Our elected leaders are so in bed with the cops it takes a Senator from another state to look into the Geer killing
Grassley seeks more answers from Fairfax police, DOJ in Geer case
By Tom Jackman February 11 at 12:30 PM
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday released two new letters he has sent to the Justice Department and the Fairfax County Police Department seeking further answers about the ongoing investigation of the 2013 police shooting of John Geer, for which no decision has been made on whether to charge the officer who fired the fatal shot.
It was Grassley’s initial inquiry to the Justice Department in November which helped unlock a torrent of information about the case, particularly that four officers on the scene contradicted the claim of Officer Adam D. Torres that Geer had quickly lowered his hands to his waist when Torres shot him. Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy I. Bellows cited the Justice Department’s response to Grassley, in which they said they had not instructed Fairfax to remain silent on the case, in ordering Fairfax to provide vast portions of their investigative file to the Geer family’s lawyers and to not place it under seal.
Last week, Bellows again cited the Justice Departments letter to Grassley in both ordering Fairfax to also turn over their internal affairs files on Torres and to not impose a protective order on the material. The judge said he would allow federal officials to file its own motion for a protective order by Feb. 20 if it wanted the internal materials withheld from the public.
Geer, 46, had been involved in a domestic dispute with his partner of 24 years when police arrived at his Springfield townhouse on Aug. 29, 2013. He showed officers a holstered handgun, then placed it on the floor at his feet, police records show, and kept his hands on the top of his screen door for 42 minutes until Torres shot him. Torres remains on paid administrative duty. After Fairfax police refused to provide Torres’s internal affairs files to Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh, he referred the case to the Justice Department in January 2014, where it has remained.
In an interview Wednesday, Grassley said he decided to get involved in the local incident both because it had become a federal matter, in which the Senate Judiciary Committee has oversight, and because “transparency brings accountability. The big picture is what can police departments learn from this?”
Grassley also raised the issue, in his letter to Fairfax Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr., that the police department’s “refusal to cooperate with the Commonwealth Attorney” led Morrogh to shift the case to the U.S. attorney. This forced “the expenditure of limited federal resources on an investigation that should have been handled at the state level,” the senator wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. Grassley noted that even after the case went to the federal prosecutors, Fairfax police again refused to provide Torres’s internal affairs files “until ordered to do so by the court, after over two months of litigation.”
Grassley said Fairfax police used the federal investigation to refuse to release any information about the case, and “now we know that FCPD unnecessarily prolonged that investigation by its failure to cooperate.”
Grassley asked Roessler to cite the date when he first learned that “at least four of these officers provided accounts of the shooting that conflicted with that of Officer Torres.” He also asked what information the police had provided to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors in any briefings given to them.
Grassley also asked the chief if he would now provide the internal affairs files to the Fairfax prosecutor, since they have already been ordered to be given to the Geer family’s lawyers in their civil suit against Roessler.
Roessler and Fairfax’s chief spokesman, Tony Castrilli, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The letter may again require Fairfax to seek the services of attorney Mark Bierbower, a private lawyer hired by Fairfax to respond to Grassley’s first letter. Fairfax has not yet answered a recent inquiry about how much Bierbower was paid for his services.
Grassley’s letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asks if the Justice Department would object to the Fairfax prosecutor “conducting a concurrent investigation of the Geer shooting for possible violations of state law.” Morrogh has said he cannot comment or act on the case while it is being handled by Justice.
Grassley also asked if Justice would object to the Fairfax police providing their internal affairs files to Morrogh, and which internal affairs files had already been provied by Fairfax police to the Justice Department.
A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Grassley’s letter.
Grassley said he did not live in Fairfax County, but “I think I had a legislative interest in this, not just an interest in intervening in a local police matter. Since we have some jurisdiction over U.S. attorneys, it gave me a chance to make an inquiry.” He said he learned that Geer’s family had shown great patience in waiting a year to file a lawsuit or speak publicly about the case, so he had waited to make his own inquiries, and wondered, “What can we learn from this, that maybe other police departments can learn from a bad experience?”
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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
Sources told News4 Fairfax County Police detectives have been blocked access to the county's detention center in their efforts to investigate an inmate's death.
However, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Sheriff's office said the charge that detectives have been blocked from the center is not true.
