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By Jennifer Feals
KENNEBUNKPORT — Kennebunkport police have charged one of their own officers with driving to endanger, following a motorcycle accident last July.
Officer Marc Laflamme, 44, of Kennebunkport, was charged on May 28 with driving to endanger after an investigation into an accident on July 26, 2013, when Laflamme sustained serious injuries after crashing his motorcycle on Arundel Road.
Laflamme is due to appear at the Biddeford District Court on July 23. The charge is a misdemeanor, said Police Chief Craig Sanford.
The case was screened by the York County District Attorney’s Office, Sanford said, which “decided what charges should be brought forward.”
Following the accident last July, an accident reconstruction was conducted immediately by an investigator from the Sanford Police Department and a blood alcohol analysis was conducted. Those results were turned over to the District Attorney’s office and Sanford said Friday that he could not discuss those results as the case is “pending.”
“It’s all in the courts right now. Where it’s a pending case, I can’t talk about it,” he said. “They have their evidence and we’ll see what happens.”
Laflamme returned to work at the police department in March. Sanford said the charge does not affect that status.
“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Laflamme joined the Kennebunkport Police Department as a full-time patrolman in October 2007 after working as a summer reserve officer since 2001. Laflamme is a longtime volunteer with the Kennebunkport Fire Department and Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Servic
Darryl Anthony Howard to get new trial
(DURHAM, N.C.) -- Citing misconduct by a former prosecutor and a Durham, North Carolina police detective, a judge on Tuesday ordered a new trial for a man who has spent the past 19 years in prison for two murders he has always maintained he did not commit.
A North Carolina district court reversed a double murder conviction and ordered a new trial for Darryl Anthony Howard based on both prosecutorial misconduct and new DNA evidence pointing to other suspects.
Darryl always maintained his innocence in the 1991 double homicide of Doris Washington and her 13-year-old daughter, Nichanda. He was arrested for the crime nearly a year after it occurred although there was never any physical evidence linking him to the crime.
Durham police detective Daryl Dowdy had testified that the crimes were never suspected to involve a sexual assault despite clear physical evidence of sexual assault to both victims.
The nude bodies of the two were found in 1991 inside their apartment in at a public housing complex in east Durham.
According to a report by The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, " The case - taken up by the Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal organization that has freed 18 wrongly convicted people from death row in its 22 years - casts a spotlight again on the Durham justice system. It renews questions about the integrity and fairness of prosecutors and police investigators in a city that took a bruising from its handling of the Duke lacrosse case."
The Duke lacrosse case was a 2006 criminal case resulting from what proved to be a false accusation of rape made against three members of the men's lacrosse team at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
The fallout from the case's final resolution led to, among other things, the disbarment of lead prosecutor Mike Nifong.
Through open file discovery the Innocence Project uncovered a police memo, "That reveals that Durham police received a detailed tip from a confidential informant four days after the murders that the crimes involved sexual assault and the victims were murdered by more than one perpetrator – information that former prosecutor Mike Nifong never turned over to Darryl’s attorneys," according to a release by the Innocence Project
The Project also said DNA testing before trial excluded Mr. Howard as the source of biological evidence recovered from the daughter, and new DNA testing has excluded him as the source of semen found in the mother.
The prosecutorial misconduct in Darryl’s case casts doubt over the entire Durham justice system since it was former prosecutor Nifong who was disbarred and held in contempt for his actions in the Duke Lacrosse case, according to the Innocence Project .
In his order released Tuesday Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson wrote, "It is undisputed that there was and is no physical evidence connecting Howard to this crime scene or to these victims."
According to the report by the The News & Observer sperm was found on the teen and collected in an investigative rape kit. An autopsy showed that her mother had been sexually assaulted. Howard was charged in the homicides, but DNA tests excluded him as a match to the sexual assault evidence collected.
At trial, Durham Police Detective D.L. Dowdy testified that he never suspected that the murders involved sexual assaults and that he never investigated them as such.
Nifong, the assistant district attorney at the time repeated that claim to the jury and suggested that the sperm on the teen was the result of consensual sex before the murder.
But the claims by both the prosecutor and investigator were contradicted by a police memo that Nifong and Dowdy had in their files, a document uncovered within the past decade by Innocence Project researchers and Jim Cooney, a Charlotte attorney working with them.
A few days after the bodies were found, police got a confidential tip that a drug gang had murdered Doris Washington over an $8,000 drug debt and further the tipster said the killers raped the mother before killing her, "And that the daughter was raped and killed after unwittingly walking in on the scene" according to the The News & Observer report.
Cops and the women they abuse: Suspended officer faces new charge: GREENFIELD – A central-Indiana police lieutenant suspended after being accused of trying to get fellow officers to ticket his ex-wife now...
by Doug Erlien –
St. Paul Police Officer has been accused of using someone else's identity to funnel money to a man in prison. According to the department, Officer Ruby Diaz started with the St. Paul Police Department as an intern in 1999.
Diaz is accused of developing a relationship with Ramone Smaller who is currently in prison in St. Cloud for attempted murder and was charged Friday with aiding in multiple drive by shootings last fall. Officer Diaz has been charged with forging her personal trainer’s identity in order to funnel $1,500 to Smaller’s account in prison.
“I’ve always promised we will not leave any stone unturned and we have not,” said St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith. “We work with a lot of people and it’s disappointing information about this officer. But putting all these facts together we didn’t leave one stone unturned.”
Until the incident, Diaz hadn’t had any disciplinary action on her record with the department. Over the years she has been part of the gang unit and most recently, School Liaison Officer at Humboldt.
The Hennepin County Prosecutors Office is handling the case to avoid any conflict of interest. Officer Diaz has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Theodore A. Winski, 61, of 124 Jefferson St., Stamford, was arrested June 5 on a charge of impersonating a police officer.
