Veteran Syracuse police captain suspended for slapping accused copper thief
By Douglass Dowty
Syracuse, NY - A Syracuse police commander was suspended without pay for 25 days after hitting a copper burglary suspect in December, a source said.
On Dec. 16, Capt. John Brennan spotted two people carrying garbage bins of copper into an apartment in the 1800 block of East Fayette Street, according to police reports.
During the investigation, Brennan struck one of the suspects in the back of the head, the suspect and sources said. The strike was described as a slap or a smack, not as severe as a closed-fist punch.
That slap cost Brennan at least $8,156 in base pay, not including overtime, based on his 2014 salary. Brennan made $145,903 -- including $56,386 in overtime -- last year, according to city records.
The 44-year police veteran has served in a variety of influential roles, including the cold case squad, commander of the gang task force and periodic spokesman for the major crimes unit. He was commander of the patrol division's day shift when the incident happened, a source said.
The suspect, Esau Villarreal, said he complained to Jail Ministry at the Onondaga County Justice Center. Villarreal told Syracuse.com during a jailhouse interview that he sought medical treatment at the jail for headaches.
The Syracuse police and the watchdog Citizen Review Board began separate investigations into Brennan's conduct, Villarreal said.
Brennan was placed on administrative leave during an internal police investigation, then suspended, a source said. He will lose his duties as a commanding officer upon his return.
Payroll records show Brennan began serving his suspension in January.
The punishment is unusual for the police department, according to a Syracuse.com review of known cases reported to the Citizen Review Board. The board sustained 22 complaints against police officers in about a year, with the chief only disciplining officers in five of those cases, according to CRB reports from 2012 and 2013.
The CRB does not report what discipline the police chief imposed. The board declined comment when asked about the current investigation into Brennan's actions.
Reached at his home, Brennan said, "I can't comment" when asked about the suspension.
Villarreal claimed that he found the copper and a computer in a wooded area near his Seeley Road residence. His roommate, Christopher Baxter, was with him.
Brennan had Villarreal take at least three officers to the spot where he claimed to find the items, Villarreal said.
But the officers didn't believe Villarreal. The snow was undisturbed at that location and there was no evidence of footprints or wheel tracks from the garbage bins, police wrote later in a report.
Brennan told him, "You couldn't have gotten it here," Villarreal recalled during his interview.
As Villarreal continued to maintain his innocence, Brennan became more irate, Villarreal said.
Brennan then slapped him in the back of the head as other officers watched, Villarreal said. The slap happened through Villarreal's hooded sweatshirt. It snapped his head forward, Villarreal said.
"He smacked me upside my head," Villarreal said. "I asked, 'Why the hell did you hit me?' (Brennan) didn't respond."
Villarreal was handcuffed and taken back to a patrol car. Baxter, who did not see the slap, was also put into a patrol car. Both men said they were released a short time later as the investigation continued.
But later that day, the officers returned to the suspects' house to arrest them. Villarreal said he asked why Brennan had hit him earlier.
Brennan, both suspects said, replied that he'd "do it again" because Villarreal was a thief. Other officers witnessed that comment, too, Villarreal said.
Villarreal and Baxter were then both taken to jail.
They were each charged with felony burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to court paperwork. Police accused them of stealing more than $4,000 in copper and a Dell computer from the Patrician Snowflake Bakery building, 1951 E. Fayette St.
Baxter remains in jail on $25,000 bail and Villarreal on $50,000 bail, according to jail records.
Syracuse police did not respond to a request for information, noting that personnel matters are kept confidential under civil service law.
This incident comes more than four decades into Brennan's high-profile police career. He made a name for himself in the Criminal Investigations Division, which probes homicides and other serious crimes. He was promoted to captain in 2010 and became day commander of the patrol division, which responds to all
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Monday called it a mistake to reverse the finding of misconduct against a police officer who got into an argument with a newspaper editor last summer.
The admission comes after days of back-and-forth about what an appropriate punishment for Officer John Marion should be.
Officer Marion had been ordered to serve a one-day suspension for an incident involving The Stranger's Dominic Holden, during which he was caught on tape telling Holden he would come to his place of work to bother him. The discipline came with a finding of misconduct that would have gone on Marion's personnel file.
Last week, the department came under fire after it was reported that newly-appointed Interim Police Chief Harry Bailey had reversed the finding of misconduct against Marion, instead ordering him to undergo additional training to help change his behavior.
During a press conference on Friday, Mayor Ed Murray defended Chief Bailey's decision, despite pointed questions from the City Council.
