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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Costly Cop Arrested for Pounding Girlfriend

Atlanta police officer arrested for hitting girlfriend
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Christian Boone - October 23, 2010

An Atlanta police officer once involved in an altercation that ended up costing the city $350,000 was arrested Thursday on domestic violence charges. Terence Alexander, 41, an 11-year veteran of the force, is accused of hitting his 18-year-old girlfriend, a charge he denies, APD spokesman James Polite said. DeKalb Police arrested Alexander at his Briarcliff Road apartment where Aleka Simmons said the assault occurred. Alexander told officers Simmons hit him and that he was merely trying to hold her down, Polite said. Alexander, already under investigation for an undisclosed work-related incident, has been placed on administrative leave pending a meeting with Chief George Turner that will determine his future with the department. He's been fired by the APD once before, in 2005, after surveillance video captured him slamming a woman to the ground and arresting her for a parking violation while moonlighting at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The assault victim, Diana Dietrich-Barnes, sued the city and settled for $350,000. Then-Police Chief Richard Pennington sacked Alexander for using unnecessary force but the department's civil service board overturned the decision. Alexander was rehired despite having been either reprimanded or suspended without pay 13 times for violating departmental rules.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Denver Cop Arrested For Sexual Assault

Denver police officer arrested as sex assault suspect
The Denver Post by Kieran Nicholson - October 19, 2010

Hector Paez, 31, a patrol officer who worked in District 4, was arrested Monday and is being held at the Douglas County Jail, according to Denver District Attorney's Office media release. The suspect, who was in uniform and working at the time of the alleged May 16 incident, came in contact with the victim, a 36-year-old woman, and ran a background check on her finding an outstanding arrest warrant out of Jefferson County, said Lynn Kimbrough, a Denver district attorney's spokeswoman. Paez then allegedly took the woman to an isolated area and coerced her into "performing a sexual act to avoid being taken to jail," the DA's office said. An investigation by the Denver Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau led to the arrest. Paez will be charged later this week with kidnapping, sexual assault and attempt to influence a public servant, all felonies, prosecutors said. Paez appeared in Denver County Court this morning at a first advisement hearing. His bond has been set at $100,000. Paez was hired by the department in 2006. He was suspended, with pay, since May 19 when allegations were made against him. He remains suspended, now without pay, after his arrest Monday. The charge of attempt to influence a public servant alleges that Paez lied about his contact with the victim when he was interviewed by internal affairs, the release said. His next court date will be scheduled after charges are formally filed this week. Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822 or

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arizona Police Officer Charged with Murder

Phoenix police officer charged with murder
The Associated Press by Bob Christie - October 15, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ - A Phoenix police officer has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge for the on-duty shooting of an unarmed suspect during a violent encounter in which he also shocked the victim with a stun gun and killed his dog, officials said Thursday. Officer Richard Chrisman was served a summons on the indictment and was not taken into custody, said his defense attorney Craig Mehrens. The indictment also charged him with aggravated assault and misdemeanor cruelty to animals. Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said at a press conference that Chrisman will remain free on $150,000 bail he posted after his initial arrest on an aggravated assault charge last week. His arraignment is set for Oct. 21. Chrisman allegedly pulled his pistol, put it against 29-year-old Danny Frank Rodriguez's head and told him he didn't need a warrant when Rodriguez ordered him out of his house on Oct. 5. During the next few minutes, Chrisman shocked Rodriguez with a stun gun, shot his pit bull, then fatally shot Rodriguez, according to a court document. Records show another officer told investigators he saw no reason for Chrisman to shoot. Mehrens said his client was justified in shooting Rodriguez and did not put his gun against his head as the other officer reportedly said. In announcing the charges, Romley said he's supported and stood by law enforcement officers throughout his career, grieving with them when one is killed or injured. "But we as citizens put our trust and our lives in their hands, and when one violates and abuses that trust, we must hold them accountable to the community for that breach," he said. "We must assure the victims and the community that the criminal justice process will be fair, transparent, and objective. And when justice is done, we must heal and move on."

