Nutcase Florida State Senator Jim Norman Proposes Bill To Make Photographing A Farm A Felony Criminal Offense

April 30, 2011

TAMPA, FLORIDA – State Sen. Jim Norman, a Republican from Tampa, is very concerned about a farm’s right to privacy, while showing little regard for the First Amendment. He has filed a bill in the Florida Senate that would make it a first-degree felony to photograph or videotape farms without express written consent of the owner. Better hurry up and take a picture of some farm’s bull’s shit to express your feelings about the bill while you still can.

You might have heard of these laws forbidding people from trespassing. For some reason, the first section of the bill just wants to establish a special farm trespassing law.

But the second half of the bill would prohibit photographing a farm even from off the property. So let’s say you’re cruising along some highway in Central Florida on your way to Disney and spot some cows grazing on farmland. Don’t take out your cell phone camera to snap a pic, because that would make you a felon!

Here’s the specific text of the bill:

A person who photographs, video records, or otherwise produces images or pictorial records, digital or otherwise, at or of a farm or other property where legitimate agriculture operations are being conducted without the written consent of the owner, or an authorized representative of the owner, commits a felony of the first degree.

Salon.com legitimately wonders if this would make Google Earth or Google Maps images of Florida’s vast agriculture land illegal.

Though Norman hasn’t clarified the exact intentions of the bill, many observers think it was filed at the behest of agriculture special interests who want to prohibit animal rights activists from filming possible animal mistreatment.

Photography is protected in most cases under the First Amendment, and Norman’s bill, as it is written now, flies in that basic right’s face.

Appeared Here


Texas Bill Would Criminalize Sexual Assaults By TSA Thugs After Agent Groped Former Miss America’s Vagina During “Pat-Down” Search

April 30, 2011

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — A former Miss USA’s claims of being groped during a pat-down at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport could be a felony under a bill gaining momentum in the Texas Legislature.

The bill would make it illegal for a security officer to intentionally touch someone’s private areas — even atop clothing — unless they have probable cause to believe the person is carrying something illegal.

Bill sponsor State Rep. David Simpson says the searches are removing people’s dignity.

Last fall the Transportation Security Administration started a new pat-down procedure.

Susie Castillo, crowned Miss USA in 2003, said she was “molested” during a pat-down last April.

TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball says the agency doesn’t comment on pending legislation. He says current security measures are the best ways to mitigate the risk of terrorism.

Appeared Here


President Obama’s Father Got The Boot From Harvard University Amid Questions About How Many Wives He Had And His Finances

April 30, 2011

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – President Barack Obama’s father was forced to leave Harvard University before completing his Ph.D. in economics because the school was concerned about his personal life and finances, according to newly public immigration records.

Harvard had asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to delay a request by Barack Hussein Obama Sr. to extend his stay in the U.S., “until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him,” immigration official M.F. McKeon wrote in a June 1964 memo.

Harvard administrators, the memo stated, “were having difficulty with his financial arrangements and couldn’t seem to figure out how many wives he had.”

An earlier INS memo from McKeon said that while the elder Obama had passed his exams and was entitled on academic grounds to stay and complete his thesis, the school was going to try and “cook something up to ease him out.”

“They are planning on telling him that they will not give him any money, and that he had better return to Kenya and prepare his thesis at home,” the memo stated.

In May 1964, David D. Henry, director of Harvard’s international office, wrote to Obama to say that, while he had completed his formal course work, the economics department and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences didn’t have the money to support him.

“We have, therefore, come to the conclusion that you should terminate your stay in the United States and return to Kenya to carry on your research and the writing of your thesis,” Henry’s letter stated.

Obama’s request for an extended stay was denied by the INS. He left Harvard and – divorced from president’s mother – returned to his native Kenya in July 1964. He did not complete his Ph.D.

The immigration memos, contained in the elder Obama’s Immigration and Naturalization file, were given to a Boston Globe reporter in 2009 through a Freedom of Information request. The papers were first made public Wednesday by The Arizona Independent, a weekly newspaper. The Associated Press obtained copies of them on Friday.

Harvard issued a statement Friday saying that it could not find in its own records anything to support the accounts given in the INS memos.

“While we cannot verify accounts of conversations that occurred nearly 50 years ago, a review of our existing files did not find any support for either the language or the implied intent described by the U.S. government official in the government documents,” the statement read.

When Obama was attending Harvard, the school faced serious constraints in financing research by international graduate students, the university also said.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler declined to comment Friday, saying the department does not comment on specific immigration cases.

Concerns about Obama’s personal life while he had been studying in the U.S. had been raised previously, according to the INS documents.

In 1961, while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii, the school’s foreign student adviser called an immigration official and said Obama had recently married StanleyAnn Dunham – the president’s mother – despite already having a wife in Kenya.

According to a memo written by an INS official in Honolulu, the adviser said Obama had been “running around with several girls since he first arrived here and last summer she cautioned him about his playboy ways.”

Obama told the adviser that he had divorced his wife in Kenya.

He told the president’s mother the same thing, though she would later learn it was a lie.

Obama worked for an oil company and as a government economist after returning to Africa, but his personal and professional life would later deteriorate. He died in a car crash in 1982, when the future president was 21 and a student at Columbia University.

Appeared Here


FDA Spends 7 Years Trying To Figure Out What “Gluten-Free” Means

April 30, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – For seven years, the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to answer this question: What does it mean to be “gluten-free”?

That is roughly the time it took to build a tunnel beneath the English Channel to connect Britain and France.

In the meantime, foodmakers have been deciding for themselves whether they can jump into a lucrative new niche and market their products as free from gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. As a result, some products labeled gluten-free contain no gluten, others might have a trace and still more could contain a sizable amount.

That murkiness is creating a real problem for an increasing number of Americans whose health depends on avoiding even tiny amounts of gluten, which is commonly found in bread, pasta and other staples and even in some unexpected products, such as soy sauce and blue cheese.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, afflicts about 3 million people in the United States. Exposure to gluten can trigger problems ranging from gastrointestinal distress and infertility to an increased risk of certain cancers.

And new research suggests that an additional 17 million Americans are “gluten-sensitive,” which means that they, too, are sickened by the protein and can experience abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, “foggy mind” or tingling extremities.

The treatment is straightforward: a lifelong commitment to a gluten-free diet.

‘Should be a no-brainer’

Under a 2004 law, Congress gave the FDA until 2008 to establish a uniform definition for companies that want to label their products as gluten-free. But that deadline has come and gone.

“The FDA has spent years calling upon experts to have open-forum debates, town hall meetings — we’ve been having reiteration and reiteration,” said Alessio Fasano, medical director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “They’ve been reiterating and listening to Grandma, Grandpa, people on the street corners. . . . I really don’t understand why it’s lingering up in the air when it really should be a no-brainer.”

In the meantime, Fasano said, the prevalence of celiac disease in this country is soaring partly because changes in agricultural practices have increased gluten levels in crops. “We are in the midst of an epidemic,” he said.

And that has caused an explosion in gluten-free foods. The market is projected to reach $2.6 billion next year, up from $100 million in 2003. Gluten-free cereal, snacks and other foods carry a premium price, creating an alluring growth market for food companies.

Some drugmakers are also producing gluten-free coatings, fillings and capsules for medication. Gluten-free blogs and specialty bakeries are sprouting like wheat. And the gluten-free diet has acquired a faddish lustre that is undoubtedly helping drive sales; stars including Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey have dabbled in life without gluten and boasted how their “detox” diets helped them feel better and more energized.

But what exactly does gluten-free mean?

Three years after the congressional deadline, the FDA is still working on that question, a spokeswoman said.

The agency has said the issue is complicated, requiring analyses of various technical issues, including how well manufacturers and regulators can reliably test for the presence of gluten and whether oats are a source of gluten. The agency held a public meeting in 2005, inviting input from millers, foodmakers, medical experts and others, and published a proposed rule in 2007.

And then it continued to study the matter.

Meanwhile, Canada, Brazil, Australia and an international body — the Codex Alimentarius Commission — have all set labeling standards for gluten-free items. In most cases, that standard is 20 parts per million: A food can be labeled gluten-free if it contains less than 0.0007 of an ounce of gluten for every 2.2 pounds of food. That level was chosen largely because it’s the minimum amount of gluten that can be reliably detected.

‘Gluten-free’ water?

With no uniform standard in the United States, some foodmakers scrupulously monitor products labeled gluten-free to ensure that they have not come into contact with wheat or other gluten sources. They test their ingredients, segregate equipment so there is no chance for contamination and test the finished product.

Others are less stringent. They might fail to test their products or might allow small amounts of gluten but still label their foods as gluten-free.

In some cases, manufacturers affix the labels to items that don’t naturally contain gluten, such as milk and bottled water.

“Everyone is trying to get on the bandwagon and get a piece of this market, and consumers are being misled,” said Andrea Levario, executive director of the American Celiac Disease Alliance. “People see a ‘gluten-free’ sticker on bottled water and they think, ‘Does that mean I should be concerned about other bottled waters?’ It’s very confusing.”

In the absence of a federal standard, two organizations have formed to certify foods as gluten-free for a fee from the manufacturer.

But for many consumers, it’s buyer beware.

In North Carolina two weeks ago, a man was sentenced to 11 years in prison after he was found guilty of buying regular breads and rolls and repackaging them as gluten-free under the name Great Specialty Products. Dozens of people complained of illness after eating the baked goods, including a woman who gave birth to a 31 / 2 pound baby prematurely, a complication that can result from celiac disease.

“We thought it was fantastic because it tasted just like real bread,” said Rebecca Fernandez of Raleigh, who gave it to her son, Malachy, who has celiac disease.

Within days, an angry rash covered the then-2-year-old’s body. “We thought maybe it was chickenpox,” Fernandez said. He ate the bread for two weeks, as the rash intensified and turned bloody, until Fernandez realized the problem and stopped giving him the bread. Malachy suffered from diarrhea for four more weeks.

“I called the police because this guy had basically poisoned my son,” Fernandez said. “They said it wasn’t really their thing.”

Her call to the FDA’s Charlotte office in December 2009 was not returned, she said.

She finally contacted the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which regulates bakeries in the state, and an investigation led to the conviction of Great Specialty Products owner Paul Seelig, 48, on 23 counts of obtaining property by false pretense.

FDA spokeswoman Pat El-Hinnaway said the agency “has no history” with Great Specialty Products or Seelig and has not investigated the company.

To pressure the FDA to speed up its work, activists are bringing a 13-foot-tall gluten-free cake to Capitol Hill on May 4. “Doesn’t it seem strange that Congress would have issued a mandate and years go by and it hasn’t been done?” said Jules Shepard, an organizer and author of gluten-free cookbooks who sells gluten-free flour and cake mixes. “It seems like the FDA is breaking the law, and it’s time to do something about it.”

El-Hinnaway, the FDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that “efforts are now underway” to publish another document in the Federal Register and reopen the matter to another round of public comments. The FDA will then “consider the comments,” the findings of a safety assessment and “other factors” to develop a final rule.

