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Monday, May 11, 2009

When Good Cops Go Bad

When good cops go bad
The Fayetteville Observer by Michael Futch - May 10, 2009

Bad cops. Shady, law-breaking sheriffs.

FAYETTEVILLE, NC - Despite the tenet that law officers need to hold themselves to higher standards, corruption stands as one of the oldest problems in law enforcement. “They are the final line, something that separates society from the bad guys. They are the protectors,” said Dr. Hamid Kusha, an assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at East Carolina University. “The mandate of police is to serve and protect. Therefore, we look at police as good guys. We want them to have high ethical standards.” Obviously, that’s not always the case. In Spring Lake, an assortment of alleged misdeeds has turned the Police Department into an ineffectual force.

Tuesday, Spring Lake Police Chief A.C. Brown resigned one day after the arrests of Sgt. Alfonzo Devone Whittington Jr. and Sgt. Darryl Eugene Coulter Sr., who were indicted last week by a special Cumberland County grand jury. The charges against Whittington and Coulter include embezzlement by public officer, obtaining property by false pretense, breaking and entering, second-degree kidnapping and obstruction of justice. Along with those indictments, the Police Department was stripped of its remaining police powers. But law enforcement misconduct spreads much further than Spring Lake. In the last three years, four sheriffs in this state have been convicted of breaking the very laws that they swore to uphold. In the past six years, five North Carolina sheriffs have faced serious charges.

“Four is too many, and one is too many. It’s very regrettable,” said Eddie Caldwell, executive vice president of the N.C. Sheriffs’ Association. But Caldwell questions whether more cases exist today than in the past. The immediacy of the news — with breaking stories running around the clock on television and on the Internet — produces a glut of information. Caldwell said some newspapers seem to thrive on the misdeeds of religious leaders, teachers and government officials. “Those stories get front-page coverage,” he said. “There’s much more transparency. Things that happened decades ago that did not get prosecuted or reported get fully prosecuted or reported today. If a government official gets a parking ticket, that’s reported. That changes public opinion.” The N.C. Attorney General’s Office and the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation have investigated more than 500 public corruption cases in the past eight years, according to Noelle Talley, spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice. Those cases include investigations of law enforcement officials, such as the sheriffs of Robeson, Davidson and Brunswick counties, and the Greensboro Police Department. In July 2008, Knightdale Police Chief Richard Nelson Pope stepped down after being charged with one count of assault on a female following a domestic dispute with his estranged wife.

Early this year, Warren County sheriff’s Deputy Cornelius Davis was charged with two counts of sexual battery after being accused of inappropriately touching women at two Raleigh stores. A few days later, on Jan. 7, Wilmington police officer Wotzvely Albert Perez was charged with assault and sexual battery while on duty. Kusha, the East Carolina University professor, has taught on police operations and the relationship between police and community since 1997. Police corruption, as he points out, is not a new issue. The problem dates back to colonial times. “The reason why we’re seeing a lot of bad cops,” he said, “we are concentrated on this issue. Policing in the United States is very much under checks and balances. In the past eight years or decade, we’ve had congressmen and people at top positions that corrupted them. Their action is being scrutinized. Maybe nobody gives a damn about ethics and laws anymore.” Talley, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said it would be inappropriate for her office to answer questions regarding police misconduct because the SBI continues to handle the Spring Lake investigation. The SBI typically investigates cases involving law enforcement officers, which can range from involvement in a shooting to public corruption.

The following former sheriffs have gone from serving the public to serving time:

Former Sheriff Glenn Maynor was the highest-ranking lawman swept up in Operation Tarnished Badge, a six-year investigation into corruption in the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office. Twenty-three people, mostly deputies, pleaded guilty to crimes that included kidnapping, money laundering, racketeering, theft of federal money and satellite piracy. In May 2008, former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford — who had been the target of a two-year public corruption investigation — was found guilty of accepting money to protect an illegal video poker ring. Former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett was indicted on charges of embezzlement by a public official and obstruction of justice. In June 2008, his guilty plea to obstructing justice made him the second of the previous three Brunswick County sheriffs to trade in his badge for a felony conviction.

