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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Police Sergeant Had .22 Blood-Alcohol Level

Police: Fresno cop had .22 blood-alcohol level
The Fresno Bee by Mike Eiman - August 18, 2010

An off-duty Fresno police sergeant arrested last week on suspicion of driving under the influence had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, the Fresno Police Department said Wednesday. Sgt. Ron Hughes was arrested Aug. 13 when an officer saw him driving erratically about 1:30 a.m. on Clovis Avenue near Belmont Avenue. Toxicology reports showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.22. The legal limit is 0.08. Hughes remains on modified duty.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Former Cop Arrested

Former Harrison Cop Tancredi Arrested
The Journal News by Gerald McKinstry - August 15, 2010

PORT CHESTER, NY — A former Harrison police officer with a history of trouble is facing drug-possession and impersonation charges after an apparent altercation at a village bar. Ralph Tancredi, a former Harrison PBA president who ran for town supervisor and was fired by the town last year, is being held without bail in Westchester County jail after an incident outside an Adee Street bar. Police told News 12 that Tancredi was found with the powerful painkiller Oxycontin, another unidentified drug and a forged Harrison police identification card. Port Chester police would say only that they charged Tancredi with criminal possession of a controlled substance, impersonating a police officer, forgery and disorderly conduct. Tancredi was arrested Saturday by Port Chester police and arraigned in Village Court. Tancredi's legal troubles go back several years when he got into a bar scuffle and was accused of harassing a girlfriend before being suspended with pay in 2007. He was eventually fired in 2009. He had sued the Harrison Police Department several times alleging civil rights violations, and this year the state approved his 207-c disability pension.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two Cops Charged in 2005 Death

Justice for Raymond Robair
The Times-Picayune - EDITORIAL - August 3, 2010

For five years now, relatives and friends of Raymond Robair have insisted that the Treme resident's death was not an accident, as New Orleans police and the coroner's office concluded in 2005. Treme resident Raymond Robair was 48 when he died. Now a federal grand jury has agreed, charging New Orleans police Officer Melvin Williams with beating Mr. Robair to death and Officer Matthew Dean Moore with covering up the killing. The officers maintain they are innocent, and they are entitled to the legal presumption of innocence. But the allegations cited in the indictment are repugnant -- and the FBI and federal prosecutors deserve credit for staying on the case all this time. The officers have said they encountered Mr. Robair on Dumaine Street the morning of July 30, 2005. Their "medical incident" report, which did not even identify Mr. Robair by name, said they found a man "stumbling and holding his upper chest area." The man ran away from the officers and collapsed on the ground, according to the report, whereupon the officers took him to Charity Hospital. Mr. Robair was pronounced dead there. That's not what Treme residents, including some who testified in front of the grand jury, said they witnessed. According to the indictment, Officer Williams kicked Mr. Robair and struck him with his police baton with such "unreasonable force" that it caused Mr. Robair's death. The two officers did take Mr. Robair to Charity Hospital, but the indictment said "they failed to tell medical personnel that Robair had been struck by defendant Williams." The coroner's office found that Mr. Robair had fractured ribs, with one lacerating his liver and another his spleen. The federal grand jury also charged Officers Williams and Moore with filing their "false" police report in order to obstruct an investigation into the incident. It also accused Officer Moore of lying to FBI agents during two separate interviews in March. The document said Officer Moore falsely told the agents that Officer Williams never hit or kicked Robair. Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard ruled in 2005 that Mr. Robair's death was "accidental," based in part, he said, on the police version of events. A Police Department internal investigation cleared the officers, citing the coroner's conclusion. Those circular explanations are troubling. The charges in this case make it 18 current and former New Orleans officers charged with either killing civilians or covering up the killings. Five of those officers have admitted to their part in covering up the shooting of six innocent civilians at the Danziger Bridge. Eighteen officers charged with such serious crimes is a sickening tally -- and more indictments are expected as federal agents probe additional police killings after Katrina. This has been a dark period for the Police Department, and shining light on officers' many alleged crimes has been painful for our community. But the real and intolerable shame would be to let killers and other criminals wear the uniform. Authorities should not rest until every officer who broke the law has been brought to justice.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cop Arrested for Arresting Cop

Sting target was 3rd cop
The New York Post by Edmund Demarch - July 31, 2010

Two Brooklyn cops busted for allegedly trumping up charges against an undercover Internal Affairs investigator were not the intended targets of the sting, sources told The Post yesterday.
The original target was an unnamed officer who, while talking with the undercover, attracted the attention of Sgt. Raymond Stukes and Officer Hector Tirado, who took over the interaction, the sources said. Stukes and Tirado, both of the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, pleaded not guilty yesterday to perjury for falsely charging the IAB cop with selling untaxed cigarettes. Both refused to answer reporters' questions.


