Spartanburg Co. (WLTX) A Spartanburg police officer was arrested for DUI Friday afternoon after being involved in a traffic accident, according to the S.C. Highway Patrol.
Lance Cpl. Bill Ryme with the Highway Parol says that around 11:35 a.m. on Friday, Derrick Canada, 36, was driving his 2010 Chevy Impala patrol car on SC 56 when he attempted to make a turn on SC295 and lost control of his vehicle and struck a tree. He was wearing a seatbelt.
Canada was taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries and was charged with a DUI.
According to WSPA, police say he was on duty at the time of the accident and he has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the Highway Patrol.
Officer Vite Eduardo, 47, was arrested Friday after court documents say he pointed to kitchen knives and asked the woman in his Manhattan residence on Sept 26: 'Which one would you like on you tonight?'
BY CAITLIN NOLAN
A callous city cop offered his terrified victim a choice — she could pick the weapon he would use to harm her, authorities said Saturday.
Officer Vite Eduardo, 47, was arrested Friday after threatening the woman inside his Manhattan home, police said.
“Which one would you like on you tonight?” he asked Sept. 26 while pointing to kitchen knives, court documents say.
He lost it again Oct. 6 and wrecked two doors in his home, the woman told police. Eduardo was charged with criminal mischief, harassment and menacing and was released on his own recognizance Saturday.
By MONICA PAIS
MIAMI (CN) - A Miami-Dade County couple was roughed up and arrested in front of their son's preschool, after officers angrily mistook them for someone else, a lawsuit claims.
In their county circuit court complaint, Lourdes Alvarez-Mena and her husband, Darren Todd Mena, say there was nothing unusual about the scene outside the Pre-Tech Academy in Miami on the afternoon of August 20, 2012.
A line of cars sat idling outside the school, and after Darren Mena pulled into the first available slot, his wife went inside to retrieve their three year old son.
At this point, the couple says, the defendant detectives, Miguel Garcia and Evelyn Gaus, decided to park their care in a location obstructing the parent pick-up line "for the sole purpose of socializing with an individual unrelated to any school function."
The care the detectives were sitting in was unmarked, and neither was wearing a uniform.
"Apparently someone in line, not Darren Todd Mena and Lourdes Alvarez-Mena, honked their horn in a single appropriate manner to alert Detectives Guas and Garcia, of the obstruction and the delay they were causing," the couple says.
When the detectives failed to move out the way of parents attempting to leave the front of the school, Mena says he pulled out of the pick-up line and into a contiguous handicap-designated parking space.
"Detective Garcia then exited his vehicle and approached Plaintiff Darren Todd Mena's vehicle in a profane and aggressive manner," the plaintiffs say.
They say Garcia demanded that Mena produce his license, registration and handicap certificate, and after he did, Garcia then proceeded to forcible pull Mena out of the car.
"Please imploring Detective Garcia to explain his behavior were met with the statement, 'I don't give a f---, I'm going to arrest you,'" the couple says.
Garcia is alleged to have thrown Mena to the ground, cuffed him and placed him under arrest.
In was precisely at this moment that Lourdes Alvarez-Mena says she existed the school with their son.
According to Alvarez-Mena, she rushed to scene and asked what was going on. She says Detective Gaus responded by telling her to "shut the f--- up" and by pushing her against the car.
The couple says the next thing they knew, Alvarez-Mena was being thrown to the ground and cuffed next to her husband.
The couple says they were arrested without cause, and that the criminal charges filed against them by the detectives were thrown out.
The Menas say they've suffered greatly as a result of being "brought into public scandal with great humiliation" and that they've experience mental anguish as a result of the damage done their reputations.
They seek unspecified compensatory damages and court costs on claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest, battery, and loss of consortium.
The couple is represented by Robert Rossana and Michael Seth Cohen of Coral Gables, Fla.
Saw car parked outside her boyfriend’s home
By Lou Michel
Buffalo Police Officer Ann Vanyo, while on duty about two years ago, allegedly threatened to kill a woman she thought was making moves on her boyfriend, who is also a Buffalo police officer.
An independent hearing officer who presided over the 42-year-old Vanyo’s July 23 disciplinary hearing ruled last week there were grounds for her dismissal and fired her.
The decision to fire Vanyo is extremely unusual, according to police and former PBA officials.
“It’s extremely rare, no, almost unheard of, for an arbitrator to dismiss a police officer. There is a much heavier burden of proof on the employer to justify proving an egregious act or acts for termination,” a former police union representative said.
PBA President Kevin Kennedy said protocol for the disciplinary procedure was followed.
“You hate to see someone lose their job, but we followed what was agreed to,” Kennedy said.
