Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Officer Michael Wilson Arrested on Drug Charges

A Holly Springs, Mississippi police officer faces drug charges tonight. He's accused of selling drugs to an undercover narcotics officer.

The officer was arrested last week after being indicted by a grand jury. The Holly Springs Police Chief who says he was in shock when Sheriff's deputies showed up at his office to arrest one of his own.

Holly Springs Police Officer Michael Wilson was arrested on the job and in uniform at the Holly Springs Police Department last Tuesday.

Chief Robert Pearson says, "That is not only surprising, that hurts."

Wilson was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month. According to the indictment, the officer sold hydrocodone, to an undercover Marshall County narcotics officer in February.

Police Chief Robert Pearson, says Marshall County deputies arrested Wilson in his office.

Pearson says, "I summonsed him into my office, relieved him of his side arm and relieved him of duty and suspended him. At that time officers with the sheriff office took him into custody."

Wilson was booked into the Marshall County Jail on one count of selling a controlled substance. The police chief says the drugs Wilson allegedly sold, did not come from the police department.

Pearson says, "We always hate to see police officers get involved in that type of illegal activity it hurts the department and everyone else here."

Wilson was hired by the previous police chief and had been with the police department just 4 years. Chief Pearson described him as a "decent person", but says he has no sympathy for officers accused of breaking the law.

Pearson says, "What I would like people to know is I and most officers want to root out individuals who commit these illegal acts. That is a priority for me."

If convicted, Wilson faces up to 20 years in prison. The police chief says Wilson has a wife and 2 small children. He's out on bond.

We tried contacting him today but were unable to get in touch with him.
Photo & Information:

President Obama Calls Sgt. James Crowley

President Explains His Remarks About Henry Louis Gates Arrest In Surprise Appearance.

President Obama called the Cambridge police officer who arrested his friend, prominent Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., but did not go so far as to say he apologized to the sergeant for saying the police acted "stupidly" during the incident.

Late today, Gates' attorney, Charles Ogletree, told ABC News that his client was "relieved and excited" by the president's telephone outreach.

"It's going to bring together not only the parties to this particular episode but a larger community dialogue about how citizens and police can have more productive and effective exchanges," Ogletree said.

Representatives of Sgt. James Crowley released a statement saying Crowley was "profoundly grateful" for the phone call.

"It is clear to us from this conversation that the president respects police officers and the often difficult and dangerous situations we face on a daily basis. We appreciate his sincere interest and willingness to reconsider his remarks about the Cambridge Police Department," the statement read.

Earlier today in an unannounced trip to the White House press room, the president clarified remarks he made at the end of Wednesday night's press conference, reiterating his point that "there was an overreaction in pulling Professor Gates out of his home."

But Obama said he had a cordial conversation with Crowley, who had complained about the president's criticism. Obama said laughingly he had a discussion with Crowley about the three of them having beer at the White House.

The president's spokesman said it was Crowley's idea for the three to get together for a beer. According to Gates' attorney, Gates doesn't drink beer but he'll show-up for the meeting.

The president also called Gates following his impromptu remarks and invited the Harvard professor to join him at the White House with Crowley in the near future.

"Because this has been ratcheting up — and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up — I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think, I unfortunately… gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge police department or Sgt. Crowley specifically," the president said. "And I could've calibrated those words differently. And I told this to Sgt. Crowley."

Chief David Baker Ends 40-year Career After DUI Arrest

Alexandria Police Chief David P. Baker ended his 40-year career in law enforcement Tuesday with a short, melancholy letter to the members of his department, three days after his drunken driving arrest.

"It is with a great deal of humility and remorse that I announce my retirement from the Alexandria Police Department," he wrote. ". . . Words cannot describe the pride I feel having had the opportunity to lead such a great department."

His undoing came Saturday night in Arlington, where he collided with a car, sending the driver to the hospital. His blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, Arlington police said. He failed four field sobriety tests and was charged with driving under the influence, court documents show.

City Manager James K. Hartmann accepted Baker's resignation and ended the internal investigation he opened Sunday into the incident. He said the resignation is effective Friday. Baker will receive his full retirement benefits.

"We hope that this unfortunate incident will not eclipse the stellar service and commitment that he has shown to the city of Alexandria," Mayor William D. Euille (D) said at a City Hall news conference. "Regretfully, this is a wise decision to allow the police department and the city to move forward."

