By Jeff Goldberg
(WJLA) - Almost six months after a Fairfax County man was shot and killed by police during a standoff, there’s still no progress on the investigation into what happened.
Friends and family of 46-year-old John Geer have been trying for months to get information about why Geer was shot during the standoff and now his best friend is speaking out about the lack of progress in the investigation.
Jeff Stewart knew Geer for 25 years and had plans to go golfing with him the day the standoff happened, Aug. 29, 2013. Geer and his common law wife Maura had been having problems and that morning Maura said she was leaving him.
Geer grew angry and Maura called police, leading to the standoff. Over the course of 20 to 30 minutes, Stewart says Geer acknowleged to police he had been drinking and that he did have a gun in the home, but not on him. At one point an officer shot Geer, who later died inside the home.
“I don’t understand the process taking place at this point. I don’t understand why the family, most of all, can’t get answers to what happened, to what was said, to why this officer did what he did.”
In response to the story, a Fairfax Police spokesperson said, “It would be inappropriate for our agency to comment or answer specific questions pertaining to this matter at this time. It is being fully investigated and it is an extensive, comprehensive process.”
WASHINGTON — District of Columbia police say an officer who worked in the evidence control branch has been charged with theft.
Police said Friday that Rodney Williams, who has been with the department since 1990, was arrested while on duty Thursday. He faces a charge of second-degree theft.
Police say the arrest stemmed from a tip from a police department employee to the department’s internal affairs division.
It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier appeared at a D.C. Council hearing last week to discuss the recent high-profile arrests of several officers, including on charges involving child pornography. She also spoke about the department’s efforts to weed out problematic officers.
MARTINEZ, Calif. -- A San Francisco police officer pleaded not guilty Monday morning in Contra Costa Superior Court to 10 felony counts of child molestation and possession of child pornography.
Officer Richard Hastings, 38, of Concord, is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy on several different occasions between June and August.
Deputy District Attorney Alison Chandler said Hastings was arrested in August after the boy was caught sneaking out of his own home to meet with the officer.
Defense attorney Eileen Burke said the pair had met on an online dating site and the boy had claimed he was of legal age.
Burke argued for Hastings' $910,000 bail to be lowered because he "is no more danger than anyone who signs up for an online dating service."
Chandler, however, said the boy was clearly underage and was stopped by police that night in August on suspicion of a curfew violation.
When police contacted Hastings, he allegedly said, "Don't worry, I'm a police officer," Chandler said.
"He was using his police status to get out of the trouble he was about to be in," she said.
Chandler said prosecutors did not immediately charge him after his Aug. 21 arrest because further investigation was needed, including into the contents of his electronic devices.
She said the FBI reviewed those contents and found child pornography involving an 8-year-old boy.
Chandler said Hastings told investigators that after he was involved in a police shooting a few years ago, he began "doing riskier things."
"He is reckless, he is cavalier," she told Judge Bruce Mills.
Burke, the defense attorney, told Mills that her client "has been completely cooperative" and has not had any problems since his August arrest.
The judge decided to reduce Hastings' bail to $100,000 and ordered him to return to court on March 7 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
Hastings, a 13-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, was suspended without pay after his arrest.
Hastings is named in a federal civil rights lawsuit stemming from the 2011 death of Kenneth Harding, who police say accidentally shot himself during a shootout with Hastings and another officer after police tried to stop Harding for alleged fare evasion in San Francisco's Bayview District.
At the time of the shooting, Harding was on parole in Washington after serving time for pimping a 14-year-old girl.
Advocates for Harding have questioned the Police Department's version of events leading to his death, as well as whether it was necessary to use force against him.
Tracey Bell-Borden, a friend of Harding's mother, attended this morning's hearing and criticized Hastings.
"This is someone who was supposed to serve and protect," Bell-Borden said. "This man, something is wrong with him."
BY JAY WEAVER
Vital Frederick, a young Miami cop convicted of pocketing bribes, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison on Thursday.
