Cop Watch

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bad Cop, No Donut! - September 29/2005

Download audio: MP3 at 32.2 mebibytes (download torrent)

This week:

Suburban cops "dump" homeless in Los Angeles

Indiana cop charged with drunk driving

Ohio cop charged with drunk driving

Retired judge/senator killed by NYC cop on motorcycle

Alabama cop chokes handcuffed man

Mississippi cop forces teen to perform oral sex

Kansas cop facing 144 charges

3 new taser deaths

and much more!

PLUS and interview about William McDonald, an Oklohoma man who says his wife is in jail for a crime she didn't commit - assaulting him in their home in 2002.

Officer tipped off drug suspect

A Chalfont police officer was charged Tuesday with telling a friend he was the target of an undercover drug investigation.

Jonathan Knight, 35, of Warminster Township is accused of telling Whitney Watson he was ''in trouble'' after Watson said he was concerned he had sold drugs to an undercover officer, according to court documents.

Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons said the breach, which occurred in January, endangered the life of an undercover officer and compromised a Bensalem Township police drug investigation that began in December.

''The severeness of [Knight's actions] cannot be overstated,'' Gibbons said. ''He endangered the life of an undercover officer. He put the loyalty to his friend over the loyalty to his fellow officers.''

Officer Charged With Rape, Lewd Acts With Minor

GUTHRIE, Okla. -- A Guthrie police officer has been charged with five counts of rape in the second degree, two counts of lewd acts with a minor and one count of indecent proposal to a girl under 16.

The Oklahoma State Bureau Of Investigation said Aaron Lansdown was a school resource officer for Guthrie Schools, but was arrested Wednesday after investigators searched his home in the 800 block of North Kelly Avenue in Edmond.

Officials said they were looking for photographic and computer evidence that might have been used in the alleged crimes. Lansdown's arrest is the culmination of a two-week investigation by the OSBI at the request of the Guthrie Police Department, officials said.

New Orleans Police Conduct Under Investigation

New Orleans, Louisiana (AHN) - The New Orleans police department is investigating the involvement of their officers in the looting spree that ensued amidst the destruction left behind by Hurricane Katrina. The investigation is being launched just days after police superintendent, Eddie Compass, resigned from his position.

According to new reports during the storm's aftermath, officers were at the Wal-Mart in the Lower Garden District when major looting occurred. The Associated Press reports media witnesses, including a reporter from Times-Picayune, claims they saw police take items from the store's shelves. Police spokesman Marlon Defillo says, "Out of 1,750 officers, we're looking into the possibility that maybe 12 officers were involved in misconduct."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Trigger Happy Cop killed by Trigger Happy Cop

University Police Officer Fatally Shot by Florida City Police

AP Photo/University of Central Florida Police Dept. via Orlando Sentinel
This undated photo provided by University of Central Florida Police Dept. shows university police officer Mario Jenkins and his police dog. Jenkins, working with the state to curb underage drinking, was shot to death by an Orlando police officer outside the Citrus Bowl Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, as fans were arriving for a football game, authorities said.
AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove
Michael McCoy, chief of the Orlando police, left, fields questions as Richard Turkiewicz, chief of the University of Central Florida police, looks on during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Monday, Sept. 26, 2005. UCF police officer Mario Jenkins was working undercover to curb underage drinking at the Citrus Bowl prior to the UCF and Marshall football game Saturday when he was shot and killed by reserve Orlando police officer Dennis Smith after Jenkins fired his gun in the air.
AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove
Jay Etheridge , left, assistant special agent in charge of the FDLE's Orlando office, fields questions at a news conference as Michael McCoy, center, chief of the Orlando police department, and Richard Turkiewicz, chief of the University of Central Florida police, look on during a news conference in Orlando, Fla. Monday, Sept. 26, 2005. UCF police officer Mario Jenkins was working undercover to curb underage drinking at the Citrus Bowl prior to the UCF and Marshall game Saturday when he was shot and killed by reserve Orlando police officer Dennis Smith after Jenkins fired his gun in the air.
Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- A university police officer working with the state to curb underage drinking was shot to death by an Orlando police officer outside the Citrus Bowl Saturday as fans were arriving for a football game, authorities said.

