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"I don't like this book because it don't got know pictures" Chief Rhorerer

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”
“It’s becoming a disturbingly familiar scene in America - mentally unstable cops”

No surprise Denver police officers not charged in Landau beating case, experts say

Alexander Landau, pictured in May 2011, said he is disappointed but not defeated by a Justice Department decision that three Denver police officers who beat him in 2009 won't be charged with civil-rights violations. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)
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Alexander Landau was shocked that the Justice Department opted not to charge three Denver police officers with civil-rights violations in his 2009 beating case. But Friday's news didn't surprise experts at all.
Taking police officers to court is a tough call for prosecutors, who must prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt in the face of politics, polarized perceptions of police and evidence that different people view differently.
Proving officers violated someone's civil rights is even more challenging because "they have to show not just overreaching and callousness, but did they mean to deprive someone of their civil rights?" said Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor who is now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
"People will be viscerally outraged, but prosecutors learn and know that the visceral outrage often will not see them through to a guilty verdict," O'Donnell said.
With the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute — and having already reached a $795,000 settlement with the city in a federal lawsuit — Landau and his supporters said Saturday that Manager of Public Safety Alex Martinez's pending discipline decision is essentially their last hope that the officers will be punished.
Landau's lawsuit said that Cpl. Randy Murr and Officers Ricky Nixon and Tiffany Middleton tried to cover up the Jan. 19, 2009, beating that left him scarred and suffering neurological damage. He said the officers hit him with their fists, flashlights and a radio and called him a racial epithet during the incident that started as a traffic stop.
Police, however, said Landau had reached for Middleton's gun.
The Police Department's internal-affairs bureau has completed its own investigation into the allegations, but leaders were awaiting the results of the Justice Department's probe before making a discipline decision.
Martinez said after a previously scheduled community meeting Saturday that he hoped to obtain information from the federal agency about its investigation "that may or may not add to the view we currently have of the situation."
He would not elaborate or offer a time for when he might issue his order.
Mu Son Chi, racial-justice and civil-rights director for the Colorado Progressive Coalition, said there is no reason to wait.
"These are different processes for different purposes," he said.
Chief Robert White declined to comment, as did Mayor Michael Hancock, who said he had been notified of the decision but had not had a chance to read it. Both were at the community meeting, which was not related to the Landau case.
The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment.
The decision not to prosecute has made many in the community feel that civil lawsuits are their only recourse when they believe police have violated their rights, said Landau's attorney, Anna Holland Edwards.
"The public cannot rely on government prosecutors or internal audits to end these types of government abuses," she wrote in an e-mail Saturday. "Citizens must continue to demand that their elected representatives act and take their cases to court where juries can decide whether this kind of conduct is acceptable."
Cases against on-duty officers are easier to prove in civil court, where the standards of proof are lower, said Karen Steinhauser, former chief deputy district attorney in Denver who now has a criminal-defense practice.
"Police cases are just difficult to prove," she said. "Though jurors are instructed to look at every witness the same, we tend to look at law enforcement officers as being just that: officers who enforce the law and not break it. There's still a tendency of most people to look at officers and say, 'I can't believe they would do something like that.' It's the intangible that comes into play as far as proving these cases."
Sometimes the only witnesses are other officers, who are reluctant to testify against their own. And while evidence alone should determine whether charges are filed, O'Donnell said cases also rise and fall on a victim's credibility, officers' disciplinary records, politics, police-community relations and even a prosecutor's personality.
"No matter what they want to do, they have to say, 'Can this case be proven?' And most of the time, it's not proving the use of force," O'Donnell said. "It's disproving the cops' claim that it was legitimate. ... Proof beyond a reasonable doubt looks like an awfully big mountain to climb."
Landau, meanwhile, said he is disappointed but not defeated. He said he will continue to encourage others to come forward if they feel they have been wronged by police.
"There's got to be a way to make (the department) take these cases more seriously," he said