At trial in October, Frederick never disputed the undercover evidence revealing he accepted dirty money from two fellow police officers working with the FBI in a pair of sting operations.
But Frederick, 27, testified his colleagues threatened that unless he took the cash they would expose his “secret” — that he was gay and had a 10-year relationship with a boyfriend from high school.
Frederick's surprise defense did not convince a Miami federal jury, which found him guilty on four charges of extortion and three of stealing identification records for tax-refund scams.
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore found that Frederick perjured himself on the witness stand before sentencing him to 81 months.
Frederick’s case, defended by lawyer Stuart Adelstein, was prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Robin Waugh and Michael Davis.
Frederick is one of a dozen Miami cops who were convicted, fired or resigned over the past year as a result of the crackdown on protection rackets and ID scams run out of the North District station in Liberty City.
The two officers who flipped on Frederick, Nathaniel Dauphin and Malinsky Bazile, have been convicted as well. Dauphin, who pleaded guilty, got a probationary sentence with no jail time; Bazile, found guilty at trial, is awaiting sentence in February.
There’s a new plan on the table to address the ongoing question of who polices the police in Omaha. A Citizen Review Board will be tasked with sorting through complaints.
Mayor Jean Stothert, police management and the police union have worked for months to structure the board that will serve as the go-to location for citizen complaints against police.
The board itself will consist of five members, one from each precinct plus one at-large member. There will also be an alternate. Then there will be three non-voting advisers to the board: someone from Omaha Police command; someone from the Human Rights and Relations Department and someone from the City Law Department.
The board members will not be paid. They will not have subpoena powers and they will not conduct their own investigations. They will review only what police investigate after the complaint is made.
The mayor said, “We've had a Citizens Review Board in the past. We had an auditor in the past. In my opinion, neither worked extremely well. This is a different approach. Like I said, got a lot of input. Basically I feel there is the ability with a board for broader citizen oversight.”
The mayor's executive order is not playing well in some parts of North Omaha. While some see it as a step in the right direction, others see it as political sideshow.
The intent is to build trust between police and the citizens of Omaha.
Robert Wagner reviews the mayor's executive order that creates the board. Wagner has filed a complaint against the police for a rough arrest in the past and he said Friday action doesn't go far enough. He said the board will have no power to create change in a police force that needs change.
"This is just a patchwork,” he said. “Just put together almost like a campaign promise. She just threw something out here and I don't believe it has any merit at all. As far as being a help in terms of that trust between the community and police, it's not going to do anything for that."
Community leader Willie Hamilton actually laughed at the mayor's proposal. He said people in the minority community are outraged at the idea of the weak panel with no power.
Hamilton said, “Not all police officers are bad but history speaks for itself. We can go back to Robert Ammons, George Bibbins, just recently Robert Wagner. You got the Johnson family, then the filing of an ACLU lawsuit and the best we can do is a citizen review board with a bunch of volunteers with no subpoena power? That's ridiculous."
Stothert unveiled the plan at a news conference where she was joined by Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Omaha Police Union President John Wells. Stothert said she wants to have the board operating within a matter of weeks.
By ART MARROQUIN
A panel of nine residents from across Anaheim will soon be able to scrutinize the city’s police and fire departments under a pilot program expected to launch by March, Mayor Tom Tait announced Tuesday during his State of the City address.
Members of the new Citizen Public Safety Board will review policies and allegations of misconduct by police officers and firefighters, Tait said. City Manager Marcie Edwards, who spent the past several months creating the commission at the City Council’s direction.
By ROSE BOUBOUSHIAN
(CN) - Police officers videotaped beating and having a K-9 unit maul a subdued 20-year-old cannot stay false arrest and excessive force claims, a federal judge ruled.
David Connor Castellani said in his complaint that the Tropicana Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., had just thrown him out during the wee hours of June 15, 2013, for drinking underage.
On the sidewalk Castellani soon encountered some police officers, who had him pull his pockets inside-out, patted him down, and let him walk away, according to the complaint and backed up by video surveillance posted on CNN.
