Saturday, June 21, 2008

Drunken Officers Fire Weapons at Party

Two Minneapolis police officers are now facing felony charges. A criminal complaint alleges that 34-year-old Scott Mars and 28-year-old William Thornbury fired their guns outside of a party in South Minneapolis last month while they were off duty.

On the night of May 28th, Minneapolis Police responded to a 911 call in a south Minneapolis neighborhood. When they arrived they never expected to be investigating two of their own.

According to the criminal complaint, earlier that evening a neighbor walked over to a nearby home where a party was taking place and asked some people standing outside to keep it down.

They apologized, but a little while later a black Chevy Tahoe left the party and pulled in front of the man's house. The men inside the SUV yelled a profanity and then fired several gunshots into the air through the vehicle's sunroof.

"This is a very dangerous situation. Individuals easily could have been seriously injured or killed," said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.

Police arrived and pulled the Tahoe over. Inside they found two guns and spent shell casings. They identified the driver as Officer Scott Mars and the passenger as Officer William Thornbury.

Dakota County is handling this case because of conflict of interest, but the case will still be tried in Hennepin County. Backstrom said the two officers put lives in danger and their careers in jeopardy.

"They are going to be treated exactly the same as anyone else who be doing a similar thing under these circumstances," said Backstrom.

Both officers are on paid administrative leave until the case is resolved. The men face two felony charges each, and Mars, the driver of the Tahoe, also faces a drunken driving charge. His blood alcohol level was 0.19 -- more than twice the legal limit.

If convicted of the felony charges, the men would lose their license as police officers. They could also face a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

Former Officer Arrested for Shoplifting and Possession

Shawnee, KS

A former Overland Park Police officer and Shawnee resident was arrested June 14 on charges of shoplifting and possession of illegal substances.

Donald Kevin Duncan, 37, was apprehended for shoplifting about 3 p.m. at a Costco store, 12221 Blue Valley Parkway, Overland Park. Police then discovered that Duncan was formerly an officer in their department, from 1995 to 2005, last assigned to the investigation division.

Duncan was originally charged with theft greater than $1,000 but less than $25,000, and when he was booked, police discovered methamphetamines on his person, leading to additional charges.

Overland Park Police said Duncan resigned from the police force to pursue other interests. Duncan posted a $3,500 bond Monday after his first court appearance, and his next hearing is scheduled later this month.