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Posted: Oct. 9, 2013 - Updated: Oct. 9, 2013 - 9:38 pm PDT
New York City -- Wojciech Braszczok (pictured above, center-inset-right) an off-duty undercover New York City cop, was officially charged today for alleged his role in the assault of an SUV driver. The undercover narcotics police detective was part of a group motorcycle riders that assaulted SUV driver Alexian Lien. Braszczok initially told his superiors days after the incident that he saw the attack but did not stop it for fear of blowing his cover, police said. But video captured at the scene revealed that he actually participated by smashing the back window of Lien's Range Rover, law enforcement sources said. He is a 10-year veteran of the NYPD, according to a law enforcement source. He is an undercover detective who spent much of his police career in narcotics but recently transferred to another division, the source said. Internal Affairs had been reviewing Braszczok's former narcotics cases as charges against him were being contemplated, the source added.
Braszczok, 32, was charged with gang assault, assault and criminal mischief in connection with the attack on Lien on Sept. 29. Those charges include felonies -- upgraded from the initial misdemeanor charges of riot and criminal mischief announced by authorities when he was arrested Tuesday. During his appearance in Manhattan's criminal court, Braszczok wore army fatigues and a black hooded sweatshirt. He stood motionless as the charges were read. Braszczok is being held on $100,000 cash bail or $150,000 bond. Braszczok's attorney called the gang assault charge an "absolute overcharge" and said there's no evidence the detective knew the other bikers. The riders are a loosely knit group that arranges rides via the Internet, his attorney said. Braszczok's attorney said his client is accused of breaking "what was already broken." There was a "gaping softball [sized] hole" in the window that the detective is accused of breaking, the attorney said during the court appearance.
While Braszczok is not accused of directly assaulting Lien, prosecutors said he terrorized the driver's family. He was captured on video kicking the passenger-side rear door multiple times where, prosecutors pointed out, Lien's 2-year-old daughter was in the back seat. Braszczok is the latest in a string of arrests connected to the incident. Five other motorcyclists have been charged, and police say they are continuing to search for suspects. "In the last few days, serious charges have been brought against several defendants in last Sunday's attack," Erin Duggan, a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, said Tuesday. "As we said from the beginning of the investigation, the NYPD and the district attorney's office are methodically scrutinizing the evidence to build the strongest possible cases in our continuing effort to hold accountable those responsible." Police released photos of additional suspects to the public on Tuesday.
Investigators believe that while Braszczok was one of three cops on the ride in the general area of the attack, he was the closest to the beating and the only one to have a clear view of what was happening, a law enforcement source said. They believe another detective was further away from the attack and a third, an officer, was "in the way back" of the motorcycle pack, the source said. The other two officers' conduct was being probed, but investigators said they were not expected to face criminal charges, the source added.
The melee began around 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, when Lien, who was driving on the highway with his wife and 2-year-old daughter on an outing to celebrate the couple's wedding anniversary, tapped the back of a motorcycle that cut in front of him and slowed down, police said. The rest of the bikers then closed in on him, prompting Lien to speed off, hitting three bikers as he accelerated away from the group, according to the NYPD. The group chased Lien and then pulled him from his car and beat him, cops said. Clint Caldwell, 32, was also expected to be arraigned today for his role in allegedly helping to pull Lien out of the SUV and beat him.
Much of the chase was caught on a helmet camera video that was then uploaded to the Internet. Police said they have used the video and images taken at the scene to identify suspects. Detectives have also obtained additional footage and photographs from others that have helped them piece together what went on, sources said.
A grand jury is already hearing evidence in the assault cases that have been filed, and Lien is expected to make a video statement for prosecutors for the grand jury, authorities said.
Posted: October 5, 2013 - Updated: October 6, 2013 - 4:48 pm PDT
Portland, Oregon -- Oregon State Police released shocking footage of a deadly shootout that took place between a state trooper and an Army veteran. The video, which was released Thursday, starts with Trooper Matt Zistel, 26, stopping a Cadillac speeding down I-84. The driver, 34-year-old John Van Allen, is seen getting out of the car. But when Zistel asks him to get back inside his vehicle, Van Allen pulls out a gun and starts shooting. After shots were exchanged, Van Allen got back into his car and drove off. While Zistel was shot in the side, it turns out he also struck the shooter as well.
Allen was found dead inside his car just half a mile away from the scene, police said in a news release. An autopsy revealed he died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Zistel was treated for a minor gunshot wound. The Army veteran's three children -- a 10-year-old girl and two boys, ages 13 and 15 -- were in the back seat of the car when the gunfire erupted, police said. While they were unharmed, they have been placed in state custody.
The incident, which occurred Aug. 29, was investigated and in September Sherman County District Attorney Wade McLeod determined that Zistel was justified in firing at Allen, media sources reported. While the incident transpired Aug. 29, officials did not release the video until the investigation was completed.
Posted: Sep 30, 2013 - Updated: October 6, 2013 - 12:26 pm PDT
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Security cameras captured a disturbing video of a group of Atlantic City police officers assaulting a man, beating him mercilessly with blunt weapons, and finally siccing an attack dog on his neck and head as he lay helplessly face-down in the street. The shocking abuse seems to be done with the approval of the police chief, who watched the video and saw no reason to discipline his officers.
After a verbal encounter with police, David Castellani crossed the street and walked away from the officers. He was obviously upset at the interaction. Several times as he walked away, he turned around as if to react to an ongoing conversation being shouted between the officers and himself. He can be seen responding to the officers, raising his hands excitedly. He paused briefly to shout down the street but continuing to walk the other direction, widening the distance between himself and the officers.
After a heated verbal exchange that lasted roughly a minute, the surveillance video shows four officers running into the frame and assaulting Castellani. His hands were clearly visible and held down at his sides. There was no threat posed at all. "They bum-rushed the kid," his father later described.
The officers quickly spun him around and forced him to the ground. The encounter was brutal from the start. As Castellani defended himself from the gang attack, one officer quickly pulled out an extendable baton and began beating him in the back. Castellani, now face down on the street, was attempting to cover his head while receiving blows from all sides. The assailants pummeled Castellani with their fists, kicked him, and struck him with their knees. One officer knelt on his head.
Castellani curled into the fetal position, desperately trying to shield himself from attacks, as a fifth officer entered the melee. Officers yanked his legs to the extended position just so one of them could beat on the backs of his calves with his club.