Natasha McKenna, 37, of Alexandria was taken off life support Sunday, five days after she was stunned at the Fairfax County jail, the Fairfax County Sheriff's Office said in a news release.
McKenna was in the process of being transported from the Fairfax County jail to the Alexandria city jail Tuesday when deputies say she failed to comply with their commands and resisted them. A deputy then used a Taser to restrain her, Lt. Steve Elbert said Monday.
An inmate was pulled off life support Sunday after she had a medical emergency at the Fairfax County Detention Center. (Published Sunday, Feb 8, 2015)
After being stunned, Elbert said a medic checked on and cleared McKenna, and that she was then moved to another area of the jail, where she began experiencing a medical emergency. Deputies and medical staff began life-saving measures before McKenna was taken to a hospital and put on life support.
Elbert said minutes passed between when McKenna was stunned and her medical emergency but didn't know how many. "It was not an immediate thing,'' he said.
Elbert declined to say how many times the deputy stunned McKenna and where on her body she was hit. He also declined to elaborate about how she resisted the deputies trying to transport her.
The Fairfax County Police Department is leading the investigation into McKenna's death, agency spokesman Bud Walker said Monday. Walker also declined to discuss how many times McKenna was stunned or where on her body she was hit, saying that won't be released until the investigation is finished.
The Journal of the American Law Enforcement Legal Center, which compiles information about court cases involving the police, notes Tasers are commonly recognized as acceptable in use for "involuntary cell extractions" when a prisoner reguses to leave his or her cell.
The center has numerous surveillance cameras and was recently featured on MSNBC's "Lock Up" series.
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid said in a statement Sunday that her office anticipates "a prompt and comprehensive investigation.''
McKenna had been jailed since Jan. 26 on a charge of assault on a police officer.
Published at 11:18 PM EST on Feb 9, 2015
By Michelle Caffrey | South Jersey Times
'Cut off' phrase at center of N.J. cop's misconduct trial for Assemblyman arrest
Video of N.J. cop's arrest of Assemblyman comes into focus in officer's misconduct trial
Meet the key players in cop's trial from politician's DWI
5 things we've learned in first week of N.J. cops' misconduct trial for DWI arrest of Assemblyman
Fellow officers testify against N.J. cop accused of misconduct in DWI arrest of Assemblyman Moriarty
As the trial of Washington Township Police Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura resumed Tuesday, the video that lead to the filing of official misconduct charges against the officer, as well as the dismissal of all charges against Assemblyman Paul Moriarty became the focus.
Captain Robert Borkowski -- supervisor of the patrol division to which DiBuonaventurawas assigned on July 31, 2012, when DiBuonaventura arrested Moriarty for allegedly driving drunk -- testified for the prosecution Tuesday morning, elaborating on how he retrieved the video and his interactions with DiBuonaventura in the weeks following the arrest.
DiBuonaventura is facing 14 charges, including multiple counts of official misconduct, false swearing, tampering with public record and more. Tuesday marks the third day the jury has heard testimony on the charges.
Borkowski, a 26-year veteran, told Assistant Prosecutor Audrey Curwin that he was first made aware of DiBuonaventura's arrest over the radio, and soon began observing a video feed from the processing room where Moriarty was being held.
"I could tell [Moriarty] wasn't happy to be there," said Borkowski, mimicking arm movements he said he saw Moriarty make as he spoke to officers in the processing room. After getting confirmation from Cpl. Preston Forchion, who was in the processing room, that everything was under control and the room was being recorded, he continued to watch.
But later that day, as he attempted to listen to audio recording of the processing room, Borkowski found DiBuonaventura's remote microphone, connected wireless to his patrol vehicle's video recorder, did not turn on as he intended and no audio recording took place.
He then went to retrieve the disc from DiBuonaventura's video recorder, to find if audio had recorded at some point, but soon saw only it only recorded 30 seconds before the stop was conducted at the Chick-Fil-A on Route 42, and stopped when DiBuonaventura pulled into the station.
The jury was shown just that recording, in which DiBuonaventura is heard telling Moriarty he stopped Moriarty because Moriarty "cut me off after the jug handle," then shows him conducting field sobriety tests and transporting him to the station.