Appeared Here


On Duty Los Angeles California Police Officers Appeared In Pornographic Film – Used Patrol Car – Not Disciplined By City…

April 29, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – City officials failed to discipline two traffic officers who appeared in a pornographic film while on the job, NBC4 LA has found.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has opened an investigation into the behavior of two uniformed, on-duty officers who appear in the sexually explicit movie. The investigation was prompted by the NBC4 LA expose, which will air in full Friday at 11 p.m.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” said Amir Sedadi, general manager of LADOT, after viewing a copy of the movie shown to him by NBC4 LA. “Immediately, we will conduct a full investigation. This is not acceptable to me.”

The video, which is available on a popular adult subscription website, tracks the interactions of a porn actress as she approaches men in a range of work environments.

Various men in the film appear to grope her and perform a range of sex acts with her. In one scene, the actress jumps into the arms of an LA traffic officer, who spanks her and then fondles her bare breasts.

A second traffic officer takes a few spankings from the woman, then allows her to get into his official city car, where she performs lewd acts on herself.

A full report with video will air on NBC4 LA at 11 p.m.

In an interview, Jimmy Price, the city’s parking enforcement chief, acknowledged that his employee’s behavior rose to the level of misconduct.

“In my mind, and legally, yes that’s misconduct,” Price said.

Price knew of his employees’ behavior more than two months ago, according to an internal memo obtained by NBC4 LA.

In the February 21 memo, addressed to his superiors and his employees, Price wrote about a “recent incident” involving “an inappropriate website” where a city uniform and car appeared.

Price said “city and department policy prohibit this kind of misconduct, on and off the job,” and “failure to meet the standards of conduct will result in “disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.”

Price did not discipline the officers.

When asked why, Price said he had only seen some still photos of the officers from the video, and “we were not able to positively identify the individuals as employees.”

LADOT parking enforcement employees who originally gave NBC4 LA a copy of the movie say Price has seen it and knows the identities of the officers.

One of the officers who had a prominent role in the video declined to comment. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, when asked about his participation. The veteran officer jumped into his city car, and sped off.

Sedadi called the officers’ behavior “is not tolerable.”

Appeared Here


Feds Piss Away Our Tax Dollars On Year Long Sting Operation Targeting Pennsylvania Amish Farmer Selling Milk

April 29, 2011

PENNSYLVANIA – A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk.

It’s a battle that’s been going on behind the scenes for years, with natural foods advocates arguing that raw milk, as it’s also known, is healthier than the pasteurized product, while the Food and Drug Administration says raw milk can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

“It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed,” said Tamara N. Ward, spokeswoman for the FDA, whose investigators have been looking into Rainbow Acres for months, and who finally last week filed a 10-page complaint in federal court in Pennsylvania seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

The farm’s owner, Dan Allgyer, didn’t respond to a message seeking comment, but his customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland were furious at what they said was government overreach.

“I look at this as the FDA is in cahoots with the large milk producers,” said Karin Edgett, a D.C. resident who buys directly from Rainbow Acres. “I don’t want the FDA and my tax dollars to go to shut down a farm that hasn’t had any complaints against it. They’re producing good food, and the consumers are extremely happy with it.”

The FDA’s actions stand in contrast to other areas where the Obama administration has said it will take a hands-off approach to violations of the law, including the use of medical marijuana in states that have approved it, and illegal-immigrant students and youths, whom the administration said recently will not be targets of their enforcement efforts.

Raw-milk devotees say pasteurization, the process of heating food to kill harmful organisms, eliminates good bacteria as well, and changes the taste and health benefits of the milk. Many raw-milk drinkers say they feel much healthier after changing over to it, and insist they should have the freedom of choice regarding their food.

One defense group says there are as many as 10 million raw-milk consumers in the country. Sales are perfectly legal in 10 states but illegal in 11 states and the District, with the other states having varying restrictions on purchase or consumption.

Many food safety researchers say pasteurization, which became widespread in the 1920s and 1930s, dramatically reduced instances of milk-transmitted diseases such as typhoid fever and diphtheria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no health benefit from raw milk that cannot be obtained from pasteurized milk.

Appeared Here


Disgraced Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards Must Testify About Affair With Mistress

April 29, 2011

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – Former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards must testify before a judge about his relationship with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, a North Carolina judge ruled on Friday.

The private testimony will come during a deposition set for June 20 as part of a civil suit brought by Hunter against Edwards’ former aide, Andrew Young.

Hunter has sued Young and his wife Cheri to force the return of a videotape that allegedly shows Hunter and Edwards having sex. Young says he found the tape while packing boxes in a home near Chapel Hill, North Carolina where Hunter lived with the Youngs for a time.

A February 8 deposition of Edwards was halted when his lawyers told him not to answer numerous questions posed by Young’s attorneys. Young’s attorneys filed a motion March 2 asking Superior Court Judge Carl Fox to compel Edwards to answer.

On Friday, Fox said he will preside at Edwards’ next deposition and settle objections as they arise. The judge also agreed that portions of the transcript not deemed confidential would be made public.

Fox, responding to a motion filed by lawyers representing media organizations, also eased a blanket protective order to allow motions in the case to be made public.

Testimony by Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee who sought his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, could cast light on possible criminal charges regarding payments to Hunter. The U.S. Attorney in Raleigh is investigating whether Edwards violated federal law by using campaign funds to pay Hunter.

Andrew Young wrote a 2010 book, “The Politician,” about Edwards’ affair with Hunter and how the former North Carolina senator sought to keep the relationship secret as he sought the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Hunter became pregnant with Edwards’ child and she gave birth to a daughter in February 2008. Young, at the request of Edwards, first claimed he was the child’s father, but Edwards later acknowledged the child was his.

Edwards, an accomplished trial attorney, continues to live in Chapel Hill where he cares for his two youngest children. His wife, Elizabeth, who wrote bestselling books about her life’s struggles with cancer and her husband’s betrayal, died in December 2010.

Hunter’s civil suit against the Youngs is scheduled to go to trial this October.

Appeared Here


Obama Administation Officials Grant Citizenship To Individuals Convicted In Terror-Related Investigations

April 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Three people convicted of crimes as a result of a terrorism-related investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) were later naturalized as U.S. citizens by the Obama administration, according to federal auditors.

The March 2011 audit (released on April 21, 2011) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), entitled Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs, shows that three individuals were among “defendants where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism but they were charged with violating other statutes [not directly related to terrorism], including fraud, immigration, drugs, false statements, and general conspiracy charges,” referred by DOJ as Category II terrorism-related cases.

The three individuals in question can be found in a DOJ list of unsealed terrorism-related investigations conducted from Sept. 11, 2001 through Mar. 18, 2010. There are 403 defendants on that list of which, according to the GAO, at least 43 percent were aliens–both legal (26 percent) and illegal (17 percent)–at the time they were charged with crimes.

“Prosecuting terror-related targets using Category II offenses and others is often an effective method–and sometimes the only available method–of deterring and disrupting potential terrorist planning and support activities,” explained the DOJ in the document that listed the defendants.

Staff members of GAO’s Homeland Security and Justice team who worked on the audit told CNSNews.com in an e-mail that the three individuals were naturalized as U.S. citizens under President Barack Obama.

“One of the individuals was naturalized in late 2009. The other two were naturalized in 2010,” says the e-mail from the GAO.

In the audit, the GAO analyzed the immigration status of the individuals on the DOJ list using information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Based upon our analysis of USCIS and DOJ data, three of the individuals on the DOJ list received U.S. citizenship after their convictions,” stated the GAO audit report. “Two were convicted of unlawful production of an identity document and one was convicted of transferring funds out of the country in violation of U.S. sanctions.”

“An individual applying for naturalization must demonstrate good moral character for a statutory period of time–from 5 years preceding the application up to admission to citizenship,” added the GAO. “This includes not having been convicted of crimes, such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, or other aggravated felonies prior to or during that period, as well as not having been convicted of other crimes during that period, such as certain drug offenses or convictions that led to 180 days or more of prison time.”

However, according to the USCIS, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says that in determining good moral character, the federal government can look further back than five years, adding that it “may take into consideration as a basis for such determination the applicant’s conduct and acts at any time prior to that period.”

The INA, which allows a person who has been a permanent resident for at least 5 years to apply for naturalization, governs the eligibility requirements to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen, including establishing good moral character, the USCIS stated on its Web site.

Appeared Here


Agency Funding Sought In Kansas To Duplicate Records Kept By Other State Agencies – Prosecutors Not Smart Enough To Check Driving History For Those Charged With Drunk Driving?

April 29, 2011

TOPEKA, KANSAS – Two Kansas agencies are working to fund and operate a central repository designed to better track people who drive drunk.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation are working to organize the central tracking system.

The central repository was recommended by the Kansas DUI Commission, but it was not funded because of the state’s budget problems.

The repository would more quickly provide information to prosecutors about a driver’s history. The aim is to be sure that people with multiple DUI offenses are charged with the appropriate offense.

Funding details have not been finalized. The transportation department says it is deferring other projects to make the repository a priority. The repository would be overseen by the KBI.

Appeared Here


Video Catches Atlanta Police Officers Violent Attack On Women Dining At IHOP Restaurant

April 27, 2011

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – The four women who were part of a scuffle with an off-duty Atlanta police officer had barely sat down at a table at the Buckhead IHOP when the confrontation started, one of them said.

“It was just four girls, just a regular night out, going to get something to eat,” Cynthia Freeman said.

Freeman said she noticed two guys dressed as characters from the Star Wars trilogy.

“Wow, they got the helmet … they’ve got everything, what are you guys doing?” Freeman said she asked early that morning.

Minutes later, she said a man in a blue shirt came over to their table.

“He tells me, shut up, be quiet, you need to leave,” an emotional Freeman said.

The incident was captured on video, the Atlanta Police Department confirmed. The video also shows the officer punching another woman, Ashley Leavell. Freeman said she had never met Leavell before the incident and added that she had been dining at another table.

“She was trying to get the officer to back off,” Freeman said.

Freeman was among four arrested in the 4 a.m. Saturday incident, according to Atlanta attorney Bobby Aniekwu. He told the AJC he is representing three of the women in what he considers a case of “excessive force.”

Cynthia Freeman is one of Aniekwu’s clients. He said she is charged with obstruction of justice, criminal trespass and simple battery.

Leavell was charged with obstruction, public drunkeness and simple battery.

Freeman spoke to the AJC Wednesday at Aniekwu’s office in downtown Atlanta. She said she did not realize the man who approached her table was a police officer.

“When we walked in, I didn’t pay anybody no attention. I just sat down,” she said.

“I looked at his face, I didn’t look at what he had on or anything because everything happened so fast,” Freeman said. “I didn’t know what he was until he pulled out those cuffs.” Freeman said the officer pulled on her hair to the point that some of it came out.

Her friend, Roberta Caban, said the officer never identified himself before the incident.

It is not yet known if the women will sue.

Aniekwu said he has to review a copy of the police report, which he hasn’t yet received.

“As I sit here today, there’s a great likelihood we will start some litigation,” he said.

What started the melee is unclear. Freeman said she and her friends were seated at the first table near the front door of the IHOP. She was speaking to her friends about two nearby restaurant patrons who were dressed like characters — Boba Fett and a Storm Trooper — from the Star Wars films before the off-duty APD officer approached.