In the past year, officers in the South Mountain precinct where the shooting happened have been accused of excessive force and racial profiling. Police chief Jack Harris met with community leaders several times since the shooting to assure them the department was vigorously investigating the case. Protesters gathered daily in front of police headquarters. "If it was my neighbor, if it was my relative, I would be upset, angered and outraged as well," Harris said. Harris said Thursday that he had notified Chrisman he would use an expedited process to fire him from his job of nine years. The officer will have a chance to try to persuade Harris not to fire him at a meeting next week. Chrisman, 36, and officer Sergio Virgillo had been called to a Phoenix mobile home by Rodriguez's mother, according to a court document. Elvira Fernandez told officers she had been arguing with her son who had damaged property inside the trailer and that she left because she was afraid he would assault her. A police probable cause statement showed the officers had difficulty controlling Rodriguez, with both firing their stun guns on the suspect to little effect. Chrisman then used pepper spray on Rodriguez and shot a dog in the living room, Virgillo told investigators. Virgillo said the dog was not threatening them and he saw no reason why Chrisman would shoot it. Virgillo said he tried to calm Rodriguez down and talk him into stepping outside. The police document said Rodriguez told the officers he was leaving with his bicycle, but Virgillo moved to block the door and Chrisman began struggling with Rodriguez over the handlebars. Chrisman then allegedly pulled out his handgun and shot Rodriguez more than once. Rodriguez died at the scene. Chrisman was arrested about five hours after the shooting and freed on bail the following day. Mehrens said he and an expert he hired interviewed Chrisman for several hours earlier this week. He said he offered to allow the expert and Chrisman testify in front of a grand jury, but he never got a response from Romley. "They didn't want to hear his side of the story," Mehrens said. Romley disagreed. "That's for a court proceeding," he said. "Grand juries are not a courtroom where a trial occurs." A lawyer for Rodriguez's mother said he was gratified with the charges, but said she will probably be upset the officer was not re-arrested. "The indictment was the first step towards justice," said Sabinus Megwa.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Police Officer Arrested on Intimidation Charge

Metro police officer arrested on intimidation charge
Nashville City Paper - August 2, 2010

Police arrested one of their own late Sunday night after the officer’s ex-wife accused him of intimidating her. Metro Officer Derrick Hutchinson, a 12-year veteran of the department, was arrested Sunday night for on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault by intimidation. Hutchinson was released from jail Monday on $2,500 bond. According to police, Hutchinson’s ex-wife claimed Hutchinson, 42, followed her and her boyfriend when they left church, and after pulling up beside the couple, he mouthed something to them with an angry look on his face. The officer’s ex-wife told police those actions along with other previous unwanted contact following their divorce had caused her to fear her safety. A Metro police media release stated Hutchinson was decommissioned and assigned to desk duty at the Central Precinct.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five Cops Charged With Tampering With Crime Reports

NYPD Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello among five cops charged with tampering with crime reports
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - October 15, 2010

Five cops from a Brooklyn precinct have been hit with departmental charges accusing them of manipulating crime statistics, police sources said Friday. Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, the former commanding officer of the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, is among those charged. The Daily News first revealed allegations of number fudging in the precinct in an explosive report in February. Officer Adrian Schoolcraft told NYPD investigators that supervisors in the precinct were badgering or ignoring crime victims. He said they also designated some felonies as misdemeanors. The systematic cooking of the books was done to make the crime rate appear lower. Mauriello is charged with tampering with grand larceny and stolen vehicle reports. He's also charged with misleading investigators. He couldn't be reached for comment. Roy Richter, head of the Captains Endowment Association, which represents captains and above, said Mauriello "feels abandoned by the department he has faithfully served for over two decades." The four other cops charged include two police officers and two sergeants. One sergeant is accused of failing to verify that two patrol officers filed a robbery complaint. The two patrol officers are charged with not filing the complaint in the first place. Details on the charges against another sergeant weren't immediately available. That sergeant will be served next week, and all five cops will remain on full duty for the time being. Schoolcraft has filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against the NYPD, accusing his bosses of suspending him and forcing him into a mental institution against his will because he reported wrongdoing. "The problem is citywide," his lawyer Jon Norinsberg said. "It's not just the 81st Precinct."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Judge Rips Lying Cops

Years after cabbie was crippled, judge finally rips NYPD cops who covered for drunk colleague
The New York Daily News by Benjamin Lesser - October 7, 2010

Justice Lewis Bart Stone calls NYPD coverup 'disgusting.'