The prosecution's attention then turned to what happened in the days afterward -- namely the investigation DiBuonaventura conducted himself on the DWI and the retrieval of video beyond what was recorded on the disc.
Borkowski said in the days after the arrest, DiBuonaventura contacted him about getting his schedule shifted so he could perform follow up investigations into the DWI arrest, which struck Borkowski as unnecessary, he said, and Borkowski suggested the department's investigative division take it up instead. He said DiBuonaventura refused, stating he didn't want anyone else involved.
"I didn't believe [the investigation] was critical," Borkowski said, explaining that DWI arrests are usually cut and dry, and if you have probable cause to stop the vehicle, there's no need to investigate where the suspect was or what they were doing in the time leading up to the arres
Later on, as part of the internal affairs investigation prompted by Moriarty's claims, Lt. Steven Rolando had Borkowski help him retrieve the full footage -- recorded in a continuous 40-hour loop -- from DiBuonaventura's patrol vehicle, which was left at the station.
During one conversation, DiBuonaventura told Borkowski that the video had actually missed the motor vehicle violation that was his reason for stopping Moriarty, but when Borkowski told him they were actually able to retrieve that footage, and asked if he'd like to retrieve it, there was no response.
"It was like the question didn't occur," said Borkowski, continuing later. "I thought it was kind of odd."
A first attempt at burning the footage on a disc failed, but they were able to successfully transfer the recording to a disc on the second try.
During those attempts, Borkowski said he had seen the video and at no time did he observe Moriarty "cut off" DiBuonaventura.
"I didn't observe any violations at that time," said Borkowski, in response to Curwin's questioning.
The jury has yet to be shown the full video of footage leading up to the stop.
On Aug. 14, DiBuonaventura was served an official paper stating he was the target of the internal affairs investigation, and the next day DiBuonaventura was also given notice to stop his investigation into the DWI arrest.
"The [Turnersville Auto Mall, where the Nissan dealership is located] requested DiBuonaventura stop contacting them in regard to the case," Borkowski said.
DiBuonaventura then advised Borkowski he would be filing a supplemental report on his investigation so far, which surprised Borkowski.
"I thought it was all done," he said, adding that's especially because DWI cases are normally "cut and dry."
He then spoke about DiBuonaventura's request to have the investigative division interview the managers at the Nissan dealership, as well as get supplementary reports from Det. Lisa Frattali and then-Det. Martin Calvello on their involvement with the case.
Frattali had overheard Calvello on the phone with his cousin Ernie Calvello, an employee at Nissan, and parts of the conversation regarding Moriarty being "drunk at Nissan." She then relayed that comment to DiBuonaventura in a conversation about an unrelated topic before he pursued and arrest Moriarty.
That investigation, including filing the supplemental reports, took place in September of 2012 and was completed in October.
Borkowski has yet to be cross-examined by the defense, and will remain on the stand for the afternoon portion of the trial. Ernie Calvello, of the Nissan dealership, as well as another Patrolman who witnessed Moriarty in the processing room, are expected to take the stand soon after.
Former cop enters special program following gun theft charge
FEBRUARY 7, 2015 LAST UPDATED: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2015, 1:21 AM
BY JEFF GREEN
CLIFTON — A former special police officer who was charged with stealing two handguns belonging to another police officer has agreed to a lifetime ban from serving in law enforcement, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Nayeska Bermudez, formerly a part-time officer in Guttenberg in Hudson County, accepted the condition as part of an agreement with prosecutors to enter a three-year rehabilitation program for first-time offenders, said Andrew Palestini, a senior assistant prosecutor. Bermudez also must complete 200 hours of community service, he said.
Clifton police charged Bermudez, a city resident, with theft of firearms in May, alleging she stole two 9mm Glock handguns from the home of a Union City police officer who also lives in Clifton. The charge would be dismissed at the end of her participation in the Pretrial Intervention Program.
During the investigation, police searched the Hudson River for the guns, but the firearms were never recovered. While Bermudez did not admit to stealing the weapons, she signed a court document indicating what happened to them, Palestini said. The judge ordered that document sealed; its contents are not public, the assistant prosecutor said.
If the weapons ever turn up in a way that’s inconsistent with what she said in the document, Bermudez could be prosecuted for providing a false statement, the prosecutor said.