Police sources say Vanyo allegedly left her patrol sector and drove to a bar where the woman worked. When she found that the woman was not there, she allegedly went to the woman’s home but the woman did not come out of the house. Vanyo then allegedly called the woman on the phone and made the threat.
When department officials learned of her actions, she was brought up on departmental charges for that and other alleged violations of department policies.
An agreement reached last spring between the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association and City of Buffalo calls for accepting the decision of hearing officers in disciplinarian matters as final and binding.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda declined to comment because it is a personnel matter, and he is legally barred from publicly addressing it.
Vanyo, a 17-year department veteran, expressed outrage over the allegations against her, saying she never threatened the woman. She conceded that she did phone the woman.
“It didn’t happen. There was never any threat,” she said. “Commissioner Dan Derenda doesn’t like me. I don’t know why Dan Derenda is trying to ruin my life.”
In outlining a broader scenario of why Vanyo was canned, attorney Steven M. Cohen, who met with her Saturday, said she has become a target of the city for her willingness to corroborate claims that his client, James Mazzariello, was a victim of corrupt cops demanding payments from Mazzariello’s tow truck operators and other operators, rather than the instigators of the payoffs.
“Ann Vanyo was oppressed and abused because of her willingness to tell the truth about the shakedowns. She wasn’t happy about talking about fellow officers, but if subpoenaed, she would tell the truth,” Cohen said.
Mazzariello, who operates Jim Mazz Auto in Lovejoy, was federally indicted for bribing police officers in order to tow vehicles in the city, all of which occurred at around the same time Vanyo was willing to speak out, the attorney said.
Mazzariello is also suing the city for its failure to end the corruption he and Cohen say they have been complaining about to city officials as far back as 2005.
In explaining Vanyo’s contact with the woman she believed was trying to steal her boyfriend, Cohen said, Vanyo was distraught when she spotted the woman’s car parked outside her boyfriend’s home in the middle of the night a couple of years ago.
He says Vanyo did later call her, asking why she was at the boyfriend’s home, but never threatened the woman.
The woman later reported Vanyo’s call to police but never mentioned any threat. However, in a subsequent meeting with an Internal Affairs investigator, the woman claimed Vanyo threatened to kill her – a point Cohen says is odd because it would stand to reason she would have mentioned the death threat in the initial complaint to police.
Cohen says if there was any validity to the death threat, Vanyo would have been arrested, “and that never happened.”
And while Derenda says he cannot comment on the personnel case, he has repeatedly said that he will not tolerate corrupt police officers and has worked with federal prosecutors in pursing multiple investigations to remove them from the police force.
Cohen added that he has strongly urged Vanyo to sue the city for reinstatement of her job. Vanyo said she has every intention of regaining her job “because it is my life.”
She said two previous arbitration rulings ordered the city to return her to work, but the city ignored the orders.
Yet Vanyo had a history of trouble that was also taken into consideration, police brass said. It included previous allegations of violence, including a fistfight with a female lieutenant several years ago, according to police familiar with her tenure.
“This was long overdue,” a police official said of the firing.
An officer who was Vanyo’s patrol car partner at one time said, “She had it coming to her.”
But Vanyo had been widely publicized for her strong police work and arrests of armed suspects over the years.
“She had really good instincts as a police officer,” the former patrol partner said, “but unfortunately she would often bring other personal problems to work with her.”
Hearing officer Jeffrey M. Selchick, who is an attorney, in his ruling, found Vanyo guilty of failing to follow departmental rules under “devotion to duty”; violating requirements under “reporting for duty”; and violating rules pertaining to “conduct” of an officer.
Before she was fired, Vanyo had previously filed complaints with the state claiming the department had discriminated against her. That case is pending before the state Division of Human Rights.
Concerns police officials have had over the years regarding Vanyo’s behavior include:
• A 2009 incident in which Lancaster police charged her with harassment after she allegedly chased and punched a process server. That case was later adjourned in contemplation of dismissal.
• A 2010 fight with her supervising lieutenant that led to disciplinary action. Vanyo was suspended with pay after the altercation. Vanyo was accused of biting the lieutenant in the
hand. In response, Vanyo claimed the lieutenant punched her in the mouth.
Vanyo returned to work and sued the city in U.S. District Court. The case was settled in 2012 with the city paying Vanyo $6,000. As part of the agreement, the city and the lieutenant did not admit any guilt.
• A more recent incident happened at the Erie County Holding Center alleging Vanyo grabbed a female prisoner by the neck.
