Orange County California Deputies Attack Autistic Child With Taser Weapon

June 7, 2009

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – Orange County sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday defended their decision to use a stun gun on a 15-year-old autistic boy who ran away from his parents and later dashed into traffic.

Using the Taser in this case “was the right thing to do,” said Jim Amormino, a sheriff’s spokesman. “If that were your son, would you want him Tased or hit by a car? The deputy made the right decision. . . . It could have saved [the boy’s] life.”

But Doris Karras, mother of Taylor Karras, said deputies did not need to use the Taser gun, particularly because she had called various police agencies to alert them that her son was missing. She said her son would have followed deputies’ directions if he hadn’t felt threatened.

“This was a very aggressive response,” she said. She said her son “didn’t have any weapon on him. He didn’t even have a pencil.”

Taylor fled during a visit to the Regional Center of Orange County in Westminster about 11:30 a.m. Monday. The family had gone there for counseling, which the boy did not want.

About nine hours later, his mother saw him about one block from their home — 16 miles from the center — on the ground and handcuffed by deputies.

Amormino said Tustin police called the Sheriff’s Department after a pedestrian reported a suspicious person. Taylor was pushing a shopping cart down Newport Avenue near La Loma Drive, near his home in North Tustin. With no money, he apparently had walked home.

Doris Karras said her son, who is 5 feet 10 and has a beard, looks older than 15.

Amormino said Taylor yelled something when approached by a deputy, then ran across Newport Avenue, causing two cars to swerve. It was then that a deputy shot him with a Taser gun.

The deputy handcuffed the youth to keep him out of traffic, Amormino said.

Taser guns use compressed nitrogen to propel two darts that attach to the body. The darts are connected to the gun by a wire and deliver a 50,000-volt shock at five-second intervals to incapacitate a suspect.

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McDonough Georgia Police Chief Preston Dorsey Can’t Figure Out Why Thief Targeted His Police Station’s Evidence Room

June 3, 2009

HENRY COUNTY, GEORGIA – Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents were at the McDonough Police Department all day Tuesday — trying to determine who broke in to the building.

Investigators said someone pried open a window at the police department and then pried open the door to the evidence room. Once inside, the person tampered with evidence and they may have taken something, officials said.

Officers said they will not know exactly what was taken until they complete an audit.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Tom Jones went to the police department Tuesday while GBI agents were on the scene gathering evidence.

McDonough Police Chief Preston Dorsey told Jones he didn’t think it was an inside job, but the person was familiar with the building because he knew where the un-marked evidence room was.

“I (have) been in this business for about 25 years and I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a police department being broken into,” said Dorsey.

The crime has some residents astonished.

“Oh my God. That is crazy,” said resident Aniya Williams.

“That’s just completely and totally nuts,” said business owner Scott Evans.

Officers said they are checking surveillance cameras from surrounding businesses to see if their cameras caught the person on tape. Agents said they are also interviewing staff members.

The McDonough Police Department closes its administrative side at 5 p.m. Dorsey said officers to come in and out after 5 p.m. to write reports or to interview people. For the most part, though, the building remains empty after hours.

“It appears they came and hid behind these bushes and pried that lock open or that window,” said Dorsey.

When Jones asked Dorsey why someone would want to break in to the evidence room, he said he didn’t know but would find out.

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Kid Escapes From Brand New $45 Million Maryland Youth "Anti-Prison" The Day After It Opens

June 3, 2009

LAUREL, MARYLAND – Sources said Monday afternoon that the youth who escaped Saturday from the New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, Md. — embarrassing the $45 million juvenile facility that just opened on Friday — finally was recaptured Monday.

The escape of a juvenile inmate from a new “anti-prison” leaves officials embarrassed.

The sources said the juvenile was found in northeast Washington by a youth rehabilitation department employee. The juvenile is now back in custody with D.C. Police.

The New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, Md., was described as an “anti-prison” in many of the warm and fuzzy stories written about it leading up to its opening on Friday. How apropos, because how can it be a prison if it can’t keep the inmates inside.

On Saturday the kid escaped by scaling a fence. It appears officials knew that fencing would be a problem, according to the Washington Post. The old Oak Hill facility had razor wire on its fence, but that wasn’t part of the new home. It turned out to be a bad move.

A day before the facility opened, Schiraldi and David Muhammad, chief of committed services, said they had brought in young men to try to scale the fences and made modifications based on what they observed. Schiraldi said he planned to place prickly shrubbery, possibly rose bushes, near the fence so inmates would not be tempted to flee.

