Friday, December 05, 2008

Capt. Curt Rude Charged with Gross Misdemeanor

A district judge has denied motions to dismiss criminal charges against an Austin police captain accused of illegally taking prescription drugs from the department's evidence room last year.

Capt. Curt Rude, a 23-year veteran with the Austin Police Department, is charged with two felonies and one gross misdemeanor. His attorney, Terry Maus of Rochester, moved to have the charges dismissed for lack of probable cause he committed any crime.

An omnibus hearing was held in September and Olmsted District Judge Kevin Lund took the motion under advisement. Lund's order was issued today.

Maus said this morning that Lund has denied the motions to dismiss the charges and they will proceed to trial on all of the charges.

Authorities allege that Rude illegally took a package containing the prescription painkiller Oxycotin from the police evidence room and that he was illegally in possession of the drug. Both of those counts are felonies. He also is charged with a gross misdemeanor of interfering with property in official custody. The charges stem from alleged activity on Nov. 6, 2007. Rude is on administrative leave from the police department.

Former Judge Donald Thompson Arrested for Drunk Driving

Tulsa, Oklahoma

A former district judge who went to prison for exposing himself by using a sexual device while presiding over trials has been arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence.

Lt. George Brown with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed that former Creek County judge Donald D. Thompson was booked early Friday into the Tulsa County Jail.

The 62-year-old man was accused of using a "penis pump" during trials and convicted in 2006 on four counts of indecent exposure.

He served about 20 months of a four-year prison term and was released in April.

Thompson's attorney, Clark Brewster, says Thompson made bail and expected him to be released Friday.

Chief Ronald Lee and Officer Matthew Pruegert Accused of Drunk Driving on the Job

Okay, Oklahoma

An area sheriff's department is now in control of a town that fired its police department.

The police chief and officer were let go for allegedly being drunk on the job. The allegations are being made in Okay, in Wagoner County, about 40 miles east-southeast of Tulsa.

The small town of about six hundred residents is still trying to come to grips with it all. With a new scandal and two vacant positions, will the town recover?

Elden McCullough says he isn't surprised Okay is in the headlines again.

"I got a call at 12:30 the night before from a lady who said they're down at the EZ Mart and they're drunk."

A few minutes later, McCullough says he got another call.

"Some lady said they're drunk down here, they're in the police car."

The call was about Okay officer Matthew Pruegert, who was later arrested on a complaint of driving under the influence. The arrest was made by a Wagoner police officer who said he observed a strong odor of alcohol.

It's also alleged that Okay Police Chief Ronald Lee was observed intoxicated back at the police station by a town board member.

"When we went into executive session, that's all I can tell you, she said 'yes, he was drunk'. He said he wasn't. She said yes. It was a 5 to nothing vote."

And, with that, the police chief and officer were both let go.

Residents we spoke with say they're shocked.

"I wouldn't feel safe with them being drunk on duty," says Brock Moore. "What they do on their own times, that's their business. When you're at work, no."

The next town board meeting is next Tuesday. Members could then decide what to do about the police department.

Officer Matthew Pruegert Arrested while in Uniform for Being Drunk

An on-duty reserve police officer is arrested on several charges, including suspicion of being drunk.

Okay reserve officer Matthew Pruegert was arrested at a convenience store by a Wagoner police officer.

The officer from Wagoner said he smelled alcohol on Pruegert.

At the time of his arrest, Pruegert was driving an Okay police car and wearing a gun, badge and uniform shirt.

He was booked into the Wagoner County Detention Center and later released on $3,000 bond.

Corporal Andrew Kos Suspended for Bringing Personal Laptop to Work

An Austin police officer is suspended for 15 days for using his personal laptop while on the job.

Corporal Andrew Kos was repeatedly warned not to bring his laptop to work and not to maintain his personal hockey website while on the job, according to a memo from Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

On a particularly busy night, Kos failed to volunteer for several calls and another officer found his cruiser parked next to a closed coffee shop so he could access free Wi-Fi on his laptop.