Vanyo’s name also surfaced in a bizarre public departmental disciplinary trial in 2007 against former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol J. Horne, who was fired in 2008. Horne was brought up on charges for jumping on the back of another police officer who was attempting to make an arrest.
Horne said she took the action because she thought the officer was choking the suspect. Vanyo pulled Horne off the officer’s back.
Horne, fired one year shy of being able to collect a half-pay pension at 20 years, has asked the Common Council to grant her pension benefits. Council members are reviewing Horne’s request in light of a recent indictment of police brutality in an unrelated incident brought against the officer whom Horne had leaped on top of. That officer is now retired.
Vanyo vows to continue to fight her dismissal.
“They’ve got everything wrong. Ask any of my supervisors and they will tell you I was a great worker,” she said. “I love my job. It’s my life and I am going to get it back.
BY DAVID OVALLE
Three years after he was charged in a wee hours car wreck in Coral Gables that killed a young paralegal, ex-cop Peter Muñoz wants a judge to dismiss his criminal case.
The former Coral Springs police officer is making the request after a Miami-Dade judge, in a little-noticed decision, tossed out evidence that showed Muñoz was drunk, with blood alcohol measuring nearly three times the legal limit.
The decision forced prosecutors to drop a DUI manslaughter charge. Now, Muñoz is asking the same judge to throw out the remaining charge of vehicular homicide in the death of Jennifer Gutierrez, a 23-year-old mother and student.
The case is scheduled for a court hearing on Friday.
Muñoz was driving his Volkswagen south on LeJeune Road in July 2011, just after 4 a.m. He plowed into Gutierrez, driving a BMW, who had entered the intersection while trying to make a left from Aledo Avenue north onto LeJeune.
Gutierrez, a Miami-Dade college student, was rushed to Ryder Trauma Center and died less than two hours later.
Muñoz, 27, was hospitalized. A toxicology report showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .229, nearly triple the legal limit. Gutierrez, who was driving on a suspended license at the time, also had evidence of Xanax and cocaine in her system.
Coral Springs police fired Muñoz soon after the crash.
Several months after he was charged, his defense attorneys attacked the validity of the search warrant, executed by rookie Coral Gables traffic homicide investigator Jesus Rodriguez, for blood vials at the hospital.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy agreed with the defense that the detective, in a search warrant, should have included the fact that there was a six- to eight-foot hedge that might have obstructed the sight of the woman pulling into the intersection. The State Attorney’s Office, in October 2012, had to drop the DUI manslaughter charge.
Sally Matson, a victims advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the group joins Gutierrez’s family “in their sadness when a case is compromised by a technicality.”
“MADD is way too familiar with cases where a life is lost for a 100-percent preventable crime,” Matson said. “It is especially disappointing when an officer who was sworn to protect and serve made the choice to commit a crime which resulted in the loss of an innocent life.”
The case lingered for months as both sides hired accident reconstruction experts to examine the evidence.
In May, Muñoz’s lawyer asked the judge to dismiss the final charge, saying his speed was no more than 16 miles per hour over the 40 mph speed limit — not enough to convict on a vehicular manslaughter charge.
“The death of Ms. Gutierrez was not caused by the defendant’s operation of his motor vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause [death],” attorney Alan S. Ross wrote in his motion.
In the past, Florida courts have thrown out vehicular homicide convictions based chiefly on a high rate of speed.
Earlier this month, an appeals court tossed out the conviction of Luis Luzardo, who had been speeding in daylight on Tamiami Trail when a carload of tourists tried to make a left turn into an amusement park. Luzardo tried to veer but still hit the car, killing one British woman.
The appeals court said that Luzardo might have been negligent or careless but that the case did not reach the proper “level of recklessness.”
In Muñoz’s case, prosecutors say jurors should decide whether Muñoz is guilty.
The ex-cop was reckless because he was actually speeding at 65 mph — all while “weaving in and out of lanes” in the dark that morning, according to the state’s expert and witnesses.“All these facts, taken together, show ... the defendant operated his vehicle in a grossly reckless manner without the safety of others,” prosecutor Beatrice Gonzalez wrote.
Written by Kelly Kaczala
The Lucas County grand jury recently indicted a former police chief of Walbridge for gross sexual imposition.
Timothy Villa Sr., 67, of 6960 Kinsman Drive, Sylvania, was indicted on October 8 for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with a female employee of Data Research, Inc., 5650 West Central Avenue, Suite D, Sylvania. Data Research, Inc., is a private investigation firm owned by Villa, according to Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division with the Lucas County prosecutor’s office.
“The incident allegedly occurred at his place of business this year on June 16,” Lingo told The Press last week.
