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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Old Agents Rally Around Corrupt, Murderous Ex-Colleagu

Old agents rally around corrupt, murderous ex-colleague John Connolly
The Boston Glober by Howie Carr - March 27, 2011

You can understand why more than 100 ex-FBI agents are riding to the rescue of their old colleague, John “Zip” Connolly. After all, he is merely a convicted murderer and racketeer, probably the most corrupt G-man in the entire sordid history of the rogue outfit. What’s not to like? So now Zip is wrapping up his federal bit in Butner, N.C. (fellow inmate: Bernie Madoff), after which it’s off to Florida to begin his 40-year stretch for a 1982 gangland hit. At age 70, that’s called a death sentence. But his fellow feds have leapt to Zip’s defense. In a story last week, Miami AP reporter Curt Anderson quoted ex-agent Joe Pistone, better known as “Donnie Brasco,” as saying, “I’ve never seen them go after a gangster like they have John.” Hey Donnie, did it ever occur to you that the reason they’re going after Zip like he’s a gangster is because, in fact, that is what he is, convicted by juries in two states? The aging pensioners have submitted several petitions both to federal and Florida judges and cops. They try to impeach the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, mainly Zip’s old paymaster, Stevie “The Rifleman” Flemmi. Here is how they describe him in one letter to a Florida judge: “(Flemmi) is serving life . . . as an admitted rat and proven child molester, including murdering and dissecting the body of his stepdaughter to keep her from testifying against him.” True. But then why did so many Boston FBI agents used to eat dinner with the archfiend (and his fellow serial killer Whitey Bulger) every Sunday night at Stevie’s mom’s house in South Boston? Once they were “top-echelon informants.” Now they’re “admitted rats”?

Where’s the gratitude here? Stevie testified he gave Zip $235,000 cash. Whitey used to have a saying about paying off crooked feds: “Christmas is for cops and kids.” I checked out the list of signers of the various petitions, and most of the worst of the Boston FBI office are MIA. Some of the mob’s dearest FBI pals, such as Rico, Condon and O’Callaghan, are dead. Others, such as John Morris, Nick Gianturco and “Agent Orange” Newton, wisely took it on the lam. But one name among the signatories does pops out — Richard Baker. Can you imagine the stones of this ex-fed? He has admitted in the past that, at Zip’s behest, he bought a refrigerator at the mob’s appliance store on Broadway, which he had “no idea” was controlled by gangsters. Then there were his booze purchases for FBI Christmas parties at the liquor store Whitey had stolen from its rightful owner. “An error in judgment,” Baker conceded. Baker has also testified he was with Connolly when Zip paid $46,000 to buy a 27-foot Sea Ray back in the 1980s. Nothing amiss about that, Baker testified in 2008. Lotta cops were buying $46,000 boats in the 1980s. During Zip’s Miami murder trial in 2008, Baker was asked how he could remember events from way back in the 1960s, yet have no memory whatsoever of being interviewed by FBI agents in 1999 when they were probing the endemic corruption in the Boston office. “I don’t remember being interviewed by them,” Baker said. “If I was, I was in another world.” Another world — that’s where all of these Zip enablers and apologists are living if they really believe their sick machinations can allow this underworld kingpin to evade the life sentence he so richly deserves.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sheriff's Deputy Stung With Attempt Rape of Child Charge

Sheriff's corporal charged with attempted rape of child in sting
The Richmond Times Dispatch by Mark Bowes - March 23, 2011

An undercover Petersburg police sting operation has resulted in the arrest of a 67-year-old Petersburg sheriff’s deputy on charges of trying to have sex with underage girls, authorities announced today. Cpl. Vernard Bailey, a 27-year veteran of the Petersburg Sheriff’s Office, was arrested Tuesday after authorities said he attempted to engage in sex acts with a young girl through an adult cooperating with police, Petersburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Cassandra Conover said. “There was an adult he was using to help him solicit and get the underage girl,” Conover said. “No children were involved. The charges are attempted because he wasn’t able to complete the acts, because it was an undercover operation.” Authorities set up the sting after receiving information about Bailey from a “concerned citizen,” Conover said. According to arrest warrants on file in Petersburg Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Bailey was charged with attempted forcible sodomy of a child under 13, attempting to propose sexual intercourse with a child under 15, attempting to commit rape by having sexual intercourse with a child under 13 and solicitation of a prostitute. All of the offenses were alleged to have occurred Tuesday. Petersburg Sheriff Vanessa R. Crawford said Bailey was terminated today after she learned of the substance of the charges, and confirmed that Bailey had confessed. Crawford said Bailey supervised inmates inside and outside of the jail on work details. Police said a search of Bailey’s home in the 20700 block of Little Road in Chesterfield County revealed further evidence supporting the charges. In addition, investigators confiscated more than 55 firearms of various calibers “for public safety concerns,” police said. “When you have a person who is working for law enforcement, who has these kinds of charges, and now who has lost their job, you have a concern as to whether or not this person might be a threat to himself or others,” Conover said. Bailey was being held without bond in the Brunswick County jail pending a bond hearing March 28.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Police Sergeant Pleads Guilty To Stealing Drug Money

Mesquite Sergeant Pleads Guilty To Stealing Drug Money
CBSDFW - March 22, 2011

MESQUITE, TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A former sergeant with the Mesquite Police Department pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of stealing government money. Sgt. John David McAllister, head of the department’s narcotics unit, was arrested by federal agents on March 3 at a gym in Mesquite. Part of McAllister’s job as a narcotics officer included searching suspected drug houses and vehicles, and working with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to bring criminals to justice. The FBI received a tip late last year that the 42-year-old was stealing money found during the execution of search warrants. The FBI opened an investigation and set up a sting. An undercover agent was given $100,000 in cash that had been counted, photographed and photocopied. The undercover agent then drove a car that had been equipped with a hidden camera. The car was stopped by McAllister and two other undercover officers. The undercover driver gave McAllister permission to search the vehicle, and the two other officers asked him to drive the vehicle to the Mesquite Police Department headquarters. During that drive, video showed, McAllister placed a bundle of cash and stuffed it inside of his pants. It was later discovered that $2,000 was missing from the $100,000 cash that the FBI had placed in the car. When McAllister left the police station, still under surveillance, he drove to the Town East Mall. He left the mall with a small bag from a clothing store. The bills in the store cash register matched those which were used in the sting. A man matching McAllister’s description entered the store and bought a watch. The husband and father had an unblemished record prior to this case. He had been with the department for 21 years, spending the last five years in the narcotics unit. McAllister had no comment in the courtroom on Tuesday, other than to enter his guilty plea. McAllister faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, between one and five years of probation, and a fine of up to $250,000. His next court date has been scheduled for June 22. He now remains on bond.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Outcast Cops Still Rake It In

Outcast cops still rake it in
The New York Post by Reuven Blau and Brad Hamilton - March 20, 2011

