Top News Story Providence Beating!
Published Wed., Apr 20, 2011 12:00 PM
Modified Thu, Apr 21, 2011 10:41 AM (PDT)
April 21, 2011
Published: Apr 14, 2011 09:54 AM
Modified Thu, Apr 21, 2011 10:57 AM (PDT)
Blind drunk on vodka, the teenage girl had to be held upright by the young men she was drinking with as she slumped head-down, eyes-closed behind a suburban apartment complex. But an Arlington Heights cop called to deal with the underage boozers let a 20-year-old felon and two drunk teenage boys carry the girl away without asking questions — and minutes later officers in neighboring Mount Prospect caught the males raping her in a laundry room, a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges.
The lawsuit — filed by attorneys for a victim identified as “Jane Doe” — alleges negligence by the Village of Arlington Heights and the officer, Mark Del Boccio. It isn’t the first time former Chicago cop Del Boccio, 37, has been sued.
Del Boccio left the Chicago Police Department after he ran over two kids with his squad car in 2004 — killing one and permanently injuring the other. The family of the dead 8-year-old boy in that case, Gregory Jones, alleges in a pending lawsuit that Del Boccio lied when he told his bosses he was in hot pursuit of a gunman at the time. Village officials should have done a background check on Del Boccio that revealed his earlier problems in Chicago, they say.
Jane Doe’s attorneys say Del Boccio could have prevented the May 2009 rape if he’d asked the males with the girl for ID, because one was on probation for armed robbery, and all three were underage for drinking. The officer also failed to offer the girl a ride or medical attention and told a security guard who’d dialed 911 that the males were taking the girl home, they allege.
The 20-year-old rapist, Christopher Balodimas, is serving a six-year sentence for criminal sexual assault after Mount Prospect officers caught him raping the girl at the apartment complex on the border of the two suburbs in the 900 block of East Golf Road, court records show. The teenage boys were not charged, the girl’s attorney Steven Gartski said. Del Boccio and village officials declined to comment Wednesday.
NYPD - Ticket Fix!
April 12, 2011
NEW YORK (WCJB) – A major ticket-fixing scandal has rocked the NYPD. Sources said on Monday that grand jury indictments are expected “shortly” and that as many as 40 cops could face the music in the Bronx alone. A grand jury is reportedly considering bribery and larceny charges against dozens of cops, who, sources said, performed an NYPD magic trick — they made tickets disappear in exchange for gifts. Tight-lipped top cop Ray Kelly confirmed the case. “We expect officers to enforce the law objectively,” Kelly told media sources. “There should be no favoritism at all.” Sources say NYPD Internal Affairs investigators have been secretly wire-tapping calls made to and from dozens of police officers and reportedly have thousands of hours of tapes.
The case reportedly started by accident. Apparently the owner of a barbershop not far from the 43d Precinct in the Bronx called his cop son to see about fixing a ticket. Unbeknownst to the cop the telephone was being tapped by Internal Affairs officers who were investigating local drug trafficking. The same Sources said that union delegates were among those asked to fix the tickets, and, among the cops under investigation, more than two dozen face potential felony charges, while another 10 could face lesser charges like obstruction of government administration.
Sources also said that although the case began in the Bronx, prosecutors in at least two other boroughs have pieces of the probe, which is why it was asked of the police commissioner if a federal prosecutor should be brought in to oversee things. “I think the district attorneys, the local district attorneys and the Internal Affairs Bureau are fully capable of doing this investigation,” Kelly said. Some wonder if the Bloomberg administration policy of increased ticketing revenue, which has raised half a billion dollars since he took office, has led to increased efforts by the public to get tickets fixed any way they can.
“I don’t know whether we’re overzealous or under-zealous,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “I’m sure there is somebody who went over the line, but they’d be very few and far between.” Internal Affairs probers pulled summonses issued by 12 Bronx precincts last September. Records were also reportedly pulled at precincts in other boroughs. After the probe began the NYPD instituted a new electronic tracking system for summonses, making it tougher to fix tickets.
October 11, 2010
PARKER, FL — A Parker police officer was charged with child molestation.
The Bay County Sheriff’s deputy was charged with rape. The Springfield officer was accused of rape but ultimately charged with lying to investigators. Another deputy was charged with stealing from the evidence room. Money also went missing from the evidence room at the Lynn Haven Police Department. Two Bay County jail employees were charged with bringing contraband into the jail.
The Panama City Beach officer resigned during an internal investigation about how he allegedly attacked a man in his custody. The Panama City officers were reprimanded for failing to correctly handle a DUI involving a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office.