A marked police SUV flew into the scene, pulling halfway onto the sidewalk. Castellani remained face down on the ground, one hand is in a cuff, the other visibly extended out in submission, fingers spread, posing no threat. A sixth officer — a K9 unit — jumped out of his SUV with an attack dog and immediately sicced the dog on the helpless man. The beast clamped down on Castellani head and neck, using such force that it actually dragged him several feet across the pavement — by his neck. The German Shepherd thrashed its head while clamped down on its prey, to the delight of its handler, whom joined into the fray by punching Castellani in the head.
Posted October 4, 2013 - 2:42 pm - Updated: October 4, 2013 - 3:34 pm PDT
Seven Glocks, One Down!
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - The seven Hillsborough County deputies and Tampa police officers involved in the shooting death of a rape suspect on September 6 were justified in their use of deadly force, according to the State Attorney's Office.
Investigators say Christopher Bates went on a violent crime spree in the USF area. He was shot and killed after crashing during a high speed chase.
He allegedly raped four women and held a large group of people hostage at gunpoint. Bates was 24-years old and had just finished a court ordered drug treatment program after an arrest earlier this year for marijuana possession.
He was also arrested in 2009 for domestic violence, but the charge was dropped. He was arrested seven months ago for carrying a concealed weapon, but that charge was also dropped because the gun was in the trunk of his car, which prosecutors said did not meet the definition of "concealed weapon".
Bates' stepfather, Garfield Williams, said Bates was recently depressed and had attempted suicide before. He believes he ran from police in order to commit "suicide by cop".
"I don't think they had to shoot as many times as they did," Williams said.
Bates' stepfather says he doesn't know what to believe about the allegations his stepson raped four women.
"If he did it, he did it to lead up to what happened," Williams said.
The medical examiner released a 17 page autopsy report that ruled the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head.
Bates was wounded more than 20 times, the report states.
The autopsy also showed Bates had methylone in his system. Methylone is an illegal street drug that is used to make bath salts.
Risperidone was also found in Bates's system. Risperidone is listed as an atypical antipsychotic drug which is mainly used to treat schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, the mixed and manic states associated with bipolar disorder and irritability in people with autism.
Posted October 4, 2013 - 2:42pm Updated October 4, 2013 - 6:05pm PDT
Sallisaw, Ark. -- A Sallisaw police officer turned himself in Friday to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on suspicion of furnishing alcohol to a minor after he was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Lt. John Marcus Weber, 29 (pictured above, center) was booked into the Sequoyah County Detention Center on suspicion of two counts of felony furnishing alcohol to a minor and one count of misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to a minor, according to a news release from OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown.
The felony counts refer to “providing hard liquor or high-point beer,” and the misdemeanor offense refers to “providing 3.2 beer,” the release states.
On Sept. 25, the Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint, and Sheriff Ron Lockhart requested that OSBI open an investigation into an allegation of official misconduct involving Weber.
On Sept. 27, Weber was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the investigation, Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards said.
An OSBI agent spent several days collecting information and discovered multiple teenage victims, according to the release.
A warrant for Weber’s arrest was filed Thursday and signed Friday. Weber’s bail was set at $10,000 for which he made bond, the release states.
Weber is an eight-year veteran of the Sallisaw Police Department. He also is the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, Edwards said.
Posted: 09/27/2013 01:38:09 AM - Updated: 09/30/2013 11:11:09 AM PDT
Sallisaw, Oklahoma -- A Sallisaw patrol officer was placed on unpaid administrative leave Friday per departmental policy violation.
Lt. John Weber, an eight-year veteran of the Sallisaw Police Department, was suspended without pay pending an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office, Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards said.
Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said his department handled the case’s initial reports, but the OSBI has taken lead in the investigation.
“We had a complaint filed Wednesday on a Sallisaw officer,” Lockhart said. “With the relationship that we have in working with them, I thought it best to hand the investigation over to the OSBI.”
OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said she could not elaborate on the details of the case because the investigation is ongoing.
“Today, OSBI opened an investigation at the request of the sheriff in Sequoyah County into allegations of official misconduct by a member of the Sallisaw Police Department,” Brown said.
Brown said no arrests have been made in the case.
Published: 9:59 AM EDT, Fri September 27, 2013 - Updated: 3:28 AM PDT, Thurs. October 3, 2013
Father Brennan Again!
Philadelphia, PA -- A Philadelphia priest, Father Robert Brennan (pictured above, center) now 75, has been arrested on charges that include raping an altar boy. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said that Brennan once escaped prosecution during the clergy abuse scandal that rocked the city's archdiocese due to the statute of limitations. In a grand jury presentation in 2005, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office revealed allegations against Father Brennan that included more than 20 alleged child sex abuse victims, according to Williams. All of the cases were beyond the statute of limitations, and Brennan was never charged in that case, Williams said at a press conference Thursday.
In this new case, Brennan is charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault in connection with alleged incidents that took place between 1998 and 2001 when the victim was 11 to 14 years old, according to Williams. The allegations include digital penetration and oral sex. He was arrested on September 25 in Maryland, according to a statement released by Williams' office. "A serial abuser is now behind bars thanks to the brave actions of this young man," Williams said.
The archdiocese stripped Brennan of most of his duties in September 2005, though he remained a priest. The diocese said in a statement that Brennan's laicization is in progress with the Holy See, but did not provide a date when that process began or when Brennan would be formally defrocked. The diocese says it has "cooperated fully" with the current investigation.
The 2005 investigation led to the June 2012 child endangerment conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, the vicar of clergy for the diocese. The conviction marked the first time a U.S. church leader has been convicted of such a crime. Williams said that Lynn would've faced additional charges in connection with this case but that he avoided prosecution by three months due to the statute of limitations.
Police: Pennsylvania priest caught with pantless 15-year-old
Williams said that the young man was prompted to report the new alleged abuse regarding Brennan in the wake of Lynn's conviction. According to a statement released by Williams' office, the victim reported the abuse to the diocese in January 2013 and it was immediately brought to the attention of authorities. "It takes tremendous courage for any sexual assault victim to come forward and report the horrors he or she endured," the district attorney said. Williams commended the diocese for promptly reporting these most recent allegations.
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013, 9:57 AM - Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013, 10:20 PM PDT
New York -- Alex Rodriguez (pictured above, center) arrived at 245 Park Ave. for the first day of the rest of his baseball life at 9:27 Monday morning, climbing out of a black SUV in a sharp blue suit, and accompanied by his high-profile New York lawyer, Joe Tacopina.
