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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wrongly Imprisoned Man Gets $340,000.00

Autistic Brooklyn man, wrongly imprisoned after coerced slay confession, gets $340G settlement
The New York Daily News by Kerry Burke and John Marzulli - November 25, 2009

The city will pay $340,000 to an autistic Brooklyn man railroaded by NYPD detectives into falsely confessing to murdering his sister. Ozem Goldwire spent more than a year in prison for the January 2006 slaying of his sister, Sherika, before he was exonerated by prosecutors in the Brooklyn district attorney's office. "This was a terrible, terrible injustice," said lawyer Gerald Allen, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of Goldwire in Brooklyn Federal Court. Goldwire was subjected to 21 hours of interrogation at the 73rd Precinct by detectives who screamed, cursed and shoved him. They also accused him of having sex with his sister, according to the suit. Warned that he wouldn't be released if he did not confess, Goldwire wrote a statement claiming he strangled his sister because she refused to lower the volume on the TV. A psychologist who examined the 31-year-old maintenance man at the request of prosecutors concluded that he was highly vulnerable to suggestion and eager to please the detectives. Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach threw out the charges against Goldwire, describing the circumstances as "the perfect storm for false confession." Mom Essie Goldwire said Tuesday she gave cops information about a local junkie she suspects in her daughter's slaying, which is still unsolved. "They thought I was just gathering evidence to clear my son. That was four years ago and I never heard from them again," she said. The settlement admits no wrongdoing on the part of Detectives Nancy Malota, Christopher Scandole and Matthew Collins. "As Mr. Goldwire had confessed to the murder, we believe that the NYPD and DA's office acted appropriately. This is an unfortunate situation, and we believe the settlement is in the best interest of all parties," said a spokeswoman for the city law department. Malota was also a defendant in a 2004 false-arrest suit filed by James Brown of Brooklyn, who spent nine months in jail for attempted murder before the charges were dismissed. Brown received a $40,000 settlement from the city.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Retired NYPD Detective Guilty of Drugging and Raping Woman

Retired NYPD detective convicted of drugging, raping woman at Greenburgh motel
The Journal News by Rebecca Baker - November 24, 2009

WHITE PLAINS, NY — A jury convicted a retired New York City police detective of drugging and raping a woman in a Greenburgh motel last year, but acquitted him of kidnapping her from a bar in the Bronx. Jose Arroyo, 47, was found guilty today of two felony counts of rape, for sexually assaulting a physically helpless person who was incapable of consent, and for facilitating a sex crime using drugs. He was also convicted of felony assault for impairing the woman with drugs. Arroyo’s mother began sobbing when she saw her son handcuffed after the verdict. He turned to his mother and other family members and said, “Don’t worry. Love you.” He will be held at the Westchester County jail until his sentencing on Jan. 20. He faces up to 25 years in state prison on the top rape count. Arroyo was convicted of slipping drugs in the drink of a 31-year-old Texas woman at Doyle’s Pub in the Bronx on Nov.—, 2008, rendering her unconscious. He then took her to the Alexander Motel on Tarrytown Road in Greenburgh, where he had sex with her and took 16 photographs of her nude body in various poses. Arroyo then left for his job as a bouncer at a White Plains bar, where he showed her driver’s license to male co-workers as a “before” picture and the nude photohaphs as “after” pictures. The woman, who was in the area visiting her ex-girlfriend, told the jury she woke up the next morning and didn’t know where she was. She grabbed Arroyo’s keys and some of his clothes and ran out of the room. A motel manager called police when he saw her trying to open several different cars. Arroyo, a former Marine who worked as a bouncer in White Plains and used to train and recruit security guards, insisted that he never drugged the woman and that they had consensual sex. During deliberations, the jury asked more than once to watch a security video from Doyle’s Pub, which prosecutors said captured Arroyo spiking the woman’s drink while she was in the ladies’ room, stirring it up and handing her the glass when she returned.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ex-ICE Officer Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud

Ex-ICE Officer Pleads Guilty to Immigration Fraud
The Sun-Times Media - November 23, 2009

