By JEREMY PAWLOSKI
The city of Olympia has agreed to pay a local activist $10,000 to settle his lawsuit alleging the Olympia Police Department violated his civil rights and falsely arrested him during an anti-police march through downtown in April 2010.
Paul French, 29, pleaded guilty pursuant to an Alford plea to a single count of third-degree assault of a police officer in June 2010, after his arrest during the march. In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but the plea counts as a conviction and carries the same penalties in the eyes of the court.
French was sentenced to three months of work release at the Thurston County Jail, according to his felony judgment and sentence.
According to French's lawsuit against OPD, Olympia Police Officer Sean Lindros falsely claimed French struck him in the face while attempting to arrest a woman who was part of the march on April 8, 2010.
According to court papers, Lindros was "struck on the left side of his face just above his cheekbone," as Lindros was attempting to make an arrest. Lindros identified a masked man, identified him as French, and arrested him, court papers state.
French has written extensively of his experiences during, and after his arrest in the Olympia publication Works in Progress. In a Jan. 12 Works in Progress article, French wrote that in a police report, Lindros misidentified the color of a bandana he was wearing, and that Lindros suffered no visible marks or bruises after the alleged assault.
"I was charged with assault, even though I was simply engaging in my First Amendment right to protest and in spite of the fact that I was not in a location where I could have physically struck Lindros," French wrote.
French also wrote that he was severely traumatized by his jail sentence and suffered a nervous breakdown.
French's lawsuit also alleged that Thomas Rudd, Force Protection director for Joint Base Lewis-McChord sent former Olympia Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad an email tipping Olympia police off in advance about the march.
Rudd was the boss of former JBLM civilian force protection employee John Towery, who has been accused of infiltrating an Olympia anti-war group under an assumed name and monitoring their activities.
Towery is a defendant in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by members of the Olympia anti-war group, Olympia Port Militarization Resistance, or OlyPMR. The lawsuit involving Towery and Rudd's activities is scheduled to go to trial in June.
In French's lawsuit that recently settled, French's attorney Larry Hildes wrote that, judging by Rudd's email to Bjornstad, "It has now become clear that Rudd kept right on gathering information on activists in Olympia," even after Towery was unmasked.
French's lawsuit also stated that Rudd was giving information about Olympia activists "to the Olympia Police Department for the them to act on, either alone or in conjunction with the Army."
French's jury trial in his federal civil rights lawsuit was scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Reached by telephone Thursday, French said he still wants to get his conviction for assaulting the OPD officer expunged."I was railroaded by a reactionary judge who cut the legs out from under my case by ruling which issues could be discussed at trial," French said. "Justice will be served once I get this false conviction expunged from my record, and I can pursue my journalistic career without the stigma of being a violent felon."
SAN DIEGO — A judge Thursday granted a stay of his order overturning two counts against a former San Diego police officer convicted of sexually assaulting women he encountered on the job, and also denied a request to release the defendant pending appeal.
Judge Jeffrey Fraser last month overturned charges of sexual battery by restraint and assault and battery by a peace officer because handwritten notes from Officer Anthony Arevalos’ main accuser were not turned over to the defense.
Fraser wrote in his 12-page ruling that he was not confident a jury would have convicted the 18-year veteran officer on those counts if his defense team had access to the notes.
The District Attorney’s Office immediately appealed Fraser’s ruling.
An appellate attorney for Arevalos, Pat Ford, told the judge today that with time taken off the defendant’s original sentence of eight years and eight months, Arevalos could conceivably be released from prison in September if the appeal is denied.
Ford also said Arevalos would be a good candidate for probation if the judge’s decision to overturn the two counts is affirmed and the defendant is re- sentenced on his remaining convictions.
But Fraser said prosecutors had a right to appeal his ruling overturning the two counts.
The appeal process could take up to a year.
“We have to play this process out,” the judge said.
Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said his office has the option to retry the overturned counts if the appeal is unsuccessful.
“The District Attorney’s Office is certainly committed to holding Officer Arevalos accountable for each of his victims and that’s something we would certainly do, and that’s what we’re trying to do in the Court of Appeal.”
The ex-officer was convicted in November 2011 of felony and misdemeanor charges involving five women stopped in the Gaslamp District, including multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, asking for a bribe and assault and battery by a police officer. He was acquitted of other serious charges involving two other women.
