SAN DIEGO – A San Diego police officer has been arrested for investigation of false imprisonment and sexual battery of four women.
U-T San Diego reports (http://bit.ly/1bDhQwi ) Officer Christopher Hays' arrest came as two more women claimed that he sexually harassed or assaulted them.
Police Chief Bill Landsowne says the 30-year-old officer turned himself in Sunday and was booked into jail. He was released on $130,000 bail.
Landsowne says the case against Hays came after a woman filed a report in December. He says prosecutors were investigating claims by the two women who came forward over the weekend.
Hays could face up to 7 1/2 years in jail if convicted. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Potential jurors in the Feb. 24 trial of two men busted in connection with the "Cannibal Cop" investigation may be asked about their web surfing habits and deepest carnal cravings.
BY DANIEL BEEKMAN / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Potential jurors in the Feb. 24 trial of two men busted in connection with the "Cannibal Cop" investigation may be asked about their web surfing habits and deepest carnal cravings.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers for Michael Vanhise and Christopher Asch have submitted a proposed juror questionnaire that includes the query: "Have you ever visited the website darkfetishnet.com or viewed any other books, magazines, movies, television programs or internet sites that relate to sexual fetishes or fantasies?"
Vanhise, 23, and Asch, 62, a former Stuyvesant High School librarian, are accused of plotting to kidnap, torture, rape and kill women and children.
They were nabbed last year after investigators arrested former NYPD "Cannibal Cop" Gilberto Valle for planning to kidnap and eat women.
Valle, 29, chatted about his sick fantasies with Vanhise, who later cooked up a separate scheme with Asch that did not involve cannibalism, prosecutors said.
Darkfetishnet.com is a website visited by all three men. Valle logged in 1,000 times, the feds said.
The onetime police officer was found guilty on several counts last March by a Manhattan Federal Court jury. He faces up to life in prison.
Richard Meltz, a 65-year-old former hospital police chief charged in the Vanhise and Asch plot, pleaded guilty to kidnapping conspiracy last month.
He will receive no more than 10 years in prison under the terms of his plea deal. Like Valle, Metlz previously insisted his sadistic plans were pure fantasy.
Manhattan Federal Judge Paul Gardephe must sign off on the juror questionnaire.
The judge is also weighing whether to let prosecutors describe a graphic torture video at trial. The stomach-turning video, "Pain 35," seized last year from Asch's Greenwich Village home.
By Janon Fisher
Former 33rd Precinct NYPD Officer Michael Pena was sentenced to 75 years in prison for raping a city school teacher.View Full Caption
MANHATTAN — A former NYPD officer convicted of raping a city public school teacher is appealing his 75-year sentence, saying even terrorists and mobsters don't get as much time behind bars.
Former 33rd Precinct officer Michael Pena, 30 — who grabbed Lydia Cuomo, then 24, as she walked to her first day teaching at a new school early on Aug. 19, 2011 and threatened to shoot her in the head if she resisted his 20-minute sex attack — is being punished for prior failures by prosecutors, his lawyer said.
"In this case, a young 28-year-old man, whose crime was grievous, yet aberrant to his character and prior personal history, was punished more harshly than al-Qaida terrorists, vicious killers, kingpin narcotics offenders, violent gangsters and racketeers and other recidivist predators," Pena's lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, said in court documents, adding that he wants the appellate court panel to slash the amount of time Pena must serve.
"This is ... a case of justice run amok, fueled by public outrage drummed up by the media, fired up by two then-recently highly publicized failed sex-crime prosecutions and the perceived need by the prosecution and the sentencing judge to send the proverbial 'message,'" Savitt said in court papers of Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers' sentence of three 25-year-to-life sentences, which he ordered Pena to serve consecutively.
Pena's trial came shortly after the Manhattan District Attorney's office failed to convicttwo police officers charged with raping a woman in her East Village apartment in 2008. Those officers were convicted of official misconduct in August 2011.
The acquittal of those officers prompted protests against the Manhattan District Attorney's office. The DA's office was also criticized for dropping a sexual-assault case against former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was accused of attacking a hotel maid in Midtown.
Pena's case, which appeared more straightforward than the other two cases, included a witness who told the jury he saw Pena attacking Cuomo in an alley.
A jury did not convict him on the rape charge, because they did not feel the prosecutor proved the narrow definition of rape during the trial. He was convicted on other counts of criminal and predatory sex acts.
The rape acquittal again caused a firestorm of public outrage and prompted Cuomo to come forward publicly to offer her support for a change in the legal definition of rape. That law failed in Albany last year.
Pena eventually pleaded guilty to rape after prosecutors ramped up for a second trial, but that conviction did not add additional time to his sentence.
Cuomo told DNAinfo New York that she supported the judge's sentence.
"The judge didn't make the sentencing up," she said. "He's following guidelines."
Cuomo, who has continued her teaching career in the city, defended the Manhattan District Attorney's office.
"They seek justice in every case they do," she said.
Although the DA does not determine punishment, Savitt argued that recommendations made to the judge and the vigor with which they prosecuted the case persuaded Carruthers to hand down a stricter sentence.
"It sends the wrong message that it is better to murder a woman whom you have raped because the penalty for murder is 25 years to life, making the offender eligible for parole after 25 years, whereas if she survives more than one sex act in the same encounter, the offender will never face a parole board in his lifetime," Savitt argued.
