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"The only good nigger is a dead nigger and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other nigger from coming in the area."
-- July 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
Top News Story! Houston Beating Trial!
August 24, 2011
HOUSTON, TX (WCJB) — A judge on Tuesday denied a request to move the upcoming trials of four fired Houston police officers charged in the alleged beating of a teenage burglary suspect that was caught on videotape. Attorneys for the ex-officers argued during a 1½ day hearing that their clients could not get a fair trial because of intense pretrial publicity in the case, including the release by a community activist to the media earlier this year of a surveillance video that appears to show the officers kicking and stomping the burglary suspect during a 2010 arrest.
But state District Judge Ruben Guerrero ruled that a fair and impartial jury can be chosen from among the more than four million residents in Harris County, home to Houston. He also said defense attorneys had not presented any testimony from potential jurors about whether their opinions have been influenced by the pretrial publicity. "The publicity about this case is pervasive, it's widespread, it's continuing and it's derogatory, incriminating to the defendants in this case," the attorney for Andrew Blomberg (pictured above, left) one of the four indicted officers, said during closing arguments in the hearing earlier Tuesday.
Prosecutor Clint Greenwood argued that other high-profile cases in Harris County within the last decade that have received more pretrial publicity than this one, including the case of Andrea Yates, the suburban Houston mother who drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001. That shows that fair and impartial juries can be chosen, he said. "If the defense has its way, they are telling the residents of Harris County, 'You are not to be trusted,'" he said. The four ex-officers are set to be tried separately on various charges. Blomberg (Raad Hassan, pictured above,left)will be the first to be tried on April 16.
(Philip Bryan, pictured left)On Monday, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Police Chief Charles McClelland Jr. were called by defense attorneys to testify. They were questioned about public statements they have made in the case in which they said they were shocked and disturbed by what they saw on the video. Defense attorneys claimed such statements by Houston city leaders have been taken by the public as validation that the officers are guilty. Both Parker and McClelland denied this and said they believe, despite the video's release, that the ex-officers can get a fair trial in Houston. The video appears to show the officers kicking, punching and stomping on the then 15-year-old Chad Holley during his arrest in March 2010 at a self-storage business in southwest Houston. In the video, Holley is on the ground and surrounded by at least five officers. He appears to be kicked in the head, abdomen and legs by officers, even after he has been placed in handcuffs. Police said the teen was arrested following a brief chase after he and three others had allegedly burglarized a home. The teenager's mother has said her son's nose was fractured, and he had multiple bruises and limped after the alleged beating.
The four officers were fired and later indicted. Holley was convicted in October in juvenile court of burglary and put on probation.
(Drew Ryser, pictured left) After the video's release, the police department faced fierce criticism, including from leaders in Houston's black community, who said they believe the alleged beating was another example of police brutality against blacks and other minorities in the city. Holley is black. Community leaders were also upset the ex-officers are facing misdemeanor charges and not more serious ones. Blomberg, 28, along with former officers Phillip Bryan, 45; Raad Hassan, 41; and Drew Ryser, 30, each were charged with official oppression. Hassan and Bryan also were charged with violation of the civil rights of a prisoner. If convicted, each officer faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
2011 - Part IV!
2011 - Part IV!
Published: 8/23/2011 2:23 AM
Last Modified: 8/26/2011 03:02 PM
After 23 hours of deliberations, the jury in the Tulsa police corruption trial found officer Jeff Henderson guilty on eight counts, but acquitted officer Bill Yelton on all counts. Henderson was found guilty of six counts of perjury and two counts of civil rights violations. The mixed verdict was met with joy from Yelton's family but tears from Henderson's Jeff Henderson's wife didn't want her tears on display for the public, so she left the courthouse with her face covered. Although Henderson was found not guilty on the 44 more serious charges of drug dealing and threatening witnesses, the eight guilty verdicts mean the mean federal prison time. "Obviously, he's disappointed, but he's happy the jury believed him with respect to all the other charges," said Henderson's Attorney.
Yelton's family left the courthouse with more upbeat hearts. Yelton's attorney says he's glad the jury recognized the truth about Officer Yelton. "The acquittal says what we've been saying all along. Bill Yelton did none of these things and he is a top cop in this country and he looks forward to protecting you, the citizens of Tulsa, again," said Yelton's attorney.