The NYPD keeps 300 cops on the payroll at an annual cost to taxpayers of $22 million, though police brass don't trust them enough to give them guns or badges, The Post has learned. Hundreds of officers, detectives and supervisors who have killed or assaulted people, violated civil rights, beat up their wives or girlfriends, driven drunk or hurt bystanders languish on modified duty -- including one who's been sidelined for 12 years -- while still being paid their full salaries. The "rubber-gun squad" makes the Department of Education's "rubber room" scandal, in which 123 unseated educators cost taxpayers an estimated $9 million this year, look like child's play. These officers have been cleared of crimes or never charged, and the NYPD has opted not to fire them. Without their weapons, the mothballed cops are prohibited from fighting crime or responding to emergencies. Instead they do menial tasks that could be handled by civilians at a third of the cost. Among those who have kept their cushy salaries are three officers who fatally shot Sean Bell and a patrolman who fired five rounds at Amadou Diallo. The Diallo cop, Kenneth Boss, has been without a gun for 12 years but keeps his annual pay of $104,526, according to public records. Since 1999, he has collected more than $1 million. He and three other cops involved in the 1999 shooting were cleared of criminal and departmental charges, but the others quit or retired. "It's like the NYPD Gulag Archipelago," said Rae Kohetz, the department's commissioner for disciplinary hearings from 1988 to 2001 who now represents some modified-duty cops. Eugene O'Donnell, a John Jay College professor, former cop and prosecutor, said, "We probably have a small-city-sized department of people who get paid and don't do police work." The situation has alarmed City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. "With the Police Department facing even more cuts, any allegation of waste is a concern," he said. Diallo's mother, Kadiatou Diallo, decried the arrangement. "We need changes," she said. "Why does this individual [Boss] remain a police officer?" City law allows Commissioner Ray Kelly to modify the assignment of any cop found to be acting against the "best interests" of the department. Kelly can suspend an officer without pay for up to 30 days. After that, civil-service laws force the department to put the cop back to work, with full pay. If a cop has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing and violating police rules -- an expensive and slow process -- he can't be fired without the city risking a huge lawsuit. The NYPD has placed cops on modified duty 1,502 times since 2007, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post. The majority of modified-duty officers are shipped to city housing projects and sit in dark, dingy rooms gazing at security monitors in a program called VIPER, or Video Interactive Patrol Enhancement Response. They are not allowed to access computers or interact with the public. If they see something, they're told to call 911. Some are sent to work for the property clerk or city tow pounds, man switchboards, take phone complaints or even perform janitorial duties. In some instances, including the case of rape suspects Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, the NYPD orders them to stay home and do no work at all. Boss -- nicknamed "Kenny No-Gun" -- spends his days doing repairs at Floyd Bennett Field and playing various roles in police drills and exercises. Modified-duty cops represent less than 1 percent of the force, an NYPD spokesman noted.

Rubber gun gang

NYPD cops who had their guns and badges taken away but still get paid to be on the force:

Detective Michael Oliver, 39
Nov. 25, 2006: Fired 31 shots at Sean Bell
April 25, 2008: Acquitted of man-slaughter charges
Annual salary: $81,398
Assignment: Paper-pushing aide in a Manhattan detective bureau
Pay since shooting: $325,592(estimated)

Police Officer Kenneth Boss, 39
Feb. 4, 1999: Fired 5 of the 41 police bullets at Amadou Diallo
Feb. 25, 2000: Acquitted of murder charges
Assignment: Floyd Bennett Field repairman, aide
Annual salary: $104,526
Pay since shooting: $1.2 million (estimated)

Police Officer Alex Cruz, 28
Oct. 15, 2008: Accused of covering up for a fellow officer charged with sodomizing a man in a subway station
Feb. 22, 2010: Acquitted of hindering prosecution and official misconduct charges
Assignment: unknown
Annual salary: $53,720
Pay since incident: $161,160 (estimated)

Police Officer Richard S. Neri Jr., 42
Jan. 24, 2004: Fatally shot unarmed Timothy Stansbury Jr., 19, on a Brooklyn rooftop
Feb. 18, 2004: Grand jury declined to indict
Assignment: unknown
Annual salary: $76,488
Pay since shooting: $535,416 (estimated)

Ex-Guard Tells of Inmate Lovin'

Ex-guard tells of inmate lovin' at Rikers
The New York Post by BRAD HAMILTON - March 20, 2011
It's one way to meet men.

The female guards working at Rikers Island are sex-starved and promiscuous with the prisoners they are there to keep in line, says a former guard. "They would do it on the midnight shift when there were not many people around," according to Yolanda Dickinson, who worked at Rikers from 1997 to 2004 and recently penned a novel called "Taboo," based on the jail's out-of-control sex scene. "They have electronic cell doors, and it's not a problem for someone to crack open the door," she added. With 3,890 female officers guarding some 12,000 men, outlaw love blossoms. "It's a soap opera," Dickinson says. "There are a lot of lonely single women on the job, and you're surrounded by these cute guys. They're working out. They're attractive," she says. "They're criminals, so they have a cunning way of approaching you. They study you all day." Though she claims she never had sex at work, Dickinson, 41, admits that she met a Rikers inmate on her watch, a gang member from her neighborhood who had admitted to killing a rapist. "People looked up to him for that. He said he did the world a favor," she said. She says her soft spot for him developed after he defended her honor behind bars by beating up another inmate who groped her. "It made me look at him differently," she said. Another ex-boyfriend, the father of her 17-year-old son, served 10 years in federal prison on drug charges. She was fired for "undue familiarity" in 2004 after an inmate called her from Rikers and she denied to probers that she had gotten the call. At least six female guards have been fired or forced out for undue familiarity with prisoners since 2007, including Kimberly Hurd, 39, who bore an inmate's love child; Yolanda Turner-Goodwin, 44, who was photographed hugging and kissing a prisoner; and Kadessha Mulgrav, 34, who allegedly sneaked away for a midnight liaison with cop killer Lee Woods in a shower room. "Undue familiarity is illegal, and it compromises safety and security," said Correction spokesman Stephen Morello. But Dickinson said it's so pervasive, it'd be difficult to prevent. She once saw a letter from an inmate that graphically recalled his X-rated romp with an officer: "It was detailed."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cop Spokesman Faces DWI Charge

Cop faces DWI charge
The Albany Times Union by Brendan J. Lyons - March 19, 2011
Albany police spokesman James Miller suspended without pay after DWI arrest

ALBANY, NY -- Detective James Miller, a longtime spokesman for the Albany Police Department, was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge in downtown Albany Friday night. Miller, who has been with the department for 19 years, was driving an unmarked departmental vehicle when he was stopped at about 9:25 p.m. near North Pearl and Orange streets by an Albany patrol officer, John Crossman. A person briefed on the arrest said Miller was stopped for allegedly driving without his headlights on. He allegedly refused to submit to an alcohol test. A sergeant arrived to oversee the arrest and Miller was taken to the South Station and processed for the arrest before being released, according to Chief Steven Krokoff. Miller has been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation. He is scheduled to appear in Albany City Court Monday. Miller's position has made him the public face of the police department and he's often sought after by reporters looking for details on cases large and small. His arrest was fodder for comments on several news sites Saturday, including the Times Union's Crime Confidential blog.

New York Corruption Festival Begins

Dirty little secrets: City Council members have skirted laws, bent rules and abused their power
The New York Daily News by Erin Einhorn, Robert Gearty, Benjamin Lesser, Tina Moore, Barbara Ross and Greg B. Smith - March 20, 2011

More than a dozen City Council members have skirted laws, bent rules or used their positions to benefit themselves, a Daily News probe has found. A three-month investigation found Council members who dodged taxes, violated the city's housing and building code, circumvented regulations to get cheap housing and, in one case, even ignored criminal bench warrants. As part of the probe, The News reviewed thousands of pages of records regarding judgments, liens, tax history, property ownership, building and housing code violations, campaign finance and financial disclosure. And while the Council's 51 members - one of whom is under indictment - routinely make laws on everything from smoking in public to recycling trash, The News found many have a history of ignoring the letter of the law. Confronted by the News, several Council members admitted they'd made mistakes in judgment and promised to rectify them. "There is no excuse," said one. "To me, my integrity means a lot," said another.