Bermudez resigned from the Guttenberg Police Department and agreed to the resolution of her case in December. Her attorney, Brian Neary, did not a return a call seeking comment.
Clifton police issued Bermudez a summons to appear in Municipal Court, and she was released without bail even though the theft of firearms offense was a third-degree indictable crime. However, even if a warrant had been issued for her arrest, Palestini said the case would have landed on the prosecutor’s desk in the same amount of time.
"The most important thing is that the charge gets here to the Prosecutor’s Office," he said. "The matter was thoroughly reviewed and it was looked into and we decided to resolve it."
Because Clifton police initially withheld some information about Bermudez’s case, including the fact she’d been arrested in May, the Prosecutor’s Office contemplated intervening to ensure the investigation was being handled properly. Palestini would not comment about the department’s release of information but said he had no concerns about how the police handled the investigation.
Former Miami police officer charged with extortion
Federal indictment alleges Jerry Sutherland agreed to protect illegal gambling operation in exchange for cash
A former Miami police officer has been charged with two counts of extortion.
Wilfredo Ferrer, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the FBI and Miami police Chief Rodolfo Llanes made the announcement Monday.
A federal indictment alleges that Jerry Sutherland, 28, agreed to protect and facilitate an illegal gambling operation in exchange for receiving cash payments.
Sutherland is alleged to have done so on two occasions last year -- once in January and once in July.
"I am disappointed and disheartened that Officer Jerry Sutherland has been arrested today by the FBI," Llanes said in a statement Monday.
Llanes went on to say he "will not tolerate any conduct that discredits this organization. Any time a law enforcement officer is accused of tarnishing the badge, it is an embarrassment to all the honest, hard-working members of this profession who work, day in and day out, to protect and serve with integrity. The allegations surrounding Mr. Sutherland are in no way a reflection of the hard-working men and women of the Miami Police Department."
Sutherland faces up to 20 years in prison on each count if convicted.
Edwardsville officer now charged with arson
Alexandra Martellaro, KSDK 8:35 p.m. CST February 2, 2015
Officer Brian Barker(Photo: Illinois State Attorney's Office)
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- An Edwardsville police officer already facing over a dozen charges in connection with a string of burglaries is now facing even more charges.
Officer Brian Barker was charged in December after being linked to several burglaries over the span of more than two years.
Now, he's facing new charges of arson, burglary and money laundering.
Police believe Barker started a fire on November 18, 2013 on South Pointe Drive that damaged several businesses including the office of Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay. Monday he was charged with one count of arson and five counts of burglary in connection with that incident.
Barker has also been connected to two additional burglaries of businesses and faces a count of money laundering after police say he tried to sell stolen car parts and electronics.
Barker is being held at the Madison County Jail on a $300,000 bond
Ex-officer gets 1 day in prison, 6 months house arrest
The Associated Press
A former Philadelphia police officer has been sentenced to one day in prison followed by six months of house arrest in what authorities called the improper detention of an Iraq War veteran last year.
Thirty-three-year-old Kevin Corcoran was acquitted of charges of false imprisonment and official oppression last fall but convicted of obstruction of justice, a second-degree misdemeanor.
Prosecutors said Corcoran drew criticism and some people began filming him after he allegedly made an illegal turn. They said Corcoran cuffed one of them, Roderick King of Lansdale, and drove him around before eventually releasing him.
Prosecutors sought a three-month minimum sentence, but Common Pleas judge Robert Coleman on Friday called the incident an aberration amid Corcoran's 10-year career. Corcoran was suspended from the force and later lost his job.
Atlanta cop kills 911 caller
By Dianne Mathiowetz
Atlanta — Kevin Davis’ family and friends are in disbelief and sorrow.
How could police have shot and killed Davis, a hardworking, 44-year-old beloved brother and uncle, a “good guy,” after he called 911 for help?
On the night of Dec. 29, Davis’ girlfriend, April Edwards, was involved in an altercation with Terrance Hilyard, a co-worker whom Davis had befriended and who was staying at his apartment temporarily.
The argument escalated. According to Edwards, Hilyard stabbed her in the arm with a kitchen knife and fled. While Davis was rendering first aid to Edwards, he called 911.
