Niles Indiana Police Officer Ivery Cross Arraigned – Charged With Sexually Assaulting Teen Inmate – Family Shows Up In Court And Causes A Scene

March 31, 2011

NILES, INDIANA — It was a tumultuous scene Thursday outside Berrien County Trial Court in Niles where supporters and family members of Ivery Cross, a Niles police officer accused of the sexual assault of a 19-year-old inmate in the holding facility at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex, gathered following Cross’s arraignment.

Mary Cross, the officer’s mother and one of the few family members who was willing to identify herself, shouted several times that her son is innocent as Mark Coulston, the Trial Court bailiff, attempted to move the angry group of roughly 40 people outside into the parking lot.

“I don’t believe it,’’ she said, apparently referring to the charges authorized Wednesday against her son, who’s black. “This is a prejudiced town and a prejudiced court.’’

Others took the media to task for their coverage of the high-profile case, yelling at cameramen and other media representatives that they’d “already lynched’’ Cross. One woman who seemed to support that position leveled criticism as well at the county’s criminal justice system, shouting that her mother had been raped several years ago and that the perpetrator had been allowed to go free.

That woman, too, refused to identify herself, as did yet another woman who had to be restrained as she shouted at TV cameramen and reporters.

In court, Cross, 25, a life-long Niles resident and a member of the city’s police department for a little more than two years, hugged family members and supporters prior to his appearance before Schofield. He was represented by R. McKinley Elliott, who told Schofield he was filling in for another attorney who had a conflict.

Neither Elliott nor Steve Pierangeli, a Berrien assistant prosecutor, asked Schofield to recuse himself based on the judge’s previous dealings with Cross in his role as a police officer. Neither did Elliott object when Pierangeli asked the judge to order Cross to turn over his uniform, weapons and other police equipment, to have no contact with the Niles schools where he had worked as an assistant football coach and to impose a curfew.

But Elliott did object when Pierangeli asked that Cross’ $25,000 bond, which he posted Saturday, be increased to $250,000. Pierangeli asked for the higher bond based on the “serious nature’’ of the charges — 1st degree criminal sexual conduct (digital penetration), three counts of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct (contact with genitals and a buttock) and one count of misconduct of office. The 1st degree charge is punishable by a maximum of life in prison.

Despite Elliott’s objections, Schofield agreed to the $250,000 bond but said Cross could post $100,000 should he submit to home tether. One of Cross’ supporters shouted to the media in the parking lot that they’d have the money raised by this morning.

Cross is scheduled to have a pre-exam conference on Thursday. His preliminary exam is set for April 12.

Suspended by the department without pay, Cross stands accused of assaulting the teenager in a bathroom at the LEC’s holding facility on March 17. The teen had been picked up on a charge of possession of marijuana.

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Greeley Colorado Police Officer Daniel Shepherd Arrested, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Female Teen Motorist

March 31, 2011

GREELEY, COLORADO — A Greeley police officer was charged Thursday with sexual assault, accused of molesting a teen girl during a traffic stop.

Daniel Shepherd, 28, was arrested last Friday at the police department. Shepherd was charged with one felony count of sexual assault and one count of official oppression.

According to the arrest affidavit, the incident occurred on March 13 at 20th Street and 28th Avenue in Greeley.

The girl told police that she was asked to leave a party after she got drunk and started yelling at other people.

She said the officer called to the party — Shepherd — told her to go home. When she said she would wait for her sister to give her a ride, the officer walked her to her car and started the car for her, even though she was obviously drunk, according to the affidavit.

The teen said she drove a bit and then pulled over to the side of the road, thinking the officer was following her. She said she didn’t see him so she drove off again, just to be stopped by Shepherd minutes later.

Once she got out of the car and had her facing the car, the officer held her hands behind her back with one of his hands, grabbed her breasts and put his hands down the front of her pants, she said in the affidavit.

“She said she felt trapped during the patdown and felt if she wouldn’t have quickly grabbed her phone and called her sister, it would have gotten worse … She felt the officer could have raped her if she hadn’t called her sister,” detectives wrote in the affidavit.

When the officer told her she was too drunk to drive and asked, “What should we do about this?” she felt his question was a strong hint for a sexual favor.

While she was on the phone with her sister, the teen suddenly realized that the officer who had just stopped her had left.

The teen was never ticketed or cited.

When investigators first questioned Shepherd, he denied pulling her over and said that he only had contact with her at the party.

An electronic device confirmed Shepherd’s car was stationary at the alleged assault location for five minutes. Shepherd later admitted he did stop the teen but denied groping her.

Shepherd is out on $50,000 bond and due in court next month.

He has been a police officer for three years.

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2 Veteran Chicago Illinois Police Officers Arrested, Suspended, And Under Investigation For On-Duty Sexual Assault

March 31, 2011

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Two Chicago police officers are under criminal investigation amid explosive allegations they played strip poker with a young woman and sexually assaulted her in her Far North Side apartment while on duty early Wednesday.

At a news conference, an outraged Terry Hillard, the interim police superintendent, noted he is a father before calling the officers’ conduct “inappropriate. You just can’t justify it.” He referred to the allegations as “heinous criminal activity.”

Hillard said at least one of the officers allegedly sexually assaulted the woman. The officers were arrested later Wednesday and questioned at Belmont Area headquarters with legal counsel present before being released without charges.

The criminal inquiry continues as investigators collect “evidence and forensics,” Hillard said. Cook County prosecutors have been notified about the allegations. In the meantime, the 10-year veterans were relieved of police powers and put on administrative duty, he said.

The alleged sexual assault took place at the woman’s Rogers Park apartment, several miles from the Town Hall District, where the two officers were assigned to work patrol duties on the overnight shift.

The uniformed officers, driving a marked police SUV, had offered the 22-year-old woman a ride as she walked near Wrigley Field, crying and upset after drinking and arguing with a male friend, according to a police report.

According to the report, the woman said she accepted, and while they were en route to her residence, she had sex with one officer in a passenger seat. At her apartment, the three of them played strip poker, and she again had sex with one of the officers.

But she told police she began to feel intimidated and was afraid to refuse their sexual advances, according to the report. She said she pounded on the wall to get her neighbor’s attention and later got up and ran screaming out of the apartment. A neighbor saw her and called police about 3 a.m. The woman was treated at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.

Another neighbor contacted by the Tribune said he opened his door after hearing the commotion and saw a naked man running down the hall and another man who may have been wearing a police uniform.

Detectives found a cell phone belonging to one of the officers as well as parts of the officers’ uniforms in the woman’s apartment, according to police sources.

Hillard, a retired superintendent who was appointed to the interim post until Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel names a permanent successor, bristled when asked about reports that the alleged victim was drunk and may have first had consensual sex with one of the officers before the alleged assault.

“I’m a father,” he said after a pause. “I also used to be a policeman before I retired. … Inappropriate. You can’t justify it.”

At another point, Hillard said whether the woman was drunk “has nothing to do with the case.”

“If proven true, these officers will fully be held accountable and punished,” he said. “I will not tolerate this type of behavior. The Chicago Police Department will not tolerate this type of behavior.”

Police Department records show both officers are 38 years old and were hired in 2001. They’ve worked for at least the last three years in the Town Hall District, which encompasses parts of the Lincoln Park, Lakeview and Uptown neighborhoods.

Neither officer has had any cases before the Chicago Police Board, which hears appeals of disciplinary suspensions of six to 30 days as well as cases in which the superintendent moves to fire an officer, according to Max Caproni, its executive director.

This is not the first time a Chicago police officer allegedly committed a sexual assault while on duty. Sgt. John Herman was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison for allegedly raping a woman at her South Side apartment in 2004 after giving her a ride home.

But in a unanimous decision last month, the Illinois Appellate Court threw out Herman’s conviction, saying the alleged victim’s crack-cocaine habit as well as inconsistencies in her testimony shed serious doubt on her credibility.

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600,000 US Taxpayer Dollars For Gurgling Toad Sculpture?

March 31, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – A $600,000 frog sculpture that lights up, gurgles “sounds of nature” and carries a 10-foot fairy girl on its back could soon be greeting Defense Department employees who plan to start working at the $700 million Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. this fall. That is unless a new controversy over the price tag of the public art doesn’t torpedo the idea.

Decried as wasteful spending that will be seen by just a couple thousand of daily workers who arrive on bus shuttles, foes have tried to delay the decision, expected tomorrow, April 1. But in an E-mail, an Army Corps of Engineers official said that the decision can’t be held up because it would impact completion of the huge project.

The City of Alexandria just announced that there are four works of art being considered and that a final decision needs to be made fast. The artwork was put on display for public comment from March 24 to today. The Alexandria News first reported the hasty announcement to decide a winner.

The schedule surprised some who thought that the costly artwork project was on the “back burner,” according to critic Donald Buch, a member of the mayor’s advisory committee overseeing the Mark Center project. “What’s the rush?” he asked.

Buch says he’s not opposed to art, just high-priced works that won’t be seen by many. He estimates that only 2,500 will see the artwork every day as they use the bus transfer station at the Mark Center. “Who the heck is going to see it,” he asked. “To spend six hundred grand to amuse the same people every day is nuts.”

The Mark Center is one of the facilities that thousands of defense workers will be reporting to as part of the Base Realignment and Closure plan, or BRAC, that is shifting workers around Virginia and Maryland. The BRAC plan itself has been criticized as wasteful.

The four art proposals for the bus terminal include works for a wall and sculpture. But the one drawing most attention is the fairy and frog from artist Cheryl Foster. Her proposals describes the sculpture this way: “A 10-foot fairy, using an American Toad as ‘transportation,’ scurries to the entrance of the station. The interior of the toad is illuminated and the sounds of nature emanate from his throat.” She said that nature inspired her.