Among the findings, to be detailed in The News over three days: Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Queens) has two outstanding arrest warrants on pending criminal charges. He's also a deadbeat dad who owes more than $27,000. Four Council members - Fernando Cabrera (D-Bronx), Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn), Peter Koo (R-Queens) and Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) - get tax breaks by claiming a primary residence outside their districts. Council members are required to live in their districts. Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) is about to move into a luxury condo building where she used taxpayer dollars to resolve a conflict with a neighboring building over garbage. She's also been sued repeatedly for nonpayment of rent. Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) owed $100,000 in back-property taxes - some dating to 2009 - and has been cited repeatedly for unsafe conditions in Harlem apartment buildings she owns. She's also been accused of hiding assets to dodge estate taxes. Councilman Eric Dilan (D-Brooklyn) got into affordable housing that's supposed to go to families making no more than $114,000. At the time, he and his wife made $160,000. The building owner is a campaign donor. Councilman Williams twice ignored city inspectors investigating allegations he has an illegally converted apartment in a building he owns. Councilman Larry Seabrook (D-Bronx) is under indictment for running a shakedown scheme and illegally pocketing cash, including collecting $177 in expenses - for a $7 bagel and diet soda - from a political club he runs. He has denied wrongdoing. Several Council members are swimming in debt, including James Sanders (D-Queens), who faces eviction because the $588,000 home he bought with no money down is in foreclosure. Sanders rails against "predatory lenders" without revealing his own precarious situation. Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) has a one-third interest in at least one Puerto Rico rental condo, but reports no income. Members are supposed to report any income over $1,000 per year. At first she told The News she was co-owner of two rental condos: a three-bedroom worth as much as $500,000 near the beach in the upscale tourist area of Condado, and a one-bedroom in secluded Punta Las Marias worth up to $250,000. Ian Malinow, a real estate broker in San Juan, said the larger unit could get $1,500 to $2,000 a month, the smaller one $1,000 a month. Mark-Viverito first said both condos were rentals. Asked why she reported no income, she replied: "You don't have to report income." After being told she must report any income over $1,000 a year, she changed her story, saying only one condo generated income, and all of that went to her mother due to an "oral agreement" they had. Seven Council members pay rent to themselves or to entities controlled by relatives for campaign offices. Mixing politics and city business is fairly common. Eight City Council members use Council employees as campaign treasurers; 10 others use city employees to oversee their campaigns. This is legal, although city workers must do all political work on their own time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Four Cops Allege Corruption at Highest Levels

Four Hackensack officers allege corruption at highest levels
The Hackensack Chronicle by Mark J. Bonamo - March 17, 2011

HACKENSACK, NJ - Any student of Shakespeare, or of ancient Rome, knows these words well: "Beware the Ides of March." A civil lawsuit filed March 15 by four Hackensack police officers alleges corruption at the highest levels. On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death on the floor of the Roman Senate by Brutus and other co-conspirators. That brutal moment has been engraved in literature and in history as a day both decisive and consequential. On March 15, 2011, three Hackensack police officers filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Newark along with another officer, who attached additional allegations to an earlier complaint. This 38-page lawsuit, the 12th filed by current and retired Hackensack police officers since June 2009, will, in all likelihood, have serious consequences for Hackensack and its citizens. In their lawsuits, Lt. Donald Lee, Police Officers Patrick O'Connor and Allen DeLeone, and Lt. Vincent Riotto, who originally filed suit in June 2009, make a range of serious allegations against Capt. Tomas Padilla, who has been acting officer in charge of the Hackensack Police Department since the initial arrest and subsequent suspension of Chief Charles "Ken" Zisa in April 2010. In an even more grave development, the officers have also included Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli and the entire Bergen County Prosecutor's Office (BCPO) in their lawsuit. The four officers allege that Molinelli and the BCPO did not step in when Padilla allegedly failed to perform his duties as a police officer and participated in allegedly corrupt acts. The officers claim that these acts took place even though the BCPO had established a monitoring program overseeing the Hackensack Police Department in the wake of Zisa's initial April 2010 arrest and suspension, an arrangement outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between the BCPO and the City of Hackensack on April 30, 2010. The monitoring program ceased after 11 months on March 11, with the assertion by Prosecutor Molinelli that the Hackensack Police Department was functioning well enough, and sufficient improvements had been made regarding police policies, rules and regulations, that county law enforcement oversight was no longer required. Hackensack Police Capt. Thomas Salcedo is also named in the March 15 lawsuit, which alleges that Salcedo acted improperly in his former role as the head of the department's internal affairs division. Padilla, Molinelli, the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office and Salcedo have all been accused by the four officers of violating their civil rights, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and protected by the New Jersey state Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA) as well as the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (NJCRA). Chief Zisa and the City of Hackensack have also been named in the new lawsuit.

Lee's long list of allegations

Lee, a Hackensack police officer since 1985, claims in the lawsuit that during his law enforcement career he has been "threatened with retaliation and has been retaliated against by Defendant Zisa and Padilla." According to the lawsuit, this pattern of retaliation against Lee was tied to the political careers and ambitions of both Zisa and Padilla, which were conducted while both men also served as high-ranking law enforcement officers. Zisa was a Democratic state assemblyman from 1994 to 2002; Padilla was a Democratic member of the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 2002 to April 2010, when he left the freeholder board shortly after Chief Zisa's initial arrest in order to become the acting officer in charge of the 110-officer city police force. "Throughout his career, [Lee] has also been threatened with retaliation if he did not support Defendant Zisa's and Padilla's candidacy for State Assembly and other elected offices, as well as Captain Padilla's candidacy for Freeholder," the lawsuit alleges. Lee was made to donate money to Zisa's 2007 campaign for State Assembly, for which now-retired Sgt. Anthony Trezza was responsible for collecting campaign donations, according to the complaint. "[Trezza] . . . told [Lee] that if he did not donate money for the campaign [Lee] would not be protected and be retaliated against," the lawsuit claims. "Due to [Lee's] past experience of retaliation in 2005 [Lee] donated to the campaign in 2007 under threat of retaliation." The complaint also alleges that Lee and other police officers were subject to retaliation and intimidation generated by Chief Zisa for failing to support his preferred candidate in the June 2008 Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 9 delegate election. The candidate not backed by Zisa ultimately won the election. In the lawsuit, Lee makes two particularly significant allegations: that an unlawful video and audio monitoring system was put in place by Chief Zisa, and that Capt. Padilla failed to aggressively investigate an incident at a Hackensack bar in which an off-duty city police officer was seriously injured.

According to the lawsuit, in May 2009 Zisa "authorized the unlawful installation of a video and audio monitoring system and recording device at the front desk of headquarters." This alleged move occurred after Lt. Vincent Riotto notified headquarters that he had recordings of possible illegal activity by members of the Hackensack Police Department, according to the complaint. In response, Zisa issued a May 6, 2009, directive stating that is was unlawful for any police personnel to carry a recording device without authorization from him. Shortly after issuing this order, "Zisa authorized the unlawful installation of a video and audio monitoring and recording device at the front desk of headquarters," the lawsuit alleges. "The monitoring device was used by many of the Chief's subordinates and Chief Zisa to listen in on conversations at the front desk including [those of] Plaintiffs Lee and Riotto." After reexamining Zisa's memo about the monitoring devices, as well as the placement of the devices, Lee complained to Zisa that the placement of these devices was unlawful and should be removed, the lawsuit claims. But at the end of October 2009, as retaliation for speaking out on this issue, Lee was removed from overtime and off-duty, part-time work details, according to the complaint. In September 2010, Lee was asked to start an Emergency Response Team (ERT) by the acting officer in charge, Capt. Padilla. This unit, led by Lee, was praised by Padilla for its performance during actions supporting the BCPO during a series of high-risk felony arrests in November 2010, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit alleges, however, that Padilla's support of Lee ended following an early December 2010 incident during which Police Officer Richard Sellitto, who served under Lee's command, was assaulted by a bartender at the Poitin Still, a Hackensack bar, while off duty. The seriously injured Sellitto was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center following the incident, where he was put on an intravenous drip and his jaw was wired shut due to his injuries. The complaint maintains that Padilla did not want to pursue an arrest of the bartender who injured Sellitto. "[Padilla] stated without any knowledge of the details of the incident, that the incident had happened because of Sellitto's conduct," the complaint claims. "Furthermore, he stated that he did not want the bartender arrested despite knowing that there were statements from witnesses who observed the incident." "Despite [Lee's] support of Sellitto and witness supporting the arrest, no arrest was made of the bartender," according to the lawsuit. In the last week of December 2010, Lee was informed via a phone call from Padilla's office that he was being transferred from command of the ERT to the Traffic Division, the lawsuit maintains. "The transfer to Traffic was in direct retaliation for [Lee] speaking out on issues concerning the ERT and Officer Sellitto," the complaint alleges.

