and the cop crime waves continues
Miami-Dade Police Officer Arrested for Misconduct
A Miami-Dade police officer has been arrested after he crashed his patrol car and lied about it in a police report, officials said.
According to police, Officer Joshua Zacarias was arrested for official misconduct following an internal investigation.
The arrest affidavit states that Zacarias was arrested at 8:40 Tuesday morning at 10680 NW 25th Street.
He was booked into the Miami-Dade jail at 9:28 a.m. and had his bond set at $5,000.
According to the arrest warrant, Zacarias had apprehended four people involved in a robbery and was driving back to the Miami Lakes station when he crashed his patrol car.
When he was confronted about the damage, he claimed someone keyed his car at his apartment complex in Hallandale Beach, the warrant said. He also lied in the report, the warrant said.
"It is disheartening when an officer has betrayed his fellow officers and the community that he swore to protect. The Miami-Dade Police Department does not condone conduct that undermines the trust of the community and investigates all allegations of misconduct with professionalism and thoroughness," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said in a statement.
More information is expected to be released later this afternoon.
Trial set for 2 Orlando police officers charged with battery
A May 4 trial date has been set for the two Orlando Police Department officers who were charged with battery in two separate and unrelated incidents. The State Attorney's Office filed the charges earlier this month.
A trial date has been set for the two Orlando police officers who were charged with battery in two separate and unrelated incidents earlier this month.
The State Attorney's Office on Jan. 16 announced the charges. Officer Chase Fugate was initially charged with two misdemeanor charges of battery from an incident on June 14, 2014.
Fugate has also been charged with perjury (misdemeanor), said Angela Starke, public information officer for the State Attorney's Office.
Office William Escobar faces two counts of battery and two counts of perjury, both misdemeanors, stemming from a March 15, 2014, incident.
The trial date for both officers has been set for May 4, with a pretrial conference scheduled for April 16.
Both Fugate and Escobar are sworn officers with the Orlando Police Department. The Orlando Police Department issued a statement after the charges were filed, stating both officers were suspended with pay until an internal investigation is completed.
New York City Police Officer Is Said to Be Indicted in Shooting Death of Akai Gurley
By AL BAKER and J. DAVID GOODMAN
A New York City police officer was indicted Tuesday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in a Brooklyn public housing complex stairwell in November, several people familiar with the grand jury’s decision said.
Officer Peter Liang, 27, who had been on the force for less than 18 months, was patrolling a darkened stairwell at the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York when he fired a single shot that fatally struck the man, Akai Gurley, as he walked downstairs. Less than 12 hours after the shooting, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton called Mr. Gurley, 28, “totally innocent” and characterized the shooting as an “unfortunate accident.”
A grand jury impaneled last week decided it was a crime. The jurors indicted Officer Liang on several charges, including second-degree manslaughter, said a law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the indictment had yet to be unsealed. The other charges are criminally negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault and two counts of official misconduct, the official said.
A formal announcement in the case was expected on Wednesday by Kenneth P. Thompson, the Brooklyn district attorney who, in just over a year in office, has drawn considerable attention with his move to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and his aggressive review of decades-old convictions.
The killing of Mr. Gurley followed fatal encounters between the police and unarmed black men — Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Eric Garner on Staten Island — and, while the circumstances of Mr. Gurley’s death were different, it tore into already fraying relations between law enforcement and minority communities around the country. Mr. Gurley’s name joined others shouted at demonstrations pressing for policing and criminal justice reforms.
The indictment of Officer Liang, who is Chinese-American, is the first in more than two years involving a fatal encounter between a civilian and a police officer in New York City. Two months ago, a grand jury on Staten Island declined to bring criminal charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the case of Mr. Garner after he died as officers tried to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes on the street.
Reform advocates and some elected officials welcomed word of the indictment. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on improving police-community relations but who has been battered by revolts among officers, offered a more muted response.
“We urge everyone to respect the judicial process as it unfolds,” the mayor said, calling Mr. Gurley’s death “an unspeakable tragedy.”
The Brooklyn district attorney declined to comment on the indictment before it was unsealed. Officer Liang’s lawyer, Stephen C. Worth, said he would address the charges after his client was arraigned on Wednesday.
From the start, the circumstances of Mr. Gurley’s death diverged sharply from the kind of standoffs that preceded the deaths of Mr. Garner and Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager fatally shot by an officer in Ferguson, whose death in August set off the initial wave of protests against aggressive police tactics last year.
There was no encounter or words exchanged between Officer Liang and Mr. Gurley before the fatal shot, the police said.
