CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Special 'Get-Out-Of-Jail' Rules for Lawyer-Prosecutors

Assistant Bronx DA Jennifer Troiano may have skirted hot water before
The New York Daily News by Alison Gendar, Kevin Deutsch and Rocco Parascandola - April 30, 2011

A Bronx prosecutor who got a DWI arrest voided may have skirted hot water before - sources said she was involved in a wreck upstate in a city vehicle and never got into trouble. A police source familiar with the investigation alleges Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Troiano was driving a car in 2005 when she got involved in a wreck. Jose Arroyo, a detective assigned to the district attorney's office, was asleep in the passenger seat, the sources said. Since no one was arrested, there are no public records that definitively show who was driving. A bumper and a license plate were left at the scene, the police source claims. Authorities traced the car back to the district attorney's office. Still, the teflon prosecutor described by one colleague as a "wild child" wasn't charged with a crime or disciplined by her supervisors. "She knows the right people and keeps getting out of jams," a law enforcement source said. "She's not getting away with that if she's not an ADA." Prosecutors yesterday had little to say about the 2005 wreck. "Yes, we are aware of an accident involving Ms. Troiano and an NYPD detective," said Steven Reed, a spokesman for the Bronx DA's office. He wouldn't comment further and Troiano's lawyer didn't respond yesterday to the allegations surrounding the 2005 crash. Arroyo was suspended, brought up on departmental charges and left the force, a police source said. Years later, his life took an even more sinister turn. In November 2008, he drugged a woman at a Bronx bar, took her to a motel in Westchester and raped her. Arroyo, 49, is serving a 15-year prison sentence. Troiano, 34, is a graduate of Cardozo Law School. She has worked several notable cases as a prosecutor - including a housing voucher fraud case. She also prosecuted a teen who was charged with killing a cat by cooking it in an oven last year. On August 26, Troiano planted the seeds of her now public problems when she was charged with driving drunk on the Major Deegan Expressway. Police said she caused a three-car wreck. During the investigation of that wreck, her bosses learned that Troiano had previously been detained and released after cops suspected she was driving drunk while leaving a Christmas party in 2009. Sources said Troiano was handcuffed and brought to the 44th Precinct stationhouse where she identified herself as a prosecutor. A cop voided the arrest, the sources said. A high-ranking police official said yesterday that the Bronx DA's office never contacted the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau. Police officials learned of the allegations about Troiano when the media began asking questions on Thursday. The Bronx district attorney's office is leading a probe into alleged ticket-fixing that is expected to result in the indictments of about 40 cops - many of them union delegates. "The image this projects is: 'If they're not going to discipline their own people how can they go after cops?'" a police source said. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the Internal Affairs Bureau is reviewing precinct logs and computer records to figure out who voided the 2009 arrest. "We're investigating that allegation," Kelly said. "We haven't been able to find anything in our records about that supposed stop." Meanwhile, The News learned that Bronx prosecutors are beginning to discuss plea deals with dozens of suspects because the cops involved in their cases are linked to alleged ticket-fixing. "It's serious damage control," one prosecutor said. "These are good cases that aren't going to get made they way they should."

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Team Effort is Arresting Cop Corruption

A team effort is arresting cop corruption
The Philadelphia Daily News by David Gambacorta - April 29, 2011

It's a small number, really, if you're talking about the price of a ticket to a Phillies game or lunch for two people downtown. In this case, though, 26 is the number of Philadelphia police officers who have been led away in handcuffs during the past two years. All of a sudden, the number seems a hell of a lot bigger. The total would seem to suggest either that the police force is more corrupt than ever or that Internal Affairs investigators, the FBI and the District Attorney's Office have gotten better at weeding out the department's bad apples. But the truth, law-enforcement officials say, is a little more nuanced than that. For one thing, corruption on the force has always been a problem. "It's really not any worse nowadays," said John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5. "If you go back 10 years, or however long, you'd see about the same number." The plethora of recent stories about cops' getting arrested could be a combination of factors, McNesby said, like "bad luck, bad timing and stupidity on the cops' part." Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross, who previously oversaw Internal Affairs, said he didn't think the number of corrupt cops on the force is higher now than in the past. "Like a lot of things, it sometimes comes in cycles," he said. "I don't believe that we have more of it now." Publicly, the department's commitment to rooting out thugs with badges has seemed to rise as the negative headlines have piled up over the past two years. Last summer, the partnership of the FBI and the Police Department's Corruption Task Force was made more formal, said John Roberts, the supervisory special agent of the FBI's Public Corruption Squad. "Police corruption has always been a focus of ours, but it just seems that it's come to the forefront a bit more, especially since Commissioner [Charles] Ramsey has been here," Roberts said. But the FBI has long had the department's cooperation, Roberts said, even though "it is awkward to be an outside agency coming in to investigate the alleged crimes of a police officer." The joint task force, composed of four FBI agents and four police detectives, is always busy, and decides early on whether a cop's alleged crimes deserve local or federal prosecution. "Some of the [cases] are quite shocking," Roberts said. "Last year, we had officers involved in the theft and sale of heroin while they were in uniform. It was mind-boggling." Ramsey, meanwhile, has announced a number of moves aimed at boosting the public's confidence in the department's ability to rid itself of bad cops. Last fall, he transferred 26 investigators to Internal Affairs, which had seen its ranks thin out in recent years because of attrition. He has boosted the department's hiring standards - beginning next year, applicants will have to be at least 21 and have three years of driving experience and an associate's degree or 60 semester hours from an accredited college or university, with a minimum grade-point average of 2.0. He has also required applicants to face a polygraph test - the practice was ended under his predecessor, Sylvester Johnson - and has put Internal Affairs detectives in charge of the Police Academy's background unit. Ramsey's efforts have been aided by the FOP, which has come out forcefully against cops who are caught breaking the law. "We've done away with business as usual. We're not going to represent drug dealers," McNesby said. "People have given their lives for that badge. I'll go to the wall for you if you're out there doing the job, but if you're corrupt, forget it." 215-854-599

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fired Police Chief Says He's Not Dirty

Fired Windermere police chief Saylor denies he's a dirty cop in new documents
News 13 by Kelli Cook, Reporter - April 28, 2011
Windermere police Chief Daniel Saylor arrested

WINDERMERE, FL -- Former police chief Daniel Saylor seemed shocked when investigators accused him of quashing an investigation into his friend. "If you guys are looking at me, I'm not a criminal," Saylor said. "I'm a freaking cop. I'm a chief of police. I've been a cop a long time, you guys." Investigators, though, say they have recorded conversations where Saylor is doing just that. It's among hundreds of pages of documents released Wednesday by the state attorney's office. Saylor is accused of helping cover for his friend Scott Bush. Bush is charged with molesting a child. FL Dept. of Law Enforcement agents say Saylor insisted he did not destroy any documents surrounding the Bush case, or ask any of his officers to do so. Saylor said: "No, absolutely not. I'd never tell [Corporal Irving Murr] to lie to you guys, or destroy records. I would never tell my officer to lie. I told my officers to simply tell the truth." The FDLE said former Windermere Police Corporal Irving Murr secretly recorded conversations he had with Saylor where investigators heard Saylor telling his officer to shred the documents related to the Bush investigation. Other documents include statements made by Scott Bush's mother and his son, Scott Bush junior, about Bush's relationship to Saylor. At one point, Elizabeth Bush told her son that she didn't want Saylor at her house because she felt "intimidated" by him. Documents also revealed Saylor admitted to accepting $1,000 from Officer Raul Carvajal. Investigators said it was bribe money to hire a friend of the officer. Saylor said it was simply a Christmas Present. Carvajal has since been fired.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cop Used Crime Database to Harass Women

Mesa police: Officer used crime database to harass women
The Arizona Republic by Nathan Gonzalez - April 27, 2011

A Mesa police officer has been indicted on charges of misusing a law-enforcement database to date and harass women he met on duty. One of the women was a theft victim, and others were suspects he had pulled over for traffic violations. The indictment came just a week after another Mesa police officer and his wife were indicted on felony mortgage fraud charges in an unrelated case. Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said he was "outraged" by the two cases and has placed both men on paid leave pending internal investigations. Officer Todd Randall Duthie, an five-year veteran, was indicted on four felony counts of having unauthorized access to a state criminal history database and one misdemeanor count of harassment. The charges stem from Duthie allegedly using his position to follow and score dates with four women, according to a police report. Duthie's attorney Scott Halverson declined to comment on the case and Duthie did not return a message left at his Queen Creek home. Mesa police initially opened an internal investigation last fall after one of the women complained, a police report states. But once an investigator found Duthie may have violated the law, a criminal investigation was opened, Wessing said. Duthie contacted the first woman Sept. 15, 2009, after she reported a theft at the Las Palmas Carniceria at 7246 E. Main Street, the report states. The officer then began calling her and stopping by the store and the woman's residence. A GPS system inside Duthie's squad car tracked his movements as he repeatedly parked outside another woman's house and as he continued to pull over two other women, who claim he tried to date them. During a traffic stop with another woman July 8, 2010, Duthie reportedly said "I'm supposed to give you a ticket, but I won't. Since I'm not . . . let me have a date or something," the report states. Duthie has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which came just a week after Officer Mark Anthony Escarcega and his wife Blanca were indicted on charges of mortgage fraud. The charges stem from the purchase of a home in Mesa four years ago, authorities have stated. Blanca Escarcega allegedly claimed she separated from her husband and received a mortgage loan modification from Bank of America stating the separation created a financial hardship, according to the Associated Press. However, the couple never separated, and they purchased a new home and rented out the old one, court documents state. Word of the Escarcegas' housing deal reached the department and, sensing a crime had been committed, the FBI was contacted, Mesa police spokesman Sgt. Ed Wessing said. The Escarcegas have also pleaded not guilty. Wessing said the department is trying to remain as transparent as possible with officer misconduct cases. "The public doesn't need to worry that we have a corruption or misconduct issue. As an agency, we take these types of violation very seriously," he said. Wessing added that Milstead was furious when he learned of the initial internal investigation into Duthie's activities. "He was outraged that a member of our agency would conduct himself in that manner," Wessing said. "When an officer engages in misconduct like this, it impacts all of us. We are as outraged as the community is."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cops Indicted in Steroid Ring