O'Connor alleges 'conflict and collusion' between Padilla and Molinelli

The accusations of O'Connor, who became a police officer in 1993, relate to the close ties Zisa, Padilla and Molinelli share in the political establishments of both Hackensack and Bergen County, as well as to the MOU signed between the BCPO and the city government. The lawsuit claims that at the time Padilla was appointed acting officer in charge of the police department, he was a defendant in the first June 2009 lawsuit filed by current and retired police officers against Zisa and the city "for his part in forcing police officers to donate to his campaign for county Freeholder under threat of retaliation by defendant Zisa or by Padilla himself." The complaint adds that despite Padilla's resignation from the county freeholder board to take the acting officer in charge position, "there still existed numerous conflicts of interest between Defendant Padilla's duties as a freeholder and his relationship with the [BCPO] and Defendant Molinelli as well as his independence as the OIC due to him being a defendant in the [June 2009 federal lawsuit]." The lawsuit alleges additional conflicts of interest between the BCPO and Padilla because while the acting officer in charge was a county freeholder, Prosecutor Molinelli's wife, Tammy Molinelli, reported to Padilla in a professional capacity. According to the complaint, Tammy Molinelli was the executive director for Bergen County's Work Force Management Board and reported to Padilla, who was the chairman of the board and therefore her supervisor. In the lawsuit, O'Connor specifically alleges that when he worked in the department's Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), beginning in January 2006, Padilla ordered him to go into the BCI's computer, which was located in the BCI office, to locate previously used political flyers that promoted Padilla's candidacy for county freeholder. "Furthermore, [O'Connor] was ordered to pick up various campaign donations in the form of checks from police officers, unions and citizens and to record these checks [into] the BCI computer," the complaint maintains. "Furthermore, while on duty [O'Connor] was ordered to update the flyers that were on the computer's hard drive and change the date on then for new flyers and pass them out to police officers and individuals, who contributed monies to [campaign fundraiser dinners] in the past." The complaint also states that "on the BCI computer there was a list of various police officers who made campaign donations but also the amounts they had contributed." "Knowing that police officers had been retaliated against for not contributing monies to campaigns by Defendant Zisa and Defendant Padilla, [O'Connor] followed the defendants' orders in fear of being retaliated against and losing his job." According to the lawsuit, in September 2007 and September 2008, O'Connor was in charge of Padilla's main campaign fundraising dinners. "O'Connor was told to keep an inventory of the tickets being sold and the money that came in for the campaign," the complaint alleges. "[O'Connor] observed campaign contributions by police officers and citizens being made during the course of business in the HPD headquarters . . . in fear of losing his job and/or being retaliated against [O'Connor] obeyed Padilla's orders." In June 2010, O'Connor expressed his concerns about the alleged fund-raising related issues to the BCPO, who taped the interview, according to the lawsuit. "No action was taken by that office knowing the allegations rose to a level of official misconduct of Padilla," the complaint alleges. "As a result of [O'Connor's] complaint against Padilla, [O'Connor] . . . was harassed . . . and was transferred from his administrative position in traffic in September 2010 to perform duties as a traffic officer on the road," the lawsuit maintains. "While . . . Padilla was the OIC, the . . . listed complaints were made to the [BCPO] yet no action was taken by the BCPO against Padilla, which further demonstrates the conflict and collusion between the two offices and parties," the complaint adds.

Other HPD officers allege retaliation, despite BCPO presence

DeLeone, a city police officer since 2002, alleges in the lawsuit that he experienced retaliation from Zisa and Padilla because of his open support of now-PBA Local 9 President Anthony Ferraioli in the May and October 2009 union elections. According to the lawsuit, DeLeone attended a disciplinary hearing for Ferraioli in January 2010. "It was well known in the Hackensack Police Department that Chief Zisa disliked Ferraioli," the complaint claims. "He even stated that he would eat a coffee cup before making him sergeant. Defendant Zisa, as part of a scheme to discredit Ferraioli, instituted a number of disciplinary charges against him. It was with this background that . . . [DeLeone] attended the hearing. At the time of the hearing, Chief Zisa was present and observed [DeLeone] at the hearing." Shortly after the hearing, DeLeone noticed that his shift had changed to one that is considered "an undesirable shift and generally assigned to new officers," according to the complaint. "After Defendant Padilla was appointed OIC of [the] HPD, he removed [DeLeone] from the ERT in August 2010 and denied [DeLeone] 'extra duty work' during the summer of 2010 due to [DeLeone's] support of Ferraioli," the lawsuit maintains. Riotto, who is also a plaintiff in the original June 2009 police officer federal lawsuit against Chief Zisa, the City of Hackensack and other superior officers and the city, claims in this latest lawsuit that he submitted a letter of complaint to the chief stating that Capt. Salcedo gave a false address to establish residency in 1992 when Salcedo applied to be a Hackensack police officer. Riotto also complained in the letter that Salcedo was using Padilla's address with Padilla's permission, according to the lawsuit. Riotto was suspended in May 2009 at the direction of Chief Zisa, a move Riotto maintains was in retaliation for recording conversations of various police officers due to the corruption and hostile work environment in the city police department. When he sought reinstatement in June 2010, after Padilla was installed as acting officer in charge, Riotto was not allowed by Padilla to return to work, despite the need for additional supervisory officers, the lawsuit claims. Riotto ultimately returned to work in December 2010, when he was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant. Riotto was ultimately found guilty of the charges filed against him by Zisa after a November 2010 hearing by James Murphy, a retired Superior Court judge and a "friend of Chief Zisa and the Zisa family [who] was appointed administrative judge for the hearing," the complaint alleges. "By their failure to dismiss false disciplinary charges against [Riotto] and their failure to properly investigate harassment and retaliation directed at [Riotto], Bergen County and the BCPO and Defendant Molinelli have condoned and ratified the illegal conduct of . . . Zisa, Padilla and Salcedo," the lawsuit claims.

