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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Phony Police Statistics Gives Way to Real Numbers

Crime up 13% in B'klyn's 81st Pct. where whistleblower accused chiefs of lowering felony stats
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - March 29, 2010

Crime is up 13% at the Brooklyn precinct where a whistleblower cop accused his supervisors of ignoring felonies to artificially lower the area's crime stats. Lawyers for whistleblower Officer Adrian Schoolcraft say the spike in felonies at the 81st Precinct in the first months of the year shows officials are now being more rigorous about how they classify crimes. "It raises the question: How were they taking reports before Adrian came forward, and are they being more careful now that everyone is watching what they do?" said lawyer Kevin Mosley. "Are they doing things now the way they were always supposed to be done?" Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, disputed that, saying crime was up 26% in the precinct at the end of January, just before the Daily News broke the story, and that it had fallen since then. The News reported last month that Schoolcraft had told the NYPD's Quality Assurance Division that crime statistics were fudged at the Bedford-Stuyvesant precinct to make the crime rate look lower. He provided the division information for 14 crime victims, saying either the victims were ignored or felonies were downgraded to misdemeanors. Of the 10 crime victims interviewed by The News, five backed up Schoolcraft's allegations and two others said they had problems with the precinct. Schoolcraft is under suspension for leaving work an hour early last Halloween without permission. He was subsequently involuntarily placed in a psychiatric facility, a move he contends is retribution for trying to expose wrongdoing. The precinct's commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, has told The News he's confident the ongoing internal review of how the precinct files crime reports will clear him of any wrongdoing. Crime in the precinct fell sharply under Mauriello - about 17% in 2008 and last year. It had fallen more gently from 2003 to 2007, and even increased one year. But this year, through March 21 - the latest date for which statistics were available - crime was up 13% compared with the same time period last year, with felony assault up 74%, to 59 from 34. Grand larcenies and robberies were also up, though just slightly. Crime in two nearby precincts, meanwhile, was down substantially: 11.5% in the 73rd (Brownsville) and 10.2% in the 83rd (Bushwick). It was up 6.7% in the 90th (Williamsburg) and 1.3% in the 77th (northern Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.) City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens) called the precinct's crime spike "very interesting." He said a number of current and retired cops have contacted him since the News first wrote about Schoolcraft to talk about numbers being fudged. He said he is considering holding a hearing on the issue. New Chief of Patrol James Hall, meanwhile, told borough commanders at a recent meeting that he wanted "honest numbers," according to a source.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Texas Cops Admit Questionable Practices

Garland police officer admits to questionable practice with informants
The Dallas Morning News by Tanya Eiserer - March 26, 2010

Garland drug officer's cases re-examined after credibility questioned
"You could [infer] all kinds of different things," Morrow testified.

Garland police Officer Dennis Morrow admitted during a hearing Thursday that he sometimes had informants sign pay sheets without immediately filling in the amount he paid them – a practice deemed questionable by law enforcement experts – but he denied ever stealing any money. Under questioning by Dallas County prosecutor Tim Gallagher, Morrow testified that he did realize that having informants sign blank pay sheets could create an appearance problem for him. Morrow's testimony came during the continuation of a pretrial hearing in which two colleagues have already testified that he misrepresented what happened during a July drug bust. Morrow has denied any wrongdoing in that raid, and a Garland police internal investigation cleared him. Two Garland officers, Daniel Colasanto and Cliff Wise, have previously testified that Morrow inaccurately wrote in a July police report that Tramane Hooks lunged for drugs in a refrigerator, resulting in his arrest on drug delivery charges. The officers testified that the inaccuracies were part of a pattern by Morrow and that they doubted his credibility. The hearing, which began earlier this month and was postponed until Thursday, is an attempt by defense attorney Bill Wirskye to get drug charges against his client, Patrick Woodard, dismissed. Morrow was the arresting officer when Woodard was arrested in April. Woodard's case is unrelated to Hooks'. As a result of the testimony of Colasanto and Wise, prosecutors have launched a wide-ranging review of all of Morrow's felony drug cases, which number in the hundreds. Morrow, Wise and Colasanto were among a group of Garland officers transferred out of the narcotics unit last year after the Hooks arrest. Although Morrow contends he did nothing wrong with the pay sheets, the lead investigator in the Dallas fake-drug scandal said in an interview after the hearing that the officer's actions could prove to be problematic. David Eldridge, a retired narcotics supervisor with the Texas Department of Public Safety, said that such a practice is "fraught with danger. Both he and his department that's permitting him to do this are headed for problems." During Morrow's testimony Thursday, he said that there were rare occasions when a witness wasn't present when he gave money to a confidential informant, but that he always notified a supervisor when he did so. He also said he sometimes would go to a motel office with an informant and give the manager the money the informants had earned from helping with drug busts. "If they owed the motel guy $180 for the week, then we'd give it to them and they would give them what was left over," Morrow testified. Both practices, Eldridge said, are troubling. "That's what gets these guys in trouble is not properly documenting how the money is spent," he said. Also Thursday, Judge Pat McDowell granted the city of Garland's motion to place documents subpoenaed by Wirskye under a protective order, preventing their release to any third parties, including the media. In seeking the protective order, Garland Assistant City Attorney Michael Betz cited a provision of state law that makes certain police internal affairs records confidential. The hearing in the Woodard case is slated to resume next Thursday.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Very Revealing NYPD Corruption Report

N.Y.P.D. Confidential
The New York Times by Al Baker and Jo Craven McGinty - March 26, 2010

CASE file: His night began in the bars of Staten Island, and by 2 a.m., he was buying crack cocaine. Inside his car, he flicked a lighter and inhaled. He picked up a woman; they got high together. She left after he spotted the authorities.

Case file: A Brooklyn man had a hook with organized crime. He and his wife set up gambling operations at six spots in Manhattan and Nassau County. When they were arrested, along with her parents and 11 others, investigators seized cash, slot machines and cars.

Case file: He would lock his mountain bike in a garage in Jamaica, Queens, then enter a nearby bordello. Once, he even arranged a rendezvous in a pizzeria. Tipped off by a prostitute — probably angered that he did not pay — detectives caught it all on audio and video.

