Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Undercover Narcotics Officer Rick Ramsdale Charged with Trafficking

A 46-year-old Alamogordo Department of Public Safety undercover narcotics agent was arrested for suspected trafficking of cocaine Saturday, an ADPS spokesman said.

ADPS Director Sam Trujillo said officer Rick Ramsdale is charged with trafficking by possession with intent to distribute.

Trujillo said the New Mexico State Police searched Ramsdale's home and found 1.3 pounds of suspected cocaine.

He said his department is continuing its own internal investigation of Ramsdale.

Trujillo said state police continues its own investigation of Ramsdale's suspected possession of cocaine.

According to Otero County Detention Center records, Ramsdale was released from OCDC on a $50,000 bail bond with no ten percent to appear in court April 22.

"Narcotics agents were conducting a surveillance investigation on an unrelated case Friday," Trujillo said. "One agent noticed the erratic behavior of Ramsdale that's what alerted the agent, something was wrong."

He said Ramsdale was transported to a local hospital for an evaluation.

Trujillo said the drug test at the hospital indicates the presence of cocaine.

"There was no indication prior to Ramsdale's behavior," he said. "We contacted the state police because we believe a crime has been committed by one of our employees."

Trujillo said the two investigations being conducted were initiated by his department.

"Ramsdale has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending a termination hearing," he said. "He was arrested by state police after being released from the hospital."

Detective Lt. Lee Wilder said they conducted an internal investigation.

"We notified the District Attorney's office," Wilder said. "The DA's office notified the state police. It would be unethical for us to truly investigate our own officer."

Trujillo said it is disturbing that ADPS had an officer arrested for suspected criminal activity.

"We do have to police our own," he said. "I do have to commend the other narcotics agents for stepping forward and making sure this did not continue."

Ramsdale started working as a undercover narcotics officer five weeks ago. He has worked as patrol officer at ADPS for one year. He was an Otero County Sheriff's Department deputy for five years prior to working at ADPS.

UPDATE on Officer Scott Moss Charged with Domestic Violence

A Seattle Police officer was charged Wednesday with second-degree assault for a domestic violence incident at his home outside Sammamish.

Officer Scott Moss, 39, was arrested early March 21 after his wife ran to a neighbor's home and called 911. She told King County Sheriff's deputies that Moss had pushed her as she tried to leave during an argument and thrust a kitchen knife toward her hand, cutting her right thumb, court documents say.

His wife's thumb was bleeding when deputies arrived, court documents say.

The argument started after his wife receievd a cell phone call from a woman who said Moss was having an affair with the caller's friend. Moss' wife confronted him when he got home, court documents say.

His arraignment is set for April 7 in King County Superior Court.

The Police Department seized Moss's gun and badge after his release from jail on a $10,000 bond. A 15-year veteran, he has been re-assigned from his position as an acting sergeant in the department's Office of Professional Accountability. Moss had taken a civil service promotional exam and was on a list of potential candidates for sergeant, the Police Department said in a statement.

Moss formerly worked for the department's media relations unit. In 2005, Moss was stopped for drunken driving but the charge was reduced to first-degree negligent driving, according to court records.

The court in this case ordered a protection order between Moss and his wife, who have been married 14 years and have four children, court documents say.

When deputies arrested him, Moss denied assaulting his wife, saying "all I did was move her out of the way," according to court documents.

To read a special Seattle P-I report about domestic violence and police, click here.

Previous Post: http://whathappenedtoprotectandserve.blogspot.com/2009/03/officer-scott-moss-accused-of.html

Veteran Houston Officer Being Investigated for Sexual Assault


A 30-year veteran Houston policeman is being investigated amid allegations he sexually assaulted another male in southwest Houston, sources tell FOX 26.

A gun may have been involved in the incident, and the victim of the alleged assault has submitted a rape kit, sources said.

Meanwhile, the officer is relieved of duty pending the outcome of the criminal and internal investigations, sources said.

FOX 26 is withholding the identity of the officer because no charges have been filed against him.

However, Houston police have confirmed that he has been relieved of duty, although they declined to comment on the issue.

When Evidence From Surveillance Cameras Leads to Charges Against Officers

Surveillance cameras have captured the faces of criminal suspects in banks, in elevators and on street corners. But they have also surfaced in an unexpected law enforcement role: as evidence against police officers accused of misconduct or of lying on the witness stand.

The latest such case emerged on Monday, when a New York City detective, Debra Eager, 41, was indicted on three felony perjury charges after her testimony before a grand jury about a 2007 drug arrest “starkly contradicted” video surveillance of the event, according to Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney.

