested after a break-in to an apartment unit Sept 19, Sarnia police announced Wednesday morning.

The break-in took place in the 300 block of Christina Street South just after midnight Friday, police said.

The two officers charged were off duty at the time, police added.

Patrick Nahmabin, 34, and Steven Wyville, 39, both 12-year veterans of the police department, were arrested Tuesday.

They were released from custody and are to appear in court Oct. 21.

Both officers were put on leave and face disciplinary charges under the Polices Services Act.

"At this point these are allegations before the court,” Acting Chief Phil Nelson said in a written statement. “We are extremely disappointed and embarrassed by the notion that two of our members may have been involved in an incident of this nature. Conduct of this type falls far short of the standard expected of a Sarnia police officer."

"I want to reassure the community that the Sarnia police service will not tolerate this type of behaviour from its members" Nelson said.

Sgt. Stephen Couture Fired for Not Keeping His Mouth Shut


Norwalk officials have fired a police officer accused of telling another officer he was being investigated for the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy.

The police trial board fired Sgt. Stephen Couture on Tuesday. Couture's lawyer says he will appeal the decision to the state Board of Mediation and Labor Arbitration.

Board members say Couture told former Lt. Thomas Cummings that the department was investigating a sexual assault allegation against Cummings. Couture told the board he did tell Cummings about the allegation, but he denied knowing about any criminal investigation.

Cummings was charged in January with sexual assault and other crimes. Police say he had sexual relations with boys he enticed using Internet sites and chat rooms.

Information from: The Hour, http://www.thehour.com, and The Advocate, http://www.stamfordadvocate.com.

Recently Retired CHP Officer Abram Carabajal Accused of Fixing Ticket for Sex


A recently retired California Highway Patrol officer is under investigation Wednesday, accused of fixing a ticket in exchange for sex with a woman at an Oceanside hotel.

Two affidavits in support of search warrants filed with San Diego Superior Court in Vista alleged that Abram Carabajal met Shirin Zarrindej, of Encino, at the GuestHouse Inn & Suites on North Coast Highway shortly after her speeding ticket was dismissed in court, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Carabajal wrote the ticket March 12.

When the woman contested the ticket, he signed a subpoena to appear in court, according to the newspaper.

On June 30, Carabajal reserved a room with an early check-in time at the Oceanside hotel for the next day, the newspaper reported.

In court the next day, Carabajal told a judge he did not get a subpoena, and the ticket was dismissed.

Later that day, Zarrindej paid for the room with her credit card and was seen walking arm-in-arm with the officer into the room, the Union-Tribune reported.

Carabajal, 51, retired in July after more than 26 years with the CHP.

He told the newspaper on Monday that he knew nothing of the investigation.

"I think there's nothing to it," Carabajal told the Union-Tribune.

Zarrindej told police, who came to the hotel after Carabajal left, that she knew he was married and had children, but she was in love with him, according to the Union-Tribune.

More Information:

Sgt. Dave Jacobson Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Loves Park Police Sergeant is facing drunk driving allegations tonight. The incident happened last month, but the charges are just surfacing today.

"The first thing I thought and I don't know if you want to put this on the air was how stupid of the officer, but I appreciated the phone call and I thought they were handling it properly. "

Reaction from Loves Park Police Chief Pat Carrigan after the phone call from the Illinois State Police, reporting that one of his officers was arrested. Sgt. Dave Jacobson, a 27 year veteran of the department is accused of driving drunk, swerving on the road, and speeding.

It all stems from an incident here at Harlem Road and Scott Lane in Machesney Park. Authorities say Jacobson was in an unmarked Loves Park squad when he was pulled over on August 30.

" He was swerving and the officer smelled alcohol on his breath and he was immediately taken into custody," says Loves Park Police Chief Pat Carrigan.

Authorities are not commenting on where he was heading. They'll only say he was off duty.

"He drives the car back and forth to the office as a detective, because they get called out day or night, but that could be considered a violation of our policy yes."

The Detective has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.


Former Sgt. Mike Rodrigues Arrested on Fourth Rape Charge

Deputies arrested former Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Rodrigues today on suspicion of a fourth rape charge, and a judge later released him on his own recognizance, according to authorities.