The notes in question surfaced during a federal lawsuit the woman — known as “Jane Doe” — has filed against the city of San Diego.
Nowhere in the handwritten notes does she say that Arevalos actually touched her genitalia, Ford said earlier.
EDISON, N.J. (AP) - Officials say they have disciplined a New Jersey police officer for leaving his patrol car idling in his driveway for more than two hours during the Super Bowl.
But it's not clear how the Edison Police Department punished Sgt. Andrew Chupela.
Chupela's neighbor, Thomas DeRienzo, filed a complaint on Super Bowl Sunday after he said Chupela arrived home at around 7:30 p.m. and drove off at 10:15 p.m.
Police officials wrote DeRienzo that the officer had violated department rules and would be disciplined. But they didn't say how.
DeRienzo tells The Home News Tribune (http://mycj.co/1cwXn2m ) the lack of transparency is troubling and fosters an attitude of mistrust about a department that has had a history of discipline problems.
The police sergeant is paid $145,000 a year.
FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A police officer in Little Silver has been sentenced to five years in prison after his conviction on official misconduct and assault charges in the beating of a man.
Forty-year-old Steven Solari was sentenced Thursday in Superior Court in Freehold.
Prosecutors say Solari went to check on the man at the request of the man's mother in 2009 but ended up arresting him following a scuffle. Prosecutors say Solari took the man to police headquarters for booking instead of to a hospital. Prosecutors also said Solari punched the handcuffed man and tried to cover up what happened.
The Asbury Park press reports (http://on.app.com/1ovkDNX ) that Solari has been ordered to give up his $91,000-a-year job with the Little Silver police, where he has been on the force since 1999.
BY BRYNA ZUMER and KRISHANA DAVIS,
A Baltimore County police officer was arrested in Bel Air and charged with drunk driving early Sunday morning, the Bel Air Police Department said.
Charles Bagley, an Abingdon resident, was arrested at about 2 a.m. Sunday after he was seen allegedly committing several traffic violations, including failing to stop for a red light at South Bond Street and Churchville Road, according to a BAPD news release issued Tuesday morning. Bagley was driving a Toyota SUV, police said.
Det. Sgt. Jim Lockard, a Bel Air Police spokesman, said Bagley was charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired and consuming alcohol while operating a motor vehicle. Lockard said Bagley is either 41 or 42 years old.
Bagley is a corporal for the Baltimore County Police Department assigned to the White Marsh precinct, the department said in a statement Tuesday.
The statement said Bagley's police powers have been suspended and he will be on administrative duty, pending the outcome of the court case and an internal investigation.
The department referred all other questions to Bel Air Police.
JOHNSTOWN — Suspended Johnstown police officer Adam Schwabrow pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of third-degree rape and officially resigned his position with the police department as part of a plea agreement, according to the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office.
He is expected to serve one year in jail.
Schwabrow, 32, submitted his plea before acting Fulton County Court Judge S. Peter Feldstein, admitting he had sex with someone younger than 17 years old. The Class E felony charge was lodged after allegations came out last year that Schwabrow had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl in the city of Johnstown over a period of time beginning in May of 2011. No force was alleged in the case and Schwabrow was not on duty at the time of the encounters.
Because of the lack of force, Schwabrow’s attorney sought probation in place of jail time, said Saratoga County DA James Murphy III, whose office was appointed special prosecutor for the case.
“We said no to that,” he said. “Even though no force was involved, this was statutory, meaning she was less than 17 years of age. But it doesn’t have to be physical force to be serious. He was in a position of power and she was too young to be capable of consent, which is why we thought he should not only resign, but also do a year in jail.”
Schwabrow resigned from the Johnstown police force, where he served nine years, effective Tuesday at 1 p.m. in the form of a letter addressed to police Chief Mark Gifford.
“As an adult he should know better than to have sex with a minor and that is exactly why the statute is written, to protect young girls,” said Murphy in a news release. “Someone who commits a felony and exercises such horrific judgment should never be a police officer and that is why we insisted on a resignation as part of the felony conviction and jail time.”
Schwabrow had surrendered his firearms to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department at the time of his arrest on Sept. 19. Seven weeks later, the DA’s office began investigating rumors that Schwabrow pulled his gun out and pointed it at fellow officers during the arrest.