Rodriguez, who says he will attend every day of the arbitration in which he will challenge the unprecedented 211-game suspension handed down by commissioner Bud Selig for violating the game's collectively bargained drug agreement, joined another of his attorneys, David Cornwell, for the hearing before a three-person panel that includes MLB vice president Rob Manfred, MLB Players Association general counsel David Prouty and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Looking shaken and nervous, Rodriguez stepped through the media throng to shake hands with a group of supporters carrying Dominican flags and carrying signs that read, "Bosch, Liar!" and "Leave A-Rod Alone!"
Rodriguez is accused of procuring and using drugs furnished by Anthony Bosch, the owner of the now-defunct Miami anti-aging clinic Biogenesis at the heart of baseball's biggest drug scandal.
The media throng started lining up early along Park Avenue Monday morning, with four television vans parked back to back in front of MLB's offices. Rodriguez's day of reckoning began under azure skies, with the embattled Yankee third baseman set to begin his appeal.
Posted: 09/28/2013 01:38:09 AM PDT - Updated: 09/30/2013 11:11:09 AM PDT
All in the Family!
OROVILLE, CA — Gloria Gonzalez, a former city employee, was arrested for embezzling money from the city of Gridley's employee health savings reimbursement account and cashing city checks not issued to her. Defendant Gloria Gonzalez, who headed the effort, pleaded guilty on July 24 to felony counts of embezzlement, cashing a check with non-sufficient funds, filing a false tax return and receiving a fraudulent tax refund. Gonzalez also admitted the allegation she took more than $200,000. Three of her family members were given probation for their roles in embezzling the more than $438,000 from the city of Gridley. Judge Tamara Mosbarger sentenced two of Gonzalez's daughters, Bianca and Miranda, as well as Bianca Gonzalez's husband, Jose Ramirez Jr.
Gonzalez's children were involved because money was deposited into accounts they held jointly with their mother. Gonzalez also wrote city checks to Ramirez and others that were deposited into Bianca Gonzalez's and Ramirez's bank account. Bianca Gonzalez and Ramirez both pleaded no contest to felony counts of grand theft, cashing a check with non-sufficient funds and filing a fraudulent tax return. They also admitted the special allegation that their total amount was over $100,000. Miranda Gonzalez pleaded no contest to cashing a check with non-sufficient funds, although her attorney told the court she wasn't involved in what happened, but pleaded due to the risk of taking the case to trial. He said Gloria Gonzalez signed checks without her daughter's knowledge. Deputy district attorney Robert Thomas III responded that Gloria Gonzalez deposited a check into the account and Miranda Gonzalez spent it.
Mosbarger placed Miranda Gonzalez on three years informal court probation and ordered her to repay $10,692.51. The judge noted that the defendant only had a prior traffic ticket. The judge also advised the defendant to seek full-time employment beyond her part-time work with In-Home Supportive Services. For Bianca Gonzalez and Ramirez, the judge placed them on three years formal probation and ordered them to pay $118,000 in restitution. Deeming Bianca Gonzalez to be more culpable than Ramirez, she ordered Bianca Gonzalez to serve 110 additional days in jail and Ramirez to serve 90. The judge staggered their report dates for employment and guardianship issues. Handing down her sentence, Mosbarger said Bianca and Gloria Gonzalez took advantage of the city of Gridley and taxpayers locally and across the state. She said there was no reason to take the money other than pure, selfish greed. Although Ramirez's attorney argued there was no evidence Ramirez took or deposited money from Gridley, the judge noted he admitted he knew what was going on and turned a blind eye.
Defendant Gloria Gonzalez wasn't sentenced Friday in Butte County Superior Court. Her Defense attorney requested a continuance because they wanted time to respond to the Probation Department report received Tuesday. The defendant could be sentenced to up to seven years in state prison. Judge Tamara Mosbarger agreed and reset Gonzalez's sentencing to Oct. 25.
Posted: 7:02 PM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013 - Updated: 11:02 PM PDT, Thurs. September 19, 2013
DeLand, Fla. -- In a graphic video moments before his death, Marlon Brown (pictured above, center) was sprinting through a vegetable garden in a residential area. DeLand police cars with sirens blaring were not far behind. As Brown neared a fence that enclosed a backyard, he was cornered. Brown, 38, tripped then threw his hands in the air and turned to face police a moment before he was struck by the cruiser on May 8. That video was enough to convince DeLand Police Chief William Ridgway that rookie Officer James Harris should be fired immediately. As shown in a video released by Brown's family on Wednesday (09/18/13) two police cars driven by other officers stopped. But Harris, third in line in the chase, kept going. "On May 31st I was shown the video of the incident," Ridgway said in an email statement. "I terminated the probationary employment status of Officer Harris on that same day."
The city of DeLand reached a $550,000 settlement with the Browns but did not admit to any wrongdoing in the deadly chase that began with a traffic stop for a suspected seat belt violation. "We feel very betrayed by our criminal justice system," said Brown's ex-wife, Krystal Brown at a news conference Wednesday. Last week, a grand jury found that Harris should not face criminal charges. She spoke to media along with her attorney, Benjamin Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford in 2012.
"This video is important," Krystal Brown said. "It's the truth." Now, they want an independent investigation and review of the evidence. The Brown family hopes, despite the grand jury denial, that vehicular manslaughter charges will be filed against Harris.
Posted: 7:02 PM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013 - Updated: 9:02 PM PDT, Wed September 18, 2013
Sex, Money & the Navy!
Washington, D.C. -- The three men -- U.S. Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz (pictured above, center); Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II and Singapore-based defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., -- face federal charges in two bribery schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts with payoffs that included prostitutes and luxury travel. The three men are charged with conspiring to commit bribery and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. All three were arrested earlier this week. Beliveau was arrested in Virginia and Misiewicz in Colorado, where he was serving with the U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base. Both men are expected to be sent to San Diego to face the charges against them. Francis is being held without bond in San Diego, where he was arrested.
According to the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego, Misiewicz, 46, used a position as deputy operations officer of the U.S. Seventh Fleet to help schedule visits of U.S. Navy ships to ports where Francis' company provided contract services. The contracts — one of which was worth up to $125 million — involve providing services for ships and submarines in port, such as providing tugboats, security and transportation, paying customs fees, supplying food, fuel and water, and removing trash. Documents filed in San Diego federal court contend that in 2011, Misiewicz provided Francis with confidential ship movements and helped arrange to have some 7th Fleet ships moved to certain Asian ports that were considered more lucrative and where the company faced less scrutiny for potential fraud. In one case, according to an affidavit filed by a federal investigator, Misiewicz worked to have the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln sent to the port in Laem Chabang, Thailand, where during a 2012 visit the Navy was overbilled $500,000 for port services.