Rodrigues was set to be arraigned today on suspicion of three previous rape counts alleged by a grand jury. While walking toward the San Benito County Courthouse, authorities "peacefully" took him into custody, said Sheriff Curtis Hill.

The sheriff, for the second time since Rodrigues' first arrest on rape charges in December, apologized to the community and also said he's "not happy" with the visiting judge's decision to release Rodrigues after authorities charged him with the additional rape count, along with two other felony counts alleging possession of firearms and ammunition while under a restraining order.

Authorities today also charged Rodrigues on three misdemeanor counts on suspicion of violating a restraining order.

The visiting judge, from Napa County, arraigned him on the prior rape counts and released Rodrigues on the condition that he agree to turn in his passport and not leave the county, Hill said. After Rodrigues' December arrest, the suspect posted the $300,000 bail and was released from the San Benito County Jail.

"While he was on bail he continued to violate the law, including possessing a gun and ammunition," Hill told the Free Lance. "These allegations are from citizens that live and work in this community. When people hear this they'll think, 'If I did that, I would be in jail.' That's what Joe Six-Pack is going to think. I am very disappointed in the judge's decision."

Although Hill said Rodrigues was peacefully arrested, defense attorney Arthur Cantu contended otherwise and argued the case is "nothing more than a witch hunt."

If you have seven or eight deputies grabbing you and forcefully putting handcuffs on you and putting you under arrest, that by definition is an incident," Cantu said. "How dare they file new charges? How dare they file new charges? This is nothing more than a witch hunt. This is nothing more than a vendetta between Mikey and his enemies in the sheriff's department."

An investigation of Rodrigues, a 25-year sheriff's office veteran, resulted in the December indictment alleging three counts of forcible rape, two counts of unlawful sexual penetration and one count each of spousal rape, domestic violence and attempted rape.

The sheriff today said he's sorry for the Rodrigues ordeal - he apologized emphatically in December after the indictment as well.

"I want to apologize to every man woman and child in San Benito County," Hill said today. "We work to build trust in the community, and these allegations break that trust down."

Former sheriff's Sgt. Mike Rodrigues in court in January. Rodrigues faces four counts of forcible rape, two counts of unlawful sexual penetration, two felony counts of possession of firearms and ammunition while under a restraining order, and one count each of spousal rape, domestic violence and attempted rape.

Detention Deputy Becky Garry Charged with Fraud and Grand Theft

A Polk County detention deputy was arrested today, accused by detectives of running a check-kiting scheme to cover debts.

Becky Ann Garry, 34, of Lakeland, was charged with scheming to defraud and grand theft. Garry is accused of depositing checks from one bank account into a second account, then writing checks to withdraw funds from the second account. In this check kiting scheme, there was not enough funds in the first account to cover the amount of the checks, detectives said.

In one case, Garry is accused of depositing a Bank of America check written in the amount of $1,200 into a Colonial Bank account. At the time, there was $6.68 in the Bank of America account, detectives said. On the same day, a $1,200 check was written and deposited from the Colonial Bank account into the Bank of America account, although the Colonial Bank account had $57.26.

Detectives said Garry "floated" her bank balances because she got behind on bills and did not want to be overdrawn.

Garry was hired in May 2007 and was assigned to Polk County's south county jail until she was transferred to the central Polk County Jail in July. She had no disciplinary actions in her personnel file, sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Eleazer said in a statement.

Garry has been suspended without pay and termination procedures are pending, Eleazer said. Garry was released from Polk County Jail this afternoon on $2,000 bail.

Garry is the third Polk County detention deputy arrested this year. Shawn Thomas Lucas, 30, was arrested Sept. 4, after he had agreed to sell 15 1/2 OxyContin pills to an undercover detective in the parking lot of an Auburndale Save-A-Lot, the sheriff's office said. Lucas resigned after his arrest.

In May, Donald Kurns Jr. was arrested after an investigation revealed he had sex with an inmate in a staff bathroom at the Central County Jail, authorities said. Kurns resigned after his arrest.

Deputy Alan Brooks Arrested for Battering His Wife


An Orange County deputy arrested on charges of battering his wife bonded out of jail Monday morning. His alleged victim is the daughter of Sheriff Kevin Beary.