City Attorney James L. Banks said Baker, who was placed on administrative leave after his arrest, resigned just before city officials were to meet with him as part of the investigation.

Banks said city officials do not know where Baker was before the accident or what he had to drink, because they did not have a chance to speak with him. With the investigation now closed, the officials will not interview him. Hartmann has said that Baker was not at an official city function.

Baker declined to comment through his attorney, James Clark, who said Baker thought his resignation would be best for the city.

"After a lot of introspection and a lot of lost sleep, it became crystal clear to him that for him to remain would be compromising the ideals that got him there: Giving the citizens the best he's got," Clark said. "He thought his ability to serve had been compromised."

Alexandria Sheriff Dana A. Lawhorne said Baker is a "stand-up guy" who loves the city.

"I think he did what he thought was best for the city," Lawhorne said. "He thought it was time for everybody to move on. It's his thing to deal with."

Details of Baker's arrest emerged this week. It happened about 10 p.m. near Interstate 66 and North Fairfax Drive in Arlington. Baker, driving a city-issued green Ford Explorer, tried to merge onto Interstate 66 and collided with a car.

Philadelphia Man Receives $200,000 in Police Brutality Lawsuit

A Philadelphia man, whose claims of brutality led to three Deptford police officers being charged in 2006, received $200,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against the township.

The confidential agreement reached between Joseph Rao and the township earlier this year called for Deptford's insurance carrier to write the check. The township admitted no wrongdoing.

"It's a regrettable amount of money," Deptford Mayor Paul Medany said when reached for comment on Tuesday. "We don't want to pay any amount of money. ... We took the insurance company's suggestion of a settlement and we thought that was the best route to take."

Records show the agreement was approved in March and the case was dismissed in court in May. The agreement, which has been obtained by the Times, called for neither side to disclose any "facts, amounts and terms" of the deal.

Rao sought $4 million when he filed his federal lawsuit last year.

The decision was made to do "what's best for the taxpayers" and settle, according to Medany.

"The incident happened," said Medany. "There's nothing we can do about it. We're just trying to make things right."

The three officers, who faced prison terms, were cleared of all charges. Ptl. John Gillespie went to trial and was found not guilty. The Gloucester County prosecutor's office then dismissed its cases against Ptl. Timothy Parks and Ptl. Brian Green. All three officers have since returned to the force.

Medany called the whole situation an opportunity to improve how things are handled within the police department.

"In the meantime, we've changed our operating procedures and gone into better training," the mayor said. "We took the incident and learned from it, there's no doubt about that. It hasn't happened since and, hopefully, it will never happen again."
More of the story:

Hollywood Officers Accused of Abuse of Power

After a Hollywood police officer rear-ended a car in February and then arrested its driver on drunken-driving charges, he and other officers talked about doctoring the report -- it said a jumpy cat created a distraction -- to cover up the cause of the crash.

Unknown to the officers, the exchange was recorded by a dashboard camera in one of the patrol cars.

``I don't want to make things up ever, because it's wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I'm gonna,'' one of the officers can be heard saying. ``We'll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn't have mattered because she is drunk anyway.''

Alexandra Gabriela Torrensvilas, 23, of Hollywood, ended up charged with four counts of drunken driving and cited for an improper lane change.

On Tuesday, Hollywood police officials placed Officer Dewey Pressley, 42; Officer Joel Francisco, 36; Sgt. Andrew Diaz, 39; and civilian Community Service Officer Karim Thomas, age unavailable, on administrative duty pending an internal affairs investigation and a review by the Broward state attorney's office, said department spokesman Lt. Scott Pardon.

Francisco was driving the car in the crash; Pressley wrote the report and made the arrest.

Pressley's report detailing the Feb. 17 midnight crash in the 2800 block of Sheridan Street said ``a large gray stray cat'' that had been sitting on Torrensvila's lap jumped out of her car window and distracted her, causing her to veer into Francisco's lane, where she abruptly braked, and he hit her.

``I will do the narrative for you,'' one of the officers says on the tape. ``I know how I am going to word this, the cat gets him off the hook.''

Torrensvilas' attorney, Larry Meltzer, said this was a disturbing ``abuse of power.''

``Actually seeing it transpire on video in front of you, it really kind of sickens you,'' he said. ``It's really nauseating to sit there and watch your client's rights go out the window.''

Torrensvilas' four DUI charges carry a maximum penalty of almost three years in jail, Meltzer said.

