Dirty Chicago cop gets 15 months in prison after flipping for feds
BY KIM JANSSEN
Ali Haleem, a Chicago Police officer, used his skills as an undercover narcotics officer to serve as an informant for feds in corruption cases.
A dirty Chicago cop who proclaimed himself the “Mayor of 63rd Street” was sentenced to 15 months in prison Wednesday for shaking down a tow truck driver and selling guns to a convicted felon.
Ali Haleem was only spared a longer sentence because of his “extraordinary degree of cooperation” with prosecutors, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee said.
Suspected of wrongdoing for years, Haleem, 47, was allowed to keep his police job when he was busted by the feds in 2008, so that he could use his skills as an undercover informant.
He wore a wire and helped build public corruption cases against nine other defendants, including the campaign treasurer for former State Sen. Rickey Hendon and two brothers who took bribes to cut property taxes at the Cook County Board of Review.
Speaking Wednesday, an emotional Haleem told the court that in an attempt to right his wrongs he had taken “a 180 degree turn” by working for the FBI for four years following his capture.
Apologizing to the judge, his family and “the citizens of Chicago,” he said, “to say that I’m sorry is an understatement.”
He is one of 10 former Chicago cops to be convicted in recent years of extorting tow truck drivers at accident scenes.
But Lee told him that by selling two guns for $1,000 to a convicted felon at a South Side Dunkin’ Donuts in 2007 and later selling another stolen gun at a White Castle, Haleem had “increased the risk of violence” on Chicago’s streets.
The betrayal of his badge “put more guns on the street and it ruptured the trust that the public is entitled to have in the police,” the judge said.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 20 months.
But Lee said he took into account Haleem’s work building trust between authorities and the Arab-American community, his service in the National Guard and his otherwise “distinguished career as a police officer” in sparing him.
He said prosecutors provided no evidence to support their allegation that Haleem once offered $10,000 to an alderman in an attempt to get a promotion in the police department.
Unmentioned at Wednesday’s sentencing hearing were prior allegations that Haleem was paid by a drug smuggling ring in 2001 to tip them off about investigations.
Both federal and internal police probes of those alleged crimes went nowhere. And it wasn’t until Haleem was unmasked as an informant in 2012 that he finally left the police department.
By Patrick Cronin
September 02, 2014 4:24 PM
SEABROOK — A grievance filed by a former police lieutenant, upset that he was demoted in the aftermath of an investigation into a 2009 alleged police brutality incident, has been denied.
Town Manager Bill Manzi said Tuesday that officer John Wasson’s demotion from lieutenant to patrolman will stand after denying the grievance at his level.
Manzi said if Wasson is not satisfied with the decision he can appeal to the Board of Selectmen or go right to arbitration.
Wasson met behind closed doors with Manzi for roughly one hour on Aug. 21, with union representatives arguing that Wasson was wrongly demoted.
The demotion occurred July 23 after the completion of an independent internal affairs investigation into the alleged assault of then 19-year-old prisoner Michael Bergeron Jr., of Seabrook, on Nov. 11, 2009.
Wasson, a department supervisor, allegedly failed to report the incident to superiors and failed to look into the matter when asked by the alleged victim’s mother, according to the investigation conducted by Municipal Resources Inc.
Wasson was one of four officers disciplined as a result of MRI’s findings. Officers Mark Richardson and Adam Laurent were terminated, while Officer Keith Dietenhofer was suspended for two days.
Richardson allegedly slammed Bergeron, now 23, face-first into the cell block wall after Bergeron was arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Laurent allegedly pepper sprayed Bergeron a short time later while Bergeron was on the floor.
The alleged assault first came to light on Jan. 6 of this year after Bergeron posted station surveillance video of the incident on YouTube.
Richardson was indicted in March on one count of simple assault by an on-duty police officer.
Richardson is the only officer facing criminal charges. He is scheduled for trial in November.
SAPD sergeant suspended for threatening text messages to female officer
Dillon Collier, KENS 5 6:49 p.m. CDT September 3, 2014
Sgt. Dale Sanders was suspended three days in April, according to suspension paperwork released by the city following an open records request from the I-Team
SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio Police sergeant was suspended earlier this year after sending a series of threatening text messages to a female officer.
Sgt. Dale Sanders was suspended three days in April, according to suspension paperwork released by the city following an open records request from the I-Team.
Sanders, who was already under investigation for comments he made to another female officer injured in the line of duty in April 2013, admitted to sending the text messages to Officer Eloisa Mondragon.
Mondragon had told internal affairs investigators that comments made by Sanders to injured Officer Misty Floyd were inappropriate
Sanders criticized Floyd for failing to call for a cover officer before trying to arrest a man for public intoxication in the 4700 block of Dietrich Road, according to internal affairs paperwork.