Chicago, IL - A former federal deportation officer pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction of justice and producing a fraudulent immigration document for an immigrant facing deportation. Thomas P. Randell, 37, of Chicago, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer from 2000-09, admitted that he destroyed the immigration files of two aliens to interfere with administration of immigration laws, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. In a separate scheme, he admitted to fraudulently providing an immigration stamp conveying temporary legal resident status to an alien eligible for deportation. Randell, indicted in early 2008, remains free on bond while awaiting sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Wayne Anderson scheduled for March 25. He faces up to 20 years in prison for obstruction and 15 years for producing a false ID document, plus a $250,000 fine on each count, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's office. According to a plea agreement, the government anticipates Randell's advisory sentencing range is 27 to 33 months in prison. As a deportation officer, he was responsible for supervising aliens who had been ordered deported, but were not in ICE custody, the release said. Randell met one alien in 1998 while serving as an Immigration and Naturalization Service detention officer. That alien was subsequently released and a friendship between the two developed, the release said. In 2002, when the alien received a letter from INS stating his deportation was imminent, he asked Randell to help block it and the deportation of an acquaintance who had received the same letter. Both were Iraqi citizens of Assyrian descent. In response to the request, Randell offered to make the complete master immigration files of both aliens "disappear" in a way that could not be traced, the release said. The alien accepted and in early 2003 Randell obtained the files and aided in shredding them, the release said. Randell also admitted that in June 2005 he fraudulently placed an Alien Documentation Identification and Telecommunication stamp in the Hungarian passport of a third alien, a legal permanent resident whose “green card” had expired, the release said. The stamp provides the same evidence of legal immigration status as a green card. An investigation determined the alien was eligible deportation due to state felony convictions. Randell admitted he obtained an ADIT stamp from an unspecified Homeland Security employee, the release said. He also admitted to a previous instance of providing a stamp to that alien in 2003.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cop Indicted in Bank Heist

County officer indicted in bank break-in
Officer allegedly used police cruiser in June's attempted burglary
The Gazette by Joshua Garner - November 16, 2009

A former Prince George's County police officer and a Capitol Heights man have been indicted on two counts of larceny for allegedly attempting to break into a SunTrust Bank in Temple Hills in June, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland said Monday. Cpl. Eddie Lee Smith Jr., 41, of the 9700 block of Rider Court in Fort Washington and Earl Blake, 53, of the 1900 block of Brooks Drive were indicted Monday for conspiracy to commit bank larceny and attempted bank larceny stemming from a June 10 incident in which the men allegedly attempted to break into the bank, on Old Branch Avenue. If convicted, both men face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for attempted bank larceny and five years in prison for the conspiracy. According to the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Smith, a 16-year veteran of the county police department, allegedly drove Blake to the bank in his marked police cruiser. The men allegedly then cut the phone lines to the bank and used a power saw to break into the bank. Blake allegedly took the saw and entered the bank, setting off the fire alarm, while Smith remained in the police cruiser. When Prince George's County firefighters arrived, Smith allegedly advised them to leave because he had already checked the bank and it was secure, according to the indictment. Blake then ran from the bank and was briefly chased by Smith, who returned to his car and left the area. Blake was later arrested by other Prince George's County Police Department officers.

In June, police spokesman Maj. Andy Ellis told The Gazette that Smith was located hours later and was arrested by officers from his own police district. Smith, who has resigned from the department, was one of several county officers named in July as being under investigation by the FBI for allegedly providing security and assistance to area drug dealers in a widespread corruption ring, Ellis said. In 2007, the county police department began a probe into the officers for allegedly provided security for area drug dealers who met to gamble, Ellis said. After more information was uncovered, police decided earlier this year to turn over the investigation to the FBI, he said. Richard J. Wolf, an FBI spokesman, declined to comment Monday on the status of the investigation. County Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton said in a statement the department is thankful the FBI and the U.S. attorney have investigated the bank break-in case and brought it before the grand jury. "We support due process and want the community to understand that the lack of integrity of one officer does not reflect the character of the rest of the officers working for the Prince George's County Police Department," Hylton stated. "We are held accountable like all citizens and we hold ourselves to a higher standard." Smith's attorney, William Brennan, whose office is in Greenbelt, declined to comment Monday. Blake's attorney, John Chamble, whose office is in Greenbelt, did not immediately return calls for comment Monday. No court date has been scheduled for the men. E-mail Joshua Garner at

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cop Bank Robber Sentenced

Cop bank robber sentenced to 78 months in prison
The New York Post by REBECCA ROSENBERG - November 13, 2009

