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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”

Hearing delayed for officer charged in Jonathon Ferrell’s death

By Michael Gordon

For the second time, the preliminary court hearing for a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer charged in the September shooting death of an unarmed man has been delayed so state prosecutors can prepare their case.
Officer Randall Kerrick’s “probable cause” hearing originally was set for early October. It was rescheduled to this week to give the state attorney general’s office more time to review the evidence.
Now, Kerrick’s hearing has been delayed for two more months, to Feb. 11. Again, the hold-up has to do with evidence.
Kerrick has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in the Sept. 14 death of Jonathon Ferrell, a former college football player. Police say Kerrick fired 12 shots at the unarmed Ferrell, hitting him 10 times.
Mecklenburg County Deputy District Attorney Bart Menser, who represented the attorney general’s office at a brief hearing Tuesday at the county courthouse, said state prosecutors are awaiting forensic reports. District Attorney Andrew Murray asked the attorney general to handle the prosecution because he and Kerrick’s defense team are former law partners.
The case is now in the hands of senior Deputy Attorney General James Coman, who heads the attorney general’s special prosecution division. The team handles cases at the request of district attorneys, often involving charges against law enforcement officers or other public officials.
Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, confirmed Tuesday that state prosecutors are awaiting forensic test results and other evidence connected to the Kerrick case. She said the forensic testing is taking place at an out-of-state location.
In a preliminary hearing, prosecutors outline their evidence, leaving a judge to decide if they have a strong enough case to take to trial. Those hearings normally occur within a few weeks of an arrest.
Kerrick was charged Sept. 15, and the delays mean his preliminary hearing now is scheduled to take place almost five months after he was charged.
George Laughrun, Kerrick’s lead attorney, agreed to the delay. Before Tuesday’s hearing he declined to discuss his case or make Kerrick available for questions. Laughrun estimated that if his client stands trial, it would be late next year or early 2015.
Kerrick was jailed less than 24 hours after Ferrell’s death in the Reedy Creek neighborhood of northeast Mecklenburg.
Ferrell, 24, had given a co-worker a ride home that night, then wrecked his car. A woman in a house nearby called 911, saying that an unknown man was pounding on her door. Ferrell was shot after he approached three officers who responded to the call.
Kerrick, the least-experienced officer on the scene, fired a dozen shots, all from close range. He is the first Charlotte officer charged in an on-duty shooting in at least 30 years. Laughrun, a former assistant district attorney, has called the shooting “justified.”
The death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer drew national headlines. Ferrell’s family has repeatedly called for the release of the “dash-cam” video, which shows in part how the confrontation between Ferrell and police unfolded.
Under an order by a Mecklenburg judge, Coman now controls the video and has not released it to the public or the family.
The family’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, described the delays in Kerrick’s prosecution as disturbing but said the Ferrells hope for a thorough state investigation.
“We’ll just keep praying that they’ll do their jobs,” he said.
He added that he expects to file a civil lawsuit for the family over Ferrell’s death sometime around “the first of the year.”
Experienced prosecutor
Coman, with more than 30 years as a North Carolina prosecutor, is best known for his 2007 investigation into the prosecution of the Duke lacrosse scandal that led to all charges being dropped against team members.
His unit has handled numerous cases against police officers, including an ongoing probe of corruption charges against a New Hanover County sheriff’s lieutenant.
Coman’s team also is prosecuting High Point Mayor Bernita Sims on charges of writing a worthless check, and has prosecuted criminal charges against district attorneys, sheriffs and other high-profile targets. This year, the group also negotiated a $400,000 payout to employees of a company after the former CEO dropped their health insurance without notice.
Coman himself has prosecuted more than 250 jury trials, focusing on public corruption, murder, sexual assault and white-collar crime.
Kerrick remains suspended without pay. The state Fraternal Order of Police is paying his legal costs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg FOP spokesman Randy Hagler said the group is satisfied with Kerrick’s defense.
“We feel strongly that the officer deserves the best representation available and we feel that with Mr. Laughrun’s law firm, that’s what he’s getting,” Hagler said.