Deputy David McGarah Arrested for Assault and Theft

A Williamson County Sheriff Deputy was arrested back on November 15 for assault and theft of a service.

According to Detective John Foster, a spokesman for Williamson County Sheriff's Department, 56-year-old David McGarah was arrested and suspended with pay Nov. 17, and will remain on suspension until further details are released in the case.

David McGarah has been with the department for seven years. No other comment were made about the arrest due to McGarah being arrested by another police department.

Deputy Don Griffee Charged with Punching Handcuffed Suspect

A King County sheriff's deputy was charged Thursday with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a handcuffed suspect in the back of a patrol car.

Don C. Griffee, 61, has been on paid administrative leave during an investigation into the Aug. 3 incident. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and the loss of his career.

The state Attorney General's Office is handling the case because the victim, Johnny Bradford, 21, has filed a claim for monetary damages against the county. That presents a potential conflict of interest for the Prosecutor's Office, which represents the county in legal disputes.

The Seattle P-I obtained a copy of the complaint after it was filed late Thursday in King County District Court. The incident happened after Griffee was called to investigate a complaint at 149 S.W. 160th Street in Burien, according to a source familiar with the case. Records show he arrested Bradford on suspicion of obstructing an officer, although the nature of the original 911 call was unclear Thursday.

Sources said the deputy was accused of striking the handcuffed suspect after he uttered offensive remarks. The blow cut the suspect's lip. The case was investigated by the Sheriff's Office.

Griffee, a patrol deputy, joined the Sheriff's Office 14 years ago after switching careers, Sheriff's Sgt. John Urquhart said.

The Sheriff's Office policy, similar to most police agencies, dictates that deputies use physical force only when "reasonably" necessary to make an arrest, defend themselves or others, or carry out police duties such as searching a home or vehicle.

Bradford was again the focus of a sheriff's investigation Nov. 25, after a neighbor accused him of punching her several times. Bradford wasn't home when deputies arrived to investigate, so a citation for misdemeanor assault was mailed to him, according to sources.

Griffee's case falls on the eve of a federal civil rights trial set to begin Monday involving another sheriff's deputy, Brian Bonnar. He is accused of striking a handcuffed woman in the head with his knee, lifting her up by the hair and slamming her head against a police car after she was arrested for fleeing from police. Bonnar, 42, also is accused of lying to a grand jury.

Officer Jon Fitzgerald Charged with Using Excessive Force

On December 4, the Harris County District Attorney's Office accepted one count of Official Oppression against Baytown Police Officer Jon Kevin Fitzgerald. This class "A" misdemeanor charge was the result of an internal affairs investigation into allegations that Officer Fitzgerald used excessive force during a November 13, 2008 arrest of motorist Ryan Sanders. Mr. Sanders is a 24-year-old maintenance worker residing in Baytown.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office, Police Integrity Division, found probable cause to believe that Officer Fitzgerald's actions were excessive and filed charges in the 262nd District Court.

Baytown Police Chief Keith Dougherty has issued the following statement: "Officer Fitzgerald has been charged with one count of Official Oppression, a Class "A" Misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code Section 39.03. Based upon the criminal charge filed against him, I have suspended him without pay pursuant to the Texas Civil Service Act. We as police officers have taken a solemn oath to serve and protect the citizens of our community. I want to reassure the public that this administration will never tolerate misconduct or excessive force against any person."

More Information:

Christopher Buckley Indicted on Two Counts of Forcible Rape of Juvenile

A New Orleans Police officer accused of rape was indicted by a grand jury Friday, according to a statement from the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office.

Christopher Buckley, 36, was indicted for two counts of forcible rape and two counts of molestation of a juvenile. His bond was set at $1.2 million, according to the district attorney’s office.

Buckley is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl who was the daughter of an acquaintance.

Shortly after Buckley's arrest, police chief Warren Riley confirmed that the NOPD investigated similar allegations against Buckely in 2001 and 2003, but that the department took no administrative action and the District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute both times.