“But when we asked the chief about that he said no, there was just some fumbling around for the gun,” said Murphy. “So they followed up on the allegation, but never turned anything over to us that indicated anything criminal.”
Sentencing has been scheduled for May 13 at 10 a.m. In addition to one year in Fulton County Jail, Schwabrow is expected to pay fines and surcharges.
Assistant DA Jennifer Buckley, who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday in a news release that the victim is satisfied with Schwabrow’s guilty plea and resignation.
“The victim was fully cooperative in the prosecution and is relieved this part of her life is over,” Buckley said.
Fulton County DA Louise Sira and a local judge recused themselves from the case in September because it would have been a conflict of interest to investigate one of their own police officers.
At the time of his arrest, Schwabrow had also been serving as emergency management director for Montgomery County since October 2012. He was suspended without pay from his police and county jobs, which had annual salaries of about $55,000 and $25,000, respectively. The status of his job with Montgomery County is unknown at this time. Jeffery Smith retired from his post as Montgomery County undersheriff in January and now fills Schwabrow’s old role with the county.
By Sue Epstein
Six, including a sheriff's officer and investigators, suspended for their link to former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo's jobs-fire cash bribery scheme, want their jobs back.Patti Sapone/The Star Ledger
MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Five investigators and one officer in the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department — suspended for their link to former Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo’s jobs-for-cash scheme — have gone to court to get their jobs back.
Tim Smith, an attorney from Fairfield who is representing the six who were suspended without pay in January, said his clients are victims of Spicuzzo, that they cooperated with the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute the long-time sheriff and should not have been charged or suspended.
Smith said his six clients are awaiting a decision by Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson in Freehold whether they can return to their jobs until the administrative hearings are held on the charges filed against them.
He said he filed an action in Superior Court in New Brunswick against Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott last month, asking the sheriff to show cause why the six should not be returned to their jobs. The case was moved to Monmouth County to avoid any conflict of interest.
Smith represents investigators Christopher Jarema, Richard Mucia, Thomas Varga, Giancarlo Russo and Daniel Link and officer Bruce Kentos. They had been with the department five to 18 years.
The six, plus Investigator Eric Strachan, were suspended in January without pay and departmental charges of bribery and “other sufficient cause” were filed against them. Kentos, Link and Russo are also charged with conduct unbecoming a public employee. They are pending termination, according to the sheriff’s department.
“These officers were victims of extortion,” Smith said. “Their cooperation contributed in part to the cleansing of an agency. Now they’re being retaliated against for that very cooperation.”
Sheriff Scott said she could not comment on the case because it was in court and “we are awaiting a decision” by Lawson.
Several of the investigators involved testified before a grand jury and would have testified in a trial that they, or relatives for them, paid thousands of dollars to Spicuzzo in order to secure their jobs or promotions.
Spicuzzo pleaded guilty in June to taking $25,000 in cash bribes in exchange for promoting his own employees. That was a fraction of the $112,000 the Attorney General’s Office said the 68-year-old accepted from people seeking jobs or promotions in the sheriff’s office during his 30-year tenure. He retired in 2010 and lost his pension as a result of his plea. He is also serving a nine-year prison sentence.
Smith said his clients did not commit bribery under any description of the law.
“These are people who had legitimately applied for their jobs and were qualified,” Smith said. “Not each individual paid for the job. In several cases, the payments were made by third parties without their knowledge. Where payments were made, it was the head of the agency (Spicuzzo) who made the demand.”
He also said Scott “violated the Attorney General’s guidelines” when she made the departmental charges public.
“Obviously the sheriff is not well versed in the AG’s guidelines and that’s astonishing,” Smith said.
He said his clients allege that the sheriff could only suspend them immediately without pay for specific reasons outlined under Civil Service in Kentos’ case and the Attorney General’s guidelines for the other five—if they were charged by law enforcement with indictable criminal offenses or were totally unfit for duty.
“The allegations against them pertain to a period prior to their joining (the sheriff’s department) and are not related to their service once they joined,” Smith said. “Their work records are impeccable.”
The attorney said the departmental hearings have not yet been scheduled for the six.
By WHITNEY BRAKKEN
A Dallas county resident is suing police officers and Montgomery County, claiming unlawful arrest and detainment.