"While this could be perceived as a lesser punishment under the current legal framework, Chief Bailey believes, and I support him, that the framework for this process is reflective of what is most constructive - training and changing behavior."
The mayor, however, changed course over the weekend. In a statement, Mayor Murray announced that the department would reinstate the finding of misconduct against Marion:
After hearing the public's concerns about Chief Bailey's decision to change the discipline in the Marion case, I have directed Chief Bailey to reinstate the original finding.
Chief Bailey and I have had extensive discussions about this case. We both agree: this was a mistake.
The decision to change the discipline was the call of the Chief. But I stood with the Chief and publicly supported that decision. And I am Mayor: the buck stops with me. So, this mistake was mine. And today I am fixing that mistake.
The Seattle Police Guild Monday also issued a statement about the decision to reinstate the finding of misconduct against Marion, an eight-year veteran of the department.
In consultation with both SPOG President Rich O'Neill and incoming SPOG President Ron Smith, Officer Marion has now decided to accept the original OPA sustained finding on the professionalism/courtesy violation and to continue to participate with the training program. SPOG will void the settlement offer and withdraw our appeal on this matter. This is being done to allow Officer Marion to move on with his career and to put this unfortunate incident behind him.
In July 2013, Holden claimed Officer Marion engaged in inappropriate behavior while he was trying to take pictures of police activity in downtown Seattle.
Holden told KIRO Radio he approached Officer Marion and several other officers asking who was in charge. Officer Marion reportedly refused to answer.
"He asked what I was doing. I said, 'Well I'm a reporter,' and he asked where I worked. I said, 'The Stranger,' and he said, quote: 'I'm going to come into The Stranger and bother you while you're at work,'" Holden said.
"So in other words I stopped and asked a matter-of-fact question in a normal tone and he chose to escalate that situation without any sort of prompt or any sort of segue by threatening to bother me at my job."
Bernard K. Melekian, a law-enforcement expert who serves on Mayor Ed Murray's transition team, suggested at a press conference Monday morning that the case was only given attention because Holden was the complainant.
"It's interesting that only one case actually made it to the public arena," he said. "I'll leave it for others to decide whether that was an accident or not."
Melekian said the focus should not be on a single case, but rather on how to make the complaint process more effective.
The officer has been suspended pending his trial, which is slated to take place within the next month.
Posted by Lisa Finn
The officer involved in an alleged East Hampton sex scandal has been suspended, according to police.
Julio Mario Galeano, 31, has been suspended for 30 days without pay after an alleged sexual encounter he had in a village home, East Hampton Village Police Chief Jerry Larsen confirmed Monday.
The East Hampton Village board voted to suspend Galeano without pay on Friday, pending his trial, which is slated to take place within the next 30 days, Larsen said.
According to The New York Post, "law-enforcement sources" identified Galeano as the village cop facing disciplinary action — and possible criminal charges over an alleged sexual encounter he had in a village house he didn't have permission to be at.
Galeano was relieved from duty and another village employee was fired following a complaint of criminal trespass at a house in the village in December.
According to a previously released incident report, the two were caught a house on Talmage Lane after guests of the homeowner arrived on Dec. 30 at about 11 a.m. They did not have the homeowner's permission to be there, according to police.
Neither the officer nor the woman, whom Larsen described in a statement as a 20-year-old part-time civilian employee, have been charged.
"At this point in time criminal charges have yet to be filed in the case at the request of the property owner; however, this will not preclude the department from filing misconduct or other charges in the case, should they be warranted," Larsen said in the statement last month.
The employment of Jennifer Rosa, a part-time traffic control officer, was terminated, a move approved by the East Hampton Village Board at their monthly meeting, effective retroactively to Dec. 30.
The woman was allegedly a part-time house cleaner at the residence, Larsen said.
The officer, a nine-year employee, was relieved of his badge and firearm on Dec. 30 and he remains on leave, Larsen said last month.
An internal investigation of the incident is continuing, and further departmental action against Galeano is expected, police said initially.
The pair have not been charged, though the initial incident report and the chief stated that he homeowner did wish to pursue charges.
Last January, Galeano was named the department's 2012 Officer of the Year and was honored at the annual Kiwanis Club dinner.
Galeano was selected, in part, because of his tenacity that led to bringing forth a rape case, officials said at the time. In January of 2012, Galeano was turning around at the rest stop in Wainscott, at the western edge of the department's jurisdiction, when he noticed some movement in a parked vehicle.
"Somebody else might have kept on driving right by," Larsen said, at the time, of Galeano's quick thinking during the initial investigation. "He's done a great job his entire career," he said last year.