Fremont police officer charged with crime, on unpaid leave

FREMONT – A Fremont police officer is on unpaid leave after he was charged with misusing a law enforcement information system.
A grand jury indicted Officer Donnale Williams, 40, Toledo, on one felony count of unauthorized use of the Law Enforcement Automated Database System. The charge was filed Nov. 20 in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court.
Law enforcement officers use LEADS to obtain information on traffic stops and during investigations.
Williams has pleaded not guilty to the charge. A hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 3.
Fremont Safety-Service Director Bob Ward put Williams on paid leave Nov. 13 and then changed the leave to unpaid on Nov. 26.
Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt and Fremont police Capt. Jim White declined to discuss the specifics of the case.
The police department conducted internal and criminal investigations, done separately by a sergeant and a captain, after there was an allegation that Williams had committed a crime while on duty, White said.
The alleged incident took place Oct. 1 at the police station on West State Street, according to the indictment.
“Once we learned of it, we acted immediately on it,” White said of the allegation.
Williams’ police file shows three verbal warnings. The most recent was March 29, when he was 23 minutes late for work.
He received another warning Jan. 2 for being nearly three hours late for work.
And in July 2012, he received a warning for failing to report his cruiser had been scratched.
Williams’ duty weapon also was stolen from his home in January 2012, and he was given a “verbal counseling,” according to his personnel file. The gun was later recovered in Cleveland, according to his personnel file.
He was issued a new gun and advised to keep the weapon in his locker at the police station or buy a safe to lock it up at home.

Former deputy chief accuses Des Plaines of covering up police brutality

A former Des Plaines deputy police chief has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Des Plaines, Mayor Marty Moylan, former Police Chief Jim Prandini and former City Manager Jason Slowinski in federal court, alleging they covered up police brutality.
In the complaint filed Tuesday, former Deputy Chief Richard Rozkuszka claims he was forced out of the police department on Aug. 15, 2011, for reporting the misconduct of now fired police officer John Bueno, who was under Rozkuszka's supervision as the overseer of tactical operations.
The suit states that Rozkuszka received reports from other officers within the department that Bueno "repeatedly engaged in violent and improper conduct while on duty, including beating incarcerated arrestees while in custody, and in some circumstances, while handcuffed."
Rozkuszka reported Bueno's misconduct to Prandini, who ignored it and threatened to discipline Rozkuszka if he took action against Bueno, the suit alleges.
Moylan said Thursday Rozkuszka's allegations about city administration covering up officers' misconduct are "preposterous."
Among the numerous examples of Bueno's misconduct the lawsuit alleges, Rozkuszka states Bueno fabricated testimony about how evidence was recovered from a computer in a missing child/child prostitution case, which was investigated by the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in the summer of 2009.
Rozkuszka claims he cooperated in the state's investigation against Bueno and that he was later criticized by Prandini for providing negative testimony against Bueno and warned that if he discussed police misconduct with outside agencies, he would be disciplined.
Also in the summer of 2009, Rozkuszka alleges Bueno "violently beat" an inmate in police custody without justification and Prandini again refused to punish him.
"The city of Des Plaines adopted a custom, policy or practice of condoning illegal conduct and the beating of prisoners, and of engaging in a cover-up to hide illegal conduct as well as to punish whistle-blowers for speaking out against such illegal practices," Rozkuszka alleges in the lawsuit.
Rozkuszka claims he reported misconduct by Bueno on at least five occasions to Prandini and was told to "drop it" or risk disciplinary action. He also claims he threatened to report the police misconduct to the Cook County sheriff's office, the Cook County state's attorney and Illinois State Police Public Integrity Unit.
In the complaint, Rozkuszka claims Prandini met with Slowinski and Moylan, who agreed to fire Rozkuszka "because of his ongoing reporting to outside agencies" of misconduct within the department, and to "cover up Bueno's ongoing criminal activity in order to avoid lawsuits against the city of Des Plaines by those Bueno had harmed."
Rozkuszka, 54, claims he was urged to "retire" after 29 years of service — 23 years with Des Plaines police department — making him ineligible for maximum pension benefits.
"They told me that I was going to either retire or be terminated but that I didn't have a choice," Rozkuszka said in a written statement released by his attorneys. "After they chilled my speech and threatened my livelihood, they fired me for doing the right thing."
"We never had any conversation of that type," Moylan said. "When we heard that there may be some wrongdoings, we promptly contacted an outside law firm and let them do their investigation. We didn't mess around with this."
The city tapped the Rosemont law firm of Clark Baird Smith to conduct the investigation, as a result of which Bueno was fired by the city in March for misconduct, while a second officer — Andy Contreras, who also was accused in a suspect's beating with Bueno — was disciplined and served a four-month suspension.
"Chief Rozkuszka wasn't even cooperative, and even though he didn't cooperate, we still took appropriate action," Moylan said.
He insisted that Rozkuszka, who he said was looking for another job, was not forced out, though he acknowledged there has been an overhaul of top management at the police department since the allegations against Bueno and Contreras surfaced.
Prandini retired in December after taking leave for back surgery. Moylan would not say whether he was asked to retire but added that ultimately the responsibility rested on Prandini's shoulders.
"There's been a lot of changes in the top administration and we feel it's for the better," Moylan said. "As soon as the administration lost faith with police management, they all moved on to other things. We feel we will have a good police force in the end."
Prandini, who lives in Mount Prospect, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
Slowinski left the city in April to become Lake Zurich's village administrator. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
The city, Moylan, Slowinski and Prandini are charged with retaliation in violation of the First Amendment; the city is charged with retaliatory discharge and violation of the Illinois Whistleblower's Act.
Rozkuszka, of Deerfield, is demanding a jury trial. He declined to talk to a reporter Thursday under the advice of his attorneys, the Chicago law firm of Hunt and Associates.
Two other lawsuits have been filed over police conduct. Bueno and Contreras are named in a federal lawsuit alleging they beat a Villa Park man while in police custody. And Bueno and two other city cops are being sued in federal court by a Des Plaines resident who is alleging false arrest. The city is a defendant in both lawsuits.
Moylan said the city won't pay for the legal defense of the officers accused of misconduct, though it will represent Prandini as a former city employee.
"We are not in the position to defend bad police officers," he said. "We have a lot of good police officers on the force. We do not want the people accused of wrongdoing to affect the good police officers."