Detective Eager pleaded not guilty to the charges, said her lawyer, Peter E. Brill, who pointed out that she had 15 years’ experience on the force and no disciplinary history. He explained the discrepancies between her testimony and the video as honest mistakes.

Mr. Johnson, commenting on the case, said in a statement that “untruthful testimony” from law enforcement officers “strikes at the very heart of our system of justice and seriously erodes public confidence in our courts.”

Detective Eager’s indictment is one of several in recent months in which video recordings played a role in establishing criminal cases against police officers or led prosecutors to drop charges against suspects the officers had arrested.

In September, the Manhattan district attorney’s office dropped charges of attempted assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct against a cyclist, Christopher Long, after videotape showed a police officer, Patrick Pogan, knocking him off his bicycle during a cycling event in Manhattan last summer. Mr. Pogan was indicted in December on charges of assault and filing false paperwork, and has since resigned.

In January, two undercover narcotics officers, Officer Henry Tavarez and Detective Stephen Anderson, were charged with official misconduct and conspiracy after prosecutors said they lied about a “buy and bust” operation at a bar in Queens. One of the men they had arrested, on charges of selling the officers drugs, produced video evidence showing that the officers had had no contact with him or three other suspects, prosecutors said. The charges against the men were dropped.

Last month, assault charges were dropped against a truck driver, Michael Cephus, after a video showed a police officer, Maurice Harrington, hitting him 10 times with a metal baton on Delancey Street in Manhattan, according to Brian Orlow, a lawyer for Mr. Cephus.

Alicia Maxey Greene, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, confirmed that the office was investigating Officer Harrington, but declined to comment further.

Also last month, Officer David London was indicted on charges of assault and filing false records after video from a surveillance camera at an Upper West Side building showed that he pulled a man he had accused of resisting arrest out of an elevator and beat him 18 to 20 times with a baton. Officer London has pleaded not guilty.

Detective Eager was released on a $15,000 personal recognizance bond, and her case was adjourned until May 12. Each of the three counts carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, prosecutors said.

Mr. Brill said Detective Eager had no incentive to lie. “What did she have invested in lying?” he said on Tuesday, recounting his remarks in court the day before. “She has made 1,300 arrests.”

The chief spokesman for the Police Department, Paul J. Browne, declined to comment on Detective Eager’s case other than to say that she had been suspended from the force. But when asked to comment about police officers accused of perjury, he said, “It does not happen often, but when it does, it is baffling why police officers would risk prosecution and their careers to advance a criminal case rather than let the chips fall where they may.”

The case against Detective Eager stems from her arrest of three people on drug charges in November 2007 at an apartment building on Holland Avenue in the Bronx.

In an excerpt from her grand jury testimony, released by Mr. Johnson’s office, Detective Eager says she and a partner left their van and entered the building through a broken door to follow two men who they believed had two boxes of marijuana. In another excerpt, she says she and her partner “went up to the fourth floor” and then “to the fifth floor” when they heard the suspects jingling keys to unlock Apartment 55N.

The third perjury count was based on her remarks that during the arrest she had recovered two boxes of marijuana, one 15 pounds and the other 18 pounds.

The district attorney’s statement does not say what the video showed, but claims that her testimony was “specific in detail” and contradicted by the video surveillance.

The felony and misdemeanor charges were dropped against the drug suspects last October, prosecutors said.

Mr. Brill said the surveillance video became part of the case when one or more of the defendants filed a complaint against Detective Eager with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Mr. Brill said that after Detective Eager saw the video, she realized that “some of the things she said in the grand jury were incorrect based upon not lying, but mistakes she had made in recalling this.”

Within days, he said, she went to the district attorney’s office and explained the situation.

Mr. Brill said the video showed that Detective Eager and her partner had gone up to the fifth floor separately, perhaps minutes apart, and that members of the police team she was with made the recovery of the boxes — she did not recover them on her own.



Correction Officer Richard Alsup Arrested for Molesting Child

A Marion County sheriff's correction officer is facing serious charges following accusations of child molest.

Richard Alsup was arrested Tuesday after police were notified by Child Protective Services investigators.

A 14-year-old relative told authorities that Alsup had molested her for two years. She said the latest incidents happened earlier this month at the Mariners Village Apartment Complex on the city's west side.

"Although he has ties with the sheriff's dept and impd from the standpoint of who he is does not matter in reference to the investgation of criminal matters," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

When Alsup was questioned about the accusations he stated that he wasn’t sure if the incident occurred.

Alsup faces several charges including child molest, incest and sexual misconduct with a minor.

He's being held in the Marion County Jail without bond. He's currently being kept under close watch, away from the rest of the jail population.