A New Canaan police officer running radar at 5 p.m. on Oenoke Ridge saw a vehicle traveling south with an expired registration, according to the report. The officer stopped the white 2002 Buick Regal on Luke's Wood Road and as he approached the driver, he noticed two navy blue police uniform shirts with a Stamford police patch in the backseat, the report stated. When police asked Winski where he was coming from, he said he "was on the job in Stamford," according to police.
The officer asked the man to see his police identification or badge, police said, but Winski said he wasn't carrying either. The officer checked the status of the suspect's license and found it was "suspended indefinitely," police said.
Upon contacting the Stamford Police Department, police learned Winski had been an officer in Stamford before but hasn't worked there in years, according to the report.
In the rear seat of the car, the officer also found a clipboard containing summonses and police uniform pants, police said.
Wisnki was issued misdemeanor summonses for operating an unregistered motor vehicle and operating with a suspended license.
For the criminal charge, he posted $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court
By Anna Douglas and Jonathan McFadden
York Police Chief Andy Robinson was suspended without pay for three days last month after an internal review uncovered several violations of the city’s pursuit policy during an April 4 high-speed chase of a stolen car, according to documents obtained by The Herald on Monday.
In May, City Manager Charlie Helms suspended Robinson for exercising “poor judgment” by failing to terminate the chase after some officers violated pursuit policy, according to disciplinary documents. Robinson was suspended on May 8, 9 and 12.
The Herald obtained the disciplinary records of Robinson and three other officers under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Robinson declined to comment on Monday afternoon.
After the chase ended, the car’s driver was arrested. The State Law Enforcement Division has conducted a separate investigation into Robinson’s use of force during the arrest. The S.C. 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, of Anderson and Oconee counties, will determine whether charges should be filed after reviewing SLED conclusions. The city of York’s disciplinary records do not mention Robinson’s actions during the arrest.
The disciplinary records obtained by The Herald on Monday show that York Police Lt. Dale Edwards was also disciplined for his role in the car chase. Edwards was suspended on May 8, meaning he went without pay for what would have been a 12-hour shift.
Edwards also declined to comment on Monday.
York police officials cited several reasons for Edwards’ one-day suspension, including that he continued to pursue the suspect “at extremely dangerous speeds” although the suspect appeared “to do anything to prevent capture.”
During the pursuit, officers reached speeds of 137 miles per hour, police documents show.
Two of the department’s newest police officers received formal reprimands for violating the city’s pursuit policy on April 4, disciplinary records show.
Officers Matthew Piper and Trinity Redmond were written up and required to review the department’s chase policy. Their violations included engaging in the chase without using emergency equipment such as police car sirens or blue lights, according to the disciplinary records.
Piper and Redmond could not be reached by The Herald on Monday.
After department officials reviewed the pursuit and uncovered policy violations, Helms and others said officers would be re-trained on pursuit procedures. Also, Helms will now review all police pursuit evaluation records prepared by the department, Helms told The Herald on Monday.
Helms said the April 4 chase was the first violation of the city’s pursuit policy by both Robinson and Edwards.
York Mayor Eddie Lee said he did not learn of the disciplinary measures until last Tuesday when he questioned Helms about it during the city manager’s own evaluation with City Council. Still, Lee says he thinks Robinson should have faced a stricter punishment.
“I would have handled it differently if I had been city manager,” Lee said. “I think when I learned about the chase on April 4, I would have placed the chief on administrative leave until the conclusion of the investigation by the solicitor.”
Helms has told The Herald he did not place Robinson on administrative leave because he did not think the allegations warranted such discipline.
Lee disagrees, saying, “It was a serious violation of the city of York’s pursuit policy and it had serious questions associated with it about excessive force.”
Pursuit review: Chase showed ‘poor judgment’
The recent disciplinary action came after a review of the chase by department officials and Helms.
The chase, which happened around midday and began in the city of York, presented “many opportunities for disaster” and “showed very poor judgment” and negligence, York Police Lt. Michael Keith Wills wrote in his review.
As York officers pursued the car thief, there were examples of police acting carelessly and dangerously, according to several reviews in the evaluation file. Officers must weigh their decision to chase with the potential danger a suspect poses to the public, according to York Police Department policy.
One officer – who officials said then had not been certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy – acted “unnecessary and negligent” when he entered the opposite lane of travel going nearly 100 miles per hour, Wills wrote. He added that “a collision at this speed head on with another vehicle would have most likely been fatal.”
Several reports stated that back-up officers were not given proper supervision or direction from superior officers during the chase. “Some of the issues may have been prevented with proper instruction,” Wills wrote.
Derick Kuilan convicted of reckless driving with serious bodily injuries
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -
A jury has found a former Miami Beach police officer guilty of reckless driving with serious bodily injuries.
Derick Kuilan was acquitted Monday on the DUI charges stemming from a 2011 crash in which he struck and seriously injured two people while joy-riding with a woman on a police all-terrain vehicle.
Prosecutors claimed Kuilan was drinking while on duty when he invited a woman at a South Beach nightclub bachelorette party to take the ATV ride.
Kuilan's lawyer said he used bad judgment but committed no crime. Kuilan did not testify.
His fellow officers waited about five hours to test Kulian's blood for alcohol. His blood-alcohol content was 0.088, above the state legal limit.
"I don't wish for anybody to go to jail," victim Kitzie Nicanor said. "It's just, he had to get something."
Kulian faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced.
By Robert Maxwell
AUSTIN (KXAN) – Two more Austin police officers are off the job for a day after accidentally discharging their city-issued weapons.
Disciplinary memos show April 8th, Officer Christopher Anderson’s shotgun fired into the asphalt during a pre-shift check.
Just a day earlier, Joshua Muchnikoff’s weapon fired while the officer was unloading it in the parking lot of the east substation.
Also that month, April 3rd Officer Mimi Strobo accidently fired her gun at the APD firing range. We told you then that action also led to a suspension.
We checked and city records show – including these three in 2014 so far, 13 Austin officers have fired their weapons unintentionally in the last five years.
Earlier this year, we told you about added refresher training APD officers are undergoing.
No one was hurt in any of the weapon incidents.