Brooklyn cops charged with barging into sting operation, arresting a fellow officer on bogus charges
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - July 30, 2010

Two cops from Brooklyn's embattled 81st Precinct were charged Friday with making a trumped-up arrest - in a sting operation caught on video. Like a couple of Keystone Kops, Sgt. Raymond Stukes and Officer Hector Tirado barged in on an Internal Affairs Bureau integrity test actually targeting another cop, sources said. The undercover IAB officer, carrying a backpack filled with packs of cigarettes, was talking to the intended target when Stukes and Tirado showed up at the corner of Chauncey St. and Howard Ave. in Brownsville on Sept. 3. Unaware that IAB was videotaping the action, Stukes and Tirado began questioning the undercover cop conducting the sting. He told them the cigarettes had legitimate tax stamps, but they hauled him into stationhouse and ended up hitting him with bogus charges: that he tried to sell bootleg cigarettes to two people. "The (arrest) paperwork was inconsistent with the events that took place on that date," said Assistant District Attorney Gregory Marshall at an arraignment in Brooklyn Supreme Court. Stukes and Tirado pleaded not guilty to felony perjury charges and were released on their own recognizance. Their lawyers declined to comment. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the integrity test was unrelated to allegations by suspended cop Adrian Schoolcraft that police supervisors at the 81st Precinct fudged crimes statistics and violated the civil rights of nieghborhood residents. The precinct's commander was recently transferred and the NYPD is looking into Schoolcraft's claims. Stukes was the defendant in a federal lawsuit alleging false arrest in which plaintiff Andre Owens received a $25,000 settlement from the city in April.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Cop Arrested for Prostitution

Farmington police officer arrested in prostitution sting
The Salt Lake Tribune by Lindsay Whitehurst and Sheena Mcfarland - July 3, 2010

An off-duty Farmington police officer was arrested during a prostitution sting in Layton on Thursday, police said. Lt. Shane Whitaker, 41, of Syracuse, was one of eight men arrested after Layton police placed a prostitution ad on a website, said Layton police Lt. Quinn Moyes. Undercover officers scheduled appointments with johns, then set up a female decoy at a local hotel. The eight were arrested after offering money for sex acts. Six of the eight were booked into the Davis County jail. Whitaker was not booked because he has brought people to that jail as police officer, and he may not have been safe there, Moyes said. Whitaker was arrested about 1:30 p.m. He was cited for patronizing a prostitute, a class B misdemeanor,fingerprinted and released. One other john, a Salt Lake City man, was also cited and released because police were arresting another man. Whitaker is now on paid suspension until an internal affairs investigation determines what consequences will come from the charges, said Farmington Police Chief Wayne Hansen. “We’re just in total shock and dismay,” he said. The Farmington Police Department has only 18 officers, and Whitaker’s actions “rocked the whole department.” Whitaker has been on the squad for 18 years, and served as interim police chief for about two months in 2001 when then-chief Jeff Jacobson died. Hansen took over afterward. “We’re all really close,” Hansen said. “It’s been devastating.”

Cop Arrested for Prostitution

Henderson police officer arrested in prostitution incident
The Las Vegas Review-Journal by Lawrence Mower - August 26, 2010

A Henderson police officer was arrested over the weekend for soliciting or engaging in prostitution. Michael Stevens, a 34-year-old patrol officer who has been with the department for five years, was booked into Clark County Detention Center early Sunday morning. Las Vegas police Sgt. John Sheahan confirmed that the department arrested Stevens, but did not have more details surrounding the incident. Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said Stevens is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the department's internal investigation. Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at or 702-383-0440.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Cop Pleads Guilty

Third guilty plea entered in Camden police probe
The Associated Press - August 26, 2010

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Another former Camden police officer has admitted that he and other officers conducted illegal searches, stole money they found and falsified police reports to cover their actions. Forty-seven-year-old Dan Morris of Moorestown, who had been a sergeant, pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal complaint that charged him with conspiring with other Camden officers to deprive citizens of their civil rights. Morris had been a Camden police officer since 1986. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced in December. He is the third former officer to plead guilty to participating in the conspiracy. Morris supervised the two others. They are awaiting sentencing.