Other Information:


Amnesty International Criticize Police in Michigan for Taser Death


Amnesty International criticized police in Michigan on Tuesday for using a Taser to subdue a 15-year-old boy who died shortly afterward, saying it illustrates the dangers of the electroshock weapon.

Bay City police said an officer used a Taser on Brett Elder on Sunday because he tried to fight with them. The teen would have turned 16 Tuesday.

An autopsy was conducted on Monday, but a cause of death has not yet been determined, said Lt. John Card, commander of the state police's Bay City post. He said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The London office of Amnesty International, an outspoken critic of Tasers, issued a statement Tuesday saying the death "reinforces the need for greater caution" before Tasers are distributed more widely.

"Tasers should only be used in life-threatening situations, and this doesn't appear to be such an instance," said Oliver Sprague, director of Amnesty International's arms program in Britain. "Surely another form of restraint could have been applied in this case."

A spokesman for Taser International, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., said Amnesty was "inappropriately jumping to conclusions" about the teen's death.

"The Taser itself has saved thousands of lives, and medical science has shown it to be the safer alternative compared to any other tool on an officer's belt today," said spokesman Steve Tuttle.

"We stand behind the safety of our Taser devices, and medical science supports this stance, especially in terms of human testing," Tuttle said.

Bay City police turned the case over to Michigan State Police for investigation. The department also placed one officer on administrative leave while it conducts an internal probe of whether its rules were followed.

Amnesty International said it was the second death of a minor after Taser use this year in the U.S. and one of 351 deaths after use of a Taser in the U.S. since June 2001. Tuttle said the Taser has been exonerated as a cause or contributing factor in the vast majority of deaths.

City police Chief Michael Cecchini defended his officers' actions at a news conference Tuesday. He said officers were trying to settle a verbal dispute between Elder and a man, and the officers acted when the youth became unruly and took a "fighting stance" against them.

The officers handcuffed Elder but saw he was having a medical problem and gave assistance while calling an emergency medical crew.

His father, Eugene Elder, told The Bay City Times that while his son was unruly, police shouldn't have used the Taser on him. "There's no reason to kill my boy," he said.

Other Information:

Deputy Accused of Writing Ticket While Woman Dies

A Tennessee man who was rushing his 83 year-old mother to a hospital says a sheriff's deputy stopped him for an expired tag and wrote up the ticket while the man's mother died in the back seat.

Wayne Ables said he was stopped on March 12, 2009. Ables said his mother Vernice Ables suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stopped breathing during the traffic stop.

He asked the unidentified deputy to follow him to Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, less than a mile away, and write the ticket there. The deputy refused, instead calling an ambulance while at the same time checking Ables' license and insurance.

The incident is under investigation, according to reports.

Veteran Officer Sgt. Michael Tindall Robs Bank

At 1 p.m. the FBI announced the arrest of a 23 year veteran of the Conroe Police Department for allegedly robbing the 1st Bank of Conroe, located at 2201 Westview in Conroe on Aug. 11, 2008.

Sgt. Michael Tindall was arrested this morning at the FBI field office in Conroe.

According to the complaint, Tindall was off-duty and monitoring a police radio, when he allegedly walked into the bank wearing gloves, a white motorcycle helmet with a clear visor and aviator style glasses, a dark color jacked or shirt, blue jeans, white athletic shoes, carrying a black bag and demanded money, which was received in the amount of over $28,000.

Details emerging from the press conference stated Tindall was employed at that Bank part-time as a security officer. The complaint states the robber only demanded money from the bottom drawer, which did not contain “bait money” used to track robbers, which is said to be that bank’s policy and not an industry standard.

During the investigation, FBI Special Agent Soo J. Barrow reviewed surveillance video from Aug. 10, the day prior to the robbery, when a uniformed officer, identified as Tindall by CPD Task Force Officer Dorcy McGinnis, used a rear entrance that allows access to the teller area, where he lingered talking on a cell phone, and walked into the drive-through area. A review of Tindall’s bank account, at that bank, shows he made a deposit around that time, but the time spent in the teller area, approximately 12 minutes, far exceeded that required to have made the transaction, according to the complaint.

Conroe Police Chief Charlie Ray stood alongside FBI officials and also addressed the media during the press conference.

Additional details will be added soon, along with video of the press conference.


Officer Patrick Dotson Charged with Attempted Murder

Baltimore police have charged a city officer with attempted murder, accusing him of firing his service weapon during an off-duty fight outside a Canton nightclub this month.