Jean Goldman filed a lawsuit Feb. 21 in the Houston Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas against Charles Williams, Brian Skero and Montgomery County, citing false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
The complaint states on Feb. 26, 2012, the plaintiff was driving northbound on Interstate 45 when Officer Skero stopped Goldman. Officer Skero administered an HGN test to the plaintiff, but she was physically unable to complete the test due to her neck brace and recent neck surgery, according to the complaint.
Goldman says Trooper Williams then handcuffed her, wrongfully accused her of being drunk and placed her under arrest.
The plaintiff states she was never read her legal rights.
According to the complaint, Goldman was subsequently detained in Montgomery County Jail for five days.
The plaintiff contends the defendants had no probable cause to believe Goldman was driving while intoxicated or had committed any other criminal wrongdoing.
Goldman is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.
The plaintiff is being represented in the case by attorneys D. Bradley Kizzia and Sarah B. Sparling of Brown Fox Kizzia & Johnson PLLC and Bill Ucherek II of Juneau Boll Stacy & Ucherek PLLC.
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:14-cv-00433
PLANTATION, Fla. -
A Miami-Dade police officer was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Officer Albert Coriat was pulled over by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper early in the morning Feb. 16 when Coriat made an illegal U-turn on Florida's Turnpike in Plantation.
According to FHP reports, Coriat had glassy eyes and smelled like booze. In dashcam video from the trooper's cruiser, Coriat is overheard telling the officers he's also a member of law enforcement.
"You say you're a cop," an officer responds. "Are you saying you're a police officer? Then you understand how the job is. Turn around, face the vehicle."
In another part of the video, Coriat pleads for his release while in handcuffs in the back of the car. "Bros, we're all brothers, man.. I'm metro, just let me go."
When Coriat was taken to a facility to perform a series of sobriety tests, he failed and vomited, according to the arrest report.
Video from later in the morning shows Coriat being transported to jail, arguing with the trooper.
"I would have let you go!" Coriat exclaims.
"No, I'm sorry. It doesn't work that way," the trooper responds.
Miami-Dade police have not commented on the incident because the investigation is ongoing, only saying Coriat was not on the duty at the time.
By Seth Augenstein
A Lakewood patrolman has been arrested and charged with second-degree official misconduct in connection with an allegedly-illegal search of a car in August 2013, authorities said.Star-Ledger file photo
LAKEWOOD — A local police officer has been arrested and charged with official misconduct after conducting an illegal search of a car – and later falsifying documents to conceal his wrongdoing, authorities said.
Jeremy Felder, 28, was charged in connection with the search of a car last August, said Joseph Coronato, the Ocean County Prosecutor.
Felder allegedly participated in an illegal search of the car – which resulted in the seizure of drugs, said authorities.
Felder later falsified documents and his police report to conceal the illegal search, added Coronato.
Although charges were filed by Felder against the occupants of the car, all those charges were later dropped, added Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor.
Authorities are not commenting further on the details of the illegal search or the falsified paperwork, Della Fave added. Felder had been a Lakewood patrolman since 2011, Coronato said.
A Lakewood police spokesman directed all questions to the prosecutor.
Felder and several relatives listed in public records could not be reached today. But his attorney, Stuart Alterman, said his client was acting as a professional police officer - and was pursuing a just investigation.
"It seems as if police officers are guilty until proven innocent," Alterman said. "We stand by his innocence."
Alterman confirmed that prior to working for Lakewood, Felder had served as a Jackson Township police officer.
Felder has been suspended without pay since his arrest Tuesday, Alterman confirmed. The patrolman’s bail was set at $15,000 with no 10-percent cash option by a judge, Della Fave said.
The official-misconduct charge is a second-degree offense, authorities said.
Dashcam video shows officer's drunken arrest
A Waterbury police officer has been suspended after allegedly using unnecessary force during an arrest, and he isn’t the only one being disciplined.
The problem started Jan. 13 while police were making an arrest on Willow and Ludlow streets. Four police officers went running after the suspect and eventually took him into custody, but not before Officer Ryan Cubell reportedly kicked the man while he was restrained on the ground.
A witness called Waterbury police to report the incident and said the officers were out of line, according to the department.