Buch suggested instead that the Corps should consider a nature park or water feature, not a toad.

According to the Corps, the artwork was the city’s idea. A city official, however, said that Alexandria officials didn’t demand art, but just asked that public artwork be included in the structure. What’s more, the official said that the $600,000 is federal money, and that no Alexandria funds will pay for the art.

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Secret Meeting: President Obama Gets “Transparency” Award

March 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama finally and quietly accepted his “transparency” award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday.

The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.

This time, Obama met quietly in the Oval Office with Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of, without disclosing the meeting on his public schedule or letting photographers or print reporters into the room.

“Our understanding going into the meeting was that it would have a pool photographer and a print reporter, and it turned out to be a private meeting,” Bass told POLITICO. “He was so on point, so on target in the conversation with us, it is baffling why he would not want that message to be more broadly heard by reporters and the public interest community and the public generally.”

Just hours before the White House put off the original event, White House press secretary Jay Carney was defiant in his defense of Obama’s transparency record against criticism that it might have been premature.

“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for President and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that,” Carney said in a testy exchange with Fox News reporter Wendell Goler on March 16.

The transparency advocates who presented the award to Obama say that the recognition is important, because despite the work left to be done, Obama has done a lot to change the government’s posture toward openness issues.

But others believed the positive reinforcement was more than a little unnecessary.

“I don’t feel moved today to say ‘thank you, Mr. President,’” said Steve Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. But he said he understands the award to be “aspirational,” in recognition of Obama’s potential to do more on the transparency front.

“And in that sense, one could say it resembles the award at the Nobel Peace Prize,” Aftergood said. “It’s not because Obama brought peace to anyone but because people hoped he would be a force for good in the world, and maybe that’s the way to understand this award.”

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Feds Admit That 1,825 Miles Of Mexican Border Is Not Under Control Of US Border Patrol – Nothing To Stop Illegal Crossings Between US And Mexico

March 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Richard M. Stana, director of homeland security and justice issues at the Government Accountability Office (which is responsible for “auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively”), told the Senate Homeland Security Committee yesterday that the federal government can actually prevent or stop illegal entries into the United States along only 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.

That leaves 1,825 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border where the Border Patrol cannot prevent or stop an illegal entry.

Nonetheless, Stana told the committee, the Border Patrol itself says it has established “an acceptable level of control” along 873 miles of the 1,954-mile-long southwest border. This is because of the way the Border Patrol defines “an acceptable level of control” of the border.

“According to Border Patrol,” Stana told the committee, “an acceptable level of border control is established when it has the capability (i.e., resources) to deter or detect and apprehend incursions at the immediate border or after entry.” [Emphasis added.]

In addition to the 129 miles where the Border Patrol says it can actually “deter or detect and apprehend illegal entries” at the border itself, Stana told the committee, there are another 744 miles where the Border Patrol says it has the capability to deter or detect and apprehend illegal entrants after they have entered the county and penetrated U.S. territory to “distances of up to 100 miles or more away from the immediate border.”

The 3,918-mile-long northern border of the United States is virtually wide open, according to Stana’s testimony. The Border Patrol, Stana said, reports that it has established “an acceptable level of control” along only 69 miles of this border and that of those 69 miles there are only 2 miles where the Border Patrol can actually prevent or stop an illegal entry.

Along the remaining, 3,916 miles of the northern border the Border Patrol does not have the capability to deter or detect and apprehend an intruder.

“As we testified in February 2011 about our preliminary observations on this measure, Border Patrol indicated that in fiscal year 2010, 873 of the nearly 2,000 southwest border miles and 69 of the nearly 4,000 northern border miles between Washington and Maine were at an acceptable level of control,” Stana told the committee in his written testimony.

“Within this border security classification, Border Patrol further distinguished between the ability to deter or detect and apprehend illegal entries at the immediate border versus after entry—at distances of up to 100 miles or more away from the immediate border—into the United States,” Stana wrote.

“Our preliminary analysis of these Border Patrol data showed that the agency reported a capability to deter or detect and apprehend illegal entries at the immediate border across 129 of the 873 southwest border miles and 2 of the 69 northern border miles,” Stana testified. “Our preliminary analysis also showed that Border Patrol reported the ability to deter or detect and apprehend illegal entries after they crossed the border for an additional 744 southwest border miles and 67 northern border miles.”

Stana said that in fiscal 2010 “about $11.9 billion [was] appropriated to secure the entire U.S. border (for personnel, infrastructure, and technology).”

Only about a third of this money was spent to secure the border in the vast territories between the official ports of entry (POE). “CBP reported that $3.6 billion was appropriated in fiscal year 2010 for border security efforts between the POEs,” Stana testified.

Overall, the federal government spent $3.72 trillion in fiscal 2010, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. That means the $11.9 billion the government spent on securing the entire U.S. border equaled 0.3 percent of federal spending and the $3.6 billion the federal government spent on securing the border between the ports of entry equaled about 0.1 percent.

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Unarmed And Shot In The Back: New Orleans Police Officers David Warren And Gregory McRae Murdered Man And Burnt Body – Sentenced To Just 25 And 17 Years In Prison

March 31, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – A former New Orleans police officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for shooting a man to death without justification after Hurricane Katrina, and his ex-colleague was given 17 years for burning the body.

Former officer David Warren was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Henry Glover, 31, outside a strip mall less than a week after the August 2005 storm. Ex-officer Gregory McRae was found guilty of burning Glover’s body in a car near a police station.

Warren faced a maximum sentence of life in prison while McRae could have received 50 years.

Lawyers for the men argued they deserved some leniency, partly because of the horrific conditions they faced in the chaos that followed the hurricane.

The judge said he didn’t believe Warren’s testimony that Glover posed a threat. “He was not at the strip mall to commit suicide, he was there to retrieve some baby clothing,” U.S. District Judge Lance Africk said. “You killed a man. Despite your contentious arguments to the contrary, it was no mistake.”

Glover’s family sat in the courtroom as he was sentenced.

“I forgive these men because if I don’t forgive them Jesus won’t forgive me,” said his mother, Edna Glover.

Jurors also convicted former Lt. Travis McCabe of writing a false report on the shooting. His sentencing has been postponed while his lawyers seek a new trial based on what they say is newly discovered evidence.

The jury cleared Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann of charges he burned Glover’s body and beat one of the men who brought the dying Glover to a makeshift police compound in search of help after the Sept. 2, 2005, shooting. Robert Italiano, a retired police lieutenant, was acquitted of charges he submitted a false report on the shooting and lied to the FBI.

Prosecutors said Glover was unarmed when Warren, 47, shot him in the back. But the former officer said he opened fire because he feared for his life. Warren said he was guarding a police substation at a shopping mall when Glover and a friend, Bernard Calloway, pulled up in a stolen truck and started running toward a gate that would have given them access to the building. He testified that the men ignored his commands to stop and that he thought he saw a gun in Glover’s hand before he fired one shot at him from a second-floor balcony.

His partner that day, Officer Linda Howard, testified Glover and Calloway weren’t armed and didn’t pose a threat.

McRae, 49, admitted he drove Glover’s body from the police compound to a nearby Mississippi River levee and set it on fire. The car belonged to one of the men who had driven Glover to the compound. McRae said he burned the vehicle because he was weary of seeing rotting corpses after the storm. Another officer, however, testified he saw McRae laughing after he set the fire.

McRae’s attorney argued his client deserved some leniency for accepting responsibility and admitting during the trial that he set Glover’s body on fire.

“Your conduct was barbaric,” Africk told McRae. “The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was made uglier by your disturbing actions. At a time when more was expected of you, you failed miserably.”

Warren has been in custody since his indictment last year. McRae has been free on bond but was immediately taken into custody after sentencing.

A total of 20 current or former New Orleans police officers were charged last year in a series of Justice Department civil rights investigations. The probe of Glover’s death was the first of those cases to be tried.

Next week, two officers are scheduled to be tried on charges stemming from the July 2005 beating death of a 48-year-old man. And a trial is scheduled to start in June for five current or former officers charged in deadly bridge shootings and an alleged plot to make the shootings appear justified.

Police shot and killed two people and wounded four others on the Danziger Bridge less than a week after Katrina. Five other former officers already have pleaded guilty to participating in a cover-up of the shootings.

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Veteran Flagler County Florida Deputy Sheriff Diego Morales Arrested, Suspended, Charged With DUI After Wreck, Leaving Scene With Bodily Injury

March 30, 2011

FLAGLER COUNTY, FLORIDA – A Flagler County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested Wednesday afternoon by the Florida Highway Patrol on a charge of driving under the influence in connection with a traffic accident that happened in December.

Diego Morales, 31, was booked into the Flagler County Sheriff’s Inmate Facility with an additional charge of leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury. He was also cited for careless driving. He was booked into the jail just after 4 p.m. and was released after posting $500 bail on the two charges.

“Obviously, we are disappointed with the deputy’s conduct,” Flagler County Sheriff Donald Fleming said. “This is an FHP case, so we will not be commenting further on the incident.”

Morales, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office since September 2002, has been placed on paid administrative leave. An internal affairs investigation will be completed.

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U.S. Bureau Of Prisons Director Harley Lappin Quits After 4 AM Drunk Driving Arrest

March 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DCHarley Lappin, the director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, who oversees 116 institutions and about 210,000 convicts, faces drunk driving charges stemming from a February incident in Annapolis, Md., the website Main Justice reported.

Lappin, who announced his resignation last week, told the staff about the drunk driving incident, Main Justice’s Andrew Ramonas reported.