Prosecutor Jane Duke focused more on the convictions and says the verdict should speak loudly to all officers that the integrity of the judicial process must be protected. "We are here to uphold all the laws regardless of whether we like them, they make our jobs more convenient or difficult and enforce the laws fairly," U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said. The maximum sentence on the perjury counts is five years in prison. The max for the two misdemeanor counts is one year. The U.S. Attorney says she'll ask the judge to take into account the fact that Henderson abused his position of trust. Henderson's attorney says they will appeal.
Published: 8/12/2011 2:23 AM ~ Last Modified: 8/26/2011 10:02 AM
Prosecutors called the last witness in their corruption case against two Tulsa police officers late Thursday afternoon, having called 40 witnesses over nine days. Prosecutors are expected to rest their case Friday morning, and attorneys for Officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton will begin presenting their case. Henderson, 38, and Yelton, 50, are charged in Tulsa federal court with civil rights violations and other criminal acts while in the line of duty. Thursday's witnesses included a woman who said she was the former girlfriend of a key government witness. Amie Slemaker is the former mistress of Brandon McFadden, a former agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who has pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and is cooperating with federal prosecutors. Slemaker said her relationship with McFadden ended in March 2010, which is one month before he was indicted on drug conspiracy and other charges.
In one of the counts against Henderson, prosecutors are trying to prove that he tried to bribe McFadden with the prospect of free legal services from Tulsa attorney Clark Brewster. Prosecutors allege that was so McFadden would fight his indictment instead of pleading guilty and offering information about other alleged criminal activity to federal prosecutors. McFadden has testified that he and Henderson stole drugs and money and dealt drugs while lying on police reports and fabricating information on search warrants.
Slemaker said she met with Henderson and his private investigator, Eric Cullen, at a local restaurant after McFadden was indicted. Slemaker and Cullen had become acquainted at an unrelated gathering months earlier, she testified. As Slemaker was walking to her car to leave the restaurant, Henderson walked over and became angry with her, she testified. "He said, 'I need to know if you are going to be on my team,' " Slemaker testified. "I could go to prison. I have babies." (Jeff) "was talking really loud," Slemaker said. "I wish Eric could have intervened. I felt like I was thrown to the wolves."
Prosecutors presented text messages between Cullen and Slemaker in which he instructed her to tell McFadden to fire his attorney, Neal Kirkpatrick, and hire Brewster, a noted criminal and civil attorney. Cullen testified that it was Slemaker's idea to hire Brewster for McFadden. Cullen and Slemaker are not charged with a crime, but they are alleged to have aided and abetted Henderson in attempting to bribe McFadden with Brewster's services, records show.
In court Thursday, after the jury had been sent home for the day, U.S. District Judge Bruce Black expressed skepticism about the government's case involving the bribery charge against Henderson. Henderson's attorney had asked Slemaker if she aided and abetted in the alleged bribery, and Slemaker answered, "No." Slemaker said Henderson never asked her to have McFadden hire Brewster. However, under questioning by prosecutors, Slemaker said Henderson's request for her to be "on my team" meant he wanted her to encourage McFadden to hire Brewster.
Cullen testified before Slemaker. His testimony centered on whether he attempted to help McFadden obtain free legal services from Brewster. Instead, McFadden retained the services of Kirkpatrick and pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy. He began cooperating with federal prosecutors in the police corruption probe. In his testimony, McFadden has given extensive details of criminal acts he attributed to himself and Henderson.
Brewster has offered more than $1 million worth of free legal services to help the city of Tulsa fight lawsuits stemming from the grand jury investigation of the Tulsa Police Department.
When contacted by media sources, Brewster said he had never spoken to McFadden and that his brief talk with Henderson did not lead to representation. "I had a brief conversation with Mr. Henderson, maybe a few minutes, but there was no face-to-face meeting," Brewster said. Thus far, six lawsuits have been filed by individuals who allege that they were wrongfully imprisoned and who have since been freed. The specific count in question Thursday alleges that if McFadden had used another attorney, he would not have agreed to help in the federal probe.
