Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Detective Jose Quinoy Accused of Brutalizing 2 People

A veteran Sleepy Hollow police detective pleaded not guilty yesterday to a federal indictment that accuses him of brutalizing two people while they were restrained and handcuffed.

Jose Quinoy, 36, of Tarrytown was arrested by FBI agents from the civil rights division Tuesday night at Sleepy Hollow police headquarters.

He was arraigned yesterday in U.S. District Court in White Plains on two counts of violating the rights of individuals who had been arrested by Sleepy Hollow police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Dunne asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith to order Quinoy held without bail, saying he was a danger to the community who had tried to intimidate witnesses in the case.

"Detective Quinoy has a long history of being hot-headed and overreacting to incidents," she said.

The village board suspended Quinoy without pay pending a disciplinary hearing.

Quinoy's lawyer, Andrew Quinn, denied that the 11-year member of the Sleepy Hollow police had interfered in the investigation, pointing out that he was not charged with obstruction of justice or witness tampering.

"Why wasn't action taken within the last two and a half years if he was out there intimidating witnesses?" he asked, referring to the time since the first incident in the indictment, the Oct. 17, 2006, alleged beating of Mario Gomez, 50, of Tarrytown.

Gomez is not referred to by name in the indictment. But he has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Quinoy and the village over the incident. Gomez said he was called to Sleepy Hollow police headquarters by Quinoy that night. Gomez thought Quinoy had been romancing his 22-year-old daughter. At the police station, Gomez claims, he was assaulted by Quinoy and other officers, that he was kicked and beaten, as well as shocked with a stun gun in his neck and temple for 51 seconds.

Gomez came to the courthouse yesterday with his lawyer, Francis Young, after Quinoy had been arraigned.

"I thought that I was going to die right there on Beekman Avenue," he said, recalling the incident. "I don't wish that on nobody. It is the worst experience of my life."

Gomez's estranged wife, Awilda, has also filed a lawsuit over the incident, saying she was beaten by Quinoy and other cops as she tried to save her husband.

The Gomezes were arrested that night. Mario Gomez was charged with assault, obstructing governmental administration, harassment and resisting arrest. Awilda Gomez was arrested by Quinoy when she returned to the station house to pick up her husband's car after she had sought medical attention. She was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

The Gomezes are awaiting trial in Greenburgh Town Court. The case has been adjourned several times while the federal investigation was pending, and the couple is due in court May 19. Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the Westchester District Attorney's Office, would not say whether prosecutors plan to drop the charges against the couple as a result of Quinoy's indictment.

"I'm very satisfied that justice prevailed and this officer is not going to be able to hurt any other citizens," Gomez said.

The Gomez's lawsuits are two of three civil rights lawsuits pending against Quinoy in federal court. Last week, a 17-year-old village boy, Duanny Lara Mota, filed a lawsuit against Quinoy, Officer Paul Nelson, Police Chief Jimmy Warren and the village. The lawsuit stemmed from an Aug. 24, 2007, incident in which Mota said he was beaten and zapped with a Taser gun by Quinoy and Nelson after he was stopped by police for riding his bicycle on a village sidewalk. Mota, who was 16 at the time of the incident, was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. But those charges were dismissed in September.

At the time, Mota's lawyer, Jonathan Rice, said the charges might have been dropped by the District Attorney's Office so as not to interfere with the FBI probe of Quinoy. The other officer in the incident, Paul Nelson, had asked the village board in August to pay for his legal expenses after he was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in White Plains looking into, he believed, the Mota incident.

But the Mota incident was not part of yesterday's indictment. The second incident referred to an unnamed person, alleged to have been assaulted Dec. 17, 2006, by Quinoy after he had been "handcuffed and restained by a police officer, resulting in bodily injury."

Still, Mota's mother said yesterday that she welcomed the federal indictment of Quinoy.

"I've been waiting for a long time for this. I'm happy that they arrest him for everything he do," she said. "He thinks he's bigger than everybody. He thinks that Hispanic people are nothing. He thinks he's bigger because he has a gun."

In Spanish, she added, "He has abused everybody a lot. He thinks he's better than anyone, and especially the Hispanics. He doesn't want to know about Hispanics. I don't know why. It's not that I feel happy for what's happening, because I'm not that way. But in reality, I'm calm, because now I know the teenagers that go into the streets in the summer won't have that problem, because everybody has problems with him. He looks for trouble with them, chastising them, telling them things. I think that justice has been done."

