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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Judge Tells Cops to Stop Harassing Women

After Panhandler Says Police Harassed Her, a Judge Tells Them to Stop
The New York Times by Colin Moynihan - August 29, 2011

On Fifth Avenue, somewhere between the University Club and Tiffany, Sojourner Hardeman sat before an empty storefront recently, displaying a cardboard sign that detailed her abilities as a typist and her familiarity with computer software. She advertised “very reasonable rates (expenses low),” adding, “all assistance appreciated.” Her presence amid the high rents of Fifth Avenue may have surprised some, but then, Ms. Hardeman, 42, possesses what amounts to a Do Not Harass card. After leaving a job last August and becoming homeless in September, Ms. Hardeman began panhandling on Fifth Avenue. One afternoon in March, she said, police officers arrested her there and detained her in a precinct station house before releasing her without charges. The arrest led to a lawsuit, filed in May in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The lawsuit has not been resolved, but she has already taken a small measure of victory.

On Aug. 12, a federal judge in Manhattan approved a stipulation between the City of New York and Ms. Hardeman: the city agreed not to arrest or issue a summons to her, unless there was probable cause that she had broken the law. In addition, the city agreed that it would instruct officers in the Midtown North Precinct on the definition of the disorderly conduct statute by Sept. 15. The stipulation came after Ms. Hardeman complained to the judge that she had been harassed several times by police officers after she filed the lawsuit. Although it is a matter of standard law that no person should be arrested without probable cause, the fact that Ms. Hardeman managed to secure a judge-approved stipulation was something of a feat. Ms. Hardeman referred to her style of solicitation as “passive panhandling,” involving little more than sitting quietly and letting her cardboard sign do the talking for her. “I never broke the law,” she said, describing her time on Fifth Avenue. There is a law against aggressive panhandling, but Ms. Hardeman’s lawyer, David B. Rankin, said other ways of asking for money were “clearly constitutionally protected.” The lawsuit stemmed from an encounter in late March. Ms. Hardeman said two officers asked her for identification. She told them she had none, and the officers arrested her. She was taken to the Midtown North Precinct station house, where she remained for about five hours until the police released her without filing charges, she said. Two months later, Ms. Hardeman filed a lawsuit asserting that the arresting officers had violated her 4th and 14th Amendment rights. Two days later, court papers said, a police sergeant called her on her cellphone asking to discuss the case. Ms. Hardeman said she referred the sergeant to her lawyer.

According to Ms. Hardeman’s complaint, officers approached her four times in July and ordered her to leave the spot in front of the empty storefront, at one point, saying: “You can’t be here. This is Fifth Avenue.” Each time, Ms. Hardeman said, she refused to leave. On one occasion, officers handed her a disorderly conduct summons, saying she was blocking pedestrians. On another occasion, she said, officers briefly handcuffed her and placed her in the back of a police car before issuing another disorderly conduct summons. “Midtown sidewalks are high-volume arteries, and blocking pedestrian traffic can cause safety issues,” Philip Frank, assistant corporation counsel at the city’s Law Department, said in a statement. “The stipulation simply indicates that Ms. Hardeman will not be arrested without probable cause. That’s the law for everyone.” Ms. Hardeman denied that she had blocked pedestrians, saying that the recessed area she sits in is 20 inches deep and that she takes up only 10 inches of a 16-foot-wide sidewalk. Sam J. Miller, the lead organizer with an advocacy group, Picture the Homeless, said he had heard many complaints from homeless people, accusing the police of arbitrarily issuing them disorderly conduct summonses. “We have found hundreds of incidents of the police using disorderly conduct wrongly against homeless folks,” Mr. Miller said, adding that many of those charges were later dismissed or could not be substantiated. Ms. Hardeman said she had been homeless off again on again for about 20 years. She said she quit a job as an assistant at a law firm last August, hoping to find something more fulfilling. A month later, she said, she lost a rented room in the South Bronx. For a while, she worked in Times Square, selling tickets to a comedy club. Then, in March, her resources and stamina depleted, she arrived on Fifth Avenue with a plastic milk crate and her sign. On a good day there, she said, she can collect enough for necessities: a MetroCard, a rented storage space, the phone bill and some food. Ms. Hardeman said she did not relish the disagreements with the police. But, she added, after losing her home in the Bronx, she was unwilling to walk away from her post on Fifth Avenue. “I’m not planning for this to be a career,” she said as she sat on her crate, watching the passers-by. “I’m just trying to meet expenses.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cop Arrested During Sex Sting

Phoenix Police Officer Accused of Soliciting for Sex
KSAZ Fox 10 - KUTP My45 - MyFoxPhoenix.com - August 29, 2011

EL PASO, Texas - A Phoenix Police officer has been arrested in El Paso, Texas. The officer was busted during a prostitution sting. Officer Sheldon Czegledi is accused of trying to pay an undercover deputy for sex on Friday night. El Paso County Sheriff's deputies say Czegledi tried to pay an undercover deputy $45 for sex. That undercover deputy was walking down the street when she claims Czegledi drove up to her and agreed to meet her at a motel. At the motel, he allegedly gave her a $5 deposit for sex, and then left to go to an ATM. He was pulled over on his way. According to El Paso sheriff's deputies, he pleaded with them to let him go, that his wife would leave him, and that he'd lose his job. He then allegedly asked to speak to a supervisor and revealed he was an off-duty Phoenix Police officer. Czegledi has worked for the Phoenix Police Department for 14 years. He's currently a patrol officer for the central city precinct. The Phoenix Police department has since launched an internal investigation. They just found out about the arrest Monday afternoon -- so no decision yet on whether Czegledi will be placed on leave or desk duty. Authorities in El Paso will handle the criminal part of the investigation. Czegledi was one of 17 people arrested during the sting. He posted a $300 bond and it's not clear when his next court date will be.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Police Chief Accused of Retaliation in On-Duty Drunk Cop Probe

New Castle lieutenant: Police chief took his post in retaliation for probe of drunk cop
The Journal News by Elizabeth Ganga - August 27, 2011

NEW CASTLE, NY — A police lieutenant is accusing Police Chief Charles Ferry of stripping him of command over the internal affairs and patrol divisions of the New Castle Police Department after he investigated a sergeant who came to work drunk and was driving around town in a marked police car. Lt. Marc Simmons filed a legal challenge against the town in June in state Supreme Court asking a judge to restore him to his former positions and directing the town to refer the sergeant's case to the district attorney or attorney general for investigation. The lawsuit alleges that on Nov. 11 on-duty police officers told Simmons that a sergeant had reported for work "in an intoxicated state, and that the Sergeant was driving himself around New Castle in an official NCPD radio motor patrol car." Other subordinate officers tried to stop the sergeant, who is not named in Simmons' petition, from going on patrol, the court papers say, but he stayed out until ordered back to headquarters by Simmons. As head of internal affairs, Simmons investigated the incident and filed a report Dec. 14, the papers say. On Dec. 23, Simmons found that he had been locked out of the Personnel Investigations section of the police computer system and was told he was no longer head of internal affairs. Ferry had taken over the job, the lawsuit says. On Jan. 11, the papers say, Ferry removed Simmons as head of the patrol division. Simmons claims the reduction in his position in the department was retaliation for reporting the sergeant. There are seven patrol sergeants and one detective sergeant in the 46-member department. New Castle, which is being represented by Hodges Walsh & Slater, has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that Simmons was never head of internal affairs but only one officer the chief assigned cases to. The town's attorneys also argued that Simmons did not file a union grievance as required before turning to the court and that he wasn't demoted but simply reassigned from the command of the patrol division to special services. "The chief has to be allowed to make personnel moves," said John Walsh, who is representing the town. Also, according to papers filed by the town based on Ferry's explanation of events, Simmons determined the officer was not intoxicated and allowed the sergeant to drive home. The sergeant was disciplined within the department through a stipulation of settlement and letter of reprimand. A decision on the motion to dismiss is expected in September. Ferry could not be reached Friday. Simmons and his lawyer, Craig Penn, did not return calls seeking comment.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

TSA Employee Charged With Lewdness Involving Minor

DA charges Spring Creek man with lewdness
The Elko Daily Free Press by Jared DuBach - August 26, 2011

SPRING CREEK, NV — A city officer arrested a Spring Creek man Wednesday morning at the Elko Area Regional Airport, where he works for the Transportation Security Administration, on a warrant charging six counts of lewdness with a child. The Elko County Sheriff’s Office was notified in July of possible sexual contact between David Ralph Anderson, 61, and a girl younger than 14. According to Elko Justice Court records, the victim told investigators that on seven to 10 occasions between 2010 and this year, Anderson allegedly taught the victim about various sexual acts and had sexual contact in the form of touching each other’s genitals. Investigators reported Anderson also told the girl to sleep in his bed and taught her to say various vulgar words associated with body parts and sexual activities. In addition, the girl stated he would rub lotion all over her body, placed his hand up her shirt to touch her breasts, had her watch pornographic films with him, encouraged her to consume alcohol and would French kiss her. Deputy District Attorney Tyler Ingram submitted a warrant request to Elko Justice of the Peace Al Kacin on Aug. 23, which was granted along with an objection to any reduction of bail. Anderson, who is a TSA employee according to Elko County Jail records, is being held on $250,000 bail.

