Suspended North Providence Rhode Island Police Chief John J. Whiting Claims He Didn’t Steal Stripper’s Cash

June 26, 2012

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – A suspended Rhode Island police chief testified at his trial Monday that he did not steal $714 from a stripper’s pocketbook after chasing a SUV in which she was riding during Tropical Storm Irene.

Testifying in his own defense, North Providence police Col. John J. Whiting gave a vastly different account of his exchange with a Pawtucket police officer who was investigating the Aug. 28 vehicle chase and foot pursuit in Pawtucket that involved the police chief.

Whiting, 58, of North Attleboro, has pleaded not guilty to larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen property. Providence County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini dismissed a charge against him of criminal solicitation to obstruct justice. Whiting’s case is being decided by a judge instead of by a jury.

Pawtucket Officer John Brown testified last week that Whiting confessed to stealing the money. Brown said Whiting gave him the money with instructions to spend it in Las Vegas and not say anything about it.

Whiting testified he told Brown to take the money as seized evidence and was being sarcastic when he told him: “I don’t give a (expletive) if you go to Vegas.”

Giving his first public account of the events, Whiting described getting into a pursuit with a Ford Explorer while driving through Pawtucket on his way to work in North Providence. He said the SUV was trying to get around a downed tree when he tried to pass the vehicle, and someone instead threw an object at his SUV.

Whiting testified he then chased the vehicle until it turned down a dead-end street and struck a parked car.

The Explorer’s occupants ran away from the crash site, Whiting testified. Among them was 21-year-old Justina Cardoso, a former stripper who testified she left behind all her belongings, including her money.

Whiting said he went through the SUV looking for evidence that might indicate who was in the vehicle. He said he found money inside a zippered pouch that he took because no Pawtucket police had shown up yet.

During cross examination, Whiting testified he made a “conscious decision” to turn over the money to Brown, the Pawtucket officer who reported to the scene, at the conclusion of the investigation on the dead-end street where the chase ended.

“I had no intention of stealing the money. I didn’t steal the money,” Whiting said.

He added he did not have time during the investigation to tell Brown that he had the money.

“I have $714. How long does that take,” Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato asked.

Before Brown left the crash scene to finish his work at the Pawtucket police station, Whiting testified that he asked Brown to meet him at a nearby parking lot.

“I was going to give him the money at that time and answer any other questions about the accident,” Whiting said.

When they arrived at the parking lot, Whiting testified he and Brown made small talk. Whiting, who served on the Pawtucket police force for nearly 30 years before becoming the North Providence police chief, is an acquaintance of Brown, who has been a Pawtucket police officer for 24 years.

Eventually, Whiting testified, Brown said he was going to the site where Whiting tried to pass the Explorer to look for the bottle that the police chief thought was thrown at his vehicle, and Whiting accompanies him.

Whiting said he then turned over the money to Brown, who asked: “What did you steal it or something?”

Whiting said he angrily told him no and that he’s “never stolen anything in my … life.”

Whiting also testified that Brown was mumbling and hesitant to take the money from him. He said he was having trouble understanding what Brown was saying to him.

Whiting acknowledged he failed to count out the money he was turning over to Brown. Still, he said he expected Brown to submit it as seized evidence.

“I admit I made a mistake by not counting out the money in front of him. That’s the only mistake I made,” Whiting said.

He is expected to continue his testimony on Tuesday.

Appeared Here


Dumbass Waterford Michigan Police Officer Annette Miller Crashed Into Tree While Chasing Motorcycle In SUV Without Using Emergency Lights Or Siren

June 3, 2012

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN – After a Waterford police officer suffered severe injuries in a crash May 23, discussion arose online about the officer not using her vehicle’s lights and sirens while attempting to catch a speeding motorcyclist.

“She could have taken action to alert other drivers in the area that she was in pursuit,” said one commenter.

Coreen Darnall noted “officers need to recognize (during pursuits) that it’s not always possible to see/hear oncoming emergency vehicles, even with sirens.”

Officer Annette Miller has been unable to speak after suffering severe injuries during an accident on Elizabeth Lake Road near Huron Street in Waterford.

During the incident, a 20-year-old man driving a Volkswagen turned in front of Miller’s police vehicle. When she swerved to avoid the car, she crashed into a tree. Emergency personnel had to extricate her from the police SUV, and she has been hospitalized since. The Volkswagen driver was hospitalized for precautionary reasons, police said.

Waterford Police Chief Daniel McCaw said Miller’s lights and siren not being activated was “typical for police officers.”

“If they observe a violation, lots of times they’ll catch up to the vehicle and when they get behind the vehicle, they’ll go ahead and activate the lights and siren.”

McCaw said that Miller was not yet in pursuit mode when she was traveling along Elizabeth Lake Road.