Morris County Man, Former Police Officer Charged with Attempting to Collect Debts by Extortion

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 08, 2013
  • District of New Jersey (973) 645-2888

NEWARK—A former Passaic Police officer and organized crime associate from Morris County, New Jersey, appeared in Newark federal court today on charges he attempted to collect a debt by extortion, U S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Stefano Mazzola, 68, of Rockaway, is charged in a complaint with one count of using extortion to collect or attempt to collect a debt and to punish a person for non-repayment of a debt. Mazzola appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo and was detained.
According to the criminal complaint:
In 2012, the victim obtained a loan of $30,000 from an individual, who subsequently transferred the loan to Mazzola. The victim periodically made payments on the loan to Mazzola. In late 2012, Mazzola began to threaten that if the victim did not repay the loan, he would physically harm the victim.
The victim made a number of consensually recorded phone calls to Mazzola, during which Mazzola threatened the victim. During a phone call on January 17, 2013, Mazzola acknowledged that an individual had transferred the loan to him, stating, “He gave me that debt; I’ve paid out $20-something-thousand, if not more, for him.”
Later in the conversation, Mazzola threatened the victim. “Let me explain something to ya, and I really mean this, and I don’t care who is listening to my phone or not, if I want to do something to ya, I don’t give a f—k if you give me a million dollars. If I’m looking to hurt ya; I’ll take the money and still hurt ya. It has nothing to do with it,” Mazzola said.
On another call that occurred on January 23, 2013, the victim told Mazzola, “You know you’re gonna get paid.” In response, Mazzola said, “You say you know I’m gonna get paid, I don’t believe nothing....If I write it off in my head, it doesn’t matter. Because I’m a firm believer in time....But listen, I know what I’m gonna do. ’Cause it doesn’t matter to me. It don’t matter whether it’s now or 10 years from now. It don’t matter. You don’t understand. You just don’t know me. I don’t give a f—k if an agent is listening.”
The charge of extortionate collection of a debt is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez in Newark, and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, under the direction of Commissioner Jan Gilhooly, with the investigation that led to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Colone of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Aurora settles police brutality lawsuit;

AURORA - After a year-and-a-half of legal wrangling, the City of Aurora decided to settle a lawsuit accusing the police of brutality.

On December 18, 2010, officers handcuffed Ricky Burrell while he was in the middle of a seizure.

Burrell died in December of an unrelated illness.

As part of the settlement, the city will pay his estate $100,000 and officers are getting new training.

9Wants to Know obtained the 911 tape during which Burrell's wife Evelyn King tells dispatch repeatedly Burrell is fighting her.

From Aurora 911:

King: "He's had three seizures, he's a recovering alcoholic, but he's incoherent like he's having another one."
King: "He's fighting me."

Aurora police found Burrell unconscious and lying face down on the bed.

Burrell described his recollection of the incident in an interview with 9Wants to Know in May of 2012.

"To me I felt like I went to sleep. The next thing I remember I was being attacked by the police," Burrell said.

Burrell died of cancer in December of 2012.

A lawsuit filed before his death says officers mistook Burrell's seizure for resisting arrest.

Assistant Aurora City Attorney Peter Morales says the city still disputes some of the lawsuit's claims, including that officers broke Burrell's wrist while handcuffing him.

Morales says the decision to pay Burrell's estate $100,000 prevented the possibility of a more expensive trial.

"The fact of settlement does not mean any admission of guilt on the part of the city," Morales said.

Morales says seizure training for officers has been in the works since August of 2012.

"If we can teach them about those subtle signs to at least start asking maybe one more question will prevent an unfortunate situation," Morales said.

Jennifer Houston with the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado is training all 650 Aurora police officers.

Aurora police are learning someone in the middle of a seizure is basically unconscious with their eyes open.

They might be confused, appear drunk or high, or even lash out unintentionally.