Prickly shrubbery? Something tells us the kids in this facility have seen far worse in their lives than a little prickly shrubbery.

So after Saturday’s escape, razor wire was added to the new facility’s fence.

So much for the anti-prison.

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Cattaraugus County New York Deputies Lose Horse And Buggy Driver After 3 Mile Pursuit

June 3, 2009

CATTARAUGUS COUNTY, NEW YORK – The driver of a horse and buggy led Cattaraugus County sheriff’s deputies on a three-mile pursuit through fields and woods early Monday morning, eventually abandoning the buggy and escaping on foot.

It happened on Frank Road in Napoli, where deputies were investigating underage drinking.

Deputies reported they tried to stop the driver of the horse and buggy, but he drove the rig through fields and into the woods before jumping down and taking off on foot.

After searching without success for the driver, deputies took the horse and buggy back to a nearby home, and a young man was taken into custody.

Jonas J. Hershberger, 20, of Frank Road, was charged with overdriving of animals, reckless endangerment and obstructing governmental administration. Following arraignment in Little Valley Town Court, he was sent to the county jail in lieu of $250 bail.

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Death Sentence: Woman Dies After Being Left In An Outdoor Cage In The Hot Sun By Goodyear Arizona Prison Guards – Had This Been A Dog, It Might Have Gotten More Attention

June 3, 2009

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – Arizona is ending its use of outdoor prison cells after an inmate died in triple-digit heat last month, the corrections department said Tuesday.

Corrections spokesman Barrett Marson said in an e-mail that the decision came after consulting with Gov. Jan Brewer’s office.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said “the governor made a judgment that she didn’t desire this usage.”

“It’s certainly to prevent any future exposure out in the elements,” he said, adding that Brewer believes indoor cells would be a good replacement for the outdoor ones.

The department said last week it was temporarily halting use of the cells to add shade and water. Corrections Director Charles Ryan planned to discuss the change on Wednesday.

Marcia Powell, 48, died from heat-related complications hours after she collapsed May 19 in an uncovered outdoor cell. She had been in the cell for nearly four hours, despite a policy that set a two-hour limit.

Ryan has said Powell’s cell was 20 yards from a control room where officers were supposed to be watching her. Three prison employees were suspended pending an investigation.

The chain-link holding cells were used to house inmates being transferred between various sections of the prison. Powell was placed in one at the Perryville prison in Goodyear after seeing a psychologist.

She had been serving a 2-year sentence for prostitution. A string of convictions left Powell in jail or prison for most of the past decade, according to court documents.

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6 University Of Florida Police Cars Show Up To Investigate The Theft Of A Single Book From Someone Studying In Library

June 3, 2009

FLORIDA – Six University police cars sat outside Marston Science Library and at least six officers searched the area for a suspected criminal Monday afternoon.

The crime: book theft.

Maria Hicks, a food and resource economics undergraduate, left her table on the fourth floor to answer her cell phone.

When she returned, a man at her table was zipping his backpack up, but she thought nothing of it, she said.

Then she noticed her $200 “Data Analysis” book was missing.

She searched for the man with the backpack, who she described as wearing an orange UF Gators shirt.

“I tried to chase him,” she said. “He disappeared so fast.”

UPD responded by searching the area for people matching the thief’s description. Officers searched the bags of several people and questioned them about the crime.

Hicks had borrowed the textbook from a friend and will have to pay her back, she said.

Pam Bonner, a UPD spokeswoman, offered a moral to the story.

“Don’t leave your stuff; take it with you if you go somewhere,” she said.

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Crazed Former Miami Beach Florida Police Officer William Thomas Skinner Arrested, Charged With Attempting To Murder His Wife

June 2, 2009

FLORIDA – William Thomas Skinner used to put criminals away who acted like he did on Monday.

Skinner, a 23-year veteran of the Miami Beach Police Department, was arrested outside the home of his estranged wife in the Upper Keys for shooting at the woman and her male roommate and chasing the couple out of their home. He faces attempted murder charges.

The shooting was sparked by a dispute over Skinner seeing his 3-year-old son, who also had to duck bullets. Indira Skinner refused to let her husband see their 3-year old because he didn’t call first, according to the police report.

The Miami Herald reported one of the bullets from the .357 revolver hit Jesus Ruvalcaba in the leg. Ruvalcaba is the roommate who came to the aid of Indira Skinner after he overheard the shouting match happening on the front porch.

Indira and William Skinner are separated and were headed for divorce court. Now William Skinner is probably headed to the slammer for a long time.