DeKalb County police officer Joseph Pitts came in through the apartment’s front door, unannounced, and shot and killed Davis’ three-legged dog Tooter, who had started barking.
Edwards says that Davis, hearing gunshots in his living room, feared that Hilyard had returned, armed. He retrieved his gun from his bedroom. As he came out of the doorway, he was immediately shot several times by Pitts.
Edwards came running out of the bedroom, screaming, “What have you done? Why did you shoot him?” She and other witnesses say Pitts never identified himself as a police officer or ordered Davis to drop his gun before shooting him.
As Davis lay bleeding on the floor, he was arrested, handcuffed and charged with aggravated assault on an officer. The popular restaurant worker was taken to Grady Hospital in police custody, which meant his family was not allowed to be with him in his hospital room. Family members beseeched everyone in authority, from police to doctors, to let them visit him — to no avail.
Davis died two days later, on Dec. 31. Only then did police coldly grant them permission to see their family member.
One month has passed since Kevin Davis was killed by a DeKalb County police officer. Despite repeated requests for information about an investigation into this officer-involved shooting, there has been only silence. Since it is common practice to involve the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in such police killings, the community suspects a cover-up in this case.
At an emotional rally at the DeKalb Courthouse steps on the one-month anniversary of his shooting, Delisa Davis, one of his sisters, spoke of the unfeeling attitude of the police, saying her family and Kevin were “dismissed like yesterday’s garbage.” She appealed to the community to help, saying they can’t fight this alone.
The large group walked a few blocks from the courthouse to the downtown Decatur sandwich shop where Davis’ friendly and personable manner had made him a favorite with customers and co-workers alike. Next door is a bike shop where he fixed up discarded bicycles to give to neighborhood kids.
The family is asking that people request a GBI investigation into Kevin Davis’s death by calling the DeKalb County Police Department at 678-406-7929 and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office at 404-371-2561.
Never, Never Call the Cops For "Help" Unless You're Willing to Risk Someone Being Shot and Killed
74-year-old North Carolina Man Shot and Killed by Cops as They Bust Through His Back Door on a "Welfare Check"
The police say that 74-year-old James Howard Allen had drawn a gun on him after they busted into his house near midnight on Saturday, so they had to shoot and kill him.
The grim lead-up details from Raw Story:
Gastonia police Chief Robert Helton explained at a press conference on Sunday that a family member had asked officers to check on James Howard Allen on Saturday afternoon, The Charlotte Observer reported.
Helton said that Allen’s family had asked for the welfare check because the 74-year-old veteran had recently undergone surgery.
An officer first visited Allen’s home at 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, but there was no answer.
Gastonia police then contacted the Gastonia Fire Department and Gaston Emergency Medical Services at 11:30 p.m. and a “decision was made to enter the house, concerned that he may be inside in need of emergency assistance,” Helton said.
According to the chief, Gastonia police Officer Josh Lefevers announced himself before coming through the backdoor of the home, but Allen was pointing a gun at officers when they entered...
“(He) probably woke up, someone’s breaking in on me, so when you’re by yourself you try to protect yourself,” Allen’s brother-in-law, Robert Battle, told WSOC.
Otis Thompson, a friend of Allen’s, said that his first reaction would have been to “grab a gun too.”
“You kicked the man’s door in,” Thompson remarked. “He’s disoriented and he’s in his own house, privacy of his own home.”...
Helton told reporters that the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation had been asked to investigate the shooting. The Gastonia Police Department followed its standard procedure for officer involved shootings and placed Lefevers on administrative leave.
Another such story of calling the cops on your relatives gone awry. The chances of things going awry, from misunderstanding or even, sometimes, from the citizen just maybe doing something they shouldn't do, but which wouldn't have been a problem had amped-up armed men vitally concerned with their own safety not been on the scene, is so high that it is rarely worth any imagined upside. If you think your relative needs a welfare check, ride over yourself.
"Beardsley Stomp" lands cops in federal prison
Michael P. Mayko
BRIDGEPORT -- On the streets it always will be remembered as the "Beardsley Stomp."
But that 57-second video, which led to the arrest, prosecution and resignation of two city police officers caught kicking a downed suspect landed the pair a federal prison term.