"In return, Francis provided Misiewicz with paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services," the U.S. attorney's office said. The information Misiewicz passed on to Francis, a citizen of Malaysia who lives in Singapore, was "confidential," meaning its disclosure could cause serious harm to U.S. national security, the U.S. attorney's office said. It detailed Navy ship movements months in advance, according to the U.S. attorney.
A separate complaint alleges Beliveau, 44, provided Francis with information about an NCIS fraud investigation into his company's dealings with the Navy. "In exchange, Francis provided Beliveau with, among other things, paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services," the U.S. attorney's office said. The complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of California, states that Beliveau made arrangements to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, through the same travel agent Francis used. No evidence was found that Beliveau paid for his hotel or travel, or that he reimbursed Francis for the trip. Francis also arranged for a female escort to entertain Beliveau while there, according to the complaint.
In e-mail correspondence between the two as detailed in the complaint, Francis attached a picture of the escort saying: "Joyce your kinda Babe?" Beliveau responded: "Nice. You bet. Hopefuly I'm her kinda guy, hehe." Francis allegedly paid for three days of the escort's time, including her airfare, according to the complaint. In all, the complaint alleges that Beliveau received the three-day trip to Thailand, escort included; a laptop for a female acquaintance; and went on a three-week, five-country trip through Asia. In return, Beliveau allegedly saved 125 NCIS investigative reports to his government computer. The affidavit states the reports were in connection with the NCIS investigation into Glenn Defense Marine Asia -- Francis' company.
According to the complaint, after many of the downloads the CD burner was activated, but it's unclear what, if anything, was burned. The affidavit alleges that Beliveau burned the documents to a CD so that he could transport them out of the NCIS office. The special agent who wrote the affidavit wrote that there is no "direct proof" that Beliveau gave Francis the downloaded documents.
If true, the allegations against Misiewicz will tarnish what has been an inspiring immigrant success story. Born in Cambodia and adopted by an American woman serving in the U.S. Army in Phnom Penh, Misiewicz came to the U.S. in 1973, a few years before the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia. Millions died during the group's brutal reign in what became known as the "Killing Fields." Misiewicz went on to earn his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy and in 2010 was in command of the destroyer USS Mustin when it made a port call in Cambodia. "It is important for me to be strong and to remember and honor the sacrifices that were made for me," Misiewicz said at the time, according to a Navy News Service report. "Both Cambodians and Americans in my young life sacrificed life and happiness so I could have a better life."
"Anything is possible. You can start anywhere, any place, if you've got freedom and you have opportunity like we have in the U.S., the sky is the limit," he said in the report.
Posted: September 16, 2013 at 10:16 PM - Updated: September 22, 2013 at 04:30 PM PDT
Murrieta, CA -- Two former Vista Murrieta High School football players, Kishawn Tre Holmes, 17 (pictured above, center) and Byron Keith Holt, 17, accused of sex crimes against a half-dozen girls made their first court appearances, with a judge ordering one defendant released to his parents' custody and the other to remain locked up. Both suspects had been booked Thursday at Southwest Juvenile Hall near Murrieta, police Lt. Tony Conrad said, following the investigation that began Aug. 29. The arrests of the two students on suspicion of rape were confirmed last Monday morning by Murrieta police and officials with the Murrieta Valley Unified School District. Sex-related criminal charges were filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office against the two Vista Murrieta High School football players after an investigation involving six underage female victims.
The school resource officer assigned to the campus had turned over his findings to the Murrieta police investigative unit on Sept. 3. The implicated students were contacted and interviewed by detectives, which ultimately led to their arrests, Conrad said. The alleged rapes did not occur on school grounds, the lieutenant said. “Vista Murrieta is a safe campus…,” Conrad said. “...The school district and the police department make campus safety a high priority.”
The boys appeared for a juvenile detention hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Vic Saraydarian, who closed the courtroom to spectators, including the media, permitting only the defendants' family members and attorneys to be present. After hearing from the parties, Saraydarian ordered Holmes to remain held at Southwest Juvenile Hall but permitted Holt to return home with his parents, on the condition that he remain under close supervision.
Holmes, 17, has been charged with eight felony counts involving a total of six victims in incidents dating back to 2012, with the most recent being in August, said John Hall, spokesman for the DA’s office. The charges filed against Kishawn include: two counts of rape by force or fear; two counts of a lewd and lascivious act on a victim under the age of 14; three counts of false imprisonment; and one count of dissuading a witness, Hall said. Kishawn appeared Tuesday for a detention hearing at Southwest Justice Center, according to Hall, who noted that because of the charges of rape by force or fear the law allows the proceedings to be public.
The second suspect in the investigation, Holt, 17, has been charged with sex-related crimes, according to Hall. The charges against his co-defendant were not disclosed, but D.A.'s office spokesman Hall described them as "sex-related." Hall said more details are being released about Holmes' case than that of his co-defendant because any time an underage defendant is charged with certain crimes -- in this case rape -- hearings are held in open court, unlike most juvenile court proceedings. While the nature of the allegations permit Byron to be identified as a suspect in the case, the charges against him do not qualify under the law as those that would permit public knowledge of the court proceedings or case outcome, Hall said. Hall said Holt's name was released because "at least one charge that's been filed against him is a serious or violent felony." However, additional details about Holt's case, including the number of counts filed, were withheld because proceedings in his case will not occur in open court and prosecutors are barred from disclosing what happens, according to Hall.
Authorities would not confirm the relationships, if any, between the parties involved.
The defendants both played varsity football for the top-ranked Vista Murrieta High School Broncos. Holmes was a star running back during the team's last season. A website player profile listed Kishawn, a senior, as a 5-foot-8-inch, 170-pound running back for the 2012-2013 Vista Murrieta varsity football team. He was not listed on the team’s current roster. Holmes had been among the school's top football prospects, impressing recruiting analysts and attracting the interest of several universities, including UCLA, Boise State and Colorado. Another website called Holmes one of the West's emerging offensive prospects and the latest star to come from a program that in recent years has been "churning out elite prospects." Byron, a junior, was also not listed as a 2013-2014 member of the Vista Murrieta team. During the 2012-2013 season, his profile described him as a 5-foot-10 inch, 220-pound varsity defensive linebacker for VMHS. Neither Holmes nor Holt, a senior defensive lineman, has played this season, and Coach Coley Candaele has removed them from the team.