An Evansville police officer has received a three day suspension without pay for neglecting his duties of guarding a prisoner with a history of violence.
Officer Josh Doane, a veteran of the Evansville Police Department, was suspended in mid-May at the recommendation of Chief Billy Bolin. On Monday, the Merit Commission agreed with that punishment.
In mid-April, Doane was assigned to prisoner detail at St. Mary's Hospital, according to police records. The detail involves watching over a prisoner to make sure he or she doesn't escape or have unauthorized visitors bring in drugs or weapons. The prisoner being guarded has a long history of violent crime and drug abuse, police said. The
According to the personnel order notifying Doane of his suspension, investigators determined that Doane left the prisoner unguarded for an extended period of time. In that time frame, Doane went to the cafeteria and went outside to his patrol car. EPD's Information Technology Unit confirmed that Doane had sent electronic messages from his vehicle's on-board computer at the time he should have been guarding the prisoner, according to the personnel order. Surveillance video also showed that Doane was absent from his duty, police said.
Doane has received numerous honors and commendations in his career. Doane's suspension is an example of a good cop making a bad decision, said Sgt. Jason Cullum.
"We took this very seriously, evident by an unpaid suspension," Sgt. Cullum said. "But this isn't a case where he went out and violated someone's rights. We're not talking about criminal acts. This is a department violation."
Doane served his suspension in late May, Sgt. Cullum said. Furthermore, officials don't expect Doane to appeal his suspension because he has taken ownership of the mistake.
"This is a good officer. He's been in our department for a number of years now and he does good work," Sgt. Cullum said. "Unfortunately, he made a bad decision in this particular case and he'll have to pay for it."
A man arrested while working as a Holcomb, Missouri, police officer will have a preliminary hearing in July, a judge told him Friday.
Judge John Spielman set the preliminary hearing for Alvin Roberts for 1 p.m. July 11.
Roberts was arrested last month by the Missouri State Highway Patrol Drug and Crime Control Unit after he allegedly warned a female informant she was being sought by police for burglary.
Roberts is accused of continuing to be in contact with the woman after he knew a warrant was issued for her arrest.
He free on $5,000 bond, but if convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
By ADAM KLASFELD
MANHATTAN (CN) - The well-dressed suspect wrongly accused in a "plague of sexual groping incidents that beset Manhattan" two years ago can take New York City police to trial for an arrest that briefly made him a tabloid sensation, a federal judge ruled.
Between March and April 2012, five women reported similar incidents of a young, tall, white man fondling them and running away on New York City streets and a subway. Police splashed a freeze frame from a surveillance video on posters around the city and offered a reward for tips that led to his capture.
The suspect's dark suit and overcoat fueled headlines that a "dapper groper," sometimes also described as the "well-dressed groper" and "gentlemen groper," was on the loose.
One anonymous tipster led NYPD Detective Michael Rama to Karl Vanderwoude, a then-26-year-old banker who acknowledged that he looked like, but insisted that he was not, the man in the footage.
Taken into the precinct for questioning on April 12, 2012, Vanderwoude said that he offered Rama his Metrocard and his employer's contact information to confirm his alibi, but that these leads were ignored.
Rama formally arrested him after one of the victims picked him out of a lineup, but Vanderwoude claims that he actually was arrested earlier in the secure interview room.
Weeks later, Vanderwoude produced credit card statements, sworn witness accounts, computer records and video surveillance to win the dismissal of his case, but not before being slimed in the New York Post as a "goon."
The tabloids cleaned up Vanderwoude's image after his exoneration in articles reporting that he led weekly Bible studies in his apartment.
Vanderwoude sued the city, Rama and an unidentified police officer later that year for false arrest, malicious prosecution, assault, battery and defamation.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla dismissed all but the false arrest count, which she said hinged upon a jury's decision on the timing of Vanderwoude's arrest.
"[A]ssuming the jury finds that a de facto arrest occurred, it is for the jury to decide when precisely this took place -- be it the moment plaintiff was placed in the interview room and had his personal items taken from him, at some point thereafter when the conditions and length of time during which plaintiff was detained triggered a de facto arrest, or at the moment plaintiff was formally arrested," she wrote in a 44-page opinion.
A pretrial conference has been set for July 8 to set a trial day.
"We're very satisfied that the judge said that we could proceed based on the facts of the case," Vanderwoude's attorney John Tumelty said in a phone interview.
The New York City Law Department declined to comment in light of the pending litigation.
An attorney named Paul Kraft later admitted to the groping spree and copped a plea deal that required him to take 18 months of sexual impulse control therapy in the Brooklyn-based Mustard Seed Program, CBS News reported in May 2013.
Attorney: False arrests of protesters a 'symptom of institutional suppression' of speech and protest by NYPD.
By Lauren McCauley |
In a clear rebuke of the heavy-handed tactics of the New York Police Department, the City of New York on Tuesday agreed to pay $583,000 in damages for the false arrest of more than a dozen Occupy Wall Street demonstrators on New Years Eve in 2011.
The protesters were arrested near midnight in Manhattan for allegedly blocking pedestrian traffic after marching from a rally in Zuccotti Park. However, according to the suit, Peat v. City of New York, the police had surrounded the marchers and prevented them for dispersing.
Hailing the settlement as an affirmation of the constitutional right to protest, attorneys with the civil rights law firm Stecklow Cohen & Thompson, who argued on behalf of the protesters, said: “This systematic false arrest and misconduct by high ranking NYPD officers is a symptom of an institutional practice of chilling expressive speech activity and suppressing protest in New York City.”
“The police, led by supervising officers, stopped peaceful protesters on the sidewalk, surrounded them with a blue wall of police, told them to disperse, and then arrested them before they possibly could,” Attorney Wylie Stecklow continued. “This was an unacceptable violation of basic constitutional rights perpetrated by the Bloomberg-Kelly NYPD.”
Marking the largest single settlement to date for an OWS-related civil rights suit in New York, the plaintiffs will each receive between $5,000 and $20,000 in compensatory damages.