Mario Jenkins, a canine officer working with Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco agents, was killed, said University of Central Florida Police Sgt. Troy Williamson.

Williamson said Jenkins was wearing street clothes. He would not talk about the circumstances of the shooting.

''You've got about 50 police officers and beverage agents who are in complete shock at this point,'' Williamson said.

Witnesses told the Orlando Sentinel that the incident started when an undercover officer tried to break up a tailgate party. When he encountered resistance, they said, he fired three shots into the air. An Orlando Police officer saw the man with the gun and shot him several times, the newspaper said.

Authorities believed a third person was involved, said Barbara Jones, spokeswoman for the Orlando Police Department. Jones refused to say whether the person was injured.

The shooting occurred before a game between University of Central Florida and Marshall University, which UCF won.

''It's pretty freaky. You don't think you would see this at a UCF game,'' junior Nicole Jorgensen, 22, of Melbourne.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Coroner says Taser caused death in jail

Charlotte - A Taser caused the death of a Lancaster County, S.C., jail inmate who collapsed during a fight with four officers in July, the Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday.

Sheriff's Office Lt. Lee Blackmon said his office learned this week that the coroner ruled Maury Cunningham, 29, died as a result of being struck with a Taser at least twice during the July 23 altercation. A Taser is a device that delivers a 50,000-volt shock to cause temporary paralysis.

Death after stun gun shock raises concerns

For the fourth time since June, a Sacramento-area man has died after being shocked by a law enforcement officer with a Taser stun gun.

Timothy Michael Torres, 24, of Rancho Cordova was pronounced dead early Thursday at UC Davis Medical Center, following a struggle with six Sacramento County sheriff's deputies in front of the house where he lived with his parents, officials said.

The six deputies who had contact with Torres have been placed on administrative leave, as is customary in such cases, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. R.L. Davis said. Their names have not been released.

Increased police use of Taser stun guns nationwide has prompted scrutiny of the weapon's safety as an enforcement tool.

Nashville man dies after being stunned with Taser

NASHVILLE - A Nashville man died Saturday after being stunned with a Taser. The Nashville Police Department is investigating the death of 21-year-old Patrick Aaron Lee. Police spokesman Don Aaron says officers Jonathan Mays and Jamie Scruggs used their Tasers to restrain Lee late Friday night outside the Mercy Lounge nightclub.

Lee allegedly was kicked out of the club for acting strangely and trying repeatedly to get on the club's stage. Aaron says Lee also allegedly tried to flee from officers after he took off all of his clothes in the parking lot.

Before he went into cardiac arrest, Lee told officers he was under the influence of either LSD or PCP. The officers remain on duty. An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

Narcotics Officer arrested for DUI

Indianapolis - Indianapolis Police arrested one of their own overnight, and he's accused of drinking and driving.

An IPD Detective on his home Friday morning said a car passed him on I-70 driving about 120 miles per hour.

The detective called for help, hoping to get the car stopped.

When officers stopped the car on the ramp onto southbound Shadeland Avenue, they say Officer Michael Hill got out of the car and appeared to be drunk.

Hill works undercover as a narcotics detective.

Topeka police officer arrested, charged with theft

TOPEKA - A police officer was charged with 144 offenses one week after his former partner was sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars intended for undercover drug buys.

Bruce Voigt, 41, of Topeka was arrested Thursday and released after he posted $25,000 bond. The charges against the 18-year veteran include perjury, falsifying evidence, official misconduct, theft and promoting obscenity.

Police said Voigt, who was placed on paid administrative leave around July 1, and Thomas Pfortmiller were arrested as a result of the same criminal probe. But District Attorney Robert Hecht said the case against Voigt isn't related to the Pfortmiller case.

Detention Center Officer Arrested

JACKSON, MS - A detention officer with the Jackson Police Department, who is also an alderman for the city of Goodman, has been arrested and charged with sexual battery.

