By Ray Downs
The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office has been selectively taking names of police officers who get arrested off the booking blotter, effectively giving busted cops special treatment over regular folks who get their names, mug shots, and personal information put online for all to see when they get thrown in jail.
A story published Sunday by the Palm Beach Post revealed the practice, which PBSO officials have since admitted to doing. Their excuse is that their computer program doesn't allow them to scrub officers' home addresses and birth dates, which is not allowed to be released to the public under state law. And since they can't take off that information, they decided to just leave police off the record entirely.
The PBSO has done this for all five officers (that we know of) arrested this year, including the recent arrest of Boynton Beach officer Stephen Maiorino, who is accused of raping a woman at gunpoint on the hood of his patrol car.
See also: Boynton Cop Stephen Maiorino Arrested for Raping Woman at Gunpoint
But as the Post points out, the PBSO was able to scrub addresses and birth dates of officers before -- like how they did for Boynton Beach Police Officer Alex Lindsey in 2011 when he was arrested for falsifying documents.
Interestingly, the PBSO's booking blotter was offline Monday night and the link instead goes straight the site's homepage. The PBSO tells the Post it will continue to be offline "until further notice."
Records of the officer arrests are still available to the public under Florida's open records law, but for now, a request to the PBSO must be made to obtain them. But with the booking blotter currently down, even non-police officers will enjoy the privilege of not having their mug shot and private information published online for all to see and use for money-making purposes like charging a fee to take to take the information off private websites. For now, at least.
Jerry Hyland won't come out of the closet and speak up against police murders of unarmed citizens in Fairfax County
Longtime lawman arraigned on misconduct, harassment charges
By Lauren Stanforth
A Saratoga County sheriff's sergeant abruptly resigned Monday as he was charged with official misconduct and harassment after a video was posted on the Internet over the weekend that purportedly captured him slapping a man whose car he wanted to search.
Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo said his office began an investigation into the actions of Sgt. Shawn R. Glans immediately after they learned the video was posted on the department's Facebook page around 9 p.m. Friday. The video shows Glans demanding to search the vehicle of a young man, Colin Fitch, who was standing next to the deputy in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store in Halfmoon. Fitch refused to consent to the search as Glans peppered him with expletives and said they could get a search warrant if he didn't turn over his keys.
Glans grows increasingly agitated during the encounter, which was being secretly filmed by Fitch's friend Adam Roberts, who was standing next to the pair. "You want to (expletive) resist?" Glans tells Fitch as the deputy steps toward him and the video captures a loud slapping sound. The video camera was pointed downward at the time of the alleged strike. Glans then grabs Fitch's keys, throwing them to another deputy. "Search the (expletive) car," Glans tells the other deputy, who has not been identified.
Zurlo acknowledged Glans struck the young man. Glans, 48, was arraigned in Halfmoon Town Court on Monday afternoon on one count of official misconduct, a misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation. The charges state that while on-duty and in uniform Glans "did knowingly commit unauthorized physical acts in seeking to secure and expedite the search of a vehicle with an intent to benefit himself," according to court records. The harassment charge says Glans slapped Fitch "in the back of the head with an open hand."
"His actions both as a police officer and a sergeant were completely inappropriate," Zurlo said at a news conference Monday at which he announced that Glans had resigned. "I am very disturbed. I have zero tolerance for that type of activity."
Glans, who said he's been a police officer for 27 years, was immediately suspended after the video surfaced Friday. Zurlo said the sergeant reported in on Monday morning and then voluntarily resigned. Glans' attorney, Matthew Chauvin of Clifton Park, said he didn't know if Glans was informed of the criminal charges against him before he resigned.
"The video is difficult to place in the context of the person we know," Chauvin said. "I hope the 20-plus years he's put into the community doesn't go unnoticed," he said adding, "There are two sides to every story."
Glans also has worked as a part-time South Glens Falls police officer. South Glens Falls police declined to comment on his status with that department.
Glans told the Times Union Saturday that he was concerned about public safety after seeing the gun in the car, but that he would have acted differently if he knew it was being videotaped. "If I had to do it all over again ... I'd probably do the same thing. If I knew the camera was there, no, because it does look bad," he said.
The sheriff said an internal investigation is ongoing regarding the actions of the two other deputies who were at the scene with Glans but did not intervene as their sergeant allegedly slapped the young man. Zurlo declined to identify the other deputies. With Glans' resignation, the internal investigation into his actions is closed, Zurlo said.
Halfmoon Town Justice Lester Wormuth granted an order of protection on behalf of Fitch and Roberts that prohibits Glans from contacting them.
Zurlo said Glans and other deputies approached the two in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on Route 9 around 2:30 a.m. Friday after receiving a call of suspicious people parking at another business and entering woods on Route 236 near the Wal-Mart.
When deputies arrived at the business on Route 236 the car was gone, but they said they found a vehicle matching the description in the Wal-Mart parking lot a short time later. Glans saw a .22-caliber rifle in the car's back seat and wanted to search the vehicle.