The video shows Castellani yelling at the officers from across the street.
Castellani says he was asking them to help him find his ride home, but that they allegedly "mocked and ridiculed" him, and a "heated verbal exchange" ensued.
Castellani said he did not threaten the officers, but that they suddenly "bum-rushed the plaintiff, tackled him to the ground, and began to viciously assault" him.
Indeed the video shows four officers run toward Castellani and tackle him to the ground.
"I am not resisting," Castellani allegedly cried out, as the officers punched, kneed, kicked and clubbed him.
A fifth officer arrived, joining the group in kneeing Castellani and striking him with batons as they get him on his stomach to put him in handcuffs.
Castellani said one of his hands was cuffed at this point when Officer Stearling Wheaten arrived in a K-9 unit vehicle.
Wheaten immediately ordered the dog to attack "the completely subdued and helpless" Castellani, according to the complaint.
"The vicious dog mauled the back of plaintiff's neck and head as several of the officers, including defendant Wheaten, continued to punch and kick the plaintiff," the complaint states.
This account matches the video CNN posted.
Castellani said the officers even stepped aside - "several of them laughing and smiling" - to let the dog maul his "lifeless body."
Accompanied by graphic images of Castellani's injuries, CNN reported that the young man needed 200 stitches.
He was nonetheless charged with disorderly conduct, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest by using physical force and violence, and assault of a police animal.
Wheaten was allegedly never disciplined for 21 civilian complaints of misconduct filed against him between 2008 and 2011- including 15 for excessive force or assault.
Castellani sued the officers in October, alleging false arrest and excessive force in violation of his Fourth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights; conspiracy; and several tort law violations. He further claims that the violations stemmed from an Atlantic City custom or policy.
The officers asked to stay Castellani's suit pending resolution of his criminal charges.
U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb denied the motion on Jan. 15, tossing aside the defendants' claim that the court would have to "guess" whether a ruling in the civil suit would invalidate a future conviction.
"As there have been no indictments in this matter and there is no indication that the criminal trial against plaintiff will soon commence, any stay would be indefinite and, thus, prejudicial to plaintiff," Bumb wrote.
Castellani's interest in "proceeding expeditiously" also weighs in favor of denying the motion, the unpublished ruling states.
"Finally, this court finds that if plaintiff's allegations are true, they certainly raise issues of significant public concern, and, certainly, this matter has garnered significant attention from the public," Bumb wrote.
By DESHAYLA STRACHAN
MIAMI (CN) - Accusing a Florida man of threatening police after he posted "Diary of a Cop Killa" on Instagram may amount to defamation, a federal judge ruled.
Daniel Larosa said the controversy stemmed from some comments he posted on his Instagram account next to album art for the song titled "Diary of a Cop Killa."
Larosa allegedly wrote "It's sweetwater pd that's gotta die!!! Lol."
Police in Sweetwater, Fla., soon arrested Larosa at his job, a school for the disabled. He was charged with threatening a public servant with the intent to influence the public servant's performance of official duties.
Larosa sued the city, the arresting officers, mayor Manuel Morono and Police Chief Roberto Fulgueira for falsely arresting him and violating his rights.
Sweetwater countered that it is an immune sovereign, and that a negligence claim against a police department is not an actionable cause of action under Florida law.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola found neither argument persuasive.
"The city seems to fundamentally misunderstand the law regarding bringing a negligence suit against a municipality," Scola wrote. "In this lawsuit, Larosa is not a crime victim claiming that the police were negligent in stopping his assailant. Larosa has plainly alleged that City of Sweetwater police officers unlawfully restrained him against his will and that the detention was unreasonable and unwarranted under the circumstances. Even when alleged against law enforcement officials, these allegations are enough to make out a claim for false arrest."
Sweetwater also failed to challenge Larosa's complaint as a "shotgun" pleading, which is a pleading that points at several defendants where the plaintiff is imprecise in asserting which actions are attributable to which defendants.