The website reported that he faces three charges related to drunk driving. The incident happened on Saturday, Feb. 26 around 4 a.m., less than a half mile from his home, the website reported.

Last Friday, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. issued a statement about the retirement of Lappin:

“During my tenure as both Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, it has been a privilege to work closely with Director Harley Lappin.

“For more than a quarter of a century, including eight years as Director, his service to the Bureau of Prisons has helped improve public safety, strengthen our corrections systems, and advance the Justice Department’s most critical goals.”

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New Alabama Budget Will Require Releasing 3000 Non-Violent Prison Inmates – State May Try Justifying Releases With “Sentencing Reform”

March 30, 2011

ALABAMA – The state finance director says 3,000 non-violent Alabama prison inmates will have to be released if the Legislature adopts the General Fund budget proposed by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Finance Director David Perry told a joint meeting of the House and Senate judiciary committees that the cuts required in the governor’s budget will force a reduction in the number of prison inmates.

Perry made the dire pronouncement Wednesday as members of the two judiciary committees were discussing a package of bills supported by Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb that are aimed at reforming Alabama’s sentencing procedures and reducing the number of prison inmates.

Perry told committee members that releasing prisoners because of sentencing reform would be “more responsible” than letting them go because of budget cuts.

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Veteran El Paso Texas Police Officer Robert Barragan Arrested, Charged For Having Marijuana – City Intends To Fire Him

March 30, 2011

EL PASO, TEXAS – An El Paso police officer was arrested Monday on suspicion of having a small amount of marijuana, the police department said Tuesday.

Officials said Officer Robert Barragan, who has been with the department for eight years, was arrested about 6:45 p.m. along with Crystal Robles, 32, in the 3700 block of La Cuesta.

A statement from the police department said it has begun the process of firing Barragan.

The statement said officers found two grams of marijuana in the home.

Barragan and Robles were booked into the El Paso County Jail.

The amount of the drug is considered a misdemeanor.

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San Diego California Police Officer Roel Vincente Tungcab Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Attacking His Wife

March 30, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – A San Diego police officer who was arrested last week on suspicion of domestic battery has been placed on paid administrative duty while the case is investigated, police said Tuesday.

Roel Vincente Tungcab, 39, was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies Thursday night following a dispute at his home on California Street in Imperial Beach, said sheriff’s Lt. Scott Ybarrondo.

Tungcab called authorities about 5:45 p.m. Thursday and told dispatchers that he had pushed his wife, and that she fell and sustained an unknown injury, Ybarrondo said. He told dispatchers that he was an off-duty San Diego police officer, Ybarrondo said.

Deputies from the Imperial Beach station responded to the home and arrested Tungcab on suspicion of domestic battery. His wife was taken to a hospital. Tungcab was booked into the central jail and later posted bail, Ybarrondo said.

The case has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Tungcab is the second San Diego police officer to be arrested this month. On March 11, traffic officer Anthony Arevalos was taken into custody on suspicion of sexual battery, false imprisonment and assault under the color of authority.

Arevalos pleaded not guilty last week to 10 felony counts and is on unpaid suspension while an investigation continues.

A San Diego vice detective, Art Perea, 42, resigned from the department March 4 after being placed on unpaid leave after a college student said he raped her at an El Cajon home. Perea has not been charged, and El Cajon police said the incident continues to be investigated.

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Veteran Modesto California Police Officer Anthony Trock Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Seizing Drugs And Keeping Them For Himself

March 30, 2011

MODESTO, CALIFORNIA – The Modesto Police Department arrested one of its own officers late Monday after an internal investigation revealed he seized illegal drugs and failed submit the narcotics into evidence, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

Anthony Trock, who has been with the department for four years, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, furnishing illegal drugs and embezzlement.

Trock was booked at the Stanislaus County Jail. He has been stripped of his law enforcement responsibilities and placed on administrative leave, said Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz.

“I am deeply disappointed in the conduct of Anthony Trock,” said olice Chief Mike Harden in a news release. “Anytime a police officer violates the public’s trust, it brings disgrace to the organization and the law enforcement profession.”

The department’s Internal Affairs Unit received a citizen complaint about Trock, the release said.

Sgt. Rick Armendariz said the unit’s investigation discovered Trock on several occasions seized illegal drugs from people while on duty. He said Trock did not submit the drugs as evidence to the department.

In one incident, investigators learned Trock gave seized marijuana to an adult, Armendariz said.

“Police officers are not above the law and we will vigorously investigate those who break the law and violate the public’s trust,” Harden said in his statement. “Although Trock’s actions are very disturbing, his conduct does not reflect the overall commitment and values of the Modesto Police Department, or the law enforcement profession as a whole.”

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$62 Million Federal Lawsuit Charges New York City Police Officers Kenneth Moreno And Franklin Mata With Raping Her While On Duty – Officers Also Facing Criminal Charges

March 29, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A woman who claims two on-duty NYPD cops raped her in her East Village apartment is suing the city for $62 million, the officers’ lawyers said Monday.

The victim’s lawsuit is under seal in Manhattan federal court, but lawyers made the revelation in a hearing before jury selection began in the long-delayed criminal trial of suspended officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.

Prosecutors also said during the hearing that at least five witnesses whom the victim initially told about the rape may testify against the cops.

“[The victim told the witnesses] she’d been raped,” Assistant District Attorney Colleen Balbert told a judge.

The officers are accused of raping the semi-conscious woman in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2008, after responding to a 911 call to help into her apartment.

Balbert said the victim immediately told four of her neighbors when she awoke that morning. About an hour later, she told her boss, who met her at a hospital.

Defense lawyers, who claim the woman was too drunk to remember what happened, tried unsuccessfully to get the woman’s boss bounced as a witness because she heard about the claims after the initial “outcry” to her neighbors.

“That is not immediate, she had her outcry,” Moreno’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said, trying to limit the damage multiple witnesses could create.

Testimony of what another person said is considered hearsay and is barred at trial – except when it’s considered an initial “outcry” statement.

The lawyers for the cops also said the woman “collaborated” with her friends, suggesting she concocted the rape story.

The legal arguments came before more than 100 prospective jurors were called into the courtroom. Several panel members gasped as the judge described the rape allegations against the cops.

Before the jury questioning, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro dismissed a dozen misdemeanor official misconduct charges lodged against the cops on the grounds they were not crimes but patrol guide violations.

He allowed four official misconduct charges to stand, including failing to call an ambulance and failing to report that they returned to her apartment three times that night.

The officers still face a litany of charges, including felony counts of rape and burglary, and up to 25 years in prison.

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US Citizen: 4 Year Old Girl Will Try To Return To US After Being Refused Entry By U.S. Immigration Authorities

March 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – A 4-year-old U.S. citizen who was unable to enter into the country this month because of a possible communications mix-up will attempt the journey again on Tuesday.

“It’s a grave injustice that she has been separated from her parents for so long and we’re here to rectify that situation,” said lawyer David Sperling, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on Monday. “Tomorrow, she’s going to New York.”

Emily Ruiz, the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants living in New York without documentation, had spent five months recuperating from asthma while visiting with her grandparents in Guatemala, Sperling said. When her grandfather accompanied her on a flight back to the United States on March 11, he was stopped by a customs official at Dulles International Airport in suburban Virginia for an immigration violation dating back some 20 years, the lawyer said.

He was denied entry into the United States, and that placed Emily in the middle of an immigration quagmire. According to her family, immigration officials gave her parents two options: Emily could be sent to Guatemala with her grandfather, or she could be turned over to state custody. She returned to Central America.

“She was basically deported to Guatemala, not in the legal sense, but effectively this is what happened,” Sperling said. “We’re not here to criticize the government; really, we do not know who is responsible for this.”

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

Officials say they gave Emily’s father the opportunity to pick her up, because she is a U.S. citizen. The father, who speaks limited English, said he did not understand if that was indeed offered.

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Veteran Coral Gables Florida Police Officer Christino Perez Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Beating His Pregnant Sister-In-Law

March 28, 2011

CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA – A South Florida cop may have had the door slammed on his career and his freedom after he was arrested for allegedly hitting a pregnant woman.

Christino Perez, 45, has been relieved of duty from his job as a Coral Gables police officer, a city statement stated Monday.

Little information has been released about the arrest, but Coral Gables PD confirmed Perez’s troubles stem from pending criminal charges from an off-duty incident.

The alleged victim was Perez’s six-month pregnant sister-in-law, reported, quoting an arrest report.

Perez is a six-year veteran of the Police Department.

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No Bail For Former Petersburg County Virginia Deputy Sheriff Vernard Bailey – Sought Sex With 11 Year Old Girl Through A Prostitute

March 28, 2011

PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA – A former sheriff’s deputy accused of trying to have sex with an eleven-year-old was ordered held without bond Monday.

67-year-old Vernard Bailey appeared in a Petersburg court by video conference Monday morning where he was appointed a court attorney.

Bailey was arrested Tuesday, March 22, after an internal investigation by the Petersburg Sheriff’s Office brought about sufficient evidence to bring charges against him.

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Bedford County Virginia Deputy Sheriff Arrested And Charged After Drunken Wreck With Altavista Patrol Car While Traveling In Wrong Direction On Highway

March 28, 2011

ALTAVISTA, VIRGINIA – A Bedford County Sheriff’s Office deputy was arrested early Sunday and charged with driving under the influence after his car collided with an Altavista Police Department patrol car, according to State Police.

The deputy was driving the wrong way on U.S. 29 near Altavista, Virginia State Police Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Monday. The deputy was off duty at the time of the crash.