Quinn said yesterday that Quinoy was a victim of being a good at his job.

"When you're an active police officer, you generate people who do not like you," he said. Quinn said after Quinoy's arraignment that he did not know the details of the Dec. 17, 2006, incident. Herbert Hadad, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin, declined to elaborate on the charge.

Quinoy was released on $100,000 personal bond. He faces up to 20 years if convicted. He was ordered by Smith to surrender all guns, including his service weapons. Quinn said the guns were surrendered at the Sleepy Hollow police station Tuesday night when Quinoy came off patrol to find a half-dozen FBI agents waiting to arrest him.

Quinn decried federal authorities' decision to arrest Quinoy at the police station while he was on duty, saying that he had called Dunne months ago asking to be notified of any charge ahead of time so that he could arrange for Quinoy to surrender at the courthouse.

He said they chose instead to arrest Quinoy at work "for reasons that I cannot fathom."

But Dunne said that decision was made after Quinn called regarding media inquiries about the indictment.

She said what followed was a "2 1/2 -hour negotiation to get him to turn himself in." She said Quinoy was ordered back to police headquarters by his superiors during that time. "He would not comply," she said.

Quinn said that Quinoy had called him and that the lawyer was trying in vain to arrange a surrender at the courthouse or the FBI's White Plains office.

The lawyer said after the arraignment that the timing of Quinoy's arrest was suspect because Quinn is preparing for the May 11 federal trial of another police officer, Yonkers Officer Wayne Simoes, on brutality charges. He also said Gomez was no victim, that he had come to the police station to assault Quinoy and it took three officers to control him. "I strenuously disagree with the word 'victim,' " he said.
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Detective Darryl Norris Arrested for Domestic Violence

A family disturbance ended with a Rusk County Sheriff’s deputy arrested and suspended from duty.

Sheriff officials released the information regarding an incident involving investigator Darryl Norris, a detective assigned to the East Texas Auto Theft Task Force.

Amber Rogers, the depart-ment’s public information officer, said deputies responded to a disturbance call at Norris’ home last Friday.

“Upon conclusion of the initial investigation, Norris was detained pending further investigation. Rusk County Sheriff Danny R. Pirtle contacted Texas Ranger Brent Davis and requested that Ranger Davis conduct the continued investigation,” she said.

Rogers said as a result of the Rangers’ investigation, Norris, the former chief deputy under former Sheriff Glenn Deason, was arrested and released after being arraigned for Class “A” misdemeanor assault family violence.

Norris took over as chief deputy for Deason after Daniel Flanagan was arrested for assaulting a handcuffed prisoner.

Rogers said in accordance to the sheriff’s office policy and procedure, Norris has been suspended from his duties pending results of the Rangers’ investigation.

FBI Receives Complaints of Police Brutality at College Fest

Complaints have been filed at Akron's FBI office regarding College Fest this past weekend.

"I don't know how many complaints they had," said Scott Wilson, a media representative from the Cleveland Bureau. "They did receive a few complaints regarding that incident, but that doesn't mean we'll open any inquiries."

Special Agent Todd Wickerman of the Akron office, which covers Portage County, said he could not go into any details regarding those complaints.

"If we get specific complaints regarding an incident that alleges civil rights were violated, we will investigate," Wickerman said.

Wilson said complaints have to meet certain criteria before they will open a preliminary inquiry.

Once that's done, investigators gather facts to send to their department of justice in Washington D.C. to determine whether it rises to a federal level.

Wilson said his office gets calls and complaints about police brutality all the time. He said there would have to be a civil rights violation in regards to excessive force used in a situation to open an inquiry.

"We investigate individual events," Wilson said. "We're not going to look at the whole thing that happened over the weekend."

Wilson said complaints were filed after Kent's last Halloween celebrations, but the FBI did not open any investigations.

Anyone with complaints after Saturday's riots can contact the Akron FBI office at 330-535-6156.

Officer Talib Muhammad Charged with Domestic Assault

A Philadelphia Police officer is charged in the alleged assault of his fiancee.
On Tuesday night at around 10:00 p.m., Philadelphia Police were called to the 500 block of Waterview Lane for a report of a domestic dispute.