“I’m glad we were able to stand up for our rights and show the NYPD that the law applies to them, as well,” said Garrett O’Connor, who was one those arrested. “Now I hope there will be an investigation into the police tactics used against the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
This video documents the New Years march and arrests:
Ronald Harris - a 12-year vet with the Memphis Police Department - attacked after the family received the money from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the airport on Saturday, cops said.
BY JOE KEMP
MEMPHIS POLICE Ronald Harris ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bond after attempting to rob a family of a Make-A-Wish Foundation donation.
An off-duty police officer was arrested after he tried to rob a family of a $1,500 gift card they received from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in a Tennessee airport, officials said.
The officer, Ronald Harris, somehow learned that the family was getting the card before they boarded a flight at Memphis International Airport and charged them once the handoff was made on Saturday, cops said.
Footage from a security camera inside the airport shows Harris, a 12-year veteran cop with the Memphis Police Department, suddenly charge the family and head-butt one man to the ground, KLTV reported.
A team of cops arrested Harris a short time later as he tried to run away from the scene, WREG-TV reported.
He was later booked on charges that included aggravated assault and robbery. He was ordered held in lieu of $25,000 bond.
Harris - who was already on leave to see a psychologist, because he allegedly threatened to kill his wife - was suspended from his job pending the outcome of the case, the news station reported.
His arrests stunned some neighbors, except one man - who said Harris cuffed him for allegedly slashing his tires.
"It's karma," the man, who didn't want to be identified, told the local CBS affiliate. "He sent me to jail and now he's the
MASON CITY | A trial date has been rescheduled for a lawsuit against Cerro Gordo County and two sheriff's deputies claiming false arrest and imprisonment.
Cody Kramer, 20, of Hancock County filed the lawsuit against deputies Mitchell Kruse and Russell Jensen and the county.
A jury trial has been set for March 17, 2015, in Cerro Gordo County District Court. It was originally set to start June 3.
According to the lawsuit, Kruse and/or Jensen allegedly arrested Kramer on Aug. 28, 2012, and transported him to the Cerro Gordo County Jail where he was detained against his will for more than three hours.
During the time he was detained, Kramer allegedly was falsely accused of committing numerous burglaries in Cerro Gordo County.
According to court documents, the "unjust imprisonment" caused damages including deprivation of Kramer's civil rights, humiliation, severe mental distress, damage to his reputation and exposure to public hatred and ridicule.
Kramer is also claiming his constitutional rights, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and free from an arrest in the absence of probable cause, were violated.
Kramer is seeking an unspecified amount for actual and punitive damages plus interest.
— Laura Bird
By JIM BOYLE
A Pennsylvania contractor says his civil rights were violated when a Chester Township
police officer arrested him based on a client’s accusations of theft, according to a federal suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Carl Jones, of Chester, Pa., says the police officer refused to consider his side of the story, forcing him to spend 11 months and $1,500 in litigation before a county judge dismissed the charges. Jones seeks punitive and compensatory damages from the officer, his accuser and Chester Township government for four counts including malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to the suit, in May 2012 Jones entered into a contract with a homeowner, Tammy Strand-Yarbray to repair her outdoor deck and resurface her driveway for $2,650, with a $350 initial deposit.
When repairs started on the deck, Jones discovered that the header board had completely rotted away, meaning the entire deck would have to be replaced, rather than fixed. Strand-Yarbray decided to cancel the contract, and Jones said he would refund her deposit by the end of the week, minus $150 for the work he had already performed.
Two days later, Jones received a phone call from Chester police officer Richard Barth, who accused Barth of theft. Jones explained the contract and the details of the cancellation and told the officer he was refunding Strand-Yarbray’s money the following day.
Despite following through the next day and getting a receipt from Strand-Yarbray, a warrant for Jones’ arrest was issued a month later, with charges of theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking of movable property and receiving stolen property. Eleven months later, the plaintiff had been cleared of wrongdoing at the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.
Jones is represented by Joseph Oxman of Oxman, Goodstadt, Kuritz in Chester.
DENVER (AP) — A federal judge has asked the U.S. attorney's office to investigate whether Denver police officers broke the law when they spoke with a key witness in a federal civil rights lawsuit, the latest in a series of high-profile misconduct allegations against Denver police and sheriff's deputies.
Judge John Kane also wants an investigation into patterns and practices of the police and sheriff's departments. Court documents released Tuesday confirmed his request, first made during a Friday hearing in a lawsuit filed by Jamal Hunter.
Hunter alleges a sheriff's deputy not only failed to protect him during a July 2011 beating by fellow jail inmates but encouraged the attack.
Hunter, now 39, said he was attacked after his cellmates accused him of snitching. He said they punched him, tied him up and burned his genitals with hot water from a spigot.
One of the inmates who participated in the beating, Amos Page, became a witness in the civil rights lawsuit. He said in a sworn affidavit that a Denver sheriff's deputy, Gaynel Rumer, knew inmates were planning the attack and helped facilitate it.
Among other allegations, Page said the attack could not have happened without Rumer's involvement, and the deputy ignored Hunter's screams.
Rumer's attorney, Thomas Rice, said the deputy denies the allegations. A police department spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.
Hunter's attorneys last month sought an emergency hearing after learning that Denver police internal affairs sergeants Brian Cotter and Brad Lenderink spoke with Page in prison March 10. Hunter's attorneys said the officers told Page he could face criminal prosecution if he testifies.
Before the hearing Friday, Kane listened to a recording of the officers' conversation with Page and read a transcript, neither of which has been made public.
Kane said the conversation showed a "deliberate process of intimidation" of Page, an essential witness in the case.
"All one has to do to see that is read the complaint and affidavit of Amos Page," the judge said, according to a hearing transcript. Kane added the sheriff's department has its own internal affairs unit, and he didn't understand why police were involved.
An attorney for the city, Cathy Havener Greer, told the judge she would look into it.
