PLAINFIELD — A former city police sergeant next month is facing 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on a sex crime conviction.
Samuel Woody, 43, had been scheduled to be sentenced Monday morning by a Superior Court judge New Brunswick on the charges second-degree official misconduct and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. The sentencing was postponed because of the snow storm.
Woody was accused of wrongfully arresting a 27-year-old woman on theft and burglary charges in July 2011. Later, he coerced the woman into undressing while he masturbated in full uniform, officials said.
Authorities said Woody had threatened to put his victim in prison for five years.
The 12-year veteran of the Plainfield force was convicted last month by a Union County jury. Afterward, the case was transferred to Middlesex County, where he remains in custody at the county jail.
The sentence requested by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office may include five years of parole ineligibility on the official misconduct conviction, and being barred from ever again holding a public job in the state.
EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A former East Haven police detective has been convicted of stealing more than $1,300 from a police evidence locker.
The New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/1k5fjmB ) a six-member jury convicted Michael D'Amato on Monday of second-degree larceny and tampering with physical evidence.
The theft occurred in March 2011. D'Amato retired from the department in December 2011 and was charged in May 2012.
Prosecutors presented video evidence during the trial showing D'Amato entering and leaving the evidence room the day the money disappeared.
He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced.
The city of Tulsa settles a lawsuit with a former drug defendant convicted amid police corruption.
By DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
The city of Tulsa has settled for $425,000 the federal lawsuit of a man who was freed from prison because of corruption within the Tulsa Police Department, attorneys on both sides of the lawsuit confirmed Wednesday.
Larry Wayne Barnes Sr., 63, was released from prison after serving 16 months of a 66-month sentence he received after being convicted in April 2008 of two drug crimes, according to an opinion filed Friday by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton.
While Heaton ruled in favor of the city on some issues, he found that Barnes offered sufficient evidence to dispute whether the city's policymakers were "deliberately indifferent to the need for further supervision" over its police officers.
Barnes had alleged that the city had notice of prior misbehavior by former Officer Jeff Henderson and other officers who were involved in his arrest yet failed to take appropriate steps to supervise them.
Henderson was convicted of violating suspects' civil rights and committing perjury. He completed a 42-month prison term in October. He is one of four officers who were convicted as a result of an investigation into police corruption.
The officers' trials involved allegations of falsified search warrants, perjury, witness tampering, selling drugs and drug conspiracy by several Tulsa police officers and an ATF agent.
At least 48 people, including Barnes, have been freed from prison or had their cases modified because of civil rights violations or potential problems with their cases stemming from police corruption.
The judge in Barnes' civil suit decided that his case could proceed to trial on his Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim, his First Amendment retaliation claim and his negligence claims against the city.
On Wednesday, a settlement conference was held in Oklahoma City before U.S. Senior District Judge Lee West. Besides attorneys on each side of the lawsuit, city of Tulsa spokeswoman Michelle Allen confirmed that Mayor Dewey Bartlett was in attendance.
Last month, Barnes' 37-year-old daughter, Larita Barnes, reached a $300,000 settlement with the city. She was convicted in April 2008 of two drug charges and was sentenced in October 2008 to 10 years in prison, but she was freed July 2, 2009, as a result of a court order in the fallout of the police corruption investigation.
Earlier this month, the city reached a $35,000 settlement with 59-year-old Bobby Wayne Haley Sr., who had served four years of a 22-year sentence in a federal cocaine case before being released when the corruption was exposed.
In August, the city settled for $50,000 a lawsuit brought by 33-year-old Demario T. Harris, who had been convicted in Tulsa federal court in April 2005 of possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced in November 2005 to life in prison but was ordered freed in October 2010.
Guy Fortney, an attorney representing the city in the litigation filed as a result of the corruption's exposure, said Wednesday evening that each of the cases has been evaluated on its own merits.
"Each case has been looked at independently," Fortney said. "Each of the plaintiffs is in a very different position."
He pointed out that the city has received favorable rulings in several of the nearly 20 cases that have been filed as a result of the corruption. None of the cases has made it to trial yet.
Art Fleak, one of the attorneys representing Larry Barnes Sr., said Wednesday that police attempted to "cut corners" while investigating his client. Fleak said he hopes the settlement "will change the way our city does business."