“He just attacked me,” Freeman said, “And I said, ‘What did I do? What did I do? I didn’t do anything.”

“I’m sitting with my friends, and I’m talking to the Darth Vadar guys, just on a casual conversation … and then he just out of nowhere came to me, out of all of the people, came to me,” she said later.

“I didn’t touch this man, never, not once,” she said. “I didn’t pay him any attention what he had on. I was just looking at his face because he was yelling.”

According to several videos posted on YouTube.com, the officer, whose name police have not provided, shouted at a woman sitting in the corner of a booth near the door and then he lunged at her. A woman wearing a black dress appeared to be trying to separate the officer and her friend when the officer slapped her. The woman in the black dress hit him back, and he punched her in the face.

A second officer came up just as the struggle began. He got involved when it became physical between the first cop and the woman in the black dress, apparently trying to separate them. The first officer pulled the woman away from the table, threw her onto the floor and laid on top of her while trying to get handcuffs on one wrist. The second wrist was cuffed when she turned over on her stomach.

Within moments, a female officer appeared to hold back the crowd while the woman in the black dress, shoeless, was led out of the restaurant.

The officer involved in the incident has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation, an Atlanta police spokesman said.

“The officer involved in the arrest and confrontation with a patron at the IHOP in Buckhead has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Standards. Use of force by police officers is a matter the department takes seriously, and the OPS investigation will determine if the officer acted within established guidelines. Chief Turner has pledged to have the OPS investigation concluded in 10 business days.”

Caban said the officer went overboard.

“I felt so bad for her, for anybody to go through that,” Caban told Channel 2 Action News.

“No one would tell us why we were arrested, no one would tell us anything,” she added. “And we wind up spending over 24 hours in jail.”

Appeared Here


Burning Taxpayer Dollars The Whole Way, Crazed Cheney Washington Prosecutor Julie McKay Took 99 Cent “Theft” Case To Jury Trial – Jury Took 5 Minutes To Return Not Guilty Verdict

April 27, 2011

CHENEY, WASHINGTON – Call it the great hot dog caper. Or maybe the greatly overblown hot dog caper would be more accurate.

One day last December, Eastern Washington University student John Richardson got himself a German sausage at the self-serve counter at Mitchell’s IGA in Cheney. He ate it as he shopped for peanut butter (crunchy), jelly, bread and other items. When he left, he forgot to pay for the 99-cent dog – though he did pay for more than $28 in groceries.

Store managers approached him once he left the store, refused his efforts to pay for it, and held him for the police to arrive when things got heated. Thirteen weeks later, Richardson was found not guilty by a baffled jury with a minimum of deliberation.

“From all the testimony, you’d have to be an idiot to not realize that the guy simply forgot,” said juror Patrick Reeves. “It took the jury about five minutes to come to a verdict.”

Five minutes would have been about the right time to devote to the case, start to finish. Instead, the taxpayers of Cheney paid for the full legal megillah: The officer who arrived, cuffed the protesting Richardson, and wrote a report in which he described the “stolen” property as a “bronze” German sausage; the prosecuting attorney, who said Richardson’s demeanor and a 12-year-old shoplifting charge on his record persuaded her to pursue the case; the public defender; the judge; the jury pool …

“To me it’s an outrage,” Richardson said. “I just think it was a frivolous thing.”

From the perspective of a store owner, a certain zeal about shoplifting is understandable. In the grocery business, margins are slim, and theft takes a big toll. In a family-owned business like Mitchell’s, the owners can take it even more personally. But it’s hard to understand why this zeal wasn’t tempered somewhere along the way.

Cheney Municipal Prosecutor Julie McKay said she simply doesn’t buy Richardson’s claim that he forgot to pay. She said that it isn’t unusual for someone to steal something while purchasing something else, that a lot of people accused of a crime deny it, and that the fact that Richardson was arguing with the store managers after they confronted him influenced her decision.

“Did I want to try that? Certainly not,” McKay said. “From my perspective, he took something without paying for it. … The jury didn’t feel he was guilty. I disagree with that.”

Everyone seems to agree that Richardson offered to pay for the hot dog when he was confronted by store employees outside the store. The one exception to this is the police report, in which a store manager is quoted saying Richardson refused to pay for the hot dog. According to Reeves, Richardson and public defender Don Richter, that was at odds with testimony at the trial from everyone, including store employees.

“When my client was confronted, he immediately said ‘I’m sorry, I’ll pay for it,’ ” Richter said.

To the store owners, the question of intent was beside the point. Someone who leaves without paying for something has stolen. If you let this slide, where do you draw the line? But that’s simply not the way the law works – a person must intend to steal something for it to be theft.

McKay said the reason this ended up before a jury is that Richardson refused to accept a deal. Here’s an example of a deal he was offered: In exchange for the charges being dropped, he’d pay restitution for the sausage, and pay the store owners a $200 civil penalty.

“So now the $1 hot dog was a $201 hot dog,” Richter said.

The case went to trial Feb. 25. Richardson said that he was committed to proving his innocence, and because he knew that the specter of a shoplifting conviction can hang over you – as his conviction as an 18-year-old had done. But he was adamant that he did not steal the hot dog. After he got it, he walked around the store and ate it in full view of everyone, planning to pay for it with his groceries at the cashier, he said. The managers were watching him closely, and he was aware of them watching – which would make him a pretty poor thief indeed, if it wasn’t an oversight. When he was confronted outside the store, he said the store employees taunted and insulted him, and refused to accept either his explanation or his money.

One of them said, “It’s too late now. We got you,” Richardson said. “It was very humiliating.”

Store officials declined to comment, but it’s clear from court records and interviews that they view this confrontation differently, and say that Richardson was uncooperative and instigated conflict rather than trying to resolve it.

I think it’s safe to say that nobody wanted the case to wind up before a jury, but nobody was willing to budge. Richardson wanted to be cleared, and the prosecutor wanted to send a message – or at least not send the wrong kind of message.

In the end, though, the jury wasn’t on board.

“If you really want to send a message,” Reeves said, “get a good case.”

Appeared Here


Dumbass Broward County Florida Deputies Go To Wrong House On Easter Sunday, Hold Judge And Family At Gunpoint

April 27, 2011

DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA – Broward Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes, her sister and her sister’s family says they were ordered at gun point by several Broward Sheriffs Deputies on Easter Sunday to come out of her sister’s home with their hands up.

It was no evening of peace for the Deerfield Beach family, who’d just finished dinner with friends and family, and sent extra Easter dinner to a needy family connected with their church. Then, at 8:20 p.m., police got a call about a possible burglary next door. But a bad address caused police to go to the wrong home.

“Do I feel safe?” asked Carmita Scarlett, the homeowner and sister of Judge Holmes. “No, absolutely not. No, no. So much confusion, so much anger. So much, almost like, resentment. You know, ‘you made the mistake and,’ I told them, ‘I’m the victim and you’re upset with me?’”

The call to police said there might be a burglar inside 235 Southwest 4th Street. But there is no 235. Only 236 and 230.

Arriving police outside spotted someone inside 230 – Neville Scarlett was in the kitchen cleaning up the Easter dinner plates – and thought he might be the burglar.

He was not.

Moments earlier, the same person who called police also called the Scarlett’s to warn them about a possible burglar outside. Fearful, Carmita lowered the kitchen window shade. That’s when she heard someone hit the window with something metallic. She says she saw a gun pointed directly at her.

“There’s a man with a gun and he’s going to shoot me!!” yelled Carmita. “I thought it was the robber!” Her sister, Judge Holmes, came running to the kitchen. The judge carries a legal firearm and immediately pulled it out and held it in her hand.

“She said ‘Who are you!? What are you doing?!’ He said ‘this is BSO.’ She said, ‘this is Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes!!’” Carmita said.

“‘I’m the owner of this home. I’m Carmita Scarlett. Why are you at my home?’ I kept saying that. They said ‘put your hands up and come outside,'” she said.

Judge Holmes, perhaps borrowing from real life conflict she sees in her own courtroom, immediately cautioned deputies that she was armed so there’d be no misunderstanding.

“They said, ‘Come out with your hands up!’ She said, ‘I am Circuit Court Judge Ilona Holmes. I am armed.'”

They all slowly went out through a side door. “She was putting the gun down. They yelled, ‘put the gun down! Put the gun down!’ Right there, the cop had his gun pointed at her.”

Judge Holmes, surrounded by deputies with guns drawn, slowly put the gun on the grass, announcing it as she went. She was holding a cell phone in the other hand. When she began to place that on the ground, police began yelling.

“When she went to put that down, they yelled, ‘Get away from the gun!’ She said ‘everybody calm down. I’m putting my cell phone down’.”

At that point, a higher-ranking deputy recognized her and called on his team to lower their guns, according to Carmita.

“The one that first recognized her, he picked the gun up, opened it up, took the bullets out, he started giving her a speech: ‘Judge Holmes, you know, these guys may not know who you are. I know who you are. This could have been so different.’ And my sister said, ‘everyone of ya’ll know me. Ya’ll been before me’.”

Oh my, what an Easter Sunday Carmita had. She and her husband and granddaughter have seen stuff like this on TV and never believed it. “There’s no way that cops would really – because I’ve never had a run in with the cops – really go in and do stuff like that,” she said.

And now what does Carmita believe?

“Oh God.” She buries her face in her hands.

It was a communication meltdown from the beginning. The neighbor across the street originally called police to say she thought there was a burglar in the home of Pastor Brown across the street because the caller thought she saw lights going on and off. Instead, police went to the house next door, the Scarlett’s home.

Judge Holmes, one of the very few black judges in Broward County, saw justice from a whole new perspective. Tuesday night she was in her courtroom conducting a late–running trial and would not comment.

Judge Holmes has hired former U.S. Attorney and old friend Kendall Coffey, who says they’re concerned about what happened but won’t say whether she is considering legal action. He cautioned against reading too much into the fact that she brought him in to represent her and field questions while she’s in trial.

A BSO spokesman wouldn’t comment Tuesday night but did confirm the timeline, address and original burglary call. Police in South Florida often say they routinely must make certain people confirm who they say they are before lowering their weapons.

But Carmita was downright angry. Remember the man outside her kitchen window who pointed a gun at her? Still wearing her pajamas and footies, she approached him afterward. “I said ‘you had a gun pointed at me!’ He said ‘because I felt threatened.’ I said ‘threatened how?'”

She said other officers explained to her that they have families, too, and they want to make it home alive each night. But she says they did so in a condescending way, lecturing her as if she’d done something wrong.

“I know no one apologized, OK? And, to me, if you want to make amends for something, you want to make peace, you apologize, you shake, you leave, you say ‘I’m sorry,’” she said. “And, you know, the cop that had his gun on me, he said ‘well, I was fearing for my life.’ I said ‘really! You were fearing for your life? Really?’ He said ‘forget it – I’m out of here.'”

Carmita says she just wanted someone that night to apologize.

Appeared Here


Dallas Texas TSA Agent Sexually Molested Former Miss America – Refused Body Scanner, Screener Fondled Her Vagina

April 27, 2011

DALLAS, TEXAS – In the video below, the former beauty queen who held the Miss America title in 2003, Susie Castillo, says a TSA “screener” fondled her vagina during an intrusive pat-down.