Police say 44-year-old Johnny Tillman was arrested for a sexual assault that occurred on August 30th. Tillman is accused of forcing an 18-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him. The boy had been arrested and was being processed at the Silas Brown facility. The 18-year-old reportedly saved DNA evidence, and after a probable cause hearing before County Judge Mike Parker Tillman was arrested. He is being held at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond on $10,000 bond.

Jackson Police Chief Shirlene Anderson says Tillman also maintains residency in Gallman, Mississippi. She says the investigation is ongoing.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bad Cop, No Donut! - September 22/2005

Download audio: MP3 at 55.9 mebibytes

This week:

LA prosecutors reject 75% of officer misconduct cases

Missouri cop charged with sodomizing 5 year old boy

Illinois cop charged with beating wife

Cincinnati cop threatens two men at gunpoint

2 Connecticut cops charged with broadcasting racist messages

3 new taser deaths

and much more!

PLUS and interview with former Newark, New Jersey police lieutenant Samuel Clark, author of Total Misconduct.

Veteran Police Officer Arrested

SAN DIEGO -- A 15-year employee of the San Diego Police Department was arrested on embezzlement charges, the City Attorney's Office announced late Tuesday.

Gabriel Gutierrez, a property room supervisor, faces three counts each of embezzlement and using a computer to wrongfully obtain money, said Assistant City Attorney Chris Morris.

Gutierrez, 42, allegedly took knives from the property room and sold them on the Internet, Morris said.

The charges stem from a three-month police investigation, but it was not immediately clear when they were filed or when Gutierrez was arrested.

Sheriff’s Office probes death of jail inmate after Taser use

A Santa Cruz man died Sunday after deputies stunned him with 50,000 volts of electricity in the Santa Cruz County Jail Saturday night.

David Anthony Cross, 44, was booked Saturday for a domestic violence-related incident, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.

While in custody, Cross began yelling, kicking and banging his head on his cell door, the statement said. He resisted deputies’ attempts to restrain him, and they used a Taser to control him, the statement said.

During the incident, which occurred about 10:20 p.m., Cross stopped breathing. Paramedics took him to Dominican Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. He died Sunday afternoon.

Man Charged With Attempted Kidnapping Was N.H. Officer

WHITEFIELD, N.H. -- A Whitefield man being held on charges he tried to kidnap a boy in New Jersey last month is a former police officer who met the youngster through a Web site, court documents and police say.

George Nugent, 56, is a former police officer in Lancaster, Northumberland and Litchfield, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported Tuesday.

He is being held without bail as a fugitive from justice from New Jersey, where he is charged with chaining a boy around the neck and trying to kidnap him.

Lawsuit filed against cops accused of tasering mentally disabled man

(CHICAGO) - The family of a mentally disabled Chicago man is suing police officers who used a taser on him last month. The family says 54-year-old Alfredo Lee Florez is too frightened to go anywhere on his own after the incident.

According to the lawsuit, two plainclothes policemen dragged Florez to the ground outside a neighbor's home on South Aberdeen. Witnesses shouted to the officers that Florez was mentally disabled and couldn't understand them.

The lawsuit accuses the officers of shooting him three times with the taser and beating him.

"The force escalated, and once the force escalated it just didn't stop until he was struck by the final officer that came running out of his car. In other words, he was tasered, went down to the ground, and a police officer came up and ran out of his car and struck him while he was on the ground," Blake Horwitz, Florez' attorney.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cincinnati PD Officer Arrested

Ohio - Two counts of Aggravated Menacing and Using Weapons While Intoxicated are charges now filed against a three year Cincinnati Police veteran.

Around 1:30 Thursday morning, on Oakley's Brotherton Road, Officer Jeffrey Ertel was involved in a traffic accident with three men from the Fairfax area.

According to witnesses and police investigators Ertel was driving drunk and after the collision threatened the men to keep quiet showing off his badge and two guns.