Former Polk County Sheriff Chris Abril, who was elected despite being charged mid-race with raping two girls more than 20 years earlier, later pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Abril avoided jail time in November 2008 after accepting a plea bargain. Another former sheriff, Gerald Hege of Davidson County, was charged in September 2003 with 15 felonies and suspended from office. The charges included five counts of embezzlement by a public officer, five counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and two counts of obstruction of justice. Hege accepted a plea agreement and received suspended sentences, three years of probation and three months of house arrest. Kusha believes some police officers are just not up to the job. “If you look at the policing profession, there’s a lot of stress. It’s a very stressful job,” he said. “Maybe the pay’s not enough. ‘I’m putting my life on the line, and what is it I’m getting?’ Maybe we’re not respecting the police as we should. It’s very difficult to pinpoint. Maybe we’re getting better at detecting police corruption.” Staff writer Michael Futch can be reached at futchm@fayobserver.com or 486-3529.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

i was 15yrs. old we were pulled over search by to cars of caswell co. sheriff put hand cuffs on sent to be strip search with out my parents consent the sheriff dept. called social service had them come school and house harassing and threating me and tring to use scare tatic like making me take a pregnancy test which made me lose intrest in school which embarrass me. My mother filled out at least 4 to 5 complaint sheets against the sheriff dept. which no one never answer until all the sheriff that was involed left the department. we called the District attorney and he told me their is nothing you can do about it and go on with your life and forget this and the sheriff dept. told me they can do what ever they want to me my mother and i asked to see my record because they arrasted me and they said they didnt have one they ruin my life and no there is no proof what kind of justice is this can you help me? why cant they explain why they did this to me instead of acting like the sheriff DA and social service are above the law and acting like every thing is all right they took advantage of me and my parents which are afraid of them. john pointer and mike adkin

Thank you

Clay Kilbourn

Anonymous said...

do i have any constition rights or has it been abuse by these law officials get back in contact

Caswell co. sheriff dept. opening my mail and checking it at the post office. Hacking into my computer because when ever i tried to send an email the sheriff dept. phone number pops up. search me with out probable cause more than a few times. strip search me without probable cause kick my door in with an illeagal search warrent pulled over at pelham post office, chandler mill rd,and on law rd on 29 search car and took it with out probable cause and gov. Mike Easley told me to come and get it after i started to complain about it they said they found somthing in one of my cars they didnt write or say which one and i had about 4 i was set up put my name in the papers and put me on tv none of these people want to talk to me about their action i feel mistreated and abuse by officer mike new, micheal welch, john pointer, mike adkins , gerald brown, judge and D.A. and their conspiracy to set me with alot of corruption by illeagaly using the justice system which makes them feel as if they sre above the law. They pulled me over saying no driver lic. sent me to the D.A. pulled me over saying i had no insurance show the papers he said take it to the D.A.. They pull their guns on me about 5 car at the post office mike new threating me but let me go. pulled me over on on truck about 15 to 20 cars of them with out probable cause let me go they treated me as if i was a terroist or worst. They made false statments on me harass me threating,manipulated and took advantage of me they were corrupted and misleading.

Thank you Matthew Coles

Anonymous said...

Why no one wants to help?

The sheriff dept., D.A., Judge are in a conspiracy against me because they won't talk to me or answer the letter i wrote them trying to talk they are bias because they don't want any conflict with each other. This judicial system is corrupted and do any thing they want to do because they are above the law. Thanks to you goverment people what good are any of you protecting each other you all are in a conspiracy together.

Thank you

Matthew Coles

Anonymous said...

Do we have human rights for people in the united states?

you goverment peoples never want to answer me why?