Philly cops indicted in steroid ring
The Philadelphia Inquirer by Allison Steele and Mike Newall - April 26, 2011

When Philadelphia Police Detective Keith Gidelson phoned the U.S. Postal Service on April 7 to complain about a missing package, he did not know that the FBI was secretly listening in. Agents allegedly heard the 14-year veteran identify himself as a police officer and say he was expecting a delivery from eBay. Instead, according to a federal indictment announced Wednesday, the package contained thousands of dollars worth of illegal steroids, mailed by his California connection. Gidelson, 34, was arrested Wednesday morning, charged with operating an anabolic steroid and human-growth hormone distribution ring. He was one of 15 people named in a federal indictment that also charges his wife, Kirsten, with selling the drugs. Also arrested were Philadelphia Police Officers Joseph McIntyre, 36, and George Sambuca, 25, who are accused of buying steroids from Gidelson and reselling them. From September 2009 until this month, the indictment alleges, Keith Gidelson operated the distribution ring out of his Northeast Philadelphia home. He and his wife received monthly shipments from Europe and China, authorities said, then sold the drugs to customers in their house on Waldemire Drive, in fitness clubs, and to people they met in online weightlifting chat rooms such as Others charged include a California man who allegedly received shipments, then repackaged and sent the drugs to Gidelson; a Chicago man who authorities said sometimes partnered with Gidelson to buy large shipments of steroids; and nine Philadelphia-area men who allegedly bought the drugs, including two employees of Champ Nutrition, a vitamin store on Grant Avenue in the Northeast. The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as well as the FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department's corruption task force. Authorities declined to comment on how it began. Gidelson is assigned to the Police Department's Safety Office. McIntyre, 36, who is also a 14-year veteran, works in the 26th District, which covers the Kensington section. Sambuca, 25, is assigned to North Philadelphia's 22d District. Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said the three officers have been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss. As he was led into a federal courtroom Wednesday to be arraigned with 12 others, Gidelson, a short man with a large frame, glanced at his handcuffed wife. He wore running shorts, flip-flops, and a sleeveless T-shirt that showed his tattooed arms. Gidelson was granted a court-appointed attorney and held pending a detention hearing set for Monday. Kirsten Gidelson, 36, who cried in front of Judge Jacob P. Hart, pleaded not guilty and was granted bail, as were McIntyre and Sambuca. Ramsey described the arrests as "another dark day" for a department that has endured a string of high-profile criminal cases involving police officers. Last year, Ramsey significantly increased the number of officers in Internal Affairs in an effort to target corruption.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Routine Procedure: Cops Accessing Arrest Reports

Cops could be disciplined for accessing arrest report
WLS CHICAGO - ABC TV - April 22, 2011

(CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Disciplinary action may be taken against as many as 1,000 Chicago police officers. An internal police memo says those officers violated procedure by accessing the arrest report on two other officers who are under investigation in a possible sex assault. The police union is defending officers who reviewed the report. It's a heater case: Two cops -- on duty -- allegedly pick up a drunken young lady, drive her home in the squad, play strip poker, and have sex with her. The story is all over the news. The arrest report is accessible to cops through the department's internal computer system, and apparently a lot of cops chose to look at the report, by some estimates more than 1,000. A memo from internal affairs -- sent department wide and published on the SecondCityCop blog -- warns officers that access to information is "restricted to official police business" and that doing so for "personal or other reasons is strictly prohibited." Internal affairs is considering disciplinary action against officers it feels accessed the report for personal interest. "Blanket discipline is ridiculous. It's a waste of 1,300 pieces of paper," said Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden. The Fraternal Order of Police says there is no logic to disciplining a huge number of officers for looking at an arrest report, something they routinely do, even if the level of visits might be heightened by curiosity. "Officers have access to this equipment," said Camden. "Had the department not wanted anything released, why didn't they block it? That's available on the system. They could have blocked access to it. That wasn't done." If there is punishment it could conceivably come in the form of a SPAR, a Summary Punishment Action Request. That's a mild written reprimand that goes in an officer's personnel jacket. It can disappear after a year unless the officer accumulates other SPARs that suggest other issues. The department says it is looking at several issues, including who accessed the report, and for what purpose. "If somebody violated a department rule or general order, then go after that specific individual and punish him accordingly," said Camden. The issue appears to be not so much that officers would view the arrest report -- it's information which is pretty basic -- or the case report, which has more detail; it's whether or not someone with access prints the report and then perhaps makes it available to people who are not party to the investigation. Like reporters. The department won't say whether it intends on actually pursuing broad-based discipline or if it is zeroing in on specific officers.

Ticket-Fixing Has Persisted for Decades

Risks Aside, Ticket-Fixing Has Persisted for Decades
The New York Times by JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN and AL BAKER - April 24, 2011

In 1951, police officers in Manhattan’s 20th Precinct were investigated for sabotaging paperwork to kill traffic citations, as favors for politicians. In the middle of the inquiry, the ledger recording all the precinct’s summonses mysteriously disappeared. Three years later, an inquiry uncovered 100 officers who had sidestepped the summons altogether: they sold $10 courtesy cards that motorists could flash and go free, according to the police and the Brooklyn district attorney. Between those two scandals, reformers hatched what was thought to be an incorruptible solution: Gov. Thomas E. Dewey proposed redesigning the summons books that officers carry, with ticket slips consecutively numbered, each in quadruple form. A newspaper report called it “a system of non-fixable tickets.” It didn’t quite work out that way. In 1987, a veteran police officer, Robert Hanes, was dismissed from the force after a departmental trial found he had persuaded another officer to give false testimony that let a motorist evade a fine for speeding. In 1996, a federal judge sentenced William Caldwell, a former police captain and president of the Housing Police Superior Officers Association, to a year in jail for fixing thousands of parking tickets. His scheme often involved false paperwork claiming the cars had been stolen or were disabled at the time the ticket was issued. In pleading guilty, Mr. Caldwell said, “Some of these things I did were for friends of mine, some were for profit.” Over the years, the headlines, court cases and wrecked careers put generations of officers on notice about the professional risks involved in fixing a ticket. Yet the practice persisted. Now it has become the focus of a major multiprecinct investigation, the largest focused on ticket-fixing since the 1950s. Some are wondering what took so long. Hundreds of officers could be disciplined by the time a grand jury in the Bronx finishes its work, including roughly two dozen officers who could face criminal charges, officials and others briefed on the case have said. The inquiry began when the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, in an unrelated investigation, taped an officer in mid-2009 trying to have a ticket fixed. The scheme centers on union delegates and trustees. Officers wanting to make a ticket disappear — or following orders to do so — would seek out union officials who seemed plugged into a network for doing it safely. On Friday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the ticket-fixing should have been stopped sooner. “There seems to be a lot of evidence that there was a practice that should not have taken place,” he said during his weekly radio program on WOR. The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, citing the grand jury’s work, said through a spokesman that he had no comment.

“Whenever an allegation of ticket-fixing came to the commissioner’s attention, it was pursued by I.A.B.,” said the spokesman, Paul J. Browne, referring to the Internal Affairs Bureau. “And no, he never fixed a ticket or was party to fixing one.” Over the years, discipline meted out in ticket cases has been focused mostly on officers characterized by superiors as rogues, including some who had been caught accepting a bribe. When officers have been found to have fixed tickets, the department has come down hard, handling it as a career-ending offense and holding internal trials, but leaving it there. Many active and retired officers said they could not recall any departmentwide measures to curb the practice. Several current and former prosecutors said it was extremely rare for Internal Affairs to bring ticket-fixing cases to a district attorney’s office. One former assistant district attorney who supervised and prosecuted police corruption cases said he could recall only one such instance; several others could recall none. “This stuff has been happening since the beginning of time,” the former prosecutor said, “and it’d be like picking off ducks in a barrel. Anytime anyone wanted to, they could make a big case, so they just haven’t wanted to.” While ticket-fixing was a regular practice, many rank-and-file officers dreaded receiving such requests. “Most guys spend their whole career hoping this does not blow their way,” said one officer who insisted on anonymity, referring to ticket requests.