He declined to say what would become of her case: ``In my opinion, as of this time, it's being handled appropriately.''

A spokesman for the Broward State Attorney's Office declined to comment on the case or how it would proceed.

Pressley, a 21-year veteran with the department, wrote that when Francisco approached Torrensvilas' car after the crash, she blurted: ``It just jumped out.''

The ``it'' was ``a large, gray stray cat'' that had been sitting on her lap while she drove, the report said.

Francisco, who has been with the department for almost 11 years, smelled ``a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage.''

Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein on Tuesday sent a letter to Hollywood Police Chief Chadwick Wagner calling for answers and accountability.

``Not only did these officers make a conscious decision to shift the blame to this young woman, but they made a concerted effort to write a narrative to fit `their facts,' '' Finkelstein wrote. He said his office has at least 27 pending cases in which these four officers are listed as material state witnesses.

Pardon, the police department's spokesman, declined to respond to the allegations. ``We'll see where the investigation goes,'' he said.

Officer Martin Montgomery Arrested for Forcing Woman to Perform Oral Sex

An Evansville Police Department officer recently under scrutiny from the agency's chief has turned himself in at the Vanderburgh County Jail and will face a charge of criminal deviate conduct.

Martin Montgomery, 28, was booked into jail shortly before 12:30 p.m. Bond was initially set at $2,500 cash but later lowered to $1,500 cash after Montgomery made an initial appearance in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court.

According to a police affidavit obtained by the Courier & Press, the charge stems from a sexual encounter Montgomery had with a woman while on duty. The victim told investigators it was non-consensual.

Montgomery was recommended for termination by Chief Brad Hill following an undisclosed violation of police rules and procedures that occurred June 16. A grand jury also considered criminal charges against Montgomery for that incident, though they ultimately voted not to file them.

While being questioned about the June 16 incident, police say Montgomery admitted a separate incident in which he had sex with a woman after being dispatched to a run in the 3900 block of Fulton Avenue. It allegedly occurred on March 1.

According to the affidavit, Montgomery in that case broke up a fight between two women and then agreed to take one of them home to a residence in the 2500 block of North Kentucky Avenue.

The investigator located the police run in question and learned Montgomery had responded and called off other officers, the affidavit said.

Detectives then located the woman, who identified Montgomery from a photo lineup and said he followed her into her apartment, shut the door and asked if she wanted to have sex, according to the affidavit.

Police say Montgomery asked multiple times and that the woman said no repeatedly.

"(The victim) said Montgomery approached her and put his hands on her shoulders and began applying pressure to her shoulders in an attempt to force her down," Detective Jim Harpenau wrote in the affidavit. "(The victim) said after Montgomery began pushing her down, she quit resisting, went to her knees and performed oral sex on Montgomery against her will."

According to Indiana Code, a criminal deviate conduct charge is filed when a person "knowingly or intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to deviate sexual conduct when the other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force."

Asked why he filed a charge in this case and convened a grand jury for the other allegations, Vanderburgh County Prosecuting Attorney Stan Levco said "they are two separate sets of facts."

"I thought and I said at the time that the grand jury had a difficult case that I thought could go either way," he said.

Levco said he could not talk about the facts in the criminal deviate conduct case or why specifically he decided to file the charge.

The specifics of the June 16 incident have not been divulged. The affidavit refers to that case as a "sensitive incident ... in regards to the conduct of Evansville Police Officer Martin Montgomery."

Montgomery had been scheduled to appear Monday before the Merit Commission to appeal the chief's recommendation for termination. That hearing has since been canceled.

Montgomery made a brief court appearance Wednesday, during which his bond was lowered and his next appearance was set for Thursday at 9 a.m.

Levco said Montgomery's bond reflects his lack of a criminal record and the fact that he is not considered a flight risk.

An official at the Vanderburgh County Jail said Montgomery must appear in front of a judge before he can consider media requests for interviews.
Updated information:

Investigator James Talford Arrested for Harassment

A 21-year veteran of the State Police found himself on the other side of the law today after he was arrested for the alleged aggravated harassment against two Ontario residents, troopers said.

Investigator James W. Talford, 45, who is assigned to the Counter Terrorism Intelligence Unit in Buffalo, was issued appearance tickets for misdemeanor charges including two counts of aggravated harassment, attempted falsifying of business records and official misconduct.

State Police officials would not disclose additional information about the specifics of Talford's alleged actions except to say an investigation is continuing.

