Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Judge Upholds Firing of Officer John Powers

A Seattle police officer fired after allegations of professional misconduct surfaced -- including attempting to break up a domestic-violence arrest -- was correctly barred from working in law enforcement, a King County judge ruled Wednesday.

Officer John Powers was dismissed in November 2005 after department managers came to believe, among other allegations, he was hampering investigations into Belltown clubs for which he provided security when off-duty. Additionally, Seattle Police Department managers alleged Powers distributed Viagra to squad members and gave cocaine to his girlfriend.

Following his dismissal, Powers appealed the department's action and ultimately filed a lawsuit against the state Criminal Justice Training Commission, the state agency that oversees licensing of police officers. In a separate action late last year, the City of Seattle paid Powers' attorney $12,000 in fees to settle a suit alleging that city officials had leaked details of the misconduct investigation to the press.

On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez issued a written ruling finding that the state commission acted correctly when members revoked Powers' certification to work as a law officer.

According to the ruling, Gonzalez found that "clear, cogent, convincing and substantial evidence" that Powers, for personal gain, interfered with a domestic-violence arrest at the request of his private, off-duty employer. Evidence presented in court documents and in testimony given Tuesday also supported claims that Powers delivered Viagra to three officers between January 2002 and December 2004.

"We're very pleased with the decision of course, especially since the conduct here involved a claim of official misconduct," said Assistant Attorney General Melanie Tratnik, who represented the commission in the case.

That misconduct, according to court documents, included a Feb. 21, 2004, incident in which Powers attempted to intercede as officers moved to arrest a man spotted accosting a visibly pregnant woman.

That evening, two West Precinct officers on patrol near Belltown's Club Medusa saw a man pull the woman from a car and slam her to the ground. According to court documents, the patrol officers had arrested the man when Powers, an eight-year veteran of the department, approached them asking to take over the call.

At the time, Powers was in charge of recruiting and scheduling off-duty officers to work at Medusa and other nearby clubs, earning $4,500 to $5,000 annually in addition to his departmental pay for his efforts. Police later learned the arrested man had served as best man at the Medusa Club owner's wedding.

One of the patrol officers told the training commission he believed Powers sought to "'unarrest' the man and to possibly cover up the crime," Tratnik alleged in court documents.

Calls to Powers' attorney were not returned Wednesday. He has 30 days to appeal the court's decision.

Officer Kirk Newkirk Charged with Stalking

An area police officer and assistant coach charged with stalking a woman has had his court date rescheduled until mid-June.

Kirk D. Newkirk, 42, of Renee Court, faces a charge of misdemeanor stalking after a May 8 arrest. He is accused of harassing 21-year-old Amanda Leigh Corsey and causing her to fear for her safety.

Newkirk has been employed with the Kenansville Police Department for the last 13 months. He has been suspended without pay until the resolution of the charge against him, said Kenansville Police Chief Mike Webster.

Newkirk also served as a volunteer assistant coach for football and basketball at Jacksonville High School during the 2008-2009 school year, said Earl Taylor, spokesman of Onslow County Schools.

"In accordance with board policy 5010 ‘School Volunteers' and the Volunteer Coach Agreement, Mr. Newkirk will be prohibited from serving as a volunteer coach or any capacity in the Onslow County Schools, effective immediately," Taylor said in a faxed response to questions by The Daily News.

Newkirk, who has also been previously employed by the Jacksonville Police Department and the Onslow County Sheriff's Department, is represented by Jacksonville lawyer Walter Vatcher. The attorney asked the court Tuesday for a continuation of Newkirk's case, which was rescheduled for June 15.

Messages left at Vatcher's office were not returned by press time.

According to a complaint attached to Newkirk's arrest warrant, he has been following Corsey and has accosted her at her place of employment.

"Mr. Newkirk has been following me, trying to get into my car, tried to get me into his car," Corsey wrote in the complaint. "He tried to get me drunk underage. He sits outside my house."

