Sunday, August 10, 2008

UPDATE: Officer Charged in Prank Gone Wrong

An Austin resident working as a police officer for the Amboy/Vernon Center Police Department has been charged with misconduct after allegedly asking a teenage girl to flash her breasts to avoid arrest for drinking, according to the Star Tribune.

Steven P. Boyle has been charged with one gross misdemeanor count of misconduct of a public official by the Blue Earth County Attorney’s Office.

According to the Tribune, the criminal complaint said the incident occurred the night of July 4 at Pumpkinland near Vernon Center.

Boyle allegedly told a sheriff’s investigator he’d been contacted earlier by the young woman’s friend, who’d requested he play a prank of her.

The Tribune said he approached a camper at the farm market and pretended to question the group there. The young girl fled, the report said, though Boyle soon caught her and administered a preliminary breath test.

She failed, and was handcuffed and placed in his squad car.

The Tribune said fellow campers suggested Boyle allow her to show her breasts to avoid transport to jail.

She agreed after Boyle allegedly approached her with the idea, and showed her breasts surrounded by others at a campfire after her handcuffs were removed, according to the Tribune.

She was allegedly told the situation was a joke immediately following.

Boyle is scheduled to appear Aug. 22. The maximum penalty for his crime is one year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.

Recently Promotoed Chief Philip Palmere is Found Guilty of Perjury

The man recently promoted to be chief of the state Department of General Services Police had once been recommended for termination from the Baltimore Police Department after an administrative board found him guilty of perjury and making a false statement in a court document.

A Circuit Court judge ruled that the police trial board held in 1999 had erred by not allowing Philip Palmere to present two character witnesses. The court ordered a new hearing into allegations that he reported seeing a man - whom he had arrested - toss a gun to the ground when he had actually found the weapon in an apartment.

The department dismissed the charges and Palmere resigned from the force, ending a 15-year career in what his attorney described as a mutual agreement between the two sides. Prosecutors then dropped the gun case, sparing the defendant what could have been a 30-year prison sentence, and later dropped charges against another man Palmere had arrested.

Two years later, Palmere joined the DGS Police, a 200-member force responsible for protecting state office buildings in Baltimore and Annapolis, including the State House.

Dave Humphrey, a DGS spokesman, said in a statement that the department performed "a full background investigation, including a review of his Baltimore City Police personnel file. He retired in good standing with a service pension from the city force."

Christine Hansen, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, said that Palmere has performed well since he was hired.

A public Circuit Court file containing Palmere's appeal of his trial board conviction details the case made against him and the city Police Department's attempts to fire him. The board of his peers recommended that Palmere be suspended for 150 days for misconduct, making a false statement and two counts of improperly filing a report.

Then-police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier decided the punishment wasn't harsh enough. In an August 1999 letter that is contained in the court file, he wrote, "The egregious nature of the false statement requires termination." A police commissioner can overrule punishment recommendations by trial boards.

Secretary of General Services Alvin C. Collins declined through a spokesman to be interviewed for this article. He elevated Palmere to chief of the DGS Police on June 25. Three weeks later, the department issued a news release noting that the new chief has "brought new energy and new ideas" to the force.

Palmere referred calls to Michael Davey, the Fraternal Order of Police union attorney who represented him at his city police trial board. The attorney said the city department dismissed the internal charges and he believes his client's internal investigation file should have no bearing on his ability to lead the DGS police force.

"He was never charged criminally with perjury," Davey said. "He was never charged criminally with anything."

Baltimore City internal affairs detectives began investigating Palmere and his partner, Drew Dorbert, after they arrested Tavon Anderson in 1996 on gun and drug charges. Palmere wrote a statement of probable cause - a legal document to justify charges - that he saw Anderson throw a gun from his waistband and then watched it "spinning on the floor," according to court documents.

It was later revealed, according to court documents, that Palmere found the gun under a cabinet in the defendant's East Baltimore apartment. Drugs were also found in the apartment, he wrote.