The foundation gets at least 15 reports a year from people across Colorado who have been falsely arrested for having a seizure.

"Knowledge is power. People can be very combative and it can be looked at as drug or alcohol intoxication," Houston said.

The foundation says more than 50,000 Coloradoans are living with epilepsy and 1 in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime.

Attorney Mari Newman sued the city of Aurora on behalf of Burrell and his family.

"Rickey and Evelyn's goal was always to make this world safer for people who suffer seizures like he does. To make sure this didn't happen to anybody else and they've succeeded in making that happen. So this is an incredible legacy for Rickey to leave behind," Newman said,

Training for officers will continue in Aurora through the end of the February.

Officer Charged With Threatening Man Who Called 911

(Memphis) An off-duty Memphis police officer, accused of threatening a man by getting the victim’s phone number from the 911 call center, is now under arrest.
Officer Darrell Malone will be prosecuted for harassment.
This comes more than three months after the incident was first reported.
The victim says he’s relieved the DA’s office is taking action.
“I’m tickled pink,” said Michael Montgomery, who thought the county forgot about his case.
“I had some real concerns that it was just being dropped.”
But it looks like someone believed he had one against Officer Malone.
He’s been arrested for harassment. Court documents show the officer turned himself in Monday after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
Montgomery first came forward demanding action back in October.
“It’s a complete abuse of power,” said. ”He stepped across a line that shouldn`t be stepped across.”
Montgomery says Malone flashed a gun at him on Germantown Parkway and threatened him.
When Montgomery called 911 for help, the off-duty officer was able to get Montgomery’s personal cell phone number from 911 Dispatcher Jenny Rice,.
Montgomery told us, “I got a phone call from a blocked cell phone number. It was the off-duty police officer again who had gotten my information from dispatch. He was making more threats to me.”
Since then, Montgomery has wanted Officer Malone charged with a crime, but MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau decided Malone didn’t commit one and put him back on the job November 27th.
Now, the police department says he’s relieved of duty, again, but won’t say when that happened or why.
Montgomery’s just glad to know the system works, even if it takes a while.
“If you fight the system, it will work for you,” said Montgomery. ”You just have to knuckle down and bear with it. It may not be what you want immediately but in the end you are going to get your results.”
Officer Malone’s first court hearing has been set for April 5th. Montgomery says prosecutors tell him he has a right to attend all of Malone’s hearings but doubts he’ll go to them

Man claims false arrest by Cerro Gordo deputy

MASON CITY — A Hancock County man has filed a lawsuit against Cerro Gordo County and a sheriff’s deputy claiming he was falsely arrested and imprisoned.
Cody Kramer, 20, filed the lawsuit against the county and Deputy Mitchell Kruse.
According to the lawsuit, Kruse allegedly arrested Kramer on Aug. 28, 2012, and transported him to the Cerro Gordo County Jail where he was detained against his will for more than three hours.
During the time he was detained, Kramer allegedly was falsely accused of committing numerous burglaries in Cerro Gordo County.
According to court documents, the “unjust imprisonment” caused damages including deprivation of Kramer’s civil rights, humiliation, severe mental distress, damage to his reputation and exposure to public hatred and ridicule.
Kramer is also claiming his constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and free from an arrest in the absence of probable cause, were violated.
Kramer is demanding a jury trial and seeking an unspecified amount for actual and punitive damages plus interest.
According to online court records, Kramer was not charged with any crime in August 2012.
— By Laura Bird