In a police report, Deputy Alan Brooks claimed his wife started screaming about their finances, but she told Mount Dora police that Brooks picked her up and threw her to the floor. She cut her hand on broken glass from their shattered wedding picture.

Sheriff Beary's daughter also stated that she locked herself in the bathroom and that her husband broke through the door and then dragged her out of the house.

"We don't treat it any different as far as the investigation goes," said Lt. Robert Bell of the Mount Dora Police Department.

Investigators notified the Orange County Sheriff's Office, which sent a captain to remove Brooks' badge and gun from his home.

In a personal statement Sheriff Beary asked that his daughter's privacy be respected: "As a law enforcement officer I take solace in the fact that the investigation into this matter is in the good hands of the Mount Dora Police Department. Domestic Violence and the tremendous impact it has on its victims, families and loved ones close to those involved has always been a matter of great personal concern to me. When something like this hits so close to home, it takes the life right out of you."

Brooks has been placed on desk duty until an internal investigation is completed.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Officer John Barnett Arrested for Fraud

Diamonds, apparently, are not a man's best friend.

A Franklin Square man who works as a police officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been arrested and charged with filing a fraudulent $28,375 insurance claim for a diamond ring he reported missing -- while his fiancee was still wearing the 2.3-carat sparkler.

John Barnett, 40, of Franklin Square was arrested Sept. 12 by Investigator Rosalind Thomas of the New York State Insurance Department's Frauds Bureau, assisted by New York City Police. He was released with no bail.

The insurance department has turned the case over to the Queens district attorney's integrity bureau. An MTA spokesman said Barnett has been suspended without pay.

Forrest Hills attorney Michael Dreishpoon, who represents Barnett, said his client entered a not guilty plea when he was arrested.

"I am still investigating the allegations," Dreishpoon said yesterday.

Barnett, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, bought the diamond for $15,000 in July 2006 from USAA, a San Antonio, Texas, insurance company that provides services for current and former military personnel. Barnett then had the diamond put into a $2,200, 18-karat gold setting and insured it in December 2006 with USAA for $28,375, officials said.

Early in 2007, Barnett reported that he lost the ring while taking it to a jeweler to be cleaned and filed an insurance claim with USAA, officials said.

State insurance spokesman Ron Klug said his department and USAA began investigating the case around the same time. "The insurance company was suspicious because he brought the policy in December 2006 and a short time later, in April 2007, reported it missing," Klug said.

Barnett is charged with insurance fraud, a felony, and could be sentenced to 21/3 to 7 years in prison if convicted.


Officer Skip Brinkley Accused of Murder Thought of as a Nice Guy


People in this quiet countryside knew Iraq war veteran Skip Brinkley as a friendly, peaceable man – “the perfect neighbor,” one of his neighbors said Monday.

Brinkley and his fiancée, Jennifer Foutty, bought about 35 acres on Fox Winkler Road about a year ago, built a barn at the base of a mountain and had recently started constructing a house.

The image is in stark contrast to the crimes he's accused of: Authorities say Brinkley shot two Caldwell County sheriff's deputies Friday night, one fatally, before fleeing.

They were still searching for him Monday evening but had gotten no strong leads nor any confirmed sightings. SWAT teams stood on standby in case someone spots him.

Investigators focused on canvassing the neighborhood around the Brinkley property for information, while an N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter flew over the area and deputies guarded children at nearby Oak Hill Elementary School.

Brinkley, an S.C. native who recently changed his name from Larry Wayne Brucke Jr., had given neighbors no inkling of a violent nature.

In fact, his neighbor across the road, Elaine Hatley, said he wanted to shield his family from harm, recently mentioning to her that he didn't want anybody hunting on his property “because he didn't want guns around his children.”

News of the shootings stunned Hatley. “I never saw this side of him,” she said, “and as far as I was concerned, he was the perfect neighbor to me.”

Brinkley has no criminal record in North Carolina but was convicted on a misdemeanor charge of simple assault and battery in his home state in 2004, according to S.C. Law Enforcement Division records.

But his service in the Army appears to have been commendable, according to his service record. Brinkley received the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

He joined the N.C. National Guard in 1994. He was stationed in Fort Campbell, Ky., on active duty from June 1996 to June 1999 before being transferred to the Army's Individual Ready Reserve and discharged in February 2002.