These are all relatively minor crimes, the stuff of daily precinct logs rather than ripped-from-the-headlines television drama, but for one thing: In each case, the central character was a cop. That, by at least one way of reckoning, makes them routine: From 1992 to 2008, nearly 2,000 New York Police Department officers were arrested, according to the department’s own annual reports of the Internal Affairs Bureau, an average of 119 a year. The rarely seen internal reports were obtained last month by the New York Civil Liberties Union through the Freedom of Information Law. They show that the number of tips logged each year by Internal Affairs has tripled since 1992, a trend that top police officials attribute to an opening up of the process and more diligent cataloging of public response to police interactions — including compliments as well as complaints. The number of investigations pursued over the same period has dropped by more than half, which Chief Charles V. Campisi, who runs the unit, called “the truest reflection of the corruption the department faces.”

Most of those investigations involved drugs, theft or crimes like fraud, bribery or sex offenses, on and off the job. Inquiries in these categories have largely decreased in recent years, but cases involving abuse of suspects have risen significantly. The 2006 report noted the “unprecedented” rise and gave an example: several officers followed a woman wanted for petty larceny into a store and one “struck her in the head with his firearm for no reason.” “History tells us there always will be bad cops, and the department will never be able to completely control that,” said Christopher T. Dunn, associate legal director of the civil liberties union, who has spent weeks studying the documents. “But what it can control, and what it should be held accountable for, is how it responds to corruption.” For better or worse, the police are left to police themselves, and the reports, which together total more than 600 pages, provide the most comprehensive record available chronicling that imperfect science. They tell a colorful story not only of officers who betray the badge but also of the little-known agency charged with rooting them out. The bureau has long been a Hollywood fascination, and derided among the rank and file as the “rat squad” since so many cases depend on one cop snitching on another. Officers who work there are, therefore, called “cheese eaters,” while rogue officers have been known as “grass eaters” (those who peddle in low-level but pervasive wrongdoing) and “meat eaters” (who are more aggressive or violent). It took its current form in 1993, after Officer Michael Dowd and several colleagues were arrested on Long Island on charges of selling cocaine, prompting a disgusted Raymond W. Kelly, in his first stint as police commissioner, to overhaul the internal affairs process. “I am always concerned about corruption,” Mr. Kelly, who returned as commissioner in 2002, said in an interview. “For me, myself, personally, it is absolutely critical to the good order, to the function of this department, that we have a well-staffed, a well-trained, a proactive Internal Affairs Bureau, and that’s what we have.”

The reports themselves have changed much over the years: from 81 typewritten pages packed with statistics in 1993, to 99 pages of glossy photographs but scant specifics in 2006, to a pair of skimpy 15-page summaries in 2007 and 2008. Year in, year out, they contain head-scratching examples of people sworn to uphold the law breaking it instead. Officers rob banks. They collude with drug dealers. They pilfer credit cards from prisoners to buy groceries, and they take payoffs from street peddlers as protection money. Sex is often at the center of their sins. That man on the mountain bike was Damian A. Conlon, who was a 34-year-old officer on the bicycle patrol in the 103rd Precinct in Queens in 1999. Internal Affairs investigators watched him ride from the station house to the brothel, during his shift, wearing his uniform. They watched him walk inside, heard a manager instruct a prostitute to have sex with him and heard her say not to charge him. Mr. Conlon pleaded guilty to official misconduct, paid a $1,000 fine and quit. For as long as there have been police officers, there have been cycles of corruption: renegades, scandals, reforms — more renegades. In 1884, the Lexow Commission’s inquiry into brothel owners and gambling den runners paying off officers led to Theodore Roosevelt’s being named president of a Board of Police Commissioners. Next was the Becker Scandal of 1912: Lt. Charles Becker hired four gunmen to rub out a gambler who was tipping prosecutors to police payoffs.

The Seabury Investigation of 1930 exposed vice officers shaking down prostitutes, and police officers and politicians in the grip of organized crime. In 1950, a scandal involving a Brooklyn bookmaker named Harry Gross, who had enlisted officers as muscle for his $20-million-a-year operation, led to the resignation of Mayor William O’Dwyer and his police commissioner. The early 1970s brought the Knapp Commission and its tales of pervasive corruption. Two decades later came Officer Dowd — and the birth of the current Internal Affairs Bureau, when Commissioner Kelly declared the operation a mess and chose Walter Mack, a former federal prosecutor, to clean it up. Internal Affairs was given equal footing with the detective, patrol and personnel bureaus, headed by a three-star chief; assignments there were no longer all voluntary. The idea, Mr. Mack said in a recent interview, was “to elevate it, with new personnel, a different management structure, to change what had been perceived, and what was criticized, as an organization not functioning the way it should be.” And to start issuing annual reports. They were sent to the commissioner and his top brass, though more recently they have also gone to the Commission to Combat Police Corruption. As historical documents, the reports do not form a coherent narrative, with many statistics and categories disappearing from year to year without explanation. (The reports turned over to the Civil Liberties Union were also missing 47 pages, which the department said was to protect current or future investigations.) The changes reflect the priorities of each of four police commissioners, the broader crime scene, the improving technology. The 1993 report is old-school — right down to the font of the typewriters — and quotes a study that found the bureau’s predecessor agency “had become ineffective due to a bifurcated system of accountability and control.” The 1994 report reflects the arrival of Commissioner William J. Bratton, trumpeting the need to track and analyze “integrity” issues, and promising to open the “investigatory process” to precinct commanders and others. “In the past, internal affairs operations were shrouded in secrecy, closed off from the rest of the department,” it says. “Much has been done over the last year to change this isolation ideology.”