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Veteran Aurora Colorado Police Officer (Former DARE Officer) Michael Mangino Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Sexually Exploiting 15 Year Old Girl Runaway While On Duty – Had Pictures On His Cellphone

March 28, 2011

AURORA, COLORADO – An Aurora Police officer was arrested Monday on accusations of sexually exploiting a 15-year-old girl who had run away from home.

Officer Michael Mangino of the Aurora Police Department is facing two felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child, one felony count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.

Aurora Police say Mangino allegedly had inappropriate contact with the 15-year-old runaway on March 9 while on duty. According to police, Mangino took sexually-explicit photos of her with his police-issued cell phone.

“I know the officer personally. Obviously this is something any of us ever expected. I think it’s safe to say he’s a well-revered and respected member of the organization. I think it’s safe to say this is very, very hard for all of us,” Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said.

Mangino was placed on administrative leave with pay on March 17 while the Crimes Against Children Unit investigated the crime.

Mangino turned himself into the Adams County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and was released after posting $20,000 bond. After being released, he was placed on administrative leave without pay, per police department policy.

The Adams County District Attorney’s office is handling the case. The Aurora Police Department will also do an internal investigation once the criminal investigation is finished.

“My message to the community is this is still a great department, and we’re doing wonderful things out there by the way of service, and when on the rare, rare, rare occasion when an officer makes these kind of choices, and we find out about it, we act aggressively. This organization moved very aggressively and made a very strong case,” Oates said.

Mangino has been an officer with the Aurora Police Department for 29 years. He has previously served as a DARE instructor at several elementary schools.

They are still investigating a questionable image of a young girl’s buttocks.

Police did specify that they met with principals of schools where he taught DARE. Officials at the school said there was no evidence of inappropriate conduct. Police are concerned there are other victims and are asking parents to step forward and report suspicious encounters.

Police said there was an accusation of sexually-explicit material, including one video of a young girl, on his personal cell phone.

Police say Mangino’s most recent assignment was as a police area representative, a post that focuses on problem solving, education and crime prevention.

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Torture: Crazed Fort Lee New Jersey Police Officers Left Teens Locked In A Van In Freezing Cold Temperatures For 14 Hours Without Food, Water, Or A Bathroom

March 28, 2011

FORT LEE, NEW JERSEY – Police who busted a Fort Lee, N.J., high school house party over the weekend left a van full of teens locked up and parked outside in the freezing cold for 14 hours without food, water or access to a bathroom.

Officials only realized what had happened after a passerby heard screams and banging from the police van where five teens were trapped, NBC New York has learned.

“We were cold, dehydrated, hungry,” said Tony, 17. “I mean it was the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

Police raided the house party at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday because of noise complaints from neighbors, according to Fort Lee borough attorney Lee Cohen.

Several kids were rounded up and driven away in the van. Then, as temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s, they were forgotten.

Three of the teens spoke to NBC New York on Monday, on condition that their last names would not be used.

They said they tried breaking out of the van, banging and kicking its doors to no avail. They pressed up together to stay warm against the cold, as their parents wondered where they were.

“We had to huddle up together and just share body heat pretty much,” said another boy, Liam.

And without anywhere to relieve themselves, they had to urinate inside the van.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said an internal investigation has been launched within the Fort Lee police department.

Cohen, the Fort Lee borough attorney, declined to comment on the teens left outside, other than to say the case is under “active investigation.”

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So Much For Transparency: Obama Administration Appointees Delayed Public Documents Requested Under Freedom Of Information Act – Released Censored Emails Concerning Requests

March 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC — Insiders at the Homeland Security Department warned for months that senior Obama administration appointees were improperly delaying the releases of government files on politically sensitive topics as sought by citizens, journalists and watchdog groups under the Freedom of Information Act, according to uncensored emails newly obtained by The Associated Press.

The highly unusual political vetting was described as “meddling,” “crazy” and “bananas!” It is the subject of a congressional hearing later this week and an ongoing inquiry by the department’s inspector general.

Concerns came even from the official put in charge of submitting files to the political staff of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for the secretive reviews. Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan, who was appointed by Napolitano, complained in late 2009 that the vetting process was burdensome and said she wanted to change it.

Callahan is expected to be a central witness during an oversight hearing Thursday by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. In emails, she warned that the Homeland Security Department might be sued over delays the political reviews were causing, and she hinted that a reporter might find out about the political scrutiny.

“This level of attention is CRAZY,” Callahan wrote in December 2009 to her then-deputy, Catherine Papoi. Callahan said she hoped someone outside the Obama administration would discover details of the political reviews, possibly by asking for evidence of them under the Freedom of Information Act itself: “I really really want someone to FOIA this whole damn process,” Callahan wrote.

Less than one week after Callahan’s email, on Dec. 21, the AP formally requested the records about the controversial political vetting. The agency ultimately turned over more than 995 pages of emails last summer, after a seven-month fight, and the AP wrote about the program. But the emails were heavily censored under provisions in the Freedom of Information Act allowing the government to withhold passages that describe internal policy-making deliberations.

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Former Calumet County Wisconsin Prosecutor Ken Kratz Not Charged After Racy Text Messages To Domestic Assault Victim – More Than A Dozen Woman Reported Sexual Assault And Misconduct

March 28, 2011

MADISON, WISCONSIN –  A former prosecutor accused of sending racy text messages to a domestic abuse victim is not going to face criminal charges, the Wisconsin Justice Department announced Monday.

State investigators looked into allegations from more than a dozen women that former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz committed sexual assault and misconduct in office, the department said.

“His conduct appears to fit the connotation of ‘misconduct’ and demonstrates inappropriate behavior but does not satisfy the elements required to prosecute,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Tom Storm, who led the investigation.

Kratz’s attorney, Robert Bellin, said he was pleased with the decision. He said his office is investigating whether people lied to hurt Kratz.

“I think it’s obviously the right decision,” Bellin said of the decision not to file charges. “I don’t think we were that worried about it. We think that there were statements from individuals who came forward who were not completely truthful.”

Kratz resigned from his $105,000 per year position in October after The Associated Press reported he had sent 30 text messages to a domestic abuse victim trying to strike up an affair while he prosecuted her ex-boyfriend on a strangulation charge. Kratz, who was 50 at the time, called 26-year-old Stephanie Van Groll “a hot nymph” and asked if she was “the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married DA.”

Van Groll complained to police and Kratz was removed from the case. The Justice Department investigated at the time but decided not to file charges. Kratz was instead ordered to self-report the messages to the Office of Lawyer Regulation, a separate state entity that reviews attorneys’ conduct. The office declined to discipline Kratz, saying he hadn’t violated any rules.

Pressure mounted on Kratz to resign after Van Groll’s allegations became public. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle began removal procedures against him and other people began coming forward with accusations. The Justice Department and the lawyer regulation office both reopened investigations.

The Justice Department on Monday released its case summary, which said 15 women, including Van Groll, filed complaints against Kratz.

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New South Wales Australia Police Officer Adam McDonald Gets Job Back After Drunken Wreck (Found With Penis Drawn On His Cheek With Permanent Marker)

March 27, 2011

NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA – A POLICE officer from the New South Wales south coast sacked for getting so drunk he wrecked two cars and asked a colleague to fake a breath test for him has won his job back.

Kiama Senior Constable Adam McDonald, 35, got so inebriated at a local ping-pong competition in January 2009 that when he drove home he totalled a parked car before smashing into a retaining wall, a court was told.

When the owner of the smashed car called police, Mr McDonald asked his colleagues to classify the crash as a “minor incident” and told them he would walk home.

They refused and arrested Mr McDonald, who they discovered had a penis drawn on his left cheek with a permanent marker.

The Industrial Court heard the officer was taken to Kiama Police Station where he asked another officer to take a breath test in his place before returning a blood alcohol reading of 0.205.

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He was sacked in December 2009 by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, a known teetotaller, who was furious about the incident.

But Mr McDonald has won his job back after challenging his sacking in the Industrial Court of NSW.

The court heard that on the day of the crash Mr McDonald had been at a golf and poker day at Kiama Golf Club where he drank four schooners of beer over four hours. He then bought a 750ml bottle of bourbon and went to the ping-pong competition located “two to three” kilometres from his home.

After passing out at the competition, Mr McDonald woke up and attempted to drive home when he hit the parked car, according to the court judgment.

Police arrived at the scene on Meehan Drive and found a parked car had been “extensively damaged” with the bumper ripped off and the engine exposed.

Mr McDonald appeared to be heavily intoxicated, court documents said. He was “observed… as having drawings of penises on the left side of his face and on his left leg, apparently drawn with a black marker”, court documents said.

He had the words “F*k the police” written on his back and his fly was undone, the court heard.

According to police, Mr McDonald was abusive and tried to use his position to have officers cover-up the incident.

Mr McDonald told the court he remembered little of the night.

He said people he didn’t know were mixing his drinks and that they could have spiked them with drugs or large quantities of alcohol.

In court, Judge Wayne Haylen accepted the submissions and said the sacking was harsh.

He said Mr McDonald would have felt “fear and concern” when he awoke to find people drawing on him which may have “caused him to drive his vehicle when he otherwise would not have done so”.Judge Haylen also said Mr McDonald, a father of three, was remorseful, had apologised and attended alcohol counselling.

He also said Mr McDonald was at risk of losing his house after being suspended without pay for 15 months.

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Niles Michigan Police Officer Ivery Cross Arrested, Charged With Misconduct

March 27, 2011

NILES, MICHIGAN – A Niles City Police Department officer is currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police, Paw Paw Post, for misconduct while on duty, according to Police Chief Ric Huff of the Niles City Police Department.


Though the department has not released the officer’s name, the Star was able to confirm the officer arrested as Ivery Cross.