Officer suspended over tavern fight

MUNCIE — City police officer Bret Elam will be suspended for 10 days without pay and enter a diversion program in the wake of allegations he beat a man in a local tavern.
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings on Friday issued a report indicating he would not file criminal charges against Elam or ex-Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle.
Cummings had been appointed to evaluate allegations that, in separate incidents, Elam and Winkle struck patrons at the Silo, 223 S. Walnut St., in the early morning hours of Dec. 9.
Both men were part of a group of revelers that left a Christmas Party that night at the eastside Fraternal Order of Police lodge and rode a bus to the downtown bar.
In his report, filed in Delaware Circuit Court 1, Cummings said his investigation determined the Silo was the site of “after-parties” for participants in two holiday gatherings, one originating at the FOP and the other for a local hair salon.
“The evidence suggests that most individuals in the respective parties, including most of the named witnesses and participants in the two conflicts under investigation at the Silo Bar, were heavily intoxicated,” Cummings wrote.
Cummings said there was “evidence to believe” Winkle struck a man in the tavern, inflicting a “minor injury to his left eye.”
But the Madison County prosecutor said he “developed serious reservations about the veracity and credibility” of Winkle’s accuser, saying the man became “confrontational, belligerent and accusatory” when questioned about inconsistencies in his accounts.
The man’s “hostility and lack of cooperation are so profound that I am so unwilling to call him as a witness in any proceeding that I have responsibility to prosecute,” Cummings wrote.
“Therefore, no charges will be filed against Joseph Winkle.”
After the incident involving Winkle, Cummings said, the former police chief left the tavern.
At that point, participants in the hair salon after-party “became angry, and confronted” Winkle’s son, Chase.
“A large angry crowd cornered Chase and his date in a very threatening manner,” the prosecutor said.
Elam came to the younger Winkle’s defense by confronting “the loudest and most outspoken member of the group confronting Chase Winkle,” according to the special prosecutor.
In an ensuing “physical struggle” with Elam, that man “sustained minor injuries to his lip, left ear, left eye and scalp.”
Cummins said his decision to allow Elam to enter into a diversion program — avoiding prosecution if he in no way harasses his alleged victim, or otherwise violates the law, for six months — was based on the officer’s lack of a prior criminal record and because “his actions were provoked by the alleged victim.”
Muncie Police Chief Steve Stewart said Friday that Cummings had contacted him and asked what internal sanctions Elam would likely face over the Silo incident.
Stewart said Elam’s 10-day suspension — which begins Monday — would have been imposed even if the special prosecutor had taken no action in the case.
Cummins was appointed to evaluate the incidents because Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold, who had also attended the earlier FOP party, was at the Silo that night.

Drug dealing cops, drunk cops, murdering cops, where the hell is the justice department?

Minneapolis, Minnesota: A state trooper, who was named Cop of the Year in 2002, has been found guilty of theft by swindle and four counts of forgery. She took $1,500 from the International Association of Women Police, and when a coworker discovered the money missing, she falsified a checkbook register and financial records in an attempt to make the withdrawal appear legitimate. She resigned after the incident. ow.ly/hvr2z

Nelsonville, Ohio: An cop was in court on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence levied against him. He is on paid administrative leave. http://ow.ly/hvGuy

Update: Albemarle County, Virginia: A now-former police lieutenant has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. He later returned the $380 that he stole from a petty cash fund. The lieutenant had been an cop for 27 years. http://ow.ly/hvNSU

Madison County, Tennessee: Two former law-enforcement cops were in court, on unrelated charges. One was being charged with stealing money from the passenger in a car. The other has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, employing a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault. http://ow.ly/hvR6S

•Somerset, Massachusetts: An cop has been arrested and charged with larceny under $250 by false pretenses, two counts of possession of a class E substance and two counts of possession of a class C substance. http://ow.ly/hvU4m

•Bismarck, North Dakota: An cop has pleaded not guilty to roughing up suspects during two separate arrests. A grand jury indicted him on four counts. http://ow.ly/hw4Jv

•Alger County, Michigan: A deputy is facing possible charges following the investigation into an alleged assault of an inmate. The deputy is now on administrative leave. http://ow.ly/hw98j

•Naperville, Illinois: The wife of a man killed in a motorcycle accident involving a state trooper has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit, blaming the cop. ow.ly/hwaVa