The Manhattan District Attorney has not yet responded to the appeal and declined to comment.
No date has been set for the appeal hearing.
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun
9:47 p.m. EST, February 10, 2014
Two Baltimore police officers were found guilty Monday on charges related to the assault of a man who attempted to hide in the home of one officer's girlfriend after he fled from police during a 2011 drug arrest.
Sgt. Marinos N. Gialamas and Officer Anthony Williams were convicted in the case of Antoine Douglas Green, who prosecutors said broke into the woman's home as he attempted to flee police. Officers took him into custody before Williams, who was off duty at the time, came to the scene.
Police had put Green into a department vehicle, prosecutors said, but Gialamas had him taken back into the home in the 2200 block of Prentiss Place in East Baltimore. Officers then assaulted him, according to court testimony.
Prosecutors later dropped drug charges against Green amid an investigation into the officers' conduct.
Williams, 38, was accused of instructing his girlfriend, who was at home with her son at the time of the incident, to lie to a detective during an internal affairs review.
The six-year veteran was charged with obstructing and hindering an investigation and with second-degree assault. He was convicted of both charges and is scheduled to be sentenced April 16.
Gialamas, 41, a 19-year veteran, was cleared of an assault charge but found guilty of nonfeasance in office.
He is scheduled to be sentenced March 24.
"I think that verdict reflects the fact that when it comes to the law, police officers are ordinary citizens regardless of what their personal motives might be," Baltimore State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein said.
He commended the officers who worked the internal affairs investigation, noting they face the same pressures as nonpolice witnesses when testifying against defendants in court.
Neither officer's attorney returned calls for comment Monday afternoon.
"We hold every member of our force to the highest professional and ethical standards. That's what the people of Baltimore expect and deserve, and it is what I demand" Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said in a statement. "We will continue to work toward reforming the organization and holding our officers accountable."
By MICHAEL N. PRICE
A seven year veteran of the Downingtown Police Department was arrested early Saturday morning following an incident at a Philadelphia gentleman’s club.
According to a brief statement provided by Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxell, around 2:45 a.m. Saturday the Downingtown Police Department’s shift supervisor was notified that officer Scott Neuhaus, 40, was arrested at Delilah’s Gentlemen’s Club and Steakhouse in the 100 block of Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia. The statement said Neuhaus was off duty and in civilian clothes.
According to a docket filed in the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, Neuhaus was charged with one count of disorderly conduct with obscene language or gesture, a summary offense. A status hearing was tentatively scheduled for Feb. 24 in Philadelphia, according to court records.
Downingtown Police Chief James McGowan was immediately advised of the arrest, the statement said, and Neuhaus was placed on paid administrative leave. Maxwell was also notified, the statement said.
“The Downingtown Police Department will be conducting an investigation into the incident and Officer Neuhaus will remain on Administrative Leave until the conclusion of the investigation and any possible proceedings that arise from that investigation,” the statement said.
Maxwell and McGowan declined to comment further on the matter.
Neuhaus previously worked for the Coatesville Police Department.
By Dan Thorn
A former Princeton Police officer finds himself on the wrong side of the law again.
Police on Saturday arrested Christopher Scott Winkler a former Princeton Police officer from Union for allegedly hiding a 15-year-old girl who ran away from her mother in Greenbrier County.
Winkler was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
This wasn't the first time Winkler was caught breaking the law.
In March 2011 Winkler was arrested for intimidating and bribing a local teenager while in uniform.
Winkler admitted to soliciting bribery and served 6 months on home confinement and has since been on probation.
Winkler was in Southern Regional Jail over the weekend.
RANDOLPH — A Parsippany police officer was charged with driving while intoxicated Saturday after his truck went off the road, police said.
Responding to a reported motor-vehicle crash, township police discovered John Freudenberg, 30, and a blue Chevrolet Silverado truck off the road and in the front yard of 27 Jennifern Ave. Police Officer Jason Del Turco spoke to Freudenberg, who told the officer that he “ran off the road,” police said in a news release.
Freudenberg identified himself as a Parsippany police officer, which was later confirmed by Randolph police. The Parsippany Police Department said Freudenberg is an officer in the patrol division and has been with the department for about a year.
Del Turco detected the odor of alcohol on Freudenberg’s breath and had him perform field sobriety tests before Freudenberg was placed under arrest, the release said.
Freudenberg was transported to township police headquarters where he was charged with DWI and reckless driving, the release said.
A passenger in Freduenberg’s vehicle complained of pain but she refused medical treatment at the scene, the release said. No other injuries were reported.
Parsippany Police Chief Paul Philipps said; “This is a personnel matter and I will not comment on it.”
Squad cars collided while responding to call for backup
A Fond du Lac police officer has been suspended following an investigation into a November crash that injured two police officers.
Fond du Lac Police Department Assistant Chief Steve Klein said Officer Melissa Sprangers received an administrative suspension based on results of an investigation into the crash. The crash took place Nov. 1 at the intersection of Western Avenue and Macy Street.
Klein declined to release details of Sprangers’ suspension or how the suspension was served.
Sprangers and fellow Fond du Lac Police Officer Kristen Kachelmeier were responding in emergency mode to a request for backup called in by an officer struggling with a subject on South Main Street. The crash was reported shortly before 9 p.m.