Thursday afternoon, prosecutors brought an assistant U.S. attorney to testify about a 2008 trial in which a man's charges were dismissed based on a disputed search warrant. Yelton and Henderson defended the search warrant in the court proceedings for that man, Ronald Crawford. The affidavit for the search warrant reported that the two officers conducted surveillance on Jan. 5 and 6, 2009, at the defendant's house and saw him there. However, Crawford provided evidence that he was in the Dallas area most of the time indicated in the search warrant, according to court transcripts shown in court Thursday. The transcript was read and verified by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnston, who prosecuted the federal case against Crawford. Johnston confirmed to prosecutors that Crawford's case was dismissed.
Crawford also took the stand Thursday and confirmed the court findings. He told jurors he had not lived at his Tulsa residence for about six months before the search warrant was served. Crawford said that on the day before he was arrested there, he had come into town for his daughter's birthday and stayed the night with a relative. In the morning, he went to his Tulsa residence and met a friend, with whom he smoked marijuana and watched a movie shortly before his arrest, he testified. Crawford testified that he had been fixing up and maintaining the house to become a rental property.
Published: 8/11/2011 2:11 AM
Last Modified: 8/26/2011 10:16 AM
A Tulsa County sheriff's sergeant testified Wednesday about a conversation in which a Tulsa police officer is alleged to have asked an inmate to "take out" another inmate who was talking to federal authorities about a grand jury investigation of law enforcement officers. Sgt. Carla Housely said she wrote out a statement by inmate Durrell Collins, who claimed that Tulsa Police Officer Bill Yelton asked him to beat up another inmate in the Tulsa Jail. The information was presented during the prosecution's eighth day of testimony in the police corruption trial of Yelton, 50, and fellow Tulsa Police Officer Jeff Henderson, 38.
Housely said that on May 18, 2010, she recognized Yelton, who was in a visitor's room with Collins, an inmate at the time. She recognized Yelton's face but could not recall his name. When she checked the jail visitor log, she realized that he had not signed in. Housely testified that the operations officer may have inadvertently failed to sign Yeltsin in. Housely testified that she told the desk officer to identify the officer for the log and that the desk officer identified him as Yelton.
Housely testified that Collins said Yelton asked him to "take out" a guy who had been talking to the "feds."
"He wants me to beat his ass," Housely testified that Collins said to her. "That's Yelton. He said he wants me to take a guy out ... because he's been talking." Housely did not identify the inmate who reportedly was intended to be the victim. However, local media sources, basing its stories on court records, has identified him previously as Waylon Dumas.
Collins took the stand after Housely and confirmed that he talked to her after a conversation with Yelton on May 18, 2010. Collins said he got to know Yelton because of a 2008 federal case in which Collins told Muskogee County officials about a murder-for-hire he was being asked to commit. In that case, Collins was placed in witness protection, and Yelton became a part of his protective detail, Collins testified. He was in the Tulsa Jail in an unrelated case when he contacted Yelton in May 2010, Collins said. He said he offered to give Yelton information about what he had heard in jail would be a 500-pound drug deal, but Yelton was not interested in that, Collins said.
Instead, Yelton turned the conversation to a fellow jail inmate he wanted Collins to do something to, Collins testified. "It would be nice if he was taken care of," Collins testified that Yelton said. Collins said he did not agree to do anything to the inmate. "That was pretty much the end of that conversation," Collins said. "I'd never been asked by an officer to do harm to someone."
The prosecution changed gears Wednesday, introducing several alleged victims of improper search warrants and drug planting who do not have extensive criminal backgrounds. Thus far this week, many of the witnesses have been admitted drug dealers who have criminal records or are currently incarcerated.
Nathan Sanders, a father of three, testified that he has no prior convictions and never sold drugs at his home yet was subject to a search at his home based on information attributed in an affidavit to an alleged "throw-down" informant. A throw-down informant is one whose name an officer might use as a witness even though the person has not actually witnessed the alleged crime. While Sanders was not home, police searched his house and turned in items as evidence that Sanders said were never his. Among those items were marijuana, cocaine, a sawed-off rifle and electronic scales, he testified. Sanders was never charged, he testified. Asked if he called the police months later to ask why he had never been charged, Sanders laughed at Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Harris and said, "No, ma'am. I didn't."