Ms. Castillo was subjected to the groping after she refused to enter a naked body scanner at the airport in Dallas, Texas.

In late 2010, the TSA put in place new procedure guidelines instructing agents to use their “palms and fingers” to “probe” airline customer bodies for hidden weapons, including breasts and other private parts.

On April 15, CNN reported that people who complain about naked body scanners and intrusive airport pat-downs will be investigated as terrorists and criminals.

Lawmakers around the country have introduced legislation designed to rollback the pat-downs after the public and airline employees voiced complaints. In March, legislation was introduced into the Texas House of Representatives directly challenging the authority of the TSA in airports within the state and specifically aimed at criminalizing the use of naked body scanners and enhanced pat-downs.

In November of 2010, chief deputy DA and incoming DA of San Mateo County Steve Wagstaffe told the Alex Jones Show his office will prosecute TSA employees who engage in lewd and lascivious behavior while conducting pat-downs at the San Francisco International Airport. Wagstaffe told Alex Jones that county police will be sent into the San Francisco International Airport. If they witness TSA employees engaged in criminal conduct, they will make arrests and the DA’s office will prosecute.

In January, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura launched a lawsuit against the TSA for subjecting him to humiliating pat-downs as he traveled for his work as the host of the popular TruTV show Conspiracy Theory. Ventura said that he would “no longer be forced by the TSA to prove he is not a criminal or terrorist.”

Earlier this week, Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, said the TSA had the authority to conduct an intrusive pat-down on a six year old girl. “Parts of the pat down, in another setting, clearly constituted the kind of inappropriate touching that, if done by anyone else, would have resulted in charges of child abuse and sexual assault. The pat down even caused the little girl to cry, her parents later said in televised interviews,” writes J. D. Heyes.

In November, an Alex Jones employee related her experience with the TSA in Denver. Her children were subjected to the intrusive pat-down procedure.

Castillo is currently a spokeswoman for Neutrogena and has appeared on a number of television shows, including the ABC Family reality television series, America’s Prom Queen.

Appeared Here


Proposed Questions For U.S. Passport Application Want Details About Circumcision And If Applicant Was Baptized

April 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Were you baptized or circumcised? Who was present when you were born? Where did your mother work? These are sample questions that applicants may be asked to answer on the proposed biographical questionnaire for a U.S. passport.

The questionnaire, boingboing reports, is intended for people seeking a U.S. passport but who cannot supply a birth certificate.

The U.S. State Department — the federal agency that processes passports — anticipates more than 74,000 respondents. It also estimates the form will take 45 minutes to complete.

Some see that figure as far-fetched.

“The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form,” wrote Consumer Travel’s Edward Hasbrouck.

The State Department is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget for information collection. A 60-day public comment period ended Monday.

The agency has not yet responded to a phone call and e-mail from msnbc.com.

Appeared Here


Connecticut Legislator Zeke Zalaski Switches License Plates To Avoid Angry Taxpayers

April 27, 2011

CONNECTICUT – How much are legislators feeling the pressure of voting on a budget that raises taxes during an economic crisis?

Rep. Zeke Zalaski, a Democrat from Southington, has taken the legislative plates off his car because of complaints he gets about taxes when he fills up with gas, he told NBC Connecticut Wednesday.

He wants to see Gov. Dannel Malloy, also a Democrat, to raise taxes only on the wealthy, something Malloy has said he will try not to do. Right now, Malloy’s budget includes increases in the income tax, as well as tax hikes on cigarettes, alcohol and gasoline.

“There are quite a few votes that are objecting to some of the things in the budget,” said Zalaski, “and I think that he’s willing to make some changes. He hasn’t drawn a line in the sand on everything yet.”

Zalaski signed a letter with 65 of the 99 House Democrats earlier this month complaining about the budget.

Appeared Here


High Gas Prices? Obama Wants To Raise Taxes In Oil Industry. That’ll Fix It…

April 26, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Amid rising gasoline prices at the pump, President Barack Obama urged congressional leaders Tuesday to take steps to repeal oil industry tax breaks, reiterating a call he made in his 2012 budget proposal earlier this year. The White House conceded his plan would do nothing in the short term to lower gas prices.
Read the rest of this entry »


Veteran San Juan County New Mexico Deputy Sheriff Dale Frazier Fired After Being Caught On Video Beating An American Indian With A Flashlight

April 26, 2011

AZTEC, NEW MEXICO – The Sheriff’s deputy who was caught on camera beating a man in the head with a Maglight flashlight was fired for violating the agency’s use of force policy.

Dale Frazier, a nearly five-year veteran of the department, was captured on video striking Donovan Tanner, 22, in the head and neck with his department-issued flashlight during a St. Patrick’s Day incident.

The announcement came Monday from Sheriff Ken Christesen following an internal investigation that lasted more than three weeks.

The incident sparked an internal investigation March 30 — the same day it came to the attention of administration — and Frazier was placed on paid administrative leave April 6, Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Black previously said.

Christesen declined to comment on the termination because it is considered a personnel issue, he said.

He also declined to comment on the flashlight incident because of pending litigation.

“I think it is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Arlon Stoker, Tanner’s attorney. “I appreciate the Sheriff wanting to do a thorough investigation, but in this case I don’t think there is any other conclusion you can come to.”

Stoker, on Thursday, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the county, Frazier, Sheriff’s deputy Terry McCoy, Farmington Police Officer Misty Taylor and the Farmington Police Department.

Asserting numerous civil rights violations motivated largely by race, Tanner contends his rights were violated when he was unlawfully detained and arrested by Frazier.

Christesen adamantly denies there were past excessive use of force accusations against Frazier or allegations that Frazier demonstrated a racist attitude.

Moreover, Christesen denies there exists any issues of racism among deputies at the Sheriff’s Office.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

Leonard Gorman, the executive director of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, condemned the beating, calling it an example of the type of discrimination faced by American Indians in Farmington.

Frazier, whose official last day was Friday, has 10 days to file a grievance for the termination per county policy, County Attorney Jim Durrett said.

“It gives the person an opportunity to be heard and have an independent third party make a decision on the validity of the action taken by the sheriff or department head,” Durrett said.

Should Frazier file an appeal, both parties would present evidence to an impartial third party — an appointed local attorney who is not a county employee — who will decide the outcome of the hearing.

The hearing officer “can do just about anything he wants to,” Durrett said, including upholding the termination or imposing lesser disciplinary action.

If Frazier opts not to file a grievance within the 10 days, the sheriff’s decision would be final.

Despite Frazier’s termination, the county will continue to represent him in the civil suit because he was employed at the time the incident occurred, Durrett said.

It remains unclear if Frazier will face criminal charges for the flashlight beating.

District Attorney Rick Tedrow asked the Department of Public Safety to review the incident, specifically to determine whether the force Frazier used was excessive.

Following the review from the Department of Public Safety, “the next determination would be whether there was criminal liability based on what occurred,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O’Brien said.

Appeared Here


TSA Agent’s Rough “Pat Down” Leaves Man Covered In Urine

April 26, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Tom Sawyer, experienced rough airport patdown: “I’m kind of ambivalent at the moment about TSA and moving forward. I don’t see the moving forward.”

A local man says the TSA has broken a promise. Three months after an embarrassing airport patdown, a former DeWitt High School teacher says the TSA isn’t following through to make sure passengers with medical conditions are treated with respect. Tom Sawyer says TSA officials aren’t keeping up their end of the bargain.

Tom Sawyer: “I left the meeting feeling very good and I thought it was the government at its best in action, I really did. I was very pleased and now I’m wondering.”

Wondering because it’s been three months since Tom Sawyer met with Transportation Security Administration officials in Washington DC to brainstorm ways TSA agents could better respect passengers with medical conditions.

Tom Sawyer: “We talked about the badges that they have on their website now that maybe would alleviate some of it, more thorough training of the TSA agents in medical conditions.”

That meeting, motivated by what happened to sawyer last November, when a rough airport patdown ruptured his urostomy bag.

Tom Sawyer: “Off came the urostomy bag and urine.”

An embarrassing moment that quickly gained national attention, motivating Sawyer to work with the TSA to make sure other travelers with medical conditions were treated with more dignity.

Tom Sawyer: “I was under the assumption that this would be an ongoing dialogue.”

But after months with no further discussion, nor plans to reconvene, Sawyer feels let down and now questions the TS’s intentions from the start.

Tom Sawyer: “I wonder, was this a dog and pony show? Was this just done to try and ameliorate what was done wrong, or are they really serious and just haven’t had time to bring the consortium back together yet?”

Questions Sawyer would one day like to have answered by the TSA.

Tom Sawyer: “I really hope that they bring us back together again, because I just think there’s so much more to talk about and I think we, we could help them.”

Sawyer says he plans to continue to follow up with TSA officials until he gets answers. 6 News tried to contact the TSA but our calls weren’t returned.

Appeared Here


Former Pennsylvania Highway Patrol Officer Drexel Reid Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For $400,000 Insurance Fraud Scheme

April 26, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued the following news release:

Drexel Reid, 39, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for an insurance fraud scheme that cost insurance companies more than $450,000, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Reid pleaded guilty on June 22, 2009, to eleven counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of extortion under color of official right.

Reid was a Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer at the time of the scheme. Between August 2003 and May 2007, Reid’s co-defendant, tow truck driver Jerry Blassengale, Jr., solicited people to be involved in staged or completely fictitious accidents and fictitious vandalism claims for purposes of submitting fraudulent insurance claims. Reid would create false police reports to send to insurance companies for which Blassengale paid him. Blassengale staged a total of 11 phony events for which claims were sent to the respective insurance companies.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson ordered Reid to pay restitution in the amount of $211,709.22, a $1,300 special assessment, and to complete three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Insurance Fraud Unit in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony J. Wzorek.

Appeared Here


Former Laredo Texas Police Officer Orlando Jesus Hale Sentenced To Almost 25 Years In Federal Prison For Protecting Drug Shipments

April 26, 2011

LAREDO, TEXAS – A South Texas police officer convicted of conspiring to safely escort loads of smuggled cocaine through Laredo is going to prison.

A federal judge on Monday sentenced 28-year-old former Laredo Officer Orlando Jesus Hale to nearly 25 years behind bars.

A jury in September convicted Hale of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, plus using a firearm to further drug trafficking, over 2008 crimes.

Investigators say Hale was nabbed in an undercover investigation involving his personal vehicle and a police-issued radio to monitor traffic to guide and protect loads of cocaine.

Hale resigned from the police force following his conviction.

Appeared Here


Veteran Houston Texas Police Officer Sgt. Ruben Trejo Arrested, Charged After Drunken Wreck With School Bus While On His Way To Work – At More Than Twice State Alcohol Limit

April 25, 2011

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A veteran Houston police officer with a blood-alcohol content of .205 — more than twice the legal limit — was driving to work when he collided with a private school bus this month, authorities said.

Ruben Trejo, 46, was charged Monday with driving while intoxicated in connection with an April 13 wreck that sent him to the hospital. The legal limit for intoxication is 0.08.

Trejo collided with a school bus in the 7900 block of Harrisburg while off-duty in his personal vehicle, a Toyota Tundra pickup, about 2:15 p.m., HPD spokesman John Cannon said.