Witnesses also say a female officer fled the scene in another car and describe the frightning scene as an out of control rage.

The name of the female officer is not yet known.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bad Cop, No Donut! - September 15/2005

Download audio: MP3 at 46.1 mebibytes (download torrent)

This week is the second of two programs marking the first anniversary of Bad Cop, No Donut! This show features excerpts from various interviews about the program after former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino complained to the media that the show should be banned last February.

Runs 50:25

Monday, September 12, 2005

Officer accused of falsifying documents

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. --A Willimantic police officer is facing charges that he falsified documents used in the investigation of a 2004 home invasion.

Officer Michael Murphy, 42, interviewed three witnesses in the case who provided written statements but would not swear to the truth of those statements. Prosecutors said Murphy then falsely certified the orginal documents after being questioned by his superiors about the lack of sworn statements.

Officer Accused of Killing Unarmed Immigrant is Granted Retrial

The New York City policeman accused of shooting and killing an unarmed African immigrant has been granted his request to to have his retrial heard by a judge without a jury.

Off-duty officer arrested at rest area

SWANSEA -- An off-duty Fall River police lieutenant was arrested by state police yesterday at an Interstate 195 rest area on charges of indecent exposure and unnatural acts.

Eduardo M. Raposo, 47, of Swansea was arrested about 12:35 p.m. in the westbound rest area in Swansea, according to a state police spokeswoman.

Lt. Jeffrey Cardoza, the head of the Fall River Police Department's Professional Standards Division, said yesterday that Lt. Raposo has been suspended with pay, effective immediately.

Lt. Cardoza said an internal investigation will be conducted into the arrest and he expects the department to hold a press conference today.

The state police spokeswoman declined to provide the details of Lt. Raposo's arrest, saying it might jeopardize their case.

Lt. Raposo, who is assigned to the Fall River Police Department's Uniform Division, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Fall River District Court.

Officer Arrested Twice In Month On Alcohol Charges

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. -- A Hamilton County correctional officer was arrested twice last month on alcohol-related charges, including once on a drunken-driving allegation.

Cicero police on Aug. 14 arrested Brian Shelley, 26, on accusations that he drove while drunk. Shelley had a blood-alcohol content of .15, police said.

On Aug. 31, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department arrested Shelley on a charge of public intoxication in connection with his attendance at a Jimmy Buffet concert, police said.

Shelley has been allowed to work, pending the completion of an internal investigation.

Officer pleads guilty of drug manufacturing

Former Lincoln Police Cpl. Diana R. Short pleaded guilty Thursday, formally admitting she grew marijuana in the basement of her home and conspired with her daughter to manufacture methamphetamine.

Short, 46, faces at least nine and up to 37 years in prison. She will be sentenced at 11 a.m. Oct. 6.

'Racist' police blocked bridge and forced evacuees back at gunpoint

A Louisiana police chief has admitted that he ordered his officers to block a bridge over the Mississippi river and force escaping evacuees back into the chaos and danger of New Orleans. Witnesses said the officers fired their guns above the heads of the terrified people to drive them back and "protect" their own suburbs.

Two paramedics who were attending a conference in the city and then stayed to help those affected by the hurricane, said the officers told them they did not want their community "becoming another New Orleans".

The desperate evacuees were forced to trudge back into the city they had just left. "It was a real eye-opener," Larry Bradshaw, 49, a paramedic from San Francisco, told The Independent on Sunday. "I believe it was racism. It was callousness, it was cruelty."

Mr Bradshaw said the police blocked off the road on the Thursday and Friday after Hurricane Katrina struck on Monday 29 August. He and his wife Lorrie Slonsky, also a paramedic, had sheltered with others in the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter.

When food and water ran out they were forced to head for the city's convention centre, but on the way they heard reports of the chaos and violence that was taking place there and inside the Superdome where thousands of people were forced together without running water, toilets, electricity or air conditioning. So Mr Bradshaw spoke with a senior New Orleans police officer who instructed them to cross the Crescent City Connection bridge to Jefferson Parish, where he promised they would find buses waiting to evacuate them.