The Niles City Police Department says it is fully cooperating with the state police investigation and is conducting a thorough internal investigation into the matter.

Cross was taken into custody Friday afternoon by the Michigan State Police and his police authority has been suspended. Cross’ arraignment in court is expected to occur on Monday in the Berrien County Trial Court.

According to the release, the department is unable to release any further information about the possible charges or alleged misconduct until Cross’ appearance in court, as the investigation is ongoing.

The release stated it was with great regret that the Niles City Police Department must submit the release, having dedicated and hard working women and men and this officer’s alleged actions should not reflect negatively on their dedication to this community.

Detective First Lieutenant Charles A. Christensen, Michigan State Police, is acting as lead investigator in the matter.

According to the official posting for Cross’s arrival to the department, the officer is a NilesHigh School graduate and a graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College Police Academy.

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Cleveland Ohio Corrections Officer Arrested, Charged With Sexually Assaulting A Male Inmate

March 27, 2011

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Highland Hills Police have arrested a 32-year-old Cleveland correction officer for the alleged sexual assault of a male inmate.

Authorities say the incident happened at the House of Correction on Northfield Road in Highland Hills Friday.

Cleveland Police Sgt. Sammy Morris tells Fox 8 News, “The police investigation was initiated following a complaint by a 24-year-old inmate. Upon receipt of the complaint, Assistant Director Bounds immediately notified Highland Hills who responded to the scene and initiated the investigation.”

According to Sgt. Morris, if the correction officer is charged with a crime, he will be suspended from duty, without pay, pending the outcome of the case.

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Milltown New Jersey Fire Chief Peter Belonis And Son Arrested On Drug Charges After Raid At Their Home

March 27, 2011

MILLTOWN, NEW JERSEY – Police arrested volunteer Fire Chief Peter Belonis, his son and five others after a raid on the Belonis’ Harrison Avenue home that revealed drug activity, police said.

Belonis, 50, was charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. His son, Andreas Belonis, 26, and another man face more serious charges of distribution of cocaine, distribution of prescription painkillers, distribution within a school zone and conspiracy to distribute, police said.

The raid occurred Friday night, when about 13 officers from Milltown and North Brunswick searched the Belonis house. The search was the culmination of a three-month investigation into suspicious traffic at the property, initiated by complaints from neighbors, police said.

“Obviously it was extremely surprising,” acting Mayor Lawrence Citro said of the chief’s arrest.

Citro said Belonis has been suspended indefinitely pending resolution of the charges. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Scott Janssens will serve as acting chief of Milltown’s volunteer fire department.

Six people were arrested Friday evening. Matthew Jonas, 26, faces the same charges as Andreas Belonis. Bret Brown, 20, of Edison; Rocco Genovesi, 21, of Milltown; Justin Archer, 19, of Milltown; and Kenneth Szabo, 20, of Spotswood were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and loitering to obtain controlled dangerous substances, police said.

Jonas and the younger Belonis live at the house, while the other men were visiting, police said.

Police said they found the house in such deplorable condition, with floors permeated with dog waste, that it was deemed uninhabitable and was condemned.

Authorities returned to the house on Saturday along with representatives of the health department, the fire official and code enforcement. Peter Belonis, who was not home at the time of the Friday night search, was arrested when he came to the house Saturday.

His arrest stemmed from a small amount of marijuana found in his bedroom, police said.

During the search, police shot and killed a dog belonging to Andreas Belonis when it attacked and slightly injured an officer. Two other dogs already were secured in a separate part of the house, and animal control removed them, police said.

The younger Belonis and Jonas were being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail, police said. The other men were released pending their appearance in court.

More charges are possible, police said. Three days before the search, in an apparently unrelated incident, the body of a man was found in a boat parked in the house’s backyard. The man had been living on the boat with permission from the homeowners, and another resident found him about 24 hours after he died, police said. There were no signs of foul play, police said. Toxicology reports are pending.

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Federal Lawsuit Charges Covington County Mississippi Deputy Sheriff Chris Jones With Wrongful Arrest And Excessive Force After Following Man Home And Attacking Him In His Own Back Yard

March 27, 2011

COVINGTON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI – A Covington County man has filed a suit against a Covington County sheriff’s deputy alleging false imprisonment and abuse.

The case was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. It also lists Covington County as a defendant.

Scott Clifton “Toby” Davis of Seminary claims Deputy Chris Jones illegally arrested and attacked him on Jan. 13, 2010, after following him to his home.

The complaint states Jones followed him for six miles without flashing his lights or attempting to stop Davis.

The lawsuit, which represents only one side of the issue, then alleges Jones accused Davis of falsely claiming the residence was his and of possessing or selling an illicit drug. The suit states the officer eventually confirmed the residence was Davis’ but continued to accuse him of illegal sale or possession of an illicit drug.

After the incident escalated, Davis “fled in fear to the back of the house,” where he was hit with a stun device and subdued by the officer, according to the lawsuit.

He was arrested and taken to Covington County Jail. After his attorney arrived, bail was set and he was allowed to bond out.

Davis claims excessive force was used in the arrest.

He later was prosecuted in Justice Court for resisting arrest, but all charges were dismissed.

He is seeking compensatory damages including the cost of medical care in an amount to be determined by a jury.

Davis is represented by attorney Robin L. Roberts of the firm Roberts & Blackledge in Hattiesburg.

Roberts said he believes the suit is a “meritorious case” and that it “speaks for itself.” He did not provide any other statement other than he believes the case will go to court a year from now.

Covington County Sheriff Ben Ford declined to comment.

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Petersburg Virginia Deputy Sheriff Vernard Bailey Arrested In Child Sex Sting – Fired After Seeking Sex With 11 Year Old Girl Through Whore He’d Been Seeing For 10 Years – Good News: He Has Cancer

March 27, 2011

PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA – A court document obtained by CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil indicates 67-year-old Vernard Bailey admitted to Petersburg Police they he asked a prostitute he’d hired regularly over the last 10 years to arrange a sexual encounter with an 11-year-old girl.

According to the document, Bailey told police he liked young girls because they were “fresh.”

The document indicates Bailey told police he was in bad health and battling cancer. He indicated to police this ordeal would be tough on him.

Police in Petersburg have arrested a Petersburg Sheriff’s Deputy for allegedly trying to have sex with an 11-year-old child.

67-year-old Vernard Bailey was arrested on Tuesday after an undercover sting operation netted investigators the evidence they needed for the charges.

Petersburg Police tell CBS 6 after he was brought in Bailey later confessed.

Bailey is currently facing 3 felony charges of attempting to commit rape of a child, attempted forcible sodomy of a child and attempted indecent liberties with a child.

Bailey was fired from the Petersburg Sheriff’s Department after being arrested. Before losing his job, Bailey served with the Sheriff’s Department for 27 years. He worked his way up to the rank of Sergeant, before being demoted to Corporal last year.

Because of his long law enforcement career, Bailey isn’t being shown any special treatment, but care is being taken to protect him behind bars. He was taken to a jail, outside the area for his protection.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Cassandra Conover says the investigation is not over and more charges are pending.

Bailey is being held without bond. His next court appearance is March 28th.

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Veteran Frederick County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Sam A. Bowman Arrested, Suspended, And Charged After Sex With 14 Year Old Girl

March 27, 2011

FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND – A Frederick County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, officials said in a statement released Thursday.

Deputy Sam A. Bowman, 46, of New Market, Md., was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with child sex abuse and a fourth-degree sex offense.

According to an investigation by the Frederick County Bureau of Investigation, on March 9, Bowman drove the girl to her home after school and had sex with her there at least once. The child’s parents were not home at this time. It’s still unclear if Bowman had sex with the girl on other occasions.

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins calls the arrest of a deputy on child sex abuse charges deeply troubling.

He says he is very upset by a sheriff’s deputy entrusted with protecting children allegedly harming a fourteen year old girl.

Detectives learned of the relationship after Child Protective Services contacted the Sheriff’s Office with a tip from a third party.

Bowman was being held at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, but later released on $75,000 bond.

Bowman, a 20-year veteran of the Frederick Police Department, started at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office in August 2010. He was assigned as a school resource officer at Walkersville High School.

He has been suspended without pay.

Students at Walkerville High School, who know the 14-year-old alleged victim, said they occasionally saw her speaking with Bowman. One of the students said he saw the girl get into Bowman’s car after school.

“I saw her go with him like two hours after she got dismissed from school,” said Walkerville High School student Brandon Cochrane.

One student, Michael Hassett, said students would see the deputy every day and he was friendly. But he also said Bowman was “creepy.”

Another student, Jacob Beck, said Bowman appeared to pay more attention to female students.

“He was always talking with the students but maybe the girls a little more than the guys,” he said.

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Disgraced Former Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Police Officer Talib Kevin Ghafoor Arrested In Prostitution Sting

March 26, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – A former city police officer was arrested during a Wednesday night prostitution sting in Moon.

Talib Kevin Ghafoor, 55, was charged with promoting prostitution, conspiracy and other crimes after the bust, which happened about 6:30 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriot.

Moon police Chief Leo McCarthy said undercover detectives set up a meeting with a woman known as Sally after they saw her ad on an adult website. The detectives met Sally, later identified as Sabina Earlene Sailer, 43, of Venice, Fla., made an agreement for sex and arrested her.

“She was cooperative and said, ‘my fiance is outside. By the way, he’s a retired Pittsburgh police officer,’ ” Chief McCarthy said. Detectives asked if he was armed, and Ms. Sailer said she didn’t know. She said she was driven to the hotel by Mr. Ghafoor, who was unarmed and arrested without incident in the hotel parking lot.