A law enforcement official, in defending the Police Department, noted that it was the department that brought the case to the office of the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson. Rae Downes Koshetz, a former Police Department deputy commissioner of trials who presided over administrative hearings of officers, said a handful of such cases came her way. “Anytime one of those cases came before me, it was a firing offense to fix a ticket,” she said. “It’s corruption. Sometimes it involves bribery, lying, and the department is supposed to have a zero-tolerance policy for lying.” She added: “I was there for 14 years. We weren’t clogged with ticket-fixing cases.” In one case, upheld by an appellate court, Officer Jeffrey Cohen was found to have tried to harass and intimidate a fellow officer into making false statements about the issuing of a ticket. Taped conversations showed how the motorist’s testimony was coached. Officer Cohen was fired from the department. In another case, from 1997, an officer was fired for taking $200 to rip up a speeding ticket for a friend, Ms. Koshetz said. Union officials, fighting back against an inquiry that has yet to be officially acknowledged by the Bronx district attorney’s office, which is running it, are defending themselves by hinting that high-ranking officials were involved in the process. After the ticket inquiry began, Mr. Kelly moved last August to implement a nonfixable system for tickets — some 60 years after Governor Dewey first tried it. Mr. Kelly ushered in a new computerized system to provide for an electronic record of every ticket, in the hope that such a system would prove less corruptible. Ms. Koshetz said the department deserved credit for implementing the system, known as the Electronic Summons Tracking System and described in a departmental memo as a way to “increase administrative efficiency and ensure accountability” over summonses. “It seems that the department has dealt with it by trying to make it difficult, by having a computer system and giving them ticket books where the summonses are consecutively numbered,” Ms. Koshetz said. Some officers say it was once a cinch to fix tickets: An officer could rip up all the copies headed for traffic court, or to commanders. Sometimes the paperwork was retrieved from a box behind the precinct desk that is emptied once each shift. But the officer could also go to court and feign memory loss or call in sick on consecutive court dates. The officer who spoke anonymously said some in the department became cynical about traffic court because of its unpredictable, freewheeling atmosphere. Harold Dee, a lawyer, said he had heard some troubling requests when he was a traffic court judge in the Bronx and Harlem before retiring from the bench nearly two decades ago. “Occasionally a cop would come to me and say, ‘Oh, Judge Dee, I wrote this but I found out the person is family. I’m sorry I wrote it, so I’m going to say that my radar was not properly checked out,’ ” he said. “I’d listen and I’d never know if it was some sort of shoofly or somebody trying to get me indicted. I’d say, ‘Officer, just present your case, and if it’s not sufficient, I’ll dismiss the charges.’ ” Any given ticket fix might involve three or four officers, each with varying motives and moral and legal distinctions, according to those who have done it. One officer might have called in a request to help a friend; a second might have relayed that request to a third in the precinct where the ticket was issued. And a fourth might fix it for no other reason except that, as Ms. Koshetz put it, “there are very powerful incentives within the Police Department to get along and go along.” William K. Rashbaum and Jack Styczynski contributed reporting.

UPDATE on Cop Charged in Sexual Abuse Case

Oklahoma City Police Officer Charged In Sexual Abuse Case - April 22, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- An Oklahoma City police officer has been formally charged in regards to allegations involving sexual abuse of children in his care. Sgt. Maurice Martinez's attorney Irven Box said the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office called him to report Martinez was being charged with 35 felonies and two misdemeanors. The charges are mostly sexual abuse charges involving four teenage boys, one of them being Martinez's adopted son. The other charges include possession of child porn, threatening a witness, harboring a runaway child, and conspiracy. Martinez was first arrested in January when his adopted 16-year-old son accused him of sexual abuse. He was later released. Martinez was arrested again on April 15 after his adopted teenage son, who had reportedly run away, was found at a friend's house in Utah and another one of his foster kids was found with him. No bond has been set for Martinez. Martinez could be arraigned as early as Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who Is Watching the Cops?

Who Is Watching the Cops?
The Atlantic by Conor Friedersdorf - April 21, 2011

The ticket-fixing scandal in New York City is a reminder that police officers cannot be trusted to patrol their own, and citizens must pick up the slack

CBS News reports that "a major ticket fixing scandal is rocking the NYPD, and as many as 400 cops could face bribery and larceny charges for making tickets disappear in exchange for gifts, according to a report." The illegal behavior was discovered by accident when a police officer discussed taking care of a ticket on a phone line being tapped by internal affairs in an unrelated investigation. A followup by The New York Times suggests lots of well to do New Yorkers have had their tickets fixed. In any other jurisdiction, 400 cops under investigation would be a disaster. For context, it's worth pointing out that the NYPD is 34,500 officers strong. During my time living in Brooklyn, I benefited from its impressive success reducing crime in the city, and in direct interactions with uniformed men and women - including two ride-alongs and reporting at several crime scenes - I was always impressed. Few enterprises manage to attract employees as good for a starting salary of $34,970, and as Heather Mac Donald showed in her memorable story The NYPD Diaspora, leadership in the department has gone on to successfully implement its methods in other jurisdictions. In many ways, the men and women of the NYPD should be tremendously proud. At the same time, the ticket-fixing inquiry now underway is hardly the department's only recent scandal. Secret tapes made by an officer in the 81st Precinct revealed numerous instances of lawbreaking and troubling departures from protocol (This American Life did an excellent version of the story in Act Two of this episode). "Precinct bosses threaten street cops if they don't make their quotas of arrests and stop-and-frisks, but also tell them not to take certain robbery reports in order to manipulate crime statistics," The Village Voice reported. "The tapes also refer to command officers calling crime victims directly to intimidate them about their complaints." Two officers are currently on trial for rape. Last year, an officer was charged with having "lied to cover up several unlawful stops and seizures in Manhattan and forced subordinates to falsify paperwork to justify the stops." Other major scandals - some merely alleged, others proven - are outlined here. It isn't that NYPD officers are irredeemably corrupt, or that they're unfairly maligned, though there are instances when both of those things are true. The point is that even in one of the most professional, highly scrutinized police departments in the country, serious misconduct happens. Corruption and abuses are inevitable anytime some human beings are vested with so much power over others. In cases involving proven misconduct, an additional troubling feature is that there are often a lot of officers who observed wrongdoing but did nothing to stop it. Here is an inescapable conclusion: police officers in New York City need to be monitored more closely. So do police officers everywhere else. Were it up to me, the cops of America would have a dashboard camera on every cruiser, a digital audio recorder in every pocket, a camcorder running during every interrogation, and secret internal affairs officers operating in every precinct. The exoneration of wrongfully accused police officers would please me as much as the bad cops who were punished for breaking the law or acting unprofessionally. I'd also pass a federal law permitting United States citizens to record the activity of on duty cops without fear of being prosecuted (nope, you don't necessarily have that right already, depending on where you live). Reason magazine's Radley Balko wrote a great how-to guide on the subject here. Over the years, law enforcement has used ever more sophisticated surveillance equipment to monitor citizens. As every police scandal reminds us, the ticket-fixing story included, there is good reason for citizens to become far more sophisticated in our monitoring of on duty police, and the law ought to permit our doing so.

Woman Serving Life Seeks New Hearing After Police Corruption Probe

Woman serving life requests new hearing after third officer named in police probe
The Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - April 22, 2011

A Tulsa woman who is serving a life sentence for a drug conviction has asked for a new hearing because a third officer associated with her case has been named in a police corruption probe, court records show. Sheila Devereux, 47, filed an application for post-conviction relief earlier this week in Tulsa County District Court. Devereux, who is now represented by Tulsa attorney Stanley Monroe, was convicted on Oct. 24, 2005, of one count of drug trafficking. As first reported by the Tulsa World in October, Devereux asked the district attorney to review her life sentence because two Tulsa police officers involved in her arrest are charged with planting drugs in other cases, U.S. District Court records show. The officers - Nick DeBruin and retired Officer Harold R. Wells - were indicted July 20 in U.S. District Court. DeBruin and Wells are charged with theft of U.S. funds, possession of drugs and civil rights violations and are accused of planting small amounts of methamphetamine and crack cocaine on people. They are not accused of wrongdoing in the Devereux case. Recent developments reveal that a third Tulsa police officer involved in Devereux's case has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of Officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton, her filing states. Frank Khalil was named as an unindicted co-conspirator March 24 by federal prosecutors overseeing the grand jury investigation of the Tulsa Police Department, a World investigation shows. Khalil is not charged with wrongdoing. The police trial for Henderson and Yelton is scheduled to begin June 20, while the trial for DeBruin, Wells and Officer Bruce Bonham is scheduled for May 16. Bonham is not connected to the Devereux case. Devereux's adult children are hopeful about their mother's chances of being freed from prison but realize that their options are dwindling, said Tyler Devereux, her 20-year-old son. "This is a long process, and we must wait and see how it goes," he said. "My mother is an optimistic person, but we must be patient." On Sept. 30, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Devereux's life sentence by denying her request to modify her sentence, records show. Devereux's appeal argued numerous points, including that her sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. Tyler Devereux, a junior majoring in electrical engineering at the University of Tulsa, said: "My family and I are extremely grateful for Stanley Monroe and his office as they have continued to help my mother's case move forward. We are now praying the DA's Office sees the injustice of my mom's case and that they take a good look at the three officers involved in it." Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said: "We have received the filing, and we will remain objective, and we will look at the issues of law as we go forward." A jury sentenced Sheila Devereux to life without parole under the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, according to her denied appeal. With two previous convictions for drug possession, she qualified for a life sentence under Oklahoma's three-strikes law. Her co-defendant, Earnest Allen Butler, 71, was paroled from prison in October 2009, Department of Corrections records show. He pleaded guilty on March 15, 2005, to drug trafficking and received a 13-year prison term, records show. Butler has a previous felony drug conviction. Devereux and Butler were found to have possessed 6.28 grams of cocaine base, which qualified them for drug-trafficking convictions by about 1 gram. In state court, 5 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) qualifies a person for a drug-trafficking charge, court officials have said. In federal court, the law governing crack-cocaine distribution was raised last year to 28 grams from 5 grams for a prison term of five years to 40 years. For a term of 10 years to life, the amount was raised to 280 grams from 50 grams. For his client, Monroe is asking for an evidentiary hearing based on newly discovered evidence and alleged ineffective counsel. The new evidence includes an alleged pattern of misconduct by Wells, DeBruin and Khalil, which could render the officers impeachable as witnesses in Devereux's case if an evidentiary hearing is granted, Monroe's filing states. After her life sentence was upheld on appeal, Devereux's family contacted the World and learned that District Attorney Tim Harris' office is reviewing the cases of eight current and former Tulsa police officers whose names have surfaced in the grand jury investigation. Currently, 31 people have been freed from prison, had felony cases dismissed or had sentences reduced as part of the investigation. Devereux's case is one of dozens of cases being reviewed by the District Attorney's Office, Drummond has said. Her case is a higher priority because she refused to take a plea agreement, Drummond said. Devereux, who has maintained that she never engaged in drug trafficking, refused a plea agreement of seven years in prison, the World has reported.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