Former NYPD cop Christian Torres was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 78 months in prison for armed bank robbery. Manhattan federal court Judge Laura Taylor Swain ordered 12 of the 78 months to run consecutively to the 121-month sentence previously imposed on Torres for a separate armed bank robbery and a firearms offense in Pennsylvania. The feds claim that between June 2007 and April 2008, Torres and his ex-girlfriend, Christina Dasrath, a teller at the Sovereign Bank branch at 57 Avenue A, conspired to defraud the bank by staging a phony bank robbery. On June 8, 2007, Torres entered the bank and handed Dasrath at her teller station a note directing her to "empty both drawers" and threatening to "start shooting." Dasrath then gave Torres $16,305 from her teller drawer, a portion of which he later shared with her. Torres' lawyer, Paul Missan, said his client was "gratified by the judge's sentence and he wants to use it as an oppurtunity to do as much good as he can in prison to make up for the shameful act." Dasrath previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud, bank larceny and making false statements charges on Sept. 5, 2008 and was sentenced to 30 months behind bars. Additional reporting by John Doyle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

U.S. Head In Sand While Russia Admits Police Corruption

Russia admits police corruption
BBC News by Richard Galpin - November 10, 2009

Moscow - The Russian government has admitted that parts of the police have been turned into what the interior minister has described as criminal businesses. It is the most frank admission so far of corruption and other crimes being committed by members of the police. It came after a senior policeman in southern Russia posted a video on the internet in which he appealed to the prime minister to tackle the problem. It is the latest in a series of highly embarrassing revelations about police. Earlier this year a senior police officer went on a shooting spree in a Moscow supermarket, killing three people. The incident was recorded on security cameras and the video was widely broadcast on Russian TV and on the internet. Now a serving police officer, Major Alexei Dymovsky, has spoken out in a video, also posted on the internet which has registered more than 700,000 hits in just a few days. The officer from southern Russia accuses his superiors of forcing policemen to arrest innocent people to ensure monthly quotas are met. And he says they are paid so little they have no choice but to accept bribes.

Interior ministry pledge

It is very unusual for a policeman to speak out so openly. And he has clearly had a major impact - holding a packed news conference in Moscow on Tuesday. He said he wanted to meet the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to ensure there was a proper investigation to restore the honour and dignity of the police force. The interior minister has announced that any policeman accused of committing serious crimes will face prosecution.


Whistleblower Tackles Russian Police Corruption
CBS by Alexsei Kuznetzov - November 10, 2009
This story was filed by CBS News producer Alexsei Kuznetsov in Moscow.

Tired of working amid corruption, a 32 year old Russian police officer made an unthinkable video appeal directly to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He says he now fears for his life, but thinks this whistle had to be blown. "Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am appealing directly to you," says Major Alexei Dymovsky in his video (at left), referring to Putin's by his traditional name. "You have been talking about corruption – you have been saying that not only should corruption constitute a crime, you said it should also be unseemly to engage in corrupt practices. But this is not the case in this country." The words were more likely to come from a human rights activist or an opposition politician. But this rare outpouring of emotion came from within the Russian power structure, from Dymovsky, a cop in the city of Novorossiysk. "I want you to know how we live – ordinary officers, ordinary policemen – those who solve and untangle (crimes) and detain (criminals), those who do the real work," Dymovsky said in his recorded speech, during which he looked visibly nervous and stumbled at times. He's clearly had enough. In his appeal, full of pain and desperation, he criticizes his superiors for neglecting the needs of police officers, for low wages and for trumping up criminal cases, something he even confesses to doing himself. "I was promoted to the rank of Major last May for having given a promise [to my superior] to put an innocent person in prison. I am not afraid to say this, even though I know that I can be punished for that. But it is a fact."

Reached by CBS News on the phone in Novorossiysk, Dymovsky explained what prompted him to take such an unusual step. "Now I have got nothing to lose. I decided to burn my bridges and posted the video on the Web because I am a Russian man… I could no longer live and work like that – I could no longer stand being treated like cattle. So even if I am to go, I want my younger colleagues to have a normal life — to work hard, to be paid well and to be treated with respect." The real situation inside the Russian police today, Dymovsky said, could not be farther from that. Policemen in his city are paid about $400 per month, have to work, "30 days out of 31 without any paid overtime," and are often denied basic medical attention for not solving enough crimes. But worst of all, "when young guys come to work on the force and say that the wage of 12,000 rubles (about $400) does not frighten them, they know they will be making some extra money on the side. How can it be that a police officer is making money on the side?" Andrei Narvatkin, a former police operative in Novorossiysk seems to have the answer. "What we have in Russia today should not be called the police. It is a complete mess with police bosses taking tremendous bribes collected for them by their underlings. While the bosses are basking in the sun on the Canary Islands, rank and file policemen work round the clock to collect bribes from citizens and businesses to be passed on to the top," Narvatkin told CBS News. Having quit the force after seven years of service, Narvatkin knows what he's talking about. "Those officers who try to stay honest and do not take bribes, are eventually gotten rid of. Others just keep their mouths shut and keep collecting – they have families to support. No wonder the entire police system is corrupt to the core." "Dymovsky said what nearly every police officer feels in Russia," Mikhail Pashkin, chairman of the Moscow police union's coordinating committee, told Ekho Moskvy radio station. "We have the same happening in Moscow."