Bueno is attempting to get his job back and has filed a racial discrimination complaint against the city with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Judge: Fired Des Plaines cop doesn't have to be rehired

A former Des Plaines police officer fired for using excessive force against detainees doesn't have to be rehired, a Cook County judge has ruled.
John Bueno, a 10-year veteran of the police department, was terminated in March 2012, following an internal city investigation that found he violated the city's policy for use of force, failed to disclose his use of force, and lied about it during the investigati
An arbitrator determined that Bueno violated the department's rules and regulations but decided he should only be given a 15-month suspension, while also placing other conditions upon his return to duty.
The arbitrator said Bueno could return to work June 3.
The city went to court to challenge the arbitrator's decision that Bueno should get his job back, and last Friday, Cook County circuit court Judge Sophia Hall ruled in favor of the city, city officials said Monday.
City Manager Mike Bartholomew said it would have been "bad public policy" had Bueno been allowed to return to his police beat, creating a morale issue for the police department and a liability issue for the city.
"We couldn't put him back on the street. His credibility would be terrible. All of his arrests would be undermined (in court)," Bartholomew said.
Keith Karlson, an attorney for the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, the union representing Bueno against his dismissal, said in an email Monday night that the "city's celebration is premature."
"The judge's most recent decision is not final and the parties are still arguing the case before the court," Karlson said. "The judge's most recent decision does not undo the city's approval of Officer Bueno's actions at the time; nor does the preliminary decision change the fact that the city destroyed evidence essential to the officer's defense."
"The union still believes the arbitrator's award is appropriate and should be affirmed."
City officials said Bueno's dismissal stemmed from his handling of the Aug. 12, 2010, arrest of Sergio Toutges, who said he was intimidated, threatened and punched in the face by Bueno as he was handcuffed in the back seat of Bueno's squad car. Bueno and another officer were transporting Toutges from the Elmhurst police station to Des Plaines after Toutges was picked up on an arrest warrant for attempting to run over an officer.
Toutges filed suit against the city in federal court in which Bueno was also named as a defendant, but the case was settled out of court earlier this year for $64,000.
Bueno was also named as a defendant in a 2009 federal lawsuit filed by a resident who said she was falsely arrested and mistreated by three police officers, including Bueno. The city settled that case for $32,500 last year.