Ex-Cop Sees Dead Wife's Family in Court

Ex-cop Coello's court appearance brings outbursts from slain wife Adovasio's family
The Journal News by Rebecca Baker - August 27, 2011

NEW YORK — Eddy Coello was only in court for a few minutes Friday, but his appearance was an emotional one for the family of his wife, whom he is accused of killing. Tina Adovasio's former mother-in-law wept when Coello was brought out, handcuffed in an orange jumpsuit from the Department of Corrections. Another female family member yelled "Coward!" as he was escorted out of the courtroom. Coello, an ex-New York City police officer, showed no emotion at the outburst, or any part of his brief appearance in the Bronx County courthouse, where Coello's lawyer and a prosecutor updated the judge on their progress of exchanging evidence and information, known in legal terms as discovery. Judge Miriam Best set his next court appearance for Oct. 26. Coello, 38, is charged with second-degree murder. He is accused of killing Adovasio in the Bronx, where they lived, and dumping her badly beaten body in the woods near the Mohansic Golf Course, off the Taconic State Parkway in Yorktown. Adovasio was divorcing Coello. Her family said he had repeatedly abused her. Coello left the NYPD in 2000 while being investigated for domestic violence with another woman. Prosecutors have said physical evidence, surveillance video and Coello's own words would show that he strangled his wife late March 11 or early March 12, carried away her body and then dumped it in Yorktown. Adovasio, 40, worked as a maternity nurse at Sound Shore Medical Center. She had four children, including a 5-year-old daughter with Coello. The girl is living with Adovasio's parents in Dutchess County. Her other children, ages 11, 15 and 16, are living with their father.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Former Weathercaster Says Cops Duped Her Into False Confession

Former weathercaster Heidi Jones charges she was duped into false confession in Central Park assault
The New York Daily News by Melissa Grace - August 25, 2011

Former WABC-TV weather gal Heidi Jones has filed new court papers that say she was duped into falsely confessing that she faked an assault in Central Park. Cops promised Jones that if she signed a statement, her bosses wouldn't find out and her career would be saved, defense lawyer Paul Callan charged Thursday. Callan is trying to get a judge to toss misdemeanor charges against Jones. The lawyer wrote in the court filing that police also said they would make her claim that she was attacked by a "Hispanic" man last fall disappear. "[She was] advised that if she would just sign a confession incorporating the specific words and ideas of the lead detective, he would make sure that the 'confession' would never be seen by anyone other than his 'bosses' at [the] NYPD, and possibly the District Attorney's Office," Callan wrote. Callan said cops told Jones eight out of 10 sex-crime allegations turn out to be false or are not prosecutable, but none of the accusers are ever charged.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Charged Rapist Cop Investigated For Being Serial Rapist

NYPD investigating whether Officer Michael Pena, charged in teacher's rape, is a serial rapist
The New York Daily News by Bob Kappstatter - August 25, 2011

The NYPD is investigating whether a cop busted for allegedly attacking a school teacher in upper Manhattan last week is a serial rapist. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made the startling disclosure Thursday when asked about Officer Michael Pena. "Investigators have picked out some [cases] that they think have the potential of having been perpetrated by this individual," Kelly said. Police released few details on the other attacks, saying only that they happened during the three years Pena has been on the force. Kelly didn't say where the other unsolved sex assaults occurred. Prosecutors said Pena, 27, was drunk about 6:45 a.m. on Aug. 19 when he approached a woman and asked her for directions. They said the off-duty cop showed the 25-year-old Bronx teacher his department-issued 9-mm handgun. "You're coming with me," he told the woman, according to police sources. The woman was dragged behind a building in Inwood and raped, police said. Officers from the 34th Precinct said they arrived to find the cop and the woman dressed, his gun on the ground. Pena, held on $500,000 bail, was indicted Wednesday. Assigned to the 33rd Precinct, the three-year cop has been suspended from the NYPD. Since the arrest, investigators have been checking DNA and police sketches for possible connections to other rapes. Kelly called the rape "a very, very disturbing case," and said the department has also been scrutinizing Pena's department records and his screening process. "I met with psychologists, the head of applicant processing - everyone that was involved with his coming into the department," Kelly said. "We found nothing remarkable, nothing exceptional in his background, that in hindsight should have been done." Kelly said it was "very disturbing that anyone with that tendency, or that potential, that capability at all, is a member of the New York City Police Department." rkappstatter@nydailynews.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Border Lawmen Lured To Dark Side By Cartels

Border lawmen lured to dark side by cartels
The Houston Chronicle by Dane Schiller - August 19, 2011

Nine South Texas lawmen have been charged or sent to prison in the past 16 months for using their badges to sneak drugs or guns through the U.S.-Mexico border region from Laredo to Brownsville. Two are brothers. Another recruited an officer he has known since fifth grade. And a former McAllen policeman was finally sent to a federal penitentiary in December after escaping five years ago from the East Hidalgo Detention Center. The lawmen's downfalls, an indication of growing corruption prosecutions, are all linked to Mexico's lucrative drug cartels, which long have sought to infiltrate not only federal border guards but local officers patrolling U.S. towns along the Rio Grande. "I thought we knew these people like the back of our hand," said Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza. "But then again, if you look at the back of your hand every five years, it changes." Laredo officer Orlando Hale hyperventilated when federal agents showed him photographs of him meeting with a supposed cocaine trafficker he aided by escorting loads through the city, court records show. So began a nightmare for Hale, whose parents are law-enforcement veterans. He was convicted by a jury and got 24 years. Others who got busted include police officers, deputies and constables, as well as one high-ranking official, Sullivan City's police chief. None of the corruption cases appears to involve the classic cartel threat of offering "silver or lead," the practice of demanding the target "take our money and live, or turn us down and die." The tactic has devoured police departments in Mexico. Instead, interviews and court records and testimony show the South Texas cases often involve one officer at a time pulled to the dark side by friends, family or associates offering quick cash. "If you are a local person, you are going to have friends and relatives in the community and know people on both sides of the border," said Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. "They are going to know someone, who knows someone, and take a shot." "Once they have crossed that line, there is no sympathy," said McCraw, an El Paso native. Hale testified that agents lured him to a Laredo hotel with a bogus burglary call, then said they knew what he'd done. "They kept on telling me multiple times that I wasn't going to see my kids or my wife for life," Hale said, according to a transcript.

Stings keep working

Hale, 28, is to be released from prison in 2032. He claims he was set up by fellow officer Pedro Martinez III, whom he knew since childhood. Martinez testified against Hale as part of a plea deal and got six years. Martinez's father, who died in a suspicious suicide, was apparently a drug dealer who lured his son into the business. Martinez drove his squad car to escort what he thought was 44 pounds of cocaine. The drugs were a sham. The dealers were federal agents and government informants running a sting. Such tricks have worked repeatedly. Pharr police officer Jaime Beas was busted for using his vehicle to escort a load of cocaine and for his involvement in a scheme to ship a grenade, semiautomatic rifles and body armor to Mexico. Authorities went after Beas when he was turned in by an uncle in the military who said he repeatedly was approached about equipment. Most recently, Webb County deputy constable Eduardo Garcia was indicted for allegedly taking bribes to help traffickers.

'Throwing around money'

Garcia is accused of protecting loads and using a police database to check the license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles to determine whether they belonged to law enforcement agencies spying on the traffickers. Like most officers charged, Garcia is not accused of pocketing a fortune. If anything, he sold his badge cheaply. He supposedly checked a license plate for $200 and transported cocaine for $500. Garcia's lawyer could not be reached for comment. Tim Braaten, head of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards, said bribe-takers ultimately expose themselves. "It is usually women, cars, booze, gold and clothes. You'll see it," Braaten said. "You see them throwing around money they didn't previously have." Francisco Meza Rojas, who escaped from the Hidalgo jail, was accused of drug trafficking but fled to Mexico after he and five other inmates broke out with the help of a corrupt corrections officer, as well as using a homemade knife to overpower a guard. In December, Meza was sentenced to 27 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Teresa Hultz, head of the public corruption squad for the FBI's Houston Division, said going after law officers suspected of corruption is often more challenging than catching more traditional criminals. Corrupt officers are familiar with the techniques used to catch them, and there are plenty of supposed informants who come up with bogus information trying to smear reputations. "We don't take the allegations lightly, and we are very, very careful in how we handle them," Hultz said. "You get a drop in your stomach when you know it is true." dane.schiller@chron.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Allegations of Police Captain Misconduct

Lawsuits Produce More Allegations Of Misconduct By New Britain Police Captain
The Hartford Courant by Don Stacom - August 24, 2011
Woman Says He Repeatedly Had Sex With Her While On Duty

NEW BRITAIN, CT — In a deposition taken in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city police, a woman claims that about 15 years ago a police officer — now a top commander — frequently had sex with her while he was on duty. In the deposition, Michelle Drenski claims that Anthony Paventi, who was a patrol officer at the time, met her for consensual sex while on duty and in uniform, sometimes showing up in a marked patrol car. Paventi, now a captain, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. In previous court documents, the city has denied any harassment by police commanders. Drenski, of New Britain, acknowledged that the relationship was consensual and that she never lodged any complaint with police or city officials at the time. She said she came forward with the story after reading that several current or former female police officers are pursuing federal lawsuits against Paventi and other commanders alleging sexual harassment and discrimination. Paventi, one of the top four commanders in the 140-member department, heads the professional standards division and oversees internal affairs complaints.