Pending the outcome of the charges, the suspects were not on campus, according to Murrieta Valley Unified School District Spokeswoman Karen Parris, who said privacy laws do not allow the district to comment further on the charges or disciplinary actions taken. “We were shocked and disappointed to learn of the arrests,” Parris said in an emailed statement. She also said the alleged incidents did not occur on the Vista Murrieta campus or during school-related activities. The district is “fully cooperating” with Murrieta police in their ongoing investigation, Parris said, and encourages anyone who has information about the case to contact Lt. Conrad. Parris added that counselors are available for any students whom have concerns or whom wish to talk to someone regarding the situation.
The defendants' next hearing is Oct. 30.
Posted: 7:02 PM EDT, Wed September 13, 2013 - Updated: 9:02 PM PDT, Wed September 18, 2013
Drugs, Money & the Military!
Texas/Colorado (USA) Mexican drug cartels are recruiting American soldiers to act as clandestine hit men in the United States, paying them thousands of dollars to assassinate federal informants and organized crime rivals, law enforcement experts tell media sources. "The cartels operate like corporations. They have the money to go out and hire the talent they need to get the job done," said Ricardo Ainslie, who has documented drug cartel violence and culture as an author and a filmmaker. "They are very aware of how highly trained the U.S. military is and that the skills they've learned in the military don't readily translate to civilian life," Ainslie told media sources. The deadly Zetas Cartel members are well versed in military operations. Its founders were members of the Mexican military's special forces division who deserted their elite combat units to reap illegal billions while operating with relative impunity in Mexico's Wild West drug trade. Some Zetas Cartel members also received U.S. military training at Fort Bragg, N.C., in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics techniques during the 1990s.
It's impossible to quantify how pervasive cartel contract killing is among the American military — there are no statistics and the players, most notably confidential informants and their federal handlers, operate in an often surreal, secretive world with the blurred morality of a John le Carre novel. Federal officials have denied comment beyond the court filings.
The most recent U.S. Military Soldier — and blatant — example came this summer when 22-year-old Michael Apodaca (pictured above, center-left) a former private first class at Fort Bliss in Texas, was sentenced to life in prison for executing Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana, a member of the infamous Juarez Cartel in Mexico and a snitch for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. PFC Apodaca, the triggerman, was hired in 2009 by ICE informant (and double agent) Ruben Rodriguez Dorado (pictured above, center-left) to kill Juarez Cartel member Gonzalez-Galeana, after the latter had been outed as an ICE snitch.
Apodaca, who had served in Afghanistan, calmly testified earlier this year about the day in 2009 when he emptied eight rounds into Gonzalez-Galeana, then jumped into a get-away car driven by an accomplice, Christopher Duran. "As I shot him, I was moving, then I ran out of rounds," Apodaca said on the witness stand. Then he recounted how he telephoned the cartel member who'd given him the contract killing and reported, "I did it." The private, who was on active duty at Fort Bliss at the time, then dismantled his handgun and threw its magazine out the window. The Juarez Cartel paid Apodaca $5,000 to off the confidential informant outside his home in a quiet, upscale neighborhood in the border city of El Paso, Texas. The police chief lived just a few doors away. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, who told local reporters he heard shots being fired that day while standing in his backyard, denied an interview request from Global Media Sources.
"Not only was (Apodaca) on active duty, but he whacked an ICE informant/Cartel member who lived on the same street the El Paso police chief did," said Fred Burton, who is the former deputy chief of the counterterrorism division of the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. "Running human assets on drug smuggling is one thing," said Burton. But running human assets who are killing people is another." Burton said there is extensive chatter among intelligence officials about military servicemen being recruited by Mexican cartels, often through gang connections, but there are no hard numbers. Ultimately, Dorado pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire charges and received a sentence of life in prison. Duran got 20 years.
Their trials proved embarrassing for ICE, which initially refused to cooperate in the Texas criminal trials, frustrating both prosecutors and the judge. Ultimately, ICE agent Pete Loera, the handler for both informants, was allowed to give limited testimony. Loera testified the agency knew there was a contract out on Gonzalez-Galeana. However, Loera testified he did not know that Dorado had issued it.
The highly unusual Fort Bliss case gave a rare glimpse into the cold-blooded workings of Mexican organized crime and a particularly blundering effort by U.S. agents to infiltrate it, experts said. This was most evident in a case, where a U.S. confidential informant and Juarez Cartel lieutenant successfully ordered the assassination of another U.S. confidential informant working for the same cartel. The murder occurred while both snitches were reporting to the same ICE agent, according to court testimony.
Repeated interview requests from media sources to ICE seeking comment on the Fort Bliss case went unanswered.
Last September, two military members stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire after accepting a contract hit from men they thought were operatives of the ultra-violent Los Zetas drug syndicate. They actually were undercover federal agents. The soldiers volunteered they were skilled in "wet work" (a euphemism for covert assassinations) and not only would they kill for money, they also would provide military training and weapons — including grenades, assault rifles and body armor, according to a federal criminal complaint filed by the DEA in Laredo, Texas.
Michael Lauderdale, a criminal justice professor, who also chairs a city's Public Safety Commission, said hiring service members as assassins is really a matter of tapping into a certain skill set. "Many of them have most certainly killed people and they certainly know how to do that." That was apparently true of the Colorado soldiers who were willing to kill and transport drugs for the Los Zetas cartel, according to the federal criminal complaint filed in Laredo. First Lt. Kevin Corley, who was on active duty at Fort Carson, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder following his 2012 arrest by federal agents in the Texas border town. Corley, then 29, told undercover agents, in a series of meetings and phone calls, that he could provide military training for cartel members, put together a team of assassins and supply weapons stolen from his base.
He sold two AR-15 assault rifles to the agents he believed were Los Zetas cartel members in March 2012, and delivered five flack vests to prove his point. He also agreed to murder a rival cartel member and collect 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine, the complaint says. In return, Corley asked for $50,000 and five kilograms of coke. His hit team included Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28, with whom he'd served in Afghanistan, his cousin, Jerome, and Army Reserves member Shavar Davis, 30. Corley told the undercover agents he'd recently bought a Ka-Bar military fighting knife so he could carve a "Z" — the calling card of the Zetas — into the rival's chest. He also said he had a hatchet to dismember the body. The heavily armed hit team was arrested after federal agents swarmed their car in March 2012 while they were on their way to the intended hit. Jerome Corley was shot to death in the take-down. Walker was sentenced in June to 15 years in prison. Davis received a sentence of 10 years. Corley has yet to be sentenced. The target of the contract was an invention of federal agents.