Mr. Ghafoor resigned from the city’s force in 2008 under investigation for perjury after he contradicted himself on the stand during a homicide trial. He had conversations with one of the defendants in jail, helped prepare the defense of the case and testified that he was “aligned with both defendants.”

Chief McCarthy said such prostitution stings are routine, as the township has 15 hotels and the crime is prevalent. The Moon officers didn’t know Mr. Ghafoor as a former officer, but he was recognized during processing at the Allegheny County Jail.

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Veteran Philadelphia Pennsylvania Police Officer James Graber Arrested, Suspended With Intent To Fire, Charged With Punching His Wife In The Face

March 26, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – Philadelphia Police Officer James Graber was arrested for an off duty incident with his estranged wife, in a Northeast Philadelphia bar. Police said that on February 19, graber was inside a bar on the 7600 block of Frankford Ave. At this time he started an argument with his estranged wife who was also inside the bar. Graber was ejected by bouncers for the bar.

A short while later, Graber is accused of returning to the bar and punching his wife in the face. The incident was investigated by Philadelphia Police Internal Affairs Division. Graber was arrested March 22 and is suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss.

He was an 11 year veteran and he was last assigned to the bomb disposal unit which is headquartered on State Rd.

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Dumbass Veteran Honolulu Hawaii Police Officer Boyd Kamikawa, Awaiting Sentencing On Drunk Driving And Hitting Pedestrian, Arrested After Wreck While Driving On Suspended License

March 26, 2011

HONOLULU, HAWAII — A veteran Honolulu police officer awaiting sentencing for a drunken driving case in which he hit a pedestrian is in trouble again.

Officers arrested Boyd Kamikawa at his Pauoa Valley home Monday on suspicion of driving without a license.

Kamikawa was involved in a fender-bender with another car in downtown Honolulu about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Kamikawa’s license was revoked following his DUI arrest last April. In that case, a 61-year old woman suffered minor injuries when Kamikawa hit her while she was in a downtown crosswalk.

Sentencing in that case is set for May. He pleaded no contest in that case.

Kamikawa has been on the force for 24 years and is currently on desk duty, according to the Honolulu Police Department.

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Veteran Baltimore Maryland Police Officer Kevin L. Rowland Arrested, Charged WIth Sexually Abusing A Minor

March 26, 2011

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – The Harford County Child Advocacy Center says a Baltimore City police officer has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a minor.

In a press release, officials say Kevin L. Rowland was charged Wednesday with sex abuse of a minor, fourth-degree sexual offense, and second-degree assault stemming from abuse that police say occurred while the minor victim was residing at his home in Edgewood, from September 2010 and until this month.

A police roster from 2007 shows that Rowland has been on the force since 2001 and at that time was assigned to the Northern District.

Officials with the Harford Child Advocacy Center could not immediately be reached for details on the allegations against Rowland, and the charges don’t yet appear in the state’s electronic court records database.

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Former Vernon Connecticut Police Officer John Troland Arrested For Second Time In Recent Months After His Release From Prison

March 26, 2011

WATERFORD, CONNECTICUT – A former police officer who served 18 months in prison for sharing confidential information about investigations with the targets of those investigations was charged Wednesday with violating the terms of his probation.

John Troland, 35, has been arrested twice by the Waterford police department in recent months. He was charged in connection with a domestic disturbance in January and for fifth-degree larceny in February. People on probation can face a violation of probation charge if they are arrested for another crime.

Troland turned himself in Wednesday afternoon at Vernon police headquarters and was released after posting $25,000 bail.

Waterford police charged Troland with fifth-degree larceny Feb. 2 after he allegedly stole shrubbery. He was released on $25,000 bail. He was arrested Jan. 31 on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal violation of a restraining order. He posted $5,000 bail. Both cases are pending in Superior Court in New London.

Troland was a Vernon officer for seven years. He resigned his position after his arrest in July 2005. He pleaded guilty in September 2006 to one count of interfering with an officer and computer crime. The charges Troland faced were reduced as part of a plea agreement.

At the time of Troland’s guilty plea, Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew Gedansky said it was lucky that no narcotics investigators or informants who aided them were injured as a result of Troland’s conduct.

Troland disclosed the identities of narcotics officers and informants to his then-girlfriend, Sherri Lane-Cheema. Lane-Cheema and her relatives then shared the information with the targets of narcotic investigations on at least seven occasions, Gedansky said.

Troland also illegally used a law enforcement database to check on people, including potential girlfriends and former boyfriends of Lane-Cheema, police said.

Vernon police investigated and built the case against Troland.

In sentencing Troland, Rockville Superior Court Judge Terence A. Sullivan told Troland he should have known that people involved with drugs have a capacity for violence and that the information he disclosed could have resulted in the killing of a colleague or informant.

“You placed some of your fellow officers in unnecessary danger because of that,” Sullivan said. He also gave the Vernon police department a black eye, the judge said.

Troland said at his sentencing that he made bad decisions, but said he did not share confidential information with Lane-Cheema. Instead, he suggested, she overheard things “and put two and two together.”

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Suspended Schenectady New York Police Officer Eric Peters Arrested, Charged With Assault And Unlawful Imprisonment After Domestic Incident

March 26, 2011

SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK — A Police officer with the Schenectady Police Department faces charges of Assault and Unlawful Imprisonment, both misdemeanors.

Schenectady Police arrested officer Eric Peters on Wednesday. They say he was involved in a domestic incident on March 17th.

According to the Police Department, Peters was on paid suspension at the time of his arrest, and as a result of the arrest, his suspension has become unpaid. He was arraigned in Schenectady City Court on Wednesday, and is due back in court on April 13.

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Fort Myers Florida Police Officer Oneil Kerr Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Attacking His Wife

March 26, 2011

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA – A Fort Myers police officer is on administrative leave after deputies say he attacked his wife.

Oneil Kerr, 35, faces a misdemeanor battery charge. He got out of jail Wednesday on pretrial release.

“This is not the conduct that we would expect from one of our officers,” Chief Doug Baker said in an e-mail.

Kerr will be on leave pending the outcome of the criminal as well as an internal affairs investigation, Baker said. He has been with the department just less than three years.

He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

According to a Lee County sheriff’s report, Kerr and his 32-year-old wife got into an argument at their Lehigh Acres home because Kerr had been unfaithful.

His wife said she got scared and backed away from Kerr, but he grabbed her and pressed a key into her neck, the report says. She pushed him away, but he shoved her to the ground and she hit her head, according to the report.

Kerr shoved her head back to the ground when she tried to fight him off, the report said. His wife tried to call 911, but Kerr grabbed the phone away from her.

When deputies arrived, they noticed the woman had broken blood vessels in both eyes and a bruise under her left eye. Emergency crews took her to Lehigh Regional Hospital.

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Businessman Awarded $80,000 After Wrongful Arrest By Lynchburg Virginina Police Officer Ben Currin

March 26, 2011

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – The owner of a Lynchburg bus lot has won his lawsuit against a police officer he says wrongfully arrested him.

A jury has awarded Sam McConville $80,000 after an incident in March of 2008.

McConnville says Officer Ben Currin was sitting in his cruiser in the private bus lot.

He says after being told to leave, the officer spun around, throwing up rocks.

McConnville says he was arrested when he shouted at the officer.

McConnville’s attorney had been seeking $370,000.

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Niles Michigan Police Officer Arrested For Misconduct

March 26, 2011

NILES, MICHIGAN – Michigan State Police arrested a Niles city police officer Friday in connection with charges of police misconduct, Niles police said.

The officer, whose name was not released, was taken into custody by Michigan State Police, Paw Paw Post, in lieu of an investigation into misconduct while on duty, Niles City Police Chief Richard A. Huff said in a statement.

Huff cited a pending investigation as the reason why details of the charges were not released.

The Niles City Police Department is fully cooperating with the State Police investigation and is conducting a thorough internal investigation into the matter, Huff said in a statement.

The officer has been suspended. He is expected to be arraigned Monday at Berrien County Trial Court.

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Russellville Alabama Police Officer Sgt. Jeremy Shane Hall Arrested, Charged With 3 Counts Of Custodial Sexual Abuse

March 26, 2011

RUSSELLVILLE, ALABAMA – The Alabama Bureau of Investigation arrested a Russellville police sergeant today on three counts of custodial sexual abuse.

Jeremy Shane Hall, 33, was taken into custody at about 2:30 p.m. at the ABI’s offices in the Quad Cities, said Trooper Curtis Sommerville, spokesman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Sommerville said Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett requested the investigation, which was based on allegations and information received by the police chief’s office. Hall was placed in the Franklin County Jail.

The case is still being investigated by the ABI, and no additional information about the accusations is available for release at this time, Sommerville said.

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Greely Colorado Police Officer Daniel Shepherd Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Sexually Assaulting Teen Female Motorist

March 26, 2011

GREELEY, COLORADO – Greeley police have arrested an officer accused of inappropriately touching a 19-year-old woman during a pat-down search.

Police Chief Jerry Garner says 28-year-old Daniel Shepherd pulled the woman over around 5:15 a.m. March 13 after police were called to a party she had attended. Garner says others at the party said she was too drunk and needed to leave. Investigators allege Shepherd pulled her over after following her from the party.

Shepherd is on administrative leave. He was arrested Friday on suspicion of felony sexual assault and official oppression. His bond was set at $50,000.

Shepherd has an unlisted phone number, and it wasn’t known if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

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Suicidal Sevierville Tennessee Police Officer Timothy Owen Coulter Arrested After Ramming Blount County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Car And Assaulting Deputies

March 26, 2011

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – An off-duty Sevierville police officer was arrested this afternoon after ramming a Blount County patrol car and causing injury to two deputies last night, according to Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong.