Cubell has been suspended without pay for 25 days following an internal investigation. Police Chief Vernon Riddick said Cubell used unnecessary force in kicking the suspect.
Three other officers were issued written reprimands for reportedly failing to fill out required paperwork explaining that force had been used, according to Riddick.
Riddick said the behavior would not be tolerated.
The police union did not comment.
By Tristan Hallman
A Dallas officer received a five-day suspension last week after receiving a domestic violence citation in DeSoto last year, police said Wednesday.
Rashad Allen, 31, was given the suspension Thursday. He had been placed on administrative leavesince Nov. 30. He can appeal the decision.
Allen, who joined the department in 2008 and was assigned to the South Central Patrol Division, was one of two officers suspended Thursday in connection with domestic violence incidents. A third officer, Kristoffer Lewis, has been recommended for termination and pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor assault.
UNION CITY, Oklahoma -
The Union City police chief is on suspension following the arrest of a police officer.
News 9's cameras were there in January as that officer, Scottie Brothers, was booked into jail.
He's accused of stealing another officer's gun in 2010 and selling it to a felon. According to the Probable Cause affidavit, Brothers stole at least one gun from fellow officer William Ingram while he was house sitting for Ingram in May of 2010. At the time Ingram noticed the gun was missing but thought he just misplaced it.
Then in February of 2012, a felon called Ingram and said he had bought a gun from Brothers and it wasn't working. The felon asked Ingram if he could help him with it. When Ingram saw the gun he realized it was one of two that was missing from his house.
Ingram says the police chief ignored his request for an investigation. According to the mayor of Union City they have suspended the police chief until the matter of Scottie Brothers is cleared up.
DETROIT — A Detroit police officer has been charged with three misdemeanors on accusations that she fled a traffic accident where two people were injured.
The Wayne County prosecutor's office says 41-year-old Dana Bond was arraigned Tuesday on charges of failing stop at an injury accident and failing to stop at an accident that caused property damage.
Authorities say she had a high blood alcohol content.
A 19-year-old driver and his 16-year-old passenger were hurt in Sunday's crash on Detroit's west side. Authorities say Bond tried to drive away, but struck a snow bank.
Bond was already on suspension at the time of the crash.
Prosecutors say Bond faces trial in April for retail fraud, accused of stealing wine and food items from two Detroit stores in Augus
A New Jersey police officer has found himself on the wrong side of the law.
Authorities in Ocean County have charged a Lakewood police officer with official misconduct stemming from what they say was an illegal search of a vehicle.
Patrolman Jeremy Felder has been suspended without pay.
The county prosecutor's office says investigators allege Felder participated in an illegal search of a vehicle in which illegal controlled dangerous substances were seized in August. Officials say the patrolman falsified documents and police reports to conceal his wrongdoing.
The charges against the occupants of that car were dismissed, according to prosecutors.
Felder joined the Lakewood Police Department in August 2011.
His bail was set at 10 percent of $15,000. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.
By Phil Trexler
Shaune Chesney had never been inside the Summit County Jail.
But there he sat last year, amid thugs, rapists and killers, accused of callously striking a child with his car and then driving away as the kindergartner writhed in pain.
Chesney was arrested a week after the incident as an army of police officers stopped him as he drove to pick up his son from Judith A. Resnik elementary school on West Market Street.
“I didn’t see it coming,” he recalled Wednesday.
In the back of a sergeant’s cruiser, he told Akron police that they had the wrong man. The sergeant, however, was more interested in getting his confession, he said.
It took eight days before police arrested the real hit-skip driver and allowed Chesney to go free.
In the aftermath, Chesney dropped out of Stark State College and said he still struggles to find work. He moved his 7-year-old son to a different school. And, he said, he’s struggled to deal with his incarceration.
According to Chesney’s attorney, the city declined to make a restitution offer, leaving him with no choice but to file a lawsuit this week in Summit County Common Pleas Court.
“It’s very difficult,” Chesney, 49, said of his stay in jail. “You’re in there with other inmates, most that really need to be there. You’re cut off from everything. Then you have to deal with the whole mental situation and try to figure out how to get out of there and fight the case.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
“[The city] said they’re not going to make an offer,” said Cleveland-area attorney Alan B. Harris, who represents Chesney. “We will leave that up to a jury.”