After the video captured Glans allegedly slapping Fitch, Roberts kept filming and can be heard telling Glans that what just happened was "intense" and he asks the sergeant if he was going strike him next. The sergeant responded that he could "rip your (expletive) head off and (expletive) down your neck." Glans is due back in Halfmoon court on Dec. 9.
Demand Jerry Hyland to come out of the closet and address the murder of unarmed citizen by the Fairfax County cops
By JOE MANDAK
PITTSBURGH — A jury has been selected to decide whether a western Pennsylvania police officer violated a suspect's civil rights by repeatedly zapping him with a stun gun, even after he was handcuffed — an encounter recorded on another person's cellphone.
The attorney for Millvale Officer Nicole Murphy doesn't dispute she used the stun gun on Thomas Jason James Smith after his arrest for public drunkenness in September 2012. Rather, he contends the 30-year-old officer was justified in using it because she was trying to stop Smith from banging his head.
"This guy was out of control. They believed he was on some other kind of substance," defense attorney Robert Stewart said after Murphy's arraignment in June. "She had a choice of Tasering him to subdue him or letting him split his head open." Stewart didn't immediately return a call seeking comment following jury selection Wednesday.
Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin Monday morning in federal court.
The FBI began investigating after someone leaked a 52-second cellphone video of the incident to Pittsburgh-area media outlets in early 2013.
The video shows a shirtless Smith, then 28, sitting on the floor of the police station while he banged his head on the edge of a desk. Murphy then zaps him with the stun gun. Murphy reported in a criminal complaint that she used the stun gun to subdue Smith when he became violent, but Smith isn't seen attacking her in the video.
The video also shows some emergency responders smiling and laughing at Smith's behavior.
The prosecution and defense haven't specified who took the video. Court documents filed in recent weeks suggest the case will boil down to the testimony of Murphy — who remains on unpaid leave — and another officer, part-timer Casey Bonincontro.
Prosecutors have asked the court for permission to raise issues relating to Murphy's character if she testifies.
According to pretrial motions, prosecutors want to ask Murphy about a 2011 drunken driving arrest and about a man Murphy allegedly befriended or dated "who was known to her to have a drug-related criminal record." Stewart has argued neither is relevant.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, are concerned that Stewart plans to use Bonincontro's personnel files with the borough and other departments to allegedly show she violated various on-the-job rules.
The judge has yet to rule whether any of that can be used at trial.
The charge Murphy faces carries up to 10 years in prison and, because it's a felony, would end her law enforcement career even if she avoids incarceration.
Jerry "opps dearie" Hyland won't stand up to the cops
The police chief in Colchester, Vt., is calling it the darkest day in her department’s history. Chief Jennifer Morrison said town Detective Corporal Tyler Kinney will face federal charges in connection with the alleged thefts of drugs and a firearm from a police evidence locker. Authorities say the investigation began early Monday, when the gun that was supposed to be in the Colchester department’s possession turned up during a search carried out by Burlington police. Morrison said the investigation led to Kinney, a 12-year veteran of her department. The 38-year-old Jericho resident is to be charged formally on Wednesday in US District Court. It could not be determined immediately whether Kinney has a lawyer.
Jerry "Opps Dearie" Hyland, the best friend injustice ever had
By Noelle Newton
An officer suspended for ten days by the Austin Police Department, has just been awarded officer of the year.
The Austin Police Association President says he did what the department should have done in the first place.
Officer Jonathan Laborde is appealing his discipline.
Until an outside source decides on the matter, you can take a look at the video of the incident in question for yourself.
In the APD dash camera video, off-duty officer Jonathan Laborde with his badge in his left hand and his gun in his right chases after a man who just ran through his church.
Laborde would later learn that the man he was after, Matthew Rogers, had just attempted to steal from a T-Mobile store. Police say Rogers struggled with an employee and then pulled a knife on him.
The clip after that shows Laborde tackling Rogers in the middle of a street.
A patrol officer can be heard saying, "I can hear somebody helping us out. (siren) Thank God cause I've been chasing this guy. He had a knife on him so I didn't want to get stabbed."
On Saturday, Laborde was recognized by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas as the Central Texas Regional Officer of the Year.
"The department wouldn't recognize his courage so we did," said Sgt. Wayne Vincent.
Sgt. Vincent nominated Laborde.
"He actually did what I think every citizen would expect an off duty police officer to do," he said.
Vincent's opinion of what took place is much different from APDsupervisors who suspended Laborde for ten days.
A disciplinary memo states Laborde posed an unreasonable threat to the public stating most responding officers didn't know Laborde was an officer, but instead an individual running after the suspect with a gun in his hand.
It is department policy to wait for an on-duty officer to arrive before intervening.
Laborde is appealing the suspension and Vincent is showing his support through this award.
"We did this to send a message to our membership that despite what you might go through and the criticisms you go through when you do the right thing you're doing it for the public and you're doing it for the profession and we're proud of you for doing so," he explains.
Laborde is waiting for a hearing date.
APD is not commenting about this incident again until that hearing takes place.