Kane wants the U.S. attorney's office to determine whether the officers broke laws against witness tampering and intimidation.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said it has received Kane's request, but he declined to comment further.
"It's extremely rare for a judge to refer a case for prosecution to the U.S. attorney's office," said defense attorney David Lane, who is not involved in the Hunter case but has other federal civil rights lawsuits pending against Denver law enforcement. One of them involves a street preacher who died after Denver sheriff's deputies restrained him in jail.
Lane and his partner Darold Killmer hope the judge's request will prompt the FBI to re-examine that case and others.
"He (Kane) has asked an independent federal agency to take a look at what's going on in Denver," Lane said. "No judge would lightly refer allegations of police misconduct to the FBI."
Hunter attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai said the situation involving Page "only increases Mr. Hunter's resolve to expose Denver's pattern of corruption and abuse."
In the past two weeks alone, three Denver officers have been arrested for off-duty offenses, including possession of child pornography, domestic violence and assault stemming from a drunken brawl. The second highest-ranking member of the sheriff's department resigned abruptly last year and was later indicted on charges that he stole more than $20,000 worth of tax software from Target stores by hiding it in bags of dog food.
BY MENSAH M. DEAN,
A FORMER Philadelphia police lieutenant, convicted last month of stealing utility services, talked her way into jail yesterday.
No other conclusion could be drawn, given that before Aisha Perry started ranting, Common Pleas Judge Earl Trent had said he didn't think she and co-defendant George Suarez needed to be jailed. He said they had good character except for the charges on which they were convicted.
But instead of being remorseful during her sentencing hearing like most defendants - including ex-cop Suarez - Perry, 55, went on the attack against Assistant District Attorney Terri Domsky.
She called the prosecutor a "liar," and "that woman" who "is jealous of my lifestyle. She doesn't think I should have the things that I have," said Perry, pointing at Domsky all the while.
She said that Domsky had based her case on flawed theory and had tried to give the jury the false impression that she and Suarez, 56, were dating. She insisted she was not guilty.
"I have the highest esteem and the highest respect for this court," Perry said. "I do not respect her."
Before sitting down, Perry, who had been on the force 31 years, also told the judge: "I feel like I'm in a John Grisham novel. That's how upset I am."
Trent, also appearing upset, asked: "Do you think this is helping you?"
After saying that Perry showed no remorse and did not accept responsibility, Trent lowered the boom by sentencing her to six to 23 months in the county jail, fining her $5,000, ordering her to pay $5,296 in restitution to PECO and giving her 60 days to surrender her seven guns.
Trent also ordered Perry to begin serving her sentence immediately, rejecting defense attorney Tariq Karim El-Shabazz's request for a turn-in date.
Suarez, who had been a cop for 26 years, offered a short-and-sweet apology for his crimes. He was sentenced to six to 12 months of house arrest and fined $1,000. He already had paid $4,833 in restitution to PECO, said his attorney, Brian McMonagle.
Both defendants also were sentenced to five years of reporting probation.
An appeal will be filed, said El-Shabazz.
"She found it difficult to be remorseful for something that she believed she didn't do," he said. "She expressed that to me when I talked to her about the sentencing and what the procedure was. But she was dead set in expressing the things that she felt she needed to express."
Perry was convicted of tampering with meters to steal gas and electric services at her home on Winchester Avenue near Narvon Street, in the Northeast, and at a rehabilitation center called Clean and Sober Residents, on Girard Avenue near 19th Street, in North Philadelphia. She co-owned the center with Suarez.
Suarez was convicted ofstealing services at Perry's home; at the center; at a third property on Tioga Street near 22nd, in Tioga; and at a fourth property on Devereaux Avenue near Bingham Street, in Crescentville.
Both defendants were arrested in September 2012.
LAPORTE | A LaPorte police officer has been charged with embezzling $7,000 from the LaPorte Fraternal Order of Police for Chicago Cubs tickets and other personal expenses.
Mark Bishop, 32, is charged with Class D felony theft.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in LaPorte Circuit Court.
Bishop has resigned his position with the FOP and as an officer with the LaPorte Police Department.
Indiana State Police on April 24 were brought in to investigate after the bank balance for the LaPorte Fraternal Order of Police was discovered significantly lower than anticipated.
Bishop, as treasurer of the organization, was issued a bank card strictly to carry out FOP-related financial transactions on the account.
But, according to court documents, the investigation uncovered personal transactions by Bishop on the account mostly at local restaurants and bars from March 2013 to April of this year.
The card also was used to pay for hotel stays in Evansville and Louisville along with one visit each to Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City and Four Winds Casino outside New Buffalo, court records disclosed.
There were many alleged ATM withdrawals with the card along with a $456 purchase for Chicago Cubs tickets on April 17, 2013.
According to court documents, Bishop, when confronted by FOP President Robert Metcalf, said that he was having financial difficulties and after using the card a few times realized it was "easy and then started to use the card more frequently."
In a written apology to FOP members, Bishop called his alleged actions "stupid and very foolish."
"I used the card for personal use due to the fact that I wasn't in a good financial spot in my life," said Bishop, who in his letter used the words "stupidity and selfishness" to describe his alleged behavior.
Bishop also told investigators that he intended to pay back the entire sum with money from his Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund account.
Charges were authorized June 3 by LaPorte Circuit Court Magistrate Nancy Gettinger after she reviewed the findings.
Bishop was issued a summons to appear for his initial court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said he requested Bishop be issued a summons instead of having him arrested when told by investigators that he had the money to repay the FOP.
He said a summons being issued for a felony case doesn't happen often, but in this case discretion was exercised.
"Based on the fact he was paying it back, I didn't want to issue a warrant," said Szilagyi.
Bishop was on the department for almost three years. He could face anywhere from a six-month to three-year sentence.
Visalia officer charged with DUI loses job
By Lewis Griswold
A Visalia police officer facing trial for driving while intoxicated has lost her job.