To most Russians, what Dymovsky said hardly comes as news. Opinion polls show the public views the police as one of the nation's most corrupt agencies. Nevertheless, his video appeal was a sensation on Russian Web sites, attracting over 450,000 viewers in a matter of several days. So, what was so special about Dymovsky's appeal? "He was the first one from within the system who openly told this indifferent country the exact same thing that is being discussed in private over kitchen tables. One man against the system – that deserves respect," wrote a blogger going by the name "anna_amelkina". The ultimate questions facing Russian society was iterated by another Russian blogger, who asked, "Will honest police officers give their support to major Dymovsky? Will Russia rise in his defense? Will this small stone ever become a landslide that will transform our society?" So far, there are no signs of a looming landslide. Vladimir Putin and his press service have remained silent. In a trademark Russian manner, Dymovsky was quickly fired from the police for "spreading slander about his colleagues and actions besmirching the dignity and honor of a Russian policeman." Short of counterarguments and apparently unwilling to properly investigate the incident, the police authorities even resorted to a tried-and-true method in from Soviet-era (and Putin's) Russia — blaming all problems on an outside enemy. "The way, the form and the timing of the publication of the video appeal bear witness to the fact that Alexei Dymovsky is getting support from some third parties," a source in the Department of Internal Security of the Russian Interior Ministry told Interfax news agency, hinting that the United States Agency for International Development could well be that "third party." The Russian blogosphere brushed off this idea with a smile: "Dymovsky – an American provocateur!!! I can literally see the CIA plotting a crafty conspiracy of how to recruit Major Dymovsky! Apparently, the Interior Ministry is low on fresh ideas – it is the Americans again! Poor imagination and no creative work!" wrote a blogger nicknamed "alga72". Alexei Dymovsky is in no joking mood. Fearing retributions, the Major has all but gone into hiding – he changes his cell-phones frequently, does not spend nights at home, has hired a bodyguard and is planning to send his wife, who is six months pregnant, to Moscow.

But he remains true to his quixotic crusade. "If I do not get killed, I am planning to travel to Moscow and meet with Vladimir Putin personally," he told CBS News. "I am ready to tell Putin everything and I am not afraid to die or that my family may be persecuted. I am ready to carry out an independent investigation and I will show him the seamy side of a Russian cop's life - with all the corruption, all the ignorance, all the rudeness, when honest police officers die because their commanders are blockheads." Logic dictates that Mr. Putin should be interested in meeting the Major - a broader issue that Alexei Dymovsky's personal drama raises is how heavily the Kremlin can rely on a police force staffed by disgruntled and desperate officers like him. As the economic crisis deepens in this country and more lay-offs are looming this winter, Moscow could one day find local police siding with outraged citizens, instead of following orders and dispersing unsanctioned rallies. "The system has already started to come apart at the seams. If our needs are simply ignored, there will be a cop revolt in Russia. I have lost my job, but other officers will heed my words – those who do not want to keep living on their knees," Dymovsky told CBS News. "In any case, after what I have done, the police will never be the same again. This is my truth, and I am fighting for it."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Former Police Officer Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Robbery

Former Police Officer Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Robbery
FBI PRESS RELEASE - November 10, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Malik Snell, 37, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for an attempted home-invasion robbery in Pottstown, and the robbery of a large-scale drug dealer, Ricardo McKendrick, in Philadelphia, announced United States Attorney Michael L. Levy. Both robberies were carried out in December 2007. Snell, a former Philadelphia police officer, was convicted June 9, 2009, of Hobbs Act robbery, attempted Hobbs Act robbery, conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick ordered Snell to pay restitution in the amount of $7,261.04, a $400 special assessment, and serve five years of supervised release. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Pottstown Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Leo R. Tsao, Eric B. Henson, and Kathy Stark.