"The criminal and internal investigation is ongoing at this point," said Trooper Rebecca Gibbons, State Police spokeswoman.

Talford -- who, according to public records, lists a home address in East Amherst -- is currently suspended without pay pending the internal affairs probe, Gibbons said.

State Police were involved in the joint investigation of Talford that also included investigators from the Erie County District Attorney's office and the Niagara Regional Police in St. Catharines, Ont.

Niagara Regional Police were not able to provide details late Wednesday as to the complaints alleged against Talford by the apparent victims, who live in the Niagara Region.

Talford is expected to be back in Buffalo City Court at 9 a.m. Aug. 12 to answer the alleged criminal charges against him.

Ex-Officer Michael Curtin Jr Arrested Again

A fired Munhall police officer who is serving a five-year probation sentence for unlawful sexual contact with minors was arrested last night on charges he violated conditions of his release.

Michael Curtin Jr., 37, had faced 11 counts in connection with soliciting girls for sex acts. He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of unlawful sexual contact with minors and one count of corruption of minors.

Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced Mr. Curtin to five years probation. Condition of his probation included his prohibition from using computers or texting on his cell phone.

A warrant was issued yesterday for his arrest in connection with an undisclosed probation violation that occurred at the Waterfront in Homestead.

Mr. Curtin is being held on a detainer in the Allegheny County Jail, pending arraignment on his arrest.

Judge McDaniel, before the arrest, had granted Mr. Curtin permission to leave the state tomorrow to vacation with his parents in Delaware until Aug. 10.

That permission now is expected to be be revoked.

Mr. Curtin also is scheduled for a Sept. 10 hearing before Judge McDaniel to consider whether he should be classified as a sexually violent predator.

Mr. Curtin was fired in February 2008 from the Munhall Police Department following his arrest. He had been investigated for soliciting teenage girls online for sex and offering them money to allow him to suck their toes.
Previous Post:
Other Information:

Former Officer Joseph Mignano Charged with Robbing Man

A former Providence police officer is charged with robbing a man.

Police say Joseph Mignano, of Fall River, Mass., was impersonating a police officer when he robbed a man in the Silver Lake section of the city on July 18.

The 32-year-old Mignano was arraigned Tuesday on charges of second-degree robbery and impersonating an officer. He was held on bail as a probation violator.

Police Captain James Desmarais tells The Providence Journal that the police are investigating similar incidents in which people claimed that they were robbed by a man who identified himself as a police officer and proceeded to search them and steal their money.

It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Sheriff's Clerk Sammetta Tennial Arrested for Stealing Money

A clerk from an administrative bureau at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was arrested today for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from an office account and official misconduct. Sammetta Tennial, 37, was taken into custody by Sheriff’s Deputies about 1 p.m. today at her 10th floor office at the Criminal Justice Center.

Tennial works in the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Commissions and Compliance. The bureau handles a variety of duties including the issuing of Special Deputy Commissions, the registration of convicted sex offenders, bail bond employees, private process servers who deliver court papers and tracks Sheriff’s Deputies who work additional jobs outside the Sheriff’s Office.

Fees are required by some of those who register at the office. A supervisor discovered money missing while reconciling the daily receipts and deposits. Detectives from the Sheriff’s General Investigation Bureau and White Collar Crimes Bureau from the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office led the investigation.

“Once aware of the discrepancy, an investigation began immediately. Let this be a message to all employees the net is always out. Those who choose to break the law will be held accountable,” said Shelby County Sheriff Mark H. Luttrell, Jr.

Detectives believe Tennial took small amounts of money over the past two years totaling as much as $6,000. Investigators believe she acted alone in the scheme. Tennial has been a clerk with the Sheriff’s Office since 2000. She’s was assigned to the Commissions and Compliance Bureau in 2005.

Sammetta Tennial was indicted today by the Shelby County Grand Jury for Theft of Property over $1,000 and two counts of Official Misconduct. She is being held at the Shelby County Jail facility for women on a $10,000 bond. Her employee picture is being sent with this news release in a separate file.

Officer Justin Barrett Suspended for Racially Charged Language

A Boston police officer was suspended and faces dismissal after he allegedly sent a letter including “racially charged language” about Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, a department spokeswoman said.

Police learned of the letter yesterday, said Elaine Driscoll, the spokeswoman. She didn’t elaborate on how police got the information. The Boston Herald reported a racial slur was in a mass e-mail to Officer Justin Barrett’s colleagues in the National Guard.