Then-Assistant State's Attorney Mary Koch dropped charges against Anderson when she learned about the inconsistencies in the statement of charges. Palmere and Dorbert were brought up on internal charges. Dorbert retired from the Police Department before his trial board.

Palmere said in his May 1999 trial board hearing that he based his statement of probable cause on his partner's incident report, which said the defendant tossed the gun. Palmere said he only signed the statement of probable cause because he trusted the judgment of his partner.

"Officer Palmere stated he believed his decision to be a poor one," according to minutes taken during trial board and contained in the Circuit Court file.

After the gun and drugs were found, Palmere said, Anderson became worried that a drug boss would accuse him of cooperating with police. The defendant "began to cry stating that he was going to be killed ... for giving up the gun," according to a brief filed in Palmere's defense.

But, Koch, the prosecutor, said the officers could have protected the defendant without providing a false statement. "All he had to do was write a vague statement of charges then see the prosecutor," Koch said, according to the minutes kept in a court file.

The administrative trial board found Palmere guilty of misconduct, making a false statement, violating a law by making a false statement and two charges of improperly filing a report. Members said they recommended a 150-day suspension in part because of the officer's "exemplary record with the department over a fourteen year career."

Members also said that commanders said they "were willing to supervise Officer Palmere despite sustained charges" and "believed Officer Palmere's career was worth salvaging."

Frazier disagreed, writing in his letter that the "false statement could have lead to the unlawful incarceration of a citizen for several years under the mandatory sentencing guidelines. ... As evidenced by the trial transcript, Officer Palmere admitted that he signed his name to an affidavit he knew to be false."

Davey said that after his client's case was returned for a rehearing, it lingered until after Frazier left the department. "They finally decided, 'We'll just dismiss the case and let him retire,'" the attorney said. "It wasn't part of any official agreement. The department looked at it as a way to get rid of [the case]. My guy was happy to retire."

Philip Palmere's career
March 1985: Joins Baltimore Police Department.

February 1996: He and another officer arrest Tavon S. Anderson and charge him with drug dealing and handgun possession.

October 1996: Prosecutors drop all charges against Anderson.

December 1997: Administrative charges are brought against Palmere, alleging he wrote in court documents that he saw Anderson throw a gun to the ground. Police say he found the gun inside an apartment.

June 1999: A three-member police trial board finds him guilty of perjury and making a false statement. Board recommends that he be suspended for 150 days without pay.

August 1999: Then-police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier increases the penalty to termination.

September 1999: Palmere appeals to Baltimore Circuit Court.

January 2000: Circuit Judge Alfred Nance remands the matter to the trial board, concluding that Palmere should have had the opportunity to bring two additional character witnesses to testify on his behalf.

March 2000: Palmere retires from Baltimore City Police Department.

August 2002: Joins Department of General Services Police.

June 2008: Palmere named DGS chief.

Officer Accused of Stealing Coconuts

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

A police officer in Trinidad has been charged with copping more than US$260 worth of coconuts from palm trees surrounding a station in the island's northwest.

Police Constable Max Constantine says the officer and a handyman stole the fruit from trees next to the Maraval Police Station. A local newspaper reports that the officer is accused of stealing 88 coconuts.

The Trinidad & Tobago Express reported Saturday that both men pleaded not guilty to absconding with the coconuts and will appear in court in October.

Constantine said the station has several palm trees. He said that officer Earl Logan no longer works there. It was unclear if he planned to sell the coconuts.

Nashville Officer Arrested on Sex Charges

Nashville police Sgt. Michael Dioguardi has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest on charges of solicitation of a minor and providing obscene material to minors.

Dioguardi, 41, a 13-year police department veteran, was arrested Friday by Rutherford County authorities.

He was placed on administrative leave, and an internal investigation was begun, department officials said in a news release. He also was decommissioned, meaning he turned in his badge and weapons.

He is to appear in court on Sept. 10.

Officer Charged in Prank Gone Wrong

A Southern Minnesota police officer says it was a prank, but it's one that could cost him his job.

The Amboy Minnesota police officer is also a native of Austin.

23-year-old Steven Boyle has been suspended and charged with a gross misdemeanor.