Law enforcement experts warn that such incidents may only increase as highly trained military members struggle to find civilian jobs after mass deployments to killing zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Where better to offer high-paying killing contracts than to low-paid soldiers trained to kill and out of work, they say.
One key issue involves U.S. gang members who enter military service to gain weapons and battle experience, then return to gang life after mustering out. And gangs, increasingly, act as sub-contractors to Mexican drug cartels, providing muscle, weapons training and ferrying narcotics, human beings and illicit money across the border, according to federal drug agency reports. The most recent FBI statistics show that 53 gangs have been identified with members who have served in or are affiliated with the U.S. military. Those gangs include MS 13, Latin Kings, Crips, Bloods and Barrio Azteca, some of the most notorious and nefarious outlaw groups operating in the U.S. and Mexico.
Posted: September 17, 2013 - 3:18pm - Updated: September 20, 2013 - 11:06pm pdt
Hung on Murder!
Arizona -- Juan Martinez, the star prosecutor in the Jodi Arias murder trial, got another hung jury Tuesday, this time in the case against a former Arizona cop accused of shooting an unarmed man and his dog while responding to a domestic dispute call. Jurors found Richard Chrisman (pictured above, center) guilty of aggravated assault but couldn't agree on the other charges of murder and animal cruelty. Jurors in the trial of the ex-Phoenix police officer have found an aggravating factor in the case. Chrisman broke down as he left the courtroom. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a minimum of five years. The next court date is scheduled for Oct. 18.
Chrisman pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him, saying he shot 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez and his pitbull in self-defense. Chrisman claimed Rodriguez was reaching for his gun during the October 2010 incident, but Chrisman's partner said the unarmed man posed no threat to either officer, according to media sources. The former officer testified how pepper spray and his stun gun failed to stop the suspect's aggressive behavior as the two then struggled, and Rodriguez picked up a bicycle from the living room floor.
"He was going to smash my brains in. ... I fired two rounds, center mass," Chrisman told jurors during his trial. Chrisman testified that he and another officer arrived at the scene and made contact with the woman who had called authorities to report that her son, Rodriguez, had become violent. Chrisman said she was frightened and excited. "She was crying, shaking," Chrisman testified. "She told us that her son, Danny, goes out, he leaves the house for several days at a time. When he comes home, he gets real violent and angry and starts destroying stuff and hurts her." Rodriguez died at the scene.
Authorities say Chrisman used unnecessary excessive force after Rodriguez questioned the right of the two officers to be inside his trailer. The other officer on the scene with Chrisman told investigators the dog wasn't attacking either of them, and that the man wasn't a threat when Chrisman shot him. Chrisman says the officer wasn't doing his job, and was outside the trailer when the shooting occurred.
Prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors Chrisman arrived at Rodriguez's home as the aggressor, barged in and pressed a gun to his head before the fatal shooting. Martinez said the evidence doesn't show Rodriguez was assaulting the officer. He said Chrisman shot Rodriguez's "friendly" dog after the animal wagged his tail at him, and that the officer failed to even try to talk to Rodriguez. "A person cannot take out a gun, point it at someone and then when that person steps back, shoot them," Martinez told jurors in closing arguments.
In a press release issued Tuesday afternoon, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) said:
"In a perfect world, we would not need batons, Tasers, pepper spray, handguns, shotguns or rifles. The world we operate in is anything but perfect ... Ours is a world in which we are required to make split second decisions while operating under a complex of rules ...
This particular case is uniquely difficult. Not only was a police officer criminally charged for doing his job, it also pitted the word of one officer against another."
Martinez, who gained notoriety earlier this year for his aggressive and successful conviction of Arias, couldn't get jurors to agree on Arias' sentence. He will continue to pursue the death penalty against Arias during a retrial of the penalty phase, when a new jury will be selected to determine her fate. Judge Sherry Stephens may schedule a date for that retrial during an October 4 hearing, during which she is also expected to rule on several other motions filed by the defense.
Posted: September 17, 2013 - 3:18pm - Updated: September 20, 2013 - 11:06pm pdt
Not Again ...!
New York, NY -- Police officers shooting at what appeared to be an emotionally disturbed man in New York City's Times Square accidentally struck two innocent bystanders instead, police said today.
A cell phone video shot at the scene shows officers chasing the 35-year-old suspect Saturday night in the midst of one of New York City's busiest intersections, weaving in and out of traffic in what police said looked like an attempt to get hit by a car.
"One officer saw him out in the middle of the street, he obviously was causing a disturbance," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a news conference. "Cars were trying to avoid him... It appeared that he wanted to be struck by the cars."
When officers approached the suspect, he appeared to reach into his pocket to draw a gun. Two officers then fired a total of three shots, media sources reported in New York reported. While they missed the man, they accidentally hit two women instead.
One woman, 35, was grazed by a bullet, while the other woman, 54, was shot in the knee. Both were taken to Bellevue Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The 35-year-old woman was treated and released, according to media sources. But the 54-year-old woman, who needs a walker to get around, remains in stable condition at the hospital.
Ultimately, officers were able to subdue the man with a Taser, media sources reported. He was taken into custody at Bellevue Hospital, where he was being held for observation.
The officers involved in the incident have been on the force for one year and three years, respectively, media sources reported. The names of the women injured as well as the man in custody have not been released. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Posted: 12:07 AM EDT, Sat September 14, 2013 - Updated: 04:39 PM PDT, Fri. September 20, 2013
Nashville, TN -- Suspended Vanderbilt football star Chris Boyd (pictured above, center) admitted Friday to helping cover up an alleged on-campus gang rape, accepted a yearlong probation sentence and agreed to testify against four men accused directly in the crime. Boyd pleaded guilty to one count of being an accessory to rape, after the fact. After prosecutors laid out the case against him and as part of his plea deal, Boyd said he will willingly pay court costs, face 11 months and 29 days of unsupervised probation and "testify truthfully" against the men he helped last June. Boyd is a suburban Atlanta native had been on the official "watch list" for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to college football's top wide receiver, prior to his suspension from the Commodores. Vanderbilt spokeswoman Beth Fortune said later Friday that Boyd remains enrolled at the school, though he is still suspended from its football team, "pending further review by the university."
Friday's court hearing also revealed information about the prosecutors' case against the four former Vanderbilt players charged with rape. Early on June 23, Davidson County Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman alleged in court, Brandon Vandenburg took an unconscious Vanderbilt student into a building on campus. He was joined in his dorm room by three others also charged with rape -- Corey Batey, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie -- Thurman said.