In 1995, the phenomenon of “testilying” — when officers lie in court — is introduced. The following year’s report adds perjury as a corruption category and has a page titled, “Truth in Testimony,” including a policy from the new commissioner, Howard Safir, that calls for firing any officer who lies, absent exceptional circumstances. The report in 2000, under Bernard B. Kerik, echoes the idea that the CompStat system of mapping crime to fight it can also be used to track “internal crime.” But later reports have less, not more, data; in 2003, for instance, the number of drug tests conducted is not included, and you cannot tell how many of those who failed were uniformed officers. “These reports depict a department that, in the mid-1990s, was candid about its anticorruption work,” said Mr. Dunn, of the civil liberties union. “The recent reports, by contrast, reveal almost nothing, signaling an N.Y.P.D. that seems unwilling to confront corruption.” Commissioner Kelly said the reports had gotten thinner partly because of his longevity in the department and familiarity with Internal Affairs. He meets daily with Chief Campisi, the bureau’s leader, and is regularly briefed on the disposition of its cases, arrests of officers, and the results of integrity testing — undercover setups to see whether officers will do wrong. “Nobody has been more involved in the day-to-day workings of internal investigations than I have,” Mr. Kelly said. “It takes a lot of time to produce a document like that, and it is an internal document — to be driven by a need that we see in the organization for it, rather than just putting together lots of numbers.” The Internal Affairs budget has increased, to $61.8 million this year from $43 million in 2000; Chief Campisi said there are currently 650 uniformed officers, up from 604 in 2000. Among many other things, Internal Affairs has a vehicle enforcement unit that, last year, issued 1,664 summonses to police vehicles whose drivers were misusing their special parking placards by, for example, blocking a loading zone or fire hydrant. The unit is run by two lieutenants and works with two tow trucks, and its work has angered some in the ranks and mystified others. “They seem like they kind of lost their way a bit,” said one former Internal Affairs commander, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of offending colleagues. Page 12 and 13 of the 2006 report feature a photo of a gleaming New York skyline, overlaid with a fever chart whose two diverging lines resemble an alligator’s open mouth. The top line shows the mounting tips that poured in over the years, mainly from civilians, officers and other agencies; the bottom one marks the declining number of cases the bureau pursued. In 1994, Internal Affairs logged more than 14,700 tips and investigated 2,258, or about 15 percent. In 2006, the department received nearly 45,000 tips and investigated 1,057, about 2 percent. Police officials attributed the growth in tips to the 311 system the city started in 2003, the advent of e-mail and a broader willingness among civilians to report problems in general. They noted that tips — which the reports sometimes call “logs,” “complaints” or “allegations” — are not always secret and might include benign items like notices from the Department of Motor Vehicles of insurance lapses, expired tickets or other infractions by people with names similar to officers’; calls from emotionally disturbed people like one who routinely reports a phantom police helicopter flying overhead; items relating to police officers outside the city; reporter questions; and even praise for officers. Chief Campisi said that the 2006 report, which he signed, was wrong to link tips and investigations — “It should have been two charts” — and that earlier reports, particularly those in 1996 and 1998, were poorly written.

Corruption cases are divided into more than a dozen categories in the reports, from violation of departmental regulations to serious felonies. In each of the last 16 years, two-thirds to three-quarters of the offenses involved narcotics, theft and what the department refers to as “other crimes” — like fraud, assault, drunken driving and domestic violence. Narcotics offenses dropped sharply, to 213 cases in 2008, from 653 in 1993. At the same time, cases involving stolen property grew, to 394 in 2008 from 367 in 1993. Meanwhile, “abuse of department regulations,” as the reports call it — drinking or sleeping on duty, say — more than doubled, to 154 in 2008 from 64 in 1993. And the number of instances in which officers were accused of injuring or assaulting suspects or making false arrests soared to more than 180 in each of 2006 and 2007, from 10 in 1993. The number of officers arrested reached a high of 167 in 1995 — as the department itself swelled with the absorption of the Housing and Transit Bureaus — and then fell fairly steadily to 86 in 2004. Since then, despite the shrinking of the ranks and the decline in crime, arrests crept up, to 124 in 2008. The reports also chronicle the Police Department’s routine drug tests; through the years, officers were most often caught having used cocaine. The testing peaked in 1996, with 16,194 random tests, and 61 officers failing. In 2008, 10 officers failed drug tests, but it is difficult to gauge the significance of the number since the report does not say how many tests were administered. Similarly, the reports’ accounts of integrity tests are inconsistent. Only 3 of the 16 annual reports include the number of both tests and failures; the most recent, in 2002, showed 486 tests and 54 failures, including 15 for criminal misconduct, 36 for procedural problems and 3 for supervisory issues. Chief Campisi said the omissions were by design. “I don’t like anyone to know the number of tests we do,” he explained. “Part of our integrity-test program is that by keeping it secret we’re trying to create the impression that every encounter an officer has might be an Internal Affairs Bureau test.” While it has been years since the last major scandal, there is no shortage of individual misconduct cases: two officers charged in separate incidents last fall with killing pedestrians while driving drunk; another indicted in December for helping a friend run a cocaine distribution operation; two more arrested Feb. 9 for using their badges and guns in a perfume heist at a New Jersey warehouse.

And then there is the case of Sgt. William J. Lewis, who was fired March 9 after a 25-year career in the Police Department, the last few years of which he felt hunted by Internal Affairs. Since 2006, he has faced six separate sets of Internal Affairs charges for running afoul of department regulations; in November, he was arrested by federal agents, accused of withdrawing cash in 25 chunks under $10,000 over 25 days to avoid notice by the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Affairs cases against Mr. Lewis mostly concerned seemingly small stuff: failing to report a change of address, owning a rental property in his precinct, engaging in off-duty employment without authorization. But in 2008, the department accused him of tipping off the operator of Beer Goggles, a Staten Island bar, to an undercover investigation. The case led to a Police Department trial, in which a prime piece of evidence was a computer-generated database of Mr. Lewis’s phone records. Only it turned out the records were inaccurate. Martin G. Karopkin, the department’s deputy commissioner of trials, declared in a written decision that the case was “based on hearsay, conclusions unsupported by evidence and assumptions that do not make sense.” Mr. Lewis was acquitted. He went on trial in federal court in Brooklyn on March 15, six days after losing his job. Internal Affairs investigators were in the courtroom, observing — something Mr. Lewis’s lawyers question, since he no longer was on the force, but Chief Campisi defended as routine to record the culmination of Internal Affairs cases. He was acquitted March 18. Now his lawyers are claiming wrongful termination in hopes of regaining his pension, and are threatening a federal civil rights lawsuit over his treatment by the Internal Affairs Bureau. “In their quest to get an individual, they lose sight of the purposes of their job,” said Eric Franz, one of the lawyers. “In this case, they did incomplete investigations, put forth shoddy evidence and turned a blind eye to exculpatory information.” Mr. Lewis did admit several departmental violations, and was found guilty of others: Failing to properly read and sign the memo books of the police officers under his supervision. Not informing the department that his sister worked in a bar in his jurisdiction. Referring an extermination job in the precinct to a contractor who had worked for him, a conflict of interest. Police officials shrugged off criticism over the handling of his case, confident they had rid the department of a problem officer.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Atlanta Cop Indicted on Drug and Firearms Charges

Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 24, 2010
United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
Contact: (478) 752-3511

Atlanta Police Officer Indicted on Drug and Firearms Charges

ATLANTA, GA—LUCIUS T. SOLOMON, III, 31, of Atlanta, Georgia, a police officer with the City of Atlanta Police Department, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug and firearm offenses. SOLOMON made his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman this afternoon. United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Any police officer who violates his oath to protect the community and instead takes part in criminal activity should expect the same outcome as a criminal. Corrupt police officers do not stand for justice. They stand for themselves. And the thousands of dedicated law enforcement officers who do their job every day will continue to work to weed out those who act corruptly.” FBI Atlanta Acting Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Moore said, “It is extremely disheartening when a rogue law enforcement officer disregards his oath of office and chooses to engage in such criminal conduct as is alleged in the indictment of Officer Solomon. The FBI, however, understands the importance of maintaining integrity within the law enforcement community and the value of maintaining the public's trust and that such acts by the few can often erode that much needed public trust.” Atlanta Police Department Interim Police Chief George Turner stated, “I was outraged to learn that one of our own officers was engaged in illegal activity of this magnitude. In partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we cooperated fully in investigating and apprehending Officer Solomon. The Atlanta Police Department appreciates the investigation conducted by the FBI and making this indictment. This department will not tolerate any misconduct or illegal behavior by our sworn officers. APD will continue to sponsor and support any investigative initiatives that identify police officers who engage in illegal activity. This indictment should serve as a reminder to everyone including police officers that no one is above the law.” According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment and evidence presented in court today: On three separate occasions-October 30 and December 9, 2009, and January 23, 2010-SOLOMON attempted to aid and abet drug deals involving at least five kilograms of cocaine. In each instance, he knowingly possessed a firearm in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime. SOLOMON is also charged with attempting to broker a cocaine deal on or about March 9, 2010. At his initial appearance, prosecutors told the Magistrate Judge that SOLOMON allegedly provided protection for individuals he believed to be drug dealers and on March 9, 2010, he attempted to broker a five-kilo cocaine deal on behalf of individuals he believed to be drug dealers but in fact were undercover FBI agents. A bond hearing for SOLOMON has been set before Judge Baverman at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 26, 2010. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the City of Atlanta Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Brown, Elizabeth Hathaway, and Zahra Karinshak are prosecuting the case. For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Friday, March 26, 2010

Feds Arrest NY Detective for Witness Tampering

For Immediate Release
March 25, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York
Contact: (212) 637-2600

Sleepy Hollow Detective Faces New Federal Charge for Witness Tampering

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH M. DEMAREST JR., the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that JOSE QUINOY, a Detective with the Sleepy Hollow, New York, Police Department, was charged last night in a Superseding Indictment with one count of witness tampering, in addition to the two counts of civil rights violations on which he was previously indicted. The new count charges that on or about April 4, 2008, QUINOY attempted to corruptly persuade a witness to testify falsely regarding one of the incidents alleged in the original Indictment, which charged QUINOY with assaulting and causing bodily injury to two persons, one on October 17 and one on December 17, 2006, after they had been handcuffed and restrained by a police officer. If found guilty, QUINOY faces a maximum penalty on this new count of 20 years in prison and a fine. On the original counts of the Indictment, QUINOY faces a maximum penalty on each count of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the crime. QUINOY, 37, is a resident of Tarrytown, New York. Assistant United States Attorneys CYNTHIA K. DUNNE and DAVID J. KENNEDY are in charge of the prosecution. The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Off-Duty Cop Charged With DWI After Crash

Off-duty NYPD cop charged with DWI after crashing into parked car
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - March 20, 2010

A boozed-up off-duty cop capped St. Patrick's Day by slamming his car into a parked Nissan in Queens, according to court papers. Officer Matthew Woods, a five-year vet who works narcotics, was not injured Wednesday night when his Subaru flipped from the force of the collision. "I was driving home," Woods told cops at the scene. "I don't know what happened." Woods admitted he had been drinking before the 11:16 p.m. smashup at at 65th Place and Queens Blvd. in Woodside, according to court papers. He was driving solo - and no one was in the parked car. Woods refused to take a Breathalyzer test. Court papers said he had bloodshot eyes and his breath reeked of alcohol. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and with criminal mischief. The NYPD did not release information about the arrest until Friday. Woods was arraigned Thursday and released. He could not be reached for comment. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, asked about the arrest, said, "I don't have any details on that." Woods is just the latest in a string of officers busted for driving drunk. The Daily News reported last week that at least 55 city cops have been caught behind the wheel while liquored up since 1999. All pleaded down to non-felony charges - and nearly all have remained on the job. Just last month, Officer Roniel Dilone smashed into a parked car in the Bronx, badly injuring his passenger. And Officer Raphael Ospina plowed his Chrysler into a garbage truck in midtown, flipped over and smacked into Tiffany's jewelry store. Ospina broke three ribs, and two friends in the car were also hurt.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Suspended Suffern Cop Arrested Again

Suspended Suffern cop arrested again on forged prescription charges
The Journal News by Steve Lieberman -March 19, 2010