The collision resulted in damage to both squad cars, a light pole and a legally parked car. Both officers were transported to St. Agnes Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Klein said the police department called on the Wisconsin State Patrol to investigate the crash. In addition, the police department also conducted an in-house administrative review of the incident.
According to the Wisconsin State Patrol report, Kachelmeier was traveling south on Macy Street when the stop and go light turned green as she approached the intersection. Sprangers was traveling east on Western Avenue and the squad cars collided in the intersection.
“(Sprangers) was in the vicinity of Western Avenue and Military Road when she got the call for assistance. The stop and go light turned to yellow as she approached the intersection,” Klein said.
While law enforcement officers may exceed the posted speed limit when responding to emergency calls they are also tasked with driving with due regard, he said.
“Just because an officer has their lights and sirens activated — which was the case in the Nov. 1 incident — it doesn’t absolve them of driving with due regard, meaning you have to be able to slow down at intersections and get through those intersections safely without causing an accident or injuring someone,” Klein said. “Obviously, in this case we had an officer that didn’t drive with due regard which resulted in an administrative suspension.”
The administrative review also took into consideration environmental factors and volume of traffic at the time of the crash, he said.
“At the time it was raining lightly and there happened to be a football playoff game (at Fruth Field two blocks away) that was just wrapping up,” Klein said. “In the end we determined that (Sprangers) was not acting within the scope of the established department policy and state law.”
The Fond du Lac County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the incident and determined no criminal charges were warranted in the crash.
“Anytime you have an accident involving emergency vehicles it is proper protocol and best practice to have an outside agency such as the Wisconsin State Patrol look at it along with the DA’s office, making sure there wasn’t any violation of state law resulting in possible criminal charges,” Klein said. “It didn’t rise to that level and (the DA’s office) was just another set of eyes looking at the investigation.”
The Eunice Police Department is reviewing an old arrest after thousands of views on YouTube. Dashcam video shot back in February shows three officers making an arrest after a traffic stop. The suspect in the video is Archillus Hebert and family members are saying those officers crossed the line.
"I was sick. It made me sick to the stomach to see that they actually did that to him," Mary Hebert said. She is the mother of Archillus and first saw the video Wednesday morning. In fact, the whole family got word of it around the same time.
"I woke up and actually returned one of the phone calls, and they were like, did you check Facebook? Did you check on Youtube? Your brothers video is on there and you need to see it," Archillus Hebert's sister Omesha Williams said.
The video shows Eunice Police using force to bring Hebert to the ground. Police say he was swerving before being pulled over and smelled of alcohol. They also say he was taken to the ground because he appeared to put something in his mouth. Later in the video, it shows one officer placing his hands on Hebert after he was handcuffed.
"He told us a little bit of what happened, but we never thought it was this bad. It's just sad to say that you know that the people we're supposed to call on for help is the ones that's actually committing the crimes," Williams said.
Hebert pleaded guilty in May to all charges from the incident, including resisting arrest. The family hopes this video will start a movement for change within the department.
"Something got to come from this. We're not going to just let it die out from this. We're going to do whatever we have to do to make sure justice is served," Mary Hebert said.
Archillus Hebert is currently in the Pine Prairie Jail. He's facing several drug related charges as well as resisting an officer and simple escape from an incident in September.
Eunice Police Chief Ronald Dies says he will be contacting the FBI to investigate the use of force in the video. He will also be contacting State Police to investigate how the dash cam video became public. Chief Dies says he will be transparent with the investigation and if someone is found in the wrong, they will be held accountable for their actions.
by Ian Auzenne
A Eunice police officer who allegedly used excessive force during a February 2013 traffic stop has been suspended from the Eunice Police Department.
The officer used force to arrest Archillus Hebert during the stop. The officer's dash camera recorded the incident. That video was leaked to the internet in October.
Hebert later pleaded guilty to DWI and resisting arrest.
According to Eunice Police Chief Ronald Dies, the FBI, who was called in to investigate the incident, found the officer did not commit any kind of criminal wrongdoing.
However, Dies says the officer violated the department's policy and was suspended for his role in the incident. Dies said he could not say how long the suspension will last, but he said the officer has not returned from his suspension.
By DAVID OWENS
BRIDGEPORT — State police have charged a Bridgeport police officer with unlawful discharge of a firearm after a Dec. 17 incident in which he accidentally shot himself.
Officer Juan Santiago, 55, was at the Bagel King restaurant at 3550 Main St. with three other Bridgeport police officers when "he mishandled a firearm ... and discharged the round through the thigh area of his left leg," state police said. The gun was not his department-issue pistol, Bridgeport police said at the time.
No one else was injured. Santiago was treated at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport.
Six days later, state police detectives were assigned by the Bridgeport state's attorney to investigate the incident.
Police said they determined that Santiago mishandled the gun, causing it to fire. They obtained an arrest warrant charging him with unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Santiago turned himself in at the Bethany barracks at 9:30 a.m. Monday. He was released on a promise to appear in court Feb. 18 in Superior Court in Bridgeport.
Santiago remains on the job, but is assigned to desk duty.
"First, I would like to say we are grateful that the officer is recovering from his injury," Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. said. "We have said from the outset that we requested the state police handle the investigation so the public would have confidence that it would be fair and unbiased. The state police conducted a thorough investigation, consulted with the state's attorney's office and made a determination that we will respect."