Elson Morales and Joseph Lawlor were each sentenced Thursday to three months in prison followed by six months of probation for depriving Orlando Lopez Soto of his constitutional rights.
"Every police officer must know the consequences of crossing the constitutional line ... It's not just loss of employment but loss of liberty," U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer said after seeing more than a dozen police officers at both sentencings. "With great power comes great responsibility."
And the judge also suggested the city consider specialized training to help officers control their emotions during a stressful situation like the high-speed May 20, 2011, chase of Lopez Soto, a gun-toting, crack dealing felon.
Morales, 43, and Lawlor, 42, both informed the judge that they never had such training when volunteering for the Violent Crime Initiative Unit.
Both officers apologized for letting emotions and anger control their actions that day.
The officers' actions -- caught on videotape and viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube -- cracked the already "fragile vulnerable relations people have with police," the judge concluded.
Police and community relations have turned violent in several nationwide cases recently, and the reaction was particularly harsh after investigators cleared an officer in the fatal shooting of a Ferguson, Mo., teenager.
Even in the Beardsley Park case, a federal jury acquitted a third cop, Clive Higgins, who was also captured on the video. That prompted Scot X. Esdaile, statewide president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, to call it "a miscarriage of justice."
During jury selection for Higgins' trial "about a third of the seventy five " citizens called had "seen the video or read about the case," Meyer disclosed Thursday.
The judge said some were so "visibly affected" that he had sidebar discussions with them.
As a result, Meyer said in these technological times no police officer should be surprised if "in a public park, in broad daylight" a recording surfaces of a brutal arrest.
On that day in 2011, Timothy Fennell just happened to be in the park and witnessed Lopez Soto being shot with a stun gun, kicked and stomped by the officers. Lopez Soto's injuries were limited to cuts and bruises.
What further concerned the judge was Fennell's testimony during Higgins' trial.
After recording the incident, Fennell pulled the flash card out of his camera and hid it inside the gas cap of his car for safekeeping, the judge said.
"Part of what he was thinking was, `maybe I'm next, maybe the officers will come after me,' " Meyer said. "That testimony underscores the fragility and great vulnerability of people and their relationship with the police."
In addition to damaging the department's reputation and public trust, Meyer said the incident cost city taxpayers $198,000. That's the price the city paid to settle a civil brutality lawsuit brought by Lopez Soto and his lawyer, Robert Berke.
Still, Lopez Soto, who is serving a five-year state prison term for twice being convicted of possessing crack and loaded guns, advised the court in a letter that he neither wanted the officers fired or incarcerated.
On the day of the stomping, Lopez Soto was targeted by the department's Violent Crime force for drug dealing. A loaded gun, crack and marijuana were found in his car.
"We were watching Orlando Lopez Soto for a long time," Lawlor told the judge.
When he and Morales attempted to stop Lopez Soto, an admitted homeless man living in a van, he led them on a high-speed chase through narrow and heavily trafficked East Side str
Man Stomped On Head By NYPD Officer Thanks Brooklyn D.A. For Indictment
By Hannington Dia
“I’m very grateful to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office for taking the initiative to hold this individual accountable,” Cuffee told the News Tuesday.
Prosecutors arraigned Officer Edouard on third-degree assault, attempted assault, and official misconduct on the same day. Officials released Edouard without bail after he plead not guilty to the charges.
A video shows Edouard stomping on Cuffee’s head after two other officers had subdued him to the ground. The attack happened days after the Eric Garner incident on Staten Island.
Watch Officer Edouard’s alleged stomping of Cuffee here:
Edouard’s lawyer explained his client only performed the so-called “kick,” because Cuffee was resisting arrest and Edouard needed to regain control.
Officers alleged they had seen Cuffee discard a marijuana joint; however, his charges didn’t reflect that. Prosecutors initially charged the Bedford-Stuyvesant resident with evidence tampering, obstruction, and resisting arrest, but dropped all of the charges in December.
Cuffee filed a notice of claim to sue the city, NYPD, and the participating officers for $25 million in September.
“He has recurring nightmares as a result of the gun pointed at him. It significantly impacted his life,” commented Stephen Drummond, Cuffee’s lawyer. “He looks forward for his day in court.”