“Police Commissioner Ed Davis moved immediately to strip the officer of his badge and gun and proceeded toward a termination hearing,” Driscoll said.

A local telephone number for a Justin Barrett wasn’t answered when called by Bloomberg News.

Gates, 58, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African & African American Research at Harvard, in neighboring Cambridge, has been at the center of a controversy about race since he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on July 16. Police responding to the report of a break-in arrested Gates at his home. Prosecutors dropped the charge.

Driscoll said Barrett, 36, would remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the hearing. She said a date hasn’t been set.

Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association President Thomas Nee wasn’t prepared to comment immediately on the Barrett case, although a statement is planned, said Ann Parolin, the union’s office manager.

The Gates arrest got even more attention last week when President Barack Obama said Cambridge police “acted stupidly in arresting someone where there was already proof that they were in their own home.”

On July 24, Obama phoned Cambridge Police Sergeant James Crowley, the white officer who arrested the black professor, and said he didn’t mean to malign Crowley or his department. Obama invited Gates and Crowley to the White House tomorrow night for a beer.

Another Waco Officer Accused of 'Double Dipping'

There was new information Tuesday about the Waco Police "double-dipping" scandal.

News Channel 25 acquired copies of two more letters firing police officers, two letters of retirement and one letter of resignation.

Among the two firing letters, was one belonging to Sgt. Peter Mottley. He was fired Monday, making him the fifth officer to be terminated for claiming to be on the clock at the Police Department, while logging hours for the federally-funded Waco Housing Authority. He was unable to be reached by phone Tuesday and has eight remaining days to appeal the decision.

News Channel 25 also got a copy of the letter firing Allen Thompson. He is the only police officer to challenge the Police Department's decision so far.

"Each of these officers, at least the ones I'm dealing with, worked their time," said Thompson's attorney John Cullar. "It may not be the exactly what was written down, but the exact number of hours is accurate."

We also obtained Cris Doles's resignation letter, as well as letters of retirement from Reggie Johnson and Tyrone Robinson. However, Robinson will not retired until August 4th, a move personally signed off on by Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman.

News Channel 25 will sit down with the police chief Wednesday for his first public comments since the investigation began months ago.

Officer Boby Howard Jr Arrested for Theft

A 14-year veteran of the Lafayette Police Department has been placed in the Acadia Parish Jail charged with Principal to Felony Theft and conspiracy to Commit felony theft following a nine-month investigation.

According to Acadia Parish Wayne Melancon his office began receiving report of farm equipment thefts including tractors, bulldozers, and bobcats throughout the parish in November of 2008.

Melancon said that a break in the investigation came when his office received a report that a John Deere tractor with front loader was stolen from a shop on South Riceland road near Rayne. A local bank contacted law enforcement officials when someone attempted to make a loan to purchase the tractor that was stolen on South Riceland Road. Investigators learned that when the serial numbers were ran through John Deere in came back as stolen.

Investigators from Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office, Vermilion Parish Sheriff's Office, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office, St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Livestock & Brand Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigations joined forces to investigate the 28 thefts that occurred in five neighboring parishes.

Following an extensive investigation Bobby Howard, Jr., age 39, of Scott was arrested by Investigators with the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon in Lafayette and charged with principal to felony theft and conspiracy to commit felony theft.

Howard was transported to the Acadia Parish Jail where his bond was set at $250-thousand-dollars.

Also, arrested was Brad Sonnier, age 29, of Scott. He is also being charged with felony theft and conspiracy to commit felony theft. He is presently being held in the Lafayette Parish Jail.

Enid Police Taser Nursing Home Patient

Police in Enid use a taser to subdue a 69-year-old nursing home patient. Investigators say the elderly man, Lester Harris, had become disruptive over the weekend. That's when staff at Enid Senior Care called 911.

When officers arrived, Harris supposedly hit one of the officers in the stomach. To get control of Harris, police twice used their tasers.

Harris' daughter says her dad suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago, and thinks police used excessive force.

"There's just so much that's wrong. Why taze a 70-year old man in a nursing home?" said Linda Ward.

Enid police defend their actions.

"We have to make sure the staff and officers are protected, and of course the person were arresting," said Lt. Eric Holtzclaw.

Harris was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer.

He's since been released on bond and is being kept at a hospital in Enid where he's doing fine.