The case will be assigned to a judge and to a prosecutor before it is set for arraignment, according to Lingo. “He will enter a plea to the charge, then the case will go forward, just like any other criminal case.”
Conviction of sexual imposition is a felony, he said.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is run by the Ohio attorney general’s office, investigated the incident, said Lingo, because Villa was a former police officer in Sylvania Township several years ago.
“To prevent the appearance of impropriety, it was felt to let an outside agency do the investigation, which makes perfect sense,” said Lingo.
Villa had been a police officer in several northwest Ohio communities before he was hired as chief in Walbridge.
He came under fire shortly after becoming chief when village council learned he had been dismissed as a Walbridge police lieutenant in 1978 for alleged infractions that included insubordination and unauthorized absences. Mr. Villa at the time filed suit and settled out of court with the village for $1,500.
Council had asked Villa to resign in June, but he refused to go.
Meanwhile, a growing number of residents had called or his dismissal at packed council meetings, particularly after a series of investigative articles appeared in The Press that detailed Mr. Villa's sketchy career as a police officer in other communities where he had served, including Elmore, where he was fired for allegedly making false reports and for conduct unbecoming a police officer, and Sylvania Township, where he resigned after allegedly making a false arrest of a teenaged clerk.
Criticism of Villa rose after a background check of a police officer he had recommended for hire in Walbridge failed to show the cop was fired from the Holland police department for allegedly making sexual comments to several women, many of whom had filed lawsuits. The officer’s name was dropped from consideration after The Press obtained an internal affairs investigation report of the officer in Holland and broke the story about the accusations against him.
After four months, Villa resigned as chief, but not without getting $21,000 as part of a severance agreement from the village.
Mr. Villa's nearly four month term as police chief of Walbridge was the shortest on record.
Villa later filed a civil lawsuit against the Village of Elmore and Sylvania, as well as The Press Newspapers, but it was dismissed.
Other School Officials Charged with Failing to Report the Abuse
U.S. Attorney’s Office September 29, 2014 • Western District of Kentucky (502) 582-5911
LOUISVILLE, KY—A federal grand jury charged a Grayson County, Kentucky, man with violating federal laws designed to protect children from sexual abuse as well as threatening/intimidating a witness. The grand jury also charged several other school officials with failing to report the abuse, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.
Stephen E. Miller, age 44, previously worked as a police officer in Leitchfield, Kentucky. He resigned the position following complaints of inappropriate sexual activity toward two women. Miller then began working at Bluegrass Challenge Academy, a residential, educational program run by the Kentucky National Guard, located on Fort Knox Military Base. Miller had supervisory authority over the Academy students. He is charged with engaging in sexual contact with three students, including an incident of aggravated sexual abuse with one of the three. The incidents occurred between February and August, 2013. The Indictment also charges Miller with attempting to threaten or intimidate the third student to prevent her from reporting the matter to law enforcement.
Additionally, the grand jury charged school officials, John W. Smith, Leroy Burgess, Jr., Kemmye S. Graves, Rolanshia Windom, Rita Carthen, and Gabriel Onusko with failing to report the first incident of abuse to law enforcement officials, as required by federal law.
If convicted, Miller faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, a fine of up to $1,250,000 and at least five years of supervised release. The remaining defendants, if convicted, face maximum sentences of one year in prison, a fine of up to $100,000 and up to one year of supervised release. Miller is being held in the custody of the United States Marshals Service.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jo E. Lawless and Stephanie Zimdahl are prosecuting the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with assistance from the Army Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation.
U.S. Attorney’s Office September 29, 2014 • Northern District of Mississippi (662) 234-3351
OXFORD, MS—Felicia C. Adams, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, and Johnnie Sharp, Acting, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that Jimmie Johnson, age 31, former Tutwiler, Mississippi, Police Officer and former Chief of Police of Webb, Mississippi, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock to serve twenty (20) months in prison, followed by two (2) years of supervised release, after pleading guilty of violating a federal civil rights statute. Johnson was also ordered to complete fifty (50) hours of community service. In addition, Johnson agreed to never seek future employment in law enforcement.
Johnson was indicted on October 31, 2013, for an incident which occurred in February of 2012, while he was employed as a captain with the Tutwiler, Mississippi, Police Department. On March 25, 2014, Johnson pled guilty to Count One of the indictment, which stated that while acting under color of law, Johnson assaulted an individual by striking him in the face with his fist, causing bodily injury, and thereby willfully depriving that individual of the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.