When authorities arrived, they found a woman who appeared to have been slapped, punched, and hit with a handgun. She told police that her fiance was the one who beat her and then he fled the scene.

The woman was transported to Frankford-Torresdale Hospital.

The police were able to track down the fiance on I-95 in the area of Washington Avenue.

The fiance is identified as Talib Muhammad. Muhammad is a 13-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Narcotics Unit.

He was found in possession of two handguns.

Muhammad was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing an instrument of crime in the alleged domestic assault.

Officer Erik Hanson of Sexual Misconduct with 12-year-old Girl

A Forks police officer originally accused of child rape has been charged with lesser crimes in the case.

33-year old Erik Hanson was in Clallam County Superior Court yesterday to hear charges of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes.

He was arrested and booked into the county jail late last week for investigation of felony second-degree child rape. The charges filed this week are gross misdemeanors.

Hanson's arrest came after a three-month investigation when a 12-year-old girl made allegations of sexual contact against officer Hanson while he was off duty.

Hanson was serving military duty in Iraq as a member of the National Guard Reserves during the investigation.

Investigators say detailed email correspondence and phone records corroborated the victim's allegations.

When, Hanson was home on military leave last week, he was arrested by Clallam County Sheriff Detectives.

Hanson was released without bail, no travel restrictions or curfew.

Hanson will be arraigned on the charges in August after he waived his right to a speedy arraignment.
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Two More Detention Workers Charged with Having Sex with Teens

Two more Terrebonne Parish Juvenile Detention Center workers are charged with having sex with teenage inmates and more charges were filed against a lieutenant already accused of the crime.

Deputies also charged a corrections officer with threatening an inmate so she would not cooperate with detectives.

The arrests Tuesday come as more former inmates approach deputies with allegations that they had sex with workers at the Ashland detention center in exchange for privileges such as snacks and free phone calls, said Maj. Malcolm Wolfe of the Sheriff’s Office.

All of the sexual encounters allegedly happened over the past year, he said.

“We’re receiving more information from victims and victims’ parents and by word of mouth,” he said. “These girls are not in any shape or form connected, and their statements are consistent about how it took place.”

As more girls come forward, more arrests are likely, Wolfe said.

All of the corrections officers are employees of Terrebonne Parish government, which operates the juvenile detention center.

Deputies charged Angelo Vickers, 47, 390 Monarch Drive, Houma, Tuesday with an additional count of molestation of a juvenile and malfeasance in office.

Vickers was charged Thursday with two counts each of molestation and malfeasance after two former inmates of the detention center, both teen girls, informed deputies of their alleged contact with him.

The additional charge was added Tuesday after a 15-year-old girl who was a former inmate told deputies she had sex with Vickers in exchange for privileges, deputies said.

Vickers is being held at the Terrebonne Parish jail in lieu of a $400,000 bond.

Deputies also arrested Floyd Wesley Howard, 40, 1317 Division Ave., Houma, on charges of carnal knowledge of a juvenile and three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. Howard is a sergeant at the center, deputies said.

Darwin Jamal Brown, 23, 159 Elmira Court, Thibodaux, a corrections officer at the center, was charged with malfeasance in office, molestation of a juvenile and three counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Brown and Howard were arrested after deputies interviewed three 16-year-old inmates who said they had sex with them while incarcerated at the center, deputies said. Both workers are being held at the Terrebonne Parish jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.

Deputies also arrested Tiffany Denin Blakemore, 36, 3600 Friendswood Drive, Houma, a corrections officer at the center, for allegedly threatening one of the teenage inmates not to cooperate with detectives in the investigation.

Blakemore was charged with obstruction of justice and remains at the Terrebonne Parish jail on $50,000 bond.
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Officer accused of having sex with girls at detention center

Former Deputy Kenneth Cannon Arrested for Stalking

A former Dawson County Sheriff's Office deputy found himself on the opposite end of the law last Friday afternoon when he was arrested in Murrayville on charges of aggravated stalking, computer invasion of privacy and impersonation of an officer.

Kenneth Cannon, 40, reportedly acted as though he was a Georgia State Patrol trooper last month, and violated a temporary protection order in the process, when he allegedly attempted to run a computer check on his ex-wife's tag number.