A sergeant on the Eastside patrol division, Trejo was en route to work when he wrecked, Cannon said. There were no children aboard the bus.

The bus driver, who suffered minor injuries, told police Trejo smelled like alcohol and appeared to have been drinking. Photos from the crime scene show wine bottles in the back seat of the truck, according to the charging document.

The officer faces a maximum of six months in jail if convicted of the Class B misdemeanor.

Trejo was put on paid administrative leave Friday pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Cannon said.

The day of the collision, police said the bus ran a stop sign and slammed into Trejo’s vehicle, sending the off-duty officer to the hospital. He was released days later. The driver of the bus was cited, police said.

Cannon said Monday that the wreck remains under investigation.

Trejo joined the force in November 1985 and has worked with the Eastside division since 1991.

Phone messages left at Trejo’s home were not returned.

Houston Police Officers’ Union President Gary Blankinship said Trejo is a member of the union but is not represented by union attorneys.

Appeared Here


Sentencing Delayed For Former Streamwood Illinois Officer James Mandarino – Convicted After Being Caught On Video Beating A Motorist

April 25, 2011

STREAMWOOD, ILLINOIS – The former police officer convicted of convicted of battery in the beating of a driver in Streamwood had his sentencing delayed Monday morning.

Former Streamwood Police Officer James Mandarino was found guilty of beating a driver in Streamwood. Sentencing was scheduled for Monday, but that has now been put off.

Although sentencing was postponed Monday, Mandarino could still face a five-year prison sentence for beating a motorist.

The delay comes after a judge granted Mandarino’s attorneys a continuance to review court transcripts, but also to possibly a file motion for a new trial.

The 42-year-old former suburban cop left court Monday morning without commenting about what happened in court.

In court, though, the defense asked for and was granted a continuance. The state did not object.

Mandarino was a 15-year veteran of the Streamwood Police Department and was fired a few months after the incident, which was captured on a video camera mounted on the dashboard of his squad car.

He testified in court that he feared for his safety when he beat Ronald Bell, a motorist he had pulled over for a traffic stop. Mandarino also used a stun gun on Bell’s passenger.

During the trial, prosecutors said Mandarino used excessive force. Monday morning, his attorneys said that he just snapped. They used letters of support in hopes of convincing the court to be lenient.

“Basically, the letters are from people who know what type a police officer he was, what type of man he is. So I think they will be very helpful in giving the state’s attorney and the judge a pretty clear understanding of what kind of person James Mandarino is,” said Mandarino’s attorney Rick Beuke.

Lawyers for Mandarino say there were about 80 letters, they did not solicit them, and they were sent directly to the judge. They are hoping for a new trial possibly based on false testimony by those individuals who also said they were beaten by Mandarino.

Both Bell and his passenger have filed a lawsuit against the Village of Streamwood.

Mandarino will be back in court May 31.

Appeared Here


Fired Shreveport Louisiana Police Officer Morgan King Sentenced To 4 Years In Prison For Perjury

April 25, 2011

SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA – A Shreveport police officer fired for running away from a situation where fellow officers had to shoot an armed man was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for lying on the witness stand about his actions.

Caddo prosecutors, who obtained a perjury conviction against Morgan King, said the false testimony was part of King’s efforts to make his actions look better and enhance his chances of getting his job back.

Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman imposed sentence Monday morning and ordered King immediately taken into custody. He set bond at $100,000 if King wants to appeal his sentence.

King was fired over his actions that night. Video from the police car of an officer involved in the May 2006 shooting shows King delay arriving at the scene, then walk by the wounded man and the two fellow officers before running back to his patrol car and leaving.

Raymond Darnell was shot by police after he shot and wounded his girlfriend in front of officer. They in turn shot him.

The false testimony came during a hearing in which Darnell, who was convicted of attempted murder, sought a new trial, Assistant District Attorney Brady O’Callaghan said.

Appeared Here


Crazed U.S. State Department Officials Propose Requirement For List Every Job And Every Residence With Passport Application – Mistakes To Be Used As Evidence To Prosecute Applying Citizens

April 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of State has proposed a new questionnaire that would make it almost impossible for some people to get a passport.

The new document (PDF) would require that certain applicants submit a list of every residence and every job they’ve ever had since birth.

In February, the department published a request in the Federal Register allowing 60 days for comment before the new rules go into effect.

“The Biographical Questionnaire for a U.S. Passport, form DS-5513, is used to supplement an application for a U.S. passport when the applicant submits citizenship or identity evidence that is insufficient or of questionable authenticity,” according to a supporting statement (PDF) issued along with the request for comment.

“This form is used prior to passport issuance and solicits information relating to the respondent’s family, birth circumstances, residences, schooling, and employment,” the statement added.

“In addition to this primary use of the data, the DS-5513 may also be used as evidence in the prosecution of any individual who makes a false statement on the application and for other uses as set forth in the Prefatory Statement and the Passport System of Records Notice (State-26).”

The document also requires some applicants to submit information about the mother’s pre-natal and post-natal care, the mother’s residence one year before and after the birth, the persons in attendance at the birth and religious or institutional recordings of the birth.

“The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form,” Consumer Traveler’s Edward Hasbrouck noted.

The Consumer Travel Alliance opposes the new form as “exceeding the statutory authority of the DOS, unconstitutional, and in violation of U.S. obligations pursuant to international human rights treaties to which the U.S. is a party,” according to draft comments (PDF) prepared by the group.

“[C]hoosing to require an applicant for a passport to complete the proposed Form DS-5513, which few if any applicants could complete, would amount to a de facto decision to deny that applicant a passport. And that decision would be standardless, arbitrary, and illegal,” they added.

The State Department had not returned a call asking for comment at the time of publication.

Appeared Here


U.S. Military Begins Patroling Downtown Columbus Georgia After 5 Soldiers Beat Man, Shooting At Restaurant

April 25, 2011

COLUMBUS, GEORGIA – Starting at 10 o’clock Friday, two senior non-commissioned officers from Fort Benning will be on courtesy patrol. The soldiers will be wearing arm bands that read, “Courtesy Patrol.”

Fort Benning Commanding General Robert Brown and Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson made the announcement earlier this week.

They need to increase security in Uptown Columbus comes after two weekend incidents in early April.

In the first incident, police say five soldiers beat another man. The beating was witnessed near First Ave. and 10th street- sending the victim – a former solider – to the hospital with head injuries.

The other, a shooting that left four injured – one fatally – at Mario’s restaurant on Broadway. A man is charged in connection with the assault.

Now, Columbus police will have the company of two uniformed Fort Benning soldiers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Mayor Tomlinson says the soldiers will not be able to make any arrests, but will be able to command order of all military personnel and if need be, alert military police.

“You can’t arrest someone for being intoxicated, but a senior officer can order you back to base or have military police come get you and bring you back to base,” says Tomlinson.

Charlotte Burton says the extra patrols might not be enough.

“I know this is just a start but i think they will have to increase security that’s being offered….a lot of people come down here at night,” says Burton

For Specialist Ryan Jesse – stationed at Fort Benning – he says soldiers will think twice after seeing another in uniform.

“It keeps things in check. It avoids thing getting out of hand which happens a lot with soldiers unfortunately,” says SPC Jesse.

The patrols will last about five hours ending at 3a.m. when the bars close.

This is not the first time the City of Columbus has enlisted the help of military courtesy patrols, but it has been years since the practice was used.

Appeared Here


Chattanooga Tennessee Police Officer Jeremy Williams Under Investigation For Showing Up For Training After Drinking, Officer Brian Angel For Involvement In Assault Case

April 25, 2011

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE – Chattanooga police are investigating two cases involving police officers, including an allegation of officer misconduct.

Officer Jeremy Williams reportedly showed up for a training exercise on April 19 after consuming alcohol, according to police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary. He has been relieved of duty but is working in a non-official capacity pending the outcome of the investigation, she said.

Since it is an ongoing investigation, few details can be released, she said.

Williams was arrested last year on April 18 after he reportedly was involved in an accident and was intoxicated at the time, Weary said. The case was dismissed in court but he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a police officer in the internal investigation and was given a letter of reprimand, she said.

In another case, Officer Brian Angel was involved in an assault case that took place Sunday, Weary said.

Jennifer Wright was arrested Sunday following a domestic incident between her and Angel, the sergeant said, and Wright is charged with domestic assault, vandalism and theft over $1,000.

She is accused of assaulting Angel, vandalizing his apartment, attempting to steal his phone and stealing money from him, Weary said.

Witnesses told police an argument broke out after Wright found Angel in his apartment with a woman.

Appeared Here


Gunman Grounds Los Angeles California Police Helicopter

April 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA — A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter had to make an emergency landing Sunday morning after a gunman opened fire on the chopper, authorities said.

The helicopter landed safely and the pilot and observer on board were not injured, said police Detective Gus Villanueva.

The incident occurred in the Van Nuys area, when police got a call at around 6 a.m. local time (9 a.m . ET) of shots being fired, police said. The helicopter was responding as backup to a patrol car dispatched to the scene.

The helicopter was at the Van Nuys airport after the incident, and was to be put on a flat-bed truck to be towed downtown for investigation and repair, authorities said.

The apparent shooter eventually was subdued by his family members, Villanueva said. A semi-automatic rifle was recovered, he said.

Police got multiple calls that a second gunman was involved, and a search was conducted Sunday afternoon, Villanueva said. That search was called off later, Villanueva said.

Appeared Here


Veteran Los Angeles California Police Officer Arrested, Charged With Drunk Driving After Riding His Motorcycle In Wrong Direction Through Tunnel Near Airport

April 23, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Authorities say a veteran Los Angeles police officer has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after he allegedly drove his motorcycle the wrong way through the Sepulveda Tunnel near Los Angeles International Airport.

The Los Angeles Times reports the officer was picked up early Saturday by Airport Police.

He was booked at the Pacific Division station on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The officer’s name has not been released.

The Times says it was not clear who first reported the incident or whether there were other motorists around.

The officer’s blood-alcohol level was not immediately available.

Appeared Here


St. Louis Missouri Corrections Officer’s Stupidity To Blame For 2 Escaping From $101 Million “State-Of-The-Art” Jail With Homemade Rope

April 23, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI – A “knuckle-headed corrections officer” is to blame for the escape of two men who apparently climbed down a homemade rope Friday morning to escape from a St. Louis detention center, the mayor’s chief of staff said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Vernon Collins, 34, and David White, 33, were discovered missing just before 7 a.m., but police believe they might have been gone for 90 minutes by that time.

White was later caught at a gas station wearing what a station clerk described as a “Bruce Lee wig,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He was taken into custody about 4 p.m. after police surrounded an older-model white Cadillac at a Phillips 66 station. Collins remained at large Friday afternoon.

Collins was in jail on a charge of assaulting a law enforcement officer, while White was being held on charges of assault, burglary and property damage. Collins also is accused of overpowering a corrections officer.

Jeff Rainford, Mayor Francis Slay’s chief of staff, told the newspaper the escape was the first at the $101 million, state-of-the-art downtown jail built in 2002 and it happened when a corrections officer failed to fully investigate noises coming from the men’s cell.