U.S. Attorney Felicia C. Adams stated, “Johnson’s actions were reprehensible. He abused his authority, violated the law and the public trust. Today’s sentence demonstrates that such actions undermine the rule of law and will not be tolerated. While the majority of law enforcement officers are hardworking professionals who risk their lives daily for our safety, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to aggressively prosecuting those officers who break the law and violate the public trust.” A/SAC Sharp stated: “Every citizen has the right to expect law enforcement officers to act in accordance with the laws they have sworn to uphold. We entrust law enforcement officers with certain powers and authority, which they are expected to wield with the utmost integrity. This case proves that abuse of that power and authority will not be tolerated.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Tallahatchie County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi.
This content has been reproduced from its original source.
U.S. Attorney’s Office September 24, 2014 • Southern District of Ohio (937) 225-2910
COLUMBUS, OH—The Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cincinnati Field Division, announced today that they will conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the August 5, 2014, fatal shooting of John Crawford III by an officer with the Beavercreek Police Department. The Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the FBI have been monitoring the state’s investigation of this case. The Civil Rights Division, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the FBI will conduct a thorough and independent review of the evidence and take appropriate action if the evidence indicates a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statutes. This is an on-going investigation; therefore, the Department can make no further comment on this case at this time.
The woman who accused a Harrisburg police officer of stalking her also claimed the officer raped her in late August, according to a protection from abuse order filed in Dauphin County Court.
Corporal Todd R. Chance has not been charged with any sex crimes. He has been charged with misdemeanor counts of stalking and harassment. Chance has no prior criminal record.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico Jr. said Thursday in an email that the "criminal complaints [against Chance] were filed on charges that investigators believe can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and that there is sufficient evidence to meet that burden of proof."
He said detectives and prosecutors worked with the woman and her family during the investigative process. Marsico also stressed that convictions on the stalking and harassment charges would ensure Chance will be prohibited from working as a police officer.
When asked for comment Thursday on the rape allegation, Brian Perry, Chance's attorney, said, "The fact that criminal charges involving sexual misconduct were not filed tells the story."
Perry earlier acknowledged that Chance has made some poor choices, saying he had "lost his cool and made some dumb decisions." Perry also said the case is a difficult one where there is an element of "he said, she said."
Perry said all the facts of the case have yet to be made public.
Chance could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Chance's accuser filed her petition for a protection from abuse order on Sept. 8. County Judge William T. Tully granted it on Tuesday.
The woman claimed in the petition that Chance raped her on Aug. 27 at a residence in Harrisburg.
Tully's order forbids Chance from having any contact with his accuser for three years. A violation of the order could result in a $1,000 fine, 6 months in prison or other criminal penalties.
The PFA order was granted the same day county investigators filed the stalking and harassment charges against Chance. He was arraigned Wednesday and is free on $10,000 unsecured bail as he awaits his preliminary hearing.
Harrisburg officials said Wednesday that Chance was immediately suspended last month when police learned of the stalking allegations made against him. They stressed the allegations did not involve Chance's official police duties.
An 11-year veteran of the department, Chance will remain suspended with pay until the charges filed against him are bound over to county court.
Charging documents show Chance's accuser met with county investigators on Sept. 8 and told them she had been involved in an on-and-off relationship with Chance for 10 years.
She described Chance to police as "very possessive, controlling and jealous." She told police said that on Aug. 27, she sent text messages to two other men in whom she was romantically interested, angering him. Threats and stalking followed, she told police, according to the charging documents.
Aug. 27 is the same day the woman says Chance raped her, according to her petition for a protection from abuse order.
Chance is tentatively scheduled to appear Oct. 31 for a preliminary court hearing.
More and more, bystanders recording NYPD – including arrest of subway musician Andrew Kalleen recently was arrested in a New York subway for performing without a permit, which 'buskers' and their supporters say is not required. They see such incidents as examples of increasing police harassment.
By Harry Bruinius, Staff writer October 23, 2014
New York — More and more, when New York City police make an arrest in public, bystanders pull out their smart phones and begin recording.
In the latest video sparking controversy over the NYPD’s aggressive approach to minor crimes, uniformed and plainclothes cops are shown arresting a guitar-strumming subway “busker” – or public entertainer who solicits donations – after he refused an order last weekend to stop playing and leave the station.
The video, which has been seen by more than 1 million viewers on YouTube, shows Andrew Kalleen, a busker who had been singing Neil Young’s protest anthem “Ohio,” argue with an officer who had told him to pack it up, saying he was not allowed to perform on subway platforms without a permit.
Recommended: Are you a true Noo Yawker? Take our Big Apple quiz.
Mr. Kalleen, however, pulled out a copy of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rules of conduct and directed him to read Section 1050.6(c). The officer told Kalleen he was not going to argue with him, but, nevertheless, he read the section aloud, which allows for “artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations,” as long as they do not impede transit activities.