Galeano joined the department after graduating from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He was the first, and remains the only, Latino officer in the department.
A Springs resident, he started working for the village as a traffic control officer in 2000.
When he was 12 years old he emigrated from a small town in Colombia to the East End. He attended the Montauk Public School and then graduated from East Hampton High School. He recalled going on a ride-along with a town police officer when he was in middle school, when speaking to Patch last year.
The experience only further cemented his dream of becoming a police officer, something he said he wanted to do as long as he can remember. "It's a good job and it's a great way to help the community," he said. "The community is changing a lot," he said, adding that he hopes he can act as "a role model to somebody," even if it's just one small child.
By MATT REYNOLDS
LOS ANGELES (CN) - After a Hawthorne police officer shot a man's dog to death in front of him, and video of it went viral on YouTube, police falsely and maliciously charged him with six felonies, the man claims in court.
In a civil rights complaint against the city and three officers in Superior Court, Leon Rosby claims that on June 30, 2013, he was driving in his car with his 2-year-old Rottweiler, Max, when saw police responding to a residence in the Hawthorne, near L.A. International Airport.
Rosby says he already was known as a critic of the police department and was targeted by officers who "engaged in a pattern of harassing conduct" toward him. Rosby sued the city in December 2012, alleging false imprisonment and negligence, according to the Courthouse News Service database.
On June 30, Rosby says, defendants Christopher Hoffman and Jeffery Salmon stopped him "for no lawful or justifiable reason."
He claims police arrested him after he stopped to film the officers with his cellphone. Another officer, Michael Matson, is also a named defendant.
Rosby put Max back in his car but the dog jumped out of an open window and moved toward the officers, barking, according to Los Angeles Times.
According to the lawsuit: "While Mr. Rosby was handcuffed and placed under arrest, Officer Hoffman shot Mr. Rosby's dog multiple times in front of Mr. Rosby, killing Max. Officer Hoffman's conduct was directed at Mr. Rosby and was intended to intimidate and harm him and to cause psychological trauma to Mr. Rosby by forcing him to watch the brutal and inhumane execution of his beloved dog, Max."
Rosby's video of the incident was posted to YouTube and went viral.
"The video of the Hawthorne Police Department's outrageous and illegal conduct was downloaded millions of times and became the source of national and global attention and utter embarrassment for the Hawthorne Police Department," the complaint states.
After the video's release, almost 100 protesters descended on the police department, the Times reported.
In response to that unwanted attention, Rosby claims, Hawthorne cops manipulated police reports to claim that had provoked the officers, and falsely accused him of intimidating a witness who had videotaped the incident.
Relying on those reports, prosecutors charged Rosby with six felony counts and one misdemeanor count of criminal threats, obstruction of justice, and witness intimidation, according to the lawsuit.
Rosby is scheduled to appear March 14 for a preliminary hearing on those charges.
"It was devastating," Rosby said of Max's shooting. "His love for me was so extraordinary that he actually died for me."
Officer Salmon was accused of participating in another attack, on a deaf man, in a lawsuit filed in the same court one week ago.
Rosby seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
He is represented by Mark Geragos with Geragos & Geragos.
By Jonathan Wolfe
Yet another report has surfaced of police shooting a non-aggressive dog. The latest incident occurred in Johnson County, Ky.
At 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Becky Pelfrey awoke to a knock at her door. It was the police. They were there to serve a warrant for someone who no longer lived at the house.
Like most dogs would, Pelfrey’s Great Dane, Boss, walked over to see what was happening. Boss strolled out the door, past two officers, and walked down the porch steps. Pelfrey couldn’t believe what she heard next.
“It was pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” she said. “Just five shots right in a row … I looked out and Boss was lying in the road. And I said, ‘Did you shoot my dog?’ and [the trooper] said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I did, he was charging at me.’”
Luckily, Boss survived the shooting. He was back at home Wednesday after being treated at the vet for four gunshot wounds.
Though Boss survived, Pelfrey is left wondering why the police felt the need to immediately resort to using a firearm when dealing with her dog.
“They could have tazed him,” she said. “They could have pepper-sprayed him, I know they carry batons. They could have taken other precautions instead of drawing [their weapons] and firing.”
Kentucky news station WKYT reached out to Kentucky State Police for comment yesterday. They declined to comment.
Ozymandias Media is currently raising money to make a documentary about police on dog violence in America. They estimate one dog is shot every 98 minutes by a police officer.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Metropolitan Nashville Police officer has been decommissioned and placed on administrative assignment following his arrest Wednesday night on DUI and gun charges.