Hackensack reacts to latest legal bombshell

Prosecutor Molinelli declined comment about the new lawsuit, stating that he had neither received, nor read, the complaint and therefore could not make any statements about its content. However, Molinelli did refer to the April 30, 2010, MOU signed between the BCPO and the City of Hackensack when asked about the complaint. "We have no control over the administrative proceedings," said Molinelli, in an apparent reference to a line in Paragraph 8 of the MOU. "Any [internal affairs] matters currently pending as a municipal investigatory matter shall not be affected by this Memorandum, as they are functions of the city government," the line in the MOU reads. Neither Padilla, nor Zisa could be immediately reached for comment by press deadline. Salcedo declined comment about being named as a defendant in the lawsuit, stating that he had not yet read the complaint and therefore could not address its contents. City Manager Stephen Lo Iacono, while noting that he had yet to read the lawsuit, expressed determination to continue the city's policy of contesting any and all lawsuits filed against it. "The City of Hackensack will continue to defend itself if we feel, as we have with all of the other lawsuits, that they are frivolous charges," Lo Iacono said. "Prosecutor Molinelli is the chief law enforcement officer for the county, and I certainly have an awful lot of respect and faith in what he says." City Attorney Joseph Zisa, while also noting that he had yet to read the lawsuit, also stated that the city would stay the course in terms of defending the city against any legal challenge. "The City of Hackensack, as with every litigation, whether it involves the police department or any other type of litigation, we will always defend every lawsuit vigorously," said City Attorney Zisa, who is Chief Zisa's cousin. "We have in the past, and we will continue to do so." Mayor Karen Sasso could not be immediately reached for comment. However, at the March 7 5th Ward town hall meeting sponsored by the city government, Sasso praised Padilla's effort as acting officer in charge of the police department, saying that he had performed well in a "very difficult situation." But Councilman John Labrosse expressed serious concern about the latest lawsuit and its potential effect on Hackensack and its residents. "It comes as no surprise to me. Where there's smoke, there's fire," said Labrosse, who noted that several police officers had indicated to him that more lawsuits were coming. "Anytime the City of Hackensack gets sued, you're basically suing the City Council . . . because we are, in fact, the representatives of the people. We're the front line." State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who represents Hackensack and who is a longtime political foe of Chief Zisa, looked to an alternative future for the city's police department in light of the latest lawsuit. "I would suggest that maybe there should be a continuing, outside monitor at the Hackensack Police Department," Weinberg said. "And to keep everybody's confidence level at the highest, maybe the monitor should be from a state agency rather than a county agency." Mark Frost, the Philadelphia civil rights lawyer who is representing the four officers in the March 15 federal lawsuit, and 17 of the 25 Hackensack police officer plaintiffs in all 12 lawsuits, spoke to what he believed is the root cause of the police department's continuing legal and leadership crisis. "It all started with Zisa, and having Padilla there just perpetuated the unlawful conduct that has been ongoing in the department," Frost said. The lawsuit filed by Frost on behalf of his clients just happened to fall on March 15, the Ides of March, about which a seer in 44 B.C. had warned Caesar. Now, Frost warns of another historical moment that he believes will bring fateful consequences to Hackensack. "You need someone to take the leadership of the Hackensack Police Department who is not affiliated with Zisa or Padilla," Frost said. "Certain individuals actually deserve to be defendants, and they deserve whatever results occur from these lawsuits." E-mail:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Former Sheriff Faces Bribery and Official Misconduct Charges

Former Middlesex County Sheriff Spicuzzo pleads not guilty to bribery, official misconduct charges
The Star-Ledger by Sue Epstein - March 15, 2011

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ — Former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo pleaded not guilty this afternoon in Freehold to charges of bribery and a pattern of official misconduct. Spicuzzo, who served as chairman of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization until his arrest earlier this month, was helped into Superior Court Judge Anthony Mellaci's courtroom by his wife, Mary Ann, and his attorney, Steven Altman. The state charges Spicuzzo collected at least $50,000 in bribes for jobs and promotions in 2007 and 2008. Authorities say Spicuzzo collected the bribes as payment for hiring new recruits to be sheriff's investigators. A second man, Paul Lucarelli, a sheriff's officer who served as president of the local PBA chapter representing the sheriff's officers, was arrested Monday and charged with delivering the illegal cash to Spicuzzo. Former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo charged with taking bribes in return for jobs Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that former Middlesex County Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo was arrested on charges that he demanded bribes of up to $25,000 from those seeking employment or promotions in the sheriff's office. It is alleged that the bribes occurred on two or more occasions from 2007 to 2008. Deputy Attorney General Vincent Militello asked Mellaci to set bail for Spicuzzo at $50,000. Spicuzzo was released on his own recognizance after he surrendered on the charges last week. But, Mellaci refused to increase the bail, saying, "there is no evidence he's a flight risk." Spicuzzo served as sheriff for 30 years, retiring on Dec. 31. He was chairman of the county Democrats for 16 years. The former sheriff declined to comment after the hearing, which lasted only a few minutes. Altman and his partner, Joseph Benedict, also declined to comment. "The Attorney General's Office said it would make some evidence available for us to take a look at in the coming weeks," Benedict said. "We may have something to say after that."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wrist Slap for Dirty Drug Cop

Wrist slap for dirty B'klyn drug cop
The New York Post by William J. Gorta - March 15, 2011

A disgraced Brooklyn narcotics cop was sentenced yesterday to five years' probation for a conspiracy to steal drugs from suspects and give the dope to snitches. Sean Johnstone, who was fired from the NYPD after his felony conspiracy conviction in January, deserved to be sent to jail because he "abused his position" and tainted 200 drug prosecutions, Assistant District Attorney Charles Guria told Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Walsh. But Walsh, a former cop, rejected prison for Johnstone, saying removal from society and rehabilitation were not issues for Johnstone and jailing him would not prevent more corruption. "I have yet to see a jail sentence deter a public official from misconduct," Walsh said. Outside court, Johnstone's lawyer, Anthony Ricco, said Walsh "did the right thing."

...........................................BACKGROUND STORY:

NYPD detective Sean Johnstone faces charges of conspiracy for using drugs to pay off snitches
The New York Daily News by Oren Yaniv - February 1, 2011

Brooklyn NYPD detective Sean Johnstone was convicted of conspiracy for using drugs to pay off snitches, but may walk free when his attorney appeals in March.

An NYPD detective has been convicted of conspiracy for paying off snitches with drugs in a scheme that shook up a Brooklyn narcotics squad. But Sean Johnstone, 37, was cleared of 34 other charges Monday after a bench trial. He was caught on tape bragging about seizing 28 bags of cocaine while only reporting 17. Prosecutors say that other narcs in his unit took cash, drugs and sex from criminals and junkies. "There was no way to escape the conclusion that the people proved beyond a reasonable doubt there was a conspiracy," Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Walsh said as he read the verdict. "I just couldn't walk away from that." The judge found Johnstone guilty of the top count but acquitted him of all other charges that included falsifying business records and tampering with public records. He's facing up to four years in prison but can also get off with no jail time when he's sentenced March 14. Defense lawyer Anthony Ricco vowed to appeal. "Today, we won 34 counts ... we're almost there," he said. "He's a good man, a good cop who's given a lot of his life to the city." The scandal at Brooklyn South Narcotics unit prompted top brass to bounce several commanders and jeopardized numerous court cases. Johnstone's co-defendant, Officer Julio Alvarez, was acquitted earlier this month.

Extortion Charges Filed Against Two Cops

Extortion charges filed against two P.G. cops
The Washington Examiner by Andrew Harnik - March 14, 2011

Two Prince George's County police officers were charged with extortion as part of a wide-reaching public corruption scheme that netted an eight-count indictment against former County Executive Jack Johnson. Officers Sinisa Simic and Mirza Kujundzic were already among several officers charged with drug trafficking and gun violations. The new charge of extortion was filed against the two Woodbridge residents on Monday. The extortion ties the two officers to an untaxed cigarette trafficking scheme that also allegedly included other Prince George's County police officers and the owner of Tick Tock Liquors in Langley Park. "Corrupt cops tarnish the badge we all wear," interim Prince George's County police Chief Mark Magaw said. "I appreciate the work of the FBI, IRS and the U.S. Attorney's office in helping us root out corruption and maintain public confidence in our police force." Authorities have not said whether there's a direct link between the corruption charges filed against the police officers and Johnson and his wife, county Councilwoman Leslie Johnson. Both Johnsons were taken into custody last year after federal agents heard Jack Johnson order his wife to flush a $100,000 check from a developer and to hide nearly $80,000 in cash in her underwear. The new indictment filed against Simic, 25, and Kujundzic, 30, alleges the two conspired at least seven times from Sept. 9, 2009, to Dec. 3, 2009, to pay police officers "in exchange for them using their official authority to ensure safe transport and distribution of untaxed cigarettes in Maryland and Virginia." It also charges them with using firearms while transporting cocaine during the same time period. Both officers have been held without bond, and no court date has been scheduled. They face more than 150 years in prison. Accusations of widespread corruption in the Prince George's County government were the basis of Rushern Baker's successful campaign to be the county's next executive. On the day the police officers were first arrested, FBI agents and other law enforcement officials fanned out across the region to execute more than a half-dozen warrants from the four-year probe, authorities said.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Deputy Sheriff Arrested in Ongoing Drug Probe