They were in the middle of a group of up to 800 people - overwhelmingly black - walking across the bridge when they heard shots and saw people running. "We had been hearing shooting for days. What was different about this was that it was close by," he said.

Making their way towards the crest of the bridge they saw a chain of armed police officers blocking the route. When they asked about the buses they were told their was no such arrangement and that the route was being blocked to avoid their parish becoming "another New Orleans". They identified the police as officers from the city of Gretna.

Records show deputy's troubled past

The deputy whose .40-caliber handgun was used to kill convenience-store clerk Dimitri Imad Harb deserved to be fired 14 years ago, according to a memo written in 1991 by King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, then an internal-affairs lieutenant.

Ferenc Zana "does not possess the integrity to wear the uniform," Rahr stated in the memo, after an internal-affairs investigation found that Zana had given alcohol and his car to two minors who had an auto accident and then lied about it.

Zana promptly got into more trouble, yet he remained on the force -- despite concerns expressed by his fellow officers.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer pieced together the disturbing and intertwined stories of Zana, 44, and his 23-year-old roommate, Christopher Bistryski -- who is charged with shooting Harb -- using documents requested from the Sheriff's Office, court records and interviews.

The case underscores what has become a major issue in the Sheriff's Office -- how much ability the sheriff has to discipline or fire errant officers.

Personnel records describe Zana as a spit-and-polish police officer, often commended for his appearance. But disciplinary records show a penchant for sloppy and sometimes dangerous behavior.

He twice ducked termination, once soon after Rahr had strongly recommended that he be fired if he broke rules again.

Ex-cop is given 18-month probation

FREEHOLD — Dennis Smith, a Keansburg cop for more than two decades, made one mistake that cost him his career, his attorney told a judge Friday.

"He stands before you with regret and remorse and asks you for leniency," Michael Pappa told Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci during Smith's sentencing Friday. "His punishment is the loss of his career and the embarrassment this has caused him."

The 57-year-old officer was ordered by Mellaci to serve an 18-month probationary term for touching a woman in a sexual manner in his squad car last year, which he admitted to in June.

Ex-police official accused of stealing drug-bust cash

CALUMET CITY -- A former Calumet City deputy police chief was charged with stealing $26,000 in cash that had been seized from narcotics busts, prosecutors said Thursday.

Phillip Santefort, 35, of Calumet City was charged with theft and official misconduct for allegedly taking money he was supposed to deposit into a special bank account, Assistant Cook County State's Atty. John Carey said.

Metro officer charged in domestic assault

DUI Squad Officer Harold Taylor was arrested for striking his 14-year-old daughter during an argument, Metro police said yesterday.

Police said Taylor is believed to have hit his daughter in the chest with his hand during an argument in the girl's room Monday evening.

Veteran Vegas cop accused of falsifying evidence

A veteran Las Vegas police narcotics detective has been arrested and placed on leave after being charged with falsifying evidence in a felony drug case.

Eric Barros is also charged with insurance fraud to fund what authorities say was a gambling habit.

Prosecutors say they're going to dismiss the drug conviction against Henderson resident Jeffrey Port.

Stun gun leaves man critical

A 43-year-old man was in critical condition in a Richmond hospital last night with a fractured skull after Colonial Beach police shot him with a Taser stun gun.

Police did not identify the man, citing his "degenerative brain disease." But they said in the news release that he was suicidal and threatening officers.

The man's sister, who did not wish to be identified, said her brother "wasn't doing anything to threaten the police" when he was shot on Irving Avenue around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday after spending three hours in the Potomac River evading police and rescue boats.

"He was nonviolent when he came out of the water," she said. "His legs were shaking and he could barely climb up the rocks to the street. All he wanted was a cigarette."

The woman, who said she was at the scene, said her brother "put his hands up. At least five officers were standing there. They could have tackled him. They didn't warn him or order him to get down. They just shot him."

The 50,000-volt shock of the Taser knocked the man "backwards like a tree," she said.