Police said Officer Patrick A. Dotson, 26, who has been on the force two years, was suspended Monday when investigators determined he was involved in the March 8 incident outside Fins on the Square in the 2900 block of O'Donnell St.

Dotson and other officers got into an argument in the bar that turned into a fight and spilled outside about closing time, according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Dotson is accused of firing his weapon at a vehicle, hitting it in the rear. The men in the car left the scene and called 911.

Guglielmi said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III suspended Dotson immediately after he was identified as a suspect.

"The commissioner has zero tolerance for this kind of thing," Guglielmi said.

Dustin Jackson, 25, who suffered two chipped teeth in the skirmish, said he did not know the man who fired the shots at his car was an officer until he was contacted by internal affairs. He said the shots were fired as he tried to leave the area.

"My buddy saw the guy who I had been getting in a fight with and said, 'Oh crap, he's got a gun,'" Jackson said. "That's when we saw him pull it from his side and fire the shot."

Jackson said that the bullet struck his gas tank. He said he was concerned that the other officers involved did not try to intervene and that none of them reported the incident. "Why wouldn't you come forward?" he said.

A source with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the case said that bar staff was familiar with at least one of the officers, leading to the identification of the officers who were suspended.

Guglielmi said another officer, Fontaine W. Smallwood, has been suspended but is not expected to face criminal charges. A female officer who was with them has not been disciplined.

As a pair, Dotson and Smallwood have brought charges in numerous drug cases that are pending in District and Circuit courts. Guglielmi said they work on an initiative focused on the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor, and records indicate they are assigned to the Western District. It was unclear how the suspensions would affect the pending cases.

Several officers have recently faced criminal charges. Officer Robert H. Gordon, 44, and his wife were charged with stealing from an Owings Mills Wal-Mart. Robert Knotts, 24, a new recruit who was participating in field training in the Northwest District, was suspended after being charged this month with first-degree assault in Baltimore County.

Next week, Detective Terry Love Jr., 32, is scheduled to go on trial in the beating a man outside a Govans barbershop. Tommy Sanders III, 38, is set to go to trial on charges of manslaughter. He is accused of fatally shooting an unarmed man while on duty.

And this month, a police trial board recommended the firing of Officer Christopher Vallejo, 32, who in February 2008 was found guilty of assaulting a woman in Federal Hill.

Jackson said his experience was troubling but that it did not change his opinion of the Police Department.

"One bad apple doesn't spoil the bunch to me," Jackson said. "From how it's been handled ... to me, it's been very thorough, and internal affairs done an excellent job."


More Information: Update 3/25

Judge, Prosecutor, & 2 Officers Charged with Misconduct


A former assistant Wayne County prosecutor, two Inkster police officers and a retired Wayne County circuit judge were charged with misconduct for their roles in allegedly hiding the relationship of a police informant who was a witness in a 2005 drug trial.

Karen Plants, the assistant prosecutor who retired in November, was charged by 36th District Court Magistrate Sidney Barthwell Jr. with five counts of misconduct and one count of conspiring to commit perjury.

Barthwell charged Inkster police officers Scott Rechtzigel and Robert McArthur with two counts each of conspiring to commit perjury and one count each of misconduct.

Former Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mary Waterstone was charged with three counts of misconduct.

All are free on $25,000 personal bonds. The perjury charges carry a sentence of up to life in prison, the misconduct charges each carry a maximum of five years in prison.

"It is a sad day because law enforcement professionals are involved as defendants," State Attorney General Mike Cox said. "Nonetheless, this case is important because the allegations here undermine the credibility of our justice system."

The defendants were flanked by six lawyers and were charged in front of a packed courtroom. Their preliminary exams are set for April 28.

Cox filed a request for charges this morning. His office investigated the case after prosecutors from four counties declined to serve as a special prosecutor. The cases are expected to be lengthy and complex.

The officers are accused of lying to conceal the role of an informant in a March 11, 2005, cocaine bust. When the case made its way to circuit court in September 2005, Waterstone is accused of knowing of the cover-up and allowing the officers to testify that the informant did not have a connection to the police.

Waterstone also signed orders banning the defendants' attorneys from access to the informant's cellular telephone records because they would have showed he talked to one of the officers.

Plants is accused of never having corrected the testimony of the officers. Although the judge was informed of the perjury, the attorneys for the defendants arrested in the bust were not told, according to the report.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy suspended Plants with pay last April after the State Attorney Grievance Commission brought a formal complaint, and Plants took an early retirement option in November. Worthy then asked the attorney general to find another prosecutor to handle the case.

Worthy came under fire for not taking action before the commission filed its complaint. Worthy has said she thought Plants' actions complied with Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.