In the section on the complaint that delineates relationship between the complainant and the accused, Corsey marked "stranger."

Corsey declined comment when contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon.

The Jacksonville Police Department was dispatched to Corsey's residence on Decatur Road on May 8 in reference to her stalking complaint. The JPD opened an investigation, and Corsey filed papers charging Newkirk with stalking.

Newkirk was released on a $500 unsecured bond.

Officer Jerrell Strong Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Lexington police officer has been removed from patrol and placed on administrative duties after his arrest in southern Indiana.

Officer Jerrell L. Strong was arrested Saturday morning in Jeffersonville on a charge of driving while intoxicated, according to the Clark County, Ind., jail. Strong was released later that day on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in court June 8.

Lexington police will begin an internal investigation after Strong's criminal investigation ends, Lexington police Sgt. Ann Gutierrez said. The division of police relieved Strong of his patrol duties pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

Strong has been on the police force since March 2003, according to police records.

Former Officer Philip Dileo Suspected in Double Murder-Suicide


Police say a 61-year-old former police officer is suspected of pulling the trigger in a double murder-suicide that rocked a quiet neighborhood in Boulder this week.

Boulder County Coroner Thomas Faure says 63-year-old Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo, 61-year-old Philip F. Dileo and 23-year-old Philip C. Dileo were found dead in their home.

A housekeeper, who was scheduled to clean the home, found the scene around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday in the 2400 block of Bluff Street and flagged down police.

Boulder Police say Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo came to them in 2005 and asked about buying a gun because her husband had made threats against her. They say there were indications the former officer had made threats against his son as well.

Police found two guns at the scene, one of which - a .22 semi-automatic handgun - was equipped with a silencer. It was found in the kitchen, near Elizabeth Schwarzenbach-Dileo's body.

The second gun, a .357 Magnum revolver, was found upstairs near Philip F. Dileo's body, according to authorities.

Police say they found a note spelling out the former officer's requests for funeral arrangements in a spare bedroom.

According to police, Dileo was a Boulder Police officer from October 1972 to June 1973, then again from October 1975 to November 1975, but he was let go after police say he violated department policy multiple times.

Autopsies were planned for Wednesday and Thursday on the bodies.

Neighbors say the family had lived in the home for a long time, some even remembered the son as a little boy playing outside. They say he moved back to the quiet neighborhood as a young adult.

"She was really sweet and really private," Marianne Martin, a neighbor, said of the woman who lived in the home. "She loved to do her gardening and walk her dogs."

A couple two houses down says they were doing yard work Monday at 10:30 a.m. when they heard three distinct bangs, what they believe were gunshots. If that's the case, the housekeeper found the bodies about 25 hours later.

Police continue to investigate.

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Former Officer Shanita McKnight Sentenced to 20 Years

A former Lake City police officer will spend 20 years in prison for conspiring with drug dealers to keep them from getting busted.

Shanita McKnight was very emotional and sobbed very loudly at times. She begged the judge to have mercy on her, saying she needed to get home to her young daughter and son.

McKnight's family and friends gathered outside the courthouse following her sentence. They could barely contain their emotions.

"This has been a hard pill to swallow today," said Eric Daniels, a close friend.

"Obviously we've disappointed today with the sentencing but we all believe in her," said Peggy Sells, McKnight's former coach.

Wednesday morning, a judge gave the former lake city police officer 20 years for drug conspiracy and extortion. In October, a federal jury convicted McKnight for tipping off drug dealers in lake city so they wouldn't get caught.

Sheriff Kenney Boone said, "You had a police officer who took an oath to enforce the laws of the state and use that oath and their position against justice, and we feel like justice has been served."

McKnight's family says justice won't be served until she's released from prison. They plan to urge mcknight to appeal her 20 year prison sentence.

Eight people spoke to the judge during the sentencing hearing saying McKnight was a good officer, who cared about Lake City.