"I heard his head hit the pavement so hard. As soon as he hit the ground, blood came out of his nose," she said.

Police Shoot Girl, 12, With Taser At School

CINCINNATI -- An officer shot a 12-year-old schoolgirl with a Taser gun and arrested her after she became disruptive at school, Cincinnati police said.

The incident happened at Burton Elementary School in Avondale Wednesday.

Police said the principal called them when the girl refused to go to class. When officers arrived, they had trouble bringing the girl, who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and 120 pounds, under control. Officers said they warned the girl several times that they would use the Taser on her if she did not calm down.

She was charged for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Lanett Police Accused Of Brutality

Witnesses at The Breaker Box club in Lanett say police showed up and got physical this past Saturday night. News Leader 9 has been given an amateur video of the incident at a Christian heavy metal concert.

According to witnesses, a teenager was calling home to get a ride when police threw him into a light pole and then onto the ground.

"I saw two Lanett police officers. One of them grabbed a young black male, head-locked him, ran him into this pole, slammed him to the ground, put their knee in his back and cuffed him," said John Keith.

That's when the lead singer of "Only After Faith" grabbed his video camera.

"A blow to the back of the head, and a couple of knees to the back. They finally got a little 13 or 15-year-old boy in the car," said Adrian Buice.

The video apparently shows the boy, without handcuffs, refusing to get into the car. The officer uses his nightstick to force him into the back seat.

According to police, they cannot comment on the case until an independent investigator looks into the incident.

"When his investigation is complete, if there's a violation of policy or law, then we'll take steps to address the situation at that time," said Chief Ron Docimo, Lanett Police Department.

Witnesses say people were being pulled from their cars by the officers after trying to leave the club. Keep in mind, we haven't heard the police side of this story yet.

News Leader 9 asked Docimo if this was standard procedure, if the officers have been suspended, or if police cameras show anything different. He said he is not allowed to comment until after an investigation has been conducted.

Fernandina Cop, Two Former Officers Face Sex Charges

A Fernandina Beach police officer and two former officers were arrested Wednesday on sex charges.

Officer Tawn Christopher Duffy and former officers James Allen Branning and Joseph Simon Ramia turned themselves at the Nassau County Detention Center as a result of an ongoing investigation of the alleged sexual assault of a juvenile.

All three are charged with unlawful sexual activity. Duffy is also charged with perjury and official misconduct. Branning and Ramia are face a charge of unlawful sexual activity. Branning is also charged with tampering with a witness and official misconduct.

The investigation, at the request of the Fernandina Beach Police Department, was conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The State Attorney's Office said they plan to prosecute all three men.

Officer pleads not guilty to charges involving vehicle stops

An Oakland police officer charged with stopping women for alleged traffic violations and touching and kissing them, had a not guilty plea entered Thursday on his behalf, his attorney said.

Officer Richard Valerga, 51, faces five charges of interfering with civil rights, and two for false imprisonment. Valerga was not required to be in court because the charges are misdemeanors.

Police said Valerga held two women against their will and patted and kissed some of the women, most of whom were recent immigrants to the United States.

Defense attorney Paul Brennan said Valerga is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 13.

Former police officer charged in fatality

SCIO, N.Y. - A former police officer has been charged in last month's hit-and-run death of a teenage boy who was riding his skateboard along a western New York road.

Forty-one-year-old Wayne Morgan was in an Allegany County yesterday to face charges in the August third death of 17-year-old Samuel Swift of Wellsville.

Officer charged with leaving scene of crash

WINDSOR -- An Enfield police officer was charged with evading responsibility after he drove into a parked car here and left the scene of the accident, police said Wednesday.
Patrol officer Timothy Vergean, a member of the Enfield Police Department since 1998, faces up to a year in prison and up to a $600 fine if convicted on the charge, Capt. Thomas LePore said.

New officer who was on probation resigns before town questions chief

BRIMFIELD (AP) -- A newly hired police officer in Brimfield who's on probation for threatening a neighbor's young daughter has resigned.

