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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”

Mercer Sheriff's officer suspended after pepper spray incident

TRENTON — A Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer was charged with two counts of official misconduct last month for allegedly pepper spraying a woman in the face while she was handcuffed, and then falsifying documents related to the incident.
According to prosecutors, around 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, several Mercer County sheriff’s officers were dispatched to the Sun National Bank Center to assist arena staff with a group of people who were acting confrontational while entering the Life in Color paint party.
At some point during the incident, prosecutors say, the woman and several others were detained. Prosecutors are unsure which officer detained who, but while the woman was handcuffed, Sgt. Sean Lavin, 43, allegedly pepper sprayed her in the face.
“He used pepper spray to spray an arrestee in the face while she was handcuffed behind her back,” spokesperson for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Casey DeBlasio said Friday.
The sheriff’s office then received information about the incident, which prompted an investigation by Internal Affairs.
“We received an excessive force complaint involving Sgt. Lavin,” Undersheriff Pedro Medina said in a written statement. “The incident was reviewed preliminarily by the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Unit and then turned over to the county prosecutor’s office for their assessment. Allegations of this nature are not condoned by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.”
Then, according to court documents in the case, on Dec. 10, Lavin allegedly filed a false investigation report about the incident. He was charged with two counts of official misconduct on Dec. 12.
Lavin, who is a Hamilton resident employed by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office since July 2000, is currently suspended without pay.
The woman who was pepper sprayed received a summons for improper behavior.

Battle update

What happened to the war on texting?
Did we win?

Former McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Charge

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 03, 2014
  • Northern District of Illinois (312) 353-5300
ROCKFORD—A former McHenry County Sheriff’s deputy pleaded guilty today in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Kapala to crossing a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who had not attained the age of 12 years. The defendant, Gregory M. Pyle, 38, of Crest Hills, Illinois, formerly of Crystal Lake, Illinois, admitted that on December 13, 2008, he had custody of a child under 12 years of age, when he drove the child from Crystal Lake, Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the intention to engage in sexual acts with the child and to produce visual depictions of such acts. Pyle admitted that he stayed overnight in a Milwaukee hotel and engaged in sexual acts with the child that were sadistic, masochistic, and violent. The defendant produced images of the child engaged in these sexual acts and later distributed the images over the Internet.
The guilty plea was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Illinois State Police, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force assisted in the investigation.
Pyle’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 14, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. Crossing a state line to engage in a sexual act with a minor under 12 carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison, a period of supervised release following imprisonment of at least five years and up to life, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Love.

Former Ottawa County Sheriff Charged with Using Law Enforcement Money for Personal Items

U.S. Attorney’s Office January 09, 2014
  • Northern District of Ohio (216) 622-3600
The former Ottawa County sheriff was charged with improperly spending about $5,000 that was to be used for law enforcement purposes to instead pay for personal items, including Cedar Point tickets, clothing, and prescription medicine, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.
Robert Bratton, 60, of Genoa, Ohio, was charged in a criminal information with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.
“Money that was supposed to help the men and women in law enforcement was instead diverted and spent on personal items, including tickets to an amusement park,” Dettelbach said. “That is hardly amusing to the rest of us. Those who are trusted to enforce the law, above all, cannot place themselves above it.”
Anthony said, “A sheriff who chooses to ignore his sworn oath to uphold the law and engage in criminal behavior is totally unacceptable. The FBI will investigate those who violate the public’s trust, no matter what position that individual holds.”
Bratton served as Ottawa County sheriff from 2004 until his resignation in September 2011. In 2010, the sheriff’s office received approximately $27,290 from the Furtherance of Justice Fund (FOJ Fund), which provided law enforcement entities to pay for expenses relating to official law enforcement duties and in the furtherance of justice, according to the information.
The Ohio Auditor provided guidance to county sheriffs in 2007 under the heading “Permissable Expenditures of FOJ Funds.” It read, in part, that an “expenditure must be both in the performance of the officer’s official duties and in furtherance of justice to be allowable.” The bulletin also stated, “There is always the additional requirement that the expenditure must be for a proper public purpose,” according to the information.
Bratton, as the county sheriff, was a fiduciary over FOJ Fund money provided to his office.
In 2010, Bratton used approximately $2,865 in FOJ Fund cash and also used a credit card linked to the FOJ Fund to purchase various personal items, including Cedar Point tickets, prescription medicine, and clothing, all of which were non-permitted expenses under FOJ Fund rules and regulations, according to the information.
As of December 31, 2010, Bratton reimbursed the FOJ Fund for some of the money he used for personal items but failed to replace all the FOJ Fund money by that date, according to the information.
An information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Crawford and Antoinette T. Bacon and following investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