Erica Martinez, 33, who worked at the Police Department for seven years, "is no longer an employee of the city of Visalia," said Sgt. Ozzie Dominguez. He said he could not provide details because it's a personnel matter.
Martinez was arrested Aug. 4, 2013 after her BMW was involved in a solo-vehicle accident in Visalia. No one was injured and she was not in uniform.
She is charged with misdemeanor drunken driving and driving with a blood alcohol level above .15. A trial has been set for July 15 in Tulare County Superior Court
Denver officer, wife charged after drunken brawl
DENVER (AP) — A Denver police officer and his wife have been charged with assault and child abuse after a brawl at a cookout.
Arapahoe County prosecutors on Thursday charged Officer Jeremy Ownbey and his wife Jamie Ownbey with misdemeanors stemming from the fight May 19. An argument turned violent between the Ownbeys and another couple after heavy drinking, Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania said.
The homeowner, who is also a Denver police officer, asked the Ownbeys to leave, at which point Jamie Ownbey struck the other wife from behind, Fania said. Then, the officers started fighting.
Investigators say the officers acknowledged that they and their wives trade sex partners, but they denied that sex sparked the brawl. The fight ended when the homeowner managed to break free and retrieve a gun. Jeremy Ownbey said the other officer pointed the weapon at him, but police could not prove it, police said.
Jeremy Ownbey then drove away after a night of drinking but later returned to the home to talk to Aurora police officers, Fania said. The Aurora Police Department has launched an internal investigation as to why its officers did not conduct a sobriety test on Jeremy Ownbey and instead drove him home.
No arrests were made that night because the case warranted further investigation by a detective, Fania said.
Both Denver police officers are on desk duty while that department conducts its own internal probe, police Cmdr. Matt Murray said.
Prosecutors say the Ownbeys also left their two young children home alone during the dinner, prompting the child abuse charge.
There is no listed number for the Ownbeys. They are due in court July 22.
Passaic sheriff's officer charged with DWI after allegedly hitting parked cars
By James Kleimann/NJ.com
TOTOWA — The Passaic County Sheriff's Office has suspended an officer who allegedly was drunk when he struck several parked cars in Totowa on Thursday morning, according to officials.
Patrol division officer Michael Bove, 35, "struck a traffic control box and at least three parked vehicles" at about 1:45 a.m. Thursday morning in Totowa, according to William Maer, a sheriff's department spokesman.
Bove, who has been with the sheriff's office since December 2012 and makes $44,492 annually, was charged with DWI by Totowa police, Maer said. He was not on duty at the time of the crash, the spokesman said.
He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case, Maer said.
Veteran IMPD officer arrested for DUI at beginning of shift
By Aaron Castleman
INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Bryan Neal, a ten-year veteran, was arrested Friday evening by an IMPD supervisor for DUI and sent to the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center.
Officer Neal was arrested at the beginning of his shift around 11 p.m. at an IMPD district headquarters and faces a preliminary charge of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated.
Officer Neal was immediately suspended without pay, and his police equipment confiscated and his police authority revoked. He will face an internal affairs investigation by IMPD’s Internal Affairs and Special Investigation Unit.
In the coming days, IMPD Chief Rick Hite will review the facts of the case and issue an employment recommendation in accordance with IMPD’s General Orders.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case and make a final charging decision at a later time.
Court Date Set for Officer Charged with DUI
HARRISONBURG,Va. (WHSV)-- The former Corporal Bryan Horowitz has a hearing June 9 at 10 a.m. in Rockingham County General District Court.
According to court documents, Horowitz was arrested in Broadway, Va. on May 3, 2014 in the parking lot of Backstage Video after a Broadway police officer pulled him over for speeding.The court can suspend Horowitz's driving privileges for a year if he is convicted.
Off-duty officer arrested for DUI with child in vehicle, leaving accident scene
Written by Cami Cox Jim
CEDAR CITY – Cedar City Police responded to a one-car accident Monday evening in the parking lot of the Little League Baseball Complex, 300 E. 275 North. An initial investigation revealed the driver of the vehicle was off-duty Cedar City Police Officer Jed Prisbey Imlay. Further investigation revealed Imlay was under the influence of alcohol when he hit a decorative block wall.
“There was a child with him,” Cedar City Police Chief Bob Allinson said. “At least, that’s what was alleged at the time.”
Allinson said witnesses at the scene reported they saw a child in the vehicle with Imlay, who allegedly left the scene after colliding with the block wall. An on-duty sergeant drove to Imlay’s home and saw the damaged vehicle parked at his house. Imlay was taken into custody at his home.
“That’s when we call Highway Patrol,” Allinson said, “to get an outside agency to investigate the accident itself.”
Utah Highway Patrol was called in to the handle the crash. A statement from UHP, released Tuesday, said the Iron County Attorney will turn the case over to an outside prosecuting agency to avoid conflict of interest.
Imlay was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, a class-B misdemeanor, and driving under the influence of alcohol with a child in the vehicle, a class-A misdemeanor. He was booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility on $2,213 bail.
Allinson said there was minimal damage to Imlay’s car and also minimal damage to the block wall.
Imlay posted bond and has been released from Purgatory, according to information from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office website.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Sheboygan Police Dept. releases statement on off-duty officer OWI arrests
By FOX 11 NewsPublished: June 12, 2014, 3:44 pm
SHEBOYGAN – The Sheboygan Police Department is reinforcing the seriousness of drinking and driving.
It comes after two of its off-duty officers were arrested for operating while intoxicated in December.
After a months-long investigation, one of the officers was suspended without pay for 30 days. The other was suspended for 15 days.
The department released a statement Thursday, it reads in part:
“The Sheboygan Police Department understands the importance of earning and maintaining the public’s trust. Actions by department members that damage this trust will not be tolerated. We are committed to building strong community relationships and demonstrating our trustworthiness on a daily basis.”
Husband and Wife Cops Arrested for Drugs in San Diego
San Diego police officers, husband and wife Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier, were arrested for alleged involvement in sales, transportation, and possession of a controlled substance.
