Shanika Dukes charged with stalking, criminal misuse of personal information
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. —A Winter Haven police community service officer is out on bond Monday night.
Shanika Dukes was arrested Friday and charged with stalking and criminal misuse of personal information, police said.
Investigators said that in November, Dukes allegedly used police databases to find out where her ex-boyfriend and his current girlfriend live.
Authorities said Dukes allegedly drove over there while on duty, banging on the door and repeatedly ringing the doorbell.
The couple reported her to police.
Dukes was suspended without pay.
The Winter Haven Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff's Office investigated Dukes after the couple reported her.
Jury awards $75K to woman who sued PBSO over excessive force
By Kate Jacobson Sun Sentinelcontact the reporter
Jury rules in favor of woman who sued Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and former deputy over excessive force
The jury, which reached its verdict Friday, sided with Maria Paul, awarding her $75,000 on claims that former deputy Michael Woodside intentionally used excessive force, violated her civil rights and unlawfully caused her injury.
According to a lawsuit, Paul was pulled over twice by Woodside on Dec. 25, 2008 in Belle Glade. The first time she was cited for having a loud stereo system and no registration. She drove away from the traffic stop and Woodside followed her, the suit said, then he pulled her over again and said she peeled out.
Paul was removed from her car and was put in a choke hold, and then she was slammed into the ground. Once in the back of Woodside's vehicle, she was punched in the face, according to the lawsuit, which also named Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in his official capacity as the head of the agency.
"For my client, [the ruling] is a vindication that what she said was true," said Paul's lawyer, Ken Swartz. "It was a vindication on her part for a nightmare that she went through."
Woodside and his lawyer could not be reached for comment despite phone calls. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera deferred questions to the agency's legal department.
After her arrest, Paul was charged with resisting arrest with violence, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence. In August 2009, all of those charges were dropped, records show.
Woodside was hired as a deputy in 2008 after serving as an officer in Jupiter. According to the lawsuit, Woodside was sued in federal court in 2007 for a false arrest.
While working at the Sheriff's Office, he had three use-of-force complaints in his file for his first year of work, according to the lawsuit.
Shortly after Paul's arrest, an internal affairs investigation began probing into whether Woodside and two other deputies who worked in the Belle Glade area were beating up people accused of crimes and bragging about it on the Internet, according to the lawsuit.
The investigation found Sgt. Brent Raban, Deputy Gregory Lynch and Woodside had violated rules and regulations, records show. Raban was demoted and Lynch and Woodside were fired in June 2009.
The internal affairs report showed Woodside made inappropriate comments online about people he had arrested, including one post where he bragged about roughing up a woman he arrested two weeks before he arrested Paul, according to the lawsuiy
I rarely agree with the Post on anything but the paper should get a Pulitzer for their groundbreaking work on this issue years before the rest of the US caught up on it
Fairfax County officials plan to scrap a policy that enables police stonewalling
By Editorial Board January 19
ANY DAY now, Fairfax County officials may drop their stonewalling response to the death of John Geer, who was shot by a county police officer in 2013 as he stood unarmed in the doorway of his home. Any day now, the county police and county attorney’s office may produce the documents they’ve been ordered by a judge to turn over in a civil suit brought by Mr. Geer’s family. After nearly 17 months of foot-dragging and unwarranted obstructions mounted by the county, it’s high time.
Even the county’s Board of Supervisors appears to have lost patience with the arrogance of the police and the county attorney. Having previously ordered these officials to fully comply with the judge’s order, the board last week decided that the policies governing disclosure in police-involved shootings — until now determined by the police themselves — should be rewritten by an outside expert.
Supervisors adopted a motion by Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) that said they are “sensitive” to concerns that the police chief “should not be responsible for both establishing and implementing the policies for disclosures related to police-involved shootings.”
That statement, better late than never, represents progress, although the board should broaden it to include other sorts of police-involved killings. (Eric Garner, the New York man who died at the hands of a police officer in Staten Island who put him in a chokehold, was not shot.)
It also signals a clear reprimand. Although the supervisors have been complicit in the delays and lack of disclosure until now, they are right to have said that it should not “take a court order, entered 16 months after the shooting, for information about an incident like this to be released.”
The documents that will be released to Mr. Geer’s family in compliance with the order should clear up a number of questions that still surround the death.
First among them is why Officer Adam D. Torres shot Mr. Geer, hitting him in the chest and killing him. Having maintained a virtual information blackout since the incident, police recently said that Mr. Geer was “displaying a firearm that he threatened to use against the police,” a statement at odds with witness accounts and which, coming so long after the fact, lacks credibility.
Mr. Geer was shot after speaking to police from behind his storm door for some 45 minutes. He had had a noisy dispute that day with his longtime girlfriend, who is also the mother of his children, but he had committed no crime. It is outrageous that nearly a year and a half has passed with no explanation for his death.
After a dispute between state prosecutors and county officials over the release of information, the Geer case was transferred to the Justice Department, where the civil rights division is investigating. Meanwhile, county police have refused to budge from a policy of withholding information until a decision on whether to bring charges against Mr. Torres is made.
Such a policy makes no sense when it is used as a pretext, month after month, to keep the public in the dark. In deciding to rewrite the policy, the county board has taken the first step toward a more sensible stance on disclosure.
New details about John Geer’s death further undermine police department’s credibility
SIXTEEN MONTHS after a Fairfax County police officer shot John Geer to death on the threshold of his home, the police department has finally offered what it would like people to believe is a justification for the shooting. Yet the “information” provided by the police is so skeletal, so late and so jarringly at odds with other information that it serves only to further undermine the department’s credibility.