Fleak, Fortney and Allen all confirmed the settlement amount
Woman punched by police officer has charges reduced: State investigation into incident continues By Mike Simonson Wisconsin Public Radio
A woman charged with assaulting a Superior police officer had her charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor at a hearing on Friday in Douglas County Court.
Natasha Lancour was charged with felony battery of an officer in a Jan. 5 incident outside a Superior bar. Lancour, who is black, in turn accused police officer George Gothner with racially motivated brutality. A police dash cam video shows the pair scuffling, and Gothner punching her three times.
This exchange came a few minutes later in the squad car:
Gothner: “Can I tell you something? You see this here? Your whole actions were captured on camera.”
Lancour: “Exactly. Exactly. Your actions? Your number one actions?”
Gothner: “Yeah, your number one action of hitting me first, okay?
Lancour: “That’s not normal, sweetie. Keep it real though. They were not normal … I don't give even a f---, I'm right.”
Gothner: “You're not right, so shut up.”
Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse began an internal investigation. When the video went viral, causing strong public reaction, and a cell phone video emerged, LaGesse turned the investigation over to the state Division of Criminal Investigations.
The NAACP and the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee, which memorializes a 1920 lynching in Duluth, Minn., rallied behind Lancour. The memorial committee released this statement on Thursday condemning the police action:
“No woman is safe from police abuse if the behavior of Officer George Gothner is accepted as legitimate police behavior. In our defense of Natasha Lancour, we send a message that no one, particularly our mothers and daughters, should live in fear of the police in Superior.”
Lancour said she’s grateful for the support. “I’m one of many faces of those whose rights were violated and this support system means a lot to me,” she said.
Gothner remains on paid leave, a move LaGesse said is not a disciplinary action.
By John Diedrich and Gina Barton of the Journal Sentinel
A Milwaukee police detective charged with lying to an FBI agent has applied for duty disability retirement, saying the stress of being investigated, arrested and strip-searched has left him unable to be a police officer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has learned.
Willie Huerta has been on paid suspension since May, as the department conducts an internal investigation into allegations the longtime detective intervened to protect a drug dealer when he was stopped by Milwaukee officers.
Huerta, 40, filed an application for duty disability in July, contending he is totally disabled because of psychological and physical injuries resulting from the investigation, according to his application filed with the Employees' Retirement System.
"As a result of the duty-incurred injuries as described above, I can no longer perform the essential duties or functions of a city of Milwaukee police officer, detective or any position in a limited-duty capacity," the application statement said.
If his application is approved, Huerta could be paid by the city for the rest of his life. In most cases, duty disability provides such retirees with 75% of their salaries, tax-free. His 2012 salary, including overtime, was more than $85,000.
Huerta was first charged in May with obstruction of justice, on allegations of helping the suspected drug dealer get out of a traffic stop. That charge was dropped two weeks later without explanation by the prosecutor.
Last month, Huerta was indicted on a count of lying to the FBI during questioning related to the same case.
Martin Kohler, whose firm is representing Huerta, declined to comment. Huerta did not return calls.
Huerta is one of at least five officers who have applied for or received duty disability during or after a disciplinary investigation since 2006, the Journal Sentinel found.
After the investigation by the Journal Sentinel, the board of the city's Employees' Retirement System approved a series of changes intended to make it harder for officers charged or under investigation to be approved for duty disability.
And an opinion from the city attorney's office said officers already receiving the benefit may lose it if their applications include potentially misleading information believed to be ghostwritten by "a retired police detective" — a reference to former union boss and felon Bradley DeBraska, who is known to have assisted at least 18 officers with their applications.
Large portions of Huerta's application are identical to other applications written by DeBraska. Huerta ends his statement by writing that because of his "psychological trauma and my mental state, I required a retired detective" to help with the statement.
Huerta's application remains under review, according to Jerry Allen, executive director of the Employees' Retirement System.
"This application is being evaluated by the city attorney, in light of the city attorney's opinion," Allen said.
Huerta is on full suspension — with no police powers, department gun or badge — as an internal investigation continues, said Lt. Mark Stanmeyer, Milwaukee police spokesman. Huerta continues to be paid, as required under state law. His most recent assignment was in the department's sensitive crimes unit.