Meanwhile, Bueno filed a federal suit earlier this year against the city in which he alleges a superior officer made "unwelcome, humiliating and offensive racial slurs and anti-Hispanic comments and misconduct." That suit is still pending.

Mobile homicide detective charged with tax evasion; internal investigation to follow

MOBILE, Alabama -- A homicide investigator who has spent more than 40 years with the Mobile Police Department has been relieved of his duties after he was indicted on tax evasion charges on Monday, an MPD spokeswoman said.

A warrant was signed out for of Cpl. Donald Maurice Pears, 61, on the day of his arrest, according to records from Mobile County Metro Jail.

The eight-count indictment was handed down by the Alabama Attorney General's Office. Pears faces four counts of willful attempt to evade or defeat tax and four counts of willful fraud and false statements, said MPD spokeswoman Ashley Rains.

As of Monday, Rains said there was no indication the charges were related to his position as a police officer, "but we will conduct a thorough internal investigation."

According to the Attorney General's Office, Pears is accused of state income tax evasion and filing false tax returns. A Mobile County grand jury heard evidence on Dec. 9 and decided there was enough to take Pears to court.

The alleged violations took place between 2007 and 2010, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Pears has served with MPD for more than 42 years. He has been reassigned to administrative duty ahead of an internal investigation, Rains said.

She said the arrest will not affect homicide investigations.

donald pears booking.jpgDonald Maurice Pears, 61, turned himself in to authorities on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. (Courtesy of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office)

"Homicide detectives work as a unit with detectives assigned as a lead on specific cases," Rains said. "Any reassigned cases will be given to detectives who have prior knowledge of the events of that case."

Records from Mobile County Metro Jail show Pears was booked around 4:30 p.m. He turned himself in to authorities, according to the Attorney General's Office.

For each count of income tax evasion, Pears could face up to five years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine. For each count of filing false returns, Pears could face up to three years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.

The news broke on the same day a Mobile police precinct commander and one of her subordinates was set to face an administrative hearing following allegations that they had an inappropriate, sexual relationship while they were on-duty.

Authorities expect to be able to speak about the investigation on Tuesday, Rains said

Mobile police commander demoted, officer suspended after having inappropriate relations while on duty

MOBILE, Alabama -- The commander of the Mobile Police Department's Third Precinct has been demoted and an officer has been suspended after an internal investigation revealed the pair had inappropriate sexual relations while on duty, according to MPD.

Carla Longmire was demoted from captain to lieutenant effective Tuesday, said Chief James Barber. Officer Bradley Latham, her subordinate, will be suspended for a total of 240 consecutive working hours effective Jan. 6.

The announcement came the day after a disciplinary trial board reviewed evidence gathered by MPD's Intelligence Unit and unanimously found Longmire and Latham guilty on all charges against them.

Longmire was charged with conduct unbecoming and failure to supervise. Latham was charged with conduct unbecoming, truthfulness during an investigation and disobedience of orders.

"The entire concept of unbecoming conduct is any kind of conduct that affects the morale, the efficiency of the police department or the effectiveness of the department, or anything that brings the department into disrepute," Barber said.

"Whenever you have on-duty activity that occurs like this -- and I stress that this is only on-duty that we were concerned with -- it has all of those elements within that charge."

Capt. Paul Prine has taken over Longmire's position, effective Tuesday. Longmire has been moved to community services while Latham was reassigned to the First Precinct.

Evidence against the pair included records and surveillance by other officers, Barber said.

"I can't get into specifics, as far as evidence," Barber said. "This can be appealed."