The husband has reportedly been abusing prescription drugs since an injury ended his hockey career, a source told 10 News.
Bryce is a six-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department while his wife Jennifer is an 18-year veteran. Conflicting comments about the couple’s conduct over the past few months range from withdrawn and strange, noted by the 10 News source, to quite visible within their community.
This news comes after widespread issues of police misconduct in 2011 began to erode public faith in the police department. Police Chief at the time, William Lansdowne apologized and said, "I clearly understand that this activity, conduct ... (of the) officers involved in these cases has tarnished the image of this police department." He added, "We'll work hard to repair that, but it'll take years to rebuild that relationship, I believe, between us and the community of San Diego," according to CBS8.
The day following the chief’s apology, another officer was arrested on charges of rape, assault, and kidnapping, CBS8 also eported. Ten cases of impropriety or criminal behavior among SDPD personnel were reported in the three months prior, resulting in six arrests at the time of the chief’s apology.
The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into the SDPD in March that is projected to last six to eight months. The investigation was requested by former SDPD Chief Landsdowne, reported Fox5 San Diego in March. The U.S. Attorney’s office and FBI are also looking into criminal activity within the department. Fox5 relayed U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy’s comments on the investigation: “The review itself will focus primarily on police misconduct overall, with an emphasis on sexual misconduct by on-duty officers.”
Shelley Zimmerman took over for Landsdowne in March of this year. Now Zimmerman faces a new case of alleged police misconduct. With a background that includes extensive investigative work and experience in the narcotics division, Zimmerman should be well-equipped to address the situation. According to ABC 10 News, she is cooperating with the Sheriff’s Department and was briefed on the situation by Sheriff Bill Gore.
Ball State officer resigns day after arrest
Eric Reffitt, 30, was arrested for criminal recklessness and public intoxication after a fracas at the Joker's Wild
MUNCIE — Eric Reffitt resigned from his job as a Ball State University police officer on Thursday, a day after he was arrested for his role in a fracas at a southside strip club.
A university spokesperson confirmed about 4:30 p.m. that Reffitt, a BSU police officer since April 2008, had resigned.
Prosecutors said they would likely decide Friday what charges would be filed in connection with an incident early Wednesday at the Joker's Wild that allegedly saw an intoxicated Reffitt wave a knife, causing minor injuries to a friend.
Both men were participants in a bachelor party at the southside tavern.
EARLIER: “You do this job, and you know you can’t act like this,” a Muncie police officer told Eric Wayne Reffitt, an off-duty Ball State University officer, during a disturbance outside a southside strip club early Wednesday.
By that point, however, the advice offered to Reffitt, 30, of rural Albany, likely came too late.
The BSU officer — whose blood-alcohol content was later measured at 0.234 percent, nearly three times the legal limit for motorists — allegedly cut a friend on the stomach and hip while waving a knife in Joker’s Wild cocktail lounge, 2206 S. Madison St.
Witnesses said Reffitt then walked across the street to the Taco Bell restaurant — at that hour serving only drive-through customers — and displayed his police ID, demanding entry.
Refitt — who was attending a bachelor party at the strip club — also reportedly was less than cooperative with on-duty officers called to the scene, allegedly threatening to shoot two of them.
He was taken to the Delaware County jail, preliminarily charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and public intoxication. He later was released after posting a $5,000 bond.
A Ball State spokesperson said Wednesday afternoon that the circumstances leading to Reffitt’s arrest were under review.
City police were called to the Taco Bell, 2201 S. Madison St., at 1:42 a.m. after employees reported a “highly intoxicated subject” was outside. A restaurant manager told officers that the man, later identified as Reffitt, “showed up outside the business and was knocking on the outer door and making a ruckus.”
“Reffitt was placing his police credentials up against the glass and yelling something about being a cop, all while talking on the phone,” according to an affidavit.
An officer wrote that Reffitt, with slurred speech and while “struggling to maintain his balance,” was “rambling on about someone starting something with him (at the Joker’s Wild).”
The tavern’s bouncer said Reffitt had shoved a bartender before leaving.
The bartender, who was acquainted with Reffitt, said the BSU officer “got upset all of a sudden, stating that two guys were trying to steal money from him, and then drew his knife and started waving it around wildly.”
Another member of the bachelor party — who repeatedly told officers he “didn’t want anything to happen to Eric” — said the BSU officer had accidentally struck him with a knife Reffitt began waving after “someone in the bar said something to Eric that got him aggravated,” the affidavit said.
An officer wrote that that man was wearing two shirts, and that Reffitt’s knife “went through both shirts and left a long scratch on (the victim’s) right abdomen and hip.”
Another officer noted two other injuries, a small cut with “fresh blood ... just above the hip bone area” and a second scratch.
“I don’t want him to get into trouble,” the victim said. “He’s just drunk.”
Outside, police said Reffitt became “extremely belligerent and acted out toward officers” before he was handcuffed.
One officer said Reffitt told him to keep two other officers away from him “or I’m going to shoot their ass.” However, the off-duty officer was found to be carrying only a folding knife, not a firearm.
Reports also reflect Reffitt at first refused to take a breath test to measure his level of intoxication, but complied after a Ball State University police sergeant arrived at the scene.
Reffitt joined the university police department in April 2008
Atlanta police officer charged with DUI
By Rhonda Cook
An Atlanta police officer is on adminsitrative leave pending an investigation into Gwinnett County charges that he was driving drunk.
Officer Daryl Vann, on the APD force for three years, was charged early Monday with DUI, speeding and improper lane change after he was pulled over just north of Pleasant Hill Road on Interstate 85, driving more than 20 miles over the speed limit, according to a report released Thursday.
According to the report, a member of the DUI Task Force saw a grey Nissan Altima weaving and speeding around 2 a.m. The Gwinnett officer followed the sedan for a while before pulling him over, the report said.
The report said Vann failed a field sobriety test — following the officer’s finger with his eyes, standing on one leg and walking heal to toe. He was given a breathalyzer later, showing a blood alcohol content of .1, which is above the.08 that state law says is legally drunk.