WOODBURY, NY — A suspended Suffern police officer already charged in Rockland has been arrested on felony counts of forging prescriptions to get pain killers, Woodbury police said Friday. Michael Lourenso, 35, of Monroe has been out on disability since December after injuring his leg while on duty, authorities said. He was arrested Thursday on charges of forging prescriptions in December and February to obtain painkillers at a pharmacy in Highland Mills, Lt. Arthur Abbott said today. Police charged Lourenso with two counts each of second-degree forgery and second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Lourenso, who surrendered, was released pending a court hearing on Wednesday, Abbott said. Ramapo police arrested Lourenso in February on the same felony charges of getting painkillers from a Montebello pharmacy with a forged prescription, including writing out the doctor's name. Following Lourenso's arrest in February, Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn placed the officer on administrative leave with pay pending potential disciplinary charges. Lourenso is paid more than $90,000 annually as an officer, Osborn has said. Lourenso worked for several police departments — including Highland Falls and Croton-on-Hudson — before being hired in Suffern a few years ago. He graduated from the Rockland Police Academy in 2004 as an officer with Highland Falls. Osborn said today that Lourenso's status with the department has not changed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ex-NYC Detective Gets 15 Years for Rape

Ex-NYC detective gets 15 years for Greenburgh rape
The Journal News by Shawn Cohen - March 12, 2010

WHITE PLAINS, NY — A retired New York City police detective who slipped a sleeping pill to a woman he met in a bar, then raped her at a Greenburgh motel, was sentenced today to 15 years in prison, the Westchester District Attorney's Office said. Jose Arroyo, 47, faced up to 25 years after he was convicted in November of two felony counts of rape: for sexually assaulting a physically helpless person who was uncapable of consent, and facilitating a sex crime using drugs. He was also found guilty of felony assault, but acquitted of kidnapping charges. Arroyo slipped zolpidem — the active ingredient in the sleeping pill Ambien — into the drink of a 31-year-old Texas woman at Doyle's Pub in the Bronx in November 2008. He took the unconscious woman to the Alexander Motel on Tarrytown Road, where he had sex with her and took 16 photos of her nude body. He 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 photographs as "after" pictures. Arroyo, an ex-Marine who used to train and recruit security guards, insisted that he never drugged the woman and that they had consensual sex. SPCOHEN@LOHUD.COM

Friday, March 12, 2010

Former Police Detective Confirms Cover-Up

Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 11, 2010 U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

Former New Orleans Police Detective Pleads Guilty; Confirms Danziger Cover-Up

WASHINGTON, D.C. —A second former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officer has pleaded guilty to covering up a deadly police shooting in the days after Hurricane Katrina, the Justice Department today announced. Jeffrey Lehrmann, a former NOPD detective who currently works as a special agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony (a charge for concealing a known felony), for failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of a police-involved shooting on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans. The Sept. 4, 2005, shooting left two civilians dead and four others seriously injured. On Sept. 4, 2005, days after Hurricane Katrina, two police-involved shootings occurred on the Danziger Bridge. The east side shooting resulted in the death of one civilian and the wounding of four others. A second shooting on the west side resulted in the death of Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old severely disabled man. Madison’s brother, Lance, was arrested on eight counts of attempting to kill police officers, only to be later released without indictment. The police maintained that they fired at the civilians in self-defense, after the civilians fired at police. However, last month, former NOPD Lieutenant Michael Lohman pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with other officers to cover up what he had determined was a “bad shoot” on the bridge. Today, defendant Lehrmann admitted that he also knew of and participated in a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the investigation of the shooting. Lehrmann, of Anthem, Ariz., entered his plea in federal court in New Orleans today before U. S. District Court Judge Lance M. Africk. The defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 10, 2010. “We should all be able to trust that our law enforcement officers will protect us from harm in times of crisis. But amid the devastation that followed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, officers involved in covering up this deadly police shooting committed a disgraceful violation of the public trust,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to aggressively investigate the events that occurred on the Danziger Bridge.” U.S. Attorney Jim Letten added, “This morning in court, a former New Orleans police officer pleaded guilty, admitting to concealing a conspiracy among a group of officers to obstruct justice in the investigation of the police shooting on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans which left two civilians dead and four other seriously injured. Although today’s guilty plea marks the second conviction in this important, ongoing investigation, it is important to note that this officer was the first to enter into an agreement with the United States and provide cooperation. The citizens we serve must know that as this investigation continues, our U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, will do everything in our power to bring to justice all of the individuals responsible for the injustices which occurred on the bridge on Sept. 4, 2005.” FBI Special Agent in Charge David Welker stated, “The FBI is uniquely tasked to investigate potential violations of the civil rights of the citizens of the United States. Today’s guilty plea is a clear message that the intensity of the investigation is increasing. The FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively pursue the evidence wherever it leads.” According to court documents, Lehrmann learned from an NOPD supervisor (referred to in court documents as “the investigator”) that an officer on the bridge had “shot an innocent man.” Upon hearing that comment, Lehrmann concluded that the shooting on the bridge was a “bad shoot,” meaning that it was legally unjustified. Lehrmann admitted that he participated with his supervisors in the creation of a report that included false statements by the officers involved in the shooting; false claims about a gun that had in fact been planted by the investigator; and fabricated statements from witnesses who did not really exist. Lehrmann also admitted that the report of the Danziger Bridge investigation included false statements alleged to have been given by two of the victims of the police shooting. According to the factual basis produced at the time of the plea, Lehrmann admitted that the report of the incident contained a false claim that the investigator had returned to the bridge the day after the shooting and had found a gun in the grass below where a family had been shot. In fact, according to Lehrmann, that story was “a lie.” According to Lehrmann, sometime after the shooting, he and two sergeants drove with the investigator to the investigator’s home, where the investigator retrieved a bag from his garage. When the investigator was asked what was in the bag, he responded, “a ham sandwich.” Lehrmann then looked in the bag and saw a gun that would be used in the Danziger Bridge investigation. Once the investigator assured Lehrmann and the sergeants that the gun was “clean,” meaning that it could not be traced to another crime, they all went along with the plan to plant the gun. This case, which is ongoing, is being investigated by the New Orleans Field Office of the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Trial Attorney Forrest Christian of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia K. Evans of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Jersey Cop Arrested for Bank Fraud

Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 10, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey
Contact: (973) 645-2700

Jersey City Police Officer Arrested for Bank Fraud

NEWARK—A Jersey City police officer, Brian Ragauckas, 36, of Secaucus, was arrested today based on a complaint charging him with bank fraud in connection with a $529,777 mortgage loan that he obtained through false representations to the former Countrywide Bank FSB, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. The complaint was issued on March 8, 2010 and unsealed when Ragauckas was arrested this morning by special agents of the FBI. An initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Mark Falk is scheduled for today at 2:30 p.m. According to the complaint, Ragauckas and his wife own property located in Secaucus, New Jersey which they purchased in June 2000 and which is subject to a 30-year mortgage for $513,700. In or about March 2008, in order to facilitate the purchase of a multi-family dwelling in Jersey City, Ragauckas applied for a loan with Countrywide Bank, FSB. During an interview with an employee of Countrywide Bank FSB, Ragauckas: (1) failed to declare his outstanding mortgage liability on the Secaucus property; (2) falsely reported that he rented, rather than owned, the Secaucus property; and (3) falsely stated that he had not had an ownership interest in any property in the last three years. The complaint further alleges that Ragauckas thereafter represented in a signed Uniform Residential Loan Application for the Jersey City property that these statements were “true and accurate.” The complaint also alleges that Ragauckas signed and submitted documents in which he falsely stated that he was a first-time home buyer. According to the complaint, Ragauckas admitted to special agents of the FBI that he deliberately did not list the Secaucus property on his application to obtain the mortgage for the Jersey City property because he believed he would not qualify for the new mortgage if he did so. The complaint states that the mortgage obtained from Countrywide Bank, which has since merged with Bank of America, is currently in default and in the process of foreclosure. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. In determining an actual sentence, the judge to whom the case is eventually assigned would, upon a conviction, consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, if any, and other factors. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time. Despite the complaint, each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Ward, with the investigation leading to the Indictment. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Faye Schwartz of the U.S. Attorney Office’s Strike Force unit in Newark.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rhode Island Cops Arrested for Peddling Cocaine

Drug arrests latest black mark on RI police force
The Gouverneur Times by Eric Tucker - March 10, 2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — After three Providence police officers were arrested last week in a cocaine-peddling sting, Chief Dean Esserman called it a "hard day" for the department. The department has endured its share of hard days in recent years despite Esserman's vows in 2003 to reform the conduct of a department marred by a cheating scandal and other problems under the administration of ex-Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. One officer faces a trial on charges of raping a woman at a police substation. Another was indicted last month for allegedly beating a man with a flashlight. And a federal judge lambasted the department for shoddy police work that forced prosecutors in 2007 to drop charges against a suspected drug dealer who was arrested in last week's bust. The latest arrests, involving a narcotics detective, a school resource officer, and a former driver for Mayor David Cicilline, have triggered a widening investigation in the narcotics unit and raised fresh questions about the police force in Rhode Island's capital. "There's no question that when you have groups of police officers involved with drug dealing, that's about as serious an image problem as a police department can have," said Eugene O'Donnell, a former New York police officer who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. City officials suspended the three without pay and called them "rogue" officers. Four additional officers were placed on desk duty last week. Cicilline proposed random drug testing of police officers, then backed off Wednesday and urged the department to develop its own policy. "All of us need to rebuild any trust that has been violated by an officer, whether working in a school, working in a neighborhood, working anywhere," Esserman said. The arrests have embarrassed the department so much so that Cianci, who was convicted in 2002 of running City Hall as a criminal enterprise, has rubbed it in on his radio talk show by playing snippets of Eric Clapton's version of "Cocaine."

Esserman, a Dartmouth College graduate, is a protege of former New York and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton. He took office a year after former Police Chief Urbano Prignano testified under immunity at Cianci's corruption trial that he had helped officers on promotional exams by supplying cheat sheets. Since then, Esserman has taken credit for reducing crime and encouraging community policing. A day before the arrests, he testified in Washington before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his department's accomplishments. Cicilline also defended the department Wednesday as a national model. "I will do everything I can to protect the reputation and integrity of the great men and women who do this work every day," he said. Just last month, an officer pleaded not guilty to assault after he was caught on camera allegedly beating a suspect with a flashlight. Another could stand trial as soon as Monday on charges he raped a woman in a police substation three years ago. In 2007, police detective Scott Patridge told a federal judge he did not have notes from his investigation into a drug dealing suspect but then later said he found them in his attic just before the trial was to start. U.S. District Judge William Smith said the episode exposed practices that "threaten both the fundamental integrity of the investigations conducted by the Providence Police and, unavoidably, the public's faith in the department's competency." The botched case returned the suspect to the streets, where last week he was among six people arrested after a four-month investigation into a drug ring. Also apprehended were three officers — Patrolman Robert Hamlin; Sgt. Stephen Gonsalves, Cicilline's former driver; and Detective Joseph Colanduono, who served on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force. Authorities say Hamlin tipped his brother, an alleged drug dealer, to the narcotics detectives' identities. A state police affidavit recounts a recorded conversation purportedly between the sergeant and the detective that authorities say show the two men scheming to buy drugs from a dealer. A lawyer for Gonsalves, who has been released on personal recognizance, says his client appears to have had only a minor role. Colanduono's lawyer did not return calls seeking comment, and it was not clear if Hamlin had a lawyer. Both officers are being held without bail. State prosecutors plan to review all pending cases in which either of the officers is a witness. The public defender has asked his staff to make similar checks. O'Donnell, the John Jay professor, said dealers look to cultivate chummy relationships with police to help avoid arrest. If caught, they can snitch on officers who protected them and become valuable prosecution witnesses. "Corrupting the police is a core strategy of their enterprise," he said.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Two NYPD Cops Charged in $1Million Perfume Robbery

Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 5, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey
Contact: (973) 645-2700