Christopher Stafford, a North Precinct Officers, was off-duty at the time of his arrest. Officers were called to an apartment complex on Edmondson Pike at 6:40 p.m. by an acquaintance of Stafford, who said he appeared to be intoxicated and involved in an argument with another motorist.
Police said the 42-year-old had driven to the apartment complex in a Dodge pickup truck with his young child.
Officers said Stafford smelled of alcohol and field sobriety tests showed he was impaired.
He also had a loaded pistol in his car at the time.
Stafford, a 13-year veteran of the department, was charged with DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
He was released on $6,000 bond.
UNIONVILLE, MO. --
On Thursday, the Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit was notified of an investigation in Unionville, Mo. involving inappropriate messages between a juvenile female and an adult male. Witnesses reported seeing text messages exchanged between the two subjects. The adult male was identified as Unionville Police Officer David Banks.
The juvenile female was identified by Unionville Police and the KRCCU. It was reported that Banks “urged” the 14-year-old female to send nude pictures and also sent her a nude picture.
Banks was terminated from his employment with the Unionville Police Department and he left town shortly after.
A Putnam County arrest warrant was issued for Banks for Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child. He was located at a residence in Stewartsville, Mo. in DeKalb County.
A DeKalb County search warrant was issued for the residence and it was executed shortly after midnight on Friday. Banks was found at the residence and placed under arrest. His cell phone was seized as evidence.
Banks admitted to sending and receiving pornographic images to the juvenile female that he knew was only 14 years old.
David Banks is currently being held on a $10,000 cash only bond. Other charges are pending and the investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information in reference to the investigation is urged to call Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit at (660)785-6945.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit all contributed to the investigation.
Man charged after federal probe of website
MANSFIELD — A former Mansfield police officer is among more than two dozen people arrested by federal agencies in a national child pornography case.
Robert Anderson of Lucas was arrested Feb. 7 on allegations he knowingly received and distributed child pornography, according to a complaint filed in the Northern District United States District Court.
Anderson, 69, was a patrol officer for the department for 25 years, retiring in September of 2000, according to city finance records.
“What he did in his retirement years is not a reflection of the men and women that work at the Mansfield Police Department,” Police Chief Ken Coontz commented. “It’s a disgraceful act no matter who gets charged with it.”
A hearing has not yet been scheduled, but if Anderson is convicted of the charge, he could get 10 years or more in prison. His court-appointed attorneys, Charles Fleming and Edward Bryan, could not be reached for comment.
“The weight of the evidence against the defendant is substantial, including images seized under a search warrant and a confession,” Anderson’s detention order said. “There is evidence that the defendant unsuccessfully attempted to hide additional storage devices containing illicit images of minors after his arrest.
“Although the defendant has no prior criminal history and long-established ties to the community, these are insufficient to overcome the statutory presumption in the light of the foregoing.”
The arrest was the result of an investigation that spanned three years and involved the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Cyber Crimes Center, Child Exploitation Investigations Unit, Victim Identification Program, as well as various international law enforcement agencies, the complaint said.
Through the investigation, at least 24 people were identified as possible users of a website, identified only as “Website A.” Authorities said the site allows people to post, distribute and trade sexually explicit images of children. In many cases, according to the report, users also exchanged emails for the purpose of distributing more images.
The website is hosted outside of the United States.
“Often evidence from the images, and comments posted about the album (either by other individuals or the member who created the album), indicates that the particular poster or person who created the album has a sexual interest in children,” the complaint said, “and that these individuals’ interest in Website A lies in the ability to meet other individuals for the private trading of child pornography.”
In June 2012, Homeland Security Investigations obtained data from the website — including usernames, album names, passwords, comments and associated email addresses and IP logs — that helped lead to Anderson’s arrest.
A “Website A” member account authorities believe to be run by Anderson, titled “bob1431b,” reportedly contained six albums with at least 44 photos of young girls’ underwear and prepubescent teens in the nude, the complaint stated.
One of the albums, entitled “preview,” was found to contain 38 images, most or all including a pubescent teenager suspected to be from north central Ohio, the complaint said.
Attached to one of the photos was a comment from “bob1431b” saying, “email me for trades, I have many hot vids and pics, some homemade and hidden cam,” according to the complaint.
The investigation notes that user “bob1431b” last modified his albums in October 2012, but when authorities accessed “Website A” on Jan. 15, 2014, it was determined that the user “continued to remain active and to maintain a profile and the same or similar albums on the website,” the complaint said.