In December 2005, Brinkley enlisted in the N.C. Army National Guard, holding the rank of specialist when he served in Iraq with the National Guard from May 2006 to April 2007.

Since May, he's been in the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, available to fill vacancies in Army Reserve units and replace soldiers in active and reserve units.

“He just looks like a regular soldier who did his job,” Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, said Monday after reviewing his public military service record.

In Oak Hill, he pursued a quiet, domestic life in the foothills between Lenoir and Taylorsville.

Hatley said Brinkley and Foutty built an apartment onto the end of the barn they had constructed for their horses and mules, living there with Foutty's three children while their house was being built.

The family became acquainted with Hatley, a retiree who said Brinkley occasionally stopped at her home to check on her well-being. He even granted her a favor recently.

Hatley's grandfather originally owned the property Brinkley bought, and she had asked him if she could have a few of the large rocks her grandfather had used to build the foundation and chimney of his farmhouse, which burned years ago.

“One day, he came up with a tractor and a load of rocks and put them around the front of my house where I wanted them,” Hatley said. “He was proud of what he did with (my grandfather's) place, and he showed me around.”

Last Friday, Hatley noticed Brinkley working mules on his farm. He'd hitched them to a one-seat wagon and was driving them up and down Fox Winkler Road, a narrow ribbon of blacktop with no striping.

Then that night, Hatley and other neighbors heard gunshots, but Hatley didn't pay any attention because guns are a common part of country life.

Then she and the rest of Oak Hill learned what had happened. They mourned for the family of sheriff's Deputy Adam William Klutz, the rookie officer who died early Saturday after being shot in the head. Lt. Chris Martin, who was backing up Klutz on a 911 hang-up call from the Brinkley home, survived three gunshots to the chest, saved by a bullet-proof vest.

Colleagues said Klutz, a Granite Falls native, had an easy smile and happy nature.

“He had a bright career ahead of him,” said Caldwell sheriff's spokesman B.J. Fore.

“I feel for the family of the officer,” Hatley said. “I'm praying for them every day, and I know that won't bring him back. I'm also praying for Skip.”

-- The Charlotte Observer

Police in 3 precincts accused of writing fake summonses

Nearly six months after two rookie cops in Queens were accused of writing bogus summonses, Internal Affairs is now investigating officers in three other precincts for the same wrongdoing, according to police sources.

Sources told Newsday in May that the two rookies were working at the 113th Precinct in the early spring when they wrote 40 red-light and seat-belt summonses in one tour - a number considered difficult to reach because the officers were working regular patrol, responding to 911 calls.

A few days later their supervising sergeant determined the officers had submitted fraudulent overtime - claiming the summonses were written while working extra hours, police sources said.

The rookies were suspended, served their 30-day suspensions and have been on modified assignment ever since. The department has not publicly identified them, and it was not clear if they will be further disciplined.

Chief of Internal Affairs Charles Campisi did not respond to requests for comment, and the NYPD would only confirm the rookies are still on modified assignment.

A source close to Campisi says that shortly after the rookies' tickets were scrutinized Internal Affairs learned of other officers who may have written suspicious tickets.

The source wouldn't identify where those other cops are assigned, but two other sources familiar with the matter said the growing probe involves the 102nd, 103rd and 105th precincts. The sources also said at least several officers are under suspicion.

Steve Worth, a lawyer for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, declined to comment.

Problems involving phony tickets is nothing new.

An officer with the Housing Bureau is under investigation for writing about 80 such tickets.

And last August four NYPD traffic enforcement agents were arrested after Internal Affairs caught them making up infractions so they could fill out tickets and spend the rest of their shifts hanging out.

Two of the agents pleaded guilty to forgery and were placed on probation, and the other two pleaded to disorderly conduct and were then conditionally discharged.

UPDATE: Former Sheriff Mike Burgess Pleads Not Guilty

Former Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess has pleaded not guilty to 36 charges of forcing female inmates to provide sexual favors.

Burgess entered the plea during arraignment Tuesday in Major County District Court where the hearing was held to accommodate the judge.

Burgess faces charges of rape, rape by instrumentation, kidnapping, sexual battery and oral sodomy of female drug court participants.