“Mr. Cannon had supposedly called a dispatch center in Banks County and ran the tag number,” said Major Mike Ramsey of the Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office. “When he called the dispatch center he identified himself as a Georgia State Patrol trooper. Of course he's not identified with the Georgia State Patrol.”

After further investigations, Lumpkin County officers were able to trace this call to the 911 center back to the Murrayville resident's phone.

“We confirmed that the call had been made from his cellular phone from a location in Lumpkin County,” said Ramsey.

Cannon is a United States Marine and a veteran law enforcement official who worked at the Dawson County Sheriff's Office until reportedly resigning in February of this year.

Prior to his arrest, local deputies had received several unconfirmed reports throughout the month of March that Cannon had attempted to contact his ex-wife, a Lumpkin County resident, on several occasions despite a court-issued protective order.

Last Friday, Cannon's arrest caused a minor stir in Murrayville as Lanier Elementary School was placed on lock-down while the apprehension occurred in the nearby parking lot of the local library.

Officers from the Hall County Sheriff's Office reportedly requested the lock-down as a precautionary measure in the event that Cannon had been armed.

However, the arrest was made peacefully and without incident. Cannon was then turned over to the LCSO and transported to the Lumpkin County Detention Center.

Howard County Officer Disciplined in Brutality Case

Howard County's police chief said Tuesday that an internal investigation into a brutality accusation in the arrest of a man who led officers on a highway chase last year has been completed and resulted in disciplinary action and retraining.

Chief William McMahon said the internal affairs investigation into the Nov. 20 arrest of Jessup resident Stephen Zombro is closed. The chief declined to discuss details of the findings or the disciplinary actions taken, citing department policy on confidentiality of personnel matters.

"We looked at the incident from beginning to end," McMahon said. "Some disciplinary action was taken and there was some retraining. That's as far I can go with it."

Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said the investigation was completed at the end of March.

The chase began in Jessup when officers tried to serve Zombro with a warrant on a theft charge. Driving a white pickup truck, Zombro fled west on Route 32, colliding with two police cruisers along the way that were part of a rolling roadblock. Police used stop-sticks to flatten three tires on Zombro's truck, which came to a stop near U.S. 29.

Several officers converged on Zombro after he exited the truck. TV news video footage showed Zombro face down on the road and what appears to be an officer repeatedly punching him in the back.

McMahon later said the footage "concerned" him, and he called for an internal investigation.

Zombro, 41, was indicted on more than a dozen charges. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and two counts of malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 18 months in the Howard County Detention Center. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $2,500 for damage to the cruisers.

Trooper Alexander Richardson Only Gets Community Service for Using his Car to Stop Man

Two years to the day after an S.C. trooper was captured on video using his patrol car to bump a running suspect, a federal judge on Tuesday approved a deal that will allow the trooper to perform community service and serve no prison time.

If he had gone to trial, Lance Cpl. Alexander Richardson could have faced up to a year in prison. Instead, he will perform about 100 hours of community service.

In January, Richardson was accused of a misdemeanor offense of violating Kevin Rucker's civil rights by using excessive force. An April 28, 2007, video shot from his patrol car dashboard camera shows the trooper chasing a black man through a Columbia apartment complex. The 46-year-old trooper drives between buildings, on sidewalks and past onlookers - including a small child - in an attempt to run down the man.

Richardson, who is also black, has said he accidentally bumped into Rucker, and records show he was reprimanded and completed a stress management course. He has been suspended since the investigation began, and his trial had been scheduled to begin next month.

Richardson was not in court Tuesday, but his attorney said he was pleased with the agreement.

"I appreciate the U.S. Attorney working with us," John O'Leary said after a brief hearing Tuesday. "We're working on the program for him."

Under the pretrial diversion program administered by the U.S. Probation Office, Richardson is videotaping safety messages to school, community and law enforcement groups, according to O'Leary.

During the program, which is expected to last 18 months, Richardson also will not be allowed to work as a law officer, a job that O'Leary said his client does not want to return to anyway.

Also Tuesday, prosecutors agreed to officially withdraw their complaint against Richardson, although Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald said his office could renew the charges if Richardson fails to complete the program.

Richardson still faces a federal lawsuit from the man struck with his vehicle. Last year, Kevin Rucker filed a suit seeking unspecified actual and punitive damages, alleging he was hit by the car three times.

Rucker's attorney did not immediately return a phone message Tuesday afternoon.
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