Veteran Santa Fe New Mexico Police Officer Jon Lopez Arrested, Supended, And Charged After Beating His Wife – Just Days After Department Initiated “Zero Tolerance” Policy Targeting Criminal Cops

June 25, 2012

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO – A Santa Fe police officer has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested Sunday evening on charges of battery on a household member and interfering with communications.

Jon Lopez, 30, who lives in Santa Fe, made arrangements with Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies to meet at the Santa Fe police headquarters at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday where he was arrested and later booked into jail.

The arrest comes just two days after the initiation of a “zero tolerance” policy at the Santa Fe Police Department that recommends termination on any first offense related to conviction for such a crime. The policy was enacted after members of the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families and Solace Crisis Treatment Center contacted the police chief asking for clear accountability in the police department with regard to cases involving domestic violence, sexual offenses and other specified types of misconduct.

Deputies responded to a domestic dispute call at about 6:12 p.m. Sunday in which Lopez’s wife reported that a verbal altercation had turned physical. Sheriff Robert Garcia said deputies saw that “she had marks on her arms consistent with bruising and a scratch.”

Garcia said Lopez took his wife’s cell phone before leaving the house. Lopez, according to a news release by Santa Fe police, had been an officer for three years and was assigned to the patrol division.

Lopez eventually called his house off Muscat Drive near N.M. 14 while deputies were interviewing his wife. Lopez agreed to meet with the deputies to meet at Santa Fe police headquarters. Garcia said Lopez was off duty during the incident.

Police Chief Ray Rael was notified of the arrest late Sunday night and said he did not have all of the details of the arrest Monday morning.

Rael said in an interview last week that the new policy should bolster the public’s trust in his department because prior to the zero tolerance policy, “punishment varied from written reprimands to suspensions.”

Rael said there will be two aspects to investigations into Lopez’s alleged actions — a criminal investigation and an internal department investigation.

“We will initiate out internal affairs investigation immediately and if the evidence shows that there is probable cause that he did commit this crime, the appropriate action will be taken,” Rael said.

He said the internal investigation will not rely on the criminal investigation and that action within the department can be taken before the criminal case is heard.

According to the Santa Fe County jail website, Lopez was booked at about 9:06 p.m. and was being held without bond.

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Edinburgh Indiana Police Officer Christopher McAllister Suspended After Arrest For Drunken Attack On Officers At Indanapolis Motor Speedway The Day Before Indy 500 Race

June 23, 2012

EDINBURGH, INDIANA – An Edinburgh police officer accused of attacking officers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month has been put on unpaid leave as a criminal investigation continues.

24-Hour News 8 news partner the Daily Journal reports the Edinburgh Town Council, which serves as town’s police merit commission, voted to place Officer Christopher McAllister, 44, on unpaid leave until the case is resolved in Marion County.

Because the town does not have a policy regarding what to do when an officer is charged with a crime, the newspaper said, Police Chief Pat Pankey allowed him to continue working and deferred the decision on what should be done to the Town Council.

Police said McAllister and his wife were creating a disturbance May 26 at IMS the day before the Indianapolis 500. When officers confronted them, McAllister attacked officers. He faces charges of battery, resisting law enforcement and public intoxication.

His wife, Shawntel, also resisted officers and even tried to jump on one of them. She was charged with resisting law enforcement and public intoxication.

Dustin Huddleston, the town’s attorney, told the newspaper the council would reconsider McAllister’s status once the criminal case was resolved.

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Manchester Connecticut Police Officer Todd Belknap Back On Duty After Suspension For Attack On His Wife

June 5, 2000

MANCHESTER, CONNECTICUT – An embattled Manchester police officer got his badge and gun back last week, but a departmental probe into allegations that he grabbed his estranged wife by the neck in November and threatened her could begin as early as today.

Officer Todd Belknap was restored to full duty after prosecutors at Rockville Superior Court dropped a breach of peace charge against him, saying that he had sought counseling and his wife did not wish to pursue the charge further.

Belknap, a former patrol officer who joined the force in 1990, was suspended for a short time after his arrest by state police in November and was later placed on restricted duty. On Wednesday, once the charge against him was dismissed and a criminal protective order lifted, Belknap was assigned to the department’s accreditation bureau.

But the resolution of the criminal charge also cleared the way for internal affairs to begin its own investigation, Capt. Roy Abbie said. “The internal investigation could not be done until the criminal investigation ran its course,” he said.

Belknap, 37, declined comment Friday except to say he will cooperate fully with the internal investigation of Karin Belknap’s allegations. Karin Belknap told a state trooper in November that her husband reached out of the driver’s side window of his car, grabbed her by the throat and shirt, and said “Armageddon is coming.”

Todd Belknap denied that he grabbed his wife or threatened her, according to the arrest warrant. He told the investigators he was sitting in his car outside his wife’s apartment, discussing some legal issues regarding paperwork for one of their cars. He also told police his wife had previously made false accusations against him.

Last spring, during an internal affairs investigation, Manchester police could not substantiate Karin Belknap’s earlier allegations that Belknap had been violent toward her.

But Manchester police charged Todd Belknap with assault in 1992 after two incidents involving another woman, his girlfriend at the time, in Manchester. The criminal charges were dismissed after Belknap was granted entry into a probation program that required him to attend family violence classes.

She sued the police department, contending that police ignored her call for help after the first alleged attack. The case was settled for $55,000.

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