Floyd and the man, identified as David Ricks, got into a physical altercation that forced them both to be hospitalized.
Floyd suffered undisclosed injuries and was forced to TASER Ricks before other officers arrived on scene and helped take Ricks into custody.
An attorney representing Ricks in his upcoming trial for assault of a peace officer said his client suffered fractures to his shoulder, ribs. sternum and ankle, a collapsed lung and head injuries.
Mondragon filed a harassment complaint against Sanders in October 2013, shortly after receiving the text messages.
Sanders told Mondragon via text message: "No more comments to IA (Internal Affairs) that I was rude", "Should have never wrote that Ellie. Comments like that hurt your career", and "There are plenty of examples around this place that some spvrs (supervisors) hold a grudge their entire career".
While researching this story, the I-Team found this was not the first time Sgt. Sanders had been investigated by SAPD.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, a Bexar County grand jury indicted Sgt. Sanders in May 2004 for working as a private security guard at the north-side subdivision where he lived, while on duty.
A jury acquitted Sanders of both felony charges in October 2005, according to the Express-News.
Should have never wrote that Ellie. Comments like that hurt your career
Officer Floyd now works as a media spokesperson for the police department.
Ricks is scheduled to go to trial September 16.
New judge OK'd for cop who admitted shooting panhandler
The former Springfield police officer who last week pleaded guilty to negligently shooting an unarmed man in the back will have his case heard by a new judge.
Jason Shuck, who was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday afternoon, requested a new judge through his attorney, Tyson Martin, Wednesday morning. Judge Ronald Carrier approved the change and the case is set to be reassigned, according to online court records.
The sentencing hearing has now been postponed pending the assignment of a new judge, but the case does not start over.
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson said the case remains in the sentencing stage, with a possible plea agreement for Shuck still on the table.
The officer, who resigned from the department last month, proposed a deal with Greene County prosecutors at his last hearing that would leave him with no criminal record if he completes two years of unsupervised probation. He would avoid jail.
The proposed agreement would require Shuck, 35, to never work again in a job that requires him to carry a firearm and to surrender his peace officer license. The charge is third-degree assault, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail.
Patterson said the punishment would be adequate, but Carrier didn't immediately approve the proposal. He put off the sentencing and then granted the new judge. A new date for the sentencing isn't set.
Martin filed the motion seeking a change just before 11 a.m., and Carrier entered the order for a new judge sometime after noon, according to the docket.
A message for Martin was not returned Wednesday.
If filed within a certain time period, an attorney's first motion for a change of judge must be granted automatically. Both the defense and prosecutor have one opportunity to file for a new judge without providing a reason.
Shuck has received at least one letter of support, according to court records.
Brian Sims, director of student services for Fair Grove Schools, sent Carrier a letter on Shuck's behalf.
"Professionally, I have always experienced Mr. Shuck to be highly ethical and responsible," he wrote. "He has helped me in my duties supporting children with disabilities by being a sound resource.
"Personally, I have known Mr. Shuck as an upstanding member of the community. It is truly unfortunate that he has made a mistake in his former job as a policeman. I cannot begin to understand the type of pressure that he must have been under on the day of the shooting. ... I am writing this letter unsolicited, so that you may understand that I believe it is in the public interest to accept his plea bargain and let him restart his life."
Shuck told authorities that he meant to use his Taser when he shot Eric Butts on May 9 near the Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1320 S. Glenstone Ave., as Butts was running away.
Butts, a convicted burglar who had served time in prison, was panhandling at the Walmart. He was wanted on a warrant for failure to appear in court on a parole violation at the time of the shooting. Court records indicate Butts has been diagnosed with mental illnesses including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Only seven prior cases of a suspect being mistakenly shot with a handgun instead of a Taser have been documented, according to Greene County court documents filed in the case. That's out of about 2.2 million uses of a Taser.
Shuck carried his department-issued Glock semiautomatic pistol on his right side and his Taser on his left side. He had to reach across his body with his right hand to draw the Taser, which weighs about a third as much as the handgun, according to documents.
The shooting seriously damaged the intestines of Butts, forcing him to use a colostomy bag. Butts underwent surgery on Aug. 14 to repair the damage and is expected to make a full recovery.
Butts has retained a lawyer, who has said he'll seek damages against the city.
San Jose cop accused of rape faces new charge
By Tracey Kaplan
SAN JOSE -- The San Jose police officer accused of rape was charged Tuesday with a whole new crime -- storming out of the Gilroy Safeway with a bottle of vodka about 2:30 a.m. in violation of a state law that bans the sale or purchase of alcohol between 2 and 6 a.m. Officer Geoffrey Graves faces one misdemeanor count of violating that law, but he was not charged with theft because a grocery store cashier said he left $20 at the checkstand, apparently enough to cover the cost.