EDITORIAL: Ticket Fixing Must Be Addressed

Alleged NYPD ticket fixing must be quickly probed, guilty punished, public assured it can't repeat
The New York Daily News - EDITORIAL - April 22, 2011

Evidence suggests the NYPD has been helping friends and family 'fix' tickets. The emerging evidence suggests that taking care of tickets as a "courtesy" for friends, family and the connected has been widely practiced in the NYPD. You're not surprised? Check. A Bronx grand jury is considering the matter amid reports that some 40 cops are facing potential criminal scrutiny and 100 or so may get jammed up departmentally. Those are goodly numbers, and they may well rise, given how casually the alleged fixing appears to have taken place. Consider the tape-recorded words of Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo, as reported in today's Daily News. Facing the grand jury's attention after asking a Patrolmen's Benevolent Association delegate for help in making a summons disappear, D'Adamo said: "I mean, how can you hammer me for asking a delegate to take care of one ticket? Come on!" Not that this is the French Connection case or anything, but the fact that D'Adamo is a ranking officer and that he sought the services of a union rep point to the participation of many and the knowledge of even more. Sergeants' Benevolent Association President Edward Mullins insists as much in a letter to his members. He wrote: "The current investigation into extending police courtesies by hardworking rank-and-file police officers is ludicrous. If the truth were to be told, it is hard to call such practices acts of corruption when the culture of extending courtesies to members and their families within the NYPD has existed since the day the very first summons was ever written." Mullins is asking current and former cops to send him information about favors done for notables, his argument being that since everyone was involved, no one should suffer consequences. Sorry, that's not how the world works. Police are charged with providing equal enforcement of the laws - including laws against driving without a seat belt or using a cell phone at the wheel. As for the Bronx grand jury, District Attorney Robert Johnson should stick to cases in which cops accepted money or other benefits for making tickets disappear - and he must wrap up the probe quickly. The NYPD has pretty much declined to discuss the scandal, other than to say that a new computerized ticket-tracking system should prevent cops from plucking paper summonses out of the pile before they're processed. That's comforting, but Commissioner Ray Kelly owes a fuller accounting to a muni-meter-paying public that has been told time and again that once an agent starts writing a ticket, there's no going back. What's good for parking violations must be good for moving violators - even if they happen to know someone who knows someone.

Cop Linked to Ticket-Fixing Probe Has Troubling History

NYPD officer linked to ticket-fixing probe survived his lover's shots
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - April 21, 2011

In 1997, Officer Sharon Holder shot Officer Jose Ramos in the arm and shoulder, then shot herself in the abdomen. A cop whose suspected ties to a Bronx drug dealer sparked a ticket-fixing probe is lucky to be alive - his cop girlfriend once shot him and wound up in prison, sources said. Officer Jose Ramos was a four-year veteran assigned to the 20th Precinct when he was shot Aug. 4, 1997, in the garage of the Washington Heights building where Officer Sharon Holder lived. "I can't take it anymore," Holder said then, the Daily News reported. "I'm going to kill you and kill myself." Holder, distraught that the married Ramos wanted to end the relationship, shot him in the arm and shoulder, then shot herself in the abdomen. The cops, friends from the Police Academy and colleagues at the 20th Precinct, blamed each other for the off-duty shooting. Holder pleaded to felony assault and served 3-1/2 years in prison. Ramos moved on with his career and eventually wound up at the 40th Precinct, where he was a union delegate from June 2006 until February 2008. Some time after that, Internal Affairs opened a case on Ramos after hearing he might have ties to a drug dealer, sources said. The investigation focused in part on a barbershop in Soundview linked to Ramos' father. Sources said Ramos was heard on a wiretap asking another delegate to take care of a ticket. Bronx prosecutors then started their still-ongoing investigation. About 40 cops, including police union officials, could be indicted by a grand jury on charges ranging from official misconduct to larceny to bribery, sources said. Another 100 officers or so could face NYPD departmental charges. Ramos is on modified duty and assigned to a viper unit, which monitors video surveillance at housing projects. He declined comment on the investigation. Meanwhile, the Sergeants Benevolent Association encouraged cops of all ranks to provide evidence of ticket-fixing no matter who was involved.

Ex-Police Inspector Guilty on Just 1 Count

Ex-police inspector Castro guilty on just 1 count
Philly.Com by Michael Hinkelman - April 21, 2011

Federal prosecutors were stunned at the split verdict against former Philadelphia Police Inspector Daniel Castro yesterday, but at least two jurors felt that the government went too far. Castro was convicted of lying to the FBI and acquitted of an extortion-related count, but the jury deadlocked on the eight remaining counts. U.S. District Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III declared a mistrial on the eight counts. "It was a setup," said one female juror, who asked not to be identified but said that she was from Bucks County and was a department-store manager. She said that jurors voted 10-2 for acquittal on the eight counts on which they hung. "I think it's a shame - I think they made a criminal out of somebody that wasn't a criminal," said Laura Anema, a mother from Palmer Township, in Northampton County, who works for a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen declined to comment on what jurors said, except to say he "respected" the jury's decision. Federal prosecutors must now decide whether to retry Castro on any of the eight counts, which included attempted extortion, honest-services fraud and related offenses. Patty Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney, said that a decision was unlikely this week. Defense attorney Brian McMonagle, who argued that Castro had been entrapped by an FBI informant, convicted drug dealer Rony Moshe, urged the feds not to retry Castro. "It's my prayer they will end this and let this man get on with the rest of his life," McMonagle said, adding: "I only hope they will step back for a moment and listen to the words of the citizens they placed on this jury." Lt. Ray Evers, speaking on behalf of Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, said: "The department respects the jury's decision, and we'll leave it to the U.S. Attorney's Office on how to proceed with the case." A police officer for 25 years, Castro, 47, was indicted in February on charges of scheming to shake down businessman Wilson Encarnacion for a $90,000 debt Encarnacion owed him in a 2006 real-estate deal that flopped. Much of the government's evidence in the case came from conversations between Moshe and Castro that were secretly recorded by Moshe at the behest of the FBI. Castro was convicted of lying to the FBI on Oct. 4, when he told agents that he had not received any payments from Encarnacion. By then, authorities said, he had already received $19,000 from Moshe, ostensibly collected from Encarnacion by a strong-arm collector who was really an undercover FBI agent. Under preliminary advisory sentencing guidelines, Castro likely faces a sentence of probation to six months in jail. Castro, who took the stand in his own defense, repeatedly jousted with Lappen during cross-examination, saying at several points: "You sent this man after me," referring to Moshe. After listening to his testimony, Anema said that she "felt sympathy" for Castro, who aspired to be police commissioner and is believed to be the highest-ranking police officer in at least two decades to face criminal charges. Castro is at least the eighth Philadelphia police officer since 2009 to have been found guilty of federal criminal charges. 215-854-2656

Friday, April 22, 2011

Judge Recommends Suspension For State Trooper

Judge recommends 7-month suspension for N.J. state trooper caught drinking, driving three times
The Star-Ledger by Chris Megerian - April 22, 2011