Berrong said 43-year-old Timothy Owen Coulter of Mize Road, Seymour, is at the Blount County Detention Facility charged with three counts of aggravated assault, DUI, felony vandalism and possession of a handgun while intoxicated. He is being held on bonds totaling $102,500.

Sheriff Berrong says he and other deputies responded to an area near Davis Ford Road after a domestic report. Berrong says Coulter was involved in a domestic situation involving a weapon in Sevier County and was threatening suicide. He allegedly was traveling into Blount County to his family’s farm with weapons and threatened to do harm to any law enforcement officer who tried to stop him.

When officers spotted Coulter’s Ford F-250 pick-up truck parked in a driveway on Davis Ford Road, deputies blocked the road and called Coulter on his cell phone. Berrong says Coulter repeated his threat to kill any deputy who tried to approach him, and then backed his truck out of the driveway and sped toward an unoccupied cruiser. He rammed the front end of the cruiser as deputies standing nearby dove into a ditch to avoid being struck. Another cruiser was also damaged. Two officers suffered minor injuries while getting Coulter out of his truck. Both officers have been treated and released at Blount Memorial Hospital.

Officers found a handgun and box of ammunition in Coulter’s truck. He was taken to Blount Memorial Hopsital and then to the Detention Center. He faces charges in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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Man Surrenders To Georgia Police On Live TV – Knowing They Would Kill Him If Nobody Was Watching

March 26, 2011

ATHENS, GEORGIA – The man suspected of killing a Georgia police officer and wounding another who tried to apprehend him told authorities he would surrender and release the five hostages he was holding in an apartment — only if it was broadcast on live TV.

Jamie Hood, 33, walked out of the apartment late Friday night shirtless and surrounded by five of the nine adults and children he had held captive for hours as he negotiated with federal, state and local authorities. It was a prime-time ending to a four-day manhunt around this quiet college town.

The tattooed, head-shaven Hood was immediately swarmed by tactical officers in green fatigues and wielding high-powered guns, patting him down and ordering him to the ground. He did not resist.

“He was convinced he was going to be killed by law enforcement,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan, who an hour earlier had gone before TV cameras to promise Hood that he would not be harmed if he turned himself in and freed the hostages.

Keenan said Hood, whose brother had been killed by police a decade earlier while Hood was in prison, insisted that his surrender be broadcast live by a news camera crew to ensure he was not harmed.

Investigators said that they believe Hood was using cocaine on Friday. Athens Police Capt. Clarence Holeman said Hood was armed, though he would not release further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

On Saturday, Sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Mattocks said Hood was being held in jail without bond. Hood does not yet have an initial court appearance scheduled. A defense attorney hired by his family, Jim Smith, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Saturday.

“I just thank God it’s all over,” said Jennifer Hood, Jamie Hood’s sister. “It’s finally over.”

Police had been searching for Hood since Tuesday, when Athens-Clarke County police officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian was shot and killed while police say he tried to apprehend Hood. Another officer, Tony Howard, was shot in the face and upper body and is recovering.

The manhunt led authorities to several locations around Athens-Clarke County, about 75 miles northeast of Atlanta, as they received a flurry of tips about where he might be hiding. Officers descended on an area in east Athens, surrounding an apartment complex and barricading nearby roads.

As the search intensified, Hood reached out to police around 3:40 p.m. Friday and asked to talk to authorities about surrendering, Keenan said. He told police he was afraid for his life and that he would harm the hostages if his demands were not met, Keenan said.

After hours of negotiations, Hood agreed around 9 p.m. to free four hostages, which authorities saw as a promising sign.

Television cameras trained at the apartment’s door showed him emerging along with the remaining hostages, single file and hands in the air, around 11:15 p.m. He was later led to a police car, where TV cameras showed him calmly talking.

Former University of Georgia football player Bryant Gantt, who knew Hood in passing, said he posted a message on his Facebook page offering to help. As police closed in, friends put Gantt in touch with Hood by telephone. The former football player told WSB-TV that he helped FBI negotiators talk with the suspect for hours.

“It was up and down, you know,” Gantt said. “He was scared. You finally could tell that he was scared of the whole situation. He was ready to get it over with. He was tired, he was worn out.”

The people who emerged with Hood were led away by officers and questioned, Keenan said. Authorities said the nine hostages included a toddler, an infant and a 13-year-old girl. None of the hostages appeared to be hurt, Keenan said, and investigators were trying to determine how Hood knew them.

Quinton Riden, one of the hostages, said Hood didn’t threaten them or treat them badly during the ordeal. He said he and Hood are acquaintances.

“Jamie didn’t do no harm to none of us,” Riden said outside the Athens-Clarke County police station after being questioned by police early Saturday. “He treated us like family.”

Police said Hood had been on the run for days after Tuesday’s shooting.

Officers had stopped Hood while he was in an SUV in West Athens around 1 p.m. Tuesday, seeking to question him in connection with a carjacking and kidnapping. The vehicle’s driver was arrested, but police say Hood got out of the vehicle and shot Howard in the face and upper body. He then fatally shot Christian as he sat in the patrol car, authorities said.

Hood was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1997 on armed robbery charges and was released in 2009. In 2001, while Hood was serving time, his 22-year-old brother Timothy Hood was shot and killed by an Athens police officer. Investigators said at the time that Timothy Hood pulled a gun on an officer and was shot when the weapon jammed.

Jennifer Hood said that her brother Jamie coached a children’s football team and played sports in high school, and that he never missed a family event. She said he came to her house Tuesday morning, hours before the shooting, but she was in the shower and he left before she could see him.

“I wish there had been something I could have said or done,” she said.

Police are expecting thousands of people to attend Sunday’s funeral for Christian, who was an 8-year veteran of the Athens police department. Christian, 34, was married with two young children.

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Lawrence Massachusetts Director Of Anti-Poverty Agency Worked 15 Hours A Week For $144,000 A Year

March 26, 2011

LAWRENCE, MASSACHUSETTS – The AWOL boss for the city’s leading anti-poverty agency walked out the door with a $9,829.91 check after he quit Wednesday.

Former Greater Lawrence Community Action Council Executive Director Philip F. Laverriere Sr. received the money for his last days worked and unused vacation time. Thomas Schiavone, president of the agency’s board of directors, said Laverriere is not eligible for retiree health benefits because he resigned.

Laverriere, 85, left the agency four days after The Eagle-Tribune revealed he spent as few as 15 hours in the office a week, and earned as much as $144,000 a year. The rest of the work day, Laverriere was found in the Elks Clubs playing card games and video poker and indulging his taste for cigars.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development, which administers $29 million tax dollars to the agency, has brought in the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action (NIQUA) to review “governance, management, and fiscal issues” at GLCAC. Representatives from NIQUA will be at the agency next week for two days to do an audit and talk to employees. They are expected to file a report on their findings with the state April 4

Schiavone said Laverriere is eligible to collect on the 403B retirement plan the agency offers — which is much like a 401K plan but for nonprofits. According to the agency’s employee handbook, GLCAC matches up 50 percent of an employee’s contribution up to a maximum of 3 percent of the person’s salary.

In the 2009 tax year, Laverriere received a $2,066 match in contributions from the agency.

Laverriere was head of the agency for 37 years. The agency has 310 employees and oversees an array of poverty programs including immigration assistance, heat subsidies, and child care.

Its $30 million budget is funded almost entirely through state and federal money. In the interim, Assistant Executive Director Charles LoPiano will oversee the agency.

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Dead Or Alive: Hero Offered Cash For Body Of 33 Year Old Registered Sex Offender Dating His Teen Daughter

March 26, 2011

LA MESA, CALIFORNIA – Police Friday arrested a Spring Valley man for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill the boyfriend of his 19-year-old daughter.

Domingos Oliveira, 50, was arrested on suspicion of solicitation for murder at about 9 a.m. after detectives executed a search warrant at his home in the 10000 block of Roadside Place in Spring Valley.

Police were contacted by Oliveira’s daughter and boyfriend after several reward posters were posted on the Grossmont College campus over the last two weeks. The home-made fliers, allegedly made and distributed by Oliveira, offered $3000 for the boyfriend’s body “dead or alive.” The poster listed the boyfriend’s name, had his photo and said he was a convicted sex offender.

The boyfriend is 33 years old and a registered sex offender, according to police. Investigators released a copy of the poster with the boyfriend’s personal information obscured.

Oliveira was booked into county jail and was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

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Bandera County Texas Deputies Stop, Arrest And Jail Mom For Suspended License – Leaving Her 2 Year Old Daughter Alone In Car Beside Freeway

March 26, 2011

BANDERA COUNTY, TEXAS – Bandera County deputies have been accused of leaving a child in a car on the side of the road after they arrested the toddler’s mother, and the mother’s attorney said dash-cam video of the arrest proves it.

According to the police report, deputies pulled over 29-year-old Victoria Brice because her vehicle had a broken left brake light.

“I don’t see any lights out. It looks like a completely illegal stop,” attorney Adam Cortez said of the dash-cam video from his client’s arrest.

Brice was then handcuffed and taken to jail for an expired driver’s license.

“Just having an expired license is not an arresting offense,” Cortez said.

What cannot be seen in the dash-cam video is Brice’s 2-year-old daughter sitting in the empty car the entire time, Cortez said.

Cortez claimed dash-cam video showed the deputies knew the toddler was there, so they moved the car a few feet away from the freeway. A deputy then retrieved Brice’s purse from the car.

Moments later, the dash-cam video showed deputies driving away, taking Brice to jail, leaving her car on the side of the road.