Chesney’s arrest took place last March 21 as he drove a dark green 1997 Mercury Marquis to pick up his son, Taeshaune, then 6, from Resnik school.
His photo and details of his arrest were the subject of a news release by Akron police. Most TV, newspaper and radio news outlets published a story.
Harris said police knew of the other suspect through a Crime Stoppers’ tip given the same day that Chesney was arrested. But, he said, police failed to act quickly. Instead, Chesney spent more than a week confined to a cellblock.
City Law Director Cheri Cunningham declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“It was a travesty of the system,” Harris said. “He was innocent and did nothing wrong.”
At the time of the arrest, a police spokesman said witnesses identified Chesney as the hit-skip driver. The incident took place on Goodhue Avenue, just blocks from Resnik, and left a 5-year-old boy with a broken leg.
Chesney was held in the Summit County Jail for eight days until police concluded its second investigation into the actual hit-skip driver, who drove a 1995 Chrysler New Yorker.
In a Beacon Journal interview within an hour after being cleared last year, Chesney said he was glad that police “caught the right guy” and immediately added that his “thoughts and prayers have always been with the student who was injured.”
“Everybody threw me under the bus,” he said, “but I prayed about that and I was very bothered by what happened to [the child].”
Police later arrested William E. Wilkes Jr., 38, of North Hawkins Avenue, Akron. Wilkes confessed to the hit-skip incident and subsequently was charged with driving under a suspended license and felony hit-skip.
Wilkes eventually pleaded guilty and received a 90-day jail sentence and a one-year license suspension.
Chesney said that the months that followed his jail stay were arduous. His name is still on the Internet, linked to the story. It doesn’t seem to go away.
“When I was arrested, I couldn’t believe it at first,” he said. “It was humbling, No. 1, and, No. 2, it was very demoralizing.”
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or email@example.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler.
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Grand jury will consider excessive force case next week
Written by Cris Barrish
A Dover police officer has been on paid suspension for four months while police and prosecutors investigate his use of force in arresting a man the officer’s lawyer claims is a combative “career felon.”
Cpl. Thomas W. Webster IV, 40, an eight-year veteran of the force, is receiving his $64,000 annual salary while authorities probe his Aug. 24 arrest of Lateef Dickerson, 29, on assault and other charges.
Attorney General Beau Biden’s office is planning to seek a grand jury indictment next week charging Webster with assault, sources familiar with the case said. Webster’s lawyer expects him to be indicted.
“We can confirm that the officer is under investigation, but can’t comment any further,” Dover police spokesman Cpl. Mark Hoffman said. “Things should be moving on this issue in the next week or so.”
Details of what Webster is being investigated for have not been made public, but investigators have a video of the confrontation, Hoffman and Chief James E. Hosfelt said Wednesday, adding that they will not release the video now. “That’s all evidence at this point,” Hoffman said.
Richard Smith, president of the state NAACP, said Hosfelt briefed him on the case and possible charges against Webster on Saturday.
“He said the video was so bad that he had to take a stand to lock this police officer up,” Smith said. “He said we wouldn’t want to see the video because it would upset the whole community. He said it was pitiful but wouldn’t go into details.”
Smith said relations between police and the black community have been tense in recent years, and said that if Webster is charged criminally, that might send a message to residents that the city won’t tolerate police brutality.
“We hope to see him charged and that justice will prevail. Just to see him go to court would unite people,” Smith said. “The black community and the city of Dover need to come together.”
The investigation began on Oct. 13 after a complaint was filed with Dover police, Hoffman said. The NAACP’s Smith said Dickerson filed the complaint and that during the investigation the video was given to police.
Webster was suspended with pay on Nov. 4, but the suspension was not announced in keeping with the department’s personnel policy, Hoffman said.
Reached Wednesday morning at his home near Felton, Webster would not comment. But his attorney, James E. Liguori, issued a statement that said his client’s use of force was proper and necessary.
“Tom Webster’s quick thinking and instincts helped keep a very bad guy off our streets,” wrote Liguori, who added that Webster spent nine years as a Delaware corrections officer before joining the Dover force.
Dickerson has four felony convictions and has been arrested several dozen times, Liguori wrote.
The altercation occurred at the Hess service station on U.S. 13 in Dover, where officers were dispatched after a 911 call that Dickerson and others “were armed and in a fight,” Liguori’s statement said. No one had weapons, Liguori said, but Webster had to use force against Dickerson.