Vann told the officer he was rushing home after have several beers — he couldn’t remember how many.
“During the evaluation the driver asked for professional courtesy and I advised him that was not an option,” the Gwinnett officer wrote. “I advised him that I had previously arrest(ed) other officers for DUI and there was no officer discretion when it came to DUI.”
The officer said he saw Vann’s police ID as he was retrieving his driver’s license.
Sheboygan cops suspended for drunken driving
Two off-duty Sheboygan police officers who were convicted of drunken driving last month have since been been suspended without pay.
Sheboygan Police Chief Christopher Domagalski said in a news release Thursday that the suspensions were issued after the officers’ cases concluded May 28 in Sheboygan-Kohler Municipal Court.
One officer, Ryan Walloch, 25, received a 15-day suspension, while his colleague, Stephen Schnabel, 35, was suspended for 30 days, according to the release.
Municipal Court officials on Thursday refused to release information to a Sheboygan Press reporter on the outcome of the officers’ cases Thursday without a formal written public records request that would have to be approved by Municipal Judge Catherine Delahunt.
First-offense drunken driving cases typically result in a fine and license revocation.
“The Sheboygan Police Department understands the importance of earning and maintaining the public’s trust,” Domagalski said in the release. “Actions by department members that damage this trust will not be tolerated. We are committed to building strong community relationships and demonstrating our trustworthiness on a daily basis.”
The officers were arrested Dec. 5 after a late-night accident at the corner of Superior Avenue and North Taylor Drive. Both were off-duty and in their personal vehicles when one driver rear-ended the other at the blinking red light.
An arrest report showed that Walloch’s preliminary blood alcohol content was 0.10 and Schnabel’s was 0.23, both more than the legal limit of 0.08.
Both officers were cited for first-offense operating while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle with a prohibited alcohol concentration. They were placed on administrative duties following the arrest but were back on active duty several days later pending an internal investigation.
The investigation, which was completed after the court cases concluded, found that both officers had violated department rules.
The officers’ work records and the seriousness of the offense were taken into consideration when issuing the suspensions, Domagalski said.
Domagalski said both officers have expressed remorse, apologized and taken responsibility for their actions.
Denver cop's bizarre DUI bust, 2-year desk duty has chief advocating for disciplinary changes
Officer can't drive patrol car for 2 years
DENVER - A Denver Police officer's bizarre DUI arrest and his sentence resulting in two years of desk duty has Police Chief Robert White advocating for a change in departmental disciplinary rules.
The chief's concerns were highlighted by the 2013 DUI arrest of Denver Police Officer Aaron Wade Egger, who told a Thornton Police officer that a friend he only identified as "Good buddy" was driving and took off after the car crashed.
A witness called 911 in the early-morning hours of July 4 last year to report that a man driving a Black Nissan Maxima had driven up on the curb and almost hit a fence and then veered across the roadway and slammed into the other curb, according to a police report. The impact blew out the front right tire and bent back the front right fender until it was blocking the passenger door, police said.
A Thornton patrol officer arrived to find the Maxima straddling two northbound lanes of Holly Street at East 118th Avenue.
A man wearing a red shirt and shorts, later identified as Egger, was leaning on a fence on the side of the road.
The officer asked what happened and Egger replied, "Somebody hit us."
Seeing no one else around, the officer asked who was in the Maxima, and Egger replied, "Me and my buddy." Asked where his buddy was, Egger said, "He took off" and took the keys to Egger's car with him.
Yet, when the officer asked the 32-year-old Egger where he wrecked, he replied, "I hit something over there," pointing toward East 120th Avenue.
"I asked Aaron what his good buddy's name was. Aaron said, 'Good buddy,'" the police report stated.
The witness, however, said the driver was the only person in the car.
The Thornton officer's report said Egger had a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and he was so unsteady on his feet that he almost fell over during the field sobriety test. When the officer asked for his driver's license, Egger dug around in his wallet and handed him a credit card.
The officer twice noted that Egger was "acting strange." He kept rigidly standing at attention "like someone in the military," despite the officer repeatedly telling him he could relax.
When the officer asked if Egger had been in the military, he replied, "Yes sir. 82nd Airborne sir."
The officer arrested Egger for DUI and patted him down, finding the Maxima keys in his pocket. Police also recovered a 12-gauge pump shotgun with 44 rounds of ammunition from Egger's car.
A breath test showed Egger had a blood-alcohol level of .201 -- more than twice the .08 threshold for being driving under the influence under state law.
In November, Egger pleaded guilty to DUI and prosecutors dismissed a careless driving charge, court records show.
With his high intoxication level, Egger was deemed a persistent drunk driver under state law.
A judge ordered Egger to use an ignition-interlock device on his car for two years, said Denver Police spokesman Cmdr. Matt Murray. A driver has to blow into the device to ensure he doesn't have an elevated alcohol level. If he does, the car won't start.
Egger was also sentenced to one year in jail, which the judge suspended, and ordered to serve one year of probation and 48 hours of community service.
After his criminal case was resolved, the police department gave Egger a 6-day suspension earlier this year.
However, the ignition-interlock requirement posed a new challenge for the police department. Officials said they would not install the device on patrol cars.
Instead, Egger had been assigned to desk duty for two years, Murray said.
"The chief is concerned about the current [discipline] system when an officer can't drive for two years and the impact that that has on the community and the police department," Murray said.
However, the department's disciplinary matrix, enacted in 2008, requires consistent punishment. So an officer can't face a more severe penalty for the same violation that officers were given in the past.
Chief White, who has long been concerned about officers who commit DUI offenses, began advocating earlier this year for a change in the disciplinary matrix, to allow the department to deal with things like ignition-interlock requirements and other changes in the law.
"It’s a bigger picture" issue than one cop's DUI, Murray said. "What's the right thing to do for the city, for the community, for the officers? We have to come up with a reasonable standard that meets the new rules and be adaptable," Murray said.