Danville deputy arrested in ongoing drug probe
The San Francisco Chronicle by Justin Berton - March 5, 2011

Danville, CA -- A Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy has been arrested in connection with the investigation of a state narcotics agent who allegedly stole drugs from evidence lockers, authorities said Saturday. Stephen Tanabe, 47, an Alamo resident, was booked Friday night into Contra Costa County Jail on suspicion of possession and transfer of an assault rifle and conspiracy to possess and sell controlled substances. He was taken into custody by agents representing the state Department of Justice and the district attorney's office. Authorities did not elaborate on the details of the alleged offenses, but a statement from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said Tanabe's arrest was the "result of the ongoing investigation into the state Department of Justice Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET)." "As soon as we learned of Deputy Tanabe's alleged involvement in the CNET case, we immediately asked the Department of Justice and the district attorney to take over the investigation," Sheriff David Livingston said in the statement. A law enforcement source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named, said agents are looking into whether Tanabe was hired by a private investigator in connection with a scheme to arrest men for drunken driving in an effort to blemish their records in hotly contested divorce cases. The source said officers in as many as four Bay Area departments are now being scrutinized for their ties to the investigator, Christopher Butler, 49, to see if they also made arrests at his orders.

Butler is a central figure in the CNET investigation. He was arrested Feb. 16 with his longtime friend, Norman Wielsch. Both were charged with 28 felony counts connected to the theft, possession and sale of methamphetamines, marijuana, steroids and prescription pills. Authorities said Wielsch, the former commander of the Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, stole the drugs from evidence lockers and passed them along to Butler, who found buyers through employees at his investigations firm. Butler was released from jail Friday after making bail. Wielsch also is out on bail. All three men - Wielsch, Butler and Tanabe - are former Antioch police officers who worked in the department in the late 1990s. A spokesperson for the Contra Costa County district attorney's office did not return calls seeking comment after Tanabe's arrest. The arrest is the third connected to the Department of Justice's investigation into the multiagency narcotics task force known as CNET. Two former employees of Butler, who asked not to be named because of fear of reprisals, said he was often hired by women who wanted to create a criminal record on their ex-husbands. If the man was involved in a contentious divorce and custody battle, a DUI conviction could hurt his chances for winning custody. Butler paid the officers in cash for an arrest, the employees said. At Wednesday's arraignment for Wielsch and Butler, when they pleaded not guilty, Deputy District Attorney Jun Fernandez described the ruse he said was orchestrated by Butler to get the men he was investigating arrested.

Fernandez said Butler hired decoys, usually attractive women, to make passes at the men and suggest they meet for drinks at a local bar. In other cases, Butler used male decoys, including his employees, who posed as journalists or documentary film makers who wanted to conduct lengthy interviews with their subjects over drinks. In each case, Butler would call his officer contacts and give a description of the male target, the car he was driving and the moment he left the bar. After the man drove from the parking lot, the officer would fall in behind and arrest him.

Butler's attorney, William Gagen, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. But in court last week, Gagen said if Butler tipped off officers about drunk drivers, it was no different from any other citizen who reports suspicious drivers. Investigators are now reviewing two arrests made by Tanabe in early January, according to the law enforcement source close to the probe. In both cases, men were invited to meet at The Vine, a popular wine bar on Danville's Hartz Avenue. After drinking with a Butler-hired decoy, according to the law enforcement source and former employees of Butler's, the men drove out of the parking lot and were quickly stopped and arrested by Tanabe. Tanabe worked patrol in Danville through a contract with the city and the sheriff's office. Rory Little, a professor of criminal law and procedure at UC Hastings, said the DUI cases might get dismissed as "outrageous government conduct" if such a scheme is proven. "There's something very wrong with an officer and a private investigator conspiring to set people up," Little said. Tanabe was placed on administrative leave and his bail set at $260,000, said Jimmy Lee, a spokesman for the sheriff's office. E-mail Justin Berton at

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Official Parked Illegally While Teaching Corruption Course

Official parked illegally while teaching
United Press International - March 4, 2011

NEW YORK, March 4 (UPI) -- A New York Waterfront Commission official said he was on "official police business" when he parked illegally while teaching, The New York Daily News said. The newspaper said a reporter confronted Waterfront Commissioner Ronald Goldstock after he used a state-issued parking placard to park his Lexus under a "No Parking" sign for at least six hours Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported Thursday. The Daily News said Goldstock emerged from the school at about 5:50 p.m. right after he finished teaching a class titled Corruption and Corruption Control. Goldstock said he used the placard to park because he was on "official police business," the newspaper said. The official said he was "attending a Vera Institute of Justice luncheon," but refused to elaborate. The newspaper said Goldstock drove off when asked how his parking practices correlate with teaching a class on corruption.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another Bastion of Corruption

Bell police department may have been a bastion of corruption
The California Independant Voter Network by Chris Hinyub - March 2, 2011

An ongoing investigation into city wide corruption has presented the Los Angeles County district attorney's office with a most interesting document. Titled “Bell Police Department Baseball Game,” the internal memo outlines the rules for a ticketing competition amongst officers which assigns “singles,” “doubles,” “triples” and “home runs” to specific traffic violations and infractions. Issuing tickets, impounding cars and arresting sometimes innocent motorists are all fair play in Bell where the end goal is increased revenue for the city and “non performers” get “sent for minor league rehab stint.” These are not my accusations but those of Bell police officers, some of whom claim that they were rebuked when they did not meet their quotas. Acting on a number of complaints that Bell police have been violating the civil rights of motorists, the U.S. Department of Justice has expanded its inquiries into the police department's role in the city's seedy political machine. The Bell police baseball game memo is the latest and shiniest gem to be unearthed by investigators. The memo assigns "hits" to traffic violations. Officers who hand out a parking ticket could earn a “single.” An infraction that leads to a car being impounded is potentially worth a "triple." Home runs are achieved with a “felony arrest upon observation,” whatever that means. The one-page document states that scoring is to be done on the "honor system" and that cheating would “result in a one-day suspension." The Los Angeles County DA received the memo last week and has launched an investigation of its own. It has already charged eight current and former Bell officials with public corruption, including Robert Rizzo – a former city administrator who earned more than $800,000 a year. Two Bell Police officials admit they knew about the memo (which they claim was written by lower ranking patrolmen to “challenge themselves”), but they say it was “squashed” by department leaders when it came to their attention several years ago.

Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb of the Los Angeles times inform us of the scandal in a recent expose:

“After the Bell salary scandal broke last summer, residents complained that police had improperly towed cars, fined drivers and charged exorbitant impound fees in an effort to boost city revenues...Bell's budget shows that over the years the city has generated increased revenue from fees and taxes. City records show Bell levied nearly $1 million in impound fees in fiscal year 2008-09 alone. Bell charged $300 for unlicensed motorists to retrieve their cars, triple what Los Angeles County and neighboring cities charge... Bell police officers said in interviews this summer that they often spent their shifts pulling over drivers for small infractions in the hope that they would be unlicensed...Several officers also have said top brass gave them what amounted to a daily quota of cars to tow, with some saying that their jobs were at risk if they didn't meet the goal. [Capt. Anthony] Miranda has said that in 2009, officers were given a daily goal of two towed cars, three moving-violation tickets and one arrest.” The memo's appearance in the press comes at a politically opportune time for those who oppose the candidates that the Bell police department is backing in next week's City Council elections. Like every other municipality in the state, Bell is suffering a city budget crisis. Unlike most other citys, Bell is entertaining the idea that a police department isn't a necessary part of its bureaucracy. Some city officials think that contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for public safety services would be more palatable for taxpayers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lawsuit: Police Chief Covered-Up Friend's Child Molestation

Woman sues Grand Isle mayor, police chief alleging coverup in sexual molestation case
The Times-Picayune by Paul Purpura - March 1, 2011

An Ascension Parish woman has sued the town of Grand Isle, its mayor, police chief and the mayor's stepfather, accusing them of violating her and her 6-year-old son's civil rights by trying to cover up the stepfather's alleged molestation of the boy last year. The woman and her son are identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe and John Doe to protect the child's identity, according to the case filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages. The boy is the alleged victim in a criminal case pending in the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna against Jerry Dantin, 76, who is charged with sexual battery and whose stepson is Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle. Grand Isle Police Chief Euris DuBois, who is a longtime friend of Dantin's, is accused of botching the investigation. "All of the actions taken by Mr. Carmadelle (sic) and Mr. Dubois in hindering the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Dantin, including attempts to cover up Dantin's crime, were undertaken with deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of John Doe and Jane Doe," Metairie attorneys Richard Trahant and T. Peter Breslin wrote in the 10-page lawsuit. Trahant said neither he nor the mother would comment. Camardelle, Dantin and Dubois could not be reached for comment.

The charge was filed against Dantin on Aug. 20, five months after the child told his parents about the incident. Dantin, who is free from jail on a $25,000 bond, is scheduled to stand trial next month before Judge Steve Windhorst. According to the civil case, the boy spends time at Grand Isle with his father. The child told his mother and maternal grandmother on March 30 that Dantin, known as "Captain Jay," molested him on his house boat. Dantin stopped when he heard voices outside and threatened to kill the boy and his mother if he told anyone, according to the lawsuit. The following day the boy's father told Camardelle of what happened. However, Camardelle "pleaded" with the father to wait until after Easter to report the matter, and that the mayor would report it to police, according to the lawsuit. However, Camardelle never reported it or returned a phone call to the child's mother, leading her to go to the Grand Isle Police Department on April 6, according to the lawsuit. Dubois allegedly told the mother he thought she was lying. Camardelle arrived shortly after and apologized, and then he retrieved his stepfather from home. Camardelle was allowed to be present during the interrogation, and when Dantin allegedly began to confess, Dubois was unable to find a working recorder, and his assistant was unable to write down what Dantin was saying, according to the lawsuit. "While all of this was happening, Mr. Carmadelle (sic) was crying hysterically and uncontrollably, at times lying on the floor," according to the lawsuit. "At one point during this traumatic event, Mr. Carmadelle (sic) thought he was having a heart attack and EMS was called to the police station to check out Mr. Carmadelle (sic). He was not having a heart attack." Camardelle allegedly told the boy's grandmother that it was not the first time Dantin allegedly molested a child, according to the lawsuit. The child's mother said she called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office "on a weekly basis," only to be told that it had not received reports from Grand Isle police. "It was clear that Mr. Dubois and his department were willfully obstructing the investigation by the JPSO by refusing to cooperate with requests from the JPSO," according to the lawsuit. Jefferson Parish prosecutors allege the molestation took place sometime between Jan. 1, 2010 and March 30. Dantin's statement was the subject of a hearing last month, in which his attorney Robert Toale sought to have the statement suppressed. Windhorst refused to do so. Toale is appealing the decision. Camardelle, who was on the prosecutor's witness list, was in the courthouse that day, but he was not called to testify. Paul Purpura can be reached at or 504.826.3791.


Judge allows confession of sexual misconduct by Grand Isle mayor's stepfather
The Times-Picayune by Paul Purpura - February 1, 2011

A state judge ruled Tuesday that the confession given last year by the stepfather of Grand Isle's mayor to having improper sexual contact with a 6-year-old boy is legally sound and can be used in a trial. Jerry Dantin, 76, who is Mayor David Camardelle stepfather, is charged with sexual battery after the boy alleged that he complied with Dantin's request and rubbed a rash cream on the man. Dantin allegedly admitted to the contact. But questioning circumstances about how Dantin's statement was obtained, defense attorney Robert Toale wanted his client's statement suppressed. Toale painted a picture of a Mayberry-type investigation fraught with constitutional deficiencies. However, Grand Isle Police Chief Euris Dubois testified he was mindful of Dantin's rights, particularly when Dantin, whom he has known over 40 years, began to give a statement of guilt. Dubois conceded he asked for help from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in conducting the investigation. "We're not familiar with big cases like this, so that's why I requested Gretna (JPSO) to come down," Dubois testified. During the interview with Dantin, Dubois said the police department's tape recorder did not work, and the chief's assistant was unable to write down accurately what Dantin said. Dubois also could not recall whether Dantin confessed before or after he was read his Miranda rights, but the child's mother testified Dantin confessed after the rights were read. After hearing over an hour of testimony, Judge Steve Windhorst of the 24th Judicial District Court ruled prosecutors can use Dantin's statement. Toale said he would appeal. Dantin is free from jail on a $25,000 bond. The trial is set for March 28. He was arrested April 6, after a complaint was filed at the island's police station alleging sexual abuse that occurred a week or more earlier. Dubois said he asked Camardelle to retrieve Dantin for questioning, worried that the sight of police officers taking Dantin into custody in front of his wife - Camardelle's mother - would adversely affect her ill health. Toale argued that his client was effectively taken into custody at that point without probable cause, based on unsubstantiated allegations raised by the boy's mother. The woman is not being identified to protect the identity of the child. Camardelle and the woman were present in Dubois' office during the interview, according to testimony. Dubois also allowed the child's mother to question Dantin, leading Toale to argue that the chief "just handed the investigation over." Only after the woman promised she would not press charges did Dantin allegedly confess. The woman's promise made the confession involuntary and therefore not admissible as evidence, Toale argued, saying the mother "lied and manipulated this elderly man." But Assistant District Attorney Jerry Smith argued that prosecutors decided to press charges. Paul Purpura can be reached at or 504.826.3791.

Cops On Tape Pushing Arrest Quotas

NYPD Lt. Janice Williams captured on tape pushing for more busts, but brass says there's no quotas
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - March 3, 2011

An NYPD transit lieutenant was captured on tape telling cops to make more arrests to meet a captain's order and do more work if they want overtime assignments. "All they care about is ... summonses and arrests and 250s," Lt. Janice Williams said, using police jargon for the NYPD Stop, Question and Frisk reports. "The bottom line is everybody's individual activity is being looked at." Later in the recording - made during a roll call several months ago at Transit District 34 in Coney Island - she said only officers with "good productivity" will get the opportunity to work overtime. She also said Capt. James Sheerin wanted every cop to make at least one arrest per month - up from the previous order of one every three months - because crime had spiked and arrest totals were lower than other transit districts. "He wants everyone to get in the mindset that there's no more collar a quarter," Williams said. The News obtained the tape from Jon Norinsberg, the lawyer for whistleblower Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who has publicly accused the NYPD of fudging crime stats and forcing cops to meet illegal quotas. Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, called Williams "a crime fighter who was appropriately instructing officers at roll call to do the same." Police have said they use productivity goals - not quotas. "The NYPD can use code words such as "productivity" and "activity" all they want, but when officers are told that they have to hit certain numbers every month - or face the consequences - that's a quota. Period," Norinsberg said. "When a captain tells police officers that they have to arrest someone every month, that's a quota, no matter what the NYPD says." Schoolcraft is suing the city and the NYPD for $50 million. He has accused police of forcing him into a hospital mental ward because he exposed corruption. His allegations were first reported by the Daily News. Through, Norinsberg has been collecting stories and evidence to use in Schoolcraft's pending civil trial.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ex-Detective Gets a Dozen Years for Taking Bribes

