• By Robert Patrick St. Louis Post-Dispatch
A photo of a police SUV damaged when then-St. Louis officer Jason Flanery crashed it while driving under the influence in December 2015. This photo was part of a sentencing memo entered into the court record by prosecutors.
ST. LOUIS • A former St. Louis police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident.
Jason Flanery, 33, will serve two years of probation, attend aSubstance Abuse Traffic Offender Program and watch a talk by a panel of victims affected by drinking and driving.
He also paid about $3,400 to cover damage to the parked vehicle that he hit and a police SUV he was driving while off-duty.
Prosecutors said Flanery drank and took cocaine before crashingon Jamieson Avenue in Lindenwood Park about 6:20 a.m. on Dec. 19. Tipped by witnesses who described the police SUV, officers found it at Flanery’s home a few blocks away.
He appeared “quite intoxicated” but refused field sobriety and breath tests, forcing police to seek a search warrant for his blood, they said. Seven hours after the crash, Flanery’s blood-alcohol level was 0.117 percent, well beyond the 0.08 percent legal limit. Another test showed the presence of cocaine, prosecutors said.
In an interview, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said Flanery apologized to the victim, who was “satisfied” with the outcome.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors sought one year behind bars, calling it “reprehensible” for Flanery to have used cocaine and “morally repugnant for a police officer, who is sworn to uphold the law, to leave the scene of an accident” and create a “financial hardship; for an innocent person.” The memo said probation would not be appropriate.
But Joyce acknowledged that probation is a typical outcome, and said she was “not surprised.” In a prepared statement, she said pursuit of a tough sentence should “send a message to anyone involved in law enforcement.”
Flanery has resigned from the force. Defense lawyer Matt Fry said he is attending school and no longer is in law enforcement.
Fry said that cocaine did not come up at the plea hearing, and that Flanery did not admit to using it. The lawyer said that the test showed only a metabolite, not actual cocaine.
Fry said a request for a year in jail was “ridiculous.” He said he told Circuit Judge Michael Mullen that a first-time offender would get the same deal in the city and in St. Louis and St. Charles counties. “Nothing special about it,” he said.
Flanery was charged just days after he was sued over the fatal shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, on Oct. 8, 2014. Flanery had been in uniform but off duty at the time, working for a private security company. An investigation confirmed his claim that he had been defending himself.
Male officer was 10-year veteran
By Ben Spicer - Web Editor , Josh Skurnik - Reporter , Bill Barajas - Reporter
SAN ANTONIO - A 10-year veteran of the San Antonio Police Department was found dead Tuesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head inside his marked patrol unit, police officials said.
The male officer, who was in full uniform, was found just before 7:30 a.m. at Loop 410 and Port Entry on the city's East Side.
According to preliminary information from SAPD, the officer didn't return to a substation after his shift ended at 6:30 a.m., and other officers were sent to investigate. He was found dead in the patrol unit.
Vincent Jordan, a truck driver, said at around 5 a.m. he turned into Port Entry without a signal and saw the patrol car with no lights on and thought he would get pulled over. But the officer just put his brake lights on.
Jordan said when he left a half hour later, the officer was still there and thought it was strange that police would be targeting speeders at that location.
"No officer sat here before," Jordan said. "They sat down there before but never here. That's unbelievable."
SAPD family assistance officers, chaplains, and SAPD psychological services will be available to department members, officials said.
The incident is being investigated as an apparent suicide, officials said.
The leading killer of law enforcement officers is suicide. Click here to see statistics on officer suicides and how to help prevent it.
Social worker discusses impact of suicide on loved ones
Valeria Lerma, a social worker and therapist at the Center for Health Care Services, said suicide is an impulse, but there "usually is a long history of things, and the main thing there is hopelessness."
Lerma said this sort of loss can leave family, friends and co-workers with a range of emotions.
"The tendency (is) to kind of replay the moment, the hours, the day kind of leading up to the loss in an effort to try and see if there were any signs missed, anything they could have said, anything they could have done to prevent it," Lerma said.
She said the natural tendency is for loved ones to try to push the emotions away, but she said that is the worst thing to do.
"Most of the counseling is going to be geared toward allowing the individual to feel safe, in a safe environment, where they can fully experience what it is that they're feeling," Lerma said. "Because the sooner you are able to face those feelings, the sooner you'll be able to deal with them."
ANNADALE, Va. (WUSA9) -- Several investigations are underway into the death of a disabled man who died after a scuffle with a Fairfax County police officer on Wednesday.
The altercation happened in Annandale near Round Tree Park.
"This kind of thing should not happen," said Roger Deeshaies, CEO of St. John's Community Services, which is the organization that was caring for Paul Gianelos.
Family members of Paul Gianelos say he was profoundly autistic. They say he could read, but never spoke a word in his entire 45 year life. They are angry, and they want answers. On advice of legal counsel, they declined to be interviewed on camera, but they did say that there was a plan in place that should have prevented what happened and kept Paul safe.
Gianelos lived at a special needs group home a few blocks away from his elderly mother in Annandale. On Wednesday, he was at Round Tree Park on Annandale Road, eating lunch with his group from St. John's Community Services.
Deshaies says Gianelos wandered away, and when group leaders realized he was gone, they called police.
Fairfax police say a 20-year veteran officer with crisis intervention training, spotted
Gianelos along Annandale Road, about a mile from the park. Police say the officer tried to talk him into coming back to the group home outing. Gianelos apparently refused, and police say he became combative and began to struggle with the officer. Gianelos was handcuffed, and fell, hitting his head. Rescue crews were called and police say when Gianelos was being transported, he went into cardiac arrest and died.
One of Gianelos's family members said Paul would have happily gone with anyone who offered something as simple as a Coke. No force was needed, they said.
"We are strongly committed to finding out what occurred. We need to learn from it and make sure corrective action is taken," said Deshaies. He told WUSA9 that the staff at St. John's is devastated and that grief counselors have been brought in to help.
The family and police are waiting for the results of an autopsy.
Fairfax County Police officials say they will release the officer's name within the next few days. The department is conducting two investigations, one criminal and one through Internal
Cleveland will pay the family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old fatally shot by police, $6 million in a settlement
The family of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy whose fatal shooting by the Cleveland police in 2014 prompted national outrage, is set to receive $6 million from the city in a settlement announced Monday in federal court records.
The settlement, which would be the latest in a series of seven-figure payouts by major American cities to the families of African-Americans who died at the hands of officers, spares Cleveland the possibility of a federal civil rights trial that could have brought new attention to Tamir’s death and to the city’s troubled police force. It also allows the city to avoid the possibility of an even larger judgment.
The agreement must still be approved by a probate court. Under the terms of the settlement, Cleveland does not admit wrongdoing.