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. —According to documents obtained by 40/29, former Fayetteville Police officer David Nguyen’s termination is linked to another officer who was fired and also charged with rape.
Documents say a woman told Nguyen she had been sexually assaulted by former officer Jamison Stiles, but he did not report it to supervisors.
The report goes on to say Nguyen never told a supervisor about the reported sexual assault until he was directly questioned by investigators.
Authorities said in a 108-page investigation report on Jamison Stiles -- the former police officer accused of rape -- that the current accusations against him are not the first time he has been questioned about inappropriate contact with a woman while on duty.
The investigative documents indicate Stiles twice made several trips to a woman’s apartment and turned off his video camera used to record police conversations.
Stiles was put on administrative leave in December after a woman reported he entered her apartment and touched her inappropriately.
Police documents indicate Stiles went to Jr’s Lightbulb Club in Fayetteville on Oct. 26 for a call about a woman passed out at the bar. Investigators said he drove the woman to her apartment and dropped her off.
Stiles made several more trips to the apartment complex where the woman lives. The report states Stiles did not record any of those trips in his daily log.
Officers said they spoke with Stiles several months earlier that year about a similar situation. The report indicates Stiles dropped another woman off at her apartment after she had been drinking. He turned his recording device off for 10 minutes during that stop.
Stiles then took the woman to her boyfriend’s apartment, but did not record the trip in his daily lo
100-plus criminal cases in question after LMPD officer charged with collecting $10,000 in phony overtime
Prosecutors scrambled Tuesday to salvage more than 100 criminal cases investigated by a Louisville Metro Police officer who has beenindicted on charges of bilking taxpayers for more than $10,000 in phony overtime.
Christopher Thurman, a 37-year-old officer who specialized in DUI enforcement, including cases that resulted in murder and manslaughter charges, is accused of official misconduct and theft by deception. He is facing up to a decade in prison on the felony theft charge and another year on the misdemeanor corruption count.
Thurman will be arraigned Monday. The police department said he will remain on paid administrative re-assignment until an internal investigation can be completed.
His defense attorney, Steve Schroering, has told the county attorney’s office that if Thurman is called to testify against the alleged drunk drivers he arrested, the officer will assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Even if Thurman was willing to cooperate with prosecutors, defense attorneys could use the accusations of theft and fraud to disparage his credibility — a risk prosecutors might be hesitant to take before a jury.
Paul Richwalsky, who leads the county attorney’s DUI unit, said they have not counted all of the cases Thurman was involved in, though he estimated it to be more than 100.
Thurman was prolific — he routinely won awards and commendations for the number of drunk drivers he arrested. Now a team of three prosecuting attorneys will analyze each, Richwalsky said, to determine which can be saved by testimony from other officers and lay witnesses or with physical evidence.
Some of the charges will inevitably be dropped without Thurman’s cooperation, he acknowledged. An officer patrolling alone, for example, who spots a driver swerving, stops them for a field sobriety test and takes them to jail typically must testify in support of their actions. In those cases, without the officer to put on the stand, the case become nearly impossible to prove to a jury.
Because Thurman’s attorney already told them he will refuse to testify, Richwalsky said they won’t waste time trying to subpoena him.
“We don’t like to dismiss them,” Richwalsky said of the now-weakened DUI cases. “It hurts. It hurts bad.”
Thurman also has at least three pending manslaughter and murder cases pending in Jefferson Circuit Court that involve drunk-driving accidents, according to court records.
Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Spokesman Leland Hulbert said his office is also analyzing each of Thurman’s cases to determine if they can be prosecuted without him.
Thurman is listed as a complaining witness against Joshua Mendez, who was charged with murder, wanton endangerment, assault, driving under the influence and a series of traffic violations when he flipped his car while speeding on Newburg Road in December 2012. One passenger, 24-year-old Alfredo Zepeda-Rodriguez, was killed, and another passenger was injured.
Thurman was also involved in the investigation of Anthony Smiley, charged with murder and driving under the influence when he crashed head-on into another car on Manslick Road last June, killing the driver, 57-year-old Robin Jent.
But his highest-profile case is the pending manslaughter and drunk driving charges against Christopher Purcell, an Iroquois High School teacher accused of crashing his Jeep into a motorcycle in August 2012, killing 31-year-old Tracey Blevins.
Hulbert said it’s too early to tell which of Thurman’s cases can continue.
“Each case will depend on his level of involvement,” he said.
It’s not the first time county prosecutors have had to deal with the aftermath of criminal charges against police officers.
In 2003, two narcotics detectives, Mark Watson and Christie Robinson, were convicted in the most sweeping case of police corruption in the city’s history: forging judges’ signatures, collecting overtime not earned, illegal invasions of private homes, and pocketing money meant for investigations.
Watson pleaded guilty to 299 felonies and was sentenced to 20 years in jail. He was paroled in 2007. Robinson was convicted of 20 felonies and sentenced to probation.
The allegations against them upended the cases they investigated, with charges dismissed and convictions overturned for more than 50 defendants.
Both the county attorney and commonwealth attorney said they have already alerted defense attorneys representing the clients Thurman arrested.