Skinner, 53, was a captain on the Miami Beach force before retiring in 2003.

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Nutcase Veteran Miami-Dade Florida Prosecutor David Ranck Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Attacking Pizza Delivery Woman

June 2, 2009

MIAMI, FLORIDA – Veteran Miami-Dade prosecutor David Ranck faces battery charges after an alleged scuffle with a pizza delivery woman on Saturday during a delivery that went horribly wrong.

It’s the second report of prosecutors gone wild in the past week. A Broward County prosecutor was arrested late last week for punching a cop in the back of the head during a barroom fight.

At least he picked on a man.

According to police reports, Ranck and the unidentified woman got into a shouting match when the delivery person couldn’t get into the attorney’s gated community. After a bit of shouting that woke the neighbors, the woman told Ranck to come downstairs if he wanted his pizza.

Ranck did and punched the woman in the arm, Miami-Dade police said. He also knocked off her snazzy pizza delivery visor.

It’s unclear what Ranck was so mad about or if his pizza order was correct. Maybe the pizza was cold and didn’t come in the 30-minutes-or-less guarantee.

Ranck said the woman tapped him with her car, which sparked the altercation. Police sided with the pizza woman on Saturday, but did not take Ranck to lock up. He was released on his own recognizance.

The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office has suspended Ranck without pay. We expect Ranck will also end up on the “do not deliver” list for local pizza places.

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Two Fired Veteran Hollywood Florida Police Officers Finally Charged And Arrested After Faking Crime Scene Following Accident In Which Officer Rear-Ended Woman’s Car

June 2, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – Two longtime Hollywood police officers fired earlier this year after allegations they falsified records in a police-involved crash were arrested Wednesday on criminal charges in that case.

Joel Francisco, 37, and Dewey Pressley, 43, turned themselves in at the Broward County Main Jail in downtown Fort Lauderdale, according to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

Both men were charged with four counts of official misconduct, four counts of falsifying records, one count of conspiracy to commit official misconduct and one count of conspiracy to falsify records.

Francisco and Pressley were in jail Wednesday night, with bail set at $100,000.

The charges stem from a February 2009 crash in which Francisco, while on duty and driving a patrol vehicle, rear-ended a Hollywood woman’s car. Francisco’s personnel file listed eight other crashes in his 12 years with the Hollywood Police Department.

Other officers, a crime scene technician and a community service aide were at the crash scene. Some of them were recorded by a police car dashboard camera discussing how they would doctor the crash report to absolve Francisco in the collision, authorities said.

Alexandra Torrens-Vilas, whose car Francisco rear-ended, was arrested on DUI charges in the Feb. 16, 2009, crash.

Five months later, the dashboard video became public, and Hollywood police officials began an internal investigation into what happened at the crash scene.

Prosecutors later dropped the DUI charges against Torrens-Vilas, saying the video from the dashboard camera cast doubt on what police officers initially said happened.

Pressley had written in a police report that a gray cat jumped from Torrens-Vilas’ lap out of her car window and distracted her, causing her to veer into Francisco’s lane. There, she abruptly hit the brakes and Francisco struck her car, the report stated.

A camera on Pressley’s patrol car recorded one of the investigators saying: “We’ll do a little Walt Disney to protect the cop because it wouldn’t have mattered because she [Torrens-Vilas] is drunk anyway.”

Prosecutors said they were still working Wednesday with Hollywood police in investigating the matter.

Pressley, a Hollywood police officer for 22 years, and Francisco were fired in January. So were three other Police Department employees who were at the crash scene: Sgt. Andrew Diaz, Community Service Officer Karim Thomas and crime scene technician Andrea Tomassi, none of whom have been charged in the case.

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Gwinnett County Georgia Deputy Sheriff Bill Edge Dies On A Motorcycle

June 2, 2009

GWINNETT COUNTY, GEORGIA – A Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed in a motorcycle accident Monday night.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that deputy Bill Edge was killed in an accident in Barrow County. Officials said Edge was on his way home on his personal motorcycle when he was struck by another vehicle.

Edge had been with the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office for four years.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the accident.

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Iowa State Death Investigator Walker Jay Hodges Arrested, Charged After Pissing In Public And Claiming To Be A Cop

June 1, 2009

DES MOINES, IOWA – A Grimes man faces charges of public intoxication, interference with official acts and impersonating a public official for allegedly drinking too much and telling the police he was a “cop.”

Des Moines police said Walker Jay Hodges, 34, is not a police officer. On an arrest report, police say Hodges is a death investigator with the State of Iowa.