NYPD cops engaged in a "disgusting" coverup for a drunken colleague who mowed down a cabbie, paralyzing him for life, a Manhattan judge has found. "The statements made by this victim about a police coverup are totally believable ... and most likely occurred," Supreme Court Justice Lewis Bart Stone declared. "It is disgusting what they did to prevent justice from being done." Sitting in his wheelchair in Stone's courtroom in May, victim Eric Goldin felt vindicated. "It opened up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of getting some ... positive resolution from the [NYPD]," he said. Goldin's long road to the unusual open-court declaration was filled with frustration. It began Nov. 6, 1998, as he drove his cab in the early morning darkness near E. 86th St. and First Ave. Suddenly a car driven by off-duty cop Edilio Mejia slammed into Goldin, sending his cab careening onto the sidewalk. Cops responding to the scene included Police Officers Donald Houvener and Arthur Olivella. Houvener and Olivella said Mejia was being treated for a head wound when they arrived, and Goldin was unconscious on the floor of his taxi, records show. Olivella was told Mejia was a cop, records show. Goldin and Mejia were taken to New York Hospital, where Goldin's then-girlfriend, Johanna Viksne, asked if Mejia had been given a Breathalyzer test. Olivella says he told her he was not trained to perform the test. Records show Olivella and Houvener said there was "no reason to think a Breathalyzer exam was necessary as P.O. Mejia did not smell of, or appear to be, under the influence of alcohol." Goldin's brother complained to the NYPD, but the department closed the case in 1999 based largely on the cops' testimony. Olivella and Houvener were disciplined for failing to tell supervisors there were allegations Mejia had been drinking. In February 2001, Goldin obtained Mejia's hospital records. They show the cop told hospital staff he'd been drinking, and revealed a toxicology report declaring Mejia's blood alcohol level was at least twice the legal limit. Goldin sent the records to the Manhattan DA and the NYPD. Both opened new probes, which found six cops were involved in the 1998 incident, but the DA said Mejia's medical records were inadmissable because he didn't consent to release them. No charges were filed. Then on Jan. 14, 2002, it happened again. Mejia was arrested sitting in a parked car on W. 170th St. with the engine running, his speech slurred and booze on his breath. He was charged with drunken driving. The NYPD opened an internal investigation and ultimately filed departmental charges in the 1998 and 2002 incidents. In October 2002, Mejia was found guilty of DUI in the 2002 incident and sentenced to 60 days in jail. In February 2008, he was found guilty of six departmental counts, including vehicular assault and DWI. He was forced to retire in March 2008, but kept most of his pension. Eight months later, he drove a 2000 Lincoln Navigator the wrong way on the FDR and hit an oncoming car. He was again charged with driving drunk. In May, 12 years after the first incident, Goldin told his sad story in court at Mejia's sentencing. Then it was Stone's turn. "I can't fault you directly for the coverup of the cops because they all did it; they kept you away from any form of Breathalyzer while you were in the hospital after you hit [Goldin]," he said. Then Stone ripped into the other cops. "Your friends on the [NYPD], certainly, you know, gave you a bye till this point ... for you to pay the piper." Mejia got a year in jail for the FDR crash. It's unknown if any of the cops involved in the 1998 "coverup" were punished. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne refused to comment. Prosecutors declined to discuss the case. Houvener and Olivella would not comment. They remain on the force; Houvener has been promoted to sergeant.