A gmail account also linked to the website’s username and traced back to Anderson revealed another 25 images and four videos containing child pornography, the complaint said.
The evidence indicated Anderson had traded child pornography with at least two other Internet users between Sept. 18 and Nov. 18, 2013. In one of the exchanges, Anderson sent nine image attachments, three of which constituted child pornography, the report said.
When Homeland Security Investigations agents raided Anderson’s home Feb. 6 and conducted an on-site preview of a thumb drive computer media device, they reported finding several other images of suspected child pornography.
Anderson admitted, according to the complaint, that he registered the email address and was the sole user of the computers in the home.
He also agreed to an interview with FBI Agent Lance Fragomeli, in which he “admitted to receiving and sending files containing child pornography. Anderson also admitted that he had saved some of these images and had created a collection which he had hidden away,” the complaint said.
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
A former Clayton County police officer walked out of a federal courtroom and headed for prison.
Dwayne Penn, formerly a police officer with the Clayton County Police Department assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, was sentenced Friday to 10 years of prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine.
Documents said Penn conspired with an Atlanta-based drug dealer to use his official position as an officer to stage a fake traffic stop of a car they believed would have 6 kilograms of cocaine and seize it for themselves.
On Aug. 28, 2013, Penn was terminated from the Clayton County Police Department and the Marshals Service Task Force.
Penn pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, on Jan. 21, 2014.
In addition to the 10-year term of imprisonment, Penn was also sentenced by United States District Judge Amy Totenberg to five years of supervised release, 120 hours of community service following his release from prison, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.
Ex-chief Nate Harper's sentencing 'difficult'
By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik -- who once ran the Big Apple lockup Rikers Island -- walked into a federal penitentiary as a prisoner in 2010, it was, he said, like "dying with your eyes open."
"Your entire life as you knew it moves on around you, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it," the recently released tax and obstruction convict said last week. "Your kids grow. ... The house changes. My dog died. My brother-in-law died."
At the Federal Correctional Institution Cumberland, in Maryland, where he served his sentence, he lived among the kinds of people he spent his life locking up. That's what former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper could face following his sentencing, set for Tuesday.
Mr. Harper's fate is in the hands of U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon, who rose to that post in late 2011 after three years as a magistrate judge. She faces a decision in which she must weigh Mr. Harper's history, his precise role in the conspiracy to commit theft and the importance of deterring others from similar dips into the public cookie jar.
Though federal guidelines suggest a sentence of 1 1/2 to two years, she can go as low as probation or as high as five years.
"It comes down to a very difficult call for a judge," said Bruce Antkowiak, a former federal prosecutor and now a law professor at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe. "The strongest cards [Mr. Harper's attorneys] have to play are his history with the department, the decades of work he has put in, the numbers of other people from law enforcement who evidently respect him."
Those same factors, though, could count against him.
"Either you think this is a fundamentally decent guy who did something wrong, or you think this is a public official who should be held to another standard," said Wesley Oliver, the Criminal Justice Program director at the Duquesne University School of Law.
Mr. Harper could argue that his lawman background puts him at risk in prison. The U.S. Supreme Court found in the case of police sergeant Stacey Koon, sentenced to prison in the beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King, that judges can give lighter sentences to defendants who are "unusually susceptible to prison abuse."
In the recent case of former corrections officer Arii Metz, though, prosecutors countered that argument by showing that the federal prisons already house many former police in relative security. As of last month, there were 1,269 former law enforcement officials in federal custody, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
"There are guys who are going to hate him because he was a cop," Mr. Kerik said. "There are going to be guys who are going to respect him because he was a cop."
Mr. Harper pleaded guilty in October, confirming that he failed to file tax returns for four years and diverted $70,629 in public funds into an unauthorized credit union account and spending $31,987 on himself.
The prosecution has maintained that Mr. Harper told two civilian subordinates to open and handle the account, making him a supervisor in the conspiracy, and subject to a harsher sentence.
The defense has countered that Mr. Harper had no co-conspirators, but also that the unauthorized account wasn't his idea. They haven't yet named the alleged mastermind.
"The government's response is going to be: Who cares?" Mr. Antkowiak said. "When you admit that you told two city employees to open these accounts and draw the Visa cards on them, you're a supervisor" of the crime.
Mr. Harper met with federal investigators "approximately 10 times," according to his attorneys. There's no indication, though, that the prosecution will ask the judge to impose a lighter sentence for what's called "substantial cooperation."