A judge has recommended a seven-month suspension for New Jersey State Police Trooper Sheila McKaig, who was caught drinking and driving but did not get a ticket.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (Atlantic County), NJ — An administrative law judge has recommended a seven-month suspension for state trooper Sheila McKaig, who was caught drinking and driving three times without receiving a single ticket. The Star-Ledger first reported last year on McKaig’s alcohol-related stops, which occurred within a three-month period in 2008. But the judge’s report, issued Wednesday, also reveals how local police repeatedly declined to ticket her, and how McKaig’s superiors initially didn’t punish her. State Police officials only launched an investigation after an anonymous letter alleging a cover-up began circulating at the division’s headquarters, according to the report written by Administrative Law Judge Ronald Reba. Officials filed disciplinary charges against McKaig the following year but have not yet suspended her. "By being involved in numerous traffic stops, and in particular three alcohol-related stops, (McKaig) conducted herself in a manner that failed to maintain the dignity and integrity of her position," Reba wrote. The report cites testimony from police officers in Atlantic County’s Hamilton Township that shows they suspected McKaig was driving under the influence after each motor vehicle stop. But they never tested her blood-alcohol level, arrested her, or issued any tickets, the report said. In April 2008, when McKaig was pulled over a second time, Officer James Longo told her "this is the second time, you know, three strikes is no good," the report said. But two weeks later she was pulled over yet again by another Hamilton Township officer. A police incident report filed by Officer Ronald Gorneau said McKaig identified herself as a trooper and admitted she had drunk "a lot." Although Gorneau later testified that he and other officers knew McKaig’s driving history, he drove her back to the police station and didn’t test her for alcohol despite her bloodshot eyes or the smell on her breath, the report said. Within two hours, troopers were dispatched from the Woodbine State Police station, where McKaig worked, to pick her up, the report said. But McKaig avoided more than just legal trouble, according to Reba’s report, which draws on testimony from officers involved. After Hamilton Township police informed a superior officer of the alcohol-related incidents, two State Police lieutenants did not press disciplinary charges. Lt. Robert Watkins, now the station commander in Buena Vista, and Lt. John Peacock, who retired last September, instead met with McKaig to say "they were disappointed with her actions" and referred her to counseling, the report said. "I had nothing to base any disciplinary action on," Peacock, who was a regional commander in South Jersey, said today in an interview with The Star-Ledger. "There was no action taken by Hamilton Township, other than, ‘Hey, can you come pick her up because we don’t think she’s doing so well.’ " He added, "The reason they contacted us was out of concern for a fellow law enforcement officer." Peacock said he was absolved of wrongdoing after an internal investigation. Watkins, who testified that "State Police rules and regulations did not apply" in McKaig’s case, said during the administrative hearing that his handling of the situation was under investigation, the report said. A State Police spokesman declined comment except to say the matter is being reviewed. McKaig is on duty patrolling the Atlantic City Expressway. Reba did not recommend firing McKaig because she sought counseling and is considered a "model trooper." "Apart from a six-day suspension in 2006 because of a domestic issue in which alcohol was a factor, respondent essentially has an unblemished disciplinary record during her career," he wrote. The ruling now goes to State Police Supt. Rick Fuentes, who makes the final decision on disciplinary matters. Dave Jones, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association, said the union will review the judge’s decision and cautioned there may be "a lot of smoke but no fire." He said troopers don’t turn a blind eye to issues with drinking and driving. "We don’t have a lot of these issues," he said. "And I know of none that haven’t been reported." McKaig’s lawyer did not respond to messages today. Neither did Hamilton Township police, nor the president of the State Troopers Superior Officers Association, which represents lieutenants. Peacock, who praised McKaig as "honest and forthright," suggested that officials were trying to make an example of her with disciplinary charges. "Motor vehicle stops happen all the time," he said. "Officers use discretion all the time." Peacock said alcoholism is a disease that should be handled medically. But Dennis Jay Kenney, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said when she’s behind the wheel of a car, it becomes a public safety issue. "That’s why she should have been arrested just like anyone else," he said. Kenney said officials should take action against local police who didn’t ticket McKaig. "If they have grounds to suspend her, I would say they have grounds for disciplinary action against officers who chose not to enforce the law," he said.

Cop Caught on Tape in Ticket-Fix Scam

Officer caught on tape in ticket-fixing probe wasn't worried about summons investigation
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola and Alison Gendar - April 22, 2011

A wiretap recording reveals Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo admitting he asked a union delegate to make a seat-belt violation disappear. A top cop caught on a wiretap having a ticket fixed was later secretly taped saying he didn't think the investigation into the favor was a big deal. The second recording, which was sent to the Daily News, reveals Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo admitting he asked a union delegate to make a seat-belt violation disappear. D'Adamo downplays the seriousness of being caught by NYPD Internal Affairs, saying his career was not imperiled by a grand jury probe and that other high-ranking cops were in hot water. "I mean, that's it - one ticket. OK, I can see if I was involved in a 100-ticket scandal getting kickbacks and money and s--- like that," D'Adamo, former commanding officer of the Bronx's 52nd Precinct, is heard saying. A Bronx grand jury is investigating what sources say is a massive ticket-fixing scheme. More than 40 cops could face criminal charges for making summonses disappear in exchange for gifts, sources said. Another 100 could face NYPD departmental charges, sources said. Sometime before last June, Internal Affairs used a wiretap to catch D'Adamo asking a PBA delegate to help out a pal by fixing a ticket. In the last couple of months, someone recorded D'Adamo complaining about having to appear before the grand jury - and anonymously sent the tape to The News. "So, I get another phone call today from someone, I can't say who it is, and the person says, 'Look, you're not getting arrested, you're not, not, not, not, not getting arrested,'" D'Adamo said in the conversation with a friend. "All they want me to do ... 'You're gonna get a subpoena on Thursday, you're a witness ... you are gonna go down next week and testify in the grand jury that you asked a certain delegate to take care of one ticket for you," he continued. D'Adamo said the same source told him the indiscretion wouldn't result in criminal charges. "No, the person said, 'You'll probably get charges and they'll probably take 10 days from you, but your career's not over, they are not going to ask you to retire, nothing like that,'" he says. "That's what this individual told me. He said there are other COs [commanding officers] involved also... "I have no choice but to f------ cooperate with the grand jury. They have it on wiretap. What am I going to do, deny it? "I mean, how can you hammer me for asking a delegate to take care of one ticket? Come on!" D'Adamo's lawyer Michael Krieger said his client "has been fully cooperating with all ongoing investigations into this matter." "To the extent that personal conversations were secretly recorded by a nonparty, we intend to seek criminal prosecution of the responsible individual or individuals," said Krieger, who listened to the tape and was provided a transcript of the conversation about the ticket probe. Since the investigation began, the NYPD has instituted a new system that allows each summons to be tracked electronically, making it tough to get rid of once it is written.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Former Cop Admits Role in Robberies

Former Chicago cop admits role in robberies
The Chicago Tribune by Ryan Haggerty - April 19, 2011

A former Chicago police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal felony charges stemming from one of the worst misconduct scandals in the department's history. Keith Herrera, 33, admitted taking part in three robberies in which he and other officers with the elite Special Operations Section stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from suspected drug dealers and other citizens after making illegal traffic stops or searches of their homes. Herrera, who remains free on bond until his scheduled sentencing on July 14, faces up to 13 years in prison, but prosecutors said in a plea agreement that if Herrera continues to cooperate, they will recommend a reduced prison sentence. Herrera pleaded guilty to civil rights and tax-related charges and admitted he pocketed about $40,000 from the robberies in 2005. He admitted he never reported the money as income on his federal tax return for that year. Herrera later secretly wore a wire, recording then-Officer Jerome Finnegan, identified by authorities as the scheme's ringleader, allegedly plotting the murder of a Special Operations Section officer whom he suspected of cooperating with authorities. Herrera, Finnegan, former Officer Stephen Del Bosque and current Officer Eric J. Olsen were charged in federal court this month in connection with the case. Del Bosque pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor civil rights charge. He faces up to 12 months in prison. The U.S. attorney's office has said that Finnegan and Olsen also have agreed to plead guilty. Since the scandal broke five years ago, seven additional officers have pleaded guilty to wrongdoing in Cook County court. Most of them received reduced sentences in exchange for their cooperation in the federal probe. The Special Operations Section was disbanded in 2007 because of the scandal.

Deputy Sheriff Faces Federal Charges

Wilson County Deputy Sheriff Faces Federal Charges - April 19, 2011

Sheriff Allegedly Tried To Sell Information Relating To Federal Investigation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Officials say Wilson County Deputy Sheriff John Patrick Edwards, 38, tried to sell information about a drug-trafficking investigation for $100,000 in April. Jerry E. Martin, United States attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee said Edwards was arrested Monday night and charged with attempting to obstruct a federal criminal investigation. Edwards is accused of creating a plan to sell information relating to a federal drug-trafficking investigation, according to authorities. “The United States Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will always take aggressive action to uncover wrongdoing by the very people entrusted with protecting our communities,” said U. S. Attorney Jerry Martin in a news release Tuesday. “We will continue to vigorously pursue those whose malicious actions tarnish the professional reputation and efforts of hardworking and honorable police officers.” According to the affidavit submitted to support the arrest warrant of Edwards and others, Edwards contacted a person he knew that was in contact with a target of the drug investigation and offered to sell information about the investigation, for $100,000. Later, Edwards is accused of accepting $15,000 cash as a partial payment for giving that person information about the investigation, officials said. This incident is still under investigation.

Split Verdict in Cop's Corruption Trial

Split verdict in ex-Philly cop's corruption trial
The Associated Press - April 20, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal jury has reached a split verdict in the corruption trial of a former Philadelphia police official. Jurors announced Wednesday that they had found Daniel Castro, a former inspector who aspired to be police commissioner, guilty of lying to the FBI. They found him not guilty on an extortion count and deadlocked on the remaining eight charges. The 47-year-old Castro was accused of scheming to hire strong-arm collectors to shake down a former business partner in a failed real estate deal. Last week, he broke down on the stand and testified that he approved the use of a debt collector who would use violence to recover $90,000. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office says prosecutors have not decided whether to retry Castro on the charges on which the jury deadlocked.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Police Union Explains Ticket-Fixing is NOT Corruption, Just a Courtesy

Police Union Fights Back Against an Inquiry, Calling Ticket-Fixing a Courtesy
The New York Times by AL BAKER and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN - April 19, 2011

As scores of police officers, supervisors and union officials are investigated for fixing tickets in the Bronx, the Sergeants Benevolent Association — the powerful union for the Police Department’s 12,000 front-line supervisors — has started a campaign arguing that the practice, while widespread, is one of courtesy, not corruption. Edward D. Mullins, the president of the sergeants’ union, has recorded an audio message calling on current and retired members of the force, across all ranks, to come forward with testimonials about the beneficiaries of ticket-fixing. He said he expected to find evidence that politicians, prosecutors, clergy members, business leaders, celebrities, athletes and others have been among those who have had tickets fixed, often with the help of top police officials. The move is a striking public frontal assault on the investigation by the union, even though the inquiry itself has never been officially acknowledged by law enforcement officials, and no charges have been filed. Mr. Mullins said in an interview that his aim was to highlight a culture of courtesy that had been the norm since the inception of the summons. But it could also serve to embarrass or even implicate public officials or others who have asked police officers to do them a little favor and make a ticket go away. “For nearly two months, members of the N.Y.P.D. have been attacked by the media and placed under public scrutiny for allegations of tampering with tickets,” Mr. Mullins says in the message, according to a transcript that a spokesman said would be posted on the union Web site Tuesday night. Mr. Mullins goes on: “However, the portrayal of some members of the department being involved in a major corruption ring of ticket-fixing for favors to which labor organizations discreetly approve is ludicrous.” Since the whiff of the ticket-fixing scandal emerged on a wiretap in a separate police corruption inquiry last year, the Internal Affairs Bureau and the office of the Bronx district attorney, Robert T. Johnson, have interviewed dozens of officers, set up layers of surveillance and identified several high-profile targets, according to several people with direct knowledge of the case. Though the inquiry is centered on the Bronx, according to one law enforcement official, it could spread to other boroughs. Roughly two dozen officers could face criminal charges and hundreds more could face internal administrative sanctions, officials have said.