The investigation started in late September after an internal complaint was filed against the pair. In at least September, they went to a rented apartment together multiple times during work hours. There is no evidence the pair had any inappropriate contact in work vehicles or on MPD property, Barber said.

"When you're taking officers off the streets that are supposed to be patrolling the streets, it does impact the operations of the department," Barber said.

Investigators also found Latham had tampered with an automatic vehicle locator installed in at least one police car, Barber said. The charge of disobedience of orders charge stems from the tampering.

It is the second time in just over one year that the Third Precinct has gotten a new commander following an internal investigation.

Longmire was chosen to head the precinct in November 2012 after then-commander DeWayne Hill was found guilty of stealing during an internal investigation. Hill resigned from his post the day before results of the investigation were revealed.

Although Barber characterized the charges against both officers as serious, he said it was the disciplinary trial board's unanimous decision not to fire either officer.

"A lot of people don't understand the command structure -- that's (the demotion) a very significant thing to happen to begin with," Barber said, adding that the punishment is rare. "That's a pretty severe punishment. The salary cut on it is about 10 percent but it's the position within the department and the amount of control that that position holds, which is also why that conduct can't be tolerated."

As that investigation wraps up, the department is continuing to look into a homicide investigator who was arrested Monday and charged with tax evasion.

Police Merit Commission decides to terminate Evansville Police Officer

By Brian Boesen

A former Evansville Police Officer of the Year lost his badge and his job on Monday night.

After a meeting that lasted all day and into the night, the Police Merit Commission voted to fire Steve Hicks. He's accused of inappropriately touching a female bartender while he was on duty.

Hicks show little emotion on Monday night when the decision came down. The woman who brought the complaint tells 14 News that she's happy she can now put the incident behind her.

Lisa Turpen says Hicks responded to a call on September 10 outside Rick's Bar, where she is a bartender. She told the commission that he touched her tank top above her chest. He was on-duty at the time.

Then a week later, surveillance video shows Hicks back at the bar, again on duty, but not on a call. A defense witness testified the video showed Hicks touching his accuser five times.

Hicks testified he did not touch her tank top near her chest and felt that he was welcome behind the bar.

But after 11 hours of testimony on Monday, the commission voted two to zero to terminate Hicks from the police force.

"We obviously believe that they got it wrong, both in terms of all eight charges and in terms of the appropriate penalty," said Charles Braun, Hick's attorney.

"This has been hell since September the 10th and I'm glad it's done. If something happened to you, stand up and do what's right," Turpen told 14 News.

Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin gave 14 News this statement on Monday night:

"While I'm happy with The Merit Commission's decision, there are no winners in a situation like this. We have a great department with officers who go above and beyond everyday. Unfortunately, incidents like this give all of us a black eye. Decisions like these are the hardest part of this job, but this was the best outcome for the community."

Hicks' attorney says Hicks can appeal, but no decision has been made. No criminal charges were filed in this case.

Hicks is an eight year veteran of the force.

Pleasantville cop suspended, accused of racist post

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. — A village police officer has been suspended and could be fired after apparently posting a racist, obscenity-laced rant about President Obama on his Facebook page.

"The fact that he (Obama) is still alive bewilders me," Officer Peter Burns allegedly wrote in the post, which The Journal News obtained Thursday. "Go die in a shallow grave you Muslim commie ..."

The post, time-stamped Dec. 11 on a Facebook profile page Burns is accused of operating under the name "Coon Trapper," contained a racial slur, made reference to "1st amendment NSA," and described Obama as "un-American."

After being shown a screen grab of the vulgar diatribe late Monday afternoon, Pleasantville Police Chief Richard Love said he was unaware of the post but would take immediate action. On Tuesday, Love announced that Burns had been relieved of his duties and placed on paid administrative leave.

The Facebook post contained "despicable statements," Love said in a statement. He said the comments "are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

Once an internal affairs investigation is complete, "the police department will consider all legal options, including the possibility of commencing disciplinary proceedings against the police officer, which could lead to his dismissal," Love said. Pleasantville is a village of 7,000 people about 30 miles northeast of New York City.