"Different individuals" then sexually assaulted the young woman, the prosecutor said, as reported by media sources. Vandenburg texted the 21-year-old Boyd a picture of her, which Boyd promptly erased so his girlfriend wouldn't see it, Thurman said. Soon after that text, Vandenburg called Boyd "saying the victim had been messed with in the hall and sexually assaulted in the room, and he needed Mr. Boyd to come over," Thurman said. "Mr. Vandenburg further stated that he wanted to have sex with the victim, but he could not get an erection even though he used cocaine," added the prosecutor. Boyd went over and, with two other people, moved the woman -- who was lying in the hall unconscious, partially clothed -- to a room, put her on a bed, then left, Thurman said.
Subsequently, Boyd exchanged texts with Vandenburg and Batey, Thurman said. In one, Boyd said, "Tell the boys to delete that shit. I'm looking out for your asses." Boyd also texted his girlfiend that he "got everything cleared up" and "deleted everything," Thurman said. More texts followed the next day, including one in which Boyd detailed how he had helped move the young woman and said "she doesn't know anything that happened." Boyd also talked about it with Vandenburg, Batey, Banks and McKenzie at a Popeye's restaurant, Thurman said.
The incident came to light when university officials checking the dorm's hallway surveillance recordings regarding an unrelated situation observed unusual behavior by the defendants, police said. That prompted a notification to campus police on June 26. That same day, Vanderbilt University Police called Nashville Police into the investigation. Four days later, Vandenburg, Batey, Banks and McKenzie were dismissed from the football team and suspended from the university. The university and city police announced the dismissals but did not identify the players at that time. The four young men now each face five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also charged with one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
"The defendant was not completely truthful with the police or the district attorney's office in his initial interviews," the prosecutor said. "... He later came forward and gave additional information." Asked later by a judge if Thurman's presentation was correct, Boyd replied, "Yes, sir." Thurman said after the hearing that, if Boyd was convicted, he probably would have gotten a 1-year sentence given his clean criminal record. "I don't know how good a deal it is for him," the prosecutor told reporters.
His lawyer, after the hearing described Boyd as "a 21-year-old young man that was forced with making a decision in a situation that he did not fully understand. He is paying for that decision," the attorney added, "and he will be paying for it the rest of his life."
Posted: 12:07 AM EDT, Sat September 14, 2013 - Updated 04:37 PM PDT, Fri. September 20, 2013
911 Assisted Death!
Charlotte, NC -- Police in North Carolina shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell (pictured above, center) Saturday morning -- but he may have just been looking for help after a car wreck. Officers responded to a "breaking and entering" 911 call at a home in Charlotte. The homeowner told dispatchers that a man had been knocking on her door repeatedly. The woman inside thought it was her husband. "To her surprise, it was an individual that she did not know or recognize," Monroe told media sources. "She immediately closed the door, hit her panic alarm, called 911." The man stood outside and "continued to attempt to gain the attention of the homeowner," a police statement said.
Police say that when they got to the scene, a man matching the caller's description ran toward them. One of the officers fired his stun gun, but it was "unsuccessful." Another officer then opened fire, police said. Ferrell died at the scene. He was shot several times. He was unarmed. Police called the incident "unfortunate." Ferrell was 24 and a former football player at Florida A&M University.
Police now believe Ferrell was seeking assistance after crashing his car. Police found a wrecked car nearby, indicating that he may have been trying to get help. "It was a pretty serious accident," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe told media sources. The crash was so severe that authorities now believe Ferrell had to climb out of the back window, another affiliate media source reported. He ran to the closest house for help.
Police have charged Officer Randall Kerrick with voluntary manslaughter -- a felony. He turned himself in Saturday afternoon and was being held early Sunday on a $50,000 bond. A charge of voluntary manslaughter means the person used excessive force in self-defense, or carried out the act without intent to kill. Police used "charged" and "ran" and "advanced" in their description of what Ferrell did.
"The evidence revealed that Mr. Ferrell did advance on Officer Kerrick and the investigation showed that the subsequent shooting of Mr. Ferrell was excessive," police said in another statement issued late Saturday night. "Our investigation has shown that Officer Kerrick did not have a lawful right to discharge his weapon during this encounter." There were three officers at the scene, but Kerrick was the only one to use a gun. He fired several times, police said. All three officers have been placed on paid leave.
"It has devastated a family as well as caused a great deal of sadness and anxiety in our organization," a statement said. Friends expressed grief on social media, calling Ferrell a "brother" and demanding "justice." He had at least one brother, Willie, who played with him at Florida A&M. Ferrell was also engaged. "We loved him. Our family loved him," his fiance's mother told media sources. His 25th birthday would have been next month.
Posted: September 12, 2013 - 12:09pm Updated: September 12, 2013 - 3:08pm PDT
107 Years Old ...!
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A special prosecutor was ordered Thursday to review the shooting death of a 107-year-old Arkansas man killed by police officers in last weekend’s standoff after state police said they wouldn’t investigate the case.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Berlin C. Jones approved County Prosecutor Kyle Hunter’s request to recuse from the case surrounding the death of Monroe Isadore in Pine Bluff on Saturday.
Authorities have said they tried using a camera, negotiating tactics and gas before shooting Isadore. But his death has prompted questions from residents and some leaders in Pine Bluff, a community of about 50,000 people about 45 miles southeast of Little Rock.
Pine Bluff police said Wednesday they had forwarded the case to Hunter’s office. Hunter didn’t immediately return a call for comment, but in a court motion cited his close working relationship with the Pine Bluff department as a reason for recusal. Hunter wrote he believed a special prosecutor would “allow someone from outside our county to review and make the necessary decisions in this case.”
Bob McMahan, the state prosecutor coordinator, did not immediately return a call Thursday.
State Police released a letter Thursday they had sent to Hunter declining his request to investigate the case. In it, Criminal Investigation Division Commander Maj. Henry La Mar wrote that Hunter’s request to investigate the incident from the initial 911 call to Isadore’s death went beyond its typical deadly force investigations. He also cited the amount of time that had lapsed between the shooting and the prosecutor’s request for an outside probe.
“Any attempt now to reassemble a crime scene, gather impartial statements from officers and witnesses who are already on record in the local investigation, and collect physical evidence that has been processed within a local chain of custody amount to a style of investigation far outside accepted and sound law enforcement practices,” La Mar wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.