Several women testified during a preliminary hearing they were afraid they'd be sent to prison if they didn't give in to Burgess' sex demands.

Trial is set for Dec. 1 in Custer County but defense attorney Steve Huddleston says he'll decide within two weeks whether to ask for a change of venue.

Veteran Tulsa Officer Investigated for Sexual Misconduct

A Tulsa police officer is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

The alleged incident happened early Monday morning while he was on patrol in south Tulsa. The officer has been suspended with pay while the police department's sex crimes squad investigates the allegations.

The 32-year-old officer is assigned to Uniform Division Southwest. He is a seven-year veteran of the Tulsa police force.

Police say the officer picked up a 32-year-old Owasso woman who was walking alone near 39th and Sheridan after midnight Sunday night. He allegedly told her she had an outstanding warrant, which was later determined to have been taken care of. The officer allegedly asked the woman for sex, but she refused.

"She alleges, gave information to us, that the officer inappropriately fondled her and exposed himself to her," says Chief Ron Palmer.

Palmer says the allegations are now a part of a complex criminal investigation. The victim has undergone a rape victim's examination and hair samples and clothing stains are being looked at.

"There may be additional tests," Palmer says. "We've got his police car that we're doing forensics on. The investigation began yesterday and is continuing today."

Chief Palmer says investigations like this don't happen very often. He adds allegations of sexual misconduct against his officers are a rarity and that it will take several more days to complete the report and turn it over to the district attorney for possible criminal charges.

Former Deputy Amanda Wolf Charged with Stealing Confiscated Marijuana

A former Rock Island County sheriff’s deputy charged with stealing and delivering confiscated marijuana was arrested during a traffic stop Tuesday in Milan, Ill.

Amanda Wolf, 33, of Milan, is charged with a felony count of official misconduct in Rock Island County Circuit Court.

According to the charges, Wolf stole the confiscated marijuana from the Metropolitan Enforcement Group, where she was assigned at the time.

A nationwide search warrant was issued for Wolf, but Chris Endress, MEG director, said Rock Island County sheriff’s deputies arrested Wolf during a traffic stop.

“We’re glad that the arrest is made, and we can take this farther and get this thing completed,” Endress said.

Wolf has resigned from her job as a deputy and was believed to be residing in Texas, Endress said Monday. Endress said at the time of the incident, Wolf was on assignment with MEG — a covert, undercover narcotics operation in which local law enforcement officers are assigned to the group for periods of time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Officer Hubertus Vannes Sentenced to 5 Years


A former New York City police officer has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing handguns from a police evidence room and trading them for painkillers.

Hubertus Vannes, of Roslyn Heights, N.Y., pleaded guilty in May to criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a firearm. He had been an NYPD officer for two years when he was arrested last fall.

Prosecutors say Vannes admitted trading three stolen guns to a man for painkillers. He had 76 tablets of prescription painkillers in his possession when he was arrested.


Officer Russell Littleton Arrested for DWI

Bryant, Ark.

A Bryant police officer arrested a Little Rock police officer for DWI, refusal to submit a breath test, and speeding on August 14, 2008.

Officer Nick Ramsey pulled over Russell Littleton, 38, last month.

The report says he was going 19 miles above the speed limit. Police Chief Tony Coffman says when Officer Ramsey pulled him over, "he smelled odor of alcohol from the vehicle."

Ramsey declined to talk to THV, but according to his report, Littleton asked him if he could show him "professional courtesy and let him go."

"You have ordinary citizens that say 'come on man give me a break, let me go'," says Coffman.

According to the report, Littleton says he had four drinks that day. He says "he had three drinks this evening and one drink for lunch."

During one of the sobriety tests, he was swaying and "had leg tremors during the test."

Once at the police station, Ramsey writes, "several times he was on the phone and I could hear the other party yelling obscenities about me arresting him and not letting him go. Mr. Littleton made the comment to me that if I came through Little Rock that I would be taken care of."

Coffman says he does not consider this a threat.

"DWI is a pretty serious offense and nobody wants one. It doesn't matter if it's the general public or police officer," says Coffman.

Coffman commends his officer for doing the right thing.

"Officer Ramsey went by what the law said, and went by the rules," says Coffman.