The statement did not identify Burns by name.

The Facebook profile page, which was deleted Tuesday morning, contained photos of Burns in hunting gear and camouflage, and included links to hunting and animal trapping websites. The page's settings were private, meaning that only those who "friended" Burns had access to the Obama post and others on his Facebook page.

“The fact that he (Obama) is still alive bewilders me. Go die in a shallow grave you Muslim commie.”
— Coon Trapper Facebook post

Burns, 35, could not be reached for comment. He was hired in 2004 and receives an annual salary of $98,959. Officer Matthew Listawn, president of the Pleasantville Police Benevolent Association, is on bereavement leave and could not be reached.

"We deplore racism in any form," Mayor Peter Scherer said. He said he could not comment further because the Village Board of Trustees would hear the case should disciplinary charges be filed against Burns.

Some have portrayed village police as racist following the shooting death of Danroy Henry, a black Pace University football player. In the Oct. 17, 2010, incident that took place outside a bar Thornwood, N.Y., just south of Pleasantville, Officer Aaron Hess, who is white, shot Henry as he started to drive away.

Hess had joined a number of Mount Pleasant officers responding to reports of a disturbance involving a large crowd. Hess, who ended up on the hood of Henry's car, was injured and has since retired. The case has resulted in a number of lawsuits.

The 20-member Pleasantville department includes one black, one Hispanic and two female officers among its ranks.

"The fact that a cop can say something like that about the president shows that there are deep racial issues within law enforcement," said Damon Jones, president of the Westchester chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. "It's something our elected officials have to pay attention to. There should be racial sensitivity training in every police department with oversight to make sure that it's being done properly and being taken seriously."

The Pleasantville incident is the latest of similar cases of cops getting into hot water over controversial Facebook postings:

• In October, the police chief in Austin, Texas, suspended a detective for 10 days for posting what he called sensitive law-enforcement information — photos of interrogations and crash scenes — on his Facebook page.

• Last year, 17 New York City cops were suspended for posting racist and offensive comments on a Facebook page devoted to the city's 2011 West Indian Day Parade.

• In 2009, three Harrison, N.Y., police officers were suspended and demoted after making lewd comments about then-Supervisor Joan Walsh and swapping racist jokes about Obama.

Those episodes and similar incidents across the country have prompted many police and government agencies to adopt social media policies for their employees. Pleasantville does not have such a policy.

Officer suspended for discharging shotgun

AUSTIN -- An Austin police officer was given a one-day suspension for accidentally discharging his shotgun. According to a disciplinary memo from APD chief Art Acevedo, police officer Vincent Giles was suspended from duty on Dec. 14 after he "accidentally discharged his shotgun while inspecting the weapon before beginning his tour of duty" on Nov. 18.The disciplinary memo said that this violated APD's general firearm guidelines and safe handling of firearm guidelines.

Md. cop to serve 2 months for accidental training shooting

Officer William S. Kern, 46, was found guilty of reckless endangerment when he shot police recruit Raymond Gray
By Jessica Anderson
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Police Officer William S. Kern will serve two months in prison for shooting and critically wounding a recruit during February training exercises at the shuttered Rosewood Center in Owings Mills.
Kern, 46, was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison with all but 60 days suspended. A Baltimore County jury found him guilty in October of reckless endangerment for shooting University of Maryland police recruit Raymond Gray Feb. 12.
Jurors did not find Kern guilty of the more serious charge of second-degree assault.
Kern had testified he thought he was holding a "simunitions" training pistol that fires paintball-like cartridges. He said he was showing trainees how dangerous it can be in real-life situations to congregate near doors, windows and hallways, when he fired at a door with a glass window and struck Gray.
Prosecutors said Kern should not have been carrying the weapon because city police guidelines prohibit live weapon at simunitions training.
Baltimore police say commanders were not aware of the exercises and that the city did not have permission to use Rosewood for training.

Gray, of Baltimore, lost sight in one eye and was hospitalized for months before moving to an out-of-state rehabilitation center.