Two NYPD Police Officers and Others Charged with Robbing Carlstadt Company of $1 Million of Perfume

NEWARK, NJ—Two New York Police Department Officers, Richard LeBlanca, 25, of New York City, and Brian Checo, 24, of New York City, along with five other co-conspirators, were arrested today for their involvement in the robbery of a perfume distributor of $1 million in perfume, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. The complaint was issued on March 4 and unsealed with today’s arrests. Also charged in addition to LeBlanca and Checo were Gabriel Vargas, 31, of Brooklyn, Luis R. Morales, 31, of Brooklyn, Anselmo Jimenes, a/k/a “Ansemo Jimenes,” 29, of Brooklyn, Alan A. Bannout, 23, of Brooklyn, and Orlando Garcia, 35, of New York. The complaint alleges that the defendants conspired to obstruct commerce by robbing hundreds of boxes of high-end perfumes and fragrances from a warehouse used by a company known as In Style USA, Inc in Carlstadt, New Jersey. LeBlanca, Checo, Vergas, Morales, and Garcia were arrested earlier today by special agents with the FBI. Authorities expect Jimenes, who is currently incarcerated in Bergen County on local charges, to appear to face the charges Monday. Bannout has not yet been arrested. According to the complaint, on February 9, the defendants rented five trucks from rental companies in Brooklyn and Jersey City. Vargas and Morales, who were later joined by Jimenes and approximately 16 day laborers, then traveled to Carlstadt, New Jersey, where they met the remaining conspirators outside of the warehouse. According to the complaint, LeBlanca and Checo entered the warehouse office yelling “NYPD! Hands up!” brandishing firearms and displaying law enforcement badges. LeBlanca and Checo, who were aided by Vargas, Garcia and another conspirator, restrained approximately 11 company employees’ and held them hostage while the robbery took place. The complaint further states that the conspirators stated that they were performing a routine “inspection” of the company. The complaint further alleges that, while the employees were held hostage, Morales, Bannout, Jimenes, and the other unknown individual, along with the day laborers, loaded hundreds of boxes containing various types of perfumes into the rental trucks. Carlstadt police officers, who responded to the scene after receiving a 9-1-1 call, arrested Morales and Jimenes after their unsuccessful attempts to flee. The officers also seized two of the estimated five trucks that contained hundreds of boxes of perfume, and which LeBlanca had rented earlier that day. The total retail value of perfume was estimated at $1 million. An individual referenced as “Victim #1" in the complaint indicated that the defendants also took a DVR recording device and monitor, and approximately $3,000 to $4,000 in cash that was contained in the cash drawer. “An armed robbery is an extremely serious federal crime, particularly when it is orchestrated and perpetuated by officers sworn to uphold the very laws that they are alleged to have violated,” Fishman said. “The officers’ actions, if proven true, would constitute nothing less than the ultimate betrayal of the trust afforded these officers.” “Today’s arrest of this robbery crew exemplifies the excellence of law enforcement cooperation,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Edward Kahrer. It also shows that law enforcement agencies will not tolerate enforcement who betray their oath and tarnish their badges, as well as the reputation that others have given their lives to preserve.” The charge set forth in the complaint carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Despite the complaint, all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The FBI has requested that anyone having further information of this robbery, please call the FBI at (973) 684-6614. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin B. Cruise, for the investigation. Fishman also thanked the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of John L. Molinelli, as well as the Carlstadt Police Department and the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau, for their assistance in the investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Gramiccioni and Eric T. Kanefsky of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Criminal Division, respectively.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Former Jail Lieutenant Convicted of Civil Rights Violation

Department of Justice -- Press Release
For Immediate Release
March 5, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of Georgia
Contact: (478) 752-3511

Former Fulton County Lieutenant Convicted of Civil Rights Violation in Inmate Beating

ATLANTA, GA—A federal jury today returned guilty verdicts against former Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy ROBERT W. HILL, Jr., 47, of Atlanta, Georgia, on one count of violating the civil rights of an inmate by using excessive force, one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence (excessive force), two counts of obstruction of justice, and one count of lying to an FBI agent. The trial lasted three days. The jury deliberated approximately five hours before reaching the verdicts. Acting United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of the verdict, “This Fulton County Jail Watch Commander not only was involved in beating an inmate, he used his supervisory power to attempt to pressure others to cover up the incident. Fortunately, some of those under him did not succumb to his pressure and testified truthfully against him. The jury came back with a verdict that reflected the reality of what happened. As in other cases involving the Fulton County Jail, the message is the same: illegal treatment of inmates and lying about it will not be tolerated. This former law enforcement officer now faces jail himself.” Acting FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Howard H. Hatfield said, “The jury spoke loud and clear that civil rights abuses in a correctional institution will not be tolerated nor will the subsequent attempts to cover up those violations. The FBI will continue to seek the truth in such matters in spite of efforts to obstruct our investigations.” According to Acting United States Attorney Yates, and the evidence presented in court: HILL, a former sheriff's lieutenant assigned to the Fulton County Jail, was in charge of the facility as the Watch Commander on August 9, 2008. During a morning roll call, HILL made remarks to his staff which included a directive regarding the use of force against inmates. According to witnesses and HILL's own recollection of the event, he told his subordinate officers that if an inmate touches an officer, that inmate should go to Grady Hospital. Later that very day, Inmate Christopher Trammell, a pre-trial detainee with mental health issues, was involved in a physical altercation with a number of detention officers, including HILL. HILL was injured during the altercation. Eyewitnesses testified and a video surveillance recording showed that after the altercation, HILL picked Trammell up from the floor and escorted him into a nearby nurse station, which did not have a window and was not equipped with a surveillance camera. A group of at least 11 detention officers followed HILL and Inmate Trammell into the room. The video surveillance recording shows that after the group entered the room, the door was closed. Five officers testified that inside the room, HILL assaulted Trammell. Several of the witnessed testified that HILL struck Trammell multiple times about his face and head. Witnesses also said that after the assault, Trammell was bleeding from his face and blood was left on the floor of the nurse station. Evidence presented also included HILL's report about the incident, which did not mention any use of force against Trammell inside the nurse station. In an interview with an FBI agent during the investigation of the matter, HILL insisted that he "in no way witnessed" Trammell being assaulted in the nurse station. HILL did, however, admit to an FBI agent, that he made the statement at roll call about sending inmates to Grady Hospital. According to the FBI agent, HILL quoted himself saying “if an inmate puts a hand on staff, then he is going to Grady.” HILL further explained to the agent that this is the custom of the jail—“meaning you will get your (deleted) whooped.” According to the testimony of three officers who witnessed the assault, HILL met with them numerous times following his interview with the FBI. These witnesses testified that HILL repeatedly told them that nothing illegal happened in the nurse station and that they should “stick to the story” if they were questioned about the incident by federal authorities. Sentencing is scheduled for May 17, 2010 before United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash. HILL faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison on each of counts one and two, up to 20 years on each of counts three and four, and up to five years in prison on count five. He also faces a fine of up to $1.25 million. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Angela Jordan and Brent Alan Gray prosecuted the case. For further information please contact Sally Quillian Yates, Acting United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cops OK with Local Prostitution