Another witness, 25-year-old Brandon Garland, testified Wednesday that he was arrested in July 2007 at his cousin's house during a police raid that turned up marijuana. Garland testified that he has no prior convictions and had never seen drugs at the house. He was booked into jail on a marijuana-possession complaint after police reported seeing him next to 103 grams of the drug when the raid happened, according to documents shown in court. "All I remember is them coming through the front and the back," Garland said. The officers made the several people in the house lie face down, and Garland was allegedly within arm's reach of the drugs, according to the documents. All charges were later dismissed, he said.
In other testimony Wednesday, Cleo Demetrius Hill, 32, testified that in August 2008, officers came to his entertainment retail shop, The Iszm, at 209 E. Mohawk Blvd., and served a search warrant. He said Henderson gave him an ultimatum to allow the officers to then search his residence, where Hill acknowledged keeping a gun, a personal stash of marijuana and about $18,000 in cash under his mattress. After that search, Henderson turned in $9,980 as evidence, according to the property receipt, which was shown in court. "There was another $9,000 that was there that never made it to the property room," Hill testified. He also said the police report of finding marijuana at his business was fabricated. He said police reported seeing two bags of marijuana, scales and a gun on the counter. Hill said the only one of those items that actually was at his business was the gun, which he kept under the counter. Hill is a convicted felon who is not legally allowed to possess a firearm, he admitted. He had the weapon at his business and another one at home for protection in a bad neighborhood, Hill testified under cross examination. Hill is the latest in a series of witnesses who reiterated previous testimony and offered additional statements about alleged falsified search warrants, "throw-down" informants and stolen money and drugs.
Brandon Scott, 29, testified that his civil rights were violated and his family was destroyed after an improper search at his home led to his wife's deportation. Scott said he knew that his wife was an illegal immigrant and had helped her gain documentation so they could wed, he said. Scott also admitted selling small amounts of marijuana and cocaine to support his family of five children, who otherwise relied solely on his disability income, he testified. On Aug. 4, 2009, Henderson and Yelton, along with other officers, served a search warrant at his home, Scott said. The search warrant was based on a reliable confidential informant whom Scott testified he had never met or sold drugs to. As a result of the search, which turned up marijuana and cocaine, Scott's wife was deported to Mexico, where she remains with the children, he testified. Scott, who is a convicted felon, said he doesn't dispute the findings of the search warrant, but he told the court that the improper search warrant was a violation of his civil rights. "My life has been destroyed," Scott said. "My family was torn apart."
Published: 7/30/2011 2:27 AM;
Last Modified: 8/26/2011 02:53 PM
Tulsa, OK -- A fifth lawsuit has been filed against the city and current or former police officers accused of falsifying search warrants and other corrupt practices, records show. DeMarco Deon Williams, 36, filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court, alleging that indicted Police Officer Jeff Henderson falsified a search warrant that led to a drug conviction and life sentence for Williams. Williams' lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tulsa alleges deprivation of civil rights by Henderson and negligence by the city of Tulsa. Henderson and fellow officer Bill Yelton were indicted under seal July 19, 2010, in federal court on a variety of criminal charges, records show. Special prosecutors are leading an investigation into alleged corruption within the Tulsa Police Department. The officers' jury trial begins Monday.
The officers are assigned to the department's Special Investigations Division. Henderson is charged with 58 counts: 22 related to perjury, 20 related to civil rights violations, 12 related to drugs, two witness tampering counts, one firearms count and one attempted bribery count. Some duplicate charges are expected to be reduced during the trial. Yelton is charged with eight counts: four related to civil rights violations, two related to witness tampering, one related to suborning perjury and one count of attempted retaliation against a witness, which was added in September 2010. Yelton is not involved in Williams' case.
Williams alleges that the Tulsa Police Department failed to properly supervise Henderson. The suit also alleges that the department failed to provide policies that would have prohibited Williams' wrongful incarceration for six years in prison or jail awaiting trial. "The liability extends through to the policy makers for the City of Tulsa who were willfully blind to the practices, policies, and actions of police officers within the City of Tulsa," Williams' lawsuit states.