In the deposition taken Aug. 2, Drenski said Paventi asked her for a date after she met him at police headquarters 14 or 15 years ago. She said that over the next few months they had sex at several locations when Paventi was on duty, including on the hood of a patrol car at Martha Hart Park and in the bathroom of Holy Cross School when Paventi was working at the school carnival. She said she broke up with him when he tried to take her to a Berlin Turnpike motel with a second woman. During the deposition, Assistant Corporation Counsel Irena Urbaniak asked Drenski if she'd be willing to tell her story to police internal affairs investigators. Chief William Gagliardi on Tuesday did not return a call to answer whether police are looking into Drenski's accusations or who would handle the investigation. Typically Paventi would be in charge of such cases. One of the plaintiffs in the sexual harassment lawsuit, veteran Officer Paula Keller, said that Paventi sent unwelcome "personal" text messages two years ago, and that she was passed over for special assignments after rejecting his advances. She has also accused Gagliardi and Capt. Dennis Beatty, the patrol division commander, of violating New Britain's "zero-tolerance" sex harassment policy by refusing to investigate or discipline Paventi. Some police officers have said the department's command staff has allowed a culture of bias, sexual harassment and favoritism by supervisors who target out-of-favor officers for discipline while covering for friends. Mayor Timothy Stewart has said that's not true. Keller's attorney, Kelly Rommel, said Drenski's story indicates a pattern of behavior by Paventi, but didn't elaborate. Rommel, a partner of attorney Norm Pattis, represents all four female plaintiffs and a patrol sergeant in their suits against the city and police department. dstacom@courant.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rape Cop Says He's Targeted By Angry DA

Cop accused of rape says he is being targeted because jury acquitted officers in high-profile case
The New York Daily News by Jennifer H. Cunningham - August 22, 2011

Officer Michael Pena is accused of pointing his department-issued 9-mm. at a 25-year-old Bronx school teacher while off duty Friday morning and raping her behind an Inwood apartment building. The cop arrested for raping a woman at gunpoint fears the Manhattan District Attorney will throw the book at him because a jury acquitted two other cops accused of rape earlier this year. "The DA is arresting cops, indicting cops," Michael Pena told the Daily News on Sunday from a glass-enclosed pen in the visiting room at Rikers Island. "They're trying to make an example out of me." Pena, who wore a gray jail jumpsuit and five o'clock shadow, would not directly address the charges against him, saying his lawyer told him not to comment on specifics of the case. "There's a lot I want to say about this," he said. "Eventually, the truth will come out." He added, "Everything's not black and white. There are shades of gray." Pena, 27, is accused of pointing his department-issued 9-mm. at a 25-year-old Bronx school teacher while off duty Friday morning and raping her behind an Inwood apartment building. He is being held on $1 million bond. Pena said his personal and professional career were "picture perfect" prior to the rape charge. The patrolman said he comes from a decent family, had never been in trouble before and dreamed of moving up the ranks of the NYPD. "Everything was fine - perfect - before that day," Pena said. He teared up when he spoke of how the allegations and media attention have embarrassed his family, his friends and co-workers. "It's unfortunate," he said. Pena said he'd been at Rikers since Saturday night. He said "I'm all right" when asked how he was coping in jail. He said he has not seen the newspaper or TV reports about the alleged assault. Pena said he told his lawyer everything, as well as representatives from Internal Affairs. The cop's father, Persios Pena, insisted his son had been framed. "The only thing I know is my son is innocent," he said through the door of his central Harlem apartment. "I know my son is a very wonderful man. The truth will come out. I know that 100%. He's not that kind of person." In May, NYPD officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno were acquitted of charges they raped a drunk woman in her East Village apartment, despite evidence they entered her apartment four times in one night. It was a black eye for new Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who faces new embarrassment Monday when he may be forced to drop high-profile rape charges against former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. jcunningham@nydailynews.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cop Tickets 215 Phantom Motorists

Officer Tickets 215 Phantom Motorists For Seatbelt Violation
TheCarConnection.com - August 20, 2011

Across the U.S., in every state in the union (except New Hampshire), hundreds of drivers are ticketed each day for not wearing their seatbelts. In New Orleans, however, at least 215 of those tickets have gone to "phantom motorists", allowing one enterprising police officer to nab some extra pay.

A little backstory - In June, the New Orleans Police Department received a federal grant that provides overtime pay to officers who help enforce seatbelt laws. Police salaries being what they are, the grant drew the attention of many officers, including one Glenn Gross. Gross apparently issued the 215 tickets to "phantom motorists" in three months since the grant funds were awarded. Details of how he accomplished that feat haven't been released, but since he works in the department's information technology division -- or did, until he was arrested yesterday -- it sounds as if he could have created them from the relative comfort of his desk. Eventually, one of Gross' supervisors became suspicious and reported him to the Public Integrity Bureau, which conducted an investigation.

From a New Orleans perspective - I've lived in New Orleans for most of my life, and the NOPD has always seemed to be in some kind of hot water, usually over allegations of corruption. We saw that play out on the world stage almost six years ago, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when certain officers pilfered Cadillacs from a local dealer -- and, more brutally, in the high-profile killings of civilians on the Danziger Bridge during that same period. In 2010, however, we elected Mitch Landrieu as our mayor. Despite the fact that he comes from a long line of politicians -- his father, Moon, was mayor of New Orleans in the 1970s, and his sister, Mary, is a U.S. Senator -- Mitch is a reformer. He's definitely cut from different cloth than any other mayor in recent history, and he seems hellbent on transparency and efficiency. He and his new police superintendent, Ronald Serpas, have taken heat for this and that, but no more so than any other politician. That's not an attempt to excuse the actions of officer Gross (a 22-year veteran on the force) or his fellow officers who committed crimes in the wake of Katrina. It's only to say that, while there are still plenty of folks out there looking to make an extra buck -- in every field and industry -- there seems to be a push here and elsewhere to clean up things. Now, buckle up, and watch out for phantom motorists.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

NYPD Officer From Yonkers Accused of Rape

NYPD Officer From Yonkers Accused of Rape
The Associated Press - August 21, 2011

NEW YORK — An off-duty New York City police officer accused of raping a teacher is being held on bail of $500,000 cash or $1 million bond. Officer Michael Pena, who the New York Times said lives in Yonkers, was arraigned Saturday in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of first-degree rape, criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault. His defense attorney could not immediately be reached by telephone. Pena is accused of grabbing the 25-year-old woman off a residential street, showing her a gun and raping her in a backyard. He was arrested Friday by officers after police say a witness saw through her window that something was happening in the backyard and called 911. Pena has been suspended without pay. He is an officer in the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights. The alleged rape took place in the neighboring Inwood section.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Off-Duty Cop Arrested for Raping School Teacher

Off-duty NYPD cop arrested mid-crime, charged with raping school teacher at gunpoint
The New York Daily News by Kerry Wills, John Doyle and Rocco Parascandola - August 19, 2011

A drunken, off-duty cop threatened a teacher at gunpoint Friday, forced her into the backyard of an upper Manhattan building and raped her, cops said. "Be careful. He has a gun," the 25-year-old victim told officers who responded to a 911 call from a neighbor. Police confirmed that the suspect in the attack on the 25-year-old woman was Officer Michael Pena, 27, a 3-year NYPD veteran. Pena was charged with rape and immediately suspended without pay. A source said that he had an "unremarkable record" on the force, DNAinfo.com reports. The woman was heading to work when Officer Michael Pena stopped her about 6:15 a.m. on the street in Inwood, police said. The cop, reeking of booze and wearing a red shirt and casual clothes, asked for directions to the No. 1 train and demanded she show him the way, police said. When she balked, he put his arm around her, opened his jacket to display his 9-mm. handgun and led her away, sources said. "You're coming with me," he told the woman, said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman. "She knew he had a gun. She saw it on his hip and later in his hand." Several blocks later, the assailant forced the woman down a driveway and behind a building on Park Terrace West, where he raped her, police said. A woman in a nearby building said she heard the attack and called 911 twice in 10 minutes. "The first time I suspected it was not consensual," she told the Daily News. "The second time because I saw a gun." She said the weapon dropped out of the suspect's pants and he bent over to pick it up. When cops showed up, the woman and Pena were clothed and standing up. His 9-mm. handgun was on the ground. "He raped me," she told police as she ran up to them. The officers tackled Pena, 27, who had his NYPD shield and ID card in his pocket. They comforted the woman, who wore a black dress, offering her a chair as she calmly recounted what happened, a witness said. She was treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia. A three-year veteran assigned to the 33rd Precinct, Pena was charged with forcible rape and suspended without pay. He said nothing as he was led, head hung low, from the 34th Precinct stationhouse - clad in a Tyvek suit used to capture forensic evidence, such as hair. Even in a neighborhood where crime has spiked this year, Inwood residents were stunned. "It's just unbelievable," said Andre Lopes, 52. "It's like a little piece of paradise here, and then, to wake up to this scene - it's scary." State Sen. Andriano Espaillat, who lives on the block, said the rape is especially troubling because of other recent sex attacks in the area. With Rhema Thompson - rparascandola@nydailynews.com

Friday, August 19, 2011

Judge Calls Deputy's Harassment of Neighbor 'Atrocious Conduct'

Judge Calls Deputy's Harassment of Neighbor 'Atrocious Conduct'
The New York Law Journal by John Caher - August 19, 2011