And then, last week, a Parker Officer was charged with murder.
Over the past three years nearly every law enforcement agency in the county has had at least one incident involving, at worst, criminal activity or, at best, negligent behavior by their own officers.
These things happen, officials said, and when they happen administrators have two options — they can try to sweep it under a dirty rug or they can tackle it head on and arrest an officer who has broken the law.
“I think that it is important for an agency to keep your house clean,” said Maj. Tommy Ford of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office. “When you determine that there is an officer that is doing something wrong you have to be very proactive at getting to the bottom of it.”
Sometimes, when the issue is not criminal in nature, deputies can be dealt with internally, Ford added, but the sheriff is adamant that if deputies break the law they must be arrested and charged like anyone else.
“The sheriff has had the very unpleasant task of arresting several people here who have crossed the line,” Ford said. “I truly believe 99 percent plus of the officers here are very good officers. And that’s why it affects us so much when we have one who betrays our trust.”
Springfield Police Chief Phillip Thorne agrees.
“The best way we can show trust with the people is to deal with it,” he said. “If we start trying to hide it or cover it up … we open up a whole other can of worms.”
CREDENTIALS AND CRIMINAL CASES
There are two ways to severely punish officers who cross the line. One, is to take away their credentials so that they can no longer work as a law enforcement officer and the other is to charge them with a crime.
Sgt. Mark Fogarty received both types of punishment. In August of 2008 the Springfield Police officer was accused of raping a woman while on duty. Investigators said he initially stated he had not had sex with the woman. Then in a subsequent interview he said the pair had had consensual sex. While the woman said she was raped investigators said they did not have enough evidence to move forward with that charge.
Fogarty was ultimately charged with making false statements to law enforcement officers. According to court records he completed a pre-trial intervention program and, as part of the program, the charges were dismissed. However, the case was forwarded to the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, which is staffed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Fogarty gave up his credentials and the right to ever again be a law enforcement officer in Florida, Thorne said.
Amy Nicole Vickers, the Bay County deputy charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing $4,500 from an evidence property room in January of 2009 eventually plead no contest in the case and was sentenced to probation and ordered to surrender her law enforcement credentials. That was same fate that befell Angela Chiles after she pleaded no contest to introduction of contraband and unlawful compensation for official behavior. Chiles and Shannon Copeland were charged criminally in November and December of 2008 after they had dealings with the same inmate.
Copeland was charged with sexual misconduct with an inmate and introduction of contraband and after pleading guilty was sentenced to probation.
The case against a Parker Police officer, Rocky Kummer, who was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation on a child was dropped in June of this year because, according to court records, the victim did not wish to prosecute or to participate in the prosecution.
The State Attorney’s Office requested that another agency handle the criminal case against Benjamin Logue, the BCSO deputy charged in June of 2010 with sexual battery by a law enforcement officer. That case is ongoing in Pensacola.
However, State Attorney Glenn Hess said this week that his office will be prosecuting Mark Bomia, the Parker officer charged with murder. Hess also praised the work done by the Parker Police Department and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office on the case.
“Investigator (Aaron) Wilson had the presence of mind to confer with the State Attorney’s Office and request assistance from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office,” Hess said. “All of that makes infinite sense.”
The local cases are just a small selection of charges made against officers in the state of Florida on any given year, according to records kept by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In 2009, 130 sworn law enforcement officers were either charged criminally or disciplined for a myriad of offenses ranging from homicide, kidnapping and sexual assault to stalking, perjury or official misconduct. In the same year 328 corrections officers were disciplined for similar offenses.
In 2008 158 law enforcement officers were disciplined along with 425 corrections officers. In 2007 160 officers and 341 corrections officers were disciplined, according to the FDLE report.
PREVENTION AND WARNING SIGNS
During a press conference on Monday Parker Police Chief Charles Sweatt said there were no outward signs before the slaying that one of his officers could commit such an act.
However, sometimes there are signals, officials said, and local agencies do what they can to weed out problems during the interview process.
“We do try to help officers when the warning signs are there,” Ford said. Sometimes that means counseling or help from peers and supervisors, he added.
The strongest solution may be to not hire an employee at all.
The Sheriff’s Office orders psychological tests, does intensive background checks and orders all applicants to take a polygraph test before they are allowed to join the agency, Ford said. During the background check officials try to find out if applicants have had problems with their neighbors or if they have bad credit histories, Ford said.
Those are all “indicators of issues that may affect the job,” he added.