Department of Justice Press Release

For Immediate Release - August 26, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
District of New Jersey - Contact: (856) 757-5026
Former Camden Police Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Deprive Others of Civil Rights

CAMDEN, NJ—A former Camden, N.J. police sergeant pleaded guilty today to conspiring with other Camden police officers to deprive others of their civil rights, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Dan E. Morris, 47, of Moorestown, NJ, pled guilty to an Information before United States District Judge Robert B. Kugler, admitting that he engaged in a conspiracy with at least four other Camden police officers to deprive individuals of their due process rights while on duty as a uniformed police officer with the Camden Police Department. Morris admitted that between May 2007 and September 2008, he conducted illegal searches without a search warrant or consent; obtained coerced consents to search residences based on threats and undue pressure; stole money during illegal searches and arrests; and allowed officers he supervised to include facts in police reports that were false. Morris is the third to plead guilty to participating in this conspiracy while serving as a Camden police officer. Kevin Parry and Jason Stetser entered guilty pleas before Judge Kugler on March 19, 2010, and June 29, 2010, respectively. Both await sentencing. Two other officers referenced in court documents have not been identified by name. U.S. Attorney Fishman stated: “As a supervisor, Morris had an obligation to hold other officers to the highest standards of behavior. He opted instead to condone and commit a series of crimes. Our Office remains focused on rooting out such corruption, which insidiously eats away at the public’s confidence in those sworn to protect the rights of our citizens.” According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Camden federal court: Morris became an officer with the Camden Police Department in 1986 and served as a sergeant during the relevant period. Morris supervised Parry, Stetser and officers identified in court documents as Officers #2 and #4. Morris admitted that he and other members of the conspiracy conducted illegal searches of residences without warrants or valid consent and that he and other members of the conspiracy stole money during searches. Morris also admitted that the members of the conspiracy he supervised falsified police reports and testified falsely under oath in an endeavor to conceal their actions. During his guilty plea, Morris detailed specific examples of his illegal conduct in support of the conspiracy: In August 2008, Morris and other officers conducted an illegal search of a Camden residence that uncovered drugs which were used to charge a person identified as A.C. Morris also kept a portion of the money found during this search rather than turning it in as evidence. Stetser then falsified a police report in connection with the arrest. In September 2008, Morris, Stetser, and Parry conducted a search of a residence located in the area of Ferry Avenue in Camden. Morris admitted that while conducting the search, he stole a quantity of money he found in a bedroom dresser, sharing $800 with Stetser after the search. On another occasion in the summer of 2008, Morris and Officer #4 stole approximately $1,000 from a car in the area of Washington Park in Camden that Morris and Officer #4 were waiting with until it could be towed away. Morris admitted that he and Officer #4 split the money and he told Officer #4 not to put the money in the bank. Morris pled guilty to conspiring to deprive persons in New Jersey of the free exercise and enjoyment of rights, privileges and immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, a crime which carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Kugler scheduled sentencing for December 2, 2010. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Resident Agency in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jayne L. Challman; investigators and prosecutors of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk; the Camden Police Department, under the direction of Chief John S. Thomson; and deputy attorney generals from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Paula T. Dow, with developing the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin T. Smith and Matthew J. Skahill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden, along with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Kase, a Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office on special assignment for purposes of this investigation. Defense counsel: Paul A. Sarmousakis, Esq., Avalon, N.J.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Video Shows Trooper Chatting With Boss He Pulled Over For Speeding

Video shows trooper chatting with boss he pulled over for speeding
The Star-Ledger by Chris Megerian - August 25, 2010

A photo of video taken by the officer's dashcam, State Police Staff Sgt. William Walsh chats with his boss, whom he caught doing 10 mph over the speed limit on Aug. 13.

TRENTON, NJ — State Police Staff Sgt. William Walsh called in the motor vehicle stop in much the same way he did so many others in his 22-year career. "Black Chevy, tinted windows, looks like one white male," he told the dispatcher on Aug. 13. The driver had been clocked at 75 mph, 10 miles over the speed limit on the Garden State Parkway in Paramus at about 11:30 a.m. Walsh didn’t realize whom he pulled over until he got to the window. Then he quickly reached into the sport utility vehicle to shake hands with the driver: his boss, State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes. "I didn’t realize it was you," Walsh said. Today, The Star-Ledger reviewed audio and dashboard video recordings from the motor vehicle stop, as well as related documents. Much of the conversation between Walsh and Fuentes, recorded by a standard-issue microphone worn by Walsh, was drowned out by wind and the sound of cars whizzing by on the highway. The two men were clearly friendly. They could be heard trading niceties such as "How have you been?" At one point Fuentes apologized, saying, "Sorry about that." The entire stop lasted two minutes. Walsh did not try to give Fuentes a ticket, and Fuentes did not ask for one during the stop. But State Police spokesman Capt. Gerald Lewis said the superintendent reported the stop to the Office of Professional Standards that afternoon to request a ticket. "He was adamant about wanting to receive the summons," Lewis said. "There was no discussion."