Under pressure from federal prosecutors and a state court, the police did — finally — divulge the name of the officer who shot Mr. Geer once in the chest, killing him. It is Adam D. Torres, an eight-year veteran of the force who is 31 years old.
Other information released by the department makes scant sense.
The police say the officer fired because Mr. Geer was “displaying a firearm that he threatened to use against the police.” Yet if, in fact, Mr. Geer did brandish a weapon, why did Officer Torres alone fire his weapon while several others on the scene did not? Why did Officer Torres fire just one bullet, when police are trained to fire multiple shots in the event they face a lethal threat?
And if Mr. Geer was shot because police saw him flash a weapon, why in the world would it take them 16 months to say so — to provide so basic a piece of information?
Moreover, the police said that they found a loaded gun inside the house, a few feet from the doorway where Mr. Geer was shot — but that the gun was holstered. Does that mean that the officer discharged his weapon because he glimpsed a holstered weapon? Did he ever see the weapon unholstered?
If Mr. Geer threatened police with a weapon, why did none of the other witnesses, including neighbors who watched the standoff, see a gun? Why would Mr. Geer’s father have said months ago that police told him Mr. Geer was unarmed when he was shot, an assertion that the police never denied?
Police officials had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to release the most bare-bones information, which should have been released within hours of Mr. Geer’s shooting. Now they offer dribs and drabs rather than a credible and full narrative of an event at Mr. Geer’s home that lasted more than a half-hour. Last month, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows ordered police to release information about the shooting to Mr. Geer’s family within 30 days. The information provided so far hardly counts as compliance.
Will it take further court orders, further subpoenas from the Justice Department and further pointed letters from Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the new head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to pry a full accounting from the police department? And will Fairfax’s elected officials continue to stand by as the department re-brands the county as a bastion of official arrogance?
Andrew Shain and Mindy Lucas
Andrew Shain and Mindy Lucas The Herald
COLUMBIA, S.C. The Columbia Police officer suspended after a video posted on social media showed him punching an man on the ground outside a concert venue early Sunday morning has no previous disciplinary record with the department, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said.
Investigator Tyrone Pugh was suspended Sunday without pay pending the outcome of an internal and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation, Holbrook said Monday in revealing the name of the officer.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin told The State on Monday that he was "gravely concerned" about what he saw Pugh doing in the video.
A 15-second video of the incident outside the Columbia Soundstage posted online shows Pugh in uniform kneeling on a man who was on the ground and laying to their side. Pugh strikes the man around his head at least five times in the video.
"Stay on the ground! Stay on the ground!" Pugh shouts to the man while punching him.
"Why are you punching him?" the woman taking the video screams at Pugh.
"Back the (expletive) up!" Pugh tells the video shooter.
Robyn Fogg, who shot the video, said the man on the ground was not involved in the fight. The man was standing near the scuffle when police arrived.
Fogg said an officer grabbed the man, threw him to the ground and started punching him.
"He said, 'I didn't do anything.' He wasn't resisting," said Fogg, who will join the Army later this month. "I think it was unnecessary. Two other cops there were aggressive but not like that."
The man on the ground, whose name has not been released, was not arrested, a Columbia police spokeswoman said. Two other 23-year-old men were arrested and charged for fighting.
Fogg said the party of about 300 people celebrating her upcoming 20th birthday was uneventful before the fight in the parking lot as everyone was leaving.
Holbrook, who confirmed Monday that Fogg's video was the same one that his department reviewed, told The State that Pugh and the person on the ground were both African-American.
Pugh has worked with the Columbia Police Department since May 2007, the chief said. He was promoted to the rank of Investigator with the Criminal Investigations Division in 2013 and is assigned to the Property Crimes Unit.
Additionally, Pugh is a first sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve with nearly 29 years of military service, Holbrook said.
Holbrook declined further comment about the case.
Benjamin said he learned Pugh was suspended without an hour after speaking with Holbrook about the incident late Sunday afternoon.
"I know there are multiple sides to the story," Benjamin said. "(The video) left me gravely concerned as to what the possible circumstances might have been, and I shared that with the chief and he acted accordingly."
The incident involving the officer occurred after 2 a.m. Sunday outside the Columbia Soundstage on Blanding Street, Holbrook said. The venue is used to host concerts and other events.
Five uniformed off-duty police officers were working in the venue's parking lot and responded to a large fight, Holbrook said.
The incident involving Pugh that is under investigation occurred as officers attempted to control the crowd and investigate the scuffle, Holbrook said.
YOU WON'T BE MISSED
DANBURY – A veteran police officer with a history of excessive force complaints has been fired by the mayor after the officer was accused of injuring a young man on Main Street while he was in handcuffs.
The officer, Daniel Sellner, was fired on Jan. 14 after an internal investigation of the latest incident, which happened in August.
Sellner can also be seen in separate You Tube videos unrelated to the most recent incident treating a young man in a holding cell roughly and threatening a motorist at a city gas station.
“I expect that all police officers act professionally, treat all persons with dignity and respect, (and) refrain from threatening persons with arrest or use of force simply because they appear to disrespect an officer,” Mayor Mark Bougton wrote to the officer in a letter of termination. “Your actions and these violations indicate you are either unwilling or unable to carry out the duties of a police officer in accordance with the high standards expected of the Danbury Police Department.
Sellner, who plans to appeal, is the second police officer in as many years to be fired by Boughton for violating the police department’s professional standards.
In 2013, police officer Chris Belair was fired after a threatening and profanity-laced tirade directed against an undocumented immigrant.