Steven Reed, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, had no comment on the sergeants’ union’s characterization of the investigation as a witch hunt against rank-and-file officers. “They can put out whatever statement they want,” Mr. Reed said. “We have neither confirmed nor denied any investigation.” Mr. Mullins’s message is about three-and-a-half minutes long, according to Robert E. Mladinich, a union spokesman said. Mr. Mladinich said the sergeants’ union did not check with other unions about the campaign. Mr. Mullins, in claiming that the ticket-fixing did not qualify as corruption, said he had never heard of an officer’s taking a bribe in exchange for fixing a ticket. He said it might be time to change the department’s culture, but argued against any move to criminalize its longstanding behavior. In addition, Mr. Mullins said that requests to make tickets disappear often came from high places, and that in some cases, officers were just trying to please senior commanders. “These phone calls were as much a part of the culture of the department as arresting criminals,” he said. Mr. Mullins cited a news account to raise a question about whether the department’s longstanding chief of Internal Affairs had participated in the practice by voiding a summons given to the chief surgeon. But Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, said that the chief, Charles V. Campisi, never voided a ticket for the surgeon. “Under I.A.B.’s program of placard enforcement, a vehicle assigned to the chief surgeon was summonsed and towed, and the chief surgeon paid the fine,” Mr. Browne said. Because of their connections across precincts in the city, police union delegates have long been the go-to people for officers seeking to have tickets fixed. Now, several union leaders have expressed outrage that they will take the brunt of disciplinary action for a practice that they characterize as departmentwide. Some lawyers described the fixing of tickets as criminal if it involved the destruction or obfuscation of government records. To some officers, ticket-fixing has always seemed risky. One supervisor — who insisted on anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly on the matter — recalled a time more than a decade ago when, in seeking to erase a summons, a colleague in the highway unit took offense, and Internal Affairs investigated. “I tried it once, and I got burned,” the supervisor said. “When I told people my story after, they said, ‘Well, you should have gone to the delegate,’ but to me, I was like, ‘I am never doing that again.’ ”

Jail Officer Hit With Drug Smuggling Charge

Drug smuggling charge against Mass. jail officer
The Associated Press - April 18, 2011

BOSTON,MA - A Massachusetts corrections officer has been arrested on allegations that he attempted to smuggle heroin to sell to inmates at a medium-security prison near Boston. Ronald McGinn Jr. of Bridgewater was charged Monday with possession of heroin with intent to distribute at MCI-Norfolk. U.S. District Attorney Carmen Ortiz says the 40-year-old sent text messages and discussed with an undercover FBI agent the amounts he would smuggle into the prison and fees he would charge to do so. He was arrested Monday afternoon in possession of 28 grams of heroin. The investigation began after a Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer told the FBI that someone was smuggling contraband to the facility about 25 miles southwest of Boston. It was not immediately clear if McGinn has legal representation. He faces up to 20 years in prison on conviction.


Feds say Brockton mall was site of drug deal for corrections officer
The Enterprise by Maribeth Conway - April 20, 2011

Police say corrections officer received $1,000 to smuggle heroin inside prison

BROCKTON, MA — The corrections officer and the undercover FBI agent, posing as a drug dealer, met in the parking lot outside Lowe’s at Westgate Mall. An inmate working with the FBI had arranged for the corrections officer to pick up heroin to smuggle, for a fee, into MCI-Norfolk, the state’s largest medium-security prison, according to an FBI affidavit. On Monday, the agent handed the corrections officer the drugs and $1,000, the affidavit said. Then he placed him under arrest. The corrections officer, Ronald P. McGinn Jr., 40, of Bridgewater, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute in U.S. District Court in Boston. He was arrested after a months-long investigation that started with a tip from a co-worker.

In January, a lieutenant in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections told FBI agents that McGinn, a 20-year corrections-department veteran, had been providing drugs to inmates for the last few years. The lieutenant also said McGinn was known to smuggle cell phones, iPods and creatine, a bodybuilding supplement, to inmates. In March, an inmate cooperating with the FBI told investigators McGinn was willing to smuggle up to a pound of heroin into the prison for a fee of $5,000 and that for $2,500, he would do the same with OxyContin, according to the affidavit. The informant arranged a deal with McGinn and gave him a telephone number to call so that he could receive the heroin and the payment. The phone number was for the undercover FBI agent. According to the affidavit, McGinn told the undercover agent that he “smuggles items into MCI-Norfolk by placing them down his pants.” They communicated over text messages; McGinn advised the undercover agent not to discuss illegal activity over prison phone lines because they are recorded, according to the affidavit. McGinn and the agent met April 14 in the Lowe’s parking lot to make arrangements, according to the affidavit. It said McGinn had someone who appeared to be a minor in his car at the time. About noon Monday, McGinn and the agent met again, the affidavit said. McGinn received $1,000 and a supply of heroin from the agent, who was equipped with audio and video equipment, the affidavit said. McGinn was hired by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections in 1991, Massachusetts Department of Corrections spokesperson Diane Wiffin said. She said the state’s prisons have numerous measures in place to prevent the passing of contraband, but would not provide details. McGinn has been released on a $25,000 bond. He could not be reached for comment on Monday. Bridgewater resident Michael McGinn, who is a corrections officer at the MCI-Bridgewater, said he has no relation to McGinn, nor does his brother Stephen McGinn, a Bridgewater police officer. Maribeth Conway may be reached at

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Accused Officer On The Job With Warrant Out

Accused officer on the job with warrant out; officer faced misdemeanor charges in 2010; ex-wife files for restraining order
The Times-Standare by Thadeus Greenson - April 16, 2011