“Child endangerment is not a policy, it’s a crime,” Cortez said.

Bandera County officials said there was another deputy parked behind the arresting deputy, watching the child from his vehicle, but at no point in the dash-cam video can you see another vehicle.

Cortez said he believes the deputies are lying, trying to cover up the fact that they left a toddler sitting alone in a car alongside a busy, dark highway.

“I’m not wondering anything, they’re obviously lying about that. I don’t know if they thought they could get away with it or if we wouldn’t get a copy of the video,” Cortez said.

Bandera County officials said the deputies involved have received counseling on procedures involving children.

Beyond that, Bandera County officials said they can’t comment on pending litigation.

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Schuyler County Illinois Sheriff Don Scheiferdecker To Dispatcher on Facebook: You’re a “little fag Jew boy”

March 25, 2011

This story contains references some readers might find offensive. It is included so readers can draw their own conclusions about the situation.

A west-central Illinois sheriff says he regrets an online comment in which he used what he acknowledged was off-color humor in a public posting on a co-worker’s social networking page.

The posting, in which Schuyler County Sheriff Don Scheiferdecker made a comment that included the phrase “little fag Jew boy” about another co-worker’s photo, was meant to be private.

“I’ve dedicated my life to public service and sure don’t believe in public service by being harmful to people,” Schieferdecker said.

He said Thursday there have been a few people in the community who have been critical of the remark, which was made in jest.

Schieferdecker said he made the comment after returning home from a long work night of trying to find anhydrous thieves. He posted it to the Facebook page of a dispatcher, who had used the slang word for a homosexual under the picture of another dispatcher.

The sheriff said he knew both men would take the comment as harmless teasing.

But being relatively new to Facebook, Schieferdecker said he didn’t realize everyone could see the comment.

“I wouldn’t say or do anything like that to hurt anyone,” he said, adding it upsets him when somebody is disrespected because of who they are. “I couldn’t care less about anyone’s religion and sexual preference.”

He said he regrets the comment and “it’s something I wish I hadn’t said.”

Schieferdecker started an account early this winter to view friends’ accounts and play some of the games.

Facebook is an online social network with millions of users. Although there are settings that can prevent anyone not accepted into a user’s “friends” group from reading posts, many pages have no such restriction and can be read by anyone.

There have been dozens of publicized cases in which messages meant to be personal have led to legal action or being fired: A Massachusetts high school teacher was fired after she referred to some students as “snobby,” an Ohio youth prison guard was terminated after making a racial slur in a post, and a college football player was kicked off the team for making “racially charged” remarks.

Many companies have established guidelines for appropriate use of social networking sites and an increasing number have indicated they read over prospective employees’ sites before making a decision about whether to hire them.

The only place with Internet in the sheriff’s department is in the office and it is strictly for business use, Schieferdecker said.

Jim Bormann, human resources director for Jacksonville School District 117, said he has had to investigate Facebook reports from time to time about students or staff, but has never found anything incriminating. The provisions that deal with incriminating evidence include infringements on “pretty severe” moral issues such as open drug use or something involving children, he said.

“We’re aware of it,” Bormann said. “If there’s a cause for us to go looking and we find a line that draws to Facebook, we’ll follow it, but I don’t seek it out.”

Experts generally caution that people should set their privacy settings so only friends can see their personal information, such as posts, and that nothing be posted online that a user would not want publicly revealed.

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2500 Rubber Ducks Stolen From Yorkville Illinois Police Charity

March 25, 2011

YORKVILLE, ILLINOIS – About 2500 yellow rubber ducks were stolen in suburban Yorkville and Police are asking for any information that might lead them to the stash.

Chicago Breaking News Center reports reports Friday that the Police say several of the toy ducks have been found on a Yorkville roadway since they were stolen.

The Yorkville Citizens Police Academy planned to use them for its annual charity “Duck Pluck.”

The fundraiser, in its 20th year, supports the Citizens Police Academy.

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Ranking Los Angeles California Homeland Security Official Jorge Guzeman Investigated For Phoney College Degree

March 25, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A high-ranking Homeland Security official who held a top secret security clearance and supervised squads of agents in Los Angeles has been suspended as a federal grand jury probes whether he lied about having a college degree, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The ongoing criminal investigation is targeting Jorge Guzman, a 25-year law enforcement veteran who served as the assistant special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s L.A. branch.

In mid-December, agents executed a search warrant at the 51-year-old Guzman’s office inside a downtown L.A. building. Simultaneously, he was placed on paid administrative leave, and stripped of his firearm, badge, and government vehicle. Correspondence sent to his e-mail address is now returned to the sender marked undeliverable.

Lawyers for Guzman, pictured at right, contend that he graduated from a California community college and has provided federal officials with copies of an authentic diploma. In a recent court filing, Guzman’s counsel stated that their client’s “name and reputation are being ruined by a false allegation” and shoddy sleuthing.

Whatever the investigation’s outcome, it will likely prove deeply embarrassing to Homeland Security officials. Either a high-ranking ICE supervisor was able to move up the law enforcement ladder while repeatedly lying about his educational history, or an experienced agent was wrongly accused by peers whose botched probe effectively torpedoed his career.

Triggered by an anonymous tip that Guzman “has lied throughout his career that he has a college degree,” ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation late last year. In employment applications and background check documents, Guzman has reported receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Sacramento City College in January 1986, shortly before his hiring as a Border Patrol agent.

After a review of personnel records and school transcripts, and an interview with a college admissions supervisor, agents concluded that there was probable cause to believe that Guzman had lied about earning a degree from the two-year college, which he attended between 1978-1986. And that he had provided superiors with a bogus diploma.

So agents applied for, and received, permission to search Guzman’s office for a “replication of a diploma from Sacramento City College” and any items “evidencing the creation, procurement, possession and transmission” of the diploma. Though that search was conducted on December 10–the date Guzman was placed on leave–details of the DHS probe have not been previously disclosed.

“In order to search discreetly the office of a high-ranking ICE official,” government lawyers reported that agents enlisted the assistance of a higher-ranking DHS official. When told of the allegation against him, “Guzman became emotionally upset,” according to a court filing by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Akrotirianakis. The prosecutor added that, “After composing himself,” Guzman voluntarily retrieved the “purported diploma” from his government-owned vehicle.

The document, Akrotirianakis noted in a recent court declaration, was being “tested for authenticity in a number of ways.”

In a series of blistering U.S. District Court filings, Guzman’s lawyers have criticized the government’s decision to launch a criminal investigation instead of pursuing the matter “through an administrative personnel action.” The grand jury probe is a “witch hunt” and “ridiculous inquiry,” they contend. The government’s “illegal search warrant,” lawyers charge, is filled with “wholly inaccurate characterizations” and “half-truths, at best.”

Before his suspension, Guzman supervised four ICE groups probing human smuggling and trafficking as well as benefit fraud. He has been quoted in newspapers about ICE cases and has appeared on TV programs like CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” He was quoted earlier this month by The Daily in a story about Mexico’s violent drug cartels (Guzman also appears in an accompanying video, which apparently was shot before the raid on his office).

Guzman has previously been the subject of a series of other internal investigations, inquiries that prompted him to file a lawsuit alleging that he was targeted because he is Latino. While admitting no wrongdoing, the Department of Justice in 1999 paid Guzman $400,000 to settle the legal action.

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University Of Kentucky Police Throw Resources At Investigating Racist Obama Signs

March 25, 2011

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – Campus police at the University of Kentucky are investigating two incidents in which a sign was hung that used a racial slur to refer to President Barack Obama.

Police spokesman Jay Blanton says a professor found the first one on March 15 hanging on a door to the UK School of Law and turned it in.

A law student found another sign Thursday on a bus shelter.

Blanton says campus police could charge whoever posted the signs with third-degree criminal mischief. He says it’s not clear whether anyone from the school is involved, but campus police are investigating because the first sign was on university property.

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Having Run Out Of Criminals To Chase, Delaware State Police And DOT Target Town’s Basketball Hoops In Subdivisions

March 25, 2011

CLAYMONT, DELAWARE – Delaware Department of Transportation crews escorted by state police tore down basketball hoops this morning in two neighborhoods in Claymont amid protests from residents who say the nets aren’t harming anyone.

Last fall, DelDOT sent letters to at least eight residents in the Radnor Green and Ashbourne Hills subdivisions saying their street-side basketball hoops violated the state’s Clear Zone law, which prohibits hoops, trees, shrubs and other objects from being within seven feet of the pavement’s edge in subdivisions.

DelDOT told residents that if they didn’t take down the hoops that the agency would and residents would be charged for the removal and disposal costs, said Radnor Green resident John McCafferty.

DelDOT crews and state police officers abruptly stopped the operation this morning after a News Journal photographer arrived at McCafferty’s house on Hilldale Court, where the man’s wife had climbed up on the hoop to protest the removals.

McCafferty’s hoop was spared – for now.

McCafferty said he’s considering emergency court action to prevent DelDOT crews from returning.

Delaware State Police sent one trooper out to the neighborhoods at DelDOT’s request, said spokesman Cpl. Jeffrey Hale.

“We were simply there for support in case anything to put their safety in jeopardy happened,” Hale said.

After DelDOT crews found resident Melissa McCafferty sitting atop one of the basketball hoops that was scheduled to be torn down, the woman refused to come down.

In negotiating with the woman, a trooper asked for assistance and three additional state police troopers quickly arrived at the scene along Hilldale Court, Hale said.

“We were simply there to try to talk her into coming down off the pole,” Hale said.

After it became apparent the woman would not get down, troopers left and did not make an arrest, Hale said.

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