"We don't know what happened in those 10 meetings," Mr. Oliver said. Nor is there any indication of any results, he said, noting that a key part of weighing a defendant's cooperation is "how many busts, how substantial the busts were."
The flip side: Two defendants -- both of whom were given credit for cooperation -- publicly blamed Mr. Harper for a separate bid-rigging scheme in hearings before Judge Bissoon. The former chief has never been charged in relation to the incident, a contract won by Alpha Outfitters -- a company controlled by the chief's long-time friend -- to install and maintain computers and radios in police cars.
The judge shouldn't give much weight to their accusations, Mr. Oliver said, though he noted that the charge "tends to tear down the narrative that the defendant is trying to tell" about a good man with a bad debit card.
With the eyes of the public, and especially of law enforcement, on the case, the judge may carefully weigh the deterrent effect of the sentence.
"Look, one of the things a judge always considers is what kind of message [she's] sending with this sentence," said John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. " 'What's the message I'll be sending to police officers who may be tempted to do something bad if I'm lenient?' "
Mr. Kerik, now an advocate for sentencing reform, suggested that the message has already been sent. It could be amplified, he said, if the judge gives Mr. Harper probation but orders him to speak to police recruit classes about his crime and punishment.
"They're going to take his pension," Mr. Kerik said. "You've taken his reputation. He's now a convicted felon. He's going to have legal fees he'll have to pay for.
"That guy has been destroyed."
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or on Twitter @richelord.
By Nathan Brown
WASHINGTONVILLE — A Town of Wallkill police officer was arrested early Tuesday after, Washingtonville police said, she stabbed a man during a domestic dispute.
Village police said they went to a home on Decker Drive around 5 a.m., were told an argument had gotten physical, and found a man with a knife wound to his left upper back. Blooming Grove Volunteer Ambulance brought him to the Newburgh campus of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital; from there, he was brought to Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla.
Danielle Garcia, 34, was arrested at the scene, and charged with first-degree assault, a felony, and misdemeanor possession of a weapon.
The Town of Wallkill hired Garcia at the beginning of 2007.
At a work session Wednesday night, the town board decided to suspend her without pay, said Supervisor Dan Depew. He said they may take further action later.
Garcia was sent to Orange County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond, said Washingtonville police; she wasn’t in the jail as of Wednesday afternoon, though, according to the booking department. She’s due back in village court at 5 p.m. on March 12.
CLINTON TWP. (WWJ) - Authorities say a 45-year-old man who used to be a reserve officer with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office was arrested after he solicited sex from an undercover detective in exchange for drugs.
Raymond Alfred Selman, of Macomb Township, was arraigned Thursday in the 41B District Court of Clinton Township on charges of using a computer to commit a crime, accosting and soliciting prostitution, and delivery/manufacturing controlled substances less than 50 grams.
According to police, Selman engaged in several online conversations with an undercover officer, during which he suggested that prescriptions drugs be exchanged for a sex act.
The Macomb Area Computer Enforcement Team set up a meeting with Selman around 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday at a prearranged location. When Selman arrived, he was taken into custody. According to police, Selman was in possession of Oxycodone, a prescription narcotic, when he was arrested.
Police say it was only after Selman was in custody that they realized he was a former volunteer reserve officer with the sheriff’s department. Lt. John Michalke told the Detroit Free Press that Selman was discharged from his position in the fall of 2012 because of a performance-related issue.
A judge ordered Selman held on a $15,000 bond in the Macomb County Jail.
By Brian Day, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
LOS ANGELES >> Prosecutors Thursday filed a felony charge against a former Baldwin Park police officer accused of filing a false police report related to a drug arrest last year.
Matthew DeHoog, 29, pleaded not guilty to a count of filing a false report in Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. Judge Renee Korn ordered him released on his own recognizance pending his next court appearance.
“DeHoog wrote a false police report about a July 31, 2013 incident where a man was arrested for investigation of possession of methamphetamine,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
The criminal complaint filed against DeHoog alleges that, while working as a police officer, he filed a report regarding the commission and investigation of a crime, “and knowingly and intentionally included a statement and statements regarding a material matter which the defendant knew to be false.”
But further details regarding the alleged false police report, including the identity of the man who was arrested, were not available.
“We’re not releasing any more facts of the case,” district attorney’s office spokesman Greg Risling said. “They’ll be released during the (preliminary hearing).”
The case was investigated by DeHoog’s former colleagues at the Baldwin Park Police Department. But police also declined to discuss the circumstances of the case.
“He’s a former police officer with our department and he’s no longer employed by us,” Baldwin Park Police Chief Michael Taylor said.