Scola said the complaint details a precise set of facts, and then alleges several theories of liability against the several defendants.
Larosa cannot, however, allege that the city failed to train and supervise its officers.
"Larosa has not adequately asserted the connection between the constitutional violation that he allegedly suffered and the deficiencies in the City of Sweetwater's training or supervision policies that are attributable to Fulgueira and Marono," Scola said.
Though he dismissed the claims against Morono and Fulgueira, Scola denied motions to dismiss Laronsa's claims of defamation and false arrest.
By DYLAN GOFORTH
MUSKOGEE -— A Muskogee police officer was arrested on accusations of assaulting, kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman at his home in Oktaha.
Mark Vernon Ridley was arrested late Wednesday, Muskogee County Chief Deputy Brandon Caster said. Ridley, 39, is a 17-year veteran of the Muskogee Police Department and had recently moved to the Patrol Division after spending time in investigations, Cpl. Mike Mahan said.
Ridley is jailed on complaints of assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, kidnapping and sexual assault, Caster said.
Ridley had been placed on administrative leave in December after allegations were raised that he assaulted the same woman then, Mahan said. A protective order was filed against him Dec. 18, then dismissed Jan. 14, according to court records.
Another protective order was filed against him on Wednesday, records show.
Mahan said Ridley remains on administrative leave.
The protective order filed in December alleged that he sexually assaulted the same woman. Mahan said the Muskogee Police Department asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation handle that case, and the OSBI submitted its findings to the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office, which in turn called in a special prosecutor from Delaware County to ensure an impartial investigation.
SAN ANTONIO -- A woman allegedly raped by a San Antonio police officer in his patrol car is now suing him, the city, and Chief William McManus for $10 million.The federal lawsuit was filed Thursday against Officer Jackie Neal, who was arrested back in November. The 19-year-old woman claims Officer Neal should have been fired after he was caught in a relationship with a high school student in the Explorer program. Neal was the program supervisor at the time. He was suspended for three days. Just 72 days after the suspension, he allegedly raped the 19-year-old woman who has now filed the lawsuit.San Antonio Police did not comment on the suit and referred us to the city attorney.
By Michelle Kapusta
A Dallas police officer has been accused of forcing a woman to perform sex acts in the back of his squad car in exchange for her freedom.
According to The Dallas Morning Star, an arrest affidavit alleges that on Sept. 9, Officer La’Cori Johnson stopped the woman, had her get in the back of his patrol car, parked in a remote location and sexually assaulted her.
Johnson allegedly had the woman perform sexual acts on him before he forced himself onto her, all while he was on duty. He let her go after he was done.
The incident was reported and Johnson was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. On Tuesday, he was questioned and arrested.
Attorney Kimberly Priest Johnson, no relation, told WFAA that "With any sexual assault, the victim is going to have lasting damage from that attack; but in this particular case, the damage extends beyond the victim, and it impacts the entire public."
Authorities say the 28-year-old officer was charged with the assault and taken to the Dallas County jail.
MIAMI A police officer is under investigation for attempting to take a photograph of Justin Bieber while he was in custody on driving under the influence and other charges.
Miami Beach police Sgt. Bobby Hernandez confirmed Friday that a female officer is being investigated for possible conduct unbecoming an officer. Punishments can range from a verbal reprimand to termination. The officer's name wasn't released.
Bieber was arrested Jan. 23 during what police describe as an illegal street drag race. In addition to driving under the influence, the 19-year-old pop singer was charged with resisting arrest and having an invalid driver's license. He has pleaded not guilty.
Police say the officer attempted to photograph Bieber while he was in a temporary holding cell, and a higher-ranking officer intervened to stop the attempt.
Update: Thursday, 10:15 p.m.: The incident happened in November, WXYZ reports. Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green says the officer who cut the hair, Bernadette Najor, had initially been placed on leave and was eventually fired. Charges against the victim, Chadra Gregory, who had been arrested for trashing a motel room, were dropped.