After years of complaining to the sheriff dept. sbi, fbi,D.A, attorney general and lawyers about caswell co. sheriff dept. N.C i was manipulated by these people harasing and theating abuse and acting as if they were above the law putting alot of charges and things on my record which hurt me for life trying to use scare tatics and i couldn't do nothing about it. The sheriff dept.,lawyers,D.A,sbi,fbi,cia and judge were bias toward me helping the law officers taken advantage of me manipulating,corruption,conspiracy which would have started a big conflict with the sheriff dept. now most of these officer are gone the sheriff dept. act like nothing ever happen as if i beenlock up in prison the fbi said they were trying to get something else on me 15-20 cars pulled me over search without a warrant kick door in pull over said no insurance which i did he pulled me over again saying i had no driver lic. which i did but all things i did he made me go and talk to the D.A. which he always let me go affter he harass me to. Follow me across state line pulling up beside me pointing at me with his family in car and following me just about home trying to provoke me in to doing something stupid. come to the game room pull over infront of me shine lights on high in my face. pulled me over at post office abot 6 cars of them with guns in hand saying that i had the wronge tags on van. They took my car after sending us to be strip search because they didn't find nothing after they search the car governoer Mike Easly wrote me a letter saying come and get your car after i was complaing about this but i was afraid of being set up again. They pass me and my 4yr.old on the road turn around anytime any where and come backto harass me or threating me. They act like they found something and sent it to the lab and i never seen or heard anythin about lab results yet they made me go to court about 3 or 4 mo.in a row waitting on lab results. Who do i suppose to ask for help when all these people being bias? when they see a car or two leave they come and search me please tell me something is this justice?

Anonymous said...

It's just like being in prison you will be in there 10-20-40 yrs. before any one will help you. What would you do if this was one of your kids ,friend or family member here in caswell co. NC they do black anyway they want to and get away with it because we are to afraid to fight back or dont have enough money to get a real attorney to get good justice.

Thank you

Matthew coles

How do i get justice from these peolpe when they are the ones doing what they are doing the department of justice told me to go to the sheriff and district attroney for help every time the sheriff pull me over or did something he sent me to the district attroney the sheriff the DA , judges, and state lawyer work together all i need is a chance to be heard or try to prove this unjust acts in caswell co. judicial system. i sent letters and emails to the naacp, aclu, doj, state congress the president and the gov. of north carolina ,staet senate , state trooper for help

Thank you matthew

If i say all these things about caswell co. sheriff dept. and the DA and judge and post office why don't they try to lock me up or some one come out and talk to me about it? Search me without probable cause pulling guns out at post office stop sign open my mail at post office hacking in to my computer taken my car gov. mike easley writting me to come and get it kick my door in put me in the news paper saying they found something in my car. which one? three in yard. my lawyer light c. orville pulled a no show and the DA took advantage of me the DA threating me to take one charge or both charge and trial me with out my lawyer because he had the power to do so i was set up. pulled over 15 to 20 cars illegal search me didn't find nothing and gave me a child seat belt ticket. follow me a cross danville va. line pulling up behind me and up beside me. i was in casvill at cross rd game room he was at the store he pulled up in front of me cut lights on bright and set there for a min or more. The officer said i was speeding he didnt have a radar in his car search the car with dog didnt find nothing didnt show us nothing sent us to be strip search didnt find nothing set up they took my car. when i have a cook out or some of my people come by they give them time to leave and stop right in front of my house with lights flashing and come in and search my house and say they can do what ever they want to do. chandler mill rd pull me and my 2yr. old gave me ticket for no insurance sent me to the DA i had insurance pulled over saying i had no driver lic. sent me to the DA i had them he wasted alot of my time and money sending me to the court house to wait along time on the DA to tell me i can go home The DA sheriff and judge was abusing their power together to manipulate me this was a conspiracy to frame me using scare tatic.
thank you
Matthew Coles

Anonymous said...

my constitution rights civil rights human rights have been violated by these peoples of the united states declaration of independence charter of freedom the bill of rights the first ten amendments to the constitution
Thank you Matthew Coles
these are the officers that did this to me - mike new, gearld brown, jhon pointer, micheal welch
how can i get help for bad ruling and unjust sheriff,DA,Judge in caswell co. NC.

Anonymous said...

Matthew coles
Mr. Kilbourn: We have responded to you several times. If you read the message you sent below, it tells you that we cannot do what you are asking because the Attorney General’s Office is prohibited by law from representing a private citizen and we cannot by law give you legal advice. If you want to read the statutes covering this restriction on the Attorney General’s Office, you can read the statute at www.ncleg.leg.

Thank you.