Bystanders erupted in cheers, and even jeers, but the officer called for backup, and at least five cops then roughly arrested the fedora-wearing musician. As he was taken away, bystanders continued to hurl expletives at the police. Kalleen was later charged with loitering and released, the NYPD told the Associated Press, adding the department was reviewing the incident.
On Tuesday, Kalleen and a group of about 100 protesters, including musicians and public officials, staged a rally at the same station, protesting what they call increasing police harassment as the NYPD continues to crack down on subway buskers under the leadership of Commissioner William Bratton.
Since beginning his second tenure in New York, Commissioner Bratton has redirected his officers to focus more on low-level crime – a hallmark of his “broken windows” theory, which holds that strict enforcement of penny-ante crimes deters more serious activities. Through mid-October, police have arrested 293 subway buskers this year, up from 101 arrests in all of 2013, NYPD spokeswoman Sophia Mason told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“This is part of the integrity of New York City,” said City Council Member Robert Cornegy (D), a 7-foot alum of the famous 1984-85 St. John’s University basketball team, during the rally. “People come here from all over with the expectation that they are going to get an authentic New York experience, and this is part of its authenticity.”
As the video continues to go viral this week, the department is reviewing the circumstances of other controversial arrests and stops captured by bystander videos.
Earlier this month, an officer was recorded taking a roll of cash from a man during a pat-down and then pepper-spraying him after he objected and asked for his money back. The man claims it was over $1,000. And in September, another video showed an officer throwing a pregnant woman to the ground while trying to handcuff her hands behind her.
A grand jury is continuing to hear evidence in the case of Eric Garner, who suffocated to death in an apparent illegal chokehold after being arrested for selling cigarettes – an arrest dramatically captured by bystander smart phones and causing a national outcry.
“We're not asking for the laws to be changed here," said Council Member Stephen Levin (D) at the rally. “The existing law is here to protect us. If this is 'broken windows,' I want no part of it.”
Advocates from BuskNY, a group that supports subway performers, said the NYPD needs to better train officers on the rules of conduct on subways, handing out a proposed memo that officers should be aware that “no permit is required to perform in subway stations or on subway platforms" and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority “allows all performers to accept donations,” the website Gothamist reported.
Kalleen filed a formal complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board on Wednesday.
“The world watches New York,” he said at the rally. “This is not the message we want to send to the world.”
By Pashtana Usufzy
A Henderson police officer was arrested early Thursday morning on a driving under the influence charge after he reportedly drove the wrong way on U.S. 95, officials said.
Nevada Highway Patrol received a report about 1 a.m. of a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on the highway near Durango Drive, Trooper Loy Hixson said.
Troopers located that vehicle just south of Durango Drive and attempted to make a stop, Hixson said.
The driver, later identified as Henderson officer Joseph Lawrance, didn't immediately pull over but did eventually stop for a trooper, officials said.
Henderson Police spokeswoman Kathleen Richards declined to comment on the arrest but said all incidents like this trigger internal investigations.
Lawrance was taken into custody and booked into the Clark County Detention Center, Hixson said.
Lawrance has been placed on paid administrative leave, Henderson spokesman Keith Paul said
Tampa, Florida -- Tampa police say one of their own, an off duty officer, was not only driving drunk, he was driving the wrong way.
Investigators say they arrested TPD Officer Anton Lipski, 32, early Thursday morning after he crashed his car and failed field sobriety tests.
The wrong-way wreck landed the officer on unpaid suspension.
Tampa Police Officer Anton Lipski allegedly drove the wrong way down a street and crashed into a wall.
Highland Avenue turns into a one-way road at Violet Street. Investigators say their officer had been heading north on the southbound-only stretch, hit a median, took out a sign, then rammed into a homeowner's wall and fence.
"Boom! I was in bed and it shook the bed," says the homeowner, who only wants to be identified as "Rose."
Rose says she was startled from her sleep around 1:30 a.m. Thursday. Investigators say a Tampa police officer crashed his car into her front retaining wall.
"I heard, 'How much have you been drinking?' That's all I heard from the other cops," Rose says.
Tampa police say Lipski failed his field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol level of .16 and .18, twice the legal limit of .08.
Neighbor Berat Yigitoglu says he could tell. "He was really drunk. He was like this you know (swerving)," says Yigitoglu.
"No matter what your blood alcohol level is I think it's fortunate someone doesn't get hurt someone doesn't get killed," says Deputy Chief Brian Dugan.
Lipski has been with the department since March of 2013 and works as an overnight patrol officer. He doesn't have any other disciplinary actions on his record since joining TPD from the Gainesville Police Department.