Other officers may be disciplined, Fox 2's Ron Savage reports, but no other firings are expected.
This is almost incomprehensible.
WXYZ's Heather Catallo reports that a Warren police officer put a young mother under arrest in a restraining chair and hacked off her weave.
WXYZ posted a video that shows officers restraining Charda Gregory. Then one officer uses scissors to cut off her artificial hair that was sewn into a braid on her scalp.
“I was confused. I didn’t know what happened and what was going on,” Gregory said, according to WXYZ.
Catallo reports that Warren police say they do ask prisoners to remove clipped-in long hair extensions so they can’t be used as a weapon or to commit suicide.
WXYZ's website says:
But a weave is different, and Police Commissioner Jere Green says what Officer Bernadette Najor did was not a proper use of force.
“There’s a real simple thing: it’s called right and wrong. And to me this is something that I won’t tolerate, I don’t think the citizens of Warren will tolerate it,” said Green.
-- Allan Lengel
By CHAU LAM AND ELLEN YAN
A Suffolk County police sergeant accused of "targeting" Latinos in traffic stops and stealing cash from them is facing official misconduct and petty larceny charges.
Sixth Precinct Sgt. Scott A. Greene was arrested during a sting operation after stealing a $100 bill from a car driven by an undercover Latino officer, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said Friday.
Greene, a 25-year veteran, pulled over the vehicle and ordered the driver out, authorities said.
Moments later, the uniformed patrol officer was caught on videotape taking the money from an envelope on the passenger seat, then folding the bill and stuffing it in his left sleeve.
Greene, 50, of Shirley, who earned $147,200 in 2012, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday and was released without bail.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber said he was shocked at the arrest.
"I am particularly outraged by his conduct -- of one who is sworn to protect the community and instead targeted those he perceived to be vulnerable," he said.
So far, investigators are looking into three cases in which Latino men claim a police officer stole money from them after he pulled them over for traffic infractions.
Spota said he expects to file additional charges against Greene, including possible hate crimes.
"We strongly feel that this has occurred on a number of other occasions," the district attorney said.
Greene's attorney, Tim Mazzei of Blue Point, said he has known the sergeant and his wife for many years and does not believe the officer targeted Latinos.
"I know he's a decorated police officer and needless to say, these allegations are very startling and very upsetting," Mazzei said.
Attempts to reach Greene at his home were unsuccessful Friday.
Greene's arrest comes after a December agreement among the U.S. Department of Justice, Suffolk County and its police department to address allegations of discriminatory policing against Latino immigrants. The deal came out of a federal probe spurred by the 2008 killing in Patchogue of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in a hate incident.
Investigators from Spota's office set up the Thursday night sting to catch Greene after two Latino men complained to the Suffolk police Internal Affairs Bureau several months ago about being stopped in the Farmingville-Medford area -- part of Greene's beat.
Friday, investigators were interviewing a third potential victim, Spota said.
The sting featured an undercover officer driving a car with an intentionally dangling rear license plate, Spota said.
Greene followed the car on Granny Road in Coram and then pulled alongside at a red light. Spota said the sergeant peered at the undercover officer before deciding to pull the vehicle over.
"In my view, he was looking at the driver because he was targeting Hispanics," Spota said.
During the stop, Greene ordered the driver to stand behind his car, Spota said. Authorities didn't say what reason Greene gave, if any, for stopping the vehicle.
A video camera hidden inside the undercover vehicle then caught Greene removing the $100 bill from an envelope filled with $1,200 in marked bills.
Authorities believe Greene singled out Latino drivers because some may be undocumented immigrants who are reluctant to complain.
Spota and Webber said they plan to meet with leaders in the Latino community and ask them to reach out to residents who may have also been victimized.
A spokesman for a coalition of Suffolk community advocates said the case underscores the need for police reforms.
"If this incident is true it lends credence to the complaints that Latinos are targeted by the police for traffic stops and suggests that deliberate action has to be taken" to strengthen ties with the community and correct those practices, said Luis Valenzuela, director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, an Amityville group.