Doreen McVeigh

Legal Assistant

North Carolina Department of Justice

Law Enforcement Liaison Section

P. O. Box 629

Raleigh, NC 27602-0629

Ph: (919) 716-6591

Fax: (919) 716-6760

dmcveigh@ncdoj.gov

Anonymous said...

Subject: Re: Response to your email communication on the Department of Justice website
It seems you only help the white peoples in the news and peoples that been in prison for along time why do all of you peoples turn your back on poor people or take your time helping but you want us to vote for you are you being bias or do you have a conspiracy after you have already been elected i need some help please.
Thank you Matthew coles From: "McVeigh, Doreen"
To: claykilbourn@bellsouth.net
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 3:02:48 PM
Subject: Response to your email communication on the Department of Justice website
Attention: Matthew Coles
Thank you for your recent email to the Attorney General's Office concerning the law enforcement officials in Caswell County. We hope the following information will clarify our authority to address your concerns. Many citizens believe that the Department of Justice has authority to supervise the activities and operations of local law enforcement agencies and to investigate such agencies when complaints are filed against the agency or its officers. However, to the contrary, the North Carolina General Assembly has never given our office any such authority. Therefore, we are not authorized to investigate your complaint. Often complaints relate to the operation or professionalism of the agency or its officers. There is no state agency which can investigate such complaints. Complaints against a member of a Sheriff's Department should be directed to the officer's immediate supervisor, and if unresolved, then to the Sheriff. Decisions of the Sheriff are final and cannot be reviewed further. The Sheriff is an elected Constitutional officer and answers to the public at the polls by election. Occasionally, citizen complaints allege that an officer violated the criminal laws. Again, there is no state agency which can initiate an investigation of a citizen's complaint on such matters. Investigations of criminal violations should be directed to the local District Attorney. The North Carolina General Assembly did not give the Attorney General authority to supervise local district attorneys, who are independent, constitutional officers, or state-elected judicial officials. The prosecutors in North Carolina are independently elected and have broad constitutional authority to handle criminal cases as they determine appropriate, except where the legislature has assigned statutory duties to the office. In light of these statutory and constitutional provisions, this office is unable to take any action in your matter.
Often citizens request that a criminal investigation be done by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). By law, the SBI can only begin such an investigation when requested to do so by a District Attorney, Chief of Police, Sheriff or local Judge. Therefore, complaints of criminal violations should be addressed to these local officials. If you are not sure who these officials are in your area, your local Clerk of Court's Office should be able to assist you. Although i can appreciate the frustration evident from your email, I hope the above information helps you in following the proper procedure to have your complaint investigated and resolved. This is an informational email and has not been reviewed and approved in accordance with procedures for issuing an Attorney General’s opinion.
John J. Aldridge, III
Special Deputy Attorney General
by Doreen McVeigh Legal Assistant
North Carolina Department of Justice
Law Enforcement Liaison Section
P. O. Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602-0629
Ph: (919) 716-6591
Fax: (919) 716-6760

Bruce said...

San Bernardino County, County You Understand, is the world's capital of Methamphetamine manufacturing, how could this be without the complicit invovement of the San bernardino County Sherriff's office. I'll tell you, It Can't. It is as obvious as Cheny's involvement in the Iraq war and Halliburton's profit therein.

Anonymous said...

I live on a dead end road and every since i been written and complaing about the sheriff dept. for the last 3 mo. they been riding by my house slowly as if they were going to stop when i walk up to the road towards them they speed up if the car is gone they almost stop looking in my drive way if they see me they speed up and go down the road and sit so they can watch my drive way i feel harass intimadated and scaredthey are trying to set me up or put something on my property they are sneaky i feel they should come to me if they have any questions iam afraid to leave my house because of this. Why are they being paid to constanly harass and threaten me it happen before with them and me set me up . I need help officer Gerald Brown and two more i don't know riding there brakes looking all up in my yard i got two kid that was playing in the drive way and a sheriff come flying up and down the road by my house on the wrong side of the road looking in my yard they come by at least once or twice a day watching my house i feel somethings wrong i don't feel right at all.Would you????
I e-mailed Micheal welch on 6-14-11 and every thing stop why??
Thank you
Matthew coles

Anonymous said...

The true story of NYPD cops turned outlaw drug dealers.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473296