The defense attorney did not say that Dickerson was violent before Webster used force, only that the suspect did not comply with police orders.
“All Lateef Dickerson had to do was comply” with Webster and another officer “and it wouldn’t have been necessary for him to be forcefully restrained,” Liguori wrote.
Webster “looks forward to trial in this matter. His actions were justified. This was not an indiscriminate exercise of the use of unnecessary force. Tom Webster’s day in court will not be soon enough. He protected all of us that day, even Mr. Dickerson, when he chose to use less than lethal force to get this career felon under arrest and off of our streets.”
Dickerson was charged with assault, theft, resisting arrest and other offenses in the Hess incident, Hoffman said Wednesday morning, adding that the criminal case remains open.
Dickerson is currently serving 60 days at the Central Violation of Probation Center in Smyrna, corrections spokesman John Painter said.
News Journal files show that Dickerson, was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and drug offenses in September 2012 after a traffic stop in Middletown, and with armed robbery and weapons charges in 2006 and 2008.
Richard Irizarry was dealing more than a pound of cocaine, according to indictment
By Dan Billow
ITUSVILLE, Fla. —A Titusville police officer is accused of trying to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine worth $40,000, according to a federal indictment.
Richard Irizarry was indicted on Thursday on charges of participating in a drug deal while carrying a firearm.
Officials said Irizarry is charged with attempting to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine, possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug distribution and using a telephone to facilitate the drug distribution.
Related: Florida mug shots
"All of us in the department are shocked at this. None of us have ever experienced anything like this in our department," said Titusville police Maj. Todd Hutchinson.
According to court paperwork, Irizarry has been on leave since the offenses were committed on Jan. 19.
He has been ordered to forfeit any property or money he obtained from drug trafficking and any firearms and ammunition he owns.
If convicted, Irizzary faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of up 40 years in federal prison.
The Titusville Police Department is moving to suspend Irizarry without pay after a hearing, but he cannot be terminated until an internal investigation is completed.
"This is an isolated incident and it involved only him and no other department members. This really isn't related to our department. It's activity that he was involved in," said Hutchinson.
Irizarry had a clean record as a police officer and passed a thorough background check when he was hired.
He has been a patrol officer since 2010, and before that, he was a Marine for 20 years -- a gunnery sergeant and equal opportunity adviser.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy has charged Detroit Police Officer Johnny Ray Bridges, 47, with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, unlawful imprisonment, domestic violence and reckless discharge of a firearm.
The charges stem from an event that allegedly occurred on Saturday between Bridges and his girlfriend on March 3.
The woman appears to have escaped the situation by jumping out of a window and running to a nearby restaurant while wearing barely any clothing. An employee at the restaurant tells Isom the woman was only wearing a shirt and her face was "a little bit beat up." Employees gave her some clothes to cover up and called for help.
Prosecutors say Bridges was off-duty when the alleged incident occurred, and both had been drinking. An argument began and, at some point during the argument, Bridges fired a handgun into the air and punched and kicked the victim's face and body.
Bridges was arraigned on Wednesday and a judge set his bond at $5,000. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim and to not possess or purchase firearms.
He is scheduled to be back in court March 13.
Ex-Jasper cop, wife arrested in Florida after children found abandoned, syringes found in car By Jon Reed
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Florida -- A former Jasper police officer and his wife face charges including child neglect after they were arrested in Florida and their children were found abandoned nearby.
Michael and Sarah Butcher, both 30, were arrested for causing a disturbance at the Water's Edge Resort RV park outside Punta Gorda, Fla., Friday night, according to NBC 2 in Fort Myers.
After they were arrested by the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office on loitering charges, another deputy found three children, ages 6, 8 and 10, who said the Butchers were their parents, the station reported.
Sheriff's deputies said the family appeared to have been living in a truck that was filled with syringes and old food, according to NBC 2.
The Butchers face charges of loitering and child neglect, according to the sheriff's office. Michael Butcher is also charged with possession of a controlled substance. They are being held in the Charlotte County Jail.
Michael Butcher resigned from the Jasper Police Department in 2012 when he was investigated and arrested for possession of a controlled substance, according to The Daily Mountain Eagle. That case was dismissed by a judge in June 2013, according to court records.