When released from federal prison, McKnight will be on supervised release for five years.

K-9 Dog Dies After Being Left Unattended in Car

The district attorney's office is set to decide Monday whether to file charges against an Alameda police K-9 officer whose dog died after he allegedly left it unattended while he was on duty.

The officer, who has not been named, was attending a training exercise May 5 when he left the animal unattended for about three hours and 15 minutes inside his personal vehicle, police said.

When the officer returned to the vehicle, which was in a parking lot in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue, he found the 6 1/2-year Belgian Malinois in "distress," Alameda police Lt. Bill Scott said.

The dog was brought to the Bay Area Veterinary Emergency Clinic San Leandro, where it died.

"It was a tragic accident," Scott said. "There was no intention on the officer's part for this to happen, whatsoever."

Investigators presented a possible criminal case on the animal's death to Alameda County Assistant District Attorney Charlotte Green on Wednesday morning.

Green is expected to announce Monday whether she plans to file charges, Scott said.

The officer is also currently the subject of an internal affairs investigation. He remains on duty, however, and has not been placed on administrative leave.

Along with not naming the officer, police declined to reveal how long he has served with the department.

Officer Patrick Beesley Charged with Drunk Driving

A Noblesville police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave after being charged with drunken driving.

Officer Patrick E. Beesley, 32, Noblesville, could face penalties ranging from a brief suspension to termination, based on the outcome of an internal investigation. He also faces up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines if he is convicted.

Beesley could not be reached for comment.

"Obviously, this is a serious situation," Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt said Tuesday, his first day on the job.

Beesley caught the attention of a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. His vehicle was swerving in its lane and was going off the road, said Vicky Dunbar, public information officer for the sheriff's office.

Deputy Paul Miller stopped Beesley on Greenfield Avenue, just west of Marilyn Road, Dunbar said.

Miller smelled alcohol when he talked to Beesley and noticed that Beesley's eyes were bloodshot, Dunbar said.

Beesley, who was not driving his squad car, identified himself as a Noblesville police officer, according to Dunbar.

Beesley failed field sobriety tests, authorities said, and a breath test registered his blood-alcohol level at 0.18, more than twice the level (0.08) at which a driver in Indiana is considered intoxicated.

The police report did not say where Beesley had been or where he was going, according to Dunbar, and Jowitt did not have that information.

Beesley was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.15 or greater, a Class A misdemeanor.

He posted bond and was released from the Hamilton County Jail at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, according to a news release.

Beesley has been with the Noblesville department for about 21/2 years, Jowitt said. Before that, he worked for the Chicago Police Department.

An Elkhart officer also was arrested on drunken-driving charges this past weekend.

Authorities said Cpl. Benjamin Kruszynski, 38, was off-duty Sunday night when he crashed his squad car into two fences and a tree.

His blood-alcohol level was 0.12, authorities said. He will be placed on administrative leave pending the result of the investigation, according to Elkhart Police Chief Dale Pflibsen.

Cpl Joshua Giddings Committs Suicide After Arrest

Delaware State Police Cpl. Joshua A. Giddings, 32, apparently committed suicide at his Smyrna home Tuesday, May 26. Giddings was arrested May 11 after an investigation revealed he engaged in sexual relations with a woman he had arrested in exchange for not taking her to court.

Delaware State Police reported that emergency personnel were dispatched at about 6 p.m., to a home in the unit block of Wheeler Circle in Smyrna after receiving a report of an unresponsive man.

The man was found in the shed at the residence. He was unresponsive. Emergency personnel pronounced him dead at the scene.

He was identified as Joshua A. Giddings.

Foul play is not suspected, police said. The incident is a suspected suicide, but the investigation is continuing by the Smyrna Police Department.

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Officer Richard Beck Accused of Illegally Accessing Database

A crumbling marriage ultimately cost a Goodyear police veteran his badge.