Law enforcement is a stressful and dangerous job, Ford said, adding that lots of people have stressful and dangerous jobs.
“The important thing to remember is police officers, deputies are people too,” Ford said. “They have the same personal problems and issues that anyone has.”
Sometimes they fail but it doesn’t happen often, Thorne said. When it does happen the officers that remain should still hold their heads high, he added.
“We simply hold our heads up and say, ‘Look we dealt with that. We are not that individual.’ ”
Dallas Trooper Brutality!
October 5, 2010
In what seems to be another case of police brutality, Arturo Perez a former Department of Public Safety trooper who obviously used excessive force as seen in this video, is now facing criminal charges. The incident occurred on the Dallas North Tollway in October of 2009.
DALLAS, TX - A Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper retires after being accused of excessive force. Trooper Arturo Perez was arresting a woman for DWI when she says he snapped and hurt her. Whitney Fox was driving on the Dallas North Tollway near the Lemmon Avenue exit when it all happened about 3 weeks ago.
"I've been a felony prosecutor - I've been State District Judge - I've been in private practice in all the years I've been doing this I have never seen anything this bad," says Fox's attorney. He is talking about the dash cam video from Perez's squad car, which can be viewed above.
The 22-year-old from Plano (pictured above, center) called for help just before 3 a.m. on October 10 after she crashed into the wall along the Tollway. Her attorney says Fox suffered minor injuries when her airbag deployed. He says she was trying to tell Perez that her friend grabbed the wheel and caused the crash, but he wouldn't listen and instead handcuffed her for drunk driving. Fox's attorney says Perez then slammed her against the wall. "He picked her up off the ground threw her head into a concrete wall and split open her chin." Fox had to be treated for a deep gash in her chin, she also had cuts on her knees. She's had two surgeries so far. Perez has told investigators she resisted and was not cooperating, her attorney insists that was not the case. "This could be your child, your daughter, your wife, your mother, your girlfriend, your sister this is not supposed to happen," says Fox's attorney.
The Department of Public Safety says they were in the process of firing Perez, but he retired. In a statement DPS Director Steven McGraw says "Our Troopers receive the best instruction available in the world on use of force issues, and we do not tolerate behavior that so clearly contradicts that training as evident in this instance," McCraw said. "Ultimately, it is my obligation to remove from duty any employee who cannot perform consistent with our training, standards and mission to provide public safety." Texas Rangers are now investigating.
According to DPS, excessive force during an arrest can result in criminal charges for official oppression under the Texas Penal Code. Perez joined DPS in 2006 and previously worked for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for about 16 years.
Dallas PD Strikes Again!
September 16, 2010
September 18, 2010
ALAMEDA, CA -- A former Alameda police parking technician is under investigation after an internal review allegedly showed he falsified his time sheets and was paid more than $16,000 for time that he never worked. The 26-year-old man could face embezzlement and other charges after the Alameda County District Attorney's Office finishes reviewing the case. Police did not release the name of the former technician, who was fired Sept. 8, 2010 saying it was a personnel issue. The man had worked for the city since January 2007. He is suspected of falsifying his time sheets the same month that he began the job and continuing to do it sporadically through Aug. 28, 2010 of this year, police records show.
Alameda police Sgt. Steve Deutsche, who oversees the department's traffic unit, says he discovered the discrepancies Sept. 2, which led to the investigation and the man's termination. His fluctuating work schedule -- plus the fact that his supervisors trusted the entries on his time sheet were accurate -- are reasons why the discrepancies were not discovered earlier, acting police Chief Mike Noonan said Friday. The man was fired rather than placed on administrative. Noonan said. A police report on the case was filed Thursday. Total loss was just over $16,045.
Along with asking the district attorney's office to criminally prosecute the former parking technician, police are asking prosecutors to seek full restitution for what they say the man was wrongly paid.
In the wake of the incident, police said they have kicked off a "comprehensive managerial analysis" of part-time employee time sheet procedures within the department, and that they have taken steps so that any future discrepancies are discovered sooner.
The case comes on the heels of accusations that Alameda fire Chief Dave Kapler used city gas pumps to fuel his personal vehicle, which led city leaders to recently place him on administrative leave.
Kapler has denied wrongdoing, saying he was allowed use of city gas as part of his contract through a verbal agreement with former City Manager Debra Kurita.
