Thursday, April 30, 2009

Officer Erik Hanson Arrested for Child Rape

Forks Police Officer Erik A. Hanson, who was arrested Thursday on investigation of second-degree rape -- a felony -- has been charged in Clallam County Superior Court with two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes -- a misdemeanor.

Hanson, 33, was arrested Thursday, with the Clallam County Sheriff's Department saying the alleged actions happened while he was off duty.

He was charged Tuesday.

"We're going to charge what we can prove," Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly said Wednesday.

"If further evidence comes forward that would warrant a greater or lesser charge, that's what we'll do."

Communication with 12-year-old

Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ann Lundwall filed the misdemeanor counts for communication Hanson allegedly had with a 12-year-old girl between June and October of last year.

Hanson waived his right to a speedy arraignment so he could return to Iraq for duty with the Army National Guard.

The Forks man will be arraigned in Clallam County Superior Court on Aug. 28.

Forks Mayor Nedra Reed said that no personnel action has been taken.

"As far as the city is concerned, Officer Hanson is still on active duty with the military," Reed said.

"Any personnel action will be deferred to such time as he has his day in court."

Hanson posted $5,000 bail on Friday.

The court on Tuesday modified Hanson's conditions of release, lifting curfew and travel restrictions, and imposed a one-year sexual assault protection order.

New information filed in the case includes a detective's interview with the 12-year-old girl and e-mail correspondence she had with Hanson.

Court documents

According to court documents:

A three-month investigation by the Clallam County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigations Bureau uncovered phone records and e-mail exchanges between Hanson and the girl.

Hanson was the arresting officer in a case in which the girl, who is unidentified because of her age and the nature of the charge, was sexually assaulted two years ago.

Casey Shoop, 21, was charged with first degree child rape, first degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. He was booked January 2008, and remains in custody at the Clallam County jail on $100,000 bail.

Hanson was initially asked to patrol the girl's neighborhood because she suffered from anxiety.

The girl told investigators that Hanson became less professional, and that her friends and family became suspicious. She said she already had a bad experience -- and now a police officer was talking the same way.

She told a sheriff's investigator that Hanson hugged her around the waist and kissed her repeatedly when he was off duty and after he had returned from military training in Yakima.

According to phone records in the case file, the victim initiated seven out of 10 calls totaling 217 minutes between June 26, 2008 and July 6, 2008.

FBI Investigating Case of Alleged Brutality by Lumberton Police

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of a man whose family alleges he died because Lumberton police officers beat him.

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap confirmed the investigation Thursday by phone, but cautioned that opening a case does not mean there was wrong-doing.

``One of the reasons we do confirm these types of investigations is so the community has extra reassurance,'' Dunlap said.

The family of Kevin Jibreel LaDay, 35, alleges that officers beat him to death after his car ran into a ditch in Lumberton.

``They beat my child,'' said Kevin's mother, Sandra LaDay of Port Arthur.Lumberton Police Chief Danny Sullins said by phone Thursday that he ``strongly denies'' that allegation.

``He was not beaten, I'll tell you that right now,'' Sullins said. ``I can tell you that did not occur.''

LaDay was driving in Lumberton when his car ended up in a ditch on the side of Pine Burr.

Police got a call about the car about 3:30 a.m., according to a news release from Sullins.

When two Lumberton officers arrived, they saw LaDay walking from behind the nearby DuPont Goodrich Credit Union.

According to Sullins' release, LaDay ran from the officers.

The officers caught LaDay, and he began to fight them, Sullins said. Officers were able to ``gain control'' of LaDay after a ``lengthy altercation,'' according to Sullins release.

The officers called EMS to the scene and LaDay was transported to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Two Hardin County Sheriff's deputies were also on the scene after responding to an ``officer in distress'' call, said Sheriff Ed Cain by phone.

``It's not my belief that anyone beat anyone,'' he said.

An autopsy has been ordered.

Sandra LaDay has a different set of facts.

She said her son, who had been living with a sister in Beaumont, called her at 3:47 a.m. to tell her the older model Geo was in the ditch. He had been visiting a friend in Lumberton.

While she was on the phone with him, the police drove up, she said.

``All of a sudden, he said, `don't do that, don't do that,''' LaDay said by phone. ``I said, `who you talking to, baby?' And then the phone just went silent.' ''

LaDay believes that the officers beat Kevin LaDay, causing his death. She has hired onetime Rodney King lawyer Milton Grimes of Los Angeles to represent the family in the lawsuit she plans to file.

LaDay said she also has contacted the Black Panthers, which plans a march in Lumberton on Monday; Al Sharpton; President Barack Obama's administration and the FBI.

The family plans to have a second autopsy done.

``I've been doing the necessary things,'' LaDay said. ``I won't let it go down like this.''

Hearing Postponed for Officer Anthony Maio

A court hearing on whether to grant a special form of probation to a police officer accused of groping two women was postponed Wednesday, as the city, police union and the officer’s lawyer discuss a potential deal under which he would leave the force.

Officer Anthony Maio, 41, came to court with his wife and several colleagues who might have been called as character witnesses in the 13-year veteran’s application for accelerated rehabilitation, but at the last minute the hearing was postponed until May 26.

In the hallway afterward, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Eugene Calistro explained that there were still some aspects of the case that needed to be examined. He also indicated that the two alleged victims, in conversations with him and the court victim advocate, had voiced conditions they wanted to have met before they would support accelerated rehabilitation — commonly referred to as A.R. — which would leave Maio without a criminal record if he successfully completes the probation.

“They have set a position, but because it’s a pending case I’m obligated not to disclose it,” said Calistro.

There was an implication, however, that the women’s concerns might be resolved by the ongoing discussions between the city and Maio.