Money he didn't earn
The theft indictment against Thurman, secured Monday by the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, alleges that in less than two years, between January 2011 and September 2013, Thurman duped the Louisville Metro Government into paying him more than $10,000 he did not earn.
“Officer Thurman maintains he is innocent of these charges against him,” Schroering said Tuesday.
Thurman, an officer since 1999, made a base salary of $49,753 in 2011, according to city records.
But he submitted overtime claims worth $27,894. Added to other incentives and allowances, like uniform and training stipends, Thurman was paid more than $91,000 that year. The following year, he submitted overtime claims again worth more than $27,000, which lifted his total compensation to more than $92,000.
His overtime pay for 2011 and 2012, divided by the time-and-a-half hourly overtime wage, breaks down to an average of more than 14 hours of overtime each and every week.
In 2013, he got a raise to $52,166. He submitted claims that year for overtime worth more than $21,000.
The police department requires that an officer get approval to work overtime from their commanding officer before the hours are worked, according to the department’s standard operating procedures.
Officer Carey Klain, a spokeswoman for the department, said they could not provide specifics on Thurman’s case because the criminal investigation is pending.
The overtime policy was last updated in January 2012, and does not appear to have been revised since the allegation against Thurman arose last fall. He was reassigned to desk duty in October.
His salary this year remains at $52,166, according to city records. He has not submitted any claims for overtime in 2014.
FRANKFORT, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say a central Indiana police officer faces charges that he stole nearly $150,000 from a company that he worked for part time.
State police investigators arrested Frankfort police Lt. Randy Emery at his home Tuesday on a felony charge of theft.
State police Sgt. Kim Riley says the investigation found that Emery stole at least $147,000 from Good Oil Co., which had hired him to transport cash from a gas station near Frankfort to a bank.
Riley says the money had been taken from the Winamac-based company since last summer.
Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon says the city's Board of Public Works and Safety will soon review Emery's status.
Emery has been released on bail from the Clinton County Jail. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
Shawn Coughlin, 46, is accused of violating the civil rights of prisoner John Leighton Jr., who was arrested in Plymouth on second-offense drunken driving charges on Nov. 19, 2011.
By Rich Harbert
The video begins with a handcuffed drunken driving suspect sitting on a bench in a police holding cell, about to make an unauthorized cellphone call.
It ends six-and-a-half minutes later, with the man sitting on the floor, still handcuffed but now also shackled at the ankles.
For about one minute in between there is what federal prosecutors describe as a beat-down.
The video could be instrumental in determining the fate of a former Plymouth police sergeant accused of beating the suspect after his arrest.
Shawn Coughlin, 46, is accused of violating the civil rights of prisoner John Leighton Jr., who was arrested on second-offense drunken driving charges on Nov. 19, 2011.
Leighton was also charged with two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and speeding.
Jurors in U.S. District Court in Boston viewed the video repeatedly Tuesday during the second day of Coughlin's trial.
Coughlin is also accused of lying to cover up the incident.
In opening arguments Monday, the defense sought to portray Leighton as a drunken driving offender with a history of violence against police.
Prosecutors painted Coughlin, an 18-year veteran officer, as a "bully with a badge" who abused his powers in the incident.
The defense insists Coughlin was only coming to the aid of a fellow officer when he tussled with the handcuffed prisoner he had booked only a year earlier for assaulting a different officer.
The video, which has no sound, starts with Leighton sitting on a bench just after 3 a.m. Nov. 19, 2011. Within a minute, it is clear he is trying to make a call on his cellphone while his hands are cuffed behind his back.
Officer Jonathan Yule goes into the cell to take the phone. Leighton gives it up but is not happy and leaps to his feet in protest.
Testimony suggests he swears at Yule, prompting the officer to push him back on the bench.
Leighton may have kicked out.
Yule felt a small jab in his knee but is turning to leave the cell when Coughlin comes in.
For the next 60 seconds, the three struggle until Coughlin slams Leighton onto the bench and, later, with the help of Yule, onto the floor.
Prosecutors say freeze-frame images show Coughlin repeatedly striking Leighton's back and head.
Three minutes into the video, the violence is over.
As the officers leave, Leighton is on the floor curled up against the wall. Slowly he moves to a sitting position.
Six minutes after the video begins, police return to take Leighton's boots as evidence for charges that he assaulted them. Coughlin and Yule allegedly wrote reports after the incident calling Leighton the aggressor, saying he kicked at them as they tried to subdue him.
Leighton, who was on probation at the time, served 48 days in the county jail before his attorney obtained a copy of the videotape and showed it to prosecutors.
Both Coughlin and Yule were placed on paid administrative leave after the police department learned of the incident.
Yule was never criminally charged. He eventually resigned to pursue other opportunities. Coughlin was eventually terminated from the police force but he has appealed the firing and can still take the case to an arbitrator.
By Janie Bryant
A man charged at one time with the shooting death of Norfolk barber Henry McIntosh filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a police officer, alleging he was arrested without probable cause.
McIntosh, 86, was killed April 17, 2010.
Dahson D. Iraldo, now 30, was arrested in connection with the killing in the summer of 2012, but the charges were dropped about three months later. Bernard Alexander Kearney, 36, was indicted in the case in September 2013.
S.W. Dawson, Iraldo's attorney, said the charges against his client were dropped before the case got to a preliminary hearing.