N.J. State Police superintendent is pulled over for speeding on Garden State Parkway
When asked why Fuentes did not request a ticket during the stop, Lewis said the superintendent made the right call. "He was trying to remove the trooper from a difficult decision," he said. "Anyone put in that position would find it difficult to have to consider writing their boss a ticket." Five days later, on Aug. 18, a ranking internal affairs officer issued Fuentes a $160 ticket, which he paid Monday. The ticket also added two points to his license. Fuentes, who was driving a state-issued SUV, was clocked driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone at milepost 164.1, Lewis said. Just one mile earlier, the speed limit is 55 mph, meaning Fuentes would have faced a four-point ticket costing $200. In addition to his ticket, Fuentes received a written reprimand as a disciplinary action. "As the leader of the New Jersey State Police I am held to a higher standard and obligated to lead by example," Fuentes said in a statement. "My insistence on receiving a motor vehicle summons for speeding was a matter of accepting responsibility." Fuentes last received a ticket in 1976 for driving less than 10 mph over the speed limit, Motor Vehicle Commission spokesman Mike Horan said. Fuentes joined the State Police in 1978 and has been superintendent for seven years. Lewis said Walsh pulled over nine drivers, including Fuentes, on Aug. 13. He issued tickets during two of those stops. Overall, Lewis said, 30 percent of all State Police motor vehicle stops end without any enforcement action, such as an arrest, ticket or warning.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ex-Cop, Convicted of Perjury, Escapes Jail

James Sutera, ex-cop convicted of perjury, escapes jail time because he's 'suffered enough'
The New York Daily News by Melissa Grace - August 11, 2010

An ex-cop convicted of perjury avoided jail time Wednesday when a Manhattan judge said he'd "suffered enough." Instead, he was sentenced to five years probation for lying about offering to help a co-worker cheat on an exam to become a Waterfront Commission detective. Sutera, who was also accused of cheating on the exam, vows to appeal. His lawyer says he's a low-level fall guy in a wider corruption investigation. "Not a single executive from that place faced any charges at all, they all walked away with their nice pensions and their reputations intact. They're probably on some beach," he said of the former commission brass. The charges against Sutera were the only ones that resulted from a two-year investigation of the commission by the state Inspector General's office. While he was convicted of one perjury count, the jury cleared Sutera of charges he also lied when he told probers he didn't cheat and didn't get test answers from ex-Jersey Commissioner Michael Madonna. Madonna - who was fired in August 2009 by the- Gov. Jon Corzine after a report showed rampant corruption at the commission - was never charged. Prosecutors demanded Sutera be caged to show the justice system is tough on cops who commit perjury. The judge disagreed. "I do believe you've suffered enough because of this case," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bruce Allen told Sutera.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bad Cops' Guarantee'

Bad cops' 'guarantee'

It's the deal of a lifetime. A controversial bill now before Gov. Paterson would guarantee cops and firefighters generous pensions after 20 years on the job -- even if they get in trouble. The proposal, backed by the city's uniformed unions and criticized by Mayor Bloomberg, has passed the Senate and Assembly. "The practical effect of this legislation would be to insulate those with over 20 years in service from the consequences of serious misconduct," Micha Lasher, Bloomberg's director of state legislative affairs, wrote Thursday in a letter to Paterson obtained by The Post. Currently, New York City cops and firefighters who survive 20 years of service face losing their pensions if cited for any misdeed leading to dismissal. In the last 3½ years, a source said, the NYPD has axed six employees with more than 20 years' time, thus stripping them of benefits. Detective Christopher Perino, a 22-year vet, lost $2 million in projected pension payouts to a perjury conviction. He had testified that he did not interrogate a murder suspect, who later produced a secretly recorded tape of Perino grilling him. To avoid the so-called "pension roulette" that sealed such disgraced cops and firefighters' fates, many now retire after their 20th year. After two decades of service, they can immediately start collecting half-pay pensions, usually while still in their early 40s, young enough to start second careers. And if they get in trouble after they've left the NYPD or FDNY, they keep their benefits. So-called "Mafia cops" Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa are cases in point. Both collect NYPD pensions while serving life sentences for committing a string of contract murders for the Lucchese crime family. All of which prompted the controversial measure's sponsor, state Sen. Diane Savino (D-SI), to predict that "this bill will actually provide an incentive for [cops and firefighters] to stay after 20 years." "It does not protect anyone from discipline and merely seeks to protect vested pension rights accumulated over decades of service," said Roy Richter, president of the Captains Benevolent Association. The NYPD did not return a call, but Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano has stated that he doesn't like the idea. "We oppose this bill because it takes away from the commissioner's discretion in these cases," said FDNY spokesman Steve Ritea. As of last night. the bill's fate remained unclear. "[The governor] will certainly review it and solicit input from various stakeholders," said spokeswoman Maggie McKeon. philip.messing@