By Christina Coleman
New video of a chaotic Jan. 5 arrest has emerged, backing up the story of a woman who claimed she was a victim of police brutality during the incident outside a Superior, Wisconsin bar.
The incident, captured on video by a dash camera, shows police grabbing Natasha Lancour after engaging in a verbal altercation. Police were called to the scene for a disturbance taking place in the parking lot after the Green Bay Packers lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
What happens next is shocking. The officer slams Lancour into the police vehicle and starts viciously punching her in the head. They fall out of view — the rest of the attack cannot be seen on camera.
Now, Superior police are asking bystanders to come forward with cell phone video to determine if Lancour was resisting arrest or if the officer acted with excessive force.
The Kelly Thomas case makes it hard to be optimistic about police.
Steven Greenhut |
SACRAMENTO — I’ve always taken comfort in comedian George Carlin’s quip that “scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” It’s not that cynics want the world to go to that proverbial “hell in a hand basket,” but they’ve been disappointed so many times they’ve lowered their expectations.
This one-time idealist wants to believe that in a free society the rulers are held to the same standards as the ruled, that the public wouldn’t stand for the kind of official brutality that takes place in unfree nations and that juries would punish killers even if they wear a uniform.
Yet over years of writing about policing issues, it’s hard to remain hopeful. No matter how egregious the incident — police gunning down a troubled teen in an empty park, shooting a fleeing suspect in the back, or planting evidence in a car trunk — there’s rarely any punishment. Then there’s the effect of watching the lobbying tactics police unions use in the Capitol to quash modest efforts to boost accountability.
So it wasn’t surprising when, in July 2011, the Fullerton political establishment rushed to the defense of officers who had beaten a 130-pound homeless schizophrenic named Kelly Thomas. The public saw the published photo ofThomas’ horribly swollen and bruised face, yet the mayor went on TV saying he had seen worse injuries in the Vietnam War and that it was unclear what killed Thomas, who died in a hospital days after the whomping.
We also learned that police officers confiscated the video camera of a bystander and were allowed to watch the surveillance video of the incident and essentially get their stories straight before giving their statements. It looked, sadly, like business as usual.
But then something happened to awaken that dormant idealist. Local residents were outraged and began a series of peaceful protests — never mind that the mayor compared them to a lynch mob. Two local businessmen organized and funded a successful recall of council members who they viewed as culpable in downplaying the incident. Then a district attorney with a law-and-order reputation pressed charges against two of the officers, which is a rarity.
The public could see what happened on the released transit-station video: Officer Manuel Ramos confronted Thomas, slipped on a rubber glove and said that he was going to “f---“ him up. Thomas was generally cooperative, yet the painfully long beating and Tasing session began. Thomas begged for his life, but was left in a pool of blood.
There were signs that justice might prevail, but in the ensuing months, the police union helped defeat council reformers. And in the final chapter recently, an Orange County jury issued “not guilty” verdicts for ex-officers Ramos and Jay Cicinelli. The latter already is pushing to be reinstated to the department.
“These peace officers were doing their jobs … they did what they were trained to do,” explained Ramos' attorney, John Barnett. The defense called witnesses — including a Fullerton police training official — who echoed that same point. Police supporters have said these officers were just doing their job. The defense succeeded in portraying Thomas as a potentially violent, drug-abusing homeless man who was not compliant. Now they say we should all just move on. Nothing more to see here.
We all know there are bad apples in every profession. But one can’t have it both ways. This incident either was the result of rogue behavior by officers, as the DA alleged, or is acceptable police procedure, as the defendants claimed. The court decision effectively means the latter.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Thomas and wish that this situation never had to occur; however, we believe that the jury made the correct decision in this case …,” said Mike Durant, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), a union group that runs a legal-insurance fund that covered the officers’ legal bills. “This is a lesson to everyone wearing a badge.”