Dawson said his client was initially arrested on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon July 17, 2012. He was charged with the slaying the following day.
The attorney said he believes police, relying on information from "some kind of informant," thought they could tie the firearm to the killing but couldn't.
He said his client is suing Officer J.H. Smith for $50,000 but will drop the suit if the commonwealth's attorney issues a written apology "for falsely accusing him of these heinous crimes, and further, if the arresting officer provides to me a detailed explanation as to why he charged Mr. Iraldo in the first place."
The attorney said his client also is appealing his conviction on the firearms charge - for which he was sentenced to five years in April 2013.
Karen Parker-Chesson, a spokeswoman for the Police Department, referred questions to the city attorney.
City Attorney Bernard Pishko did not return a call for this story.
Amanda Howie, a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, said the Norfolk Police Department sought and obtained warrants from the magistrate's office when it charged Iraldo in connection with the killing two years ago.
She said the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office withdrew the charges in October 2012, citing insufficient evidence to proceed.
BRIDGEPORT -- Officer Juan Santiago looked up from his lap where a thin ribbon of smoke was rising from a hole in a cloth gun pouch, blood trickling from a corresponding hole in his left thigh.
"Why didn't you tell me the gun was loaded," he asked his breakfast mate, Detective Juan Gonzalez.
On Tuesday morning, the 56-year-old Santiago, a 29-year veteran of the police force, surrendered at theState Police barracks in Bethany, where he was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm -- a move many in the community said was long overdue.
The charge is a misdemeanor and Santiago was released on a promise to appear pending arraignment in state Superior Court here on Feb. 18. In the meantime, Santiago is on paid administrative duty. His lawyer, John R. Gulash, declined comment.
"First, I would like to say we are grateful that the officer is recovering from his injury," Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. said. "We have said from the outset that we requested the state police handle the investigation so the public would have confidence that it would be fair and unbiased. The state police conducted a thorough investigation, consulted with the State's Attorney's Office and made a determination that we will respect."
The state police investigation also pointed out in the arrest warrant affidavit the things Bridgeport police did -- and didn't do -- in their own initial investigation.
For instance, while at St. Vincent's Medical Centerafter the shooting, police officers spoke to Santiago, but only discussed his well-being. They didn't discuss the incident, citing the fact he was on medication at the time.
Twenty days later, Santiago submitted a written memo to Bridgeport Police Capt. James Viadero on the shooting. Although Santiago states he unzipped the pouch and was holding the gun when it fired, the state police investigation determined the gun was fired through the pouch.
Police never recovered the bullet, the state police affidavit noted.
The shooting incident sparked two protests in front of Bridgeport police headquarters calling for Santiago to be charged. At the most recent event Feb. 4, the protesters demanded to know why Santiago hadn't been charged, while a man who accidentally fired his gun in his home on Jan. 28 had been arrested almost immediately.
The suspect in the January case, 23-year-old Kenneth Sullivan, of Midland Street, was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, second-degree reckless endangerment and criminal mischief in the third degree, all misdemeanors.
On Tuesday, organizers of the protests said they thought Santiago should face more charges.
"The officer who was in a public place was probably more reckless and probably endangered more people," said Palin Smith, who wondered why the officer hadn't been hit with the same charges as Sullivan.
"It's still not exactly fair and equal application, but at least it's something, finally," saidJonathan Hardy, a firearms instructor from Meriden.
On Dec. 17, police said Santiago was examining a handgun in the Bagel King restaurant when the gun went off, wounding him in the leg and shattering a window in the crowded restaurant.
Although Santiago was surrounded by fellow police officers at the time, he was not immediately arrested. Instead, after an initial investigation, Gaudett agreed to turn the case over to the state police, a decision that sparked much criticism especially in light of a recent arrest by city police of a resident who accidentally fired a gun while cleaning it.
Bridgeport police also got "memos" from the three other police officers who were with Santiago when the gun went off.
Following the morning lineup Dec. 17, the four officers, Sgt. James Remele, detectives Mark Graham and Juan Gonzalez and Santiago, went to Bagel King for breakfast while on duty, according to the warrant affidavit. Gonzalez carried the .45-caliber Beretta he had borrowed from Dr. Richard Lovanio, of Trumbull, in a zippered cloth pouch
The officers sat down at a table adjacent to the outdoor patio area, and after placing their breakfast orders, Gonzalez set the pouch with the gun on the table in front of him. Santiago then grabbed the pouch and placed it in his lap to look at the gun.
"At this point, I looked away from P/O Santiago and I heard a loud bang," Gonzalez stated in his memo, according to the affidavit. "Startled, I looked back to P/O Santiago and realized something was wrong with him. I went over to his side of the table and saw that he had shot his left leg. He stated, `Why didn't you tell me the gun was loaded?' "
Gonzalez said he then took Santiago's duty weapon out of his holster and placed it on the table, and took his own gun and placed it on the table along with his cellphone and badge so he could use his belt as a tourniquet.
In his memo, Santiago states that after taking the pouch containing the gun from Gonzalez, he unzipped the pouch and took hold of the gun.