A deputy sheriff who undertook a campaign of harassment against a neighbor he thought was a pedophile has been hit with a default judgment by a federal judge who termed the officer's alleged behavior "outrageous, atrocious conduct that is utterly intolerable in a civilized society." The complaint against Monroe County Deputy Sheriff Michael Hildreth, who has since been convicted of eavesdropping and official misconduct and fired, alleges that he: publicly accused his neighbor of being a pedophile; told the neighbor's employer he was a pedophile; wrongly used his position as a deputy sheriff to launch an investigation; tricked the neighbor into installing spyware on his computer so he could track his activities; ordered the man to leave the neighborhood; and taped a rotting fish head to the neighbor's car. Since Mr. Hildreth did not answer the complaint or dispute the allegations, Western District U.S. Judge Michael A. Telesca assumed the allegations are true and issued a default judgment and referred the matter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman for a hearing on damages. However, in Missel v. County of Monroe, 10-cv-6380, Judge Telesca dismissed much of the complaint, in which James Missel alleged that Mr. Hildreth continues to harass him with the assistance of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department. The saga apparently dates to 2005, when Mr. Missel was working with several agencies that provided services to children and Deputy Hildreth told the employers that Mr. Missel was a pedophile, according to the complaint. Mr. Missel contends that Deputy Hildreth, posing as a woman interested in children's causes, sent him an e-mail with an attachment which, when opened, installed a program called "eBlaster" on his computer and enabled the police officer to monitor all of his computer activity. Mr. Missel brought those concerns to the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, which conducted an investigation that resulted in several charges, including eavesdropping and official misconduct, against then Deputy Hildreth. After the deputy's conviction, he was fired. Mr. Missel then sued the county, sheriff and Mr. Hildreth alleging a violation of his civil rights. The court, finding no indication that the county defendants ignored Deputy Hildreth's behavior, dismissed the action. Eight months later, Mr. Missel filed the latest action, alleging continued harassment by the deputy and retaliation by the county for filing the 2007 lawsuit. Judge Telesca found no liability on the part of the county defendants. "Indeed, the facts alleged in the complaint establish that Hildreth was arrested or subjected to court proceedings several times for violations of probation or criminal activity directed at Missel," the judge wrote. "Accordingly, the alleged facts stated in the complaint fail to plausibly suggest that the County allowed Hildreth to harass Missel in retaliation for Missel having filed a lawsuit against the County." The court did, however, uphold Mr. Missel's claim against Deputy Hildreth for intentional infliction of emotional distress in a decision dated Aug. 17. Christina A. Agola of Brighton, Monroe County, represents Mr. Missel. The county was defended by Michele Romance Crain of the county legal department. John Caher can be reached at jcaher@alm.com.

Border Corruption Cases Grow

Border corruption cases grow
The Arizona Daily Star by Brady McCombs - August 16, 2011
Patrol's surge in hiring, drug gangs' stepped-up infiltration efforts seen as factors

A few months after he first donned the green uniform of the Border Patrol, agent Yamilkar Fierros aroused suspicions by asking others about technology used to catch smugglers. The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general investigated, and with help from the FBI, discovered that the rookie agent from Tucson was taking bribes from smugglers. For a total of $5,500 and on at least four occasions, he served up sensor maps, trail maps, landmarks and terminology used by the Border Patrol. Fierros was charged with bribery in October 2009 - just seven months after he began working in the Border Patrol's Sonoita station. In May 2011, the agent, now 27, was convicted and sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $5,500. Fierros is one of 127 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees who have been arrested across the nation on corruption, bribery or civil-rights charges since fiscal year 2004. That's a tiny fraction of the agency's 58,981 employees, but the cases are on the rise. The number of cases against Customs and Border Protection employees initiated each year by the Homeland Security Inspector General has more than doubled from fiscal year 2004 to 2010. Complaints lodged against the agency's employees increased by 38 percent in that span. The increase has coincided with an unprecedented hiring boom set into motion during the mid-2000s that doubled the size of the Border Patrol and increased the total number of employees in Customs and Border Protection by 44 percent. The agency includes green-clad Border Patrol agents who patrol between legal entry points as well as blue-clad Customs and Border Protection officers who inspect people and goods at the official border ports of entry. The agency is paying for shortcuts taken during the hiring boom, said former Border Patrol agent Lee Morgan, who retired in 2006 after 31 years as a federal law-enforcement official with the Justice, Treasury and Homeland Security departments. "This is just such a tarnish on the badge of the U.S. Border Patrol," said Morgan, who lives in Cochise County. The agency takes each breach of integrity seriously and acknowledges mistakes made during the accelerated hiring from 2006 to 2008, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin said in recent Senate testimony. "We pride ourself on being a family. However, when of our own strays into criminality, we do not forgive him or her," Bersin said on June 9 in front of a Senate committee. "This breach of trust is something we do not stand for." The powerful Mexican drug organizations have stepped up efforts to infiltrate the agency as they become more desperate to get people and drugs across a border that has more agents, barriers and technology, he said. Yet, the vast majority of employees exhibit commitment, bravery, vigilance and integrity, he said. The Mexican government's 4-year-old crackdown on drug gangs - an effort aided by the U.S. - is likely more responsible for the increase in corruption than any errors made by the agency during the hiring boom, said Susan Ginsburg, member of the 9/11 Commission and nonresident fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute, a centrist think tank. "They've responded by becoming more aggressive in their efforts with border officials," Ginsburg said. Customs and Border Protection has actually moved intelligently and aggressively to set up systems to spot corruption and react quickly, Ginsburg said. That includes increasing its internal affairs staff to 624 people, up from 162 in 2006. It also includes implementing behavioral science and analytical-research methods to flag potential corruption, she said. More safeguards are coming. Under a bill passed by Congress in 2010, Customs and Border Protection will give lie-detector tests to all applicants for enforcement jobs beginning January 2013. This fiscal year, the agency has polygraphed 22 percent of applicants, Bersin said in Senate testimony.

Here are some examples of arrests of Customs and Border Protection employees in Arizona:

• Earlier this month in Douglas, a Border Patrol agent working in Arizona on temporary assignment was arrested by Douglas police on suspicion of stealing a woman's purse and using her credit cards to buy $231 in merchandise at Walmart. The agent, Teofilo Rodarte, 32, was sent back to his home base of El Paso to do administrative duties pending resolution of the case, which is also being investigated by Homeland Security's Inspector General.

• Customs and Border Protection officer Jose Carmelo MagaƱa, 46, pleaded guilty to taking money to allow illegal immigrants through his lane at the San Luis Port of Entry in 2007, court records show.

• Officer Henry Gauani, 41, coordinated with smugglers to allow loads of ecstasy to go unchecked through his lane at the San Luis Port of Entry in exchange for $33,000 paid to him from 2008 to 2009, court records show.

• Fierros, the 27-year old agent who worked in Sonoita, accepted bribes of between $1,000 to $3,000, records show. One time, he took $3,000 to provide a suspected drug smuggler with a list of 109 Border Patrol sensor locations in Sonoita. Another time, he accepted $1,500 from a drug smuggler in exchange for a list of 65 sensor locations in the Sonoita area and for agreeing to make sure a drug load made it unscathed from Patagonia to Tucson.

• Yuma Border Patrol agent Michael Angelo Atondo, 35, was caught on April 4 by fellow agents in a remote area of the border with 44 bundles of marijuana weighing 745 pounds in his service vehicle, court records show. Atondo was supposed to be working near Wellton on Interstate 8, but the agents found him at the border after going to see what set off a sensor there, records show. His marked Border Patrol vehicle was backed up to the border fence with two SUVs backed up to the fence on the Mexican side of the border, records show. They also say he was standing outside of his vehicle with his uniform on, but without his name tape on his shirt. He has been indicted for importing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and faces 5 to 40 years in prison.

• Border Patrol agents Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, are charged with violating people's civil rights on Nov. 12, 2008, in a remote stretch of border on the Tohono O'odham Nation, according to an indictment in federal court. The agents encountered four Mexican men who were part of larger group of drug smugglers. Instead of apprehending them, the agents forced them to eat marijuana and strip to their underwear. The agents set fire to their belongings and told the men to flee into the desert on a night when temperatures were about 40 degrees, the indictment shows.

Steps to prevent corruption

Three-quarters of the 127 Customs and Border Protection employees arrested since 2004 were for "mission-compromising acts of corruption," Bersin said. The cases, which include bribery, trafficking drugs and release of sensitive law-enforcement information, take top priority at DHS Office of the Inspector General, Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards said in testimony to Congress in June. Fewer than half - 44 percent - of the 613 active cases as of June against Customs and Border Protection employees are corruption cases, he said. The rest are civil-rights charges, or suspicious activities such as personal relationships or misuse of government credit cards. The inspector general's 213 full-time criminal investigators aren't enough to keep up with all the complaints against the 225,000 employees in the Department of Homeland Security, which includes Customs and Border Protection, Edwards said. The growth of his office - just 6 percent from 2006 to 2009 - hasn't kept up with the growth of the department, he said. The office handles all complaints about Customs and Border Protection employees, though some are referred to the CBP Office of Internal Affairs, which works with the FBI and ICE on border corruption cases. Bersin said his agency is taking steps to address corruption from within, re-investigating employees' backgrounds every five years throughout their career. But there is a backlog of 15,000 of these re-investigations due to the hiring boom, Bersin said. It's one of several challenges the agency faces in screening its employees. Customs and Border Protection also needs to hire 17 additional polygraphers to have the 52 it needs to to conduct lie detector tests on all new hires by January 2013, Bersin said. The agency knows agents and officers with insight into how the government combats smuggling attempts are prime targets of drug organizations. "Our most valuable - as well as, in some rare cases, are most vulnerable - resources," Bersin said, "are our employees." Analysts expect infiltration attempts by criminal organizations to continue, causing more corruption cases. "This will continue to be a problem, and an increasing problem," said Ginsburg, of the Migration Policy Center. "As long as there is an illegal market with virtually unlimited funds in the hands of the drug-trafficking organizations, they can be expected to use those funds to pursue their interests." Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or bmccombs@azstarnet.com

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Corrupt Cop's Best Defense: "Everybody's Lying"

Tulsa police officer says of prosecution witnesses: 'Everybody's lying'


By JARREL WADE & OMER GILLHAM World Staff Writers
Tulsa World by Jarrel Wade and Omer Gillham - August 17, 2011

The former partner of an indicted police officer testified Tuesday that every accusation made by alleged victims of wrongful searches and seizures was false. Officer Frank Khalil, the former partner of Officer Jeff Henderson, continued his testimony in defense of Henderson during the 12th day of a federal police corruption trial. "Everybody's lying," Khalil said after a prosecutor led him through the previous testimony of several witnesses. The indictment against Henderson, 38, and Officer Bill Yelton, 50, includes the names of 32 people whom prosecutors allege were wrongly incarcerated, subjected to illegal searches or had other civil rights violated. Numerous witnesses who do not know each another have made similar claims against the officers. Meanwhile, key informants for Henderson and Yelton have testified that they were not the informants the officers claim to have used to gain search warrants that led to arrests.