Officer Liang and his partner, Officer Shaun Landau, entered an eighth-floor stairwell in the Pink Houses at about 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 20. Officer Liang had his 9-millimeter gun drawn, according to the police, not uncommon for officers walking the interiors and rooftops of public housing complexes in so-called vertical patrols. His partner kept his gun holstered.
At the same time, Mr. Gurley and his girlfriend, Melissa Butler, entered the seventh-floor stairwell, 14 steps below.
According to the police account, almost as soon as Officer Liang opened the door, his gun went off. He immediately moved back onto the rooftop, the door closing in front of him and his partner. Officer Liang then uttered words to the effect that he had accidentally fired, the police said at the time, citing the partner’s account.
Ms. Butler ran from the sound, but she turned when she noticed Mr. Gurley was no longer following. She found him near a fifth-floor landing. Then she rushed to the apartment of a friend, who dialed 911.
“My neighbor says her boyfriend has been shot,” the friend told the dispatcher, according to a police official who viewed the call logs. “Call the cops.”
Legal experts and former prosecutors said the case was different from that of Mr. Garner in several basic respects. For one, while officers are given broad discretion to use deadly force, the police have described Officer Liang’s actions as unintentional.
Unlike Officer Pantaleo, who took the stand on Staten Island to tell grand jurors why he moved to restrain Mr. Garner, — an encounter captured on video — Officer Liang did not take the stand in the Brooklyn case, the law enforcement official said.
“What’s he going to say?” said James A. Cohen, a law professor at Fordham University Law School and expert in criminal procedure. “ ‘It was dark; I was scared.’ That’s not going to hold up in front of a grand jury.”
In seeking a top charge of second-degree manslaughter before the grand jury, prosecutors had to demonstrate probable cause that Officer Liang was aware of the risks posed by brandishing his gun, that he consciously disregarded them and that it was “substantial and unjustifiable,” according to the penal code.
I could believe a gun went off accidentally if it hit a wall or a foot. What are the statistics on these patrols? Why have a gun drawn...
I just got into work and haven't had time to read all 179 comments. When I received firearms training in the Midwest these four rules were...
If indicting the officer is appropriate, criminally negligent homicide is the most serious charge that should be leveled. Manslaughter is...
“That’s bold,” Bernard E. Harcourt, a professor at Columbia Law School, said of the manslaughter charge.
Experts said that to demonstrate probable cause for one of the lesser charges, criminally negligent homicide, prosecutors had to show only that Officer Liang failed to perceive the risks that his actions posed.
The case went to the grand jury last week, the law enforcement official said. The process moved swiftly, like one would see with most felonies presented to the secret panels, which vote only on whether a trial should follow.
Legal scholars have long contended that district attorneys — who are elected in New York City — have great control in the grand jury process: They dictate the pace of the proceedings and who testifies and in what order, and decide what charges are presented.
But it is exceedingly rare for the indictment of an officer for a fatal, on-duty encounter, to lead to a conviction. The two most recent examples — the deaths of Ramarley Graham in 2012 and of Sean Bell in 2006 — resulted in no convictions. The burden of proof to convict — beyond a reasonable doubt — is far higher at trial, and defense lawyers can present their own best case and cross-examine witnesses.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who had called for an indictment since Mr. Gurley’s death, contrasted the outcome in Brooklyn with the one on Staten Island.
“This is the tale of two cities,” Mr. Sharpton said, echoing the campaign slogan of Mayor de Blasio. Mr. Sharpton said he had spoken to Mr. Thompson on Tuesday about the grand jury decision. “He wanted to be fair to the policeman and to Akai Gurley, and this is what the grand jury decided,” Mr. Sharpton said about the conversation.
On Tuesday evening, a man who answered the door at Officer Liang’s house declined to comment. In the Pink Houses, a flier hung in the lobby of the brick building where Mr. Gurley was shot, advertising a benefit rally related to his death.
“He was a good guy,” Margarita Robles, 40, said of Mr. Gurley as she stood outside the building. “Would I say this is justice? Yes.”
Another resident, Kamala Crew, 43, a seamstress, said she sympathized with the officer. “He was a rookie, and he’s not accustomed to this lifestyle,” she said. “This is so sad, I know cops that did worse than this and got away scot-free.”
Reporting was contributed by Benjamin Mueller, Marc Santora, Nate Schweber, Jeffrey E. Singer and Vivian Yee.
Niles patrolman suspended
By RAYMOND L. SMITH , Tribune Chronicle
NILES - A city police officer received a 30-day suspension and lost vacation and compensation time after an internal affairs investigation found that the officer accosted a city resident by grabbing his collar, shoving him against his patrol car and threatening to kill him