The move by Patrick O'Donoghue came before a meeting Tuesday in which selectmen were set to question police chief Charles Kuss about the hire.

O'Donoghue is on probation after calling a neighbor and threatening to rape his 12-year-old daughter in 2003.

Selectmen had complained Kuss didn't tell them anything about O'Donoghue's past before they approved him for the job of part-time patrolman.

Kuss said the 34-year-old O'Donoghue was (quote) "an asset," despite the baggage he brought to the job.

O'Donoghue was a Paxton police officer when he threatened the girl. He is now a full-time dispatcher in Sterling.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bad Cop, No Donut! - September 08/2005

Download audio: MP3 at 48.9 mebibytes (download torrent)

This week is the first of two programs marking the first anniversary of Bad Cop, No Donut! It features excerpts from many of the interviews featured on the program throughout the past year. This program includes interviews with:

Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies In Blue.

Terry Miles and Alysha Rodriguez on Whitehall, Wisconsin police officer Daniel Wineski.

Michelle Druyun speaks about the on-duty misconduct committed by her husband, LAPD officer Scott Druyun.

Amir Ebrahimnia, who was beaten by Toronto police officers in June.

Min Sook Lee, director of Hogtown: the Politics of Policing.

Christina Agola, a lawyer representing two women who were brutalized by East Rochester, New York, police officer William Connell.

Patti Gillman, whose brother died after being shocked with a taser by Vancouver, British Columbia, police.

Taser researcher James Ruggieri.

Progressive Magazine writer Anne-Marie Cusac.

and much more.

Runs 53:33

Off-Duty Officer Involved In Fatal Shooting

DETROIT - An off-duty police officer was involved in a fatal shooting on Friday night, Local 4 reported. Police said shots were exchanged between Cortez Farmer and the officer, but Farmer's mother, Bernadine Hughes, said her son was a victim.

Katrina Survivor Alleges Police Brutality

Jonathan Garner and his family braved the storm in New Orleans and then stayed behind to help others evacuate. And it was when he was lending a helping hand that he says he was assaulted by the very people there to protect and serve.

Garner says in the days after the storm, he located an old grocery cart and spent hours wheeling elderly people safely to higher ground. But when the evacuation busses rolled into town, Garner says he ran to find his family before they got split up.

With no warning, Garner says a guardman who had been watching him help people all day turned his gun on him.

"He just hit me in the chest with the M-16," Garner recalls. He says the officer then demanded he get on the ground and threatened to sic his police dog on Garner. He says before he could get the a out of his mouth, the dog attacked. It tore at his body and legs before the officer called him off.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Prison Officer Arrested With Drugs

An officer at the Lebanon Correctional Institution has been arrested for allegedly trying to get drugs into the prison.

Jamey E. Vincent, 29, was found with two chewing tobacco containers each containing about a half-ounce of marijuana Thursday afternoon. He was arrested by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Vincent had been working with inmates to bring drugs into the facility, police said.

County corrections officer arrested on sex-assault charges

ROCKFORD — A Winnebago County corrections officer was jailed — albeit briefly — after being arrested Friday afternoon on charges of criminal sexual assault involving a female inmate.

Bradley S. Champion, 35, an 11-year veteran of the department, is free after posting 10 percent of his $50,000 bond.

Winnebago County Sheriff Dick Meyers said the incident allegedly occurred Aug. 26, but authorities did not learn of it until Friday morning when the 26-year-old victim confided in another inmate.

Midland police officer arrested

A nine year veteran of the Midland Police Department has been arrested for allegedly striking his domestic partner and firing his department issued weapon while threatening to kill her, court documents and police confirmed Monday.

Officer Jesse Ortiz, 34, has been charged with aggravated assault with intent to cause serious bodily injury.

Midland Police Chief John Urby said Ortiz has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an administrative investigation by the department.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Man dies after Martin deputies fire Taser at him

STUART — A 31-year-old Port Salerno man died early Saturday after being arrested and possibly shot twice with a Taser stun gun, Martin County Sheriff's Office reported.