Defense attorneys have exposed numerous instances of inconsistent or untruthful statements by prosecution witnesses during the trial. Khalil rebutted the prosecution's claim that Henderson had used Rochelle Martin's name as a "throw-down" informant to falsify search warrants. A "throw-down" informant is one whose name is used even when that person did not supply the information. Prosecutors allege that Martin never entered the homes of drug dealers to identify drugs for sale as alleged in search warrant affidavits by Henderson and Yelton. Khalil offered detail on how he and Henderson would pick up Martin at specific locations in Tulsa and she would point out the locations of dealers' homes. Defense attorney Robert Wyatt IV questioned Khalil on several of the prosecution's most important accusations in the case, involving testimony from admitted drug dealers who allege that officers, including Henderson and Khalil, stole money while serving search warrants. Khalil, who has not been charged, denied observing or participating in any illegal activity. Khalil also testified about Henderson's and Yelton's character as police officers, saying they were "outstanding officers." "Their work is impeccable," he said. "(Henderson) is an officer that I trusted with my life and still do to this day." Khalil was questioned about how often he worked with former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden. McFadden has testified that he saw Khalil pocket money during the search of a home. Khalil denied that accusation under defense attorney questioning. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Harris then questioned Khalil about several cases in which the alleged victim of a wrongful search and seizure had appeared in court and testified about officers stealing drugs or money. For each of the witnesses who have testified - including Ryan Logsdon, Elton Shaw, Corey Smith, Jose Angel Gonzalez, Alphie McKinney and McFadden - Harris asked Khalil if they were lying. Khalil said they must be lying in regard to officers serving improper search and seizure warrants and stealing drugs or money. Khalil said Martin lied in her testimony when she said she hadn't been to McKinney's home. Under cross-examination, Khalil said that in 2002 he opened a side business known as Road Rage Motors through which he locates and purchases cars for individuals. Khalil evaded a question about a car deal with Logsdon in July 2007. Logsdon had become Khalil's and Henderson's informant earlier that year. Khalil apparently sold the car to Logsdon a few months after Khalil, Henderson and McFadden served a search warrant at Logsdon's home in Turley. Khalil and Henderson signed Logsdon up as an informant. When asked if he thought it was good police work to engage in a car deal with an informant he is supervising, Khalil said he knows of no department policy disallowing that. Sgt. Sean Larkin testified after Khalil, offering strong compliments for Henderson's police work. Larkin served about 200 search warrants with Henderson when they were police partners for several years beginning in 2001, he said. While serving those search warrants, Larkin never saw Henderson do anything illegal, he testified. Henderson developed north Tulsa sources who aided him as a police officer, Larkin said. He was asked about earlier testimony from James Fue, who said Henderson and Larkin had threatened him with a gun in 2005 to make him give them information. "That would be a completely false statement," Larkin said. "I never worked with Officer Henderson in the fall of 2005, so how could I have even been at the gun club where this supposedly happened?" On cross-examination, Larkin admitted that through his attorney he approached special prosecutors about the possibility of immunity. The attorney contacted Jane W. Duke, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. However, no agreement was reached. Neither Larkin nor Khalil is charged with a crime, but both were identified by Duke as alleged co-conspirators. Larkin testified that he and other police supervisors gave Henderson and Yelton permission to provide a tape recorder to Martin in late December 2009 or early January 2010. He said police had received information that Martin's boyfriend, Demarrio Oates, was providing untruthful information about Henderson. Larkin said he picked up a recording from Martin at a Tulsa convenience store. Martin testified during the first week of the trial that she received a recorder from Henderson and Yelton. Henderson requested that she record Oates allegedly lying about seeing Henderson make a marijuana delivery to her house, Martin had testified. Martin testified that Oates confronted her when she asked him why he "fibbed" on Henderson. Martin testified she stopped the recording at that point. On cross-examination, Larkin said Tulsa police were involved in recording Oates simply to discover the truth behind allegations against the Police Department. "But didn't you provide the recorder to help Henderson, who you knew was being investigated?" Duke asked. Larkin said: "It ultimately might have helped Officer Henderson, but we were looking to record false statements about police officers in general." The effort to get the recording during a federal investigation was not an attempt for the Police Department to intervene in the case against Henderson, he said. "I'm assuming the Police Department wants to protect their officers from false allegations," he added. Larkin also said there were numerous incidents during the federal investigation where officers tried to make contact with individuals who had made what police believed were false allegations.

Tuesday developments - More veteran police officers who were present at alleged improper searches testified that they never saw wrongdoing or illegal activity on the part of officers when the search warrants were carried out.

Key moment - Officer Frank Khalil's testimony drew a line in the sand for jurors who have heard testimony from many witnesses in the prosecution's case, which alleges that 32 people are victims. "Everybody's lying," Khalil told the court under cross-examination. A majority of the 32 alleged victims are convicted or admitted drug dealers.

Key testimony - Sean Larkin testified that police supervisors gave Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton permission to give informant Rochelle Martin a tape recorder, which she used to get evidence that her boyfriend, Demarrio Oates, was giving untruthful information about Henderson. Oates denied lying about Henderson, according to previous testimony by Martin. Prosecutors allege that the testimony raises questions about police officers' involvement in gaining evidence to assist officers who are the target of the federal investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke questioned Larkin on why the department would assist officers during the investigation. Larkin testified that the Police Department wants to protect its officers from "false allegations." Larkin also said there were other incidents - not just with Oates - where police tried to contact individuals making allegations. Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367 Omer Gillham 918-581-8301, jarrel.wade@tulsaworld.com omer.gillham@tulsaworld.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Feds Bust Detective in String of Robberies

Feds nab veteran NYPD Detective Kyron Collins in string of robberies
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola and Joe Kemp - August 17, 2011

An NYPD detective has been busted by the feds in a months-long string of robberies, sources said Tuesday night. Federal agents collared Detective Kyron Collins, 39, about 9 a.m. Monday after a probe by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, sources said. According to court documents obtained by WPIX 11, Collins and two others used a gun, a knife and even bogus search warrants along with his NYPD shield in a string of robberies that began in October 2010. The crooks robbed "individuals in contraband cigarettes" and others at various locations in Manhattan and the Bronx, the papers show. On July 26, Collins allegedly swiped $7,000 in cash from under a victim's mattress, the papers show. Surveillance videos and cell phone records later linked the trio to the crimes. Collins, a 16-year vet assigned to the 52nd Precinct in the Bronx, was charged with one count of robbery. A relative declined to comment on Collins' arrest Tuesday night.

Drop in Public Corruption Complaints Follow Probe

TPD sees drop in public complaints in wake of corruption probe
Tulsa World by Curtis Killman - August 14, 2011

The number of complaints lodged by the public against the Tulsa Police Department decreased after federal officials began investigating the department and other local law enforcement, according to a Tulsa World analysis of police data. Some say the reasons for the decline in complaints from the public are probably not related to the federal probe, while others believe the two are connected. Indeed, since the FBI conducted an undercover drug sting in 2009, the number of citizen-generated complaint cases closed by police investigators declined 42 percent, according to the analysis. Some say complaints decreased because the public was fearful. "I think there are going to be people who are not going to complain because they think right now it is too hot to complain," City Councilor Jack Henderson said. "They may be afraid." But others dismissed the federal probe as the reason for any decrease in complaint numbers. Tulsa Police Capt. Jonathan Brooks noted that police layoffs in early 2010 "most likely" affected the decline in the number of arrests from 2009 to 2010. The decline in arrests, in turn, potentially contributed to the decline in filed complaints, Brooks said. Records show arrests have been on the decline in recent years, but the World analysis indicates that the number of complaints had begun to decline well before the layoffs occurred. The number of complaint investigations closed by police peaked in the spring of 2009, just before the FBI conducted an undercover drug sting operation at a local motel, the analysis shows. The sting and subsequent federal grand jury probe resulted in the indictment of six Tulsa police officers and a former federal agent. Two officers were acquitted and another convicted in one trial, while two other officers are currently on trial in federal court. A sixth officer has pleaded guilty.

An analysis of officer complaint data indicates: Most complaints originate from north Tulsa. Complaints from the public outnumber administrative-initiated complaints. Few complaints from the public against police are sustained. Few officers have been investigated for lying. About three-fourths of officers have never had a complaint filed against them.