Ex-Norfolk detective gets 12 1/2 years for corruption
The Virginian-Pilot by Tim McGlone - February 26, 2011

NORFOLK, VA - Retired Norfolk homicide detective Robert Glenn Ford was sentenced in federal court Friday to 12-1/2 years in prison for taking bribes from criminals and lying to the FBI about it. Calling Ford's conduct "dishonest, detrimental, unethical" and "an abuse of power," U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman gave Ford just about the top end of federal sentencing guidelines. The judge ordered that Ford be taken away immediately. U.S. marshals led Ford, 57, out of court in handcuffs as family members wept quietly from their seats. U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride called it "a really sad day" when a police officer gets convicted and sent to prison for abusing his position and betraying his fellow officers. "He disgraced his badge," MacBride said. A federal jury last fall found Ford guilty of two counts of extortion and one count of lying to the FBI. The jury believed a number of witnesses, many of them drug dealers, who said they paid Ford bribes in exchange for getting favorable treatment in the courts. The jury determined that Ford helped get those drug dealers reduced sentences by telling prosecutors and judges that they had provided crucial help in solving homicides. Those witnesses testified that they provided no help at all. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury, one of two prosecutors who handled the trial, told the judge it was "difficult to imagine anything more loathsome." "His crimes are exactly the sort that erode public confidence in the criminal justice system," he told the judge. Ford, of Virginia Beach, retired from the Norfolk Police Department in 2007 after 30 years. As a homicide detective for most of the last 20 years, he handled some of the city's most notorious homicide cases. He continues to deny any wrongdoing and plans to appeal. Salsbury and Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa E. O'Boyle went to court asking for a 15-year prison term. For simple extortion, federal guidelines call for a minimum of one to two years in prison, but Ford received more time for being a police officer, obstructing justice and the amount taken. Prosecutors argued the amount should be more than $70,000. Friedman ruled that the amount Ford took was around $66,000, which lowered the guidelines from 12 to 15 years to about 10 to 12 years. "I'm just trying to do the right thing here," the judge said. The absolute maximum penalty for extortion is 20 years.

Ford's attorney, Lawrence H. Woodward Jr., argued for leniency, noting that the court received around 80 letters from family and friends, and that the courtroom was largely full of supporters, all representing "the community." But Friedman quickly cut him off. These are friends and family, not representatives of the community, the judge said. "These are mature, thoughtful people," Woodward replied. "In fact, they are representative of the community." "Mr. Woodward, we both have been doing this a long time," Friedman said, adding that he's never gotten support letters that say bad things. Woodward also argued that Ford's career as a public servant should count for something and that time in prison for a cop is far worse than for the typical citizen. "Every day in jail will be a living hell for him," Woodward said, adding that Ford expects to be scorned by prison staff and targeted by other inmates. The judge then asked Ford whether he had anything to say. "Not at this time, your honor," Ford answered. Ford did submit a six-page letter to the judge, but it was not made public. Besides the conviction, Ford has been accused of obtaining false confessions in some homicide cases, including the well-publicized 1997 killing of Navy wife Michelle Moore-Bosko. Four men charged in that case, known as the Norfolk Four, assert in court filings that Ford coerced confessions from them. The men received conditional pardons from then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, but they are seeking full exoneration from the courts. Still, Ford maintains the support of detectives and officials in the Norfolk Police Department and the Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. Many showed up at Friday's sentencing but declined to comment. Outside court Friday, Washington attorney Donald Salzman, who is assisting in the Norfolk Four appeals, called Ford's corruption "pervasive" and a pattern that followed him throughout his career. "We believe the evidence shows that he not only corrupted the criminal justice system to benefit defendants but he also manipulated the process to prejudice innocent defendants, including our clients," he said. Tim McGlone, (757) 446-2343,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Corrupt Cop Towing Probe Expands

Towing probe of police expands
The Baltimore Sun - February 26, 2011

More people are coming forward with complaints that cops steered them to a car repair shop in Rosedale. And not all the police work for Baltimore City. Also, the criminal probe that led to the arrests of 17 city officers this week on federal extortion charges is putting a spotlight on the city's contracts with a tow companies:

A federal corruption probe that has already led to more than 30 Baltimore police officers suspended or charged with receiving kickbacks in an alleged towing scheme has expanded to include at least one former officer from a state law enforcement agency.

The revelation that a police officer outside the city might be involved could indicate a wider problem than officials had previously disclosed. A Maryland Transportation Authority Police spokesman confirmed Friday that an officer who resigned two weeks ago in an unrelated misconduct case is now part of the federal investigation.

"We're going back and looking at everything he did," said the transportation authority spokesman, Sgt. Jonathan Green. The MdTA Police hired the former officer, Herberto Esteves, after he resigned from the Baltimore police force in 2008.


31 Cops Suspended

Hearings for Balt. officers in corruption case
The Washington Post/The Associated Press - February 25, 2011

With 31 officers suspended, Baltimore police are facing the city's largest alleged police corruption scheme in decades. The 17 officers charged are accused of taking kickbacks for diverting drivers at accident scenes to an unauthorized towing company and repair shop. The department started suspension hearings Thursday for the officers, many of whom were assigned to the northeastern district, according to spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. In response to the staffing gap in that district, the department is moving a 20-officer community stabilization unit to fill in. Personnel statutes bar the release of names of the other suspended officers or the details of the accusations against them, Guglielmi said. The criminal complaint filed Wednesday charges the officers and the owners of Majestic Auto Repair Shop in Rosedale with conspiracy to commit extortion in the course of their official duties. Officers are supposed to allow the owner to arrange for a tow, or if the owner declines, to use police communication channels to contact only an authorized towing company. But the complaint alleges owners of Majestic, which wasn't a city-authorized shop, paid officers to arrange for their company to tow vehicles from accident scenes. Officers received $300 for each vehicle they steered to Majestic, and one officer received more than $14,400 over two years, according to the complaint. The officers would tell owners that Majestic could help with the insurance claim and waive the deductible, advising them not to call the insurance company before talking with the repair shop owner, according to the complaint. Police union President Detective Bob Cherry checked with former presidents and commissioners and said this was the largest number of officers charged in one scheme that they could remember. The allegations could hurt the public's trust, but Cherry hopes people realize these officers are just a small segment 2,800-member force. "Officers who work the street feel very strongly about their oath," Cherry said. "If these allegations are proven, we don't want them on the street, either. A good cop is not going to tolerate a bad cop." If the officers want the police union to cover legal costs -- something the union will pay in misdemeanor cases and sometimes in more serious cases -- they will have to appeal to the union's board, because the union doesn't have a prepaid plan that would automatically cover them in felony cases, Cherry said. "This situation is a little different. If you believe the allegations, they aren't really performing their duties, it's a separate enterprise," Cherry said. "This situation is probably going to resonate differently with the board of directors." Officials declined to discuss how investigators learned of the alleged scheme, but one of the incidents that internal affairs investigators looked at was the arrest of Paula Protani of Frankford Towing, Guglielmi said. Protani, who is also a spokeswoman for the group of city-authorized towers, had made several complaints about Majestic, so when she spotted a Majestic truck at a crash in 2009, she went over to take a picture. She told the officer on the scene that Majestic was not allowed to be there and he told her to leave, then arrested her, she said. After spending hours at Central Booking, Protani filed a complaint with the department. Hearing of the charges Wednesday was bittersweet, Protani said. She is pleased that the department was pursuing corruption, but aware that the publicity would not be favorable for the towing industry or police. "I knew there was something fishy going on and I assumed it had something to do with money. I was aware that there was an investigation, but not that big an investigation and not with the FBI," she said. "It gives the towing industry a black eye and it gives the police a black eye that they don't deserve."