•Swansea, Massachusetts: A long-time police cop is facing drunken driving charges. He reportedly left the scene of a crash; the responding cop claims the offending cop drove over a snow bank and away from the cop when he first approached the car. ow.ly/htTg9
•Abita Springs, Louisiana: A police lieutenant was found guilty of cocaine distribution. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a judge decided that he fit the definition of a habitual offender. ow.ly/htPzr

•Henderson County, North Carolina: A state trooper has been arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol. His driver’s license was immediately revoked during his arrest, and he resigned from his position. ow.ly/htCmV

•Martinsburg, West Virginia: A woman has filed a lawsuit against a sheriff’s deputy and the Berkeley County Council for being falsely arrested and wrongfully imprisoned after spending a night in jail. ow.ly/ht6nj

•Houston County, Georgia: An appeals court affirmed a federal court ruling that a former state trooper did not have arguable probable cause to arrest a man who cursed him during an incident. They found that the man’s speech was protected.  ow.ly/ht4mB

•San Luis Obiuspo, California: A detective has been arrested by the FBI and charged with one count of bribery in a criminal complaint. The Department of Justice Report says, “he allegedly took cash and narcotics from two individuals. In return, the police cop allegedly provided these ‘cooperating witnesses’ with narcotics for their own use, as well as fake drugs to sell to drug dealers.” ow.ly/ht3V2

•Miami-Dade, Florida: The police department has fired a sergeant and two cops and suspended three others without pay in what is considered one of the worst incidents of delinquency in the department’s history. The accusation include: failing to respond to emergency calls, pretending to be on calls when they weren’t and falsifying police records. ow.ly/hrQER

•Indianapolis, Indiana: An cop has been charged with three counts of robbery and three counts of official misconduct. He is accused of robbing men during traffic stops. ow.ly/hredj
•Tattnall County, Georgia: A deputy was sentenced to nine years in prison for selling illegal drugs he stole from the evidence room. ow.ly/hrd95

•Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania: An cop has been fired. He allegedly used “unreasonable force” on a suspect in custody and then lied about the incident. The mayor recommended he be fired for “conduct unbecoming a police cop.” ow.ly/hr9wW

•Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A police cop has been charged; he fired 13 bullets in the direction of a building. After the police were called to the scene, he made a false 911 call to distract them. http://ow.ly/hoLTn

Update: Miami, Florida: Another cop has been charged. He recently resigned while under investigation and pleaded guilty to extortion charges. The charges are related to a FBI corruption probe involving a police-protection racket for a sports-betting ring operating out of a barbershop. http://ow.ly/hoOnU

•Hanford, California: An cop entered a no-contest plea to carrying narcotics with intent to sell. He has resigned from the department. Two witnesses testified that the cop supplied them with prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia, and meth. http://ow.ly/hoWmD

•Independence, Iowa: A police cop who had an expired driver’s license when his cruiser hit a woman’s car is being sued. A councilman says that they city will defend the cop, but that the cop clearly screwed up and got caught in this situation. ow.ly/hnX7K

•Quantico, Virginia: Virginia State Police are conducting a criminal investigation of the Quantico Police Department after an audit revealed $1,000 in cash was missing, along with marijuana and a handgun belonging to the police chief. The chief resigned after he took a polygraph test. http://ow.ly/hjnYw

•Boulder City, Nevada: Police Lieutenant Pieter Walkers murdered his wife and son before committing suicide. http://ow.ly/hjohH

•Petersburg, Virginia: The son of the police chief, also a police cop, is facing a DWI charge and allegations of driving that could have endangered lives. He failed all standard field sobriety tests and refused a breath test. Another cop obtained a warrant for his blood, but test results have not yet returned an exact blood alcohol content reading. http://ow.ly/hkjq6

•Huntington, West Virginia: A men has filed a federal lawsuit against a police cop and the city, alleging the cop violated his civil rights by beating him with a deadly weapon after he had been handcuffed. http://ow.ly/hkmdl