Even if Huerta is fired or convicted, he still may be able to get duty disability pay, because his application was filed while he was still an employee and before the retirement system instituted the rule changes.
As an example, former Officer Dwight Copeland didn't show up for work for the equivalent of half of his 14 years on the force and was disciplined two dozen times for misconduct. Copeland was fired for lying about an application claiming he was disabled because of a shoulder injury and stress. His duty disability retirement was able to be approved last year because he filed it before he was fired.
The rule changes also may not stop other officers who applied for duty disability while they were being investigated. Rodolfo Gomez Jr., who was fired from the department for hitting a handcuffed prisoner and faces a felony charge over the incident, also has applied for duty disability. Gomez has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in May.
In a letter, Police Chief Edward Flynn wrote that he thinks Gomez submitted a fraudulent application for duty disability retirement and is not entitled to the benefit.
Gomez's application also is under review by the city attorney, Allen said.
Traffic stop in 2011
Huerta was hired by the Police Department in 1996 and worked in undercover drug operations. In 2006, he became a detective and later worked on a joint drug task force with federal agents.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Huerta protected Julio Cruz by intervening in a traffic stop of a tow truck in January 2011. The stop ended with Cruz — allegedly a confidential informant for Huerta — and the driver of the truck being released without the truck being searched, even though it smelled like marijuana, the complaint says.
Records attached to the complaint show several calls were made between Cruz's phone and Huerta's phone at the time of the traffic stop.
In the complaint, another detective told FBI agents that informants are often stopped, and he would not ask for such a stop to be halted because "additional charges on an informant would just make the individual more motivated to work and be a better informant."
In his duty disability statement, Huerta wrote that he received a call from Cruz's cousin during the traffic stop of the tow truck. Huerta said he called the uniformed police officer doing the stop "to advise the officer that the HIDTA (federal drug task force) unit was investigating the driver of the tow truck for serious crimes."
Huerta's disability statement did not indicate whether he told the uniformed officer what to do about the situation. He said he later learned that two undercover officers arrived at the traffic stop, and they were the ones who asked the uniformed officer to let the men in the tow truck go.
An informant later told FBI agents that Huerta was protecting Cruz, helping him get out of traffic stops and providing inside information.
Huerta said in his statement that the man gave unreliable information to the FBI.
Cruz has pleaded guilty to drug counts in federal court. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
A visit from the FBI
On May 1 of last year, Huerta said he was putting his trash outside his house when he heard the sound of tires racing. A half-dozen FBI agents and Milwaukee police officers rushed up to him. They searched his house and took his department gun, badge and keys, his disability statement says.
Huerta was questioned at FBI offices for 21/2 hours and he said he chose to answer questions, without calling a lawyer.
According to the indictment, it was during this interview that Huerta told an FBI agent that "J.C. Jr." had never been his informant while he worked at the Milwaukee Police Department and he had never paid "J.C. Jr." for information.
"The statement and representation were false because, as Huerta then and there knew, he paid J.C. Jr. $300 in official funds on or about Sept. 16, 2010, for information provided by J.C. Jr. during an official investigation," the indictment says.
Lying to a federal agent can bring a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Officer Albert Robles, 37, was charged after he allegedly crashed into another car 7:10 a.m. Sunday at 47th Ave. and 69th St. in Woodside.
BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
An off-duty cop was charged with driving drunk after he got into an accident in Queens, police said Monday.
Officer Albert Robles, 37, was charged with driving while intoxicated.
He allegedly crashed into another car 7:10 a.m. Sunday at 47th Ave. and 69th St. in Woodside.
Police said there were no injuries.
By Amanda Hurley
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
An on-duty UAPD officer was charged with a Super Extreme DUI last night after running the wall on an I-10 frontage road last night.
Tucson Police Department responded to a single vehicle crash on the Speedway Blvd frontage road at 9:38 p.m. last night. Sergeant John McGrath was on duty at the time of the accident. Officers noticed possible signs of intoxication.
They performed a DUI investigation and Sgt. McGrath was arrested with multiple charges, including criminal damages and Super Extreme DUI, which indicated a blood alcohol level over .20.The UAPD car was impounded for 30 days.