Police said the inmates apparently broke out a second-story window and scaled down the front of the building using black cloth tied together with rope. A security camera mounted below the broken window appeared to have been knocked off its mount and was dangling from the building Friday morning.

No blood was visible near the window or on the ground.

Both men were being held in the center’s medical unit, Rainford said. He said a nurse heard noises coming from their cell in the middle of the night and told a corrections officer, who went to the cell and asked what was going on. The inmates told the officer they were exercising.

The nurse heard noises again and the same officer went back to the cell, but didn’t go inside, Rainford said.

“This was not some master-minded scheme,” he said. “This was one knuckle-headed corrections officer.”

White, who had been in the jail’s infirmary with a broken leg, broke the other one while escaping, police said.

Daphne Golden, who was waiting at the jail to bail out her son Friday morning, said she heard corrections officers declare that all inmates were accounted for over an intercom at shift change around 6:30 a.m. Moments later, jailers began running around, yelling to secure all doors and windows, she said.

“They were running around like wild people,” she said.

The jail is run by the city’s Public Safety Department. Corrections superintendent Eugene Stubblefield said the men used a bedsheet to escape.

St. Louis Police Capt. Sam Dotson said police are reviewing video surveillance to see if anyone helped the two escape.

Appeared Here


Philadelphia Pennsylvania TSA Agent Thomas Gordon Jr. Arrested, Charged With Child Pornography

April 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – A passenger screener at Philadelphia International Airport is facing charges that he distributed more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook, records show.

Federal agents also allege that Transportation Safety Administration Officer Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, who routinely searched airline passengers, uploaded explicit pictures of young girls to an Internet site on which he also posted a photograph of himself in his TSA uniform.

Homeland Security agents arrested the TSA officer March 24, and he is being held without bail.

Although the case was unsealed Thursday, neither the indictment nor the news release mentioned Gordon’s job searching airline passengers for TSA.

The arrest comes as TSA grapples with several other incidents involving screeners, including a YouTube video posted last week by parents angry about the pat-down their 6-year-old daughter received at an airport in New Orleans. TSA officials said the pat-down was proper; the parents said the girl was “groped.”

Citing privacy rules, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis would not say if Gordon has been suspended from his job, but noted that he had been in federal custody since his arrest.

“We can assure the public that he is no longer working at the airport,” Davis said.

Gordon began working as a TSA screener at the Philadelphia airport in December 2005, Davis said. The airport has 900 screeners, she said.

If convicted of the child pornography charges, Gordon, 46, faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years. The maximum prison term is 250 years and the top fine is $3.2 million.

Gordon is paid $37,000 annually as a TSA screener, records show. He has no prior criminal record, officials said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Levy, chief of his office’s child exploitation unit, declined to comment Friday.

Gordon’s lawyer, Elizabeth Toplin, an assistant federal public defender, could not be reached for comment via e-mail or phone late Friday.

Tipped by the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, federal agents began investigating Gordon on March 10, according to an affidavit from a Homeland Security Investigations agent.

The tip allegedly included evidence that Gordon had uploaded five explicit photographs of young girls onto the web site Photobucket.

The federal agent alleged that Gordon’s Photobucket account also included a picture of him wearing his blue TSA uniform.

The indictment alleges that Gordon used at least six Facebook accounts and employed multiple names “to upload and store images of sexual exploitation of minor children.”

The charges detail 104 illicit photographs allegedly uploaded over four weeks in February.

Authorities also seized from Gordon an HP laptop and a four-gigabyte flash drive that they say contained more than 600 images or movies containing child pornography, according to court filings.

Gordon’s job as a TSA screener was in jeopardy last year for unrelated reasons, according to an online newsletter of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Citing a family issue, it said Gordon was having “difficulty maintaining his work schedule.” The union lawyer helped convince TSA officials that a change in shift schedule resolved the problem, the newsletter said, and Gordon returned to work.

Appeared Here


Former Chicago Police Officer Donald Owsley Convicted Of Ripping Off Elderly Man’s $500,000 House And $400,000 In Cash

April 22, 2011

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A former Chicago police officer has been found guilty of bilking a 90-year-old man out of a $500,000 home and $400,000 in cash and investments.

Cook County Judge Timothy Joyce on Thursday found 63-year-old Donald Owsley guilty of financial exploitation of the elderly and forgery.

Prosecutors say Owsley befriended Theodore Hoellen and in 2001 persuaded him to sign over his Chicago home. Hoellen also gave Owsley control over $400,000 in bank accounts and a death benefit.

Hoellen, who was suffering from dementia when he signed over his property, has since died.

According to court records, 90-year-old Hector LeFleur signed his property over to Owsley in 1999. However, LeFleur’s family sued and the property was returned to his estate.

Owsley wasn’t prosecuted in the case because of the statute of limitations.

Appeared Here


Trial Begins For Former Daytona Beach Florida Police Officer Janet Hawkins

April 22, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIGA — The resisting arrest and obstruction of justice trial of Janet Hawkins began this morning with key witness Rommel Scalf, a former Holly Hill police officer who arrested the former police investigator back in 2009.

Hawkins, 47, of Ormond Beach lost her job with Daytona Beach police after her arrest, which involved a scuffle with Scalf and another officer. She was looking for her 25-year-old son when officers said she failed to comply with their orders. One of the officers tried to use a Taser, when Hawkins grabbed his wrist, according to testimony.

A scuffle ensued, in which two Holly Hill police officers said they were injured.

Defense lawyer Gayle Graziano, a former judge, put Scalf on the defensive this morning. Under cross examination, she asked Scalf about his departure from the department after he was involved in another incident involving a Taser.

“I resigned before the investigation over the Taser use (was completed) ,” Scalf said.

Graziano also says the Taser should never have been used on Hawkins, for “verbally and passively” resisting the officers.

If convicted, Hawkins faces up to six years in prison. Circuit Judge Joseph Will is presiding.

Appeared Here


Norton Kansas Police Officer Ryan L. Zweygardt Arrested, Charged With 2 Counts Of Rape

April 22, 2011

NORTON, KANSAS — A Norton police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of alleged rape, according to a press release from the Norton County attorney’s office.

Ryan L. Zweygardt, 27, was scheduled to make his first appearance in Norton County District Court today. A preliminary hearing tentatively has been scheduled for May 6. Bond was set at $500,000.

County Attorney Doug Sebelius said this morning the alleged incident was reported to law enforcement April 11.

“Shortly after that, the police chief had placed (Zweygardt) on suspension,” Sebelius said.

He was unsure if Zweygardt’s status with the department had changed since his arrest. He has been with the Norton police for less than a year.

The Norton County sheriff’s department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

Sebelius said Zweygardt was not on duty when the alleged incidents occurred. They were brought to law enforcement’s attention by the victim, an adult female, and by her seeking medical attention, Sebelius said.

Zweygardt is being held in Graham County jail, due to renovations taking place in the Norton County Sheriff’s department.

Appeared Here


El Reno Texas Police Officer Chris Leal Arrested, Suspended, Charged After Drunken Wreck In Patrol Car And Leaving The Scene – Patrol Car Found On Roof In Ditch

April 22, 2011

EL RENO, OKLAHOMA – An El Reno Police Officer stands accused after a car accident this past weekend. We’ve learned off-duty officer Chris Leal was arrested for DUI and leaving the scene of an injury accident.

The El Reno Police Chief tells us that his officers arrived on the scene around 6 a.m. Sunday.

They found one of their K9 patrol units on it’s top in a ditch.

They then went to Officer Leal’s house to determine if the car had been stolen.

No one was home at the time.

The Police Chief tells us Leal was found about 2 miles from the crash scene and was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and taken into custody.

Two family members and one passenger were also at the crash sight.

They were treated for minor injuries.

Right now Leal is on unpaid leave pending an internal investigation.

Appeared Here


San Antonio Texas Park Police Officer Scott Little, Arrested, Charged With Drunk Driving After Running Stop Sign

April 22, 2011

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — A San Antonio Park Police officer has been arrested and is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Scott Little, 25, was taken into custody by a San Antonio police officer early Sunday.

According to a police report, Little was driving his own vehicle near Loop 1604 and Lockhill-Selma early Sunday when another officer noticed him run a stop sign. The officer said he also noticed the smell of alcohol on Little’s breath.

The report said Little cooperated fully, taking part in a field sobriety test, which showed he had slurred speech and was off-balance while walking.

Later, the report states, Little submitted to a blood alcohol test, which confirmed he was over the legal driving limit.

“My reaction? That officer is going to have a very short career,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, reacting to news of the arrest.

Although members of 18 different law enforcement agencies took part in an event last week to draw attention to the drunken driving issue, McManus has been one of the most outspoken.

In recent months, several SAPD officers have been injured in incidents involving suspected drunken drivers. One officer, Stephanie Brown, 27, was killed.

“We’ve been talking about this again and again and again, and there’s no excuse,” McManus said. “(Police) should know better. There’s just no excuse and we will not tolerate it.”

Records show Little was released from jail Sunday after posting a $1,000 bond.

A police spokesman said Little, a two-year veteran, has been placed on administrative leave with pay.

Appeared Here


Veteran Leetsdale Pennsylvania Police Officer Wayne Drish Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Trying To Cover Up Friend’s DUI

April 22, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA — A Leetsdale police officer was suspended from the job, after investigators said, he tried covering for a friend accused of driving under the influence.

Police said Officer Wayne Drish was a passenger in car that slammed into a utility pole at the intersection of Park Hill and Bradford roads in Economy last August.

When police arrived, investigators said, Drish said he was behind the wheel. DNA tests later revealed that his intoxicated friend was driving. Police said the driver had a blood alcohol level of .249, three times the legal limit.

The accident happened in August, but Drish was arrested on Thursday and charged with lying to police.

Channel 11’s Alan Jennings reported that Drish is a 12-year veteran of the department with an unblemished record. He is currently suspended without pay.

Appeared Here


Veteran Seattle Washington Police Officer Scott Moss Remains On The Job After Drunk Driving Arrest

April 22, 2011

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – The Seattle Police officer arrested for DUI earlier this month will stay on the job, at least for now. Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb says that the Office of Professional Accountability has opened an investigation but the criminal case has to be complete before any discipline could be imposed.

The arrest occurred on Interstate 405 near Bellevue. It was 5 a.m., and the trooper saw an SUV weaving across the white line onto the narrow shoulder.

Once stopped, the trooper realized that the driver was Scott Moss – a 16-year veteran of SPD – who often appeared as the face of the department, until he was arrested in 2005 for DUI. That charge was later amended to negligent driving.

Moss made sure the trooper knew he was a police officer – handing over his driver’s license and his Seattle Police ID.

Was Moss given special treatment?

“Everything I read in the report appears to be very standard. I don’t see any special treatment or anything out of the ordinary,” said Trooper Julie Startup.

Moss agreed to take a field sobriety test.

Moss failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test – considered a bellwether for impairment. During the test the trooper looks for an involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball that occurs when a person is impaired by alcohol. But the trooper did not administer two other roadside tests – walking and balance – that are usually done.

“All three of the standardized tests are typically performed, but it’s always at the discretion of the officer to determine if that’s necessary,” said Trooper Startup.

According to the trooper’s report, Moss “appeared shocked” and “frustrated’” when he was put in handcuffs.