Most officers are cleared- Since 2005, about 1,100 officer complaint cases have been closed by internal affairs investigators for the Tulsa Police Department. Members of the public initiate more than two-thirds of all police complaints, a World analysis found. The complainants range in age from two 15-year-olds who in 2008 filed unrelated complaints against officers based out of north Tulsa's Gilcrease Division - once called Uniform Division North - to a 75-year-old man who complained about a Tulsa Gilcrease Division officer in 2009. In the cases involving the teenagers, one a black male and the other a black female, complaints of excessive force and violation of an unspecified procedure were determined by investigators to be unfounded and closed, records show. The complaint filed by the 75-year-old white man against an officer for violation of an arrest procedure was similarly determined to be unfounded. Blacks filed about 46 percent of complaints, while the black population accounts for about 16 percent of the city population, according to the latest Census Bureau figures. The Gilcrease Division was the subject of 42 percent of the public complaints associated with the three patrol divisions and 35 percent of all complaints from the public. Officers who patrolled the other two divisions made up the balance of all citizen complaints from 2005 to 2010 and were evenly split. Since May 2004, procedural violations and poor public relations were the top two types of complaints from the public, with 258 and 243 complaints respectively. Once a person files a complaint, internal affairs takes up the case. More often than not the officer is cleared. During the 19 months prior to the FBI sting, 284 citizen complaint investigations were completed. Investigators assigned some level of blame to officers in seven cases, or 2 percent of them. From May 2009 through December 2010, 16 of 166 citizen complaints have been sustained against officers, or 10 percent of the cases. While complaints from the public seldom result in the officer being found to be at fault, complaints of an officer using excessive force that result in discipline are even more rare, data show. Since 2005, individuals filed 183 cases that included allegations of excessive force. The cases named a total of 199 officers. Four cases, or less than 3 percent of the allegations, resulted in the officer being disciplined, according to the World analysis. In three of the four cases, officers were given counseling. The officer was suspended in the fourth case. The president of the Tulsa chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said he thinks he knows one reason why fewer complaints are being filed. "When you complain about an officer in your community and it's to no avail, after a while you get the message," said Warren Blakney, who is also pastor of the North Tulsa Peoria Church of Christ. Blakney said believes the federal probe has had some impact on the number of people who filed complaints. "I think there is probably some relationship you can find between that," Blakney said. "I do know that they (residents) were hopeful that those officers that had been really intimidating factors in our community ... the sting would take some of those officers off the street."

New policy is enacted- Separate figures supplied by the police indicate a decline in the number of complaints filed by the public while department-initiated investigations increased from 2009 to 2010. The number of complaint cases filed by the public against Tulsa Police declined from 143 cases to 108 cases, according to statistics supplied by police. Meanwhile, the number of department-initiated investigations of officers opened increased from 56 to 92. Brooks said it was impossible to draw a conclusion as to the impact of the FBI sting on police operations "as there were so many other variables at that time." The federal grand jury probe launched in 2009 resulted in accusations that some officers had routinely lied during drug investigations. The revelations prompted Police Chief Chuck Jordan to enact a no-tolerance policy for lying. While police already had policies and procedures that prohibited dishonest behavior, the policy was seen as a way to delineate a more even application of that policy. Since the no-tolerance policy was enacted in July 2010, the list of closed cases includes two officers who were accused of lying by members of the public, records show. In both of those cases, police investigators exonerated or failed to sustain the claim against the officers. When asked about the decrease in officer complaints from the public, Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police President Phil Evans said the FBI probe was probably not the reason. "I doubt it; these things tend to run cyclically," Evans said. Evans did say that officers generally were not happy during former Chief Ron Palmer's last couple of years in office. "Palmer's last couple of years here were tough on everyone," Evans said. Morale was "in the toilet." Palmer resigned in January 2010 at the request of newly elected Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

Police collect data- The Tulsa World was unable to determine the result of about 400 complaint cases because data supplied from TPD did not list the final determination. The World requested outcomes for the undetermined cases, but Tulsa Police declined to provide the information, citing a 50 percent decrease in data analysis staffing in recent months. The Tulsa World findings related to complaints were part of an analysis of computerized data made available by the Tulsa Police Department as part of a civil rights lawsuit consent decree. The consent decree, which stems from a lawsuit brought by black officers, included a requirement that several types of data be collected by police and made available to the public in a computerized format. In addition to complaint-related data, other data included information related to arrests, pedestrian stops and officer promotions. The city began collecting the data in 2004. A federal judge in September 2010 approved a final settlement of the discrimination lawsuit. While the lawsuit settlement did not require police to continue to make the data available to the public, the department has thus far agreed to requests for information from the World. Curtis Killman 918-581-8471, curtis.killman@tulsaworld.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

U.S. Treasury Cop Charge with Fraud

Phila. Mint police officer charged with fraud, arrested at Mount Laurel home
The Gloucester County Times - August 11, 2011

CAMDEN, NJ — A police officer who works for the U.S. Treasury at the Philadelphia Mint was arrested Thursday morning at his Mount Laurel home, charged with fraudulently collection disability benefits. Richard Rufo, 49, was arrested by special agents from the Offices of the Inspector General for Treasury and the Department of Labor. He’s charged with one count of fraud for allegedly taking approximately $173,000 in federal workers’ compensation benefits while making hundreds of thousands in unreported income running a memorabilia business on the side. According to the complaint, Rufo reported in September 2008 that he injured his back while closing a gate at the mint and was unable to work. He reportedly declined a light duty job, claiming it would be too strenuous. From September 2008 through this month, Rufo received the $173,000 in benefits. On three occasions since 2008, Rufo allegedly completed workers’ compensation forms on which he stated he had not worked for any employer, had been self-employed or received any other income besides the benefit payments for the past 15 months. According to the complaint, Rufo was operating United Safety Supply Co., selling law enforcement badges, pins, patches, coins, T-shirts and hats from his home. In telephone calls monitored during the investigation, Rufo allegedly said he’d been so busy he was getting two deliveries of merchandise every day and had a long list of federal clients. Rufo allegedly was seen selling memorabilia at a booth set up during Police Week in Washington, D.C. in May 2010 and May 2011 Between September 2008 and November 2010, Rufo allegedly made more than $1.1 million in gross receipts and netted approximately $318,000 from the company. If convicted, Rufo faces a maximum of five years in prison and a fine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cops Deny Having Sex With Local Prostitute

Police officers' answers to internal affairs being questioned
WTVD by Shae Crisson - August 11, 2011

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Two Raleigh police officers' statuses have changed after their answers to department's internal affairs unit is being questioned. Raleigh Police Senior Officer Matt Cooper is on administrative leave and Sergeant Eric DeSimone is on administrative duty while police investigate whether they told Internal Affairs the truth when they answered questions about former Raleigh Police Sergeant Rick Armstrong. Armstrong, who was fired in June, told ABC11 weeks after his dismissal that he could not reveal why he was fired, but said it had nothing to do with a probe centered on a tip that some officers were allegedly having sex with a local prostitute. Armstrong resigned his position as President of Raleigh Police Protective Association (RPPA) during the investigation and DeSimone is the current President of the organization. Chip Roth, the spokesman for Teamsters Local 391, which represents RPPA, confirms the change in status Thursday. "DeSimone's badge and gun were taken from him Tuesday and he's assigned to desk duty for now," Roth said. He said Cooper's status changed the same day. Roth says DeSimone and Cooper are not being accused of sexual misconduct. "They were asked questions about the Rick Armstrong investigation. The Raleigh Police Department is concerned that those answers may not be honest," he said. "I have looked at the documentation and I believe that their answers were in fact honest and there is no foundation for them having been removed from their jobs. I believe this process will put them back to work and clear their good names.They're both very good police officers and I think they'll be restored to duty, hopefully very soon." No evidence has been presented publically saying the accused officers broke the law, although months have passed since snippets of information about the investigation leaked out. No charges have been filed in the case. Two officers named by ABC11 sources quit the department voluntarily before Armstrong was fired. Roth says Armstrong met with Chief Harry Dolan on Aug. 1 about appealing his firing and should learn whether he'll be reinstated within 10 business days.

RELATED STORY:

Officer says firing not a result of prostitution probe

WTVD -July 8, 2011

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A recently fired Raleigh police officer says his termination has nothing to do with a probe into officers having sex with a prostitute. Over a year ago, the Raleigh Police Department began investigating four officers who worked at a substation in southeast Raleigh. When the story first broke in February, sources told ABC11 Eyewitness News the probe centered on a tip that four officers were having sex with a local prostitute. No evidence has been presented publically saying the officers broke the law, although months have passed since snippets of information about the investigation leaked out. No charges have been filed in the case. Two officers named by ABC11 sources quit the department voluntarily. A third officer, Sergeant Rick Armstrong, was fired last month. Armstrong tells ABC11 his firing has absolutely nothing to do with the prostitution probe. He says he plans to appeal the firing but cannot reveal why he was fired. Raleigh police say the fourth officer, Mike Romiski, also was terminated. The department says it is against personnel policy to comment while the firings are still pending. ABC11 contacted Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen, but he said he can't comment since he will be part of the process if the two fired officers' appeal.