South Miami to pay $90K for cops who crashed girl’s quince

After years of legal wrangling, South Miami taxpayers will pay for officers who arrested a father for a noise complaint during his daughter’s quinceañera.

South Miami has agreed to pay $90,000 to a father who says his daughter’s 15th birthday party was brought to an abrupt end when a police officer handcuffed the dad and put him in the back of a patrol car.

The officer had come to the house in response to complaints about noise, but the charge against Julio Sanchez was later dismissed and he responded to the incident by suing the city for battery, false arrest and civil-rights violations.

The city recently agreed to settle the case after a federal judge decided that a section of the city’s noise law, which provided the original reason for the arrest, was unconstitutionally vague.

The law made any noise illegal if it would “annoy” anyone on a nearby street, sidewalk or adjacent building.

U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga struck down that part of the law in a Nov. 25 opinion.

Sanchez first filed a suit against the city in state court in February 2011. The case moved to federal court in November 2012.

Altonaga wrote in her ruling that, “the noise ordinance is clearly unconstitutional, and tellingly the city does not provide any argument addressing Mr. Sanchez’s contentions and analysis contained in the motion concerning the noise ordinance’s unconstitutionality.”

The incident took place in December 2009, when Sanchez hosted a quinceañera birthday party for his daughter. Family and friends gathered, and at about 9:30 p.m. South Miami police received a noise complaint, according to the lawsuit.

An officer arrived on the scene and asked Sanchez to turn the music down. His attorney, Ray Taseff, said Sanchez complied. At about 10:45 p.m., police received another complaint and another officer arrived and said the party had to end. Sanchez had a brief discussion with the officer, but eventually turned off the music. He then asked whether the party could continue inside and, according to Taseff, when Sanchez asked for the officer’s name and badge number he was arrested.

The officer handcuffed Sanchez and put him in a patrol car but later let him go.

“Everyone was astounded that this thing happened, because there was nothing loud or boisterous about the party,” Taseff said.

The case against Sanchez was dismissed in May 2010, and last September the city repealed section 15-81 of the ordinance — the section that the city claims Sanchez violated.

After repealing the law, the city’s lawyers asked for a summary judgment and a ruling in their favor claiming that even if section 15-81 was unconstitutional, the officer had “probable cause” to arrest Sanchez based on section 15-82 of the ordinance. The motion was eventually denied.

Section 15-81 said a resident would be in violation if they made loud noises that would “annoy” anyone on a nearby street, sidewalk or adjacent building. Section 15-82 is more specific and names radios, phonographs and other sound-making devices and says a resident would be in violation if their noise or music could be heard 100 feet away from a structure.

Mayor Philip Stoddard attempted to add more specific language about what “annoying” means and decibel level maximums at a commission meeting last August, but city leaders voted 3-2 to reject the proposed changes. He said that moving forward the city will attempt to look at the entire ordinance and do a “complete overhaul.”

“We will probably replace the subjective criteria with objective criteria, because one person’s annoying may not be annoying to someone else,” Stoddard said.

He added that he would also like for officers to be able to check noise levels with decibel readers or even take advantage of smartphone technology to measure the sounds.

Judge Altonaga also ruled that the ordinance violated the First Amendment’s protection of speech and expressive conduct, the Fourth Amendment’s protection against being unlawfully “seized” (arrested) without probable cause, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection against arbitrary governmental conduct.

“The police ruined my daughter’s party and robbed my family of the special memories that a quince party creates,” Sanchez said in a release from his lawyer. “I fought to protect our rights to make sure that no other family is treated the way the city treated mine.”