But he wasn’t breathalyzed right away. The trooper’s portable unit had a dead battery. And nearly two hours elapsed before a blood alcohol test was done at a nearby police department. By then his readings were .069 and .075 – below the legal limit of .08.

When challenged, the trooper told Moss that by extrapolating backward and dong the math, it was easy to tell that Moss was over the legal limit at the time he was stopped for weaving on the freeway.

Moss was not booked into jail. An SPD commander was called to come and get him.

Appeared Here


Oklahoma City Oklahoma Police Officer Maurice Martinez Arrested, Faces 36 Felony Charges For Sexually Abusing Children, Child Pornography, And Child Abuse

April 22, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — An Oklahoma City police officer was in jail Friday night and officially charged with 36 felonies and one misdemeanor for the alleged sexual abuse of several children.

Officer Maurice Martinez has been under investigation since January, when six of his adopted children were taken into state custody. He was arrested and a search warrant executed on their home.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Martinez was abusing children as young as 12.

Investigators said the behavior went on for years, but the officer was repeatedly allowed to adopt children and bring them into his home.

Investigators said Martinez had several images if children on his iPhone and computer. They said he kept his phone locked all the time and only allowed the children to use the phone in his presence.

According to court documents, he allowed his adopted children to physically abuse each other and never notified the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Investigators said they seized videos from his home showing children getting “pummeled by other children” and “hit over the head by Martinez.” A child said he had “food poured on him” and he was “locked outside,” police said.

Since the investigation and Martinez’s first arrest in January, police said he has accused of intimidating witnesses from cooperating with police, conspired with a teenager to break into his home and steal evidence before police could seize it and gave $400 to another victim to send him on a bus to Utah to obstruct the investigation.

Martinez was booked into jail on April 15. He is still in jail, and a bond has not been set.

Martinez is charged with 32 counts of sexual abuse of a child, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of child abuse, among other charges.

Appeared Here


Albuquerque New Mexico Police Officer Sgt. Joshua McDonald Reassigned After Catching Bernalillo Police Officer Det. Berto Chavez At DWI Checkpoint And Issuing Summons Instead Of Taking Him To Jail – Failed Field Sobriety Tests And Wanted Cops To “Help” Him Out

April 22, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO — An Albuquerque police sergeant has been temporarily reassigned after issuing a Bernalillo police officer a criminal summons early Saturday for aggravated DWI and not booking him into jail.

Instead, Bernalillo police detective Berto Chavez was allowed to call for a ride after his motorcycle was stopped at an Albuquerque police DWI checkpoint on N.M. 528, just outside Rio Rancho, according to a police report. Chavez was off-duty at the time.

APD Sgt. Joshua McDonald spoke with Chavez’s supervisor and found that Chavez books prisoners into the Metropolitan Detention Center on a regular basis. For that reason, it was decided that it would be unsafe for Chavez to be booked and processed into MDC, according to a DWI offense report.

McDonald has been temporarily reassigned until an investigation on whether standard operating procedures were violated, APD spokesman Rob Gibbs said Thursday.

“Everyone arrested for DWI/(Domestic Violence), pending a medical exemption is to be booked,” APD Chief Ray Schultz said in an email Thursday. “The Sergeant did not follow policy.”

An exception would be a medical condition, and in those cases, a summons is to be issued, he said.

McDonald has been reassigned to the Northeast command and an internal affairs investigation has been started, Schultz said.

Chavez, meanwhile, has been suspended from the Bernalillo Police Department.

According to the police report, Chavez said he was driving home from a West Side Albuquerque bar. He showed signs of impairment and changed his story from having one beer to three beers prior to driving.

Chavez performed poorly on field sobriety tests and refused to continue the tests, according to the police report. He later identified himself as a Bernalillo police officer and asked police at the checkpoint several times to “help” him out, the report states.

Chavez also refused to submit to an alcohol breath test.

Appeared Here


Temple Georgia Police Officer Lee Powell Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Sexual Battery After Attacking Woman In Front Of Her Child

April 22, 2011

TEMPLE, GEORGIA – The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office is investigation allegations a Temple police officer sexually battered a woman in front of her child.

Officer Lee Powell was arrested and charged with Sexual Battery, Battery, Cruelty to Children, and False Imprisonment. Court documents allege Powell was fondling the victim and threw her on the couch as her 6-year-old came into the room. She said she was able to use her child’s entrance to flee the house.

The Temple police chief put Powell on unpaid administrative leave. He is also looking into Powells on-the-job performance given accusations which surfaced he may have used his position to run tags of vehicles in front of the woman’s home.

Mac Pilgram, the lawyer for Lee Powell, told FOX 5 News that all contact was consensual and there never was a time the woman could not leave. He points to the 48-hours it took for the woman to report the incident as being suspicious. Pilgram said the truth will come out at trial.

Powell’s first appearance was Wednesday. He is currently out of jail on $20,000 bond. He is expected to appear before the Carroll County Superior Court on May 5th.

Appeared Here


Philadelphia Pennsylvania Police Officer Gary Cottrell Arrested, Charged With Fraud For Accepting Bribes

April 22, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – A Philadelphia police officer with the 14th District, Gary Cottrell, was arrested April 19 for allegedly accepting bribes on- and off-duty.

According to a press release from the Philadelphia Police Department, Cottrell, 44, allegedly used his position as a police officer to direct the victim of car accidents to University Collision Centers for repairs. Cottrell allegedly received cash payments for doing so. The police department calls this practice “wreck chasing.”

In addition to wreck chasing, Cottrell also allegedly filed fraudulent claims for damage to his personal vehicles.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit launched an investigation into Cottrell’s practices, which resulted in an arrest Tuesday on charges of Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Act, Insurance Fraud, Theft by Deception, Conspiracy and Bribery, according to police.

Cottrell has been an officer with the Philadelphia Police Department for 14 years. He has been placed under a 30-day suspension by Commissioner Charles Ramsey, with intent dismiss.

Appeared Here


Former Wendermere Florida Police Officer Raul Carvajal Arrested, Charged With False Information On Traffic Ticket

April 22, 2011

WINDERMERE, FLORIDA – A former reserve Windermere police officer was arrested on Friday after federal agents said he falsified information on a traffic ticket earlier this year.

Raul Carvajal, 40, of Orlando, a former reserve officer with the Windermere Police Department has been charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a third-degree felony, after he falsified information on a Florida uniform traffic citation in January 2011, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Orlando Regional Operations Center.

FDLE said the offense was uncovered during an ongoing investigation into alleged improprieties at the Windermere Police Department.

Carvajal was booked into the Orange County jail and bond was set at $2,500.

Appeared Here


San Fernando Mexico Police Officer Joel Resendiz-Moreno Arrested For Role In Kidnapping And Murder Of 145 Bus Passengers

April 22, 2011

SAN FERNANDO, MEXICO – A San Fernando police officer found himself on the other side of the law.

Mexican authorities have arrested officer Joel Resendiz-Moreno for allegedly participating in the kidnapping and murder of 145 bus passengers.

Mexico’s Attorney General Office (PGR) announced the arrest on Thursday evening.

Details have not been released about Resendiz-Moreno’s exact role in the case but PGR officials are expecting to take his statement and possibly file formal charges.

PGR officials are asking anyone who may have been a victim of Resendez-Moreno to come forward.

A total of 68 people have been arrested for the San Fernando massacres but the PGR reports only 55 have been arraigned or formally charged at this time.

Appeared Here


Roseville Michigan Probation Officer Rory George Wagner Arrested, Charged With Stalking And Misuse Of Law Enforement Information System

April 22, 2011

ROSEVILLE, MICHIGAN – A probation officer with the Roseville District Court was arrested last Friday by Roseville Police and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office on charges of stalking and improper use of the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) information system.

Rory George Wagner, 42, faces two counts of misdemeanor stalking related to another court employee and a Roseville Police officer, and one count of LEIN information — unauthorized disclosure. He faces up to two years in jail and up to five years probation.

Roseville Police said when they found Wagner, he was holding a gun, and was taken to a hospital for observation. An interim bond was set today at $10,000 and he will be arraigned on Monday in St. Clair Shores.

Appeared Here


Alexandria Virginia Police Officer Angel Roa Arrested For Fraud In Salvage Car Sales Scam

April 22, 2011

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – Loudoun County authorities arrested an Alexandria police officer on fraud charges for allegedly reselling a salvaged vehicle to at least one unwitting buyer.

Angel Roa, who has served with the department for four years, is charged with obtaining money by fraud or false pretenses. Roa is now on administrative leave without pay pending the investigation’s findings, city authorities said.

Roa allegedly bought the vehicle legally, but then sold it without telling the buyer it was titled as salvaged, said Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. When the victim went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get it titled, officials told them the vehicle wasn’t roadworthy, he said.

Troxell said there may be more than one victim and are pursuing the investigation.

The Alexandria Police Department is likewise conducting an internal review, said Ashley Hildebrandt, spokeswoman. In a statement, Police Chief Earl Cook said his department takes a hard line against “inappropriate behavior” on the part of its employees.

“Officer Roa is entitled to due process, however, I want to assure residents that the Alexandria Police [Department] does not tolerate criminal or other inappropriate behavior of any kind from its employees,” Cook said.

Roa isn’t the first department employee to run into legal trouble in recent months. Det. Eric Ratliff was arrested on DUI charges after crashing his unmarked cruiser into a concrete pole on the corner of Gibbon and South Patrick streets in January.

Appeared Here


Brain-Dead Memphis Tennessee Police Arrest Officer Who Investigated Burglary After His Fingerprints Were Found At Scene

April 22, 2011

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – A Memphis police officer was wrongly arrested and charged with aggravated burglary after his fingerprints were found at a burglary crime scene that he was investigating.

Now, the MPD has opened an administrative investigation, as officials try to determine how the officers fingerprints would up as evidence, and why he was arrested.

The incident happened in mid-March at the Memphis home of Priscilla Copeland. Her neighbor, Antavious Christopher, happened to be outside at just the right time, and saw the burglary in process.

“I asked ’em, I said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ Christopher said. “I had my handgun on the side.”

Copeland was staying elsewhere while her home was being renovated when the pair of men broke in.

“It just hurt my heart, you know? I work hard,” she said.

Because Antavious Christopher called 911, within 15 minutes, the officers were able to catch two suspects, Terrance Jones and Mario Norfleet.

Back at the scene of the burglary, investigators found fingerprints on a displaced lawnmower in the backyard. Eventually the prints came back to Edrick Braxton, who was arrested, booked into jail, and charged in mid-April – more than a month later.

But, the charges were quickly dropped, because the arrest was a mistake. Braxton is a Memphis police officer, and was originally called to the house to help work the case. According to a statement released Friday by the police department, “…upon further investigation, the warrant was recalled and Officer Braxton was released.”

“I’m okay with that,” Copeland said when she heard the news. “I’m sorry it happened to him.”

Copeland said she is pleased to have a neighbor like Christopher, and is confident in what he witnessed.

Norfleet, meanwhile, also was arrested for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture from a nearby warehouse.

Appeared Here


Mesa Arizona Police Officer Mark Escarcega And Wife Arrested, Charged With Mortgage Fraud

April 22, 2011

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – A Mesa police officer and his wife have been arrested for lying to their mortgage lender after a federal investigation.