Former CHP Officer Abram Carabajal Accused of Fixing Ticket for Sex


A former California Highway Patrol officer accused of fixing a speeding ticket for a female motorist in exchange for sexual favors pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and accepting a bribe.

Abram Anthony Carabajal, 51, of Oceanside, surrendered to authorities on an arrest warrant and was taken into custody after Vista Judge Marshall Hockett set bail at $50,000.

Carabajal faces up to five years and four months in prison if convicted of the felony charges, said Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Dort.

A readiness conference was scheduled for April 6 and a preliminary hearing for April 8.

Carabajal, a 26-year veteran, resigned from the CHP during the investigation, authorities said.

The officer pulled over Shirin Zarrindej for speeding on March 12, 2008, and, at some point, developed a relationship with her, prosecutors allege.

Carabajal testified under oath last July that he was not served with a subpoena, so the speeding case against Zarrindej was dismissed, according to Paul Levikow of the District Attorney's office.

Levikow said Carabajal and Zarrindej were seen walking arm-in-arm to a room at the Guesthouse Inn in Oceanside right after the court appearance. The woman later conceded the two had sex, he said.

Zarrindej, 47, faces felony charges of subordination of perjury, giving a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

She was arrested Monday in Los Angeles, posted bail and is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on April 13.


State Police Investigation Taser Death of 15-year-old

State Police said Monday they have started an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old Tasered by Bay City police officers who were trying to break up a fight between him and another male at an apartment.

City police placed one officer on administrative leave, said Deputy Chief Thomas Pletzke.

"This is a very tragic event," said police Chief Michael Cecchini. He said his department would conduct an internal investigation into whether the officer followed policy when using the Taser.

Police didn't immediately release the teen's name, but the Bay City Times identified him as Brett Elder.

A Bay City Police news release said officers answered a report of a fight about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. Two males were arguing in an apartment, and one of them "attempted to fight the officers," the statement said.

"The male subject was then Tasered and taken into custody," it said. "Medical personnel were summoned immediately due to the subject's reactions."

He was pronounced dead at Bay Regional Medical Center.

"He was flopping around and looked like a fish out of water. That's the only way to explain it -- his whole body was bent over," Cindy Hernden, Elder's aunt, told WNEM-TV.

Hernden said Elder tried to punch one of the officers, but she said the use of a Taser was excessive, contending her nephew already was in handcuffs. Pletzke disputed the statement, saying Elder was not handcuffed when he was hit with the Taser.

An autopsy was planned Monday, but tests for alcohol and drugs were expected to take several days.

Police said they arrested a relative of the teen at the hospital on accusations of assaulting a police officer there and of resisting and obstructing police. Charges were expected Monday.

Elder had been attending Wenona High School, an alternative school, for about three weeks. He attended Bay City Central High School earlier this school year.

"He was a pleasant enough young man," Wenona Principal Jerry Lombardo said.


More Information: http://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=6726247

Officer Michael Furlow Arrested for DWI


A Lubbock Police officer is on paid administrative leave, following his arrest for driving while intoxicated Friday night.

According to Capt. Greg Stevens, Lubbock Police responded to a call of a one vehicle accident in the 6500 block of the west frontage road of Interstate Highway 27, in which a black Ford pickup had struck a guardrail.

Upon their arrival, responding officers identified the driver as off-duty Lubbock Police officer Michael Furlow. Officers determined that probable cause indicating that Furlow was intoxicated existed. He was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and taken to the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office jail.

The on-duty LPD Shift Commander immediately placed Furlow on Administrative Leave after his arrest.

On Monday, March 23, 2009, the Chief of Police ordered an Internal Affairs investigation into Furlow's arrest. He remains on paid Administrative Leave as the matter is being investigated.

Furlow started with the department on February 6, 1989. The traffic accident involved only Furlow's vehicle and no injuries.



Three Chicago Officers Accused of Aggravated Battery


Prosecutors accused three Chicago police officers of beating and covering up instead of serving and protecting as their trial got under way in Cook County Circuit Court.

The three officers, who were off-duty at the time, are accused of attacking two brothers while they played pool with friends. The fight was caught on tape by surveillance cameras at the Jefferson Tap & Grille.

Assistant State's Attorney LuAnn Snow on Monday said the two victims kept asking what was going on as they were attacked. However, defense attorneys said it was Barry and Aaron Gilfand who were the aggressors in the brawl.

Officers Paul Powers, Gregory Barnes and Sgt. Jeffery Planey are charged with aggravated battery. Planey is also accused of official misconduct.


Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index
Other Information: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-cops-beating-jefferson-tapmar24,0,5641098.story