The incident occurred May 25, though it did not surface publicly until Tuesday when Graves was arraigned.
The new charge comes while Graves is free on $100,000 bail and on paid administrative leave for the Sept. 22 alleged rape of an undocumented woman he first encountered during a disturbance call. He faces up to eight years in prison if he is convicted. However, experts say prosecutors could add a gun enhancement because he was armed at the time of the alleged sexual assault, potentially extending his maximum sentence to life in prison.
The Safeway incident was captured by the store's surveillance cameras, law enforcement sources said.
A customer is seen approaching the checkstand with a bottle of liquor about 2:30 a.m., talking briefly to a cashier, throwing down some money and stalking out. In an interview with police, the cashier said he told the customer he couldn't sell him the alcohol.
It is not uncommon for such incidents to be knocked down to an infraction punishable by a fine. But if Graves' rape case goes to trial, the prosecution may be able to introduce the matter as character evidence -- in particular, of his alleged disdain for the law.
Graves, who did not enter a plea Tuesday, is due back in court Oct. 16 on the alcohol charge. His preliminary hearing on the rape charge is set for Oct. 1 but may be continued until later this year.
Former top lawyer for city Public Advocate says NYPD cops roughed her up during unwarranted arrest: suit
Chaumtoli Huq, 42, says in the suit filed late Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court that she was waiting for her husband and two young children outside a Times Square eatery when cops arrested her for no reason.
BY DAREH GREGORIAN
A former top lawyer for Public Advocate Letitia James isn’t exactly advocating for the NYPD’s policing practices.
In a blistering lawsuit filed late Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court, Chaumtoli Huq, 42, says NYPD officers used “unreasonable and wholly unprovoked force” when they arrested her without cause while she was leaving a pro-Palestinian protest in July.
The bust was “characteristic of a pattern and practice of the NYPD in aggressive overpolicing of people of color and persons lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” the suit says.
Huq, who says in her lawsuit she’d taken a leave of absence as James’ general counsel to work on factory conditions in her native Bangladesh a day before the arrest, says she believes she was targeted because she’s a Muslim woman.
Huq was wearing a traditional South Asian tunic while waiting for her husband and their 6- and 10-year-old kids to come out from a bathroom stop at Ruby Tuesday's in Times Square when she was told to leave by an officer, the suit says.
She said she explained she was waiting for her family and then the officer “without any legal basis, grabbed Ms. Huq, turned her and pushed her against the wall and placed her under arrest.”
When she said she was in pain, one of the officers, Ryan Lathrop, allegedly told her, “Shut your mouth.” When he found out she had a different last name than her hubby, he told her “In America, wives take the names of their husbands.”
She was held for nine hours after the officers falsely claimed she had refused instructions to move and had “flailed her arms and twisted her body” to make it hard for them to handcuff her, the suit says.
She accepted an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal five days later, meaning the charges against her will be dropped if she does not got rearrested within the next few months.
Her lawyer, Rebecca Heinegg, said her client accepted the plea deal because her planned fellowship in Bangladesh made it impossible for her to fight the charges over a protracted period of time.
Huq’s suit blames the officers’ conduct on “city policies, practices and/or customs of failing to supervise, train, instruct and discipline police officers and encouraging their misconduct.” It also says the department has a “practice or custom of officers lying under oath, falsely swearing out criminal complaints, or otherwise falsifying or fabricating evidence.”
While the suit describes Huq as being “on leave” from the Public Advocate’s office, a rep for James said she no longer works there, and her last day of work was July 18 — the day before the arrest.
James didn’t comment on the suit, but has been a critic of the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk in minority communities and a proponent of body cameras for NYPD officers — which could have come in handy for this case.
Huq’s suit seeks unspecified damages for her “physical, psychological and emotional injuries, mental anguish, suffering, lost wages, humiliation and embarrassment” — and also retraining for Midtown South cops.
A rep for the city Law Department said, “We will review the lawsuit.”
Huq told the Daily News via email from Bangladesh that she had gone to the rally not “as a lawyer, but as a mom.”
MOHAMMED N. MUJUMDER VIA FACEBOOKHuq says in her suit that an officer who arrested told her to "shut your mouth," after she complained that she was in pain.
“I was hesitant to bring a case. My job is to be behind the scenes, and help all New Yorkers,” she said, but she realized “that I can use what happened to me to raise awareness about overpolicing in communities of color. I want there to be a dialogue on policing and community relations,” she said.
DNAinfo, which first reported on Huq’s arrest, said she filed a complaint about the officers’ conduct with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
NY1 reported last month that Lathrop is also under investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which is investigating an incident in which the cop allegedly confiscated the phone of someone who was taping him and then roughed him up.