Williams was convicted of drug charges April 25, 2008, and sentenced July 30, 2008, to life in prison. He was freed from federal prison April 30, 2010. He is represented by two attorneys.
The first such lawsuit against the city and police officers was filed April 19, 2010, in state court by Larry Wayne Barnes Sr., who was freed from federal prison July 2, 2009, after an informant in his case said he lied about a drug buy involving Barnes and his daughter, Larita Annette Barnes. Larita Barnes filed suit Aug. 6, 2010, in U.S. District Court against the city of Tulsa, McFadden and Henderson, records show.
Another lawsuit was filed against the city June 3, 2010, by Bobby Wayne Haley Sr., records show. Haley was convicted on drug charges Sept. 30, 2005. He was released from federal prison in May 2010 after an informant in the case said she lied about seeing drugs being sold at Haley's business, records show.
Patrick Neil London, 38, filed a civil rights lawsuit Jan. 11 in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, records show. London spent 435 days in jail before his drug-trafficking case was dismissed March 19, 2010, by Tulsa County District Judge Carlos Chappelle. The judge stated that police officers lied about the facts of London's arrest, court records show.
In addition to the city, the other defendants in London's case are former Tulsa Police Officer Eric J. Hill and Police Officers David A. Foust and Joseph W. Beaty. Foust and Beaty are not accused of wrongdoing, and they are not charged with crimes in connection with the federal investigation. Beaty's name has been raised only in the London civil suit, records show. However, Foust has testified before the grand jury that investigated possible police corruption, federal court records show.
Duke's office questioned Foust's truthfulness in his testimony before the grand jury, but Foust said he testified truthfully, court records show. Hill was fired Aug. 18, 2010, by the Tulsa Police Department after admitting he had planted drugs on people and accepted stolen drug money, a Tulsa World investigation shows.
Published: Tuesday, August 09, 2011, 6:15 PM; Updated: Friday, August 26, 2011, 02:02 PM
A 25-year-old man sued the Gretna Police Department Tuesday, alleging his civil rights were violated by a police officer who sicced his canine on him without provocation, leading the dog to bite into his groin area and virtually sever his penis. Cody Melancon (pictured left) alleges his civil rights were violated by a police officer who sicced his canine on him without provocation. Melancon, of Gretna, said Tuesday the attack left him sexually dysfunctional. A doctor has recommended sexual enhancement pills and he faces neurosurgery in hopes of restoring the use of his penis, which was almost completely severed by the police dog's bites. "I don't have any sensation down there," Melancon said. "I can't get an erection. I'm 25 years of age."
(Black civil rights demonstrator attacked by a dog in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963).
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, names the police department, Chief Arthur Lawson, Officer Joseph Mekdessie and Officer Roland Kindell, in their official and individual capacities. It alleges the police falsified reports to cover up their actions and violated Melancon's constitutional rights to due process and to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Melancon seeks a jury trial and $31 million for medical and other expenses and for punitive damages. Melancon's attorney said his client also filed a complaint with Gretna police's public integrity bureau and has contacted the FBI. Chief Lawson did not return calls for comment.
The lawsuit stems from a May 30, 2011 incident, when Gretna police went to his Monroe Street apartment in the shadow of the Crescent City Connection to arrest Melancon on charges he kicked in someone's front door and hit an occupant - charges he refutes. While he admits he initially tried to hide in the apartment from the officers, he surrendered upon hearing a cop threatened to release the dog inside. As he knelt on the ceramic tile floor of his small living room and locked his fingers behind his head, Melancon said Mekdessie trumped up an altercation and let his dog, Zin, go. "He started saying, 'Stop fighting with my dog,' and he released the dog on me," Melancon said in his apartment, feet away from where he said the attack occurred. Zin went straight for his groin, and instead of commanding the dog to stop, Mekdessie tried to pull the dog away, causing it to bite more.
"I was in so much shock and pain," he said. "I couldn't do anything. I was just in total shock."