Hunter wrote Thursday that he was disappointed in the state police’s decision.
“I felt it was important for all concerned that another agency be involved in the investigation of this incident,” he wrote.
Members of the Pine Bluff City Council had sent a separate request to state police to investigate the case.
Laurie Barlow told officers she had gone to the house where Isadore was living temporarily to help him move to a new home Saturday, according to a police report. She said Isadore had previously been excited about the move but that when she arrived, Isadore barricaded himself in a room.
Police said that Isadore’s granddaughter eventually got him to open the door, but he pointed a gun at her.
Police said after officers moved Barlow and the granddaughter across the street, Isadore fired at a door. A SWAT team was called out when negotiations failed and maneuvered a camera into the house to see how Isadore was armed. The team then stormed inside after deploying gas and a distraction device, the report said. When Isadore fired, the entry team fired back.
Police have said an officer involved in the weekend shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Posted: 09/05/2013 10:43:33 AM EDT - Updated: 09/27/2013 07:43:33 PM PDT
Springettsbury Township, PA -- Two Springettsbury Township police officers being sued for alleged brutality have been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by York County's district attorney.
One of the two officers also is being sued for alleged brutality in a second case. The arrest that spurred that lawsuit is still under review by state police, at the request of District Attorney Tom Kearney.
On Thursday morning, Kearney released his findings in one of the cases.
Cpl. Greg Hadfield and Officer Chad Moyer -- along with their department, York County and other named defendants -- have been sued by Debra L. Williams, 42, who alleges that during her April 2011 arrest she was punched and grabbed by the neck by the officers.
The lawsuit also alleges the two officers filed false incident reports about the arrest.
Prosecutors previously dropped the charges against her, including aggravated assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, after she agreed to plead guilty to simple assault for scratching a person prior to police arresting her, according to her civil attorney, Devon Jacob.
'Insufficient' force: Kearney wrote in his findings:
"(The) issue is whether the force that was used by the officers was unreasonable under the circumstances. With regard to the mental state of the officers, both verbalized their intention was to control an out of control situation and it was never their intent to abuse Ms. Williams. This was confirmed by those observing the conduct and by an expert in the
police use of force. Accordingly, the use of force in this matter is insufficient to bring criminal charges. That matter is now closed."
Attorney Chris Ferro, who represents Hadfield, said the evaluation was thorough.
"While I always felt this was a criminal investigation without merit, Mr. Kearney's lengthy and accurate analysis is an appropriate way to conclude this event," he said. "Cpl. Hadfield has and will continue to serve Springettsbury Township with honor and professionalism. I hope this decision will change the view of the few who leapt to conclusions about my client based upon a small snippet of video without context of completeness."
Attorney Brian Perry, who represents Moyer, also praised the findings.
"When you watch the video clip (released by Jacob) ... you get a totally different perspective, compared to watching it from start to finish," Perry said. "I think Officer Moyer showed remarkable restraint in the incident, based on (Williams') behavior and her unwillingness to comply with all of his directives."
'Sad day': Jacob, the attorney representing Williams in her civil lawsuit, indicated he wasn't surprised by Kearney's ruling. He issued this statement in response:
"York County District Attorney Tom Kearney knew about the incident involving Debra Williams and the related video soon after the incident occurred and decided not to conduct a criminal investigation until after the civil lawsuit was filed. Therefore, it is not surprising that Mr. Kearney is opting now not to prosecute Officer Chad Moyer or (Cpl.) Gregory Hadfield for assaulting Ms. Williams.
"It is a sad day when the highest-ranking law enforcement official (in York County) decides that in his jurisdiction, a police officer may lawfully punch, choke and Taser a suicidal female who is handcuffed behind her back with her feet shackled. I fear for the safety of all York County residents, especially the mentally ill and female residents."
Second case: Jacob also represents Steven E. Landis, who has filed suit against Moyer, Officer William Polizzotto Jr. and others.
Landis claims in his lawsuit that while being arrested on a warrant in August 2012, Moyer kneed him in the side, breaking five of his ribs, and that Polizzotto shocked him twice with a stun gun.
In May, a York County judge acquitted Landis of his resisting arrest charge.
Moyer, Polizzotto and Hadfield have been on full paid status but have no patrol responsibilities, meaning they basically are on desk duty, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Tom Hyers has said.
On Thursday, Hyers declined comment on the advice of the department's attorneys, citing the pending lawsuits.
Kearney is out of town and won't be commenting on the matter, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the district attorney's office.
Published: 3/14/1 3:56 pm - Updated: 3/15/13 8:21 pm
On Friday afternoon, Springettsbury Township Police Chief Thomas Hyers released the following statement:
"As Chief of Police for Springettsbury Township, I have requested The Office of District Attorney Thomas Kearney, and Chief of York County Detectives Darryl Albright, conduct an investigation in the incidents involving Ms. Williams and Mr. Landis. They have agreed to handle the investigation and I have directed that all incident related material in both incidents be forwarded to their respective offices by the close of business today. Additionally, I have placed Corporal Gregory Hadfield, Patrolman Chad Moyer, and Patrolman William Polizzotto, on Administrative Desk Duty effective immediately pending the outcome of the investigation."
York County, PA -- In York County, federal lawsuits have been filed against a local police department, claiming officers beat two people in separate incidents. The lawyer who filed the lawsuit is sharing the video. We are warning you, the video may be offensive to some.
According to Attorney, the dash cam video shows two Springettsbury Township Police Officers beating Debra Williams. "She was handcuffed and shackled, tasered in the calf and punched, slapped and had her throat grabbed. She was thrown in back of the police car. It's as clear as day on video."
The attorney says Patrolman Chad Moyer who struck Williams, while another officer does nothing to stop him.
In the second case, Steven Landis is thrown to the ground after he raises his hands instead of putting them behind his back as requested by Moyer. "Probably because we see it on TV all the time. It was the first time in his life he was arrested. There was a warrant for a small incident earlier in evening, and he didn't even know there was warrant that existed at the time."
The attorney says Moyer threatened Landis and then drove his knee into his side, breaking five ribs. Another officer tased him two times while he was on the ground.
Both Landis and Williams were charged with resisting arrest. But the attorney says, those charges may not be the reason. "This was clearly done to cover up and explain why they were walking away from these arrests with injuries. It's very clear from the video.
The dash cam videos were discovered while trying to defend that charge, which the attorney says, means the District Attorneys Office saw them. The attorney says none of the officers were questioned or taken off the street.
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