Number of Involved Ticket-Fix Scandal Cops Shrinks

Ticket -Fixing scandal: Number of cops caught in investigation dwindles to 12
The New York Daily News by Alsion Gendar and Kevin Deutsch - August 14, 2011

An NYPD investigation into ticket-fixing that initially targeted 40 cops has narrowed to include just 12 after brass and officers were let off the hook. The number of cops facing possible indictments in an exhaustive ticket-fixing probe has dwindled to just over a dozen, sources told the Daily News. Bronx prosecutors had initially targeted about 40 cops, but sources said they're focusing primarily on officials in the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, patrol officers and two sergeants. All of the cops were caught on wiretapped phone calls fixing summonses - some in exchange for gifts. No high-ranking members of the NYPD are expected to be charged, the sources said. The grand jury will likely vote whether to indict sometime after Labor Day. The timing has set off fears among NYPD brass that cops could be arrested and paraded in front of news cameras just before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "There will be bad blood for years if the DA announces this at a time when the city is honoring its heroes," said one police source, citing growing tensions between cops and prosecutors. The NYPD and district attorney's office did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the PBA declined comment. Top prosecutors in the Bronx district attorney's office are also debating whether to seek an enterprise corruption indictment against the PBA, sources said. One camp is pushing to use the Organized Crime Control Act - the state's version of the federal anti-racketeering RICO statute - to prosecute the city's largest police union for fixing summonses, sources said. Even supporters of that strategy acknowledge the grand jury may vote down such an indictment because "it's seen as a stretch in terms of the legal theory that would justify it," a source familiar with the internal debate said. "None of this fixing gets done without the union, but winning an indictment like that is tricky," he said. "Beyond that, trying a case using OCCA can be a herculean task." The indictments will mark the culmination of a nearly two-year investigation by NYPD internal affairs investigators and Bronx prosecutors. Hundreds of cops were implicated, but prosecutors decided to only go after the most serious offenders, sources said. "At the end of the day, a dozen or so cops being charged is nothing compared to what the DA could have done with this case," a law enforcement source said. kdeutsch@nydailynews.com

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Police Department Fails to Follow Procedures in Chief's Son's Case

Brookline Police Department fails to follow procedures in chief’s son’s case
The Nashua Telegraph by Hattie Berstein - August 13, 2011

BROOKLINE, NH – Although the state’s top law enforcement agency makes it clear that a police officer should investigate if domestic abuse is suspected, Brookline Police didn’t do so after an alleged domestic incident between the police chief’s son and his girlfriend. On the day of a reported domestic altercation between Jonathan Quigley and Nicole Shank on May 19, a Brookline Police officer met with Quigley, saw marks on his face, and had knowledge there was a firearm and children in the home but didn’t initiate a domestic violence investigation, according to court records. Shank later reported she was punched and thrown by Quigley and in return pushed him during the incident, according to documents at Milford District Court. Asked why there was no domestic abuse report, Police Chief William Quigley III, who is Jonathan Quigley’s father, said the incident didn’t warrant follow-up. “There was no call for service, as far as I can remember,” William Quigley said Friday. Yet there was contact between the younger Quigley and police after the incident. The younger Quigley contacted his father at 2:44 p.m. and received a return call from him a minute later, according to phone logs filed in court. About a half-hour after that, Jonathan Quigley contacted the Brookline duty officer, Master Patrolman Robert Pelletier, who is also a friend, on his private cell phone. In testimony during a hearing in Milford District Court on June 21, when Shank requested a protective order, Pelletier testified he met the younger Quigley at the station that afternoon and that marks on his face “were consistent” with having been struck. Why the Brookline Police Department didn’t initiate a domestic violence investigation is unclear, given Pelletier’s testimony in response to questions from attorney Robert Parodi, who was representing the younger Quigley. Pelletier said Quigley, who returned from a tour of duty in Iraq earlier in May, appeared to have been hit on the face, and he told Parodi that Quigley didn’t want to talk about what had happened. He also said Quigley didn’t want an officer to go talk with Shank. The issue at the hearing was Shank’s request for a restraining order. Standard police protocol for responding to incidents of suspected domestic violence is outlined by the attorney general’s office. Officers responding to cases of possible domestic violence are directed to interview the suspect and victim and follow a checklist of questions about children, witnesses, evidence and more, according to the AG’s document “Law Enforcement: A model protocol for police response to domestic violence cases.” Included is a method of presumptive arrest, which directs a police officer who has probable cause to believe a crime of domestic violence has been committed to make an arrest, even if state law wouldn’t mandate an arrest.

Legal experts agree that domestic violence cases are among the most volatile and risky for all parties, including the responding police officers. When asked about his department’s domestic violence policies, William Quigley said he was “not familiar” with the state protocols. Asked for a copy of the Brookline Police Department’s policies and procedures on domestic abuse, Quigley asked for a signed written request and not a faxed copy. Later, Quigley said the department’s policies regarding domestic violence investigations were made “nonpublic” in 2007. He said it likely was made nonpublic to protect victims. The newspaper delivered a Right-to-Know request to Quigley on Friday asking for access to the policies. Questions about the case have come up before, including from the judge. During the June hearing, when Shank petitioned the court for protection, Judge Martha Crocker noted that phone logs showed a two-minute call between the police chief and his son on the day of the incident, contrary to what the chief testified in court. Altogether, three phone logs were presented as testimony: Shank’s copy of Jonathan Quigley’s phone calls; Chief Quigley’s phone record, with most calls blacked out; and Jonathan Quigley’s copy of his phone logs. A review of the phone logs by the attorney general’s office concluded the chief hadn’t perjured himself. According to the phone logs that Shank submitted, on May 19, the day of the incident, Jonathan Quigley called his father at 2:44 p.m. and a two-minute conversation followed. At 3:16 p.m., the younger Quigley called Pelletier on his private cell phone, and at 3:58 p.m., Jonathan Quigley called Shank. The calls to Pelletier and Shank were each one minute long.

In the days after the incident, police went to the home the couple shared with Shank’s two children on Route 13 four times, each visit a “civil standby,” a police term for keeping the peace while a person removes his belongings after a domestic problem: On May 21, Master Patrolman Douglas Barnett conducted the first “civil standby” at 11:48 a.m. The report indicated “No Crime Involved.” It said Quigley removed some personal items from the home. A second standby occurred less than two hours later at 1:10 pm., also done by Barnett. The report said “No Crime Involved” and noted that Quigley retrieved a propane grill. The third standby was recorded the following day, May 22, at 1:20 p.m., also by Barnett. The report said Quigley removed several more items, and “No Crime Involved.” The fourth standby was less than an hour later at 2:16 p.m., again by Barnett. The report said “No Crime Involved” and noted, “John retrieved some personal belongings and no one else was home.” Phone logs reveal communication between the younger Quigley and his father May 22. Jonathan Quigley called his father at 12:29 p.m., a call that lasted six minutes. At 12:42 p.m., the chief’s son called Hollis Communications, the police dispatch, and logged a one-minute call. And at 12:44 p.m. and again at 1:17 p.m., the younger Quigley called Barnett on his Police Department cell phone. The first call to Barnett lasted two minutes; the second was one minute long. In addition, Chief Quigley had said if Shank had called him or the Police Department, he would have referred the matter to State Police to avoid a conflict of interest, according to an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader. The chief said the only time the department became involved was when his son requested a civil standby, according to the Union Leader. On July 13, Jonathan Quigley’s lawyer, Parodi, filed a motion for reconsideration and to vacate; in effect, asking the judge to drop the temporary restraining order. The judge’s decision is pending. Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or hbernstein@ cabinet.com.

Police Union Leader Faces Charges of Assault and Misconduct

Hackensack police union leader faces charges of assault, misconduct
The Hackensack Chronicle by Mark J. Bonamo - NorthJersey.Com - August 12, 2011

The leader of Hackensack's police union chapter and a key player in the ongoing turmoil within the Hackensack Police Department was charged Aug. 3 with official misconduct, aggravated assault and falsifying records for allegedly striking and injuring a man, according to authorities. Anthony Ferraioli, a 21-year police veteran, is alleged to have struck Andrew Milberg on the head during questioning June 7 regarding an assault outside Houlihan's in Paramus, according to a press release by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. An investigation by members of the prosecutor's office Confidential Investigations Unit resulted in charges being filed against Ferraioli. Milberg sought medical attention later that night "for effects of the injury related to his hearing," according to the release. It is also alleged that Ferraioli filed a police report containing false information. The prosecutor's office also noted that the investigation is continuing and further charges against others are expected. More than a dozen administrative charges were delivered by a city internal affairs officer against Ferraioli on Aug. 4, matching the criminal charges. Patrick Toscano Jr., Ferraioli's attorney, called the charges "preposterous and bizarre." "This alleged 'victim' resisted a lawful arrest, and only the force necessary to overcome that was used by my client," wrote Toscano in an email. "My client complied with all New Jersey State Attorney General guidelines and Hackensack Police Department directives related to the lawful arrest of any defendant." Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli could not be reached immediately for comment. Capt. Tomas Padilla, officer in charge of the 113-member police department, declined comment about the charges, referring all inquiries to the prosecutor's office. Officials at the prosecutor's office offered no additional comments beyond the contents of the office's press release. City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono stated that Ferraioli was suspended immediately without pay from his $129,218-a-year job, and that the city would fully cooperate with the prosecutor's office in investigating the matter. Ferraioli, president of Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 9, has played a prominent role in the legal battles waged within the Hackensack Police Department since June 2009. In that time, 12 lawsuits have been filed against Police Chief Charles "Ken" Zisa, the city and other ranking police officials by 25 current and retired police officers for a range of allegations, including civil rights violations. Ferraioli is one the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. He also named Molinelli and the entire prosecutor's office in an amended federal suit earlier this year, alleging similar acts of corruption. Ferraioli was ultimately found guilty of administrative charges filed by Zisa that accused him of posing as an internal affairs officer on a popular online forum. He received a six-month unpaid suspension in April 2010 following a highly contentious months-long public disciplinary hearing. Ferraioli is currently awaiting a ruling on his appeal before the state Office of Administrative Law (OAL). Chief Zisa was arrested and charged with insurance fraud in April 2010, suspended from his job, then charged with official misconduct in May. He is presently awaiting trial in Bergen County Superior Court. The prosecutor's office monitored the Hackensack Police Department for 11 months following Zisa's initial arrest. With the filing of charges against Ferraioli, there are now eight city police officers who are suspended, with all but one looking at criminal charges, including Zisa. Lo Iacono noted that the legal problems facing the police department continue to be "concerning." "Hopefully, with everyone cooperating to deal with these issues, we'll get back to a position of leadership in law enforcement," said Lo Iacono. Although Ferraioli has been particularly vocal regarding the alleged retaliation directed by Zisa and other police officers inside the police force regarding issues related to political donations and union elections and has sued the prosecutor's office, Lo Iacono believes Ferraioli's arrest is simply a regular, legal matter. "This is something which the prosecutor's office felt a need to investigate, then take the next step," said Lo Iacono. "There has been no local input into this matter. I'm not sure how anyone could make any allegation that this is political. It certainly is not." But Toscano, who represented Ferraioli during his hearing and subsequent appeal, maintained that the charges are "retaliatory in nature." "My client sues the BCPO in federal court, and a few weeks later he is criminally charged by the same entity he is suing," Toscano wrote in an email. "Clearly the charges are politically motivated." Ferraioli was arraigned before state Superior Court Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi in Hackensack on Aug. 5, where some additional details about the events that led to the charges were revealed. According to Dan Keitel, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor who heads the Confidential Investigations Unit, Ferraioli and seven other officers went to Milberg's home on June 7 to question him about the incident in Paramus. During what Keitel called "an aggressive interrogation," Ferraioli allegedly hit Milberg twice on the head, rupturing his eardrum.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ex-Cop Gets Two Month Sentence in Rape Case