What will that lesson be? It may be hard to believe, but this verdict could leave some observers even less idealistic and more cynical than before
TROY, N.Y. – A meeting was called for Monday evening for Troy residents to discuss accusations of police brutality.
Troy Police responded to a report of an assault early Saturday morning at Kokopellis night club. Police said officers were kicked, punched and hit with bottles as they attempted to locate the alleged assault victim.
Six arrests were made, and eight Troy Police officers were injured.
Bar goers and witnesses believe police used excessive force against 25-year-old Roshawon Donley. Donley was arrested and charged with Harassment, Resisting Arrest and Obstructing Governmental Administration.
Cell phone and surveillance footage of the incident have many in Troy speaking out.
Residents believe Troy Police have used excessive force for years in their community and will discuss the issue at a meeting titled Enough is Enough.
The meeting will take place at the Missing Link Street Ministry at 6 p.m.
Officers facing serious criminal charges should be stripped of pay: police chiefs association Waterloo Region Record
By Liz Monteiro
WATERLOO REGION — Police say their hands are tied and they have no choice but to pay officers who are suspended while they face misconduct charges.
The Police Services Act dictates that officers continue to receive their salaries while they are under suspension from their jobs.
The only time the chief of police can suspend an officer without pay is when an officer is convicted of an offence and receives a prison sentence.
Joe Couto, spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, said the association is trying to lobby the provincial government to make changes to the act.
"No party has the appetite to do the right thing and change the law," he said.
The association recognizes that officers facing misconduct charges get paid through the proceedings to protect the officer until a decision is made, he said.
However, officers who are charged with a serious criminal offence shouldn't be protected, Couto said.
In a white report written by the association in 2010, the group says Ontario police chiefs "lack the legal authority to take reasonable and appropriate steps in dealing with allegations of serious criminality."
The paper says this leads to "an erosion of public trust" with the public concluding that "the police are protection their own."
This week, three officers were before a police tribunal at Waterloo Regional Police headquarters. Jeff Vongkhamphou, Timothy Green and Graeme Kobayashi plead guilty to charges of neglect of duty, deceit and discreditable conduct.
Vongkhamphou was charged criminally with obstructing justice and given a suspended sentence. He admitted in 2012 that he disposed of a sex toy and nude photographs that were stolen on police calls by Const. Christopher Knox the year before. Knox resigned.
All three officers are being paid even though they are suspended from their jobs. They are awaiting sentencing.
The tribunal heard that the men were part of a BlackBerry Messenger group in which officers made offensive remarks about a mentally ill woman and a pregnant woman, a boy with Down syndrome and a group of Asian men in a pub, as well as ridiculing someone of Middle Eastern descent.
The officers mocked a supervisory officer with a cleft palate, referring to the officer as "whistle lips." They also made fun of an officer for his sexual orientation.
In one case, an officer stole a sex toy while on a police call from a citizen's home and then attached the sex toy to another officer's vehicle. Nude photos of a woman were also stolen from her partner's cellphone.
The prosecution at the hearing wants all three officers fired for what was described as a "cavalier" and "callous" attitude when mocking members of the public and posting their photos to the BlackBerry Messenger group.
An officer can appeal a decision by a hearing officer to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. They also get paid during that process.
Earlier this month, Const. Craig Markham was ordered to resign from the Waterloo Regional Police after hearing officer Supt. Pat Dietrich said Markham was careless and reckless when he leaked confidential information on someone who was in custody to the person's partner. He is appealing the decision and will receive his salary until his case is heard.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.-- A Murfreesboro police officer was suspended without pay for allegedly selling a police-issued ballistic vest. Officer Jason Lowder allegedly sold the vest to a 20-year-old Murfreesboro man through a website. The vest was taken back and placed into evidence after officers questioned the man on how he came into possession of the vest and determined the seller was Officer Lowder. An internal investigation by MPD will be conducted.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Police have suspended a veteran officer for allegedly harassing a woman she believes was dating the same man she is.