Maoi’s defense attorney, Tim Pothin, said his client and the city are working on the framework of an agreement that he believes is in Maio’s best interest and would “put me in a better position to argue for A.R.”

Maio, of Durham, doesn’t have enough time on the job to retire. Under the union contract, an officer can receive an age annuity pension after 20 years on the force, although officers with as few as 15 years can trade in unused sick time to make up the difference. Maio remains about 1 1/2 years shy of the minimum threshold, but in one recent case involving another officer facing criminal charges, the city and union struck a deal for the detective to serve a one-year unpaid suspension so he could get a pension.

Craig Manemeit, the city’s director of labor relations, wouldn’t say whether the city was considering a similar deal for Maio, but did confirm that the city is “speaking with the union and Maio’s employment counsel and we are trying to come up with a resolution that’s best for all parties.”

Contacted Wednesday afternoon, Calistro said if a deal was struck that would remove Maio from the force, “it may address the conditions that the two young women were looking for.”

Maio is accused of leading the two women, both college students, upstairs while he was on duty and in uniform at an extra duty assignment at Bar, a nightclub at 245 Crown St., and groping them inside an employee bathroom. He faces two counts each of fourth-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint.

Maio has denied the allegations and has remained on paid administrative leave from the department since his arrest last June.

The department has brought internal charges for departmental violations against Maio but, even if it wanted to, can’t move forward with a disciplinary hearing before the Board of Police Commissioners until the criminal case is adjudicated.

“I can’t hold a hearing,” said Manemeit, referring to Rule 16 of the department manual, which states that if an accused officer is a defendant in a directly related criminal case, the department “shall not hold a hearing to handle the civilian complaint” unless the accused officer agrees, which Maio has not.

Officer Marcus Lemacks Arrested for Giving Alcohol to Minors

A Leesburg police officer was fired after his arrest for providing alcohol to minors.

Sheriff's Deputies arrested officer Marcus Lemacks on Monday and charged him with three counts of providing alcohol to an underage person.

Investigators say the 38-year old bought and drank beer with three people under the age of 21 on Saturday.

Major Chris Owens said, "We're trying to help protect those people each and everyday. We certainly didn't want one of our own fellow law enforcement officers to be in the middle of something like this."

He was fired from the Leesburg Police Department on Tuesday. He had worked there for a little more than a year.

Former Officer Michael Robinson Charged with Brandishing Gun at Motorist

A former Inglewood police officer was charged Wednesday with child abuse and brandishing a gun at another motorist during a freeway confrontation last year, prosecutors said.

Officer Michael Lewis Robinson, 44, surrendered to the California Highway Patrol on Wednesday and was later released on $100,000 bail.

According to the prosecutor on the case, Robinson was off-duty and driving on the 405 Freeway with his children -- ages 6 and 11 -- when he allegedly flashed a firearm in a threatening manner at another driver. Prosecutors said the confrontation occurred March 31, 2008.

In addition to one count of brandishing a weapon and two counts of child abuse, Robinson was charged with one misdemeanor count of obstructing CHP officers. If convicted, Robinson faces a maximum of nine years in prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 15.

Police spokesman Lt. Mike McBride said Robinson has not been an employee of the department for about a month, but declined to give details, saying that he could not discuss personnel matters.

John Baca, president of the Inglewood police officers' union, declined to discuss the case.

The 200-strong police force has been besieged in recent years by allegations that its officers used excessive force and shot at unarmed suspects. A Times investigation last December found that officers repeatedly resorted to physical or deadly force against suspects who were unarmed or accused of minor offenses. During a four-month period in 2008, Inglewood officers fatally shot four suspects -- three of whom were unarmed.

The U.S. Department of Justice last month announced that it was launching a civil rights inquiry into the department.

Judge Christine McEvoy Held up by Officer During Booking

A prominent judge arrested earlier this month in Lexington for drunken driving was held up by a police officer at her booking because “she was unsteady while walking or standing” after drinking at a 99 pub, according to Concord District Court records.

A high-heeled Superior Court Judge Christine M. McEvoy told Lexington police who stopped her 2007 Audi sedan just after 10:30 p.m. on April 15 she was headed home to Belmont from the 99 Restaurant and Pub in Woburn, where she’d had “a couple glasses of wine,” the arresting officers’ reports state.

But court filings obtained by the Herald yesterday show McEvoy, 58, who has been sitting in civil sessions at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, was followed down Route 128 south and onto Route 2A by a concerned Samaritan, who first notified state police about her alleged “erratic” driving, then sought out a Lexington cop to get her off the road.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles has suspended McEvoy’s license for 180 days for refusing a Breathalyzer test. Police reported she also refused to participate in field sobriety tests and wouldn’t even let a cop check her “glassy and bloodshot” eyes with a horizontal gaze nystagmus test because, the officer reported, “she responded that she did not believe in it".

She also told police she’d had hip surgery “and could not balance on one leg.”

McEvoy, who is charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and violating marked lanes, is due back in district court May 8 for a pretrial hearing. Her attorney, William H. Kettlewell, did not return a call yesterday seeking comment. Immediately after her arrest, McEvoy asked Superior Court Chief Justice Barbara J. Rouse to steer her clear of any civil or criminal cases involving drunken driving.

The Lexington officer who followed McEvoy on Waltham Street at the Samaritan’s urging noted in his report he observed her car “swerve within its own travel lane, touch the double yellow center line then at a later point completely cross over the double yellow center line.”

When he first rapped on the Audi’s driver’s window, he said McEvoy “did not react for a few seconds and then opened the door.” Her speech was “slurred,” he said.

McEvoy’s driving history includes three surchargeable accidents since 1994 and a speeding stop in Marshfield in 1991, according to RMV records.