DeHoog’s employment with the department ended in early January, Taylor said, however a specific time frame was not immediately available.
The chief said he had no further comment regarding the allegations against the former officer, or the case filed Thursday by the district attorney’s office.
“It’s unfortunate when anything like this happens in the law enforcement community,” Taylor said.
DeHoog was ordered to return to court March 4 for a preliminary hearing setting, Risling said.
DeHoog could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Under state law, DeHoog faces up to three years in prison if convicted as charged.
The July, 2013, incident was not DeHoog’s first time being involved in a controversial arrest.
He, along with two other Baldwin Park police officers, arrested then-city councilman Anthony Bejarano on suspicion of being drunk in public.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office ultimately declined to file any charge against Bejarano, and the former councilman filed a personnel complaint against his arresting officers. He denied he was drunk or uncooperative, as was stated in the officers’ report.
An internal department review into the situation was conducted and completed, though the results were never made public, as then-police chief Lili Hadsell said the issue was a confidential personnel matter.
DES MOINES, Iowa —An officer has been indicted on criminal charges in connection with an Iowan's death in Texas, reported KTVT-TV in Dallas, Fort Worth.
Officer Ernesto Fierro turned himself in to authorities at 5 p.m. Thursday.
A grand jury found Fierro did "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly threaten William Livezey, Jr. with imminent bodily injury by causing the vehicle driven by said defendant to drive toward William Livezey, Jr., and did then use or exhibit a deadly weapon..."
The grand jury also found Fierro subjected Livezey "to an arrest that the defendant knew was unlawful."
He is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, official oppression and three counts of reckless driving. KTVT said Fierro was released on $85,000 bond.
Iowan Bill Livezey was pulled over by Fierro on Dec. 11 who was off-duty at the time. Authorities said witnesses told them Fierro was trying to run Livezey off the road.
The Navarro County Sheriff's Office told KCCI when their deputies arrived, Livezey said he was feeling ill and suffered a heart attack. Deputies took the handcuffs off and started CPR.
An ambulance transported Livezey to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
KTVT-TV reported that the Livezey family has hired an attorney to pursue the case.
By Ciara O'Rourke
A Lago Vista detective who was arrested last month after a co-worker said the officer kicked him in the back has been fired, according to the Lago Vista Police Department.
Lawrence Michael Jonap, 45, was charged on Jan. 30 with assault by causing bodily injury, a class A misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to a year in jail.
Police officials confirmed Jonap had been fired, but would not answer further questions about the termination on Friday, including when or why the detective was let go.
Jonap’s co-worker, a dispatcher, said he was making coffee at the Lago Vista Police Department and talking to an officer on Dec. 10 when he was kicked in the back, causing his body to “lunge forward,” according to the affidavit. When he turned around, he saw Jonap standing behind him and laughing, the affidavit says.
The next day, the document says, Jonap hit the communications operator on the head with a notebook, flicked his ear and then “farted” in his face.
A reserve officer told a Travis County sheriff’s deputy that she saw Jonap “tap ” the other operator with a folder and then later shake his chair, saying, “How’s your back?” before grabbing his hat and throwing it on a desk.
The reserve officer also told the deputy she saw Jonap “pass gas” in front of the other operator’s face.
Jonap admitted to the deputy that he had physical contact with the operator, according to the affidavit, but he said he just “nudged” him with his foot.
According to court documents, Jonap has worked for the Lago Vista Police Department for 14 years.
A docket shows that he has a court date set in the assault case later this month.
PARKER COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – An off-duty police officer from the Henderson County town of Malakoff has been indicted on criminal charges.
Officer Ernesto Fierro turned himself in at the Parker County Jail just after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon. He was officially charged with one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, one count of Official Oppression, and three counts of Reckless Driving. Fierro was released on $85,000 bond less than 35 minutes after arriving at the jail.
A reckless driving investigation began when driver Bill Livezey died in December after calling 911. Witnesses told authorities Fierro, who was riding his personal motorcycle, was trying to run Livezey off the road.
According to officials, Livezey was in handcuffs and complaining about not feeling well when sheriff’s deputies arrived. Paramedics took the 70-year-old father to a hospital, where he died.
Records obtained by the CBS-11 I-Team detail that before working in Malakoff, Fierro had trouble while an officer with the Dallas Police Department. Records show he was fired in May 2001 for conduct discrediting the department. But he was re-instated in October of that year after appealing, and instead, was suspended for 20 days.