A retired police officer has been arrested on sex assault charges for a relationship he allegedly had with an underage girl.
Walter Sasse, 75, a 20-year Philadelphia police veteran most recently assigned to the mounted unit, was charged with nine crimes including unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, sexual assault and indecent exposure. He was arrested last night and freed today after posting 10 percent of $50,000 bail. A preliminary hearing was set for March 25.
Court records show the alleged assault occurred on June 1, 2011. But a police source said the charges stem from a long-term relationship that started when the girl, who he allegedly met at a horse stable, was 15. A police spokeswoman said she had no details and referred questions to the special-victims unit; a supervisor there has declined to release details.
After his retirement, Sasse managed Courtesy Stable in Fairmount Park. According to an online biography, Sasse is a U.S. Army veteran who worked in Philly's mounted police for 18 years and has ridden with its show and drill tea
A hearing officer will weigh testimony from village and suspended cop
By Christopher Walsh
The East Hampton Village Board on Thursday announced the appointment of an independent hearing officer to hear disciplinary charges against Julio Galeano, a village police officer who was suspended without pay on Feb. 21 after an alleged romantic encounter in December with another member of the department at a house in which neither had permission to be.
The board's Feb. 21 action followed its approval of new legislation on police discipline that bypasses the previous process, which had been negotiated with the East Hampton Village Police Benevolent Association. The new legislation does away with the arbitration procedures previously required and provides for dismissal as an option.
On Dec. 30, Officer Galeano was allegedly discovered at a house on Talmage Lane with a traffic control officer, Jennifer Rosa, who was reported to have a key to the house because she had worked there as a cleaner. The house's owner was not there, but guests that were authorized to enter and stay at the house discovered the pair and called the police. Ms. Rosa was fired from her job with the Village Police Department in January. Officer Galeano's gun and badge had already been confiscated when Chief Gerard Larsen brought disciplinary charged against him on Feb. 11. He was at first dismissed with pay. Officer Galeano has denied the charges against him.
The hearing officer, John G. Callahan, an attorney, will listen to comments and testimony from both sides and will issue a recommendation to the village for the appropriate disciplinary action. A date and location for the proceedings has not yet been determined.
Baltimore City Police Officer Charged With Beating And Choking Girlfriend’s 7-Month-Old Puppy To Death
SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJZ) — A shocking case of animal cruelty out of Montgomery County, where a Baltimore City cop is accused of choking his girlfriend’s dog to death.
Rochelle Ritchie has more.
The officer–a five-year veteran with the force–is suspended without pay after beating the dog with a mop and strangling it to death.
For five years, Baltimore City police officer Alec Eugene Taylor has protected and served the city of Baltimore–until now. He is charged with animal cruelty and abuse.
According to Montgomery County Police, Taylor, 27, killed his girlfriend’s 7-month-old Jack Russell Terrier, named Rocko, for relieving himself on the carpet of their Silver Spring apartment.
“I think he should be put in jail for a long time,” said one man.
Taylor tells investigators he used a mop not only to retrieve the dog from behind the dryer but as a weapon to beat the helpless animal before using his bare hands to choke the dog to death.
Montgomery County Police say the Baltimore City cop then took a picture of the dead dog and actually sent it to his girlfriend before dumping the pup in a dumpster.
“I think that is really sad because I love animals, mostly dogs, because dogs are my favorite,” said one person.
In a statement, Baltimore City police officials say, “Allegations of animal cruelty are taken seriously by the Baltimore police department. Significant emphasis has been placed on training investigators to handle animal abuse incidents in Baltimore.”
Investigators say Taylor told his girlfriend he was sick of cleaning up after the dog.
Taylor turned himself into police on Wednesday.
At the request of his girlfriend, Taylor retrieved the dog from the dumpster and she buried it in a park.
GIRARD -- A city police officer has been suspended for 20 working days under a last chance agreement.
City officials said Patrolman Larry Neely will keep his job now that an investigation is complete into underage drinking parties at his house.
They said the last chance agreement is a provision in the department's conduct code.
Neely was placed on paid administrative leave after criminal and internal investigations were launched following what investigators said was an underage party at his home.
Neely has been cleared of criminal charges. Several teens are facing misdemeanor charges in connection with the party