Richard Beck has relinquished his badge in the wake of accusations that he illegally accessed law-enforcement databases to look up information about a man he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife, and later lied about it.

The agreement reached between Beck, 35, and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board last week permanently strips him of his ability to work as a police officer in Arizona.

According to a board compliance specialist report and a Goodyear police internal investigation, Beck visited the home of his estranged wife, an Avondale police dispatcher, in the middle of the night in January 2008. He knocked on the door to confront his wife and a man, an Avondale police officer, but neither answered the door. Beck suspected they were having an affair.

The Avondale officer said Beck contacted his soon-to-be ex-wife the next morning through the social networking Web site MySpace and that Beck could have only discovered her name through a police database, the reports show. Using the database for non-police purposes is a Class 6 felony, unauthorized access to criminal history.

Beck told Goodyear investigators he used the database toward the end of December 2007 to run the license plate of a vehicle parked outside of the house and discovered it belonged to the Avondale officer, according to the reports. Investigators reviewed database access records and found that Beck ran that officer's license plate the day before the attempted confrontation in January.

Beck, who was off-duty at the time, told Goodyear police he received a call that night from an acquaintance telling him about a suspicious car at the house, the reports said. Police reviewed phone records and found no support for the claim.

Beck maintains he was truthful about the incident but said he was going through a "difficult and bitter divorce at the time" that affected him emotionally and left his mind in a fog.

"I was in a pretty bad place around that time," he said in an interview Tuesday.

Beck claims he never denied running the officer's license plate, but said he felt cornered and that investigators were unwilling to believe that he didn't have malicious intentions.

"I didn't run that plate . . . to try to find out information about him. . . . I knew who he was, (my wife) had told me about him, she had admitted to the affair and everything, so I knew there was very little I'd be able to gain by doing something like that," he said. "I didn't care about him. At the time, I was more concerned with trying to keep my family together."

"I was just amazed because I had an outstanding record and everybody knew me, everybody trusted me. I kind of felt like I got a raw deal," he added.

He said his wife's infidelity with another police officer and the handling of the investigation led him to resign from the Goodyear force and give up his certification.

"I'd been a police officer for going on about 13 years and I really believed in what I did," he said. "I just felt like everything that I'd believed in as far as law enforcement and the unity was just taken away from me, and it was the first time in 13 years where I just didn't like coming to work anymore."

Beck said he has found a new job in law enforcement but declined to say where.

Officer William Mosley & Wife in Court on Domestic Violence Charges


A Worcester police officer, recently charged with domestic assault, and his wife were the subject of separate hearings in Central District Court today in cases involving allegations against one another.

The case against Officer William D. Mosley, 32, of Ashmore Road, alleges he assaulted his wife May 19. He was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic assault and battery, and threatening to commit a crime. His case was the subject of a pretrial hearing today. The officer is on restricted duty.

Meantime, his wife, Stacey M. Mosley, of Glenn Ellen Road, who is pregnant, was in the courthouse for a hearing on a motion relating to a criminal harassment charge filed against her husband.

Both cases were continued.

In the case against the officer, according to court records, the officer was outside his home with his wife, who has a different home address from Officer Mosley. Mrs. Mosley told police that Officer Mosley yelled at her and said he didn’t want her at his home, the records say. Mrs. Mosley told police her husband forcefully grabbed her left arm and dragged her toward her car, according to court records. She also said he threatened to assault her, police reports said. Police were called and Officer Mosley was arrested. Yesterday, in an interview with the Telegram & Gazette, Mrs. Mosley said she planned to ask the court to dismiss the charges against her husband. That did not happen.

Within the last six months, Mr. Mosley sought legal action against his wife.
According to court documents, Mr. Mosley reported four incidents to the Worcester Police between Dec. 26 and Jan. 26. Mr. Mosley told police that Mrs. Mosley showed up at his house and began knocking on his door and yelling for about 20 minutes outside until he called police. On Jan. 1, Mr. Mosley alleged that Mrs. Mosley parked outside his house. On Jan. 26, Mr. Mosley alleged that Mrs. Mosley had been continuously calling him and driving by his house for the previous four to six weeks, and on this date, walked into his house unannounced, according to court documents.