Former cop gets 30 years for home invasion
The Pottstown Mercury by Carl Hessler, Jr. - November 11, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, PA — A former Philadelphia police officer will be behind bars for several decades in connection with a Dec. 16, 2007, home invasion robbery in Pottstown that ended with a car chase into Berks. Malik R. Snell, 37, of Philadelphia, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 30 years in a federal prison, to be followed by five years' probation, on charges of conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce and a weapons offense in connection with the home invasion and a separate drug-related robbery of a drug kingpin in Philadelphia, which involved $40,000. U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick also ordered Snell to pay $7,261 in restitution. Snell, who had been a police officer since 1996, was convicted of the charges in June during a third trial. Two previous trials in October 2008 and April 2009 ended in mistrials when jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked and couldn't decide the case. While federal prosecutor Leo Tsao sought a lengthy prison sentence against Snell, defense lawyer John I. McMahon Jr. asked the judge to temper any punishment doled out to Snell. "He had exemplary military service in the Marine Corps serving in Somalia. He had been a good police officer," McMahon, of Norristown, said on Snell's behalf. "He grew up in the projects of South Philadelphia in a very crime-ridden neighborhood." McMahon said despite Snell's poor upbringing, he was honorably discharged from the military and became a police officer. "There is another side to him, other than that which committed these crimes," said McMahon. "I think he's in shock. I think he's devastated, mainly for his family. It's very unfortunate for his family." Snell pleaded for leniency from the judge, saying he wanted to be free one day to be a good role model for his children, including twin sons who were born while he was incarcerated. "I believe Mr. Snell had developed a serious gambling problem which led to this activity," McMahon added.

At the trial in April, the jury did acquit Snell of two other charges — witness retaliation and a weapons offense — in connection with allegations he threatened the lives of two alleged drug dealers who cooperated with investigators against him. Snell had been under federal detention since the original indictment was filed against him in April 2008. Authorities alleged Snell, who was charged along with two other men in connection with the Pottstown incident, was the getaway driver. But Snell testified during all three trials that he didn't know anything about plans for a robbery and that he was simply giving his brother-in-law, Tyree Markeen Aimes, a ride to Pottstown to see another person about some money. McMahon argued the prosecution's case was based on the testimony of "corrupt and polluted sources," admitted criminals who cooperated with prosecutors in order to gain lenient sentences for their own crimes. Aimes, 25, and Stephon A. Gibson, 22, both of Philadelphia, each previously pleaded guilty to a firearms charge and conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery in connection with the Pottstown incident. Aimes and Gibson testified against Snell at one or more of the trials. The trio originally had been charged by Montgomery County authorities. However, the case was transferred to federal court, where penalties upon conviction are more severe. All three men are accused of taking part in the Dec. 16, 2007, incident.

Snell and Aimes, who are brothers-in-law, were charged after they were involved in a high-speed chase along westbound Route 422 after the home invasion that occurred inside an apartment on South Roland Street. Snell drove at speeds of 130 mph along Route 422 before crashing his sports utility vehicle into another car at the intersection of Gibraltar Road in Exeter, authorities alleged. Snell and Aimes were apprehended in the yards of nearby homes after the crash. Authorities alleged Gibson didn't get into Snell's Dodge Durango after the Pottstown home invasion and Snell and Aimes left Pottstown without Gibson. Gibson and Aimes allegedly forced their way into the South Roland Street apartment at about 11:45 p.m. and assaulted a male occupant and choked a female occupant, using a cord from an iron to tie the woman's hands. One of the intruders then allegedly ransacked the apartment, court papers indicate. In one of his statements to police, Aimes claimed he, Snell and Gibson went to Pottstown for the purpose of "beating up a man," according to the original arrest affidavit filed by Pottstown detectives. Aimes and Snell then fled Pottstown in Snell's SUV. Pottstown police gave chase and were assisted by Exeter police as the chase traveled into Berks and ended in the crash at Gibraltar Road. A loaded semiautomatic .380-caliber handgun was recovered from inside the SUV after the crash, police said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Appeals court dismisses order to reveal cops' names

Appeals court dismisses order to reveal cops' names by David Heinzmann - November 10, 2009