“She was trying to catch up to the (motorcyclist),” he said.

He said police often do not use lights and sirens. For example, he said, when an officer is responding to a burglary call, “you would go in with no lights or sirens.”

McCaw said pursuit policy has changed in police departments over time.

“Years ago police would chase for everything,” he said. “You have to weigh public safety so you don’t see the pursuits as you did years ago.”

In the May 23 crash, many commenters noted that police can’t just abandon the idea of chasing a suspect.

“If you don’t chase them, then we let crime win,” said Pat Bernieri. “Let the police do their jobs as they see fit.”

‘As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue’

While Waterford stresses Miller was not in pursuit, accounts over the years indicate pursuits come with serious risks. About 35 to 40 percent of all police chases end in crashes, Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina said in a USA Today story in April 2010. Alpert noted that the nation’s 17,000 police departments are moving toward more restrictive chase policies “because chasing someone for a traffic offense or a property offense is not worth the risk of people’s lives and well-being.”

Police pursuit records provide frightening statistics, according to a report presented online by the FBI in 2010.

“First, the majority of police pursuits involve a stop for a traffic violation. Second, one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. On average, from 1994 through 1998, one law enforcement officer was killed every 11 weeks in a pursuit, and 1 percent of all U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty lost their lives in vehicle pursuits.

Innocent third parties who just happened to be in the way constitute 42 percent of persons killed or injured in police pursuits. Further, 1 out of every 100 high-speed pursuits results in a fatality.

Most area police agencies contacted indicated that officers are to use lights and sirens during the pursuit.

Royal Oak Chief Corey O’Donohue said the department has a lengthy pursuit policy.

“Yes, we use lights and sirens,” he said.

After every pursuit, the results are “evaluated to make sure officers follow policy and use sound judgment,” he said.

Officers in pursuit must contact dispatchers. “The pursuit can be overruled by the shift supervisor,” he said.

Victor Lauria, Novi’s assistant police chief, stressed the main concern during pursuits is the safety of innocent residents, police and the fleeing suspect. “There is significant risk,” he said of pursuits.

The police officer is “constantly evaluating the situation. Lights and sirens must be activated,” he said. “They serve two functions — they alert the suspect to stop and yield, and they alert others there is an emergency vehicle on the road.”

Speeding motorcyclist ‘paced’

An example of a high-speed pursuit of a motorcyclist without lights and siren on occurred in Washington in 2010, according to a story by the News Tribune in Tacoma. A Washington State trooper spotted a motorcycle speeding and passing vehicles.

The officer drove onto the highway and paced the motorcyclist going 80 to 90 mph in a 60 mph zone.

“Pacing” is when a police officer follows a driver, checking speeds by looking at his own speedometer.

In the Washington case, the biker sped up to 100 mph. The trooper then activated his emergency lights and sirens. Eventually the motorcyclist lost control of his vehicle and laid the bike down. Arrested and charged with eluding a police vehicle and stealing the motorcycle, the biker said he fled because he was scared.

Terrence Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, said police have always fielded complaints about high-speed pursuits.

“There were probably complaints about the (Old West’s) posse chasing bank robbers. As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue,” Jungel said.

Law enforcement officials face liability if pursuits end badly.

Pursuits generally “put cops in a bad position,” he said.

“They have to try and second-guess what is going on. They have little information on why a driver is fleeing — it could be to avoid apprehension or to hide the fruits of a crime.”

As for using lights and sirens, he said “it depends. You don’t have cookie-cutter crimes. Police have to make split-second decisions that later end up in courts. Each situation dictates an appropriate response.”

Pursuit policies could differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, Jungel said.

“It depends if you are in cities or in a rural area,” he said.

Police don’t graduate without pursuit training.

Jungel stressed that pursuits are dangerous situations.

“We don’t like to face a man with a loaded gun and we don’t like to be in high-speed pursuits,” he said. “There are so many variables. The higher speeds mean greater liability.”

The Police Studies Council calls pursuits by police a “relatively dangerous, inexact undertaking.”

West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton — whose department’s pursuit policy is 20 pages long — said pursuits are “a fact of life” in law enforcement, he said.

Patton worked with Officer Miller in the 1980s and said he is concerned about her recuperation.

Common sense and reasonableness apply during pursuits, he said.

“It’s a balancing act of risk versus benefit,” he said.

Patton has trained officers in pursuits. “We tell officers not to get caught up in the emotion of it,” he said. “That’s why supervisors step in (and are apprised during all pursuits).”

Police have authority of close the distance between a fleeing suspect and themselves, he said.

“Generally there is no such thing as a silent run pursuit,” Patton said.