Deputy Chief Brian tells 10 News that it's not easy to arrest one of their own, but insists the investigation will be "by the book".
"It's probably one of the hardest things I have to do. It's embarrassing to me. It's a disappointment as a police officer. Our job is to keep the roadways safe and not become part of the problem out there," says Deputy Chief Dugan.
Lipski has bonded out of jail. No one answered the door at the family's home.
Rose just wants her wall fixed. "Everybody makes mistakes, but you have to learn from it," says Rose.
Lipski will remain on unpaid leave while the case works through the courts. If found guilty of DUI, the deputy chief says Lipski could lose his job.
LAUGHLIN, Nev. (AP) - Authorities say a Bullhead City, Arizona, police sergeant who was suspended earlier this month in one case was arrested on an a felony attempted sexual assault charge after he was accused of attacking a woman in a vehicle outside a bar in the Colorado River resort town of Laughlin.
Police said Friday that 37-year-old Jesse Samuel Hoag was arrested after surrendering to Las Vegas police investigating a woman's report that she was attacked a little before 7 a.m. Wednesday by a man she met at the bar on Casino Drive.
Hoag posted unspecified bond and was released from custody Thursday pending an initial court appearance.
Bullhead City police say Hoag has been on paid leave since Oct. 3 while police in Kingman, Arizona, investigate an Oct. 2 incident there.
By Parker Gavigan, NBC 10 I-Team Reporter
The NBC 10 I-Team has obtained a police report from Arlington Texas, indicating the arrest of Providence Police officer Nicholas Froncillo on October 18th for public intoxication at a spa.
Anthony Cole, a witness told the I-Team that Froncillo “got mad and stormed out of the business.” He then came back in and said his wallet was stolen, according to Cole. He left, returned and said his cell phone and credit card were also stolen. “He was obviously drunk” said Cole. “He was threatening the proprietors of the business and shouting out derogatory names,” added the witness. The arresting officer wrote in the report, “I was dispatched to a disturbance call involving an intoxicated male suspect that was alone in a public place and exhibiting behavior which placed his safety in doubt.” Froncillo was then arrested.
Earlier in the week, Police Chief Hugh Clements confirmed the department was looking into the arrest, but wouldn't identify the officer. The incident is the latest in a rash of embarrassing incidents for the Providence Police. Rookie cop David Sanchez lost his job after he was caught holding a cell phone allegedly stolen by his girlfriend at the Providence Marriott following a graduation party. It was later learned that had multiple arrests on his record, including marijuana possession and leaving the scene of an accident.
The NBC 10 I-Team has learned through multiple sources that another recruit has been suspended for his role at the Marriott last weekend. A third recruit has also been suspended for an off-duty incident at the Whiskey Republic bar next to the Providence river. And a fourth recruit has been suspended for not showing up to the Columbus Day Parade.
New recruits are not alone with these recent mishaps.
Sources confirm a veteran officer was attending the recruiting class ceremony on Oct. 10 at Rhode Island College when he allegedly kissed a woman on her cheek after asking the officer to move out of the way. The officer was not identified by police, but Commissioner Steven Pare said all the officers are receiving different punishments.
The I-Team has learned that discipline varies from one- to three-day suspensions to written reprimands.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) -- Buffalo Police Officer Michael Missana is off the job. He's yet another Buffalo cop facing accusations of misconduct.
Michael Missana is accused of stealing a mere $130, from a wallet, left behind at Café Aroma, back in August.
"He's not guilty. He pled not guilty and it's the truth and it's the facts," said Colleen Missana.
Missana says she supports her husband, who pleaded not guilty charges of official misconduct and petit larceny. She said Officer Missana was unavailable to talk when we knocked on the door.
7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Drantch asked Missana, how she thought her husband was named in this. Missana said, "I have no comment. It's an open investigation and I don't have any comment about it."
The investigation started after two women found Ariel Brucato's wallet. She says they counted the cash and then handed it over to Officer Missana.
The money wasn't there when Missana returned the wallet to Brucato's home.
"I was approached by the District Attorney's office and investigators, that (Missana) was being investigated for taking the money. Obviously you want to trust that a cop wouldn't do that," Brucato said.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says Missana has been suspended, without pay, for 35 days.
"It's criminal. It's alleged criminal conduct, so it's serious," Sedita said.
In digging for information, 7 Eyewitness News has learned Missana has been on the force less than two years.
He joins a list of Buffalo Police officers who've been charged, convicted or suspended. There have been at least 14 instances since 2012.
"He's been an outstanding police officer. He loves his job. He fought hard for that job," Colleen Missana said.
He'll continue fighting, while Brucato fights for justice.