A Eureka police officer charged Thursday with nine criminal counts had a prior run-in with law enforcement and faced allegations of domestic abuse, according to court records. It also appears Daniel Jason Kalis, 36, of Eureka, worked as a police officer for five months with a warrant out for his arrest. Kalis -- who was charged Thursday with drug possession, theft and other charges -- was named in an arrest warrant ordered in September 2010 by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Marilyn Miles. The warrant was issued after Kalis failed to appear at a July 2010 court hearing, where he was to be arraigned in a misdemeanor case charging him with fishing without a license in a closed river and catching a wild steelhead. Kalis was placed on administrative leave by EPD on March 7, the same day the department launched an internal affairs investigation into allegations surrounding his conduct. He resigned his position with the department on April 1. Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said his department didn't learn of the active warrant out on Kalis until Friday. Nielsen said his department isn't notified when warrants are issued, and it's not standard procedure to run warrant checks on officers during internal affairs investigations. ”It's just one of those things that slips through the cracks,” Nielsen said, adding that officers have a responsibility to notify the department if warrants are issued in their name, just as they would if their driver's license was suspended. The arrest warrant issued by Miles set Kalis' bail at $5,000 in the case, and indicated that a mandatory court appearance would be required, but Kalis may be released on a promise to appear. On Thursday, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office contacted Kalis and notified him that it had filed a complaint accusing him of nine crimes: possession of heroin, possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, petty theft, vandalism, false imprisonment, accessing DMV records without authorization, contacting a prisoner without authorization and accessing a computer network without authorization. Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said investigators had Kalis sign a promise to appear Thursday and that he had been unaware of an active arrest warrant in Kalis' name until being informed of it Friday. ”I'm not aware of him being arrested, and that's a problem,” Gallegos said, adding that if he'd known of the warrant, he would have had investigators arrest Kalis on Thursday. “I would say there's a warrant out for his arrest, and someone should pick him up.” Gallegos said the decision not to arrest Kalis was based on incorrect information, and was made with the belief that Kalis did not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community. The charges filed Thursday are the result of two investigations merging -- EPD's internal affairs investigation and a criminal investigation launched by the DA's office into allegations surrounding the officer. Kalis, who goes by “Danny,” started with EPD in 2004. The misdemeanor charges filed against Kalis in 2010 stem from allegations that he caught a wild steelhead while fishing without a license by the Blue Lake Bridge on the Mad River on Oct. 7, 2009 -- six days after the river had been closed to fishing due to low water conditions. Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen said his department was aware of the misdemeanor complaint filed against Kalis in 2010, and that it was investigated internally. ”That incident and other allegations were investigated in 2010, and disciplinary action was taken,” Nielsen said, declining to discuss the other allegations. “The discipline that was meted out was based on recommendations of the city's labor attorneys.” Nielsen declined to comment on the disciplinary action taken against Kalis, but the incident seems to coincide with Kalis' being switched from a detective to a patrol officer last year. A document in Kalis' family law file concerning child support payments also states that Kalis received half-pay on at least three paychecks in 2010 due to “in-house discipline.” A temporary restraining order was issued April 8, ordering Kalis to stay away from his ex-wife and his four kids and to either turn his firearms over to law enforcement or sell them. In requesting the order, Kalis' ex-wife cited a number of instances when she felt scared or threatened by Kalis, including times when he was on duty. On Jan. 25, she was driving on Broadway in Eureka when Kalis passed her in his patrol car, according to a “description of abuse” she wrote in requesting the restraining order. ”He cocked his hand like a gun and pointed it at me,” she wrote. “I took the action as a symbolic threat to use a gun.” Five days earlier, she claims she was driving in Eureka with her son and two cousins when a police car pulled behind her, flashed its lights and stopped her. Kalis was driving the patrol car, the ex-wife alleges, and pulled alongside her, rolled down his window and called her a “bitch” and mumbled other profanities. Nielsen said he's aware of those allegations and said they were looked into as a part of the internal affairs investigation that was ongoing when Kalis resigned. Kalis' ex-wife also claims he engaged in “stalking behavior,” sleeping in his car outside of her house, text messaging her repeatedly and showing up at various events she was attending after they separated. She also describes an incident that allegedly occurred in the parking lot of Redwood Acres in Eureka last spring. ”Danny motioned for the children to come over to his truck; he reached into his truck and removed a plastic bag, which he handed to my son,” she wrote in the document. “Inside the plastic bag were some freshly cut dog tails. ... Danny was controlling and abusive during our marriage.” Gallegos said he had not heard anything like the allegation in the family law file from his investigators. ”I'm not aware of any allegations of animal abuse,” he said, noting that such allegations would be taken very seriously. In the request for a restraining order, Kalis' ex-wife indicates she is more afraid now that Kalis is no longer employed as a police officer. ”I believe the risk of serious abuse from him towards me and the children is significantly increased,” she wrote. “... I am afraid for myself and the children that Danny's initial reaction to this request will be extreme anger and potentially violent conduct.” Three of the charges filed against Kalis Thursday -- vandalism, petty theft and false imprisonment -- name Kalis' ex-wife as the alleged victim. The criminal complaint filed against Kalis indicates the vandalism was carried out on his ex-wife's car, and a document in the couple's family law file states that she suspected him of carving the word “bytch” into her car in the summer of 2010. Gallegos said the case remains under investigation, and anyone with information regarding the potential criminal conduct of Kalis is asked to call EPD Detective Todd Wilcox at 441-4315 or DA Investigator Wayne Cox at 268-2591. A day after news broke that Kalis was facing a felony criminal complaint, Nielsen characterized the climate at EPD as somber. ”I think the rank and file understand that we have a responsibility to maintain and reflect a level of integrity, and that the public expects that of us, and when one of us violates that public trust it impacts us all negatively,” Nielsen said. “Not only is it embarrassing for Danny, it's embarrassing for everyone who works at EPD, and it's embarrassing for the profession as a whole. ”It's one of those things you just hate to see happen, but we have to remember that police officers and public servants are human beings and we're all fallible,” Nielsen continued. ”At times, things like this are going to arise and we just have to work past them and prove constantly -- every day -- that we are worthy of the public's trust.” Staff writer Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-

Monday, April 18, 2011

Prosecutors File 17 More Charges Against Cop

Prosecutors file 17 more charges against Calif cop
The Associated Press - April 15, 2011

SALINAS, Calif. - Prosecutors have filed 17 more charges against a California police officer accused of sexually assaulting women while on duty. The complaint against Seaside officer Salvador Reynaga, 31, was amended Thursday by Monterey County prosecutors to include a total of five accusers, including a minor. Reynaga previously pleaded not guilty to 16 counts related to two accusers in the initial complaint. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the 17 new charges on April 26. Deputy District Attorney Michael Breeden also plans to ask the judge to increase bail from $100,000 to $200,000 in light of the new charges. Reynaga is currently free after posting bail shortly after his March arrest. A call to his attorney, Christopher Miller, was not immediately returned Friday. Authorities say the sexual assaults took place between November and February and involved females encountered by Reynaga while working. In one instance, Reynaga is accused of sexually assaulting a woman then molesting one of her children, according to the amended complaint. The amended complaint includes felony counts of committing assault while acting in an official position and sexual battery, and a misdemeanor count of child molestation. He also faces one count of possessing an illegal assault rifle. The defendant is a four-year veteran of the Seaside department. He was arrested following an investigation by the Monterey County District Attorney's Office sparked by citizen complaints.

City Cop Arrested Again in Child Molestation Investigation

Oklahoma City Police Officer Tasered, Arrested Again In Child Molestation Investigation
NEWS9.COM - April 15, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Oklahoma City police have arrested Sgt. Maurice Martinez again, and he now faces more than a dozen charges that include kidnapping and forcible sodomy. Martinez was first arrested in January when his adopted 16-year-old son accused him of sexual abuse. Oklahoma City Police Capt. Patrick Stewart said investigators recently received new information in the child molestation case against the sergeant. Back in January, two of Martinez's foster children ran away from DHS protective custody. Federal police received information that one of the runaways was possibly being held against his will near Salt Lake City, Utah. Local police performed a child welfare check, and the boy was taken into custody. After learning of the allegations, police pulled over Martinez's car Friday at 1:45 a.m. at the intersection of S.E. 44th and Sooner in Oklahoma City. The 44-year-old had one of his adopted children in the car with him, but the boy took off running when police stopped the car. Police say during the arrest, they were forced to use a taser gun on Martinez. He was taken to the Oklahoma County jail where he's being held with no bond. Martinez now faces several charges, including one count of kidnapping, two counts of harboring a runaway juvenile, seven counts of sexual abuse by a caretaker and two counts of forcible sodomy. Martinez is currently on administrative leave with pay from the Oklahoma City Police Department. The foster child who was with Martinez when police stopped the car later called 911, saying he was cold and hungry. He was taken into protective custody.


Evidence detailed against Oklahoma City officer accused of sex abuse
The Tulsa World by Michael Kimball - March 14, 2011

Investigators in an affidavit detail evidence against Oklahoma City police Sgt. Maurice Martinez, who was arrested in January on sex abuse complaints. Martinez has not been charged.

Investigators found photos of police Sgt. Maurice Martinez's foster children in various stages of undress, a video of a foster child describing sex acts performed with another child, hundreds of photos of homosexual pornography and a surveillance camera in a child's room when searching the arrested officer's home in January, according to an affidavit. Martinez, 44, was arrested Jan. 19 on multiple sex abuse complaints. He has not been charged. The affidavit was filed Friday in Oklahoma County District Court to establish probable cause in the Friday arrest of Thomas Frank Salazar, 31, of Oklahoma City, whom police accuse of breaking into Martinez's home overnight Jan. 20 as police took a break from searching it. Investigators accuse Martinez, who has denied the allegations against him and said police botched the investigation, of sexually abusing one of his adopted sons over about two years, detective Douglas Hurst wrote in the affidavit. The boy told officers Martinez began abusing him when he was 14. The boy told investigators Martinez fondled him and had the boy fondle Martinez, according to the affidavit. He told police Martinez asked him to perform a sex act, but he refused, and that other children in Martinez's care also had been abused. The boy later recanted his accusations to police, and Martinez's family provided media outlets with two videos that purportedly showed the accuser saying he lied to investigators. Investigators accuse Martinez of orchestrating those videos and being present when they were filmed, Hurst wrote. Martinez's attorney, Irven Box, said he thinks a lot of the evidence outlined in the affidavit is hearsay, and noted that investigators have yet to present their report to prosecutors to consider charges. But he said the evidence described in the affidavit “sounds bad. On the surface, it sounds bad.” “The affidavit itself looks pretty damning,” Box said. “We're waiting for the system to work. ... If they have enough information to bring a charge, then we stand ready to defend it.” Police found images of nude and seminude foster children under Martinez's care among the hundreds of photos of homosexual pornography discovered on Martinez's cell phone and computer, according to the affidavit. Investigators also found a video of a foster child holding a $1 bill, saying it was payment for sex acts performed with another foster child. Another video of the child who described the acts shows him being beaten, kicked, choked and tackled by other children, the affidavit states. Martinez has taken care of dozens of foster children, all boys, over the past decade. A confidential informant who is not identified in the affidavit told officers Salazar was the person who sneaked into Martinez's home while it was under police guard during a break in the search of the residence, Hurst wrote. The informant told police Salazar broke into the home at Martinez's direction. The informant also told police Martinez orchestrated the videos of the accuser saying he lied to police, according to the affidavit. Another former foster child, Troy Dobbs, 18, of Fort Drum, N.Y., corroborated the informant's statements when police went to New York to interview him. Dobbs said he took the accuser to a fast-food restaurant, where Martinez pressured the boy to recant on video. Dobbs also told investigators Salazar was the person who burglarized Martinez's home and that Salazar took some evidence and planted other things, Hurst wrote. Dobbs told police the accuser and other children had described to him abuse by Martinez before. Salazar told The Oklahoman in January he was never in Martinez's official custody but that Martinez took him into his home when he was a teenager and provided him guidance. He said he supports Martinez and thinks he's innocent. Salazar has previous felony convictions for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and concealing stolen property, court records show. Salazar was arrested as an accessory after the fact on complaints of lewd acts with a child, lewd or indecent proposals or acts to a child younger than 16 and allowing abuse by a caretaker, according to the affidavit. He has not been charged. He was released on $40,000 bail, jail records show. Efforts to reach Martinez were not successful Monday. Martinez was released on bail shortly after he was arrested and remains on paid administrative leave from his job as a patrol officer in south Oklahoma City. All of the children in Martinez's care were removed from his home after his arrest.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Police Sergeant Charged in Hitting Cuffed Teen