August 12, 2010
BROWNSVILLE — Using his service weapon that he retrieved from his car, an off-duty Customs and Border Protection officer shot and killed a nightclub owner early Monday, authorities said, moments after the officer was reportedly chased from the bar. The officer, whom authorities would not identify, was arrested in the wake of the fatal shooting of Fermin Limon, 49, owner of the Punto 3 Night Club in Mission, Hidalgo County sheriff's officials said. No charges were immediately filed.
Sheriff Lupe Treviño said Monday the officer told deputies the 1:30 a.m. shooting at the busy club was in self-defense, as the club owner also was armed. But Treviño said he was hard-pressed to justify the shooting and questioned why the officer, who went to his vehicle to get his weapon, didn't decide to leave the scene. “If he had enough time to go to his vehicle ... why didn't he just drive away?” he said.
Felix Garza, a spokesman for the CBP, said the agency was aware of the fatal shooting but deferred questions to the sheriff's office. He said he was unable to comment on the department's policy for the use of weapons off-duty. Nor would he say whether the officer, whom he also would not identify, was placed on administrative leave. “For now, we're not commenting,” he said.
According to a police report, the officer, who was with his wife and brother, told authorities he shot someone after he was chased from the bar following an argument. He also said he thought the victim was going to shoot him first.
The officer retrieved his H&K .40-caliber handgun from his car, and while witnesses at first said Limon was not armed, Treviño later said a “very reliable and credible witness” reported that Limon had a gun. After Limon was shot, he took cover behind a vehicle and handed his weapon to another person, Treviño said. The third person shot back at the customs officer, according to Treviño's report. “The evidence at the scene strongly (corroborates) this witness statement,” Treviño said.
Stephen James Tonello
October 28, 2009
GRAND JUNCTION (WCJB)- More trouble for law enforcement on the Western Slope.
The Mesa County Sheriff's Office arrested a Palisade police officer on Friday on allegations he harassed his ex-girlfriend. 26-year-old Stephen James Tonello (pictured below) is the third Grand Valley law enforcement officer accused of criminal conduct in the past two months.
According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office inmate inquiry system, Officer Tonello is out of jail after posting bail.
The sheriff's office is investigating the case. We've obtained the arrest affidavit and will have more information for you.
Officer Courtney Crooks
In August 2009, Grand Junction police officer Courtney Crooks (pictured below) was arrested on charges of harassment while off-duty. Crooks’ wife allegedly told deputies that her husband grabbed her by the back of the neck on Aug. 18, 2009 during at incident at the family’s home, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
According to police, Crooks was born in Hartford, Conn., attended Pensacola Christian College in Florida, received his associate degree in law enforcement in May 2006 and became a police cadet in Grand Junction two years ago. In a letter recently sent to the District Attorney’s Office, Crooks’ wife asked prosecutors to drop the case and expressed fears her husband would lose his job.
“It has gotten blown way out of proportion,” she wrote in the letter. “I never wanted this to happen and my husband does not deserve this.”
Facing domestic violence charges Crooks later resigned from the police department. Crooks, 24, wrote in a letter of resignation that he’ll seek career opportunities elsewhere. Crooks’ last day was Sept. 16, 2009. He had been on unpaid leave from the department since his arrest Aug. 28, 2009 on misdemeanor allegations of physical harassment related to the August 18th incident involving his wife.
City Attorney John Shaver on Friday denied access to Crooks’ letter of resignation. When questioned, city officials said Crooks was no longer with the department but refused to say whether he resigned or if he was fired. Crooks is free on bond and scheduled to return to court this month.
Police have said two internal investigations focused on Crooks were closed by the department last week after Crooks’ departure. Shaver said Crooks will get no post-employment compensation, or severance pay. Per city policy, Crooks could be paid for unused leave, Shaver said. It wasn’t immediately clear if Crooks was owed such monies.
Officer Glenn Coyne
Just a few weeks later, Officer Glenn Coyne was arrested Oct. 1, 2009 on suspicion of first-degree burglary and first-degree sexual assault. Coyne was working under probationary status, which was punishment handed down after an internal investigation found that he had violated department policy during another incident involving a separate woman that Coyne encountered while off duty in December 2008. The District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the case criminally, citing a lack of evidence.
Grand Junction Police Officer Glenn Coyne was fired by the department in a face-to-face meeting at the jail with Deputy Chief John Zen. He was being held on suspicion he sexually assaulted a woman in her home earlier this week. Coyne, 35, said little before he was ordered held on $250,000 bond in a brief hearing before County Court Judge Bruce Raaum, who advised Coyne of possible penalties, including lifetime supervision or prison, if convicted of first-degree sexual assault and first-degree burglary.