Officers were sent to the Locust Tap on a report of a fight about 1:45 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived at East Fourth and Locust streets, they approached Hodges. Police said he told them there was no problem.

Officers said he had no shoes. Witnesses said Hodges had been to another business and the owner confronted him about urinating on the steps. There was a fight.

Hodges was described by police as uncooperative. He allegedly told officers their investigation was over. Officers tried to take him into custody on a charge of public intoxication and he allegedly crossed his arms to prevent being handcuffed.

As he tried to pull away, police said, an officer performed a leg sweep and took him to the ground.

Police said that as they finished cuffing him, Hodges said, “I’m a cop. Check my wallet. Check my wallet. I’m a cop.”

The report of the arrest says officers asked him where he worked and he said he was a state investigator.

Officers said it later was determined that he was a state death investigator.

On the way to the police station, Hodges “…kept yelling that we couldn’t do this to him, that we were on the same team,” police said in a report.

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29 Mexican Police Officers Detained Due To Ties To Drug Traffickers

June 1, 2009

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Soldiers and federal agents detained 29 police officers in northern Mexico on Monday for alleged ties to drug traffickers.

It was Mexico’s latest sweep to root out corruption among police and government officials, which has been a major impediment to President Felipe Calderon’s battle against drug cartels. Last week, federal officials arrested 10 mayors and 20 other officials in the western state of Michoacan on suspicion of protecting the La Familia cartel.

Soldiers and state and federal agents detained the 29 officers at police headquarters in the cities of Monterrey, San Nicolas de los Garza, Apodaca and the state public security offices, said Nuevo Leon state district attorney Luis Carlos Trevino.

The officers were detained after soldiers found evidence linking them to drug dealers who were arrested last month, the state government said in a statement. It did not give details on the evidence.

“We are working on cleaning up forces and this is one step of many that have to be taken to achieve that,” Trevino said.

Trevino said none of the 29 had been charged.

Outside of the state police headquarters, about 60 people who said they were relatives of the detained officers protested against military intrusion in police activities.

Calderon has sent more than 40,000 soldiers to battle drug trafficking across the country and acknowledged that corruption is pervasive among Mexican police at all levels.

Local law enforcement officials have followed the president’s lead and are increasingly relying on military officers to run their police departments.

On Monday, retired Gen. Javier Aguayo took over as police chief for the northern city of Chihuahua, where drug-fueled violence has claimed hundreds of lives.

In the nearby city of Ciudad Juarez, gunmen opened fire in the lobby of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, killing five people Sunday, said Regional Deputy Attorney General Alejandro Pariente. Witnesses told police many of the 50 rehab patients climbed a fence to flee the attack.

Pariente says police are investigating whether Sunday’s attack was related to threats that administrators had received demanding they shut down the clinic.

It was the second shooting attack in six months at a rehab clinic in Ciudad Juarez, a city across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The city had seen a decline in drug violence since more than 5,000 extra troops were sent in to bolster security in February.

The killings capped a bloody weekend that left more than 30 people dead. Among the victims were a lawyer, a university professor and a female police officer who was shot to death after leaving work.

Also Sunday, gunmen killed four men sitting in a car in the border city of Tijuana, across from San Diego, California.

On Saturday, two gunmen died in a clash with soldiers in Michaocan. The gunmen opened fire on soldiers who were on patrol in the village of Moreno de Valencia, the Defense Department said in a statement. It said soldiers found a Kalashnikov rifle, a shotgun, a handgun and a grenade inside the gunmen’s sport utility vehicle.

More than 10,750 people have been killed in drug violence since Calderon launched a national crackdown on organized crime in December 2006.

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Chicago Illinois Police Have No Suspects In Custody After Seven Shooting Deaths In 24 Hour Weekend Period As Police Superintendent Jody Weis Spoke At Anti-Violence Rally

June 1, 2009

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Chicago had seven shooting deaths in 24 hours this weekend, and police say they have no suspects in custody.

All seven victims were men in their 20s or 30s, and all were shot to death.

The shootings occurred between 6:15 a.m. Saturday and just before 6 a.m. Sunday.

One victim, 30-year-old Demond Stansbury, was shot along with two of his cousins, who survived and are in fair condition.

The shootings spanned the city, happening on the North, South and West sides.

Chicago Police spokesman Roderick Drew says investigations into the shootings are ongoing.

On Saturday, police Superintendent Jody Weis spoke at an anti-violence march and rally on the West side.

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