Ex-Officer Receives Two-Month Sentence in Rape Case
The New York Times by John Eligon - CityRoomBlog - August 10, 2011

A second former New York police officer was sentenced on Wednesday to jail for his role in a case that involved lurid accusations of rape committed by two on-duty officers. The officer, Franklin L. Mata, was accused of standing guard while his partner, Kenneth Moreno, raped a drunken woman whom the two officers had been summoned to escort to her Manhattan apartment. Both men were acquitted of rape charges in May, and convicted only of identical misdemeanor counts of official misconduct. Mr. Mata, 29, was sentenced to 60 days in jail, although the judge ruled that it was stayed until Sept. 12, meaning Mr. Mata can remain free until then. On Monday, Mr. Moreno, 43, was sentenced to a year in jail, though he remains free pending his appeal of his conviction. The former officers, who were fired because of the convictions, had each faced up to two years in jail. This was the first criminal conviction for each man, however, and first-time misdemeanor offenders are commonly let off without jail time. In sentencing Mr. Mata, Justice Gregory Carro of State Supreme Court in Manhattan said “you drew the short straw” when he got Mr. Moreno as a partner.

Cop Denies Accusations at Police Corruption Trial

Police corruption trial: Tulsa police officer denies accusations
Tulsa World by Jarrel Wad and Omer Gillham - August 13, 2011

A veteran Tulsa police officer who is accused of corruption testified in his defense Friday, denying that he threatened a federal agent with a gun or asked one jail inmate to assault another. The officer, Bill Yelton, also testified that he conducted proper searches and did not lie on search warrant affidavits. Yelton, 50, testified that he never threatened former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden by chambering a bullet into his handgun while sitting in a car with McFadden and Officer Jeff Henderson in the summer of 2008, as one of the charges against him alleges. "I don't know how to answer that, because it never happened," Yelton said during the first day of the defense phase of the trial. "We don't do that with the Tulsa Police Department. That would be dangerous." Yelton is charged with eight counts alleging civil rights violations, witness tampering and perjury. Henderson, his co-defendant, is charged with 54 counts alleging civil rights violations, drug distribution, perjury and other crimes. Yelton said he did not ask a Tulsa Jail inmate to beat up another inmate who was cooperating with federal authorities. A Tulsa Jail sergeant testified earlier this week that Yelton visited the jail and met with an inmate. The inmate, Durrell Collins, told Sgt. Carla Housely that Yelton asked him to "take out" another inmate, Housely testified. The other inmate was Waylon Dumas, the World has reported. "I never asked Durrell to harm anyone, and I would never do that," Yelton said. "And I absolutely never threatened Brandon McFadden at the water treatment plant or anywhere. It never happened. We did not meet Brandon anywhere and threaten him." Yelton also testified that police supervisors allowed him and Henderson to give a tape recorder to an informant named Rochelle Martin. That was so she could record her boyfriend lying about seeing Henderson engaged in illegal drug activity, Yelton testified. Martin is a key government witness who has testified that she sold drugs for Henderson and accepted drugs from Henderson for personal use. Martin testified last week that Henderson and Yelton gave her the recorder last year. She said Henderson told her to record her boyfriend, Demarrio Oates, saying he lied when he said he saw Henderson deliver marijuana to Martin. "I said, 'Why did you tell a fib?' and he said, 'I didn't.' So I just stopped recording him. I couldn't do it," Martin testified last week. Yelton testified Friday that he and Henderson worked closely with Martin. "She was a source of information. She was just incredible. We probably should have given her a medal. ... She was part of the unit," Yelton said. Prosecutors allege that Martin was a so-called "throw-down informant" who actually did not provide the information attributed to her on numerous search warrants prepared by Henderson and Yelton. During her testimony, Martin said she lied for the two officers to help frame Bobby Wayne Haley Sr. Yelton denied having coached Martin for her testimony that helped send Haley to prison on drug charges. Haley was freed from prison in May 2010 after serving about four years. He is one of at least 38 people who have been freed, had sentences modified or charges dropped as a result of the police-corruption investigation. Martin testified earlier that she was not the informant listed by Henderson and Yelton on numerous search warrant affidavits they used to bring felony cases against individuals in Tulsa. Defense attorneys questioned Yelton about a series of statements on search warrant affidavits, and Yelton repeatedly said the information in the affidavits was truthful. Yelton denied entering Jose Angel Gonzalez's home and moving a shotgun with other officers. He also denied searching Nathan Sanders' car. Both things were alleged in prior testimony. The prosecution's cross examination of Yelton initially focused on a 2009 search warrant that led to the arrest of a man who provided evidence that he was in Arlington, Texas, when the officers said they saw him in Tulsa. Yelton said he and Henderson saw the man, Ronald Crawford, at his home Jan. 5 and on the morning of Jan. 6 that year. However, Yelton agreed that if Crawford was in fact in Arlington at 7:50 a.m., he could not have been seen at his home in Tulsa when Henderson and Yelton had testified at a hearing that they saw him there. Crawford has provided evidence in court that he was enrolling his daughter in school at 7:50 a.m. that day. Crawford also provided evidence that he was at a Texas bank after 11 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2009.

Prosecutors also questioned Yelton about his use of confidential informants. Yelton told the court he maintained five to six informants throughout the time examined in the case against him. However, he said he shared informants with Henderson and said he had not filed reports with the Police Department about any of his own informants since his previous ones were last purged from TPD records. Yelton said he didn't know about the department database that tracked confidential informants. Yelton and Henderson have spent more than a year in jail awaiting trial. Yelton was hired by the department in 1985 and is assigned to the Special Investigations Division, as is Henderson. Prosecutors rested their case Friday morning, shortly after court resumed during the trial's 10th day. Prosecutors called 40 witnesses during two weeks of testimony. The trial is expected to last up to five weeks. On Friday, a federal agent testified on behalf of Henderson and Yelton as the first defense witness, saying the two defendants are honest, good officers. ATF Agent Josh Petree testified that he had been on more than 100 search warrant executions with Henderson and Yelton since he started working with them in 2003. "They are hard-working and excellent police officers," Petree said. He also testified that he had never seen either Yelton or Henderson do anything "untoward or illegal." His testimony also turned to McFadden, whom Petree described as dishonest. Petree has been an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for nine years. McFadden was hired by the ATF in 2002 and resigned in 2009 as the federal investigation was under way. He pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy May 6, 2010, in federal court. He is cooperating with prosecutors and was released to his home in Lubbock, Texas, while he awaits his sentencing. Petree said that during a spike in crime and gang activity in 2003, he was assigned to a unit working extensively with Henderson and Yelton. Additionally, Petree worked in the same office with McFadden. "At first, McFadden and I were friends," he said. "But I didn't find him to be very honest or a hard worker. He was manipulative." Petree said he believed that McFadden tried to get other agents in trouble so that he could transfer to Lubbock, Texas, where his family lived. On cross examination, the prosecution established that Petree worked closely with Henderson and Yelton from 2003 to 2005 but worked much less frequently with them during the focus of the indictments, from 2007 to 2009. When asked if he was familiar with many of the individuals against whom Henderson or Yelton are accused of gaining false search warrant affidavits, he said no.

Thursday's developments - The defense began its case after nine days of prosecution. Indicted Officer Bill Yelton took the stand as the defense's second witness. He went over many of the major points in the case with attorneys from both sides, testifying about accusations against him and Henderson.

Key moment - Yelton described informant Rochelle Martin as a part of the Tulsa Police Department's crime team. "She was just incredible," Yelton said. "We probably should have given her a medal. She was part of the unit." Prosecution attorneys have alleged that Martin was a so-called "throw-down" informant whose name was used when the indicted officers wanted a search warrant. Yelton stood by his and Henderson's search warrants, saying Martin was used every time she was claimed on the cases he helped investigate.

Key testimony - Yelton testified that he knew of no wrongdoing or illegal activity during his years working with Henderson. "I've never seen Jeff Henderson do anything he is accused of," he said. Yelton admitted no wrongdoing when faced with evidence from one alleged victim of a falsified search warrant affidavit. The witness showed evidence that appeared to dispute Yelton's claims that he saw him outside his residence before his arrest. Yelton stood by the affidavit and his testimony, which said he and Henderson personally observed the man.