The written pursuit policy for Michigan State Police outlines how troopers “shall weigh the hazard presented by the violator against that created by a vehicle pursuit. It is better to either delay the arrest or abandon the pursuit than to needlessly injure or kill innocent people, including our own members.”

When a pursuit starts, the officer “shall activate and continuously operate the emergency lights, siren and in-car video recorder on their vehicles until the pursuit has terminated or is abandoned,” according to the policy wording forwarded by spokeswoman Tiffany Brown.

Most departments contacted were reluctant to hand over their pursuit policies, saying they did not want everyone to know what tactics were employed by police. The City of Memphis, Tenn. posts its entire pursuit policy online. During a crime in progress or vehicle pursuits, classified as emergency calls, “officers will respond in emergency mode with both emergency lights and siren being used.”

USA Today reported that, according to professor Alpert, restrictive chase policies save lives. He stated in a National Institute of Justice research paper that police chases in Miami-Dade County dropped from 279 a year to 51 after the department implemented a more restrictive policy.

Appeared Here


Interstate Highway Closed While California Highway Patrol Chases Former Law Enforcement Officer

May 13, 2012

MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA- A former law enforcement officer is under arrest after leading police on a chase.

It began in Marin County as police responded to reports of domestic violence.

CHP officers finally caught up with the suspect on Interstate 680 near Willow Pass Road near Concord.

CHP officers had to shoot the man with bean bags in order to detain him.

Southbound I-680 was briefly closed due to the police activity, but has reopened.

Appeared Here


Buffalo New York Police Hight-Speed Chase On City Streets Included Collision With Church Bus That Sent Its Innocent Driver To Hospital

April 4, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – A Buffalo police officer and a church van driver were taken to Erie County Medical Center following a high-speed car chase that ended when a 15-year-old driver crashed a car into a police cruiser near Manhattan and Shawnee avenues just after noon today.

Police are considering stolen car and other charges against the teen who was taken into custody.

The police officer was listed in stable condition with multiple injuries. The church van driver was being treated at the hospital. Police would not release the names of the two injured or the suspect.

The incident began with a call about a suspicious vehicle moving at a high rate of speed in the Main Street-Depew area late this morning.

Officers stopped the vehicle but the driver sped away and within minutes clipped a church van near Bennett Village Terrace, injuring the van driver.

Minutes later, the chase came to a jarring halt on Manhattan near Shawnee Avenue when the teen driver crashed into a police car, injuring an officer but apparently coming away uninjured himself.

Police spokesmen said officers believe the car was stolen and used in a recent felony crime, which remains part of the investigation.

Appeared Here


Black Mountain North Carolina Police Officer Joshua King Arrested And Suspended After High-Speed Chase After Hit And Run – No Longer Employed By Department

May 9, 2011

FLETCHER, NORTH CAROLINA — A Black Mountain police officer charged with leading Fletcher police on a chase is no longer employed with the department.

Joshua King, 35, of Fletcher, who worked for the department for nearly 14 years, was placed on administrative leave following his arrest Saturday night, Chief Kevin Pressley said.

Following an internal investigation, “He is no longer employed with our agency,” Pressley said. The chief would not say whether King was fired or resigned.

Fletcher police say King led them on a chase for several miles down U.S. 25 following a hit and run in a parking lot. King was off duty at the time of the incident.

King is charged with fleeing to elude arrest; hit and run; failure to heed blue light or siren; speeding; having no insurance; revoked registration plate; and careless and reckless driving, said Fletcher Police Chief Erik Summey.

The incident began shortly after 8 p.m. in the parking lot of a Bojangles’ restaurant. Three Fletcher officers were responding to an unrelated call when they heard a crash.

“While they were there, they heard a crash. It sounded like some kind of accident,” Summey said.

A vehicle had hit a parked car and was leaving the area.

The SUV went over a curb, through a grassy area and out onto U.S. 25 via the parking lot of the neighboring gas station.

One person sitting inside the parked car was not hurt, Summey said.

Two of the officers followed the SUV down U.S. 25 toward Hendersonville. Speeds during the chase reached more than 90 mph, Summey said.

The vehicle made a right turn onto Baystone Drive, a curvy road that turns to gravel and eventually reaches a dead end.

Summey said King stopped the car and was arrested. Following the stop, King recognized one of the Fletcher officers.

“One of our officers that was involved in the initial chase and detention knew him,” Summey said.

Summey said a child was in the vehicle with King.

“It was fortunate that no one was hurt,” he said.

King started at the Black Mountain Police Department as a patrol officer in September 1997. King’s most recent salary at the department was $38,200 per year.

Ruth Brandon, a member of the Black Mountain Board of Aldermen, described King as a “fine officer.”

“He did a super job. He was always very courteous, very professional; always looking out for the people of the community,” she said.

King could not be reached Wednesday.

Appeared Here


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