Fierro left DPD and went to work as an investigator with the Dallas County DA’s office, before finally landing in Malakoff.
Livezey’s children have now hired attorney Greg Price, of Sulphur Springs, to investigate whether their father’s federal civil rights or state laws were violated.
About Karen Zapf
Plum Council voted Thursday night to continue the suspension with pay of borough police Officer Jeremy Cumberledge “pending further investigation.”
The 5-0 vote came at a special meeting called to address Cumberledge's situation. Councilmen Don Knopfel and Steve “Skip” Taylor did not attend.
The five council members who did, as well as Mayor Richard Hrivnak, left the five-minute meeting without commenting.
Borough Manager Michael Thomas declined to discuss the investigation and what agency is conducting it.
Cumberledge, a borough patrolman since 2007, did not attend the meeting and did not respond to messages seeking comment. The officer's base pay salary is about $78,800.
Thomas declined to comment when asked why the meeting was called to continue the officer's suspension with pay. That's the way the issue was described on a printed meeting agenda.
Cumberledge has been suspended with pay since Jan. 11 after what borough officials have said was an internal breach of the municipal computer system.
The computer system contained records for the borough's 67 employees.
Thomas has said the breach did not involve any resident's information, such as tax records.
He also has said once the breach was discovered, measures were taken to ensure it didn't happen again.
Plum officials turned over information with respect to the computer breach to another law enforcement agency, Thomas has said.
Police vacancies to be filled
In other action, council authorized the borough staff to prepare a list of candidates for police lieutenant, sergeant and patrolman.
The openings are a result of the retirement last month of former police Chief Frank Monaco and the promotion of former Lt. Jeffrey Armstrong to chief.
By Dee DeQuattro -
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence police officials have suspended an officer for a year without pay after he admitted hitting and kicking a handcuffed man.
Eight-year veteran Officer Richard Ramirez recently was disciplined for the incident last July. He had been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
Ramirez admitted striking 22-year-old Jose Moreno, who was arrested after eluding police for several hours while racing around the city on an off-road motorcycle. Ramirez wrote in a report that he slapped Moreno in the head and kicked him, after Moreno used profanity and spat on Ramirez.
Federal and state prosecutors declined to charge Ramirez, who was found to have violated police department rules.
Daniel J. Kov
BUENA — The borough this week hired a former state trooper as its first full-time public safety director as it seeks to broaden administrative oversight of its police department.
Daniel T. Caregnato, 47, took over the position immediately after the Borough Council approved his hire Monday night.
“I am excited and humbled to be in this position to serve the Buena community,” the longtime New Jersey State Police veteran told the council after he was sworn in. “I look forward to be working with each of you, and I will serve with courage and humility.”
The post previously was a part-time position filled by Councilman Joseph Santagata. He took on the role when the borough created it last year after eliminating the position of police chief.
Santagata deemed Caregnato fit for the position. “He’s definitely going to be an asset for the community,” the councilman said.
In explaining the shift from part time to full time, Mayor Joseph Baruffi pointed to several changes that necessitated the need for the expanded position. Those include the upcoming retirement of Lt. Lawrence A. Petrillo, and an expansion of the role’s responsibilities.
Baruffi cited a “pretty young” police department as a main reason why the borough sought outside applicants rather than promoting one of its own to the director post.
“We were looking for someone who had a strong public safety background and can hit the ground running,” he said.
Petrillo, who plans to retire in September, had been the top officer supervising the police department since 2012, after Chief David P. Sherma forfeited his position because he was caught illegally obtaining prescription medication.
In the newly defined role of public safety director, Caregnato will act as the director of police, where he will be responsible for the overall performance of the borough’s 24/7 police department.
In addition, the position now involves oversight of the borough’s Emergency Management Service, including authority for day-to-day operations.
Caregnato will receive a salary of $48,000 for the first year of his three-year contract, with a $1,000 increase in the subsequent years. He won’t be entitled to compensation time or overtime pay.
Baruffi spoke highly of Caregnato’s reputation and background.
“I know him very well,” said the mayor, who reminisced at one point about teaching Caregnato in seventh grade. “He comes highly qualified. He takes on responsibilities and tasks with the utmost desire to accomplish his goals.”
Baruffi added, “With his experience and his desire to achieve, I think he’s a perfect fit here in Buena.”
A lifelong Buena resident, Caregnato is a Buena Regional High School graduate who served 25 years with New Jersey State Police. His most recent title was commander of the Buena Vista Station. He also has coached youth sports in the borough.
“I’m big on community policing,” Caregnato said, “and I just want to continue that.”