Little Rock police are investigating the incident and would not comment on the case. However, they did say, Littleton was driving a city vehicle at the time he was pulled over and is banned from driving one until the investigation is over.

He appears before a judge November 20th at the Bryant District Court.

More Information:

Former Officer Larry Brucke Jr Wanted for Murder


The man accused of fatally shooting a Caldwell County sheriff's deputy is a former S.C. police officer with Army Ranger training who continued to elude authorities Sunday.

All day, hundreds of federal, state and local investigators searched unsuccessfully in woods off winding roads for Larry Wayne Brucke Jr., an Iraq War veteran, who recently changed his name to Skip Brinkley. Authorities described him Sunday as “very dangerous.” He is accused of shooting Det. Adam Klutz in the head after he responded to a 911 hang-up call about 9:40 p.m. Friday. Klutz died early Saturday.

Lt. Chris Martin, who arrived moments later to back up Klutz, also was shot three times. He was spared serious injuries by his bullet proof vest.

Authorities Sunday said they believe Brinkley is armed at least with an assault rifle and he is now believed to be on foot or in a vehicle. After two days of searching, they had found no evidence indicating he was nearby. They said they weren't sure if he had been injured when Martin returned fire.

There were initial reports that he possibly rode off on a horse from the farm he lives on at Fox Winkler Road. But that horse was accounted for on Sunday, said Det. B.J. Fore, a spokesman for the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators declined to provide a recording of the 911 hang-up call and other calls possibly made after the shootings. They also couldn't say whether there had ever been reports of trouble at the home nestled among rolling hills off N.C. 64.

Dozens of police vehicles blocked access to the area Sunday where volunteers turned the Oak Hill Community Ruritan Club into a makeshift dining hall for searchers. Residents rolled out homemade pies while others grilled burgers and served fries to heavily-armed deputies with camouflage-painted faces.

By nightfall, authorities halted the search operation. But today there will be additional security at the nearby Oak Hill Elementary school and armed officers riding school buses, officials said.

“We're talking about a very dangerous person,” Fore said.

He declined to give any details about what may have prompted the 911 call. Brinkley's fiancée and two children who were in the home at the time, were not injured, Fore said.

He used to patrol the area and said he wasn't familiar with Brinkley, who had been in Caldwell County only for about a year.

Brinkley grew up in Walhalla, S.C., west of Greenville. His father, Larry Wayne Brucke Sr. told WCNC-TV, the Charlotte Observer's news partner, that he joined the Army right out of high school. He served at Fort Campbell, Ky., and in Iraq as an infantry soldier from 2004 to 2006. Authorities couldn't specify when he received Ranger training, or whether he completed it.

Authorities could not confirm whether Brinkley was honorably discharged or confirm whether he was injured during his Iraq service.

In addition to his military training, Brinkley completed basic law enforcement training in North Carolina and served as a police officer in Seneca, S.C., before joining the National Guard. His father told WCNC he served about a year in the Guard before getting out. His father said he was not aware of any troubles during Brinkley's military service.

Brinkley, who only recently changed his name, had been working most recently as a part-time truck driver and had a large construction project underway behind the home on Fox Winkler Road.

Friday's shooting was the second time recently that a suspect took aim at members of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office. Earlier this month, two deputies were shot while serving a search warrant. The deputies, who were wearing bulletproof vests, weren't seriously hurt.

“This has been a rough few weeks for this department,” Fore said. “Our department is hurting, but we are carrying on with this investigation, out of pride and for Adam.”

More Information:

Deputy Michael James Arrested for Indecency


A Lowndes County deputy is facing indecency charges after exposing himself to children. 38-year-old Michael Anthony James surrendered to authorities at the Valdosta Police Department Friday after warrants were issued for his arrest.

The incident happened September 11th in the 2500 block of Forrestwood Drive. Around 3:20 that afternoon, a child walking home from a bus stop reported seeing a naked man standing exposed in his front doorway.

"If a child sees anything like that, they should immediately report it to a responsible adult as these children did. And that way action can be taken immediately. These children did real good about telling a parent or another adult," said Lt. Bobbi McGraw with the Valdosta Police Department.

James was charged with two counts of public indecency. He was released on a two-thousand dollar bond.