He allegedly questioned a group of people who were drinking.

Then he handcuffed a woman and put her in his squad car.

He then said he would release her if she showed him her breasts.

The 18-year-old woman didn't know it was a prank so she flashed him in exchange for her release.

Boyle is charged with misconduct of a public official.

We tried to get a comment from Boyle at his home in Austin.

We knocked on the door, but no one would answer.

The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer standards and training will review the case.


Doesn't sound like a prank to me...he just thought he could get away with doing what he did.

Protect and Serve, and Freebies for doing Job?

It's maybe the last great perk a beat cop can get.

A free cup of coffee, a discount on a greasy burger.

Though many police departments officially frown on freebies, coffee houses and restaurants around the city and suburbs give the gratis, and the officers' bosses seem to look the other way.

But there's another unwritten rule: Cops can't demand the free stuff. And that's just what officials say Chicago Police Officer Barbara Nevers did, demanding free coffee and pastries from a half-dozen Starbucks stores over the years, until she was banned from one of the java joints and a memo was sent to other stores.

The 55-year-old veteran of more than a decade was suspended for 18 months and recommended for counseling after showing her gun and badge to intimidate employees into giving her free coffee, according to documents released Thursday.

Nevers' actions may have cemented one of the oldest stereotypes about cops—you know, the one about the certain circular pastry they're supposed to love. But she also took advantage of a time-honored tradition: giving hard-working public servants a little gastro-love.

A few Dunkin' Donuts employees around Chicago said they often give 10 percent discounts to cops and the elderly. A 7-Eleven employee at 180 N. Franklin St. said she gives officers who visit a free cup of coffee.

At the Golden Angel in the Lincoln Square neighborhood Thursday, a waitress said, yes, they give 50 percent discounts to the cops who frequent.

"There's a few sitting right here," Julie Paterno said as she watched them munch on chicken-fried steak.

Paterno said customers like the feeling of safety when a police officer is around, and the restaurant feels like it's helping out some public servants.

"I'm thinking most restaurants do it for protection, so they'll keep an eye on the place," she said.

In Lincolnwood, at the all-night Whistler's Restaurant, owner Chris Dimas says it's a give and take. He likes officers to be around his restaurant late at night, and they like his food.

"At night, you don't know the people around, so it is good for them to be here, eating my food," said Dimas, who has owned the place for more than 30 years. There are some officers who don't accept his freebies because their bosses don't like it, and some officers he doesn't know and thus doesn't offer the discount, he said.

"If they feel comfortable with us, we feel comfortable with them and appreciate what they do," he said.

Starbucks has no official policy regarding free coffee for police, leaving that decision up to each franchise, company officials said Thursday. According to testimony before the Chicago Police Board, which decides cases of misconduct, employees in several North Side Starbucks said they often give free 12-ounce coffee or tea to officers on duty. But Nevers would often ask for a larger size or multiple drinks, employees said.

Some employees testified that between 1999 and 2004 Nevers frequented their stores weekly, often in street clothes, and flashed a badge or flipped her jacket to reveal her gun if they asked for payment. In 2004, she was accused of stealing a juice drink from one Starbucks, but eventually was acquitted.

One manager at a Starbucks in the 1700 block of West Diversey Parkway testified that Nevers started asking for free pastries too, and got angry when the store employees refused. The manager told Nevers she wasn't welcome in the store anymore, and testified that Nevers walked behind the store counter, asking angrily if she wasn't welcome, before leaving.

"She was vehement about getting the free pastries," the manager testified.

Several employees said most officers who come in are friendly and always offer to pay before being told that it is on the house. But Nevers was unprofessional, they said, and rarely talked with employees before demanding free coffee. Her actions made even other officers who went to the Starbucks suspicious, believing she could be a police impersonator, one employee testified.

A district manager eventually sent out a memo to stores Nevers frequented, saying free coffee wasn't allowed for her anymore, according to the testimony.