Sergeant Charged After Slapping Cuffed Man
NBC CHICAGO by Lisa Balde, Charlie Wojciechowski and BJ Lutz - April 15, 2011

Surveillance video recorded Sgt. Edward Howard Jr. slapping 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries several times - Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, faces charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct for "commission of the offense," according to a statement released Friday by State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

A Chicago Police sergeant was arrested and charged Friday after he repeatedly slapped a handcuffed man across the face. Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, was charged with charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct for "commission of the offense," according to a statement released Friday by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Howard's attorney said his client, a 24-year veteran of the force, was only trying to defend himself. [Jeffries] attempted to spit on Sergeant Howard, and that was the reason for the strikes," said Robert Kuzas. "He has no disciplinary record. As a matter of fact, he's received several awards from the City of Chicago, from the Chicago Police Department and the community from which he lives." The incident happened around 10:15 p.m. on Oct. 11, 2010 during the arrest of 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries. Jeffries and two of his friends were friends were arrested in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant at 7904 S. Vincennes by two officers for criminal trespass. According to prosecutors, Jeffries complied with the officers' orders and was handcuffed and searched. They said Howard arrived after the scene was secured, walked up to Jeffries and struck him three separate times while several officers watched. One slap even knocked Jeffries off balance. "It is a sad and difficult day for all of us in law enforcement when an incident such as this occurs and criminal charges are warranted," Alvarez said in the prepared statement. "This officer's senseless act against a defendant who was handcuffed and compliant constitutes a violation of that trust." Jeffries had cuts, bruising and swelling to his upper and lower lips, and redness and swelling, he said. He was released early in the morning following his arrest and later filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority, which turned the case over to Alvarez's office. Howard, a sergeant in the Gresham District, was ordered held on $20,000 bond after appearing in Cook County Criminal Court on Friday afternoon. He paid $2,000 and left the criminal courts building at about 1:30 p.m. As he left the building, a television reporter tripped and fell. It was Howard who reached down to help the reporter back to his feet. Kuzas said that behavior is more indicative of Howard's personality than the charges he now faces. Vague details of the October 2010 were first reported shortly they occurred. At that time, then-Supt. Jody Weis declined to identify Howard or provide details on the case, but said he took immediate action. "This type of allegation we take very, very seriously," Weis said just days later. "There's just no room for any type of brutality." The president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Mark Donahue, slammed Weis for exposing the investigation at such an early stage. The investigation into the incident later ensnared six other officers. They were put on administrative duty and four of them finally returned to work just last week. Two other officers, reinstated days after the incident, later sued Weis after being reprimanded because their names were included on the police report. They later proved, through GPS records, that they weren't in the area during the incident.


Cop charged with battery posts bail
The Chicago Tribune by Jason Meisner and Jeremy Gorner - April 15, 2011

Sergeant accused of hitting handcuffed teen

A Chicago police sergeant was charged with two felonies for allegedly slapping a teen whose hands were cuffed behind his back, but the veteran officer's attorney contended he was provoked when the suspect tried to spit on him. Flanked by several colleagues, Sgt. Edward Howard Jr., 48, walked out of the Cook County Criminal Courts Building on Friday afternoon after posting $20,000 bail and jumped into a waiting SUV. The 24-year veteran faces charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct stemming from the alleged incident outside a South Side restaurant Oct. 11. In announcing the charges, prosecutors released an uneven, 94-second surveillance video from the King Gyros parking lot, 7904 S. Vincennes Ave., that showed Howard approach 19-year-old Gregory Jeffries while he was already handcuffed and deliver three quick open-handed slaps to his head while several other Gresham District officers looked on.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Insiders Know How To Fix A Ticket ...

'DWI' ex-prosecutor: Tix-fix arresting cop my ticket to slide
The New York Post by Kirstan Conley and Leonard Greene - April 15, 2011

A former Bronx prosecutor charged with DWI wants his case tossed because the cop who busted him is a target of a ticket-fixing probe that could put some officers behind bars. Even though the officer, Julissa Goris, was caught on a wiretap trying to fix a ticket for a relative and a friend, prosecutors said the seven-year NYPD veteran won't face criminal charges. But she could be hit with departmental charges. And her admitted offense -- and dozens more like it by cops across the city -- could jeopardize hundreds of criminal cases throughout the five boroughs, including that of former Assistant DA Stephen Lopresti. Goris, 29, arrested him as he drove home from a Christmas party in 2006. That was after he left the Bronx DA's Office to enter private practice. After defense lawyer Adam Perlmutter learned that Goris had become ensnared in the ticket-fixing probe, he moved to have Lopresti's case dismissed. His motion is pending. At a hearing last week, Goris admitted she sought help from a union delegate to make two speeding citations disappear. The testimony marked the first time that any names of cops involved in the probe have been revealed. "I asked my PBA delegate, Jamie Payan, if he could fix a summons that my boyfriend's cousin had received and another summons that my mom had received," she admitted at the hearing. Goris said both tickets, one in Queens and one in Manhattan, were taken care of. "She didn't have to pay," Goris said of her mother. "That's how the ticket got fixed." Additional reporting by Len Maniace

Friday, April 15, 2011

Federal Agent Under Investigation for Possession of Kiddie Porn

Federal agent in Florida who crusaded against child pornography probed for possession of kiddie porn
The New York Daily News by Helen Kennedy - April 12, 2011

Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Anthony Mangione is under investigation for possible possession of child pornagraphy. A top federal law enforcement officer in Florida who crusaded against kiddie porn is reportedly under investigation for possessing kiddie porn. The Miami Herald reported that FBI agents searched the home and office of Anthony Mangione, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations, for child pornography on his computers. Whether they found anything was unclear. He was not charged with a crime. Mangione, 50, has aggressively targeted child pornography and lambasted the "predators" who share dirty pictures of kids on their computers. ICE officials said they would have no comment. A message left at the Department of Justice was not immediately returned. Mangione was planning to retire this summer, the Miami Herald said. His ICE office was also in charge of investigating drug smuggling, money laundering and financial crimes, commercial fraud, and national security and cyber crimes. He was frequently quoted in press releases touting the arrest of child pornographers as part of Operation Predator, an ICE initiative aimed at those who prey on children. Announcing the arrest last year of a man who had taken sexual photos of children, Mangione said, "ICE is committed to apprehending and presenting for prosecution cases that victimize our children." "Child predators will go to great lengths to sexually exploit minors," he warned in 2008, vowing to catch anyone who tried.

Police Officer Admits to Taking a Bribe, Tipping off Suspect

Bridgeton police officer admits to taking a bribe, tipping off suspect
The Post-Dispatch by Jennifer Mann - April 13, 2011

ST. LOUIS- An officer on a north St. Louis County drug task force has admitted to accepting $5,000 in cash bribes and tipping off a suspect in a federal money laundering investigation. Scott William Haenel, 38, was a Bridgeton police officer detached to the North County Municipal Enforcement Group, a regional drug task force. He pleaded guilty Wednesday in St. Louis federal court to one count of accepting bribes and one count of obstructing justice. It was the first release of details in the public corruption case, as Haenel waived indictment in favor of a quick plea before a mostly empty courtroom. Haenel spoke only to tell U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel that he understood the proceedings and to offer his guilty pleas. Upon leaving the courtroom, Haenel and his attorney declined comment. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reginald Harris said agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations started investigating Haenel for public corruption in November 2010. They watched as Haenel met several times with a man only identified in court as R.O. R.O., who was cooperating with authorities, gave Haenel $5,000 cash during one of those meetings, in a Target parking lot in Bridgeton on Jan.11. Haenel admitted that in exchange for the payment, he agreed to assist R.O. by covering up a money laundering scheme involving proceeds from a drug trafficking operation in north St. Louis County. Haenel also admitted to giving R.O. a heads up on Jan. 21 when he learned that Drug Enforcement Administration agents and police were going to try to search R.O.'s St. Charles residence, where they believed a large amount of the illegal cash was stashed. Haenel told R.O. to get out of the house and clear it of the money. R.O. has not been charged, Harris said. Bridgeton Police Chief Donald Hood said Haenel joined the department in 2002 and was detached to the drug task force in 2007, essentially working for the task force. Hood said there was no indication that any of Haenel's cases before 2007 were compromised. "Absolutely not," he said. "There was no indication of wrongdoing." Hood said Haenel has since resigned and the indictment speaks for itself. He said Bridgeton police cooperated with the federal investigation. "It's not only the FBI's responsibility to investigate allegations of misconduct, it's the responsibility of all law enforcement and we take these matters very seriously," he said. Haenel could face up to 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines at sentencing July 7. The sentencing range is higher than typical because of Haenel's position in law enforcement. Harris said after the hearing: "This just shows we take seriously the notion that police officers are not above the law and when officers break the law, the onus is on us to make sure they accept responsibility for what they did." Harris declined to comment on whether the public corruption investigation extended beyond Haenel. He also declined to further describe the suspected drug trafficking operation. - 314-340-8315