Lawyers angry over deputy public defender's arrest want to give cops pocket Constitutions
By Rob Nagle
The uproar, particularly in the legal community, over the arrest of a deputy public defender last month in the Hall of Justice by a San Francisco police sergeant has not abated. Now three lawyers who were particularly perturbed by the actions of police have created a fundraising website to raise money to purchase a pocket copy of the Constitution for every San Francisco police officer, according to one of the campaign's organizers, Adam Graff.
The incident Graff and two friends are upset about is the Jan. 27 arrest of Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson after she intervened on her client's behalf while he was being questioned and photographed in the hallway of the Hall of Justice by Sgt. Brian Stansbury, who said he was questioning the man in connection with a separate criminal investigation.
Tillotson's client was in court that day for a misdemeanor hearing and was in another courtroom for a case when she heard that Stansbury was questioning her client in the hallway.
She immediately intervened and told her client he did not have to answer Stansbury's questions or allow him to take photographs. Stansbury objected and ultimately arrested her for resisting arrest and obstructing his investigation.
Since Tillotson's arrest, the charges have been dropped and police Chief Greg Suhr has apologized for any distress the incident caused her, but has also insisted Stansbury had a reasonable suspicion to take the photos. The case the sergeant was ostensibly investigating will not result in any criminal charges, Suhr said.
Tillotson issued a statement on the apology on Thursday and also filed a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints, which reviews complaints made against police.
“While I appreciate Chief Suhr’s apology, I am concerned that he continues to support Sgt. Brian Stansbury’s actions,” she said in the statement. "The right to counsel is not a formality. It is a shield that protects ordinary people against intimidation, bullying, and overreach by law enforcement.”
She also alluded to a case pending against Stansbury where he is accused by another San Francisco police officer of racial profiling. Both Tillotson and Public Defender Jeff Adachi have said they feel San Francisco police officers need additional training on issues of civil rights and protections.
“We believe that SFPD is in vital need of training so that constitutional violations are not perpetrated on citizens in our community,” Adachi said. Perhaps pocket Constitutions can be a good start.
The SFPD Constitutional Education Fund, created by Graff, Daniel Watts and Tom Garberson, who are law school buddies from UC Davis, is intended to send a message, Graff said, and keep a critical eye on police. Their idea is that if this can happen in the Hall of Justice, it can happen anywhere.
Graff spoke to The San Francisco Examiner on Friday and said that if the campaign is fulfilled, they intend to hand-deliver the Constitutions to the Police Department, and “what they choose to do with them is up to” them. “Our intention is to make them aware that what they did was unconstitutional and they seriously need to review their processes.”
Graff, who has a history in civil rights litigation said the case “resonates with me on a visceral level.”
To donate to the campaign, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/sfpd-constitutional-education-fund. It will be open to donations until March 4.
Hearing postponed for Montville Township officer charged in police dog's death
By Evan MacDonald, Northeast Ohio Media Group
Montville Township police dog Beny died Sept. 28 after being left inside a police cruiser.Courtesy Montville Township police
MEDINA, Ohio -- A pretrial hearing for a Montville Township officer whose police dog died after being left for hours in a police cruiser has been postponed a fourth time.
Sgt. Brett Harrison is charged in Medina Municipal Court with two counts of companion animal cruelty, both second-degree misdemeanors. He pleaded not guilty Oct. 29.
Harrison is charged in connection with the death of K-9 Beny, who died Sept. 28 after being left in a police cruiser for more than four hours. Beny died as a result of injuries consistent with heat stroke, police said.
Prosecutor Jeff Holland filed a motion to continue a pretrial hearing scheduled Monday because he was due in court in a separate case, an employee at his Sharon Center office said.
Judge Dale M. Chase granted the motion Friday. A new court date has not been scheduled, according to court records.
Harrison's court dates have been postponed three times since arraignment. He was originally scheduled to stand trial Dec. 10.
A Medina County SPCA agent gathered evidence in the case by interviewing Montville Township officers, reviewing security footage and inspecting Harrison's police cruiser. Holland reviewed that evidence and recommended charges be filed.
Montville Township officials disciplined Harrison by suspending him two weeks without pay for violating department policy and procedures. Forty vacation hours were also taken from him.
Harrison apologized to Montville Township trustees, residents, the police department, his colleagues and Beny in a statement released Oct. 7.