Thursday, February 26, 2009

Officer Joseph Houston Investigated for Exposing Himself


Selectmen met for a second, and final, time yesterday afternoon in a closed-door session to decide whether to discipline or dismiss Brewster police Officer Joseph Houston for alledgedly exposing himself and assaulting other patrons at a Jan. 18 rock concert in Boston.

The hearing took nearly two hours and allowed Houston's attorney to present his client's side of the case to the board. Afterward, selectmen chairman Peter Norton said the rules regarding executive session prohibited him from commenting on the meeting other than to say that the board had concluded its deliberations on the matter.

Leaving the meeting, Houston did not appear to be a man who had been vindicated. He and his attorney walked briskly past reporters, who had been excluded from the hearing. Neither Houston nor his attorney, Patrick Bryant, would comment on whether Houston still had a job as a Brewster police officer.

"There will be no comment at this time," Bryant said.

The municipal payroll is considered a public record, and, after the meeting, Police Chief Richard Koch said that Houston, who had been on paid administrative leave since the January incident, would not be on paid leave as of today, or any time thereafter.

Houston was allegedly intoxicated while at a Metallica concert at TD Banknorth Garden on Jan. 18. At one point, he allegedly pulled down his pants and urinated on a man in the row in front of him. According to a complaint filed with Boston police after the concert, Houston also physically and verbally harassed the female members of the party, identified only as a family from out of state, and allegedly lunged at the man's sister with his pants still down and genitals exposed.

When he was ejected by security guards for fighting with the first victim, Houston allegedly flashed his Brewster police badge, identified himself as an officer and demanded he be allowed back into the concert. At one point, he allegedly said "Look at Obama" to a black Transit police officer.

Houston was arrested by the Transit Police and charged with trespassing for trying to get back into the concert. He has been arraigned on that charge. Boston detectives have also requested a clerk's hearing, set for March 5, on possible felony charges against the officer.

Executive session is typically invoked in personnel cases, especially disciplinary and dismissal hearings. The sessions are closed to the public and media unless the defendant asks them to be conducted in open session. Houston requested a closed hearing. Executive session minutes and the record of decision is generally public information, once selectmen have reviewed and approved them.

Chief Koch said his department's own internal investigation into Houston's conduct at the concert would not be released until after all avenues of appeal had been exhausted, including any possible union grievance.


Deputy Mario Carey Charged with Domestic Violence

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy was charged with domestic violence Wednesday after an argument with his girlfriend.

Mario Carey, 37, was charged with fourth-degree domestic violence, a misdemeanor, in Bonney Lake Municipal Court.

Carey’s girlfriend called police to a residence near Lake Tapps about 6:40 a.m. Feb. 16 after she and Carey had an argument, said Bonney Lake police spokesman Tony Rice. Officers interviewed the two and found probable cause to arrest the deputy, Rice said.

The woman didn’t need medical assistance at the scene, Rice said.

Carey, an eight-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was placed on paid administrative leave and, following standard procedure, his weapon was confiscated, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

The Sheriff’s Department will conduct an internal investigation of the incident, Troyer said.

Sgt Ronald Jones Arrested for Fraudulently Obtaining Prescription Medication


A veteran Alameda police officer was arrested this morning and now faces felony charges after authorities said that he fraudulently obtained prescription medication.

Ronald R. Jones, a sergeant who has been with the department for 26 years, is accused of visiting a residence of someone who was terminally ill and telling the family that police provided a disposal service for medication.

Jones allegedly took the medications and never placed them into evidence for destruction.

As an administrative sergeant there was no reason for Jones to have been collecting items at the scene, said Alameda police Lt. Bill Scott, who also noted that it does not appear to have been an isolated incident.

Alameda police launched an internal affairs investigation last month.

Jones was arrested this morning in Pleasanton by agents from the state Department of Justice's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

Jones was booked at the Alameda County Sheriff's Office on two felony counts of using fraud, deceit or misrepresentation to obtain a controlled substance.

He has been placed on paid administrative leave.