South Ward pols: Prostitution at Trenton bars ignored by Latino cops
The Trentonian by L.A. Parker - March 4, 2010

TRENTON, NJ — Some of Trenton’s Latino policemen are looking the other way at the prostitution in South Ward bars that cater to illegal immigrants willing to pay $12 for a beer — and a side of sex. Veteran neighborhood civic activist Juan Martinez, a City Council candidate, made the bombshell allegation yesterday, saying many “people in the Trenton police department are aware of this.” South Ward Councilman George Muschal said prostitution is rampant at many bars in his section, but the retired cop said he wouldn’t criticize fellow law officers until he sees more proof of police corruption. Martinez and Muschal said the prostitution has become so widespread the operators of the illegal business are selling colored chips for lap dances and more advanced sexual favors. The “chip game” is played all over the ward, said Muschal, who is seeking re-election in May. “You may pay $12 for a beer and receive a chip, which entitles you to a dancer, who receives a portion of the money you paid for the drink. She may dance just for you, give you a lap dance — but other arrangements can be made,” Martinez said. “Pay enough money and you may end up at some house getting what you paid for. They switch the spots and change the locations. It’s hard to keep up with if you are not paying attention.” Martinez and Muschal said the sex trade targets primarily illegal immigrants and reported that women are bussed from New York City to work neighborhood bars on weekends because most of the men get paid on Friday. “A guy goes into a bar and buys a chip for (oral sex), intercourse, whatever, and then he leaves the bar and is taken to a residence where everything goes down,” Muschal said. He called it a “shell game” that makes detection by police difficult. Community activist Evelyn DeLeon said she has first-hand knowledge of sexual setups. “These guys usually are picked up in a van, sometimes at 2 or 3 a.m. They are taken to a strange house but these guys must be out of their minds to get hauled somewhere,” DeLeon said. Martinez said “risky business” sex games require “clients” to climb into a car and head to an unknown destination. “You may be here illegally and alone with some money in your pocket. The women could decide to set you up and have people jump you. What can you do in that situation? Tell a police officer that you had hired a prostitute? Tell a police officer that you’re here illegally?” Martinez said. Martinez also alleged that Latino police officers know more than they admit about prostitution and the South Ward sex trade. “Listen, a lot of people in the Latino community know about this. A lot of people in the Trenton police department are aware of this. We have the best intelligence about the prostitution and bars that stay open way past the required 2 a.m. closing time. Everything is so hushed right now. Nothing gets done,” Martinez said. “Latino officers know what’s going on, but I and other people who are fighting this destruction of our neighborhoods get more support from other officers or people like George Muschal.” Martinez alleged that bar owners and prostitution warlords seem to have some political influence in Trenton, but wouldn’t comment further when asked for names. Trenton police spokesperson Pedro Medina said his office would not get involved in political antics. “The comments made by Juan Martinez truly deserve no response. We have made multiple prostitution arrests in the South Ward and will continue to do so,” Medina said. Martinez said time will prove his allegations. “Just wait. Just watch and see,” he said. “The roof is going to blow off of what’s going on in the South Ward,” he predicted. Muschal promised tougher enforcement, and Martinez called for city and state liquor regulators to close bars caught running hookers and in violation of other rules. “Prostitution is hurting businesses in the South Ward, and we’re starting to hear some complaints from Chambersburg,” Martinez said. “This is starting to get out of hand. If we don’t stop it now, then prostitution and all of the negative things that comes with it, is going to mushroom in Trenton.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Drunken Off-Duty Cop Runs From Crash

Police: Drunken off-duty New Rochelle cop fled SUV, crash
The Journal News - March 3, 2010

PELHAM, NEW YORK — A drunken off-duty New Rochelle police officer ran away after an early morning collision Tuesday on the Hutchinson River Parkway, Westchester County police said. Officer Jamillah Blair, 30, a two-year member of the department, was suspended with pay after her arrest, New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll said. The 2004 Cadillac sport utility vehicle that Blair was driving was stopped and facing the wrong way on the parkway in Pelham when it was struck head-on by a Yonkers man's northbound 2010 Chevrolet sedan, police said. Blair ran off after the 3:13 a.m. crash, said county police spokesman Kieran O'Leary. The accident happened moments after another driver swerved to avoid the stopped Cadillac, police said. County police said they contacted the Cadillac's owner and determined that Blair, a relative, had been driving it. She was arrested in New Rochelle about an hour after the incident and charged with two misdemeanors: leaving the scene of an accident and driving while intoxicated. The driver of the Chevy, 45, was taken to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx with chest pains that were not considered life threatening. Blair was released without bail and is due in Pelham Town Court on March 11. Carroll said the incident could become a basis for dismissal, after a departmental hearing when the criminal charges have been decided. Blair is assigned to the patrol division of the 180-member force. Blair is the sixth off-duty law enforcement officer from Westchester — four cops and two corrections officers — accused of drunken driving since December. All but one of the others involved a crash.