"It's a police officer and I'm someone who works at a coffee shop. So I mean that's taking a lot more money than I think he realized," Brucato said.
Missana has been released on his own recognizance. Another court date has not yet been set.
Manhattan Beach pays $175,000 in sex sting settlement
Manhattan Beach pays $175,000 in sex sting settlement by Carley Dryden
The city of Manhattan Beach will pay an Eagle Scout $175,000 for wrongfully arresting him during a police sex sting operation targeting gay men in a beach bathroom in 2012.
Charles Samuel Couch, 23, who was branded a suspected sex offender when the city released his name and photo to the news media, reached the settlement of a federal lawsuit with the city and its Police Department last week. Couch was seeking $5 million for discrimination, false arrest and violation of civil rights.
The city’s police chief also agreed to expunge Couch’s arrest record.
A caregiver for a mentally disabled boy at the time, Couch was forced to drop out of college because of the incident and subsequent investigation. Hoping to escape the negative stigma and legal tussles, Couch moved to the East Coast, where he is now attending Cornell University, aiming to follow in his father’s footsteps with a job in the defense industry.
“This is a relief off of his shoulders,” said Couch’s attorney, Albro Lundy. “He no longer has to be concerned when he fills out a job application. You won’t get hired if you have an arrest record. It’s gone now. That is the best part about this.”
At the time of the March 2012 incident, the Hawthorne man was working for Cambrian Homecare of Long Beach, providing care for a boy with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by cognitive disabilities and incomplete sexual development.
For Couch, the job was an extension of his Eagle Scout project to help handicapped children get proper exercise and explore the world, Lundy said last week. He met the boy and the boy’s parents through church at Hope Chapel, Lundy said.
The day of the incident, Couch was on an afternoon walk with the boy in Manhattan Beach when the boy told Couch he needed to use the restroom. They headed toward the beach bathroom at Marine Avenue and The Strand. Unknown to Couch, Manhattan Beach police officers were conducting a sting operation targeting gay males who had been meeting up in the bathroom, publicized on the Internet as a popular spot for sex.
As an expert later testified, because of his condition, the boy frequently spent a long time using the restroom, so Couch sat down on a bench in the changing area while the boy was in the stall farthest from the entrance.
According to the lawsuit, Detective John Nasori entered the restroom in plain clothes, said “hello” to Couch and entered the middle stall. A few minutes later, the child bolted from the stall, telling Couch, “There is a man looking at me in the stall.” Horrified, Couch told the boy to keep walking and they exited the bathroom.
Couch was then confronted by five detectives in plain clothes, “resembling thugs,” according to the suit. Presuming they wanted to kidnap the boy, Couch grabbed him to protect him. Couch was then tackled, choked and handcuffed, according to the lawsuit, and did not realize the men were police officers until he was taken to jail.
Although Couch was detained and then released due to insufficient evidence for a criminal complaint, his attorneys said, the police kept his laptop containing all of his coursework for months, forcing him to drop out of El Camino College.
Officers arrested 18 men during the weekslong sting, and a month after Couch was detained, the department released booking photographs of each man, along with their names and dates of birth. Couch was stunned to discover his photo and name included in the release and publicized across the nation.
“Couch was never arrested or charged with any of those crimes the other men were charged with,” Lundy said. “The flier that went out said he was, and it was an official flier from the city of Manhattan Beach.”
Months later, Couch was charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, allegations that were later dismissed.
“(The charges) were retaliatory. The (city) knew they had done something wrong and, rather than wait to get sued, they took the first shot over the bow,” Lundy said.
The incident left an indelible mark on Couch—a soiled reputation, lost job, compromised future.
Before a lawsuit was filed, Couch’s attorney asked the city to destroy the arrest record and declare him factually innocent, but the city refused.
“The city of Manhattan Beach denied that they made any mistake whatsoever,” Lundy said. “They felt they were righteous in their arrest and the charges against Sam. It took a while to convince them otherwise. That’s also why he brought the suit, for the public benefit. The Manhattan Beach Police Department needs to evaluate how they conduct their business and make sure they don’t do the same mistakes again.”
The city of Manhattan Beach’s legal team did not respond to requests for comment.
As part of the settlement, the police chief agreed to seal and destroy Couch’s adult arrest records, Lundy said.
“It’s relatively unheard of that a chief of police will sign a petition to seal and destroy adult arrest records,” Lundy said. “It shows that the city wanted to compensate and correct the errors and let Sam move on with his life.”
Lundy said Couch believes the $175,000 compensation is a “fair and just resolution” to the damages he suffered.
“This is an excellent way to fund the rest of his college education,” he said.