In a news release Friday, authorities said the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office filed a bill of information Jan. 16 against Officer Carolyn Dalton, accusing her of malfeasance in office.
The case was assigned to state District Judge Benedict Willard. Her arraignment is set for Feb. 13.
It was not immediately known if Dalton, a 16-year veteran of the force, has an attorney.
The alleged victim filed a complaint Jan. 8 with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office, saying Dalton had come to her home in Chalmette, followed her in a car and demanded that she stop seeing a man that both women were allegedly dating. The complaint says Dalton used profanity and threatened that if the woman didn't stop communicating with the man, she was "going to get her."
The police department's Public Integrity Bureau reassigned Dalton to desk duty after learning of the complaint, which resulted in a restraining order against Dalton.
Through investigation, the department said detectives learned that while on duty, Dalton used the mobile data computer terminal in her patrol car to look up the complainant's home and business addresses. Investigators also determined that Dalton was not conducting an investigation that would require her to check for that information through the official database.
By Peter Dujardin,
NEWPORT NEWS — A former police officer was found guilty on Thursday of 12 misdemeanors in an incident in which he exposed himself and performed an "obscene sexual display" to several people passing by his home.
Christopher Roush, 42, was acquitted of the felony count of taking indecent liberties with a child, for exposure to a 14-year-old passenger in a car that passed by the Harpersville Road home at about 9 a.m. on April 7.
Several people testified they saw Roush standing "completely naked" in his front doorway, in view of the passing traffic. Several witnesses testified that he appeared to be masturbating with one hand, while holding the glass storm door open with the other.
One woman testified she was driving to a yard sale, with her 14-year-old daughter in the passenger seat, when she saw Roush. She said she screamed, then did a U-turn "to try to see the address."
Officer Thomas Gamache Jr., who was dispatched to the home on various complaints, testified that he saw Roush standing naked in the doorway, then closing the door.
Gamache said he was soon let into the home by Roush's roommate, who led him to Roush's bedroom. Roush didn't immediately answer, but soon came outside and began "belligerently" yelling at Gamache to get off his property.
Roush — who lost his job over the incident — testified Thursday he had no recollection of what he did. He testified that he came home from work at 1 a.m. after working the night shift, and "started to drink liquor."
"I woke up the next afternoon," he said, and when his roommate told him what he had done several hours earlier, "I didn't believe him." But hearing the litany of witnesses before him Thursday — including the wife of a trusted police officer friend — convinced him he had done it, Roush said. "I just don't remember it," he said.
Roush said he's in treatment for a severe drinking problem and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of several incidents, including his on-duty shooting of a pit bull 17 days before the April incident. The dog had to be euthanized.
He was also the first officer who responded to the grisly 2011 homicide scene in which a Newport News man stands accused of killing his wife and her three children.
In early 2010, when Roush was known as Christopher Miner, two juries acquitted him on charges that he had sexually assaulted two women in 2009.
Roush's lawyer, Robert W. Lawrence, asked Circuit Judge Ted Markow to throw out the felony charge involving the juvenile. That request was made on the assertion that Roush didn't know he was exposing himself to a minor, and had no "lascivious intent" in doing so.
Lawrence also asked Markow to "withhold a judgment" on the misdemeanors until after the judge had a chance to see psychologists' evaluation to see "what he was going through at the time."
Markow, a retired judge from Richmond sitting in on the case, agreed to strike the felony indecent liberties charge, saying that part of the case wasn't proven.
But the prosecutor, Suffolk Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Wiser, argued against withholding a judgment on the seven counts of indecent exposure and five counts of making an "obscene sexual display."
Wiser said alcohol use doesn't excuse criminal behavior, and the judge needed to enter a factual finding. While the idea of withholding judgment was "appealing," Markow said, "I don't think I have a choice other than to find him guilty."
After the hearing, Roush apologized to Assistant Newport News Police Chief Joe Moore, who attended the hearing, for "embarrassing the police department." "I appreciate the apology," Moore replied.
Roush will be sentenced May 1.