Nevers joined the force when she was 41 but after an injury in training spent most of her time off the street at "call-back," where officers write reports and handle calls. She denied that she demanded coffee or flashed her gun to intimidate the employees, and said she only took free coffee when offered.

"I don't demand anything," Nevers told the Police Board, adding that she always put $2 in a tip jar when she was offered free coffee. Her attorney said Nevers was only accepting what had been a custom in Chicago.

It's a custom that's not likely to change any time soon, rules or no rules. At the Golden Angel on Thursday, Paterno tallied up the bill she'd given the two police officers who stopped by—$6, after the 50 percent discount. The cops didn't forget their waitress, though.

"They both left $2 apiece," she said.

Detention Officer Accused of Smuggle Drugs into Jail


A Curry County detention center officer accused of trying to smuggle drugs into the jail has been arrested and fired.

Sheriff's deputies on Thursday arrested 36-year-old Julian Patrick Garcia on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

He's also charged with bringing contraband into a jail, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, attempt to commit a felony by furnishing drugs to a prisoner and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bond was set at $56,000.

The arrest stems from an investigation into allegations an inmate was arranging for drugs to be smuggled in.

Charges Filed Against Detroit Mayor

A list of the criminal charges filed against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and their potential penalties:

_Count 1: Assaulting or obstructing a police officer in the furtherance of their duties, up to 2 years in prison or a fine of $2,000.

_Count 2: Assaulting or obstructing a police officer in the furtherance of their duties, up to 2 years in prison or a fine of $2,000.

Charges filed March 24 and modified July 22:

_Count 1: Conspiracy to obstruct justice, up to five years in prison.

_Count 2: Obstruction of justice, up to five years. He's accused of firing Detroit Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown as part of an effort to illegally hamper a criminal investigation and committing perjury to hide the firing of Brown or a relationship between the mayor and former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty.

_Count 3: Misconduct in office, up to five years. He's accused of firing Brown to hamper a criminal probe of Kilpatrick's personal conduct or the conduct of his security unit and committing perjury to hide the firing.

_Count 4: Misconduct in office, up to five years. He's accused of authorizing the city to settle a whistle-blowers' lawsuit with the motive of preventing the release of embarrassing text messages involving the mayor, Beatty and other women.

_Count 5: Perjury in court, up to 15 years. He's accused of lying under oath in August 2007 by saying he didn't fire Brown, didn't know Brown was investigating him or a rumored party at the mayor's official residence and testifying falsely as to other circumstances surrounding the termination of Brown.

_Count 6: Perjury in court, up to 15 years. He's accused of falsely testifying in August 2007 that he didn't have a romantic or sexual relationship with Beatty and others.

_Count 7: Perjury outside court, up to 15 years. He's accused of swearing falsely before a notary public in June 2003 as to the circumstances surrounding the "un-appointment" of Brown.

_Count 8: Perjury outside court, up to 15 years. He's accused of swearing falsely before a notary public in October 2004 as to the circumstances surrounding the "un-appointment" of Brown.

Former Officer Shannon Madry Arrested for Stealing from Dillards

A former Huntsville police officer has appealed a conviction in Huntsville Municipal Court on a charge of misdemeanor theft to the Madison County Circuit Court.

Shannon Madry, 27, pleaded guilty in municipal court on July 15 to stealing two pairs of jeans and a shirt, valued at $130, from Dillard's department store, according to court records. Madry was working an off-duty security job at the store in October 2007 and was not in uniform when he allegedly committed the theft, police said.

According to the criminal complaint in the court record, Madry, who had been a Huntsville police officer for two years, took the merchandise into a room at the store, put it into a bag and left the premises without paying for it.

Municipal Judge Charles Rodenhauser sentenced Madry to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a fine of $300 and $198 in court costs. But Rodenhauser suspended the jail term and placed Madry on probation for a year.

Madry filed an appeal bond of $700 to the municipal court, and his appeal was entered in the circuit court on July 29. The appeal to the circuit court means Madry can have a trial before a jury on the misdemeanor theft charge. During a jury trial, the prosecutor will disregard Madry's guilty plea in municipal court.

Madry has resigned from the police force, according to police.