Lichtenstein's mother, Rosemarie, said doctors told her he went into cardiac arrest on his way to the hospital and suffered two strokes. She said doctors were unable to insert a pacemaker because of too much internal bleeding. She said he had two broken arms.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

LAPD Gave Misleading Crime Data

CALIFORNIA - A change in the way Los Angeles police count domestic violence incidents has allowed the department to substantially exaggerate how much crime has dropped citywide this year.

LAPD officials say they have issued disclaimers about the shift in its statistics on domestic violence, which was made to bring the Los Angeles Police Department into accord with federal guidelines.

But the department has continued to distribute figures suggesting that overall violent crime has declined by 28% this year compared with last year. If the reporting change is taken into account, the actual year-to-year decline is probably only about one-third as large.

The statistical reporting problem emerged when the department narrowed its definition of aggravated assaults at the beginning of 2005 to exclude the least serious domestic violence assaults known as "simple" child/spousal assaults.

Police Chief William J. Bratton announced the change in accounting practices earlier this year. In addition, the department indicates in its crime statistics reports that it cannot compare this year's domestic violence statistics to last year's because simple assaults have been subtracted from the new numbers.

But the department went ahead and made the year-to-year comparison in another key area: Aggravated assaults.

The LAPD has been reporting a drop in aggravated assaults based on a comparison of this year's numbers — which do not include simple domestic violence cases — to last year's numbers, which do.

The apples to oranges comparison produced the appearance of the largest year-to-year decrease in any crime category — a 40% decrease in aggravated assaults.

That decrease, in turn, has been a significant contributor to the department's overall calculation of a 28% decrease in violent crime reported for the city.

Bratton deferred questions on the issue to Assistant Chief George Gascon, director of the office of operations, who agreed Monday that the reported 40% decrease in aggravated assaults is an inflated figure. But Gascon said that Bratton and the department had effectively issued disclaimers about the numbers by explaining publicly earlier this year that the reporting standards had changed.

"At the beginning of 2005, the chief of police made it public that we have been over-reporting aggravated assaults. We then proceeded to report crime according to [the federal guidelines]," he said.

Asked about the overall decrease in violent crimes, Gascon said, "Deductively, we can say the number is going to be skewed by the over-reporting that took place before."

But he said there was nothing deceptive in the department's actions, since "we came out very openly at the very beginning of the year, and announced," that the LAPD was now using new standards to categorize domestic violence assaults.

Besides, Gascon said, footnotes were placed in LAPD crime statistics reports to indicate the problem.

Indeed, the LAPD's reports on crime statistics prominently display footnotes saying, "prior to 2005, the aggravated assaults included child/spousal simple assaults," and elsewhere note that the number of child/spousal cases this year cannot be compared to the number last year because of the change.

But the same notation is not made for aggravated assaults, where a straight comparison with last year is recorded. Nor is the notation present in the overall calculations of the drop in violent crime.

Police officials and other public figures have touted the dramatic 28% decline in violent crime this year as a sign of successful crime suppression.

The figure has been prominently displayed on the department's website.

In a Police Commission meeting earlier this month Bratton singled out the 28% decrease as a highlight: "The good news continues in terms of the high rate of decline in violent crime," he said.

In a meeting shortly after, Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell repeated the figure, and gave credit to police officers. "They are working very hard. The numbers are indicative of that."

Fort Lauderdale police issue traffic tickets to city's top officials

FORT LAUDERDALE · Were they targeted by Fort Lauderdale police officers, or is it just a coincidence that in the past three months the city manager, his assistant manager and his spokesman all have been pulled over and issued traffic tickets?

City Manager George Gretsas was the latest of the three to be accused of violating the rules of the road. He was ticketed last week, accused of running a stop sign in his east Fort Lauderdale neighborhood, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Since his arrival as city manager one year ago, Gretsas has taken a hard line with the Police Department and is set to decide this week whether to fire a police officer accused of threatening a youth in a courtroom and then lying to investigators.