"I immediately pointed the firearm downward. In an attempt to make the weapon safe, I pulled the slide to the rear in order to check the chamber for any live rounds. As I did so, the slide slid forward. At this time, I observed that the hammer was pulled to the rear of the firearm. I placed my thumb on the hammer in (sic) attempt to safe guard the firearm, the hammer slipped from my thumb, hitting the firing pin, accidentally discharging the firearm. I was struck in my left thigh. I was transported to St. Vincent's Hospital for treatment."
The affidavit states that a state police firearms examiner determined there was no malfunction in the gun. "The firearm was discharged and appears to have been shot through the case, through Santiago's leg and then directly out the Bagel King's lower window," the affidavit states.
It continues that Gonzalez confirmed that the gun was in the same position as the day he borrowed it from Lovanio and that there was not a round in the chamber.
Staff Writer Wes Duplantier contributed to this report.
A police officer in Filer, Idaho responded to a call about two dogs running around without leashes on a suburban street. Thirty-eight seconds after exiting his patrol car, Officer Tarek Hassani determined that one of the animals was too aggressive and fatally shot it in the front yard of its owner's house. Avideo (NSFW) shows the 7-year-old black labrador convulsing and whimpering before moving out of the dash cam's line of sight.
The dog, named “Hooch,” belonged to Rick Clubb, who says he suffers from Parkinson's disease and that Hooch was his trained service animal. At the time of the shooting, Clubb was apparently inside, hosting his 9-year-old son's birthday party.
Hassani explained to another officer after the altercation ended, “I get out to talk to the people, two dogs come around me, one of them's growling and snarling. I kick it. It comes back around, now it's growling and snarling. I kick it again. Then it lunges at me, I'm like, fuck you. So, I just shot it.”
Although it is not visible on the video, the audio picks up the sound of the officer's car door opening and within two seconds, the pet begins yelping, presumably, as Hassani acknowledges, because he kicked it.
Hassani gave Clubb a $100 citation for letting the dog run at-large.
Clubb told KTVB, "My dogs, they'd get out, yes, but you don't have to shoot them. There's other ways around it besides shooting them." He speculated about the officer's action,asking the Times-News, “What if [a bullet] had ricocheted through the window?” Clubb acknowledged, “Maybe I deserve a ticket, but I don't deserve a dead dog."
Police Chief Tim Reeves explained to a local Fox affiliate, "My decision was that [Hassani] did a good job and he was totally justified in putting the dog down."
Zenon Evans is a staff writer and editor.
By Lisa J. Huriash
A police officer who resigned from the department days after being suspended from the SWAT unit left "amidst allegations of steroid use," according to court documents dated Monday.
The allegations of steroid use are part of an internal investigation at the police department that could involve six other officers in the department of 205, police said.
The other officers are still working while the investigation is ongoing, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Carla Kmiotek. She did not specify exactly what the investigation entails.
John Petrow, 33, an employee since 2002, was suspended from the SWAT team Sept. 18, and then placed on administrative duty the next day, records show. He resigned Sept. 24. His salary at the time was $80,358, records show.
Petrow, who worked as a SWAT sharpshooter and with the Tactical and Gang Unit, was an "outstanding team member and investigator" who had "commendable work habits," according to his personnel records.
GATE CITY — The Scott County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that three officers have been disciplined for violating department policy.
Scott County Sheriff John Puckett said he suspended Sgt. Ted Fletcher, a shift supervisor, and patrol officers John Gillenwater and Chris Kilgore without pay as a result of the incident.
Fletcher was suspended for 30 days and had his rank pulled, while both Gillenwater and Kilgore were given three-day suspensions.
“We gave them time off and so forth for violating the sheriff’s office policy,” Puckett said. “They are all three good officers and they made a mistake. They just need to get this behind them, learn from their mistakes and become better police officers, because they are all good police officers.”
Puckett said this was the first disciplinary measure for any of the officers.
The suspensions reportedly stemmed from a collision that occurred last week between two cruisers responding to a call in the Weber City area. Fletcher was driving one cruiser, while the other two officers were in the second.
“There were two vehicles responding to a call and they did hit together,” Puckett said. “It did minor damage, something like $200 or $300 worth of damage, and they violated our policy because whenever a supervisor is involved in an accident they have to have another supervisor come and do a report.”
Instead of following that protocol, Puckett said the officer who was a passenger in one of the cruisers wrote up the report on the accident. A separate supervisor besides Fletcher was not called to the scene.
The original report also contained several inaccuracies that were corrected before it was officially submitted, Puckett said.
Puckett said the impact occurred when the two cruisers were traveling side-by-side across the Holston River bridge in Weber City. Puckett said one of the cruisers crossed over into the other lane and sideswipped the second cruiser.
Puckett denied rumors that the officers were racing each other to get to the call.
“There was no road rage, or racing involved, or anything like that,” Puckett said.
Puckett also said the officers were not misleading about the incident when questioned by their superiors.
“None of the officers lied to me,” Puckett said. “Whenever I talked to them they told me everything that happened, the day it happened and all that. It’s being handled internally and I think the punishment we gave fits what happened.”
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A former Indianapolis police officer sentenced to 13 years in prison for causing a fatal crash while driving intoxicated in his police cruiser won't spend extra time in prison for a second drunken driving conviction.
David Bisard pleaded guilty to drunken driving in the second case Wednesday in a Marion County court and received a one-year suspended sentence. Alcohol treatment and monitoring will be part of his probation after he leaves prison.
In the second case, Bisard was arrested last April after he crashed his pickup truck.