A two-year legal battle to open up disciplinary records of Chicago police officers suffered a setback today when a panel of federal judges decided to keep the files secret -- denying an attempt by a journalist and 28 aldermen to open thousands of documents to public scrutiny. The fight over the files has unfolded amid a broader public debate about police oversight in the city, with some critics suggesting the files would reveal evidence of police department leaders ignoring rogue cops for years. But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision came down to a simpler legal matter. The files had been exchanged as discovery evidence between parties in a federal misconduct lawsuit against eight police officers. But the files had never been formally placed in the case file. The three-judge panel ruled that legal precedents favoring public disclosure of court records do not apply to records not in the case file. A South Side woman, Diane Bond, had sued the police department in 2004, alleging repeated abuse by officers. Her lawyer, University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman, had demanded the disciplinary files in order to show a pattern of police misconduct condoned by department officials. Futterman's analysis of the records showed that fewer than 1 percent of misconduct allegations were sustained by the department's internal investigations, a far lower rate than the national average. Just before the city settled Bond's lawsuit in 2007, independent journalist and community activist Jamie Kalven filed a motion to intervene and lift a protective order that had sealed the police records. U.S. District Court Judge Joan H. Lefkow decided to lift the protective order, but the city appealed the decision. While the appeal was pending, a group of 28 aldermen signed onto the case with Kalven, saying they too wanted access to the files. At the time, aldermen were dealing with police-oversight reforms in the wake of several police scandals, including allegations ofd misconduct by officers in the department's Special Operations Section.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Speeding Ticket Recipients Allege Police Corruption

Speeding ticket recipients allege police corruption
KAIT8 TV - ABC by Lori Brown - November 3, 2009

JERICHO, AR (WMC-TV) - Jericho residents tell stories that, if, true, paint a picture of a corrupt small town police department. In the latest chapter in the ongoing Jericho traffic ticket drama, Bill Masterson of Holly Springs, Mississippi, says he wasn't speeding when a Jericho police officer pulled him over. "He said I was going 59. I said, 'Sir, can I see that radar gun?' He said, 'No, I don't have to show you nothing. You can go to jail," said Masterson. He says he was then asked to fork over cash. "He told me I could pay $150 dollars and it was done. I said, 'I ain't going to do that.' " Masterson says he tried to pay his ticket at city hall, but no one was there. The following week, he again drove 66 miles from Holly Springs to Jericho for traffic court, but court was canceled. Finally, last Thursday, he went before a Jericho judge. "They brought six police in, and I said, 'Mercy alive, ya'll hire six police for a town of 200 people?'" The judge wouldn't dismiss the ticket, and the $150 ticket increased to $205 for court costs. Then the judge wouldn't accept a check. "He said, 'we don't take nothing but cash.' He said, 'You've got it, go ahead and get on up off of it,'" said Masterson. "And the police was standing right there looking down on me, and I said, 'I feel like I'm being pressured here.' " The judge finally accepted Masterson's check after he refused to pay cash. "Cash they can pocket it, check they have to turn it into the state and county. I've paid plenty of speeding tickets, but when I'm not speeding, I'm not paying it," said Masterson. But Masterson did pay the ticket out of fear of being thrown in jail. The tree trimmer says he could have used the $200 as the slow winter season sets in. In a phone call Sunday night, Jericho Police Department's assistant chief wouldn't answer Action News 5's questions about the tickets or why the town would only accept cash.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two Cops Admit Pocketing Summons Money

Two ex-Hardeeville cops plead guilty to pocketing traffic-ticket money
Hilton Head Island From Staff Reports - November 2, 2009

Two former Hardeeville police officers pleaded guilty today to charges they illegally pocketed money during traffic stops, charges that stem from an investigation by the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. Tony Pollen of Ridgeland was arrested in January 2009 and charged with misconduct in public office and embezzling more than $5,000, according to a news release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Judge J. Ernest Kinard sentenced him today to five years of probation, 500 hours of community service, a $500 fine and restitution of $307. Pollen, who worked as a corporal with the Hardeeville Police Department from 2002 to 2006, targeted Hispanic drivers, accepting cash bonds in exchange for not giving them a ticket, the release said. “He admitted to targeting Hispanic drivers and the last names in his ticket book back that up,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “It is a very serious offense for an officer sworn to uphold the law to violate the public’s trust. Corruption damages public safety more than just about any other crime because it undermines the trust the public has in the criminal justice system.” Christian R. Nollinger of Bluffton was arrested in October 2007 and charged with misconduct in public office, a misdemeanor that carries up to a $1,000 fine and a year in prison, the release said. Kinard sentenced him today to six months of probation, four days of community service and a $150 fine. He had worked as a patrol sergeant at the Hardeeville Police Department from July 2006 to October 2007. Nollinger pulled a Hispanic driver over for speeding and discovered the man also didn’t have a driver’s license, the release said. He issued the man two state uniform traffic tickets and accepted a cash bond for each citation. He turned over the $128 bond for the driver’s license violation to the Hardeeville Clerk of Court Office, but destroyed the speeding ticket and kept the $128 bond for that citation, the release said.