•Update: Everett, Washington: The death of a mentally ill man at the jail has been ruled a homicide. Homicide is a medical term that means a person died as a result of another’s actions. It is up to police and prosecutors to decide whether those actions may constitute a crime, such as manslaughter or murder, or were legally justified. Police officials said the case remains under active investigation. http://ow.ly/hkn2H

•Dayton, Ohio: A lawsuit filed by a mother and her mentally challenged son against the city and two police cops has been settled for $10,000. The suit claimed police cops assaulted the boy after mistaking his speech impediment for disrespect. http://ow.ly/hknDO

•Update: Culpeper, Virginia: A jury found an cop guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison on the 
manslaughter conviction, one to five for shooting into an occupied vehicle and two to 10 for shooting into a vehicle resulting in death. http://ow.ly/hkpdV

•Update: San Diego, California: Six women arrested during the Occupy protests are suing the law enforcement agencies over a range of alleged civil-rights abuses. One has said that law-enforcement cops used excessive force to arrest her. ow.ly/hlpb7

•Camden, New Jersey: An cop was sentenced to 46 months in prison. While in uniform and on duty, he engaged in a conspiracy with other cops to deprive individuals of their rights by charging them with planted evidence; threatening certain individuals with arrest using planted evidence if they did not cooperate with law enforcement; conducting illegal searches without a search warrant or consent; stealing money during illegal searches and arrests; paying for cooperation and information with illegal drugs; failing to report found drugs and stashing them to use as planted evidence; and preparing false police reports or testifying falsely in court to conceal his actions. ow.ly/hlmSO

Plaintiff alleges he was incarcerated for 33 days

Second officer charged with sexual assault of a female inmate
MARIETTA — A second sergeant with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting an inmate.
Sgt. Kristopher David Travitz of Douglasville, a 14-year veteran with the agency, was arrested Saturday and charged with sexually assaulting a female inmate, according to a criminal warrant.
The incident occurred between Oct. 21, 2010, and March 7, 2011, in a vehicle while the inmate was being transported from one building to another at the Cobb County Jail, Sheriff Neil Warren said.
Travitz, 37, served as supervisor over the work release program at the time of the alleged incident.
Travitz was immediately fired Saturday, Warren said. He is now being held without bond in the Bartow County jail.
The case follows the Jan. 17 arrest of Sgt. Blake Sutherland, who was charged with aggravated sexual battery and sexual assault of an inmate after she complained to authorities.
Warren launched an investigation, which resulted in Sutherland’s arrest and termination.
Sutherland, whose bond was revoked, is being held in the Douglas County jail.
At the time, Warren told the Marietta Daily Journal he would find out how the assault happened. During the course of the investigation, Warren said investigators heard rumors that led them to question another woman, who had since been released from custody.
“We had to seek her out once we found out about this information,” Warren said. “She told our investigators during the interviews what took place.”
When questioned about the 2010 incident, Travitz allegedly lied to investigators that the inmate never visited him at his house. In fact, a GPS tracker attached to her ankle by Cobb Drug Court revealed that she was at his house for about 45 minutes, according to the warrant.
Warren said potential employees are subjected to rigorous background checks, including a psychological evaluation.
“There was nothing, nothing in their backgrounds to indicate he or Sutherland, either one, had an issue being — I’m going to say acting in a perverted way because to me it is perverted,” Warren said. “I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed for the dedicated men and women of the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office. They work hard, and this looks so bad, and I know it does, and I’m not going to stand for it, and I’m going to continue to find out why it’s happening, and if it’s happening, I can assure you I’m going to bring it to the forefront and do my best to have them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
In addition to sexual assault by a law enforcement employee, Travitz is charged with violation of oath by a public officer, aggravated sexual battery, false statements or writings, concealment of facts or fraudulent documents in matters of government. All are felonies.