Bisard was convicted in November of causing a 2010 vehicle accident that killed one motorcyclist and severely injured two others.
Defense attorney John Kautzman says the prosecutor's case was based on Bisard's reputation.
By Alex Gecan, The Middletown Press
MIDDLETOWN >> The city has fired its second police officer in as many weeks.
In a letter dated Feb. 7, the city dismissed former officer Christopher Lavoie, a 16-year veteran of the department and onetime lieutenant. Mayor Daniel Drew wrote that Lavoie had gone absent without leave, improperly failed to report for duty, broke city rules on absences and his collective bargaining agreement.
The mayor also wrote that Lavoie violated an agreement the former cop had signed in May 2013 as a “last chance” to remain employed by the city after consenting to a demotion from lieutenant to patrolman.
Lavoie told the Press that, sometime in the summer of 2012, he and other officers had been talking at the front desk of the police department, and the topic had turned to William McKenna, now chief of police, and some possibly illegal behavior he had gotten involved in off-duty.
Lavoie said that word got around to McKenna.
“I think once that conversation took place, I was targeted and singled out and treated unfairly,” said Lavoie. “To that point, I had never been written up, had never had any type of suspensions — no alleged misconduct, no nothing.”
Lavoie said that, at a time when he himself had been prescribed narcotic painkillers, the chief had asked him for pills and, on one occasion, Lavoie had obliged.
The city announced in October that three current or former members of the police department had accused the chief, either directly or indirectly, of soliciting prescription drugs.
The chief immediately requested that the city investigate him. The city hired former federal prosecutors from Hartford law firm Cowdery, Ecker & Murphy, who are currently looking into the complaints.
Lavoie’s name did not come up at that point. City officials did say that now-former Officer Gino Pulvirenti, with whom Lavoie owns Patriot Discount Oil, had been involved in the accusations.
The city fired Pulvirenti in January for worker’s compensation fraud.
The police department opened an internal investigation into Lavoie in November 2012. The chief charged the internal affairs division with determining “whether Lavoie had engaged in inappropriate conduct during a meeting in [Chief McKenna’s] office on Sept. 25, 2012 and in subsequent meetings with the Personnel Department,” according to the agreement Lavoie signed in May.
Lavoie said he met with McKenna and Deputy Chief Michael Timbro in late September, and soon after was put on administrative leave for months. Lavoie said the chief had asked him about “personal medical information,” and that the personnel department assured him that he did not have to discuss it.
Flash forward to the second half of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Capt. Patrick Howard wrote up Lavoie for repeatedly taking sick and personal days without proper documentation.
In a June 13, 2013, letter, one of several documents the city gave the Press along with Lavoie’s termination letter, Howard said Lavoie used the department’s Telestaff system to call out twice, both times improperly, the second time after being told he had used it improperly the first time. Howard wrote that Lavoie later called out for a personal day, but not until after the start of his shift.
On Dec. 2, 2013, Timbro warned Lavoie that he was repeatedly using sick time he no longer had — which, wrote Timbro, constituted an unauthorized absence.
Howard again warned Lavoie that he needed to show up to work or be marked for an unauthorized absence.
Just over two weeks later, on Dec. 19, Lavoie reported slipping while leaving department headquarters, turning a muscle strain he had sustained six months earlier into a hernia, putting Lavoie in the emergency room, Howard wrote on Dec. 31.
Howard wrote on Jan. 3 that Lavoie had called out on a worker’s compensation claim for the hernia—but, wrote Howard, “He cannot book off Worker’s Comp and the doctor’s note he provided last week states he can work light-duty.”
Three days later, at 10:48 a.m. — nearly three hours after his shift was scheduled to begin — Lavoie called the front desk to mark Lavoie down sick, wrote Howard.
Lavoie told the Press that complications from the hernia had left him with extreme nausea and uncontrollable vomiting. “I made all attempts to get to the PD,” said Lavoie. “But there’s no way I could have made it inside the PD and been any type of productive officer inside.” He said he hadn’t had his cell phone on him, but called in when he got back to his house.
“I was denied workers’ comp for claims that other officers have never had any issues with as far as getting them covered,” said Lavoie. He said the city had deliberately curtailed an advance on sick time as well.
“I think it will become obvious that this was something that was orchestrated,” said Lavoie. “The mayor has recently fired two officers and it just so happened that both of those officers had recently put in complaints against McKenna.”
Drew wrote in Lavoie’s termination letter that, at Lavoie’s Loudermill hearing, he and his lawyer had claimed “that you are being retaliated against because you accused the chief of police of soliciting or accepting painkillers from yourself and fellow officers prior to his appointment as chief. This is unavailing, since the chief is not involved in this decision and because your participation in a lawfully mandated investigation does not shield you from discipline for unrelated transgressions.”
Drew said that Lavoie, in fact, violated his duty as an officer by not reporting the chief at the time of the supposed solicitation.
Lavoie told the Press that he had been worried that the chief was too well connected to accuse, and Lavoie did not want to be seen as a rat.
“By failing to report the alleged solicitation in a timely manner, you have left yourself open to charges that the claims are being used as a shield to protect you from otherwise proper discipline,” wrote Drew.
Lavoie said he would not seek reinstatement, but would continue to pursue a medical pension that he had applied for months ago.