Police Chief Gary J. Gemme has said Officer Mosley was put on restricted duty recently, is assigned to the Service Division, and that the officer’s firearms license has been temporarily suspended.

Former Detective Daniel Griffin Charged with Illegally Carrying Firearm

Former Kingston police Detective Daniel Griffin is in trouble with the law again.

The ex-cop who already faces charges of impersonating a cop was illegally in possession of a loaded handgun when he was apprehended earlier this month in Wilkes-Barre, city police said Tuesday.

Griffin now faces a charge of carrying a firearm without a license.

The 45-year-old was a police officer in Kingston for 22 years before being fired in 2007 for forging a superior’s signature to but a specialty shotgun.

This is now the third time he has been charged with a crme in less than two years.

Griffin was captured May 13 in downtown Wilkes-Barre on an arrest warrant filed by Fleetwood Borough police in Berks County.

The warrant claims he pulled a badge and identified himself as a cop on May 7 when police pulled him over in a personal vehicle customized to look like an unmarked police car.

The 2003 gray Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor “appeared to be an unmarked police vehicle,” according to arrest papers. The car had a black front license plate that says “POLICE” and red “K-9” decals on the trunk.

Wilkes-Barre police impounded the vehicle when Griffin was arrested on the warrant in the city. A loaded pistol was later seized from the car, police said. Police determined Griffin does not have a permit to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania, police said.

Earlier this month, Griffin insisted he was never fired, but retired from the police force and still does police work on the side. He said his convictions for the 2007 charges have been “stayed,” pending an appeal. He called his arrest on the Berks County charges a “political issue” being drummed up as revenge by Kingston officials.

In an unrelated matter, Swoyersville police on Friday issued Griffin a summary citation regarding stray and unattended dogs, according to court records. Details about the citation could not be obtained Tuesday.

Griffin remains free on bail.

Detective Hector Ortiz Arrested for DUI

A Merced Police Detective finds himself on the wrong side of the law, after he's arrested on suspicion of DUI… for the second time.

It turns out this is Hector Ortiz's second drunk driving arrest this year.

The 46-year-old Ortiz was arrested this week after he reportedly rear-ended another vehicle. Ortiz's passenger suffered minor injuries but didn't have to go to the hospital. The driver in the other car was not injured.

The crash happened near Merced College in Merced, which was not far from where Ortiz was arrested on suspicion of DUI back in January. He pled no contest to that charge and was sentenced to a fine, probation and a program for DUI offenders.

Officer Jerrell Strong Arrested for DUI

A Lexington police officer faces an internal investigation after he was arrested in Indiana over the weekend on a DUI charge.

Officer Jerrell Strong was arrested on Saturday in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Lexington police say they have placed Strong on administrative duties and an internal investigation is underway.

Authorities in Indiana say Strong was released on his own recognizance.

Chief John Josten Arrested for Domestic Violence

The police chief of a small Van Buren County community has been arrested following a domestic violence incident, the county sheriff’s office reports.

John Josten, the head and sole officer of the department in Bloomingdale, Mich., was arraigned Friday in Allegen County on charges stemming from the incident.

Sgt. Scott Schmitt of the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department said Josten works in Bloomingdale, a community in the northern part of the county, but lives in Allegen. His wife, who he is accused of throwing a glass at, is also a deputy with the Allegen County Sheriff’s Office, Schmitt said.

Josten’s employment status remained uncertain Wednesday. That decision has been turned over to the Bloomingdale village manager, Schmitt said.

“He is not to possess any firearms until (his) trial date,” Schmitt added, noting the obvious problem that creates for a law enforcement professional.

No immediate decision about Josten’s status is expected, pending an investigation and outcome of the trial.