Blanca and Mark Escarcega purchased a home four years ago in Santa Rita Ranch in Mesa. According to Zillow.com, they paid $344,000 for the 1,880-square-foot home. Today, Zillow.com estimates it’s only worth $175,000.

According to the Maricopa county attorney’s office, the trouble began when Blanca wrote a hardship letter to their lender, Bank of America, asking for a loan modification, claiming she and her husband had separated.

According to court documents, she wrote the letter between October 2009 and August 2010. Bank of America gave her a loan modification, with the stipulation she live there at least another year.

[This 4,000-square-foot home in Valencia Groves in Mesa was purchased by fraud suspects Mark and Blanca Escarcega.]
This 4,000-square-foot home in Valencia Groves in Mesa was purchased by fraud suspects Mark and Blanca Escarcega.

But the county attorney’s office said the couple was never separated. Instead, they rented out their Santa Rita home, and together purchased a 4,000-square-foot home in Valencia Groves in Mesa last August. According to county records, the couple paid $325,000 for their new home, using $10,395 as a down payment.

According to sources, Mark Escarcega came to work bragging about how he and his wife had rigged a deal with their lender to move up in house, but his colleagues recognized fraud and told the chief, who notified the FBI.

On Monday, both Blanca and Mark Escarcega were booked and charged with one count of residential mortgage fraud. If convicted, they could get up to three years behind bars. Both pleaded not guilty.

Michelle Christie is their current tenant, who knew nothing of her landlords’ legal troubles. “It’s kind of upsetting,” Christie said. “Hopefully the owners will contact me and let me know what’s going to happen to me, and my kids.”

Kelly Gorman is a real estate attorney in Glendale. He said even the slightest fib on a mortgage application is considered fraud.

“There are people now that will try to game the system, because they know there are others catching breaks on their loans. So they’ll try to restructure it,” Gorman said.

The Mesa police department has suspended Escarcega on administrative leave until it can conduct its own internal investigation.

Appeared Here


Washington DC Police Under Investigation After High-Speed Escort From Airport To Show – “…Driving Like Someone’s About To Deliver A Baby!…”

April 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – Charlie Sheen’s police escort to his show in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday is under investigation by state officials after it emerged the move was not properly authorized.

The former Two and a Half Men star was running late to his one-man comedy gig after he was held up in a Los Angeles court following a custody hearing with his estranged wife Brooke Mueller.

The troubled actor faced a mad dash across the U.S. to make it to his concert on the east coast in time and revealed on his Twitter page that he had been given special treatment by cops upon landing at Dulles International Airport in D.C..

He wrote, “In car with police escort in front and rear! Driving like someone’s about to deliver a baby! Cop car lights #Spinning!”

He also posted a picture taken from the window of the car showing the police lights up ahead.

But Sheen’s blog posts have landed the officers involved in trouble with department bosses – according to local councilman Phil Mendleson, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier did not grant permission for the escort.

On Friday, spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump confirmed the department’s internal affairs unit was investigating the incident. The police representative refused to comment further on the controversy.

Sheen eventually took to the stage at the D.A.R. Constitution Hall an hour late.

Appeared Here


Charges Dropped After Las Vegas Nevada Police Officer Derek Colling Beat And Falsely Arrested Videographer For Filming Police From His Driveway

April 22, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – When Mitchell Crooks checked out of the county jail last month and checked into a Las Vegas hospital, the 36-year-old videographer knew he had a fight on his hands.

His face was bloodied and bruised. His $3,500 camera had been impounded by police, and he faced criminal charges for battery on a police officer.

One month later, things have changed for Crooks.

The Clark County district attorney’s office has dropped all charges, and Crooks has retained an attorney of his own. The Metropolitan Police Department has opened an internal investigation into the Las Vegas police officer, Derek Colling, whom Crooks says falsely arrested and beat him for filming police.

And his camera — which captured the entire March 20 altercation between Crooks and Colling — has been returned.

CAUGHT ON TAPE

The words are friendly enough, but the tone is tense:

“Can I help you, sir?” Colling asks from his patrol car after parking it in front of Crooks’ driveway and shining the spotlight on Crooks.

“Nope. Just observing,” Crooks responds, fixing his camera on the officer.

Crooks had for an hour been recording the scene across the street from his home in the 1700 block of Commanche Circle, near East Desert Inn Road and South Maryland Parkway, where officers had several young burglary suspects handcuffed and sitting on the curb.

As Las Vegas crimes go, the activity was fairly boring. But Crooks wanted to try out his new camera, and he figured his neighbors would like to see the suspects’ faces.

When Colling loaded suspects into the back of his car and drove in a circle through the cul-de-sac, Crooks said he thought police were leaving. Then the officer stopped his car.

“Do you live here?” Colling asks.

“Nope,” Crooks says.

Colling steps out of his patrol car.

Crooks said he now regrets not telling the officer that he was in fact standing in his own driveway. His realizes his response seemed cheeky, but he said the officer made him nervous.

Colling walks toward Crooks, his left hand raised.

“Turn that off for me,” Colling orders.

“Why do I have to turn it off?” Crooks responds. “I’m perfectly within my legal rights to be able to do this.”

The officer repeats the command several times; each time Crooks reiterates his right to film.

“You don’t live here,” Colling says, now close to Crooks.

“I do live here!”

“You don’t live here, dude.”

“I just said I live here!”

As Crooks backs away, Colling grabs him by the shoulder and throws him down. On the ground, Crooks grabs the camera and turns it toward his face.

Colling’s leg then enters the video frame. Crooks says he believes that was the kick that broke his nose.

The video doesn’t show it, but it the camera records Crook screaming. He said that’s when Colling was punching his face.

“Shut up!” Colling yells. “Stop resisting!”

‘A WORLD OF HURT’

In his arrest report Colling wrote that Crooks grabbed his shoulders “and attempted to take me to the ground. I in turn took him to the ground.”

At Clark County Detention Center, Crooks was booked for battery on a police officer and obstruction of justice. He was released from jail the next day. On March 26, the Review-Journal reported on his case. Four days later all charges were dropped.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Laurent said he dismissed the charges because the police report was vague.

“I asked for a more definite description of the battery, because battery requires a violent touching,” Laurent said. Police never provided that information, Laurent said, so the case was dropped.

Crooks said he always believed he’d be vindicated, but after police returned his camera he knew he had proof.

“I was confident I was doing the right thing, but I was excited they (the DA’s office) weren’t wasting any time, and that somebody was smart enough to know I was acting within the law,” he said.

Crooks said the incident looks worse on tape than he remembered.

What bothered him the most, he said, was Colling’s attitude after he was placed in handcuffs.

“Why did you do that? I live here,” Crooks is heard pleading on the tape.

“You just told me you didn’t live here,” Colling says. “You live right here, in this house?”

Crooks asks for paramedics. Colling tells him to shut up and follow orders.

“If you fight again, dude… Hey, if you (expletive) fight again, dude, you’re in a world of hurt. You hear me?

“You’re not in charge here, buddy. You hear me?”

Colling mocks Crooks’ labored breathing.

“Oh yeah, buddy. Hey, when you don’t do what I ask you to do, then you’re in a world of hurt. Then you’re in a world of hurt. Aren’t ya? Huh?”

Crooks was later diagnosed with a deviated septum and a chest wall injury. Crooks believes his ribs were broken, but never got X-rays that could prove it.

LAWYERS REACT

Allen Lichtenstein, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, reviewed Crooks’ video and said Colling was clearly in the wrong. Officers are trained to avoid escalating situations, but Colling initiated the incident and created a physical confrontation without provocation, he said.

“It raises serious questions about whether the officer used good judgment and whether he was properly trained,” Lichtenstein said. “Those questions require answers.”

Police have no expectation of privacy, and it’s perfectly legal to film officers as long as it does not interfere in their investigation, he said.

Colling also erred in claiming that Crooks was trespassing. By law, only a property owner or resident can make a trespassing complaint, Lichtenstein said.

“Even if the officer didn’t think he lived there, that doesn’t mean he didn’t have permission to be there,” Lichtenstein said. “In the video I heard, that question was never asked.”

Crooks’ attorney, David Otto, on Thursday sent police a statement from Crooks, along with a demand for $500,000 to cover Crooks’ medial care, pain and suffering.

Colling had no legitimate reason to approach Crooks that night, Otto wrote.

“Officer Colling was aggravated that a citizen should have the audacity to video tape, him — a Las Vegas Metropolitan Patrol Officer,” Otto wrote. “Officer Colling decided to use the fear and terror of his physical ability to beat Mr. Crooks into submission — to teach Mr. Crooks and, by example, all citizens and residents of the Las Vegas Valley.”

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie declined comment, saying the internal investigation remains open. Collings remains on duty, and department officials noted that Crooks has declined several requests to be interviewed by detectives.

The suspects in Colling’s patrol car may have witnessed the event and given statements to detectives, but their names have not been released. Police said they were not arrested or booked, so their names are not public record.

Crooks said he doesn’t want to talk to detectives.

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

Neither Colling nor Crooks are strangers to controversy.

Colling has been involved in two fatal shootings in his 5 1/2 years as a Las Vegas police officer. In 2006, he and four other officers shot Shawn Jacob Collins after the 43-year-old man pulled a gun at an east valley gas station.

In 2009, he confronted a mentally ill 15-year-old Tanner Chamberlain, who was holding a knife in front of his mother and waving it in the direction of officers. Colling shot him in the head.

Both shootings were ruled justified by Clark County coroner’s juries.

Crooks made headlines in 2002 when he videotaped two Inglewood, Calif., police officers beating a 16-year-old boy. One officer was fired and criminally charged but was not convicted after two trials ended with hung juries. The incident strained race relations in Southern California — the police officer was white, the teenager black.

Crooks first tried to sell that tape and then declined to give it to prosecutors. He was then jailed on old warrants from unrelated drunken driving and petty theft charges. Civil rights advocates decried it as retribution.

In 2003 he moved to Las Vegas, where he makes a living, among other things, shooting video for nightclubs, and says he kept out of trouble right up until the night he met officer Colling.

Appeared Here


Illegal Immigrant Worked As Anchorage Alaska Police Officer For 6 Years… Mexican Used Identity Of U.S. Citizen, Caught When Applying For A Passport

April 22, 2011

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – An Anchorage police officer who took on a false identity that masked his Mexican citizenship has been arrested and charged with passport fraud, federal officials said today.

At a news conference Friday, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said that patrolman Rafael Espinoza, on the Anchorage police force for about six years, was really Rafael Mora-Lopez, a Mexican national working in the United States illegally.

The identity swap was discovered when the police officer applied for a U.S. passport and officials from the State Department found that the Rafael Espinoza identity he was using was actually someone else in the Lower 48, Loeffler said.

Mora-Lopez, 51, was arrested Thursday and is being arraigned before a U.S. Magistrate Judge this afternoon. Loeffler declined to say when Mora-Lopez entered the United States and where he has been since then. But she said he didn’t appear to be part of a larger conspiracy.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We have no evidence at this time that this individual had been anything but a good police officer,” Loeffler said. The real Espinoza also has a clean record, she said.

Appeared Here