A "stressed" Glenn Coyne on Saturday had little to say but was eager to defend himself against sexual assault allegations that ended his 10-year career in law enforcement, according to a Montrose bail bondsman.
Coyne was later found dead in a Jefferson County hotel room, authorities said. His body was found about 1:35 p.m. Tuesday by a staff member of the Days Inn hotel in the 15000 block of West Colfax Avenue. Coyne worked for the Santa Rosa County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department from November 2002 to February 2006, when he resigned. Coyne was the subject of extensive checks by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked before he joined the Grand Junction Police Department.
Coyne was married with two children; the family has a home on Orchard Mesa.
San Bernadino Police
October 27, 2009
Cop trys to get witness ID and info on what they had seen during the incident but, witness does not give in. (See: Criminal Cops! - Part I)
October 15, 2009
The District Attorney is weighing possible criminal charges for an off-duty sheriff's deputy accused of hitting a man in the head with his service pistol during an argument in Glendora. Glendora Police say Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Miguel Mejia struck 23-year-old Cal Poly Pomona student Chad Phillips on Sunday during a fight over a relative's unpaid utility bills. Phillips required nine stitches to close a cut over his eye and another on his forehead.
"The situation escalated from verbal to physical to eventually guns being displayed on both sides," Glendora Police Lt. Tim Staab said.
The case was submitted to the District Attorney's office for review on Thursday. Mejia declined to comment after he answered the phone at Sheriff's East Los Angeles Station. He is a sergeant who oversees the station's detective bureau.
The disagreement arose over a $70 share of a utility bill owed by Mejia's niece, which was left unpaid when she moved out of the house she shared with Phillips and several other roommates, authorities said. Phillips, whose girlfriend is also a roommate in the house, allegedly sent the Mejia family nasty messages about the bill.
The woman paid her debt to the landlord a few hours before Mejia arrived at the home in the 1000 block of East Dalton Avenue, according to roommate Tiffany Triplett. But the Mejias were still angry about the tone of the messages. Phillips and friends who were at the house said Mejia was violent from the moment he arrived. Triplett said the incident started when she cracked the front door open for him at about 4 p.m.
"He started pushing his way through the door," Triplett said. "He was yelling `I'm a sheriff, I lock up pieces of (expletive) like you all day."' Triplett said Mejia knocked her head into a brick wall and punched a female roommate in the face. Phillips came running. Almost as soon as he arrived, the deputy pulled out a gun, he said. "I went to the front door and saw him punch my girlfriend in the face," Phillips said. "When I ran out to help her, he reached to his right, grabbed a gun, pointed it in my face and said `I'm going to kill you."' Phillips said that's when Mejia hit him repeatedly with the gun.
Triplett said she retrieved an air rifle to help fend off Mejia. She said she hit him in the head with it. After she did so, the deputy turned his gun toward her, she said. "He pointed it right in my face," Triplett said.
Mejia eventually left for the Glendora Police Station, where he reported the incident and surrendered his gun. Investigators say Mejia told them he pulled his gun only after Triplett produced the air rifle.
"We've got statements from both sides," Staab said. "What we have to determine is who broke the law and who started the fight." A spokesman for the District Attorney said she did not know when a decision on criminal charges would be made.
Meanwhile, Mejia was back at work on Thursday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said the department assigned him another gun to use while the investigation is pending.
October 13, 2009
New York City Police officer was suspended without pay Monday following his arrest Sunday on charges that he pointed his gun at a group of passengers on a Long Island Rail Road train while off duty, law enforcement officials said. Officer David Hendrick, 38, of Brentwood pleaded not guilty Monday, October 12, 2009 in Nassau District Court in Hempstead to charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and second-degree menacing, a misdemeanor. He was held on $2,500 bond or $1,000 cash. If convicted, Hendrick faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. Nassau District Court Judge Andrea Phoenix issued orders of protection for the four passengers. Hendrick’s attorney did not return a call for comment.
According to MTA Police, Hendrick was riding a Ronkonkoma-bound train that left Penn Station at 9:17 p.m. Sunday, MTA police said. MTA police said Hendrick was attempting to quiet down a group of unruly passengers on a train containing several hockey fans returning from a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. MTA and Nassau police removed Hendrick from the train at the Mineola station and arrested him, MTA police said. The train was delayed for nearly a half-hour at the station.
NYPD officials declined to comment Monday other than to say Hendrick had been suspended without pay. They would not say how long Hendrick had been on the department or where he was assigned.