Melancon "sustained severe and debilitating injuries as a result of the actions of (the) defendants, including but not limited to severe mental anguish, loss of sexual function, severe nerve damage, loss of feeling in the genital region, a partially severed penis, tears to his scrotum, a urethra tear and loss of enjoyment of life and consortium, all of which require future medical care," his attorney wrote. Zin allegedly has bitten other people "unnecessarily and excessively," and Lawson allegedly did nothing, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Mekdessie and Kindell "harassed" Melancon days before the incident outside a nightclub in Gretna, in which Kindell, Mekdessie and Zin conducted an illegal search of his car. Finding nothing, the officers allegedly claimed Melancon's truck radio was too loud and issued a citation to justify their search. Words were exchanged, and Melancon went home, the suit says. Days later, according to the lawsuit, Kindell and Mekdessie learned of a warrant for Melancon's arrest and volunteered to help bring him in. They announced their presence outside Melancon's door. Melancon's fiancée, Ashley Braxton, and their two daughters were present during the arrest. Braxton lied to the officers when she told them Melancon was not there, according to a police report.
Officers said Melancon "refused to follow the K-9 officer's commands," and Zin bit him "in the genital area." Mekdessie, in another report, wrote he heard movement in back of the apartment "as if someone was trying to escape," and then released Zin, who located Melancon "running from the back bedroom toward the back of the apartment, at which time Zin bit the subject in the groin area." Melancon's attorney says the report is wrong, that Melancon's apartment didn't have a rear door or windows, so he had nowhere to run.
Gretna police emergency medical technicians who were on the scene gave Melancon morphine and transported him to a hospital, where his penis was reattached before he later was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center with resisting arrest and other charges.
Melancon's attorney alleged Mekdessie visited Melancon in jail. "He was calling Cody 'nuts,' and saying 'Yeah, that's my handiwork,'" the attorney said.
The Jefferson Parish district attorney's office, meanwhile, has charged Melancon with simple battery, resisting arrest, aggravated burglary and obstruction of justice. Braxton has been charged with accessory to aggravated burglary, according to records in the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna.
August 9, 2011
Nicholas County Sheriff Dick Garrett (pictured above, center) took a plea deal Tuesday morning, admitting to charges of Theft by Unlawful Taking and Abuse of Public Trust. Prosecutors say Garrett used asset forfeiture money "like it was his own personal checking account." An indictment alleges that he took more than $43,000 from the forfeiture account and used $10,000 for his personal use. Garrett allegedly used cash to pay his homeowners insurance, buy Coke products and repay personal loans. A jury recommended 5 years in prison for the theft charge, and 5 years for the abuse charge. Garrett will also be required to pay restitution of $38,237.60 within 5 years, resign immediately as Sheriff and can will not be able to run for Sheriff again.
A Nicholas County grand jury indicted Garrett on one count of theft by deception and one count of abuse of public trust, said Kathryn Hendrickson of Maysville, the special prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury. Hendrickson would not discuss specifics of the counts, but Garrett said the charges dealt with his handling of cash confiscated during a drug investigation.
Prior to pleading guilty, Garrett stated: "As far as I know, I'm going to continue to be sheriff," Garrett said. He said he has no intention of stepping down "unless someone says I've got to."
Garrett said he was aware that state police were investigating him. He has been sheriff since 2003 and defeated three opponents in the Democratic primary in May. He has no opposition in the Nov. 2 general election.
Garrett was the subject of national attention in November 2008 when he ordered two men driving tractors to tip over a mobile home that blocked U.S. 68 for hours. The move destroyed the unit and brought criticism from the owner of the mobile home and others. The incident was highlighted on CNN Headline News and a satirical Web site.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2011.
August 4, 2011
An ex-cop who lost his job for attacking a man with his nightstick in the Bronx was sentenced Friday to five years probation. Marc Rios cracked John Roperto, 34, across the face with his baton in an unprovoked assault in March 2009, leaving him with broken bones in his cheek and nose. The 13-year NYPD veteran was fired after pleading guilty in June. The beating happened after Rios' speeding patrol car nearly struck Roperto in Kingsbridge. Roperto slapped the car with his hand and cursed out the cops, sending Rios into a rage, prosecutors said.
August 1, 2011
Criminal charges have been filed against an Adams County Sheriff's deputy who is accused of breaking the jaw of a 15-year-old boy who was in an ambulance with his hands and feet restrained. Patrol Deputy David Morrow, 28, is charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, second-degree assault and tampering with a witness, all felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of official oppression, according to a joint statement this afternoon from the Adams County District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department.
The incident happened at when deputies broke up a party in unincorporated Adams County between Thornton and Welby about 1 a.m. on June 12 and the teenager was allegedly drunk and became "verbally abusive," they said The boy was being taken to a hospital because he would not provide information about his parents so they could be notified, according to the statement, issued after an internal investigation of the incident. "Witnesses report that Morrow (pictured left) entered the ambulance to retrieve his handcuffs," the sheriff and prosecutors offices stated. "Morrow was told he could exit though the back door, but insisted on exiting through the side door in front of the ambulance. As he passed the juvenile restrained on the ambulance gurney, Morrow struck the juvenile on the face with a closed fist."
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by media sources, Morrow then said to the ambulance staff, "Nobody saw anything, right?"
Morrow has been on paid leave, but was placed on leave without pay today, because of the charges being filed. "This is an unfortunate day for the Adams County Sheriff's Office," says Sheriff Doug Darr stated. He added, "This is very serious business. We have a responsibility to investigate all allegations of violations of Colorado law regardless of the individual's position. It's about doing the right thing regardless of the circumstances. It is the only way to maintain the trust and respect of the community we serve. We are not above the law."
Morrow has been a deputy since 2004, the media reported. He is free on $20,000 bond. A booking photo was not released.
July 29, 2011
A New Orleans police officer under investigation for allegedly lying about a January drug arrest in Algiers resigned from the force today. Officer Samuel Birks, a four-year NOPD veteran, was charged in state court late last month with filing false public records and malfeasance in office. Birks and his patrol parter, Joshua Hunt, allegedly falsely arrested Alvin Bean and later lied about the incident. Bean alleged the officers planted a rock of cocaine on him.
Hunt resigned June 2. Birks opted to resign today amid the pending criminal charges and an internal NOPD probe, according to a NOPD news release. Birks and Hunt wrote a police report saying they were on foot patrol on Jan. 25 at the Jackson Landing apartments in Algiers when they saw Bean dealing drugs. Bean said he was walking along Garden Oaks Drive when a single officer, Birks, stopped him, checked his name in a police database, cuffed him and sat him in the back of the patrol car. Bean, who was on parole from a Colorado conviction, said Birks drove him around until he got a call from Hunt, who wanted to get picked up at the dentist. The officers allegedly reunited and quizzed Bean about criminal activity at Jackson Landing. Bean said he pleaded ignorance, and the cops planted a small rock of crack cocaine in his jacket pocket.
Details of the incident came to light when Bean's attorney, Heather Hendrix, verified Hunt's dentist visit through records. Hendrix forwarded the information to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro's office, which dropped the charges against Bean. Cannizzaro's office then brought charges against both officers. Hunt faces additional charges, including perjury, because he allegedly lied about the arrest while under oath in a court hearing in March. Hunt and Birks have pleaded not guilty. A hearing date has not been scheduled.
July 7, 2011
Dayton police "mistook" a mentally handicapped teenager's speech impediment for "disrespect," so they Tasered, pepper-sprayed and beat him and called for backup from "upward of 20 police officers" after the boy rode his bicycle home to ask his mother for help, the boy's mom says. Pamela Ford says her "mentally challenged/handicapped" son Jesse Kersey, 17, was riding his bike near his Dayton home when Officer Willie Hooper stopped him and tried to talk to him. The mom says that "Prior to the incident described below, defendant Hooper knew Jesse and was aware that Jesse was mentally challenged/handicapped and a minor child." Nonetheless, Ford says, Hooper "apparently took Jesse's speech impediment for disrespect ... [and] began yelling at Jesse and after Jesse attempted to communicate with him[.] Jesse, being a minor and mentally challenged/handicapped, turned and rode his bike back to his home in an attempt to ask